That moment inevitably arrives when thoughts turn to home …. while remaining in the present and farewells to be had (and a last days buying …). The first goodbye’s were to all the wonderful staff at the family run hotel where we always stay at (until next time; stay safe). A double check (passport, train tickets et al), before making the last journey of this trip to our major supplier, whom Russ (Uncle), Kristy and I, feel indebted to and cherish a (long) deep-rooted friendship; thank-you.

An enjoyable day spent choosing a whole range of items from stunning old hand carved stone pieces, through to a pair of beautiful carved pillars, via a number of sheesham and mango wood furniture, carved wooden panels, cast metal panels and hand painted cabinets …. extraordinary.

A last wander around the yard before further farewells; always a bitter-sweet moment…… Until next year, keep safe.

To the station and the overnight Mandore Express to Delhi (about 10 1/2 hours plus). Our major supplier had kindly arranged dinner (takeaway from ‘Gypsy’) … delicious. We rumbled on, while I got out at Jaipur station to stretch (about halfway) – a place teeming with life, the ‘chaiwaller’ calling out to attract business, people asleep, people on the move, people grouped eating, black metal travelling trunks with white hand-painted names could be seen everywhere; a microcosm of India on the move …

Finally we arrived at Delhi Cantt station, still dark only to be met by unexpected rain (the last 23 days). We followed the main group of other passengers (heavy cases in tow) with a sense something wasn’t quite recognisably right. We found ourselves on the side of the tuk tuk’s with the taxi’s on the other side of the tracks. Rain steadily tipping, uneven blocks of wood to step on, slippy under foot, concerned Russ was going to make it upright, we finally got to the appropriate exit where amazingly our ‘usual’ driver was (3 years after our last journey together) …. a sight for (tired) sore eyes …..

He now seemingly had taken on a supervisory role and ushered a taxi for us, where the young man decided he was ‘Lewis Hamilton’ and we careered through the traffic at the rate of knots (best not to look..); arriving, thankfully in piece.

One last flight taken (remembered my boarding pass this time) – and 9 hours later, touchdown and reality … back to work in the morning with India deep in our heart and memory laden. It had been such a wonderful shared journey, with Russ and I enjoying each others company (as he always says ‘we’re chalk and cheese’) …. and excited in being able to discover so many extraordinary items on the trip to share with you. Namaskar.