Well I’ve made it – with a few misadventures on the way – all of which have righted themselves (forgetting my adaptor – cause of major anxiety as its loss would put the blocks on my working – but they’ve found me one), forgetting my iphone lead (turns out it was in my suitcase all the time – after I bought an expensive replacement at Gatwick) forgetting the accommodation voucher – which wasn’t needed anyway, getting a hot cup of tea poured over my stomach and leg by a rather grumpy young male flight attendant and trying five different ATMs before I eventually got one to spit out some rupees for me.
All worth while though as this place is stunning. It’s the perfect location for my characters’ bungalow. Built in the 1930s it was the Plantation General Manager’s house – so spot on. It’s recently been refurbished and has been beautifully done. Every aspect looks out on the tea gardens and the surrounding mountains. I can really imagine Ginny here doing her painting. I plan to do some painting myself – but the slight drawback is that while Ginny can paint properly I merely daub. But I love doing it so that’s the main thing although the tea gardens and mountains are a bit of a challenge for me – I find big landscapes very tough.
The birdsong here is magnificent. Bluejays, Niligiri pigeons, mynah birds, thrushes, bulbuls and many more I haven’t a clue about. The scenery is mystical and magical – as my Aunty Nika used to say “I could have died of beauty”. And after a four hour drive up here at dawn with the distant peaks rising out of the clouds, the sunlight dappling through the trees and rivers and streams cascading down the hillsides – the sun is now shining. Hurray! The forecasts were dreadful and yesterday they had 3 hours of rain but it has so far obliged me by buggering off and leaving the sun to show the tea gardens at their best. This is particularly gratifying as last time I was here it rained all the time.
There’s so much to see and drink in – literally from the bedroom window. I’m writing this now on my veranda in the shade and this is the view. There are the usual Indian power cuts and while they have a generator they don’t switch it on until 4.30 so I’m going to have to manage on battery power in between – and if it dies then I have paints and Kindle. They also have loads of books here and had left a copy of Anne Frank’s Diary on the bedroom table for me. Sweet.
At 4.30 the delightful manager, Saravanan, took me for a short hike through the tea gardens. He was hoping we’d find some elephants as there are usually several around and they come out of the forest in the evening. But no luck. Coincidentally Saravanan (I might have to nick that name for a character) actually comes from Coonor, a small town in Tamil Nadu where I stayed about six years ago on a yoga retreat. He is transferring back to the office in Coimbatore the day after tomorrow which is a shame.