Welcome to the official blog for Raleigh India 12I | July - August 2012

Welcome to the Official Blog for Raleigh India 12J September - December 2012.

Sunday 8 April 2012

The Loop Trilogy: Star Loop Episode V - The Premiership Strikes Back

Namaskaara and welcome to the sequel of the sequel of the blockbusting Loop Trilogy. Reggie Skywalker and Joe Solo used the Force (Big Manju) to visit the far, far away galaxies of Charlie 2, Tango 5, and Echo 4
Tango 5's protocol droid Helen Smith accepted the challenge to live up to the high expectations connected to this chapter of the saga. And fail she did not:
Guest blog in progress, thank you Helen!
Tango 5 conquering ...
... the lush surroundings of the Banasura dam,...
... arid mountains, ...
... and dirt.
Hello and a big fat welcome to a little taste of Tango 5’s trek through northern Kerala. We are having an absolute whale of a time halfway through our trek-a-thon, have crossed the King Cobra, Indian elephant, and faux-leopard tail (a “hilarious” April fool by the PMs involving a 6am leopard alarm on the one day we could have had a lie in – really witty one guys!) off our list of quintessential Indian jungle creatures to see, and eaten enough porridge to feed a medium sized vegetarian tiger for a month.
The venturers are not bad at April fooling either.
Our days mainly consist of early starts when the air is still misty and anything left outside is unbearably wet, monotonous but beloved Snackies for lunch and harsh climbs followed by a) wonderful views b) hideous sweats and c) (at length) treacherous descents. We have crossed rocky rivers, fought leeches, discovered the secrets of “demon mountain” (believe me, they were good), swam in the second largest dam in Asia, trudged through shoulder-high lemon grass, rafted on bamboo vessels of our own creation, and biked through winding tea plantations and down dusty tracks to chai stops. 
Despite all of this natural wonder, approximately half of Tango 5 would still argue that their highlight came one seemingly unspectacular Sunday evening at around 9pm under the facade of a 5-a-side kick around with a football. It was clear as soon as we set off down the road to the pitch that this was not quite the case. Motorbikes and tuktuks lined the potholed road up to the pitch, eager locals flocked, and the excitement in the air was as tangible as one of James’ or Will’s “bomb-blasts” (or maybe I’m just confusing the two). 
Lethal combination
We arrived to a floodlit pitch and gathered crowd of what must have been over 1000, a glinting trophy on a table in front of the pitch and an announcement over the tannoy that an English premiership team had arrived (don’t know who gave them that impression). Essentially, an hour of surreal madness ensued, our slightly shell shocked team of Barney, James, Will, Kris, and MK (Editor’s note: That’s Kerala hood slang for Mrinal Koijam) dressed in borrowed luminous shirts were photographed wildly by the crowd and thrust onto the pitch to shake hands with various grinning people, stand in a line and watch a huge firework being set off. I half expected them to start singing the national anthem. The match was an intense display of determination. Our ever-inventive cheers of “We are, we are Tango 5” not falling on deaf ears and securing The Tango 5 the first goal of the game. Time wore on. James' walking boots skidded. Kris effortlessly saved goal upon goal. Barney did a spectacular forward roll. They were up 1:0. But dreams can’t last forever and next thing we knew it was a 2:1 defeat and our boys were trudging off the pitch like returning heroes with complexions like sundried tomatoes. It was probably just as well though as by this time it was 10:15pm, we had a 40 km bike the next day, and I don’t think they could have kept their eyes open till the semi-final round. 
A massive crowd had gathered for this display of sporting excellence.
Just before singing "God save the Queen" (Sex Pistols' version though, I think.)
The famous 15 minutes of fame.
(Editor's note: I would have loved to show you some action pictures, but Tango 5 was just too fast for the camera.)
Nevertheless, this was definitely an experience for the anecdote book, a sensation which we’re all finding every day as we pass through beautiful villages with the promise of soda for Chyna and chocolate for the rest of us, and squeeze our way through vines and round trees on forest tracks that will stay with us for a lifetime. Less so, but still as enjoyable are the Nutella and Parle-G frenzies at pudding times, Tang-induced sugar highs, and – I apologise profusely but I have to say it – general group banter that makes Tango 5 THE place to be at this time of the year. This is Helen Smith on behalf of the incomparable Tango 5 listening out.
Tan! Go!
This is where you end up after the Easter-appropriate Pilgrim Trail.
Happy Easter everyone!
Dear friends and family of Tango 5, if you click on that little box just underneath, you will find something to be really, really jealous of. And some lovely greetings of course:

