The Real Khangchendzonga

When I was little (or ten, it's not like I was a lot littler then), I climbed the Kanchenjunga. Or at least. That's what I told myself. Actually, I climbed the Old Man of Consiton, the fell that the Swallows and Amazons climbed in Swallowdale, and which Titty and Nancy insisted they must have as Kanchenjunga, but the way that my parents got me to climb things in those days was to make the connections with my favourite books and characters (oh, who am I kidding, it still works).

Now I'm sitting directly opposite the real live Khangchendzonga. And now way am I ever climbing that beast. It is astonishing, rising huge and white and gorgeous out of the sea of green hills, and there, all the time. She says, in the nicest possible way, 'I was here before you, I will be here after you, and I am not to be messed with.' (I've read Jon Krakeur's Into Thin Air - the rule is, if mountaineering isn't something you do, for chrissakes don't do it here). And yet she's bewitching. Different in every light and from every angle.

I could sit and gaze at her for a long time. In fact, given that I really don't want to drive down the crazy road to the airport, I might just stay here and stare at her forever. It's so nice to be up here, where the sun is warm and the air is cool, and the hustle is less because it's a small town not a big city. There's enough wifi to say hi to a few people, and a kindle-full of books to read (no, I mean FULL, I have to do a tidy up sometime), and if not quite all the tea in India, at least half of it, and most of the really good stuff. So I could just stay, for a while? There's a pretty good chemist, so you probably wouldn't have to mail in my contact lens stuff, and I could pick some tea? Like, till Christmas at least? Then I might want to come home.


'That woman is a WOMAN.' And in Church.

going back to not quite the same place