Clive Roberson - Newsletters

October 6 2015

We have now come to the end of the line-for
the KOI-HAI DIRECTORY-sadly this is Clive's
last letter and we thank him for all he did for
the last seven years. I am sure that all
of us are in total agreement that the
remaining funds be passed on to
Grahams Homes
Clive we wish you well and a Big
Thank You for all you have done.

September 25 2008

Clive Roberson has graciously volunteered to take over from

Campbell the task of running the KOI  HAI  DIRECTORY
We thank him, this is his page with which to communicate his

messages to

October 6 2015




In response to the last newsletter, no one has come forward, so this is Hello and Goodbye.  Who would have thought in 1975 that this newsletter would go on to 2015?  Cathie Campbell and two other stalwarts started it and soon there were some 600+ members.  Cathie is still well and alert although, at 88 (whoops), she admits that her bottom half does not work as well as her top half! Some times when I start to write the newsletter there seems little news connected with planters or plantations and I wonder how Cathie did so well for all those years.  The main contents then were new members, changes of addresses, obituaries and books.  Now, with so few members there is much less news and, of course, it is all on the website.  But there is a new Tea book.  The Saga of Indian Tea by Profulla Goradia available from Contemporary Brokers Ltd. Kolkata 700001. So this is to say sorry, especially to the few remaining members who have no access to the internet.  Talking (?) of the internet, the website was started by David Air in 2000; what an asset it is to us all.

No one objected to the suggestion to pass the remaining Directory funds to Dr Graham’s Homes, so I am pleased to report that the account was closed with a balance of £255.34 and this was paid to the Treasurer, Dr Graham’s Homes (UK) to sponsor students at the Homes. 


Sadly John Trinnick and Robin Miller died; our condolences go to their families and loved ones. I wrongly reported that Doug Toucher had died when actually it was his wife Pat; my humble apology.


There were 50+ members at the Eastbourne reunion with a good atmosphere, albeit with a regretful undertone of nostalgia that it was the last one.  The “culture “reunion at the Arden hotel was well attended and most enjoyable; hopefully to be repeated in 2017?  We have been invited to the junior Reunion to be held in Stratford on 17th October, and in the absence of the Eastbourne reunion I wonder how many seniors will be invited in the future?


Personalised diary continued.  Had a great trip to Yorkshire which, via Eden Camp, Scarborough, Skipton, and Harewood House, culminated in York.  With map in hand we walked from the car park to the Jorvik centre, really interesting, and then through the intriguing Shambles at which point I enquired of a local, where was York Minster? He pointed skywards and there it was; no wonder they think southerners are dopey.   A stained glass window the size of a tennis court was but one of the stunning sights. Saw a wonderful musical, Kalamity Jane, at the Kings theatre, Southsea and was surprised to see an empty orchestra pit, until the show started in which all the thigh slapping characters played their own instruments; what fun.  Saw Mack & Mabel at the Chichester Festival theatre; extremely well produced and although I expected Michael Ball to be a big presence with a big voice, I had no idea he was such a good actor. Was honoured to be invited to an Easter Gaudi at Queens college Oxford, grand but very friendly; the only time I have ever seen an ear trumpet in use. Caroline’s dementia worsens, but my kindly sister visits us most Mondays so I play a round of golf. Have had a good run recently, with four successive rounds -50 on the local 9-hole course (3000 yards), which is good for me.  Along with golf, yoga and gardening we manage to keep (sort of) fit albeit beset with arthritic pain.


I have enjoyed writing these newsletters and I thank all those who sweetly sent me letters of appreciation.




April 3 2015


By Clive Roberson


I have just been advised by Jim Robinson that this year’s Eastbourne Reunion will be the last. After about 50 years I suppose it is inevitable but we are truly saddened. Many of us will have treasured memories of meeting old friends and recalling the Assam life we knew so well.  Our thanks go to Jim for organising the event so well in spite of dwindling numbers. The Stratford Reunion will be held on 2nd July, (plus the Merchant of Venice) and the “Junior” Reunion is on 17th October, also in Stratford.


Coincidentally, I am getting to the point where family responsibilities are overtaking most other aspects, so I intend that this will be the penultimate newsletter unless someone out there is willing to carry on?  If not, the next newsletter will be the last.  Please respond if you are willing. 


Incidentally, a member did write to tell me that he thought Cathie Campbell’s newsletters were much more informative than mine, and that the current issues were nothing but a personalised diary.  I agreed, but pointed out that our Assam/Indian past was a long time ago and that my links with the industry were now almost nonexistent, and of course, most people have access to the Koi Hai website. Having said that, I have just received a Guide to the Cultivation of Tea and Organic Growth published by APPL Foundation, the second largest tea producer in India, a Tata enterprise. They obviously need a new, energetic forward looking octogenarian CEO!


Did you spot the deliberate(?) mistakes in the last issue?  It was not my tenth, but my 14th newsletter.  Sadly, Daphne Chesshire and Pat Tocher died and since then Norma Baird, Kim Hembry and Pearl Murdoch have died. Our condolences go to their loved ones and friends.  Caroline and I attended Kim’s funeral; she was a dear friend to us both and we will miss her.    

