Early last evening I took a call from Arthur Jones (L 43-48) who lives in Cambridge to say watch BBC2 at 8 pm & follow Michael Portillo – Indian Railways journey – Amritsar to Shimla.
Very nostalgic as both Arthur & I used to make the journey from Lahore (now Pakistan) along the same route.
Rehearsing through the programme starting at the Golden Temple at once brings to mind, on a visit to Indiaaah, how kindly obliging OC Santosh Singh in Amritsar arranged for Napinder Singh (C 43-50) & I to visit the beautiful Temple & later to watch the Tamasha at the Border Gates at Wahga Wahga.
Then a day or so later to be joined with Nappy’s late wife Parvesh spending the afternoon & lunch with Sukinder Singh’s Sister in Amritsar – onto Ludianah stopping to have lunch at a well known Dubba (restaurant).
That Railway line from Kalka to Simla rests in each BCS schoolboy’s memory forever – through Barog tunnel and for me the Ghurka band playing when the Sesquicentennial Special pulled in and stopped for a puri-tac lunch & on to Simla.
Finally, Portillo talking with OC Rajah Bashin who’s legendary knowledge of the town’s history filled me with proud pleasure. Reminded me once again of Old Cottonian hospitality when Rajah invited Maggie & me to a late reception for the wedding of his niece in the basement banqueting hall of the famous Gaiety Theatre.
Memories – memories how can any Ole boy forget?
Peter Stringer (Lefroy 43-47)
(click for larger view)
Opening my computer in far off Whyteleafe to see the happy group of the batch of 1969 reunite after 48 years with family in Simla, will brighten my day. It gives me pleasure far beyond words to know the Spirit of BCS lives on.
Our daylight hours have started to shorten & hope the monsoon leaves the surrounds of Patina green & pleasant before we realise summer is nearly over
Meanwhile at home – routine follows the retired course mellowing with age & counting our blessings.
The leaves have started to fall & my garden slowly begins to look bare …… I often feel sad when I see the colourful leaves falling and I’ve been told to learn to love the gentle decline into autumn, ignore the scruffiness of falling leaves – breathe in the soft chill air and feel virtuous!! Well we shall try and stay warm as I have heard it is going to be a cold hard winter.
We have keenly followed the TV coverage marking the milestone 70 years after Imperil India gave Pakistan & India Independence.
Incredible to reflect back as I was young & cocooned in BCS Simla at the time & had no idea of the real gravity of partition, never understanding WHY & many of our chums sent home across the border.
It was a hopelessly planned political strategy causing unnecessary upheaval, bloodshed & such bitterness that will take a long, long time to forgive and mend.
Still life must go on as we pray for peace
Please post this reply with cordial fraternal wishes to the Batch of 69 and Old Cottonians around the world
Peter Stringer (Lefroy 1943-47)
Saturday 29 April 9 OCs with some wives gathered at Barford Warwickshire – this is an annual ‘at-home’ event hosted by Sheila, wife of late Bobby Reed (R 41-46) – continues to his memory.
We believe this simple way to refresh our fraternal acquaintance and rekindle fond memories – this practice helps restore the Spirit of BCS.
The photo taken at the entrance of Watchbury Cottage of 9 OCs.
R to L School Captain 1954 Daljit Singh Jaijee (R 47-54) John Phillips (C 39-45) Gay Niblett (R 40-47) Joginder Chahal (c 44-50) our oldest member 93 Lance Jones (L 35-39)
Stringer ii (Lefroy 43-47) Peter Johans (I 44-48) Raj Lamba (L 49-59) Bambi SK Majumdar (53 – 59).
We enjoyed a dining-room full lunch after drinks & starters (samosas) in the vine covered conservatory where the girls dined – and thank you Sheila & daughter Jancis for your kind warm hospitality.
The afternoon is consigned to another nostalgic memory of innocent schoolboy camaraderie as count down the days for the 24 June OCA (UK) Reunion.
Peter Stringer ii (Lefroy)
I just received an email from Peter Stringer, and found a photograph attached.
Bishop Cotton School Simla before the Great Fire that burned down most of the Main Building in 1905.
Here it is