And now: Messages scored "a little with the head of Tango 5 and a little with the hand of God":
From Charlotte
From Helen
From Izi (NB: there are two Izis in Tango 5)
From Jenna
From Kris
From Steve
From Victoria


  1. Your Big Bro - Matt O'C8 April 2012 at 16:34

    Victoria - Tango 5

    Hey Little Sis,

    Sounds like you are having lots of fun!!!! :) You seemed very enthusiastic in the video! It was nice to see you.

    There is a funny picture of you in the latest blog! :)

    The Love Shack V2.0 is awesome!! It is not finished yet but its getting there.

    I have soooooooo much revision to do. :( I am finding the work really hard but I will keep trying. :)

    We are going over to Simon's house for easter lunch which should be good!!!

    I hope you has a good Easter sunday btw... :D

    I may have bought some very expensive sunglasses... they are very nice!!!

    Not much is really happening at home tbh... Monty is driving mum crazy because he won't stop barking at her. :/

    Mum is really looking forward to coming out to see you!!! I am jealous that you guys get to go on holiday whilst I have to work at school but oh well. :(

    Lots of Love,

    Your Big Bro


  2. Lizzy and Jenny Smith8 April 2012 at 18:49

    Helen Smith (Tango 5)

    HELLO CHEEKSTER! Happy Easter from everyone at home. J & L have been enjoying eggs on your behalf so don't hold out much hope that there will be any left for you on your return. We loved the blog and the video - Mum slightly concerned that the others will push you off the mountain for interrupting the peaceful tranquility of the pilgrim trail. Lizzy and Dad rather miffed that they didn't get a special mention in your letter; Mum and Jenny smug and jubilant.

    Enjoy the last few weeks. Can't wait to hear all about it! Lots of love!!!!

    The Smiths

    Ps Make you own way home from Heathrow.


  3. Hello Rhian, Have had a look at your trek it looks fantastic. Hope you are now working hard.We are missing you and looking forward to seeing you soon. Happy Easter from a cold wet England.
    Love, Nan.

  4. HI kris, Tango 5
    Well done with your goal saving in the football even tho you lost in the end, it sounded amazing. Sounds like you are having the time of your life, so pleased for you. Happy Easter, we are safely home from Malta with our sunburn and back to hot water bottles at night, it is so cold here. Mollie enjoyed her week away but chewed a glove!!! The chickens are wrecking our garden, we need your manpower to help confine them and sort the garden and other things. Can't believe you are home next week. Went to Badger Farm Sainsburys yest and saw your friend Andy who now works there. He has an offer at Bristol uni so will come and visit soon. Marisol sang in Church this am, her voice is beautiful. Enjoy the last week of your trip. Loads of love from us all. xxxxx

  5. Oh Barney, Barney, Barney in Tango 5. It seems as if I have reported on nothing but tales of woe since you've been gone. I've used lacklustre, I've used poor, so today I'll just settle for tired, (and often inept). Brainless Balo sent off with 10 to go, when 1-0 down to the Arse. First 25 minutes battered, then something approaching decent, but succombed to pressure late on. Plus side, Komps had one of his best ever. Tevez on for 8 mins at end. Come back soon and sort it all out. SBs continue with ridiculous decisions against 10 man QPR.
    Hey ho, Baggies with Grovesy on Wednesday.
    Went to see Wave Pictures at Chelt. t'other day, a bit like seeing Dire Straits in 1977, a band in the making. Any plans yet for the travel up to Mumbai?
    Best from all


  6. Hi This one is for Max Dampier in Echo 4. Looking forward to seeing some images of your last assignment which I think will be posted soon. 10 days and you are home - better start looking for a decent mattress for a weary raleigher to lay his bones on. We are all at it - Guy has an essay to finish in the next three days - yes I've got the whips out - and then he has a couple of weeks to write his last essay as a screenplay because his tutor has begged him for a bit of entertainment. . . fingers crossed. Pip looks like he will now have three commissions in the next couple of weeks so raise a cheer and get your graphics honed. I am still pestering your father to get down to Cornwall to pick up paintings and sofas AND TO SEE JUNIE !! As you can see we are same old same old but what about you ol bean - bring on the changes. It all looks amazing out there and I think I heard your father say once more how lucky he thinks you are and how he would swap places in a heartbeat - talking of which - let me send you lots of love and looking forward to seeing you in the flesh come the 18th.Have fun.
    love Mum.