Constance Cordiner’s last newsletter was returned as no longer at 33 Hillview Terrace, Cults.; does anyone know her current abode? Jennifer Dunn has moved to 78 Binghill Grove, Aberdeen AB13 0HF and Margaret Waghorn has moved to 73 Westmead, Woking Surrey GU21 3BS.

It is of interest that the Jackson Trust with the support of the Sir Percival Tea Planters Trust passed their residual funds to Dr Graham’s Homes.  In the event the next newsletter is the last, I propose to give the newsletter remaining funds to Dr Graham’s homes.  Please respond only if you object.

Personalised diary continued.  Visited Highclere Castle; wonderful apart from being the only person in our group who did not know everything about Downton Abbey.  Spent a weekend at Littlecote House (Warners) and enjoyed a fantastic evening with the Barron Knights, ancient but very entertaining. Cruised around Chichester harbour in a solar driven boat; had not realised how large and beautiful the harbour is, some 15000 boats. Read a manuscript called “Get Some In” about a national serviceman 1953-55, which expressed the pointlessness of the whole exercise except for the experience giving him a “badge” which impressed the girls.  How did that work when we all did it? Went to my brother’s golden wedding in his Urban Winery in Fulham. Their wedding (certificate as a placemat) was in New York, signed by the Justice Department. Knowing my brother as a bit of a rascal, I asked him if he was “inside” at the time. No; apparently there was such a demand on the marriage department because so many bachelors got married to avoid conscription, the Justice Department helped out.

The clocks have gone forward; how nice it is to enjoy the longer evenings and darker early mornings.  See you at Eastbourne.


October 21 2014




Strange; as I start to write this my tenth newsletter, I realise that I have had no messages of any of us passing on. ---Sadly both Dr Daphne Chesshire and Pat Tocher died in the last six months ---This will be included in the next snail mail newsletter

Hey ho, the Eastbourne Reunion will remain forever! Certainly the last one was good fun and the Hydro did us proud. Incidentally, we are going to the Junior event at Oxford..


No cruises or overseas holidays, but we have been enjoying England.  Spent a lovely week in Derbyshire taking in Buxton, Castleton and Eyam but I guess the highlight was Chatsworth with its splendid gardens. We travelled by coach and the height gave us stunning views of the Derbyshire countryside.  The journey was particularly enjoyable as we went via Oxford where Sedhar lives and returned via Stratford upon Avon where Caroline’s daughter Diana lives. Talking of Stratford, we were very privileged to be invited to see Dame Judi Dench and Samantha Bond “chatting” with Prof Stanley Wells.  The function was organised by the Stratford Poetry Festival and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, of which Diana is Director and who kindly gave us her seats so we were at the centre front.  I haven’t been a (very little) VIP for years.  But what an extraordinary lady (Dame)?  When asked to quote a particular Shakespeare piece, she looked up mischievously and said, ”I can give you  the whole play”.  Sadly she is going blind and script reading is difficult if not impossible.


Still at Stratford, we travelled a little way to visit Hidcote and spent a glorious three hours in the gardens, possibly the best we have seen in National Trust properties.  Still wandering about England, we stayed in a lovely old thatched “Well House” for a few days in East Chaldon, Dorset. The house owner runs up-market overseas safaris so the house was full of paintings, books and artefacts from all over the “Empire”. We felt very much at home. Time allowed the men, Caroline’s son, son in-law and me, to visit the Bovington Tank museum.  Not usually a particularly military minded person, but I was so immersed that I became disorientated and had to phone for help; luckily and unusually, I had my mobile with me.  Once again Dorset has beautiful countryside.  Had a lovely day out at the Brighton Races, per favour of a SAGA promotion and then paid for it with a winning bet on Gungho.  Sussex too is very beautiful, indeed it seems that every county in UK has beautiful scenery.


Caroline and I are both 80 this year so we held a joint “survivors” party.  Only two generations of immediate family, we invited 61 and 44 came. All the usual trappings with birth certificates as table mats, champagne and an open bar, a smooth (not too loud) band and twenty (personal/family) questions allowed everyone to have a good time. Though each family all knew each other, few knew members of the other family and the integration was really enjoyed. We survived.


You may remember that I undertook a driving assessment.  I was recently reassessed; this time I did fully use my nearside door mirror, but did not indicate left when I exited the second exit of a 4 exit roundabout.  Naughty boy!


Tea & Me was a good read with amazing detail facilitated by both Rod and his mother’s prolific letters from the time; albeit I would have preferred 100 pages less.(sorry Rod)


I must finish with a thank you to the Scots for so democratically keeping us all together in the UK.


Ugh, the clocks go back this month, but do enjoy the festive season.





 April 13 2014





What a floody awful winter.  Fortunately we were not affected apart from our lovely mimosa tree being blown down, smashing all our lattice work and six fencing panels.  My youngest brother had to move out of his house in Wraysbury and as he said, it is not just the flooding, it is the recovery that takes so much time and emotion.  Our thoughts are with all those affected.


