Holiday Reading

In Tibet, books are revered objects. You must never put them on the floor, sit on them, step over them, or place anything on top of them. Books are passed down from generation to generation, and today they are more prized than ever, as the number of books produced in the Tibetan language becomes fewer. Historically, Tibetan books have been predominantly religious texts. Containing Buddhist teachings and philosophy, they line the walls of even rural homes. In the monasteries, ancient books printed through the traditional Tibetan woodblock method are stacked everywhere in floor to ceiling shelves. One day we would love to produce a book of our own! It would contain lots of chat about Tibet and

The Last Silvie Pop-Up... for now

Collective sigh. All good things must come to an end, and our current run at Silvie finishes this Thursday 22nd March. Thank you so much to the people of Oxford for your enthusiasm for our Thursday night pop up. It has been massive! The rooms at Silvie have been full every week of faces that are new to us - people old and young, locals and those who have travelled to us from far away. Even in the snow! And it has been a real pleasure to feed again (takeaways, mostly) the wonderful people of East Oxford, many of whom used to stop by our house years ago when we ran a makeshift takeout from our own home... We have been totally humbled and quite amazed by everybody's support and encouragement. T

Who Knew Tibetans Could Be So Tall?

When I first met Yeshi in the small Indian hill station of Dharamsala, he described himself, unforgettably, as the King of Dharamsala. Apparently I had bagged the tallest man in town, and as I looked around, I saw that he was probably right. Yeshi was not the only tall person in Dharamsala. This is a backpacker mecca, and scuttling between their yoga and meditation classes you could find plenty of lanky tourists hiding their skinny pins beneath their Thai fisherman pants. But there were lots of tall Tibetans in town too too. Yeshi explained that they were probably from his hometown area of Kham, where many people, men and women both, hover around the six feet mark. Kham is one of the three m

International Women's Day: The Power Of Women In Tibet

This Thursday is International Women's Day. It is a day that is rarely marked in my village in Tibet, but then again women have arguably been top dogs here for some time. In Tibet, the practice of a woman taking several husbands has been prevalent since ancient times. She usually marries sets of brothers, so taking a minimum of two husbands, and sometimes as many as four or more. In my own family, my mother married two brothers, and no distinction was made between them amongst my brothers and sisters. We know them as "older father" and "younger father", and have we never played the game of guessing which of us "belongs" to which. Officially this system is now forbidden under Chinese law, but

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