  7. To Barney Tango 5

    Hello to you too Beb! and Happy Easter!
    I hope you are ok. I'm starting to make room for you at home now. I hope you are okay with one small drawer and two coathangers? Looking forward to hearing from you, I'm not sure when you are back from trek.
    I handed in my notice at work now, which is exciting stuff. I wonder how your job application has progressed.
    I have bought us two tickets to the Mystery Jets & Peace gig at Brixton which is a week after you're back. Bestival looks amazing this year as well.
    Anyway, I get more and more excited every day about your return. Enjoy the last few weeks.
    Lots and lots of love
    Alex xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  8. For Steve in Tango 5.

    Hey Zeeeeeebbbb!!!!!!

    Not long until you are back now - a week on Wednesday!!! OOMMMGGGGG

    It's your chikki here.

    Villa drew away at Liverpool 1-1 - Herd scored for you - was quite a nice goal 2bh. Blues are currently in 4th, won our last 3 games 3-1! were playing West Ham away on Monday, on Sky, very nervous. Looks like we'll be in the play offs this season. I will be very nervous.

    Job is going well. Still very stressful though :S still getting used to it.

    Also it's Easter now, which means I'm sat at my laptop eating my 2nd egg. Good news and Bad news; Good news - Nan bought us both an Easter egg. Bad news - is that she rang a couple of days ago to tell us that she ate them. Apparently shes had a bad week, and saw them there, so ate them. Which was very kind of her.

    Hope all is going well in India!!!!!

    Me, You, Alex and Elliot. Saturday 21st. Risa. Birmingham.

    Something to look forward to.

    Miss you bro, stay safe.

    Lots of Love Chikki

    from your Zine God


  9. Izi Carless - Tango 5

    Hi Biz, so good to see you on the video and to see your letter - thanks so much. Daddy and I did a bit more of our Coast Path walk in Devon and then came back to welcome the Grays and Yiayia for Easter and Granny and Colin for tea. We raised a glass to you and wished you lots of Easter Wishes. Easter Eggs etc waiting for you when you get back. Did you get my parcel I wonder!! Henry was brilliant with Jamie and Eddie and he and Dad were glued to the golf and played a few rounds as well. I did a slide show of all your photos and vides clips last night and I must say we were all so impressed at what you have achieved. Jamie announced that he wants to do Operation Raliegh when he leaves school!! Email when you get to Bangalore and if you can don't forget to ring Venentia before you arrive so she knows when to expect you - numbers in Zaptag! Lots and lots of love and a big hug from us all M&D&H&TXXXXXX

  10. Hi Barnes, I see your post arrived ok! Seeing you all on the mountain top was a leetle beet awesome and very Easterish, and I repeat - I AM THRILLED!!
    Hope all goes well for the end of your trek and all your plans after that...
    Get in touch if you get the chance,
    Mum xxxxx
    Sorry about footy results - yours and City's...bet yours was the better performance x

  11. Hi Kris, Tango 5.
    Nanny and i have just watched your little film, technology is amazing. Have just been to the garden centre and bought a Welcome mat, we have had another booking for May, yeh! Can't wait to see you next week, Mum and Nanny.xxx


    Hey Max, Guy here. Sorry I haven't left a big message - I've got about 10,000 words to write for uni: an essay on KONY 2012 (you'll only discover what that is when you come home; it's all to do with the LRA in Uganda/DRC/CAR) and a screenplay (!) on the EDL (thank God that Mike is such an understanding Prof). Looks like you're having a lot of fun - terrific. Weather here is a bit poorly, everyone is good and food is excellent (there's a lovely little Korean restaurant that we might take you too if you're lucky - they do a corking chicken dish). Lots of good films waiting for you too - one of the joys of our new Sky box is that we can record everything. So I hope you're looking forward to watching all the Carry Ons! Big history rant? Sadly I'm thigh-deep in the more abstract modern stuff for my insurgency class: hacktivism, artificial communities, super-empowerment, bonding capital and social networking. All fascinating but v. odd and quite theoretical. I'll have to fill you in on it when you get back to Blighty. We're all missing you, hope to see you soon, and have fun! Love, Guy