My thoughts go back to the floods in Mynaguri when the DBITA offered to clear carcasses to reduce the spread of disease. We took a lorry load of labourers early in the morning and buried a number of buffalows, cows and goats.  Then we found a human female body but when the hole was dug the labourers refused to touch it as they were not domes.  Prem Singh and I moved the body into the hole and covered it.  The labourers seemed abashed and buried the rest of the bodies,11 humans and innumerable animals, without protest.  The day was really exhausting, ploughing through one to four feet of mud and water and seeing some house corrugated iron roofs opened from the inside as a way of escape. I returned to the Bhatpara bungalow knackered and acceded to my (then) wife’s orders to remove my clothes to be burnt and thanked her by uncontrollably vomiting all over the verandah floor.


My elder sister took me as a young boy to see Anton Dolin and Alicia Markova to see SwanLake. This “sissy” adventure proved otherwise and I was very impressed by the grace, strength and masculinity (codpiece?) of Anton Dolin.  I mention this because recently I read an article by Donald Hutera who enthused about the dancing of Natalia Osipova in Giselle, the live performance of which was available by satellite at the local cinema. What a treat.  I was fascinated by the delicacy, strength, speed and lightness of her dancing and woke the next morning with her image.  Caroline was more impressed with the athleticism (codpiece) of Carlos Acosta. Must do again; especially because it takes Caroline back to her happy ballet days.


Iain Ross loaned me a book called Tea, Love &War by David Mitchell. It is about Ann Poyser, the daughter of a Brit planter in Assam and a local (Adavaasi) woman.  The story about the Burma campaign in which the father was killed and the difficulties of the daughter’s upbringing  makes for interesting reading; especially for us as we met Ann Singh, as she was later known,  in Bangladesh accompanying  Dennis O’Connor.  Rod Brown advised that he has published a book called Tea & Me (see the website) which I am just about to read.


Sadly the following deaths were reported; Chris Allen, Jean Fraser, Lawrie Ginger, Mike Greystone, Ian Leetham, Pam Peters and Jack Thomson.  Our condolences go to their relations, friends and loved ones.  Len Latham is very much alive; my humble apologies for incorrect reporting.  David and Barbara Waters in Canada have withdrawn their membership and Cathie Campbell now resides at 18 Liddesdale Road, Hawich, TD9 0EW


After some time, played golf yesterday with 3 irons and a putter and went round 9 holes in my lowest score ever.  Anyone need a driver? And joined a table tennis group for oldies; playing was easy but chasing the damn, bouncy, self willed ball was exhausting.


Hope to see you at the Hydro, Eastbourne, in April 2014, although the future may be in Stratford or Oxford. Please let Jim Robinson know your views.

October 14 2013




I am starting this newsletter in September so I have to say, ”What a summer”.  It has been so lovely to walk down to the beach, stop for supper at one of our watering holes and then walk back home in daylight.  We have managed a few swims in the sea too, but not as many as we intended. Played golf and gardened, but not as much as we intended.  The developing theme is we do not do as much as we intend! But we keep up with our callisthenics and yoga and holiday breaks. One was at Lilltlecote in Hungerford, a Warners’ hotel. A long weekend dancing to 70’s music headed by  Earth Fire and Wind, croquet and archery and a guided tour around the House;  great fun.  Last week we visited ”The (10) Shires” with our horticulture society.  We had an itinerary but it was mostly surprises so we just went happily wherever the faithful Bill took us. Most enjoyably it included a visit to the Black Country museum, a moth balled mining village, Dudley canals, Tewkesbury Abbey, Boughton House (some pad), Hanbury Hall, Leighton Buzzaard railway and finally Bletchley Park. I went in thinking I was numerate, but came out less so.  More uncertainly we cruise to Petra in November, so maybe a few surprises there too!  Certainly it should shorten the dreaded winter


I mentioned last time that the horror of the rape by six men in Delhi shocked the world, but hopefully some good would come out of it. Sadly more rapes are reported; one must hope that it is the reporting that has increased, not the rapes.  Sadly too, it does seem that some of the steam seems to have gone out of the Indian economy, but what would we give for 4-5% growth? 


Our local community centre, where I am a volunteer steward, held classes on what they called community first aid.  So I enrolled and basically it was what to do in an emergency. There was the inevitable jargon and expressions, like preserve life, promote recovery, prevent worsening plus a lot of common sense about calling an ambulance etc.. The main focus was in the event of someone collapsing and CPR, or compression resuscitation.  Practicing on a dummy in front of the other members of the group was quite daunting and if you kept up the CPR for over 5 minutes or so it became quite heavy exercise, especially if, in the event, the ambulance took 30 minutes one would be shattered. Hopefully the effectiveness of one’s CPR allowed the patient to get up and laugh at your exhaustion. An emergency First Aid certificate now hangs on the bathroom door alongside the IT for grandparents.  Pathetic.


Sadly the following deaths were reported; Vic Austin, Grace Elliot, Ian Leetham, Isobel Miller and Dick Simpson. Bill Murdoch also died.  Our condolences go to their relations, friends and loved ones.  There are 4 new members; Jacqueline Patel (d/o Iain Ross) 26a Ruxley Lane, Epsom, Surrey KT19 0JA; Lally Crow, Mole Cottage, Laughton Place, Laughton, Lewes BN8 6DA; Peter & Bobbin Baxter, Westbrook Cottage, Westhanger Road, Godalming, Surrey GU27 2QH and Bhupendra Oberoi, House 90, Sector 27A, Chandigarh 160019.


