Discovering Varanasi

9 February 2007

We finally had a much needed lie-in this morning, before setting off to meet the Little Sisters of Jesus. We travelled there on motorised rickshaws and explored Varanasi along the way.

Caroline and Neal on the Rickshaw

We were welcomed by Sister Lourdumary with chai and biscuits at the Jesu Ashram fraternity which overlooks the Ganges. Kathryn Spink, Mother Teresa’s biographer, gave us a detailed account of Little Sister Magdelene, the founder of the fraternity. The fraternity was set up 54 years ago and we were shown photographs of their golden jubilee celebration.

Group chat with the Sisters

We also went up onto the terrace to admire the view. When departing we had an opportunity to buy Rosary beads which were handcrafted by Sister Lourdumary. They were beautifully made and she will be hard at work refilling her supplies!

Group with Little Sisters of Jesus

We got back into the motorised rickshaws and visited a silk merchant. Here we were able to purchase duvets, tablecloths, pashminas and scarves. We were shown many different patterns and colours, every one as beautiful as the next. None of us left empty handed.

Silk Shop

We returned to our hotel for a quick bite to eat and are now preparing for our overnight train. Don’t worry, we’ve packed our plastic pants and toilet rolls!



@ 4425 days ago

another thrilling entry.
again the pictures really add to the diary entries!

must have been interesting learning from Katherine Spink, and im also sure the silk merhcant was great too!
its amazing how things are so different to our country, must be so fascinating to learn about it first hand!

keep it up, and be safee.

love BELL

Kathy O'Brien

@ 4425 days ago

Dear Siobhan and all. Another fab day for you all. It’s so nice to get your messages and see the photos and so nice to have ones with you in situ as well. Hope you still have some money left – you’ve still got 1.5 weeks to go. It’s been manic here and I can’t wait until 3.00 pm when we have our weekly tea and cakes on the first floor. Everyone is asking how you are getting on so they will definitely want a day by day account. It’s also quite interesting as I work with quite a lot of Indians who have been to India and are very interested in what you are doing.
Enjoy your journey to Kolkata and have a lovely weekend.
Hope none of you have had to use the plastic pants yet!!!!!!!!
Love you loads, MUM xxxXXXxxx


@ 4425 days ago

Hey guys! Me agen! Luvin the pictures! U all look like ur enjoying it! And girlies lookin gd without straightners! Dnt kno how i wld cope!
Sounds like u had an excellent day, bet it was really interesting!
Have a safe journey 2nite! The plastic pants will come in handy!!! I cant c a fashion catching on tho!
We had another day off 2day even tho the snow is now melting!!! Although its bin handy bcz ive bin able 2 set up 4 my fantabulous party 2mo! Sad u guys arent gona b there but will think of u and let u kno how it goes! Shane there will definately b sum Whitney Houston played!
Lots of love xxx

xXx FraNceScA xXx

@ 4425 days ago

Ellooooooooo there!!! Another day off skl for us Joanies, snow is all melting now though :(
Sounds like another fantastic day, its kinda making sense why you asked me 2 choose a colour Shivvy!! :P I bet Katherine was in her element when you visited the silk merchant!! Scarves galore!!
It’s so surreal reading these diary entries knowing you’re all in India doing all this amazing stuff! Keep the pictures coming plz guys!
Safe journey for tonight, will be thinking of u all. Don’t lose your plastic pants – hope you’ve all stocked up! hehe. Michael- big hugs from Fran xXxXx missing our msn chats lol no1 else goes on that late!! xXx
Gonna miss you all loadz at Bekah’s 2moro :(
ps. Anna Nicole Smith died ys2day. Siobhan probably would have read that in her OK magazine which, might i add, u must b missing loadz!! haha
Take care, Be safe , LOADZ OF LOVE xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


@ 4425 days ago

Hi Grace

Hope yopu bought some beautiful pieces at the silk merchants – such an opportunity – looks fascinating. I’d never heard of a motorised rickshaw!!
sounds good fun though.
No school again today so we have had an extended half term – still plenty of work to do on the computer.
Hope you are all well and have a safe journey to Kolkata.
God Bless
Love Mum and Dad xxxx

maggie mccann (God mother)

@ 4425 days ago

Hi Greace

Wonderful to see what you have all been up to – an opportunity of a lifetime make the most of it while you can. How’s the curry eating going ? – Tony’s waiting to take you out when you get back home.