    What ho! Max
    I wrote to the other day but sent it to your gmail account - apologies - you'll get it when you pop into Mysore or on the way home...or at home...
    Did Guyboy mention the Sky box...then?? He's never far from it as you might imagine..recording classics of yesteryear naturally.. It is a hoot..tho' we don't expect you to enjoy it much!

    Downpours here today which you have no doubt dreamt of...whereas we dream of a hot steamy clime. The closest I can mange this is the steam room at the club..where incidentally there's a new menu. I hope you've managed to read something of late..have you? I've some more detective novels to share and a good classical tome. Guyboy is deep into essay writing, a little on the last minute side for me..but then I'm not writing them. Very keen to hear of your latest adventure - with or without pictures...will you be recording another of those splendid films you all made? Will write again before you head home

    All love

    Pa xxx

  13. Richard Jones Charlie 2.

    Got your handwritten message! Great. Of course I know everyone gets to read these messages hence keeping them being so loving and clean!!!! You have missed one of the coldest, wettest Easters going! i had to eat your egg to keep warm! I would stay where you are. Back to work tomorrow afternoon. Keep up the fantastic work. SOOOOO much to ask you when you get back. Love you. Mum,. XXXXX

  14. Victoria - Tango 5
    Hi Missy

    I thought you all looked blissfully happy, suntanned and relaxed on the video, but I expect you were all hiding lots of blisters etc. I can't believe the 10 weeks are nearly up. Still another 2 weeks with Mum are going to be just as amazing.

    Spoke to Matt and he tells me he is now 6ft tall and growing. He will be patting us all on the head soon.
    We had a meal out at Easter, Gp had roasted baby goat (recommended) but it must have been an old one by the way he was chewing . I bet you are looking forward to a nice dinner of roast pork with crackling.

    Enjoy the rest of your time in India and we will be catching up on all your news when you are back home.

    Hugs and xxxxx Oma and Gp

  15. Hi Ollie,Echo 4
    Hope all is going well and you are acheiving all that you hoped in your final phase - can't believe you only have a week left!
    Millie played brilliantly at Mad Jack's last night and said to tell you that she played 'Flaws'.
    Liverpool drew 1-1 with Aston Villa yesterday and Shrewsbury won 1-0 today against Bradford.Still in 3rd place but only one point difference.
    Off to Birmingham tomorrow with Em to give her a break before she starts her next assignment, so as we know with your sister I had better take my credit cards!!
    So very much looking forward to you coming home.In the meantime,however, work hard and have lots of fun!! Love Mum xx

  16. Tango 6 - Marjolein Bender

    He lieve lieverd, wij zijn weer terug van ons overheerlijke Paasweekend naar Terschelling. Was erg gezellig met z'n 4en en ondanks de voorspelling hebben we heerlijk weer gehad. Het was super leuk om onze verjaardagen daar te vieren, maar de grootste verrassing was dat jij belde. Ohhh, wat was dát fijn. Zo was je er toch echt even bij. Het was grappig om na 2 weken weer terug te zijn en heerlijk om Thijs en Dorine er bij te hebben. En natuurlijk hebben we jou erg gemist, maar we denken maar telkens, dat jij daar misschien wel gaat studeren en dta we dan regelmatig bij je op bezoek kunnen komen en dat we zoiezo binnen korte tijd toch ook terug gaan samen mét jou voor info op school. Jammer dat we niet even konden skypen, maar we hebben wel je berichtje op Faceboek gelezen. Ja schat, de tijd gaat nu snel, hè?! Geniet, geniet nog met volle teugen. Wij kijken er naar uit om al je verhalen te horen, hoor. Zooo benieuwd naar alles!!!! Heeeeele dikke kus van hier en tot snel weer in een nieuw berichtje xxxxx Mama

  17. To Reggie - Fieldbase

    Happy Birthday Reg - missing you but hope you have a brilliant birthday in India and that you get spoilt and have lots of cakes and good times. It was lovely to hear from you on Easter Sunday and we passed on your love and good wishes to the family.Everyone was asking after you and how you were getting on. Kathleen says Happy Birthday Old Man - get the glitter out and dance. Counting the days to when you are back home again. Make the most of the time you have left over there - the weather here is awful - we will put your present in the bank so you can treat your little self. Lots and lots of Love Mum Dad and Kathleen xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  18. Allan and Monique10 April 2012 at 01:34

    To all the bloggers, photographers, camara people, technicians and all those involved in the Blog.

