Windsong
Spring Issue May 2009

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Winter Issue | January 2009

 

A letter from WindSong

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Hello, this is WindSong again with my Spring Newsletter!

I do hope that all is well with you?

I am writing to you from the Terrace, sipping yet another cup of wonderful Darjeeling Tea and gazing at the beautiful spring flowers surrounding the door of "A Room Called Alice" – here, at The Windamere.

Spring is here, complete with showers, wonderful sunshine and gardens heavily laden with flowering bushes, anemones, roses, daisies, rhododendron…….oh so many that I can't count, but my absolute favourite... wisteria!  Here you see them, alongside the climbing roses around the door.

We are all spruced up, with new gardens surrounding our 'Tinkerbelle's Cottage'; also on the road up to 'The Annexe' and outside the Annexe's front door.  Flowers, bushes and trees are everywhere.  The 'Garden Enclosed' is simply heaving with flora and fauna.  Are you nostalgic yet?  Well, you know the way to solve this?  Come and see us again!

I have had some wonderful responses to my last 'Winter WindSong'.  This is what Jim Todd sent to me from his "trip down Memory Lane"

THIS IS JIM TODD CONDUCTING A RIGOROUS ROUND OF
THIS IS JIM TODD CONDUCTING
A RIGOROUS ROUND OF "CHARADES"
IN 'DAISY'S MUSIC ROOM'

Dear WindSong:

What a lovely surprise to receive your ' Winderful ' newsletter.

It reminded me that I had omitted to express in writing how much we enjoyed our stay last September. The service, the hospitality and welcome were outstanding and the help given by your account manager in resolving the problem with the local trader was greatly appreciated.

I should mention that last September was a trip down memory lane for me as I was last in Darjeeling in the early 1940's when I boarded at Mount Hermon School. Whilst neither my parents nor I stayed at the Windamere at that time the name was well known to us!

In addition to visiting the old school and experiencing another trip on the toy train, we did Tiger Hill, a tea plantation and the Tibetan Refugee Centre. Before coming up to Darjeeling, we visited  the Waverley Jute Mill just outside Kolkata where my father worked from 1928 until 1947.Having been born in Kolkata in 1932 it was great to see the old place again although it was sad to see all the buildings in such a sorry state and in need of a lot of TLC.

Now in my 76th year, I think it is highly unlikely that I shall be paying another visit to Kolkata and Darjeeling, however please accept my thanks for the part everyone at the Windamere played in making my memory lane visit so enjoyable.

Finally we have to thank our neighbour and friend here in Scotland, John Clemmens, a regular visitor to the Windamere for recommending it to us.

Kind regards
J E Todd
January 12th, 2009

We have had many evenings carousing in The Windamere Bar, with guests from the UK (many from the North of England and other parts), France, America, Canada, Spain, Japan and India.  We watched documentaries about the region;  talked about the Toy Train;  rode on the Toy Train; took packed lunches whilst visiting the Himalayan Zoo and  the Himalayan Mountaineering Centre;  took car rides to Lebong; visited the Tibetan Refugee Centre;  or, just lounged around in a lazy fashion, drinking beer and G&T's and just did absolutely nothing!  There should be a law against it!  We also drank 'Sula' wine in the dining room, amidst constant chatter about our lives, our families and our hopes and dreams.

Meanwhile, others took trips to the local Tea Gardens; visited the monks and lamas in the surrounding hills and when all of this left us thoroughly exhausted, we scoffed on 'Afternoon Tea' (including the scones served with jam and cream) and then tried to thin ourselves out by visiting the 'Well Being Centre' for a head and shoulder massage, or better still, a full, deep, therapeutic full body massage.  Others staggered into 'Z'ri's' to buy a trinket or two, whilst still others simply wasted their time in the Bar (again!) drinking copious glasses of 'Kingfisher' beer and still (would you believe it?) caroused the  night away with pink gins (the scourge of the Tea Planter generation!)  Phew, it was exhausting and eventually, they all left for home (and a rest).  No, seriously, we all had a very relaxing and happy time and did something quite unbelievable in this day and age – we forgot about mobile 'phones and internet and just talked, and talked and talked.  Some said that the latter is quite going out of style these days – but, don't you learn a lot about people and the way they "think, breathe and have their being" by simply listening and sharing life's experiences?  I like to think that The Windamere encourages this….maybe in doing this we broaden our minds , hearts and opinions by truly listening to others talk about their lives?  Oh, I am getting too philosophical again, so enough said.

We had another very interesting letter in January of this year, from John Norman Fieldwick Davenport, who told me:

Dear WindSong - I am perhaps one of the few remaining who was actually born in Ada Villa in 1928, and have stayed now at the Windamere several times - the last in February 2008, when to my great regret Kanchenjunga was hidden in mist for all seven days of my stay (with 3 Japanese friends). Despite this disappointment, we all thoroughly enjoyed everything at the Windamere, of course. I feel I must come again to see the 'snows' beforeI kick the bucket. With best wishes to all at the Windamere – John Davenport (at present in Vigan, Ilocos Sur, Luzon, Philippines)


I thought that the probability of hearing of someone who was actually born in 'Ada Villa' (our main heritage house) was impossible – but you never know, do you?

The weather is warm and balmy, with the odd monsoon-like rainfall, but who cares – it waters the flowers and plants and everything looks, feels and smells simply wonderful afterwards.

We are well into the swing of our high season, when many of our domestic guests like to visit us from the very hot, humid plains of India.  They stand and stare with absolute awe at Mount Kanchenjunga and invade the 'Chowrasta' for bargains galore. We all have a great time with them.

Oh, I nearly forgot.  We have been deeply honoured by being high listed in the 'Sunday Times of London' for being one of "The Best Colonial Hotels in the World" and last week, hearing about our #3 listing in the Asian Geographic Passport Magazine's "Top 10 Colonial Hotels in the Asia Pacific" (just behind the world famous 'Peninsular Hotel' in Hong Kong and also 'Raffles' in Singapore). Truly we are humbled by these listings and will always endeavour to offer our guests our very best service and ambience.

Lastly, our tariff has been extended until September 30th, 2010, but you may like to book ahead.  Just a thought...

Our hot water bottles; our warm, friendly and helpful staff await you with anticipation.  'Mingma', our bar man, is waiting patiently to pour your pink gins; Pasang would love to "de-stress" your body in the 'Well Being' Centre and, most of all, I would like to hear more stories about your life and times!

See you soon?  Signing off now...

Yours,

WindSong. (dare I add…. xxxxx ?)

 

Windsong


The Windamere Hotel

Observatory Hill
Darjeeling - 734101, India.
Tel:  +91- (0)354-2254041/2254042 | Fax: +91- (0)354-2254043/2254211
www.windamerehotel.com | email: windsong@windamerehotel.net
A Colonial Heritage Hotel of India - in the Himalayas