We are looking after all three little ones tonight – Joel and Esme have never had a night without mum and dad so it should be interesting – I have loads of chocolate buttons and ice cream on standby! Snow turned to slush here – very slippery.

Speak soon

Love Maggie

Tricia & Graham

@ 4425 days ago

Hi Siobhan – seems like you’re having a quite a few new experiences! I can just imagine your face when you had to use the toilets on the train and you must have excelled yourself with your scream volume with the mice in the carriage!!!!!! Makes us laugh every time we think of it.

Keep on having a fab time and looking forward to hearing about it first hand when you get back.

Cecilia will be with us on Tuesday so she’ll be posting you a note then too.

Love you lots. Take care. Graham & Tricia xxxx


@ 4425 days ago

You’ve certainly done an awful lot and it feels like in such a short space of time, although you have had many early mornings. the snow was fun yesterday but i think we would all have preferred to be one of you. You have seen so many sights that other people are so desperate to see (ie all of us at st joans) so make the best of it. well done by the way on keeping an almost daily account, it’s quite impressive. You all look genuinely thrilled in the photos and there seems to be thousands of different silks to choose from. as always, carry on enjoying the trip and take more photos.

Take care, Love
Matt x

Allyson O'Grady

@ 4425 days ago

hi Liz

I hope you are all able to sleep on the train to Kolkata after all the early mornings you have had. The silks at the silk merchant’s look beautiful, so I hope some will find their way back to Rickmansworth. I hope to hear all about the Jesu Ashram fraternity when you get back.

What has the food been like?

You are all still smiling, which is very good to see when you are so far away.

Love mumxx

PS Auntie Nic is having a second operation today, so say a prayer!

Gabrielle,Michael,Karen and Jon

@ 4425 days ago

Hi Mike,

Received ur text and e-mail,great to hear from u.It all sounds and looks amazing,wish i was there.The updates and photos are great,well done Chris.Neil what happened to the smile?dont mind Kev he probley had a burger. Well Mike are u all spent up yet?Looks like Shane is getting a real bargain.I bet the girls have lots of scarves and pashminas to take home,i no i would. The next part of ur trip is going to b even more fascinating,take it all in and enjoy this once in a lifetime experience.I am helping Karen and Jon move there stuff today, its all go at the mo.Missing u very much,the house is so quite without u all(3 of u gone together)I am looking forward to u filling us in on everything. Anyway must go for now,chin up speak soon.Give my best wishes to all.Lov mum & dad xxxxx

sophie bainton

@ 4425 days ago

hey everyone!

sounds like another very interesing day!!!

i’m very jealous just of the thought of all your buys from the silk merchants lush stuff!

hope all is good and well with all of you!!!! such an amazing experience you are getting!

am off to bristol for a few days so will miss out on the next set of news for now (unless i can wrangle my way onto my aunt and uncles comp!) but when i come back i expect many more photos and diary entries from you all or you will have me to deal with…scary thought i know lol!

keep going guys you are doing amazing things out there! will be thinking of you all

big love and hugs to everyone xxxxxxxxx

Tricia, Mickey, Rory, Rosie

@ 4425 days ago

Hey Shane!! =]]

Hope you’re ok, and the trip is going well.
It snowed yesterday, right up to my[Rosie] ankles.But today it was just slushie =[
School was shut yesterday and today =]]
Been checking the website most days, to see the diary entries and pictures.
How is the curry over there? As good as Grandma’s? And the beer…?
Have fun on your night train ;)
Hope to speak soon
And continue to have a lovely time!!