    A very big thank you to you all. You have made it very amusing, interesting and informative.

    To have been able to follow this great adventure has been a joy.

    It has been very much appreciated.

    Thank you all,

    Allan and Monique

  19. Charlotte Hendriks (Tango 5)

    Nice to hear from you on the blog! The tracking looks spectacular! Beautiful views. It must be such an experience. Here everything is fine. Can't believe you are coming home so soon. Do enjoy the last week! It has been great to be able to follow you on the blog. Love Hanneke

  20. For Rory Lightfoot - CHARLIE 1.
    Hi Rory - Thinking about you and Charlie1 and wondering what you're all up to this morning (UK). We expect for a start, while we here are just thinking about lunch, your lot will have done a full shift and no doubt be looking forward to the evening entertainment...have we got the picture? Anyway, you're all keeping very quiet at present, and we're kind of missing you from the amazing blogs and wonderful pictures that Raleigh provide regularly, to whet the appetite of those of us in more mundane settings, for these far-off places. However, we're pretty sure you'll be being kept busy and useful, while having the greatest fun with a very lively-looking Charlie 1. We eagerly await an up-date bursting upon our screen of your latest adventures, related in true Raleigh fashion, for the delight of the Totnes Two, who send big hugs from a bit of a 'mixed bag' of weather here in Devon.X

  21. Hi Max Dampier from Echo 4
    Gill was in yesterday - very perturbed that you might have forgotten to get her THE dhal recipe that she is eagerly anticipating - we had to share her chocolate brownies in commiseration washed down with a cup of lady grey - feels like its fun to tease you about food now that your arrival here is imminent.
    Just a techie thought - do you have my canon camera charger with you because I've got a pentax one and I can't think why.....bring everything back anyway and we'll give it the once over.
    Pot noodles of love my ol famine beast and see you IN A WEEKS TIME !!! Gulp.

  22. Can I echo the above message to all the folk at Blog HQ. You've done a wonderful job - I agree, it's a joy to follow. Just ditto, ditto, ditto - and great music too...
    Thank you all very much for your excellent work - it's like we've been on the journey too!

  23. Alex Wilton Echo 3

    Hi Al! How are you getting on with the turtles? I can't wait to hear all about it. You must be nearing the end now which is sad. Atleast you still have a few months of travelling before you head home. Hopefully you will have received my letter by now. Don't forget to send me lots of postcards, one from every country!

    I am currently in the library at uni revising! Panic is setting in as my exams are really soon and I have so many! AHHH. Mum is coming to visit on Friday which I am really looking forward too. Also Charlie is home next Friday on the 20th April so that is another exciting thing to look forward too.

    Not much else to say as its pretty boring here. I hope you're having an amazing time and speak to you soon :)

    Lots of Love xxxxx

  24. Jenna Tango 5

    Hi Jens how are you and hows the wrist i was quite worried to hear you had fallen into a ditch and hurt yourself. Good news its all ok though

    The views you have on this phase look amazing and I bet its hard work

    We have just come back from Stockholm during the easter break beautiful city and lots to see just expensive. Chris went with Todd to the Tate modern on bank holiday monday to look at the Damien Hirst exhibition she said she had a good time but the diamond encrusted skull wasn't upto much!!

    We have had 3 viewings on the flat so far no offers yet though (err did I tell you we are selling it?) Its a real pain keeping the place tidy all time in case someone wants to look around it. Nearly started on the house just another week or so to go then they take the garage down and start making a real mess.

    The blog's are really good especially the video clips they really help to give a sense of what the real India is like. Can't wait to talk to you after you return from this phase and then pick you up from Heathrow on the 30th.