The Eastbourne reunion was once again a very good occasion, albeit numbers were down. The Stratford lunch was another happy meeting, albeit we failed as culture vultures when we opted out of the second half of Hamlet.


We had a burst of excitement recently when we received a call from a probate research company, aka heir hunters. After many phone calls, supplying birth certificates and various other proof of our identity and planning with my siblings how to spend the millions, we were somewhat deflated when we received £18.70 each.




April 1 2013




The horror of the rape by six men in Delhi shocked the world and us, but hopefully some good will come out of it.  Interestingly, my late wife Binny used to say that she always felt safe from men in Bengal but threatened in Punjab.  She told me this after I was molested by an amorous Sikh taxi driver in Chandigarh.


Recently I began to suspect that my driving might be corrupted by bad habits or just slow reactions.  So I contacted the “Older Drivers Skills Scheme”. Surprisingly there was no trip to Portsmouth or Southampton and for only £30 the examiner came home.  He explained that there was no test, merely an appraisal. 15 minutes of discussion, 1 hour of driving in ones own car, followed by a further 15 minutes discussion.  The drive included motorways, A, B and C roads, negotiating complex traffic light systems and 3, 4 and 5 exit roundabouts. All went well except for insufficient use of door (not wing) mirrors, mainly the left one, which was very important given the current concern for cyclists. He explained this was typical of older drivers who had been brought up on rear mirrors!  His report recommended that I undergo the same assessment after 2 years.


In November we cruised South to the Canaries, but returning via Agadir and Casablanca, which we had not visited before.  We were to visit Lisbon but could not when Spain and Portugal declared National strikes. So we docked at El Ferrol, Spain’s naval dockyard, and so benefitted from a trip to Santiago De Compostella, a truly remarkable and beautiful complex.   The dockyard was unused to liners visiting, so welcomed us with a dockside bagpipe band and a farewell salvo from four musketeers; great fun.  In a continued effort to minimise winter, we went to Gran Canaria (again) in  February for 3 weeks, where we were blessed with excellent weather.  There were many activities and on the last day Caroline had sublime ends at petanca and was awarded a Diploma, no less.  I was awarded a lesser one for sjoelbak!


Sadly the following deaths were reported; Helen Bruce, Colin Jackson, David Eyton Jones and Maureen Sixsmith.  Frank Doyle, Nandini  Dutta and Nandan Kilpadi also died. Our condolences go to their relations, friends and loved ones.  Many of you will know that following the sad death of Dacre Mogg, Jim Robinson agreed to “organise” the Eastbourne Reunion in April when we look forward to meeting you all.  Jim organised the first Junior Reunion in Oxford which was a resounding success. We are also looking forward to meeting again on August 15th for lunch at the Arden hotel, Stratford. 

Denys Wild has moved to 33 West Street, Wareham, Dorset BH20 4JT and Leslie and Jen Mcgregor to 5 Allan Walk, Stirling FK9 4PD.

Ages ago Roy Church asked me if I had any memories of the 1962 Chinese Invasion that I would like to record.  I said I had, but idly did nothing (sorry Roy) until recently and then when I put it on the website I read many others.  It is worth a look.

 Some time ago Caroline and I came out of the gym and went straight to our favourite restaurant.  High on endorphins, I said, ”a glass of white wine for the young lady and a glass of beer for her younger man”.   A chap seated nearby said “You can’t announce in publlc that your lady is older, especially as she has worn so well and you obviously have not!”  After much laughter and banter he left with a happy wave.  A few minutes later he burst in, came up to Caroline, gave her a lovely bunch of flowers and said, “Somebody loves you”, and left.  Caroline glowed for weeks.

October 6 1012


By Clive Roberson

Firstly, we just have to mention the Olympic Games.  We, like so many, applied for tickets and were unlucky. Disillusioned, we did not bother to apply for the Para Olympics but Caroline's daughter secured us tickets for the swimming and athletics.  We had two fantastic days watching the swimming, highlighted by the swimmer with only one arm, starting with a one arm handstand, flinging himself into the pool and paddling his one arm frantically between his absent legs and going like a bomb.  He came last, but we added to the tumultuous cheers in the beautiful, echoing aquatic centre. Then the athletics;  200m women, shot put, long jump, javelin and David Wier getting the second of his four gold medals, all a bustle of activity in the magnificent stadium.  But it was the athletes in their specially anchored chairs that were so amazing, contorting as they had to, to get the power and balance they needed to hurl their missiles.  As oldies going into the cauldron of the Olympics, we were a little apprehensive, but we need not have been.  The volunteers were spectacular, everywhere they jollied us and everyone else to their various venues with banter, high fives and smiles.  The park was full of bustling people but with no feeling of being crowded; the road side wild flowers were stunning, the queen's barge glistened in the canal and everyone was upbeat.  Blessed by the sun and magnificent organisation, it really was a triumph.  Proud to be British!!