Lots of Love

Tricia, Mickey, Rory and Rosie


p.s Rory said dont forget your sunblock in the morning ;)


@ 4425 days ago

Hello all,
Hope everything is going well :) and Liz and K@ are behaving themselves lool (sorry had to add that in :D).
Hopefully i’ll keep up with the stories, so far sooo good!
Good to know some people are having good weather, it’s freezing over here, but least we get to have lie-ins now with half term :).
Anyway, have fun tomoz! I’m sure your’ll have another amazing day! We’re off to pick up the cardboard cut outs of you Liz, K@ and Chris for not being at my bday doo tomoz, ...don’t worry im sure we’ll take good care of them lol


@ 4424 days ago


OH NO – U DIDNT LET KATHERINE NEAR A SCARF SHOP DID U????????? i hope she brought another suitcase with her :P

and well done for getting liz in the front of a photo – i think that may be one of the first!!!haha

Anyways, looks like your having a marvelluos time – keep enjoying yourselves!!!!


Kathy O'Brien

@ 4424 days ago

Hi everyone, you should all be asleep now along with the mice, hope they are not too frightening Siobhan. We keep hearing about you having dinner and a bite to eat but nothing about the food. What’s it like? Is it good? Better than you expected? Are you all trying something new?
Bye for now, love Mum, kiss, kiss, kiss


@ 4424 days ago

So did you buy another scarf then Katherine? :p
right now i had better be careful about what i write in this message after SLT writing the one after mine yesterday! Regretably we were not in school again today, so we had a snowball fight is Cassiobury park instead :P shame:p
Hope train journey goes ok. N Wahoo plastic pants :p dont you just love them. hehe
Good to see you all having such a good time
Look forward to hearing from you again!!
x x x x x x x x x x

Emily O'Neill

@ 4424 days ago

Katherine clearly did buy herself another scarf and check out Chris in his crops :p
You lot look like you are having a really fantastic time, I’m envious!!
As Grace has already mentioned… plastic pants mmmmmmmmm yummy. I’m sure Liz will find a way to make them uber cool ;)
Yeah it’s been so stressful having extra days off school rolls eyes
Right I’mm off to watch The Devil Wears Prada (don’t worry Katherine I will scream on behalf of the both of us as she runs past the giant button)
Night guys and safe journey tomorrow
Lots of love

Kevin O'Shea

@ 4424 days ago

Neal- dont be eating any grapes, u know what happens if it wasnt bad enough already!!!!!!


Loving the diaries- the picture of you and Mrs W looks like when we had those Tuc-Tucs in bankok- bet you didnt get dragged off to a handbag shop though!!

keep up the good work, be sure to be taking loads of pictures mate.

Love to everyone else too


sophie bainton

@ 4424 days ago

yes it is another message from me!!!!

realised katherine my dear i need to give you telly updates! shockingly missed desperate housewives (eeeekkkk) as was struck with man flu and slept through (yes, yes i am ashamed) seeking to get a detailed low down for us both though! hot off the press ugly betty news though! (its just finished) fay sommers briefly returned a glimpse was caught ooooo! daniel thinks he is in love and they think her dad may get deported shocker!
any who i am going to be off

have a safe and good journey today/tomorrow everyone (don’t quite understand the time difference)
keep up the good work your all doing fab! and remember i want many reports and photos to see when i get back for the world of bristol!

lots of love and hugs soph xxxxxx

Sam Patchell

@ 4424 days ago

Hi Mouse, Glad your having an amazing time. We all miss you. Especially Mum and Your Dad. Hurry home because I need a Macchiato and Starbuck is missing you too!!
I’m glad Your scarfs are keeping you cool. I hope you’ve got the lovely gold one with you!
Guess What, I got my very own computer today! Ooh, the technology of Today!
Take Care
Love you muchlins!
Sam xxxx