    Lots of love and take care Dad xxxx

  25. Dan Leigh with Charlie 1.

    Hi Dan, This must be my final blog and I hope you get it. Apparently we are not to get any further blogs from Charlie 1 which is rather a disappointment. I hope you had a great time in your final phase and now there is only one more week to go. I am not sure how I survived the last nine weeks but I did and am so looking forward to seeing you back home.

    You will doubtlessly know already how our beloved team have imploded while you were away, but you will be home for the final denouement. Should be nailbiting.

    Have a great few last days. Lots of love. Pop

  26. Ollie Forster-Constance Echo 412 April 2012 at 02:01

    Hi Ollie Echo 4
    Just seen the fantastic blog from Echo 4. Looks like you are having a great time in your final phase and as well as looking like a lovely bunch of people, you have acheived a huge amount there! Well done all of you!
    It really has been fantastic watching your adventures on the blog and I too have to say a huge thank you to all who have worked on it. It has been much appreciated by all of us in Shrewsbury..
    So excited about your return next week. Do enjoy your last few days and stay healthy!
    Lots of love Mum xx

  27. Victoria O'C - Tango 5
    Hello! Really enjoyed Helen's blog update and it was especially great to see you in the video looking and sounding so cheerful and of course to read your letter. By the time you get this you will have nearly finished the trek - hope it wasn't too exhausting even for the newly 'manned up' VOC! Hope you'll be able to phone at the weekend or at least before I leave next Wednesday morning with any last minute special requests - e.g. are you craving chocolate or any other goodies?
    So looking forward to seeing you next week and v. excited about our holiday together even if it does mean you won't get any English food for another fortnight. Still at least you'll be staying in some nice hotels and of course you'll have the benefit of enjoying your mother's excellent company.
    All well here. Did Matt mention that he's finally cracked 6ft so he's feeling very smug. Managed to get him a Maths tutor which seems to be helping, just need to sort Bio and Phys....
    Look after yourself and enjoy the last few days of your epic adventure.
    All my love, Mum xxxx:)

  28. Richard Jones Charlie 2
    Hey Richie, lil sis here! how goes? I am on my Easter holiday, and I am enjoying not working! I have been to Belfast, but obviously not as exciting as your tripage! Sounds like you are having a fab time. V. jealous!
    Look forward to seeing you, please get me a good present! I deserve it! Stop going to other countries! Come back to rainy England! Love Beth xxxx

  29. Hey Kris (Tango 5)...
    Cannot believe you are home in a week!! We are all so excited! We saw Mia today and her little face lit up when we said you'd be seeing her!
    Glad you are having such an amazing trek. Shame about the blister. Hope you have some compede plasters at the ready.
    This week has flown by. Mum and i drove down to take nanny home today and saw mia for a few hours. Mum's working in Exeter for two days now. I am trying to revise but cant get into the zone! Maybe you can encourage me when you're home!
    I have deleted my fb so if you need me, email!
    Missing you loads. Cannot wait for Thursday. Love you loads xxxx

  30. For Sofia Karasinski,

    Darling girl! I just got off the phone with the Raleigh office and I don't think you got any of my blog messages because I wasn't clicking on the right button! I should have been clicking on anonymous to make sure the message got through. Anyway, I had a nice chat with Natalie in the Raleigh office and she told me that a lot of your mates are going off to Goa afterwards and that it should take you only 20 minutes or so on the phone with Emirates to change the flights. Natalie told me she took a train back up to Bangalore to catch her flight home after going to Goa so I guess there are several options. Anyway, let me know what arrangements you have made and give me a couple of names of friends and their parents' telephone numbers just as a precaution.
    It's springtime here in London - very beautiful and green. I've been having a good time at work. My boss told me that she's just thrilled with me and that they're scared that I'm going to go out and find another job! Ha, ha! My boss wants me to start working with Mumsnet on the Family Friendly awards working with the 'corporates' as she puts it. She thinks I'll do well working with the reps from big business and I agree - I get to go to 10 Downing Street in November to present the awards! Isn't that cool?
    Ok, give me a call when you can - I think you'll be able to call me on the 15th. Also, you may want to pick up a new sim card. Can't wait to hear your voice! BTW, what are baby gwoks - those tiny animals?
    Love you!
    Catherine Hays for Sofia Karasinski