Things Indian; I now receive my LICI pension on time!  Cattle smuggling goes on at the border between India and Bangladesh, not surprisingly given that a cow in Orissa may be worth £70 but sells in Bangladesh for £225.  Over 900 people have been killed (with impunity) by the BSF over the past 10 years, but it does not stop the passage of some 1.5 million cattle in a trade worth some  £320m annually. But all things are relevant; the Indian economy expanded at a rate of 5.3% during the first quarter of 2012 and one commentator said the economic boom had not yet turned to bust, but the euphoria had "relaxed".  Wouldn't we like that here in Britain?  Recently an old Indian friend visited and she said how concerned the general public were at the degree of corruption at all levels. 

Time passes, and it caught up with us when we realised that we were losing control of both the garden and the allotment, so the allotment had to go.  We were very saddened, but relieved, and the garden is gradually looking better. We still play golf regularly but we were really put to the test when we stayed at the Alvaston Hall hotel in Cheshire and played a couple of rounds on their 9 hole course.  In places it was so steep that I was bent over dragging both trolleys and Caroline was almost crawling on all fours; but stunningly pretty and challenging.

Sadly the following deaths were reported;   Peter Castle,  Bill Charlier,  Bob Foster,  John Grimmer,  David Little,  David Eyton-Jones,  Dacre Mogg  (our Eastbourne organiser)  Jimmy & Margaret Mortimer,  Holly Scallon,  Ash Wason  and Grace Weller. Our condolences go to their loved ones and friends.

Keith Taylor is a new member at Flat 4, 19 Bedford Square, Brighton  BN1 2PN and PO Box 10344, Marine Parade, Durban 4056 Kwazulu Natal S.A.

Eastbourne was once again a most enjoyable event, albeit with dwindling numbers, and in October there is to be a "junior" reunion in Oxford.

Meanwhile, in November we are cruising south, so will hopefully put some sun into the winter.  Unlike when we recently took a trip to the Isle of Mann and it poured with rain for 3 of the 6 days.  On 3 train journeys, steam, electric tram and horse drawn, we were denied views of the very spectacular scenery which we only glimpsed in the last couple of days. An "alternative" trip to the Manx museum proved to be most interesting and enjoyable.



April 5 2012
                                                  Clive's Newsletter


Life, and politics, move on.  Two years ago, Indians were convinced they stood on the brink of unprecedented prosperity and influence.  Now with the economy slowing and investors disillusioned, 2011 may have been the year of lost opportunity.  Politicians are largely to blame. So said a leader in the Times.  But for the likes of us, we can enjoy the past by reading Helen Simenson's Pettigrew's Last Stand; an almost anglo-indian novel with verbose but laughable language and retorts. Age is described as, after a long hard day (in retirement), needing a large scotch, but choosing a glass of bicarbonate of soda. To continue on things Indian, I did get my subsequent pension but only after a further glut of emails. Thereafter, I received very warm New Year greetings and an assurance that the next quarterly remittance would be timely and without pleading.  It was!

In November we cruised to Cape Verde.  We were to visit 3 of the 10 islands in the archipelago but one had unsafe landing arrangements, which indicates their poorness and newness on the tourist map. The starkness and beauty of the volcanic scenery and the blistering winds were no surprise (how do they grow maize?) but the quality of the local beer and the athleticism of four young men demonstrating acrobatics on rough sand were wonderful. Overall the seas were benignly calm, albeit payment was force 12 winds in the Bay. Nevertheless, 6 idiotic passengers played short tennis on the top deck in force 6 winds for 90 minutes.  It was hilarious, but we lost 3 tennis balls and my knees killed me for the next 24 hours.  We have just returned from Belek in Turkey. Weather was unprecedentedly cold, but the sunshine and snow capped mountain scenery was lovely. Trips to Antalya, Alanya and Side were most enjoyable, but the visit to the National Park was outstanding.  We had never seen such masses of natural columns of rock, and looking down on the snow-fed river reminded us of the Borelli.

I do get some lovely letters thanking me for the newsletters but I am too lazy to reply individually, so please accept my thanks in this missive.  However, I did receive a scolding for not recording changes of address.  John and Mavis Trinnick have moved to Camellia, Marlborough, Kingsbridge, Devon, TQ7 3RR and Eleanor Foster to Glenfield, 1 Bedford St., Greenock, PA16 8PG. Robin and Anthea Wrangham have returned to Australia and live at 7 Rose Gum Court, Palmwoods, Queensland 4555. Cathie Yule's letter was returned; does anyone know her new address?

Sadly the following deaths were reported; Olive Anderson (we attended her funeral), John Darby, John Kent, also Jimmy Foster, Bob Frost, Joe Matthews, and Mary Wheatcroft.  Dr Pemba of the Darjeeling hospital has died. Our condolences go to their loved ones and friends.

5 years ago my youngest brother gave us all a family "tree" for Christmas which was wonderful. This Christmas my sister updated it with focus on all the offspring of our parents, but cunningly she accompanied the update with an empty plastic folder which she now advises we have to fill with our "life stories".  It has been really interesting reading them, (4 of 6, 2 still to come) as they are so different and really expose the different characters, not to mention experiences.  I cheated, because I had previously submitted my "life story" to a SAGA competition, the winner (not me) of which would have their life story published, and so used that.

Keep well and happy, and we look forward to seeing you at Eastbourne.

October 8 2011


An article in the Times tells of the world's most absurd international border between India and Bangladesh. The villagers on the boundary of Cooch Behar and Rangpur are often arrested and jailed for long terms by India and are then deported as illegal immigrants, only to be picked up and jailed for the same offence in Bangladesh. The chance of birth; and to think that we often drank copiously in the Palace with the Maharajah and Gina without a thought for the locals.

My quarterly Indian pension (with LICI) did not arrive in May, but rather than send a letter I rang Mumbai, only to be told to send an email.  Wow, I thought, with email it will all be sorted in a day or two. Well, not quite; it was back to "babuland" where I was referred to another office which advised that they did not deal with annuities of those numbers, and on and on and on.  After many, many emails back and forth, the payment was made in September.

On a more serious note (if anything is more serious than one's pension) it was disturbing to hear of the earthquake in NE India which badly affected Kalimpong and Dr Graham's Homes.  There are details on  their website, but if anyone would like to donate, please send cheques, payable to Dr Graham's Homes, to  the Treasurer, Morris Thomson, 21, Strathalmond Road, Edinburgh, EH48HP.  Now Pakistan is once again flooded.  How lucky are we!

We have just returned from a week in Germany with our horticulture group.  We went by coach and stayed one night in Brussels en route and one night in Lille on the return. We were based in the very pretty town of Monschau on the Belgium German border from which we took outings to Belgium and the Netherlands.  An outstanding visit to the Flower Show in Koblenz was by cable car to massive areas, perhaps bigger than Hampton Court Palace, followed by a boat trip up the Rhine. A trip to a war museum and an education centre where soul searching of the German psyche left us feeling really unsettled.  As islanders we have no ambiguity of loyalty or patriotism but people from that part of the world who have historic ties to France and/or Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands must have wondered where their allegiances laid? There were many trips of beauty and interest, including Aachen, Valkenburg, Bonn, and picturesque Ahrweiler, but the lasting impression was the contrasting orderliness, tidiness and discipline and, indeed, affluence of Germany compared to the other countries. Oh, why has it taken 66 years for us to see the Siegfried Line?   

It was good to see so many at the Eastbourne reunion which as always was a lively day.  We all go along and enjoy but perhaps do not realise all the effort that goes into organising such an event. Well done Dacre. The mini-reunion (40 less familiar faces) at Stratford on Avon, turned out to be a cracker.  A splendid lunch at the excellent Arden hotel, was followed by a tour around the newly refurbished theatre and a truly fantastic Mid Summer Nights Dream in the evening.  The language, the comedy and the sheer energy left us all uplifted. Well done Dennis, and thanks for the goodies.

Sadly the following deaths were reported; Alex Cordiner, Peter Kirby, Stan Melling and Michael Rome; also John Oliver. Our condolences go to their loved ones and friends.

Golf (Caroline won the Ladies Trophy at our local club) and classes go on and we had a good crop from the allotment, albeit with insufficient attention. As our creaking increases we wonder how long we will keep it, especially when our home garden has to share the time and creaks available.

Keep well and smiling and have a wonderful Festive Season.




March 19 2011


Just three weeks after the Egypt protests and the ousting of Mubarak we followed the advice of the FO, although not most of our friends, and went to Sharm el Sheikh for three weeks. We had been upgraded and found ourselves in this very large 5 star hotel with a capacity of 700, but with only 60 guests, all Brits.  There was a "no go" ban by the German, Russian and Italian governments. We went for the sunshine and that is what we got, wall to wall, every day, albeit there were a few windy days and one sand storm.  But we had VIP treatment and as Caroline and I were usually the only ones at the stretching , belly dancing and aqua aerobics classes, we became friends with the animation team.  When we went on excursions, particularly to St Catherine's Monastery, we were unhurried and had the full attention of the guide.  Towards the end of the holiday some Russians and Germans arrived and so did the evening cabarets.  We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, especially since we learnt to play boule (Caroline was a mini star) and I learnt to snorkel, culminating in a boat trip to Turin Island where the coral and fish viewing was truly fantastic.

And now back to the garden where the crocuses, snow drops, hyacinths and daffs etc. are looking pretty and the first row of chitted earlies have just been planted  (I had forgotten how hard digging is!) in the allotment. We are now looking forward to the clocks going forward and getting back to warm handed golf.

 A friend sent me a copy of Vignettes of India by Sir Percival Griffiths; it is very interesting reading and also made me laugh mainly because of nostalgia, attitude and the language.  I quote,              "My dear wife used to say that all the ICS people believed the front seats in Heaven had been booked for them.  She was, of course, right and if ever I gain admittance to that region, I shall have no hesitation in claiming my place."

 But in case you think I am only relishing the past (Raj), I have just started reading India by Patrick French.  Almost at the beginning he refers to the Khasi people who I thought were Christians, but their religion "is not connected to any other faith and emphasizes a belief in one supreme god, U Blei. The Khasis have a covenant with their deity- who is the dispenser, the maker, the giver, the creator, the divine law; they are sure how they came to be on earth - by descending a golden ladder from the mount of heaven's navel, but they are not exactly sure about how man came to be created by god.  There is heaven and earth, but no hell". No wonder they are such lovely people.

 Sadly, the following deaths were reported; Roger Baker, Ramesh Jaitly, Richard Knights, Stella Paterson, Gordon Simpson and Frank Wilson; also Mrs A M Ingram and Jim Jordan.  Our condolences go to their loved ones and friends.       