@ 4424 days ago

hope you’re having the most awesome time – it sure looks like you are!! i am missing you lots n lots but i hope you’re having too much fun to be missing anyone!! looks like you’ve certainly splashed out on scraves (surprise surprise!!) but as your aunty mary says – beware or people trying to rip you off!! haggle – i know you can do it you lil charmer!! hope everyones well and making the most of everything!! sorry you had to miss the snow – i won’t lie it was bare jokes and hugely fun!! think of me walking to work in the ice at 6 tomorrow morning!!!
love you millions, see you soon and keep having fun, Jess xxxxxxx

Rebecca, Joy and your mum!!!

@ 4424 days ago

Hello Katherine!!!

message from me…I can’t believe your in India, and we can see you!!! Everybody here is so proud of what your doing… and of course missing you lots. Your mum and me and my mum have been chatting all morning about your adventures whilst sitting in a freezing cold house…. i’ll explain.. dad has decided to pull all the ceilings down and so the rest of us are in one room with the heating off!

It was great hear anout Freya, I can’t wait to see her….

message from your mum….. hope you got on alright on the train, apparently it was very long..

message from my mum… have a wonderful time with all the children!! can’t wait to hear all about it when you come home.

love to you all beccaxxxxx

Kathy O'Brien

@ 4424 days ago

Good morning Siobhan, morning all. Not sure how long your train journey was but it’s 10.50 here so 4.20 pm your time so you must now be at the Fairlawns. Will look for your update later today. We had a nice lie in this morning and tea and toast in bed – great. Large packet arrived from K Uni for you today Siobhan – so looks like good news – reply to Dad’s text if you want to know what’s in it. Also another UCAS letter arrived. It’s miserable here today, raining and grey, ooh we are all so jealous of your wonderful weather. You know me I should have been born in a hot country.
Dad and Ciaran had more punishment last night, QPR were on telly (Sky) so they could show everyone how wonderfully they lose and QPR did it spectacularly 5-0 to Southend. Dad said they played like elephant poo. Still Rugby on the TV this afternoon so we can watch a real man’s game.
We off to look at some new wheels for Ciaran today. Bike shops here we come – pity we can’t haggle.
Can’t believe that this time last week we were waving goodbye – time has gone so quickly. Without you here Dad and I do not know who should be allowed to use the remote control – Please advise!!!!! It’s also so deadly quiet.
I’ve been cutting and pasting your words and pictures onto a word document and will send it to Granny & Grandad, Nannie & Grandad and Auntie Cecilia. Spoke with Granny & Grandad this morning and they send you all their love, as does Nanny & Grandad. Grandad O’B is looking much better. Say a prayer for us all. We are praying for you and all the group.
Love you loads, Mum & Dad XXxXXxXXxXX Ciaran also sends you love and promises to send a message soon.

Morgan O' Grady

@ 4424 days ago

Hi Liz. The sights look amazing. We are off to Malta in the morning, but I doubt it will be anything to compare with what you are experiencing. Auntie Nic’s operation went well. Stephanie starts her new job on Monday. She will be looking for a flat in South London because the journey is horrendous. She went to Manchester last night in your mothers car and is travelling back Sunday. Caroline has started a one month placement at a magazine and is organising an awards ceremony and arranging to interview celebrities. She loves it. Your mother had the last two days off work because they closed her school due to snow. Unless we can get near a computer whilst we are away we might not be able to send any more messages. See you at the airport. Love Dad.

[x]emily rand[x]

@ 4424 days ago

hiya trish it is emily here i hope you are having a good time in india. i like all of the pictures. the mass for nan went well, matt and becca done the offetrey as well as sean and ciaran. any way we are missing you loads hope you have fun bye bye trish love you loads love from xxxxxxxxxxxx emily xxxxxxxxxxxx