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DavidFordJournal

It's a Small World (It seems)

INDIA | Monday, 21 December 2015 | Views [260]

One of the best things about writing this blog is choosing the accompanying photograph. Today it is from the Pineview Nursery where I spent a very pleasant hour or so in the end. It did not start out so well as, having vaunted my new found ability to follow instructions in the previous blog, I got lost and had to be rescued by a local school boy speaking excellent English. Then, having seen clearly a board advertising the cost to non natives of 30 rupees (10 ruppes to native Indians), 60 rupees was demanded of me by the guy and boy at the gate. For some reason I went along with this up to the point I found I did not have enough change and only then pointed out that I was being double charged.

All this left a rather sour taste in my mouth and I was in no mood for being directed, quite obviously and unnecessarily to my mind, to the first two greenhouses full of cacti, which Pineview specialises in. My mood soon recovered sitting on a bench overlooking Kalimpong, dogs, Poinsettias and Bougainvillea, doing nothing in particular and then observing the charming and joyful family who run the nursery, including a dark and extraordinary beautiful young girl. My mood was further improved by the friendly mother directing me to larger greenhouses, through washing lines, which housed, in humid luxuriance, some very beautiful cacti. I'm not really a cacti man but, after this experience, I could become more of one.

Emerging from the warmth and stillness of that experience I found that for once in Kalimpong I was not the only westerner in sight. A tour party had pitched up and one of them struck up conversation with me. One of the early topics of conversation was St Paul's Cathedral, Calcutta, which went something like.. (Stuart) Have you been there? (Me) Well, actually I was christened there.. From there I went on to ask Stuart where he was from, his reply.. North West England, (Me) whereabouts? (Stuart) little place called Poulton Le Fylde, (Me) Oh, yes, we used to buy shoes from there. Turns out Stuart (said person's name) came from very near to my Mother's home town of Fleetwood. This really made my day, up to then a tad lonesome, which day was further enhanced by Stuart gifting me a priceless Fisherman's Friend lozenge, a taste of Fleetwood and the motherland. Thank you Stuart!

My mother had in fact been on my mind. Earlier that day I had made the long walk down Ninth mile and Rishi Road to find St Theresa's church, noted in the Rough Guide (any previous mention of the Lonely Planet Guide should be expunged) for being constructed on the lines of a Bhutanese Buddhist Gompa with particular mention of its wooden doors carved with sacred Bhuddist symbols, some of which I grew up with in various parental homes. This time I had successfully followed instructions but failed to see the small print on the Rough Guide map that it was not to scale, which had not made things easy, particularly as parts of the map do approximate a scale. ANYWAY, I did find the church, set in beautiful grounds with hundreds of poinsettias and the inevitable football pitch, this one being the best to date. The church, however, was locked so I happily sat down for a break and to watch the football game until plucking up the courage to ask someone to open it up. Within minutes, the noted doors had been flung wide open to shed light on a remarcable and mostly wooden church with some beautiful carving, particularly of dragons, that was most Buddhist seeming. 

It was there that I spent some time thinking of my mother, I'm not sure why particularly but I could imagine her having enjoyed this place if she had ever come across it in her time in India.

From St Thersa's church I made my way to the Pineview nursery including detour already mentioned, up steep stone steps and along country roads that were not too far off those you might find in rural England. A reall delight after a few weeks in India.

Back in Kalimpong I decided to have dinner at Lees, a recommended Chinese restaurant, but instead stopped off at the One Cup Caffe (surely a marketing faux pas) for a latte and apple cake and a watch of the world going by. The most notable goings on were simply the peacefulness of looking at the flora along the road and and elderly woman, red hatted and pink shawled, who having obviously had enough of carrying her shopping up the hill, stopped, called her daughter (I presume) and sat on alley steps puffing on one of the shortest cigarettes I have ever seen. I did think about offering to help her but in the end decided that that would be rescuing and possibly unwelcome. It did also cross my mind that smoking was not going to help her in getting her shopping back home. I may be mistaken..

So, no good Samaritan, and instead a return to Deki Lodge where I caught up on some emails, decided I was too tired to blog and settled in to an early night. For some reason, maybe the altitude, maybe the walking, maybe the fact that I am still not sleeping well, I am exhausted in the evenings.

I could not even read much of my new book, the Poisonwood Bible, which I had picked up from the hotel book case. This is a book I've been aware of for years so am looking forward to reading it.

My love to all, 

Davidxxx

Tags: churches, nursery, walks

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