At the time of writing this we are all stunned by the catastrophic effects of the earthquakes and tsunami happening in Japan.  It makes the Pakistan floods and the Indian Commonwealth Games, mentioned in the previous newsletter, pale into insignificance.  Though the Japanese seem so stoic, it is hard to see a full recovery, except over a very, very long time.

I know that many of you do not have regular access to a computer, but for those who do, try a look at "".  Caroline's daughter has been and we are thinking of putting the Balipara "experience" to the test.

 I look forward to seeing many of you at Eastbourne and hope that you all enjoy a splendid summer .



At the time of writing it is dark at 6 am, a reminder that the dreaded clock will soon go back and winter will be fully upon us.  The allotment has been put to bed (both freezers are full with vegs and soft fruit), the garden is getting tidier if a little forlorn after a colourful summer and golf is irregular, dependant on the weather.  But must not grumble as a trip to Sidmouth last month was a great success and we are off next month to Gran Canaria to shorten winter.  Recently, I was appointed a "novice" steward at our local flower show and I accompanied the judge in the vegetable section.  Luckily he was friendly, but it does seem barmy that only appearance and not taste is considered.

The last newsletter was accompanied by the new Directory and I must thank so many of you who wrote letters; they are greatly appreciated and I am sorry that I cannot reply to them all.   Many sent their subs and indeed many sent them when they were unnecessary (as email members) and one or two were insistent on being extra generous.  We now have enough money to last for five years unless of course we ALL live that long!  There are now approximately 90 paid up postal members and 90 e-mailers.  I did ask for errors to be notified and expectedly there were many, so please amend the following:
Carey, Marigold. 4 Wychwood Walk, Craigwell etc.. 
Dodwell, Kim.The Middle House Cruckmeole, Hanwood, Salop, SY5 8JN. 
Donald, Margaret. ....AB15 9RP. 
Innes, Isobelle (not Isobel). 
Kilpatrick, Margaret.  3 Cheniston  Close etc.. 
Kirby, Pete & Elsie. Manzel, 9 Second Sands, Port William, Newton Stewart, Wigtownshire, DG8 9QE. 
Nichols (not Nicholls) Jimmie & Daphne etc.. 
Pearson, Sandy (was  excluded from the email version)  17 Layton Lane, Rawdon, Leeds, LS19 6RG. 
Robertson, Ross. Dunedin, Esther Place, Tain, Ross-shire, IV19 1HN. 
Wrangham, Robin & Anthea, 5 Haygrove Farm Mews, Warminster, Wilts, BA12 8JD.       
Overseas Section;   
Air, David. PO Box 1188, Dundee, Florida, 33838, USA. 
Brown, Larry. 290/105 Scarborough St., Nexus East Tower, Southport, Queensland 4215, Australia. 
Dutta, Surajeet & Parveen , 32/1A Nandan Rd. etc.. 
Wilson, Frank. c/o Anup Chopra, C-5/3 DLF Phase 1,Qutab Enclave, Gurgaon,Haryana, 122002, India. 

Sadly, two deaths were reported; Dusty Miller and Norman Jackson.  Our condolences go to their loved ones and friends.       

The sub-continent has been in the news for all the wrong reasons.  The floods in Pakistan are catastrophic, but the peoples' resilience will shine through I believe, while India's attempts to "show off" its burgeoning economy at the Commonwealth Games (opening today) back fired dramatically.

Caroline's daughter finally sent us a note of her travels a little of which may be of interest.              "I'd grown up with tales of tea gardens from my mother who was born at Monabarie, so I'd always known it would be my first stop if I went travelling. And so it was that at 19, me, my Mum and my boy friend stayed at my grandfather's last bungalow at Balipara (now called Wild Mahseer). It was larger and grander than expected with gorgeous conservatories and en-suite bathrooms. Later as we visited Addabarie and Monabarie I began imagining the amazing times my family must have had. The estates were stunning; the shade trees gave them height and depth as well as a shimmering ethereal effect of peace in which I felt strangely at home."

The Koi-Hai website has been upgraded and is well worth a look; it is amazing to think that it is visited by over 90 countries lead by India followed by USA and UK and including 1 from Iceland.

 I hope everyone has a splendid festive season and enjoys good health and peace in 2011.

July 25 2010
Sorry this newsletter is a liitle late partly my fault and partly Clive doing too much


I started writing this in mid February as we were going away till the end of March. We went on a cruise through the med. and were blasted by force 11 winds, albeit we had a good time, not least because we met some lovely people, one of whom had captained the New Zealand ladies underwater hockey team.  Finally, Spring is with us, the days are getting longer, the early potatoes chitted and planted along with onions and some seeds germinating in the greenhouse, and when the weather does not permit golf, we manage a fitball or yoga/pilates class.

The last few weeks have been busy putting all the members' names and addresses into my computer to minimise Directory printing costs. Please let me know of any errors!  There are only 220 members, of whom about 80 have email addresses, which will minimise printing, postal and photocopying costs.  As suggested in the last newsletter, there will be a one-off payment of £4 (£8 for overseas membership) which will cover the postal new Directory and two newsletters annually for the next five years.  There will be no payment for email editions.  I have been able to keep the costs so low because some credit has accrued from deceased members and by minimising printing and photocopying costs as above.   There are a few "postal" members with current credit who will be notified individually, but "email" members' credits have been absorbed into the general account.

I am sending this newsletter with the new Koi-Hai Directory, so please send me your cheque for £4 (minus any credit) payable to Koi-Hai, by return.  Email versions of both will be sent within the next few days, no payment required.

I was hoping to include a brief note on travels in Assam/India by Caroline's grand daughter who went to Monabarie and travelled around Assam and then on to Agra, Delhi and Rajastan before going on to China for their New Year, and further eastwards. No missive has been received, but I know that she was surprised at the size of the estates and style of the tea bungalows.  Though mentally prepared, she was nevertheless very upset by the congestion and poverty.  However, we were both touched when she wrote; "I am very glad to have seen the place where you both spent what must have been some of the happiest years of your lives and, in some strange way, 6000 miles away, feel closer to you both." 

 Clive Peacock, an old rugby and ex Dooars (and Malawi) planter friend, recently completed a cycle ride from Kolkata to Kalimpong.  It was a sponsored trip to raise money for Dr Graham's Homes.  11 cyclists (or nutters) all over 50 and one 82 year old,  undertook the 700km journey over 7 days, often on very scary roads and conditions,(hairy drivers,  dodgy vehicles, potholes and undisciplined pedestrians etc.)  They endured many sore limbs and muscles plus a number of accidents but raised over £70,000; a terrific effort.  There will be an article on the website, but if anyone wants a printed copy please let me know and I will post one.

Sadly, the following deaths were reported; Ken Rawson- Gardiner, Jim Cowie, Pam Drake, Hazel Henderson, Jimmy Knight, Peter Leggatt, Matt Stuart, and Betty Taylor. Mick Batty, Alan Cox and Anna Panter also died.  Our condolences go to their loved ones and friends. On a personal note, Peter Leggatt had been my boss, mentor and friend and latterly, my link with the tea industry. I will miss him.      

 I hope to see you at Eastbourne, and that you will enjoy good health and a wonderful summer.




Autumn is with us and the nights are drawing in. Allotment activity is almost over, the garden demands less and golf possible (unless you are of the hardy variety) only on the better days. We try to lengthen the days by a gentle workout and swim at the local Leisure Club, but a holiday in the sun beckons; Tunisia or India perhaps? 

India has been in the news recently, perhaps for the wrong reasons.  The monsoons were very late and crops suffered, but with world tea production down, prices are high with good profits expected.

 The reported killings on the Bangladesh Indian border seem so awful.  It was only 25 years ago that we went to that very boundary, spoke to a friendly border policeman and wandered over to meet Justice Lyngdoh who had looked after our dog after we left India three months previously.  We handed over some "goodies" as a thank you and then whistled the dog who came bouncing into Bangladesh.  No fences, no shots, albeit the border police were armed. Oh, and a bottle of scotch to the officer for being so friendly.   

The Man Booker ‘08 prize was won by Aravind Adiga's White Tiger.  It is worth a read if you might enjoy a picture of India from a driver's viewpoint.  However, I am not sure why I finished reading it as it seemed such a gloomy, jaundiced (some would say realistic, no doubt) view of Indian society.

Still on the subject of India, Caroline's granddaughter is taking a gap year and intends "to travel" with her boyfriend.  Their first objective is Monabarie to see the place of her mother's birth and then on to China and Japan.  Good baggage for university!  Meanwhile my foster daughter went to Singapore, Thailand, Nepal, Bhutan and India with all four of the family for their summer holidays. The wonders of travel; no surprise then that the young are so worldly.

This is the last newsletter of 2009. A few are sent by email, but most by post.  For 2010 I hope to reverse that and send most by email.  Will all those who wish to receive the newsletter by email kindly send me a message.  I will reply, which will put you in my address book.  Please do this even if I may already have your email address.  Next year I will have the slimmer Directory printed.  When the pricing has been completed I will confirm the subscription with, I suggest, a single payment for 5 years including the Directory and newsletters for that period.  Of course there have been a few address changes over the last year or so but rather than report them piecemeal they will be corrected in the Directory.

Sadly the following deaths have been reported and are recorded on the website; Alistair Bruce, Jean Dodwell, Babs McCarthy, Peter Shortt and Smudge Smith.   Adrian Herd,  John (Jock) MacKean and Sir Michael Parsons also died.  Our condolences go to their loved ones and friends.  The Eastbourne Reunion was once again well attended (90?) and an enjoyable get-together. The Smudge Reunion was held in his memory and his life celebrated in the way that he wished at the local pub in Midhurst by many of his friends and family.  

 I hope that you will all enjoy the coming festive period and that 2010 will keep you healthy and grant all your aspirations.

Clive Roberson
Clives E-mail address is [email protected]

Below is a copy of Clive's first letter

                    KOI HAI DIRECTORY  OCTOBER 2008

We all owe a debt to Cathie for "managing" the Koi Hai Directory for so many years.This was handsomely expressed when a cheque for all your generous donations was handed over to Cathie at the well attended Aberdeen lunch on 15th August. Cathie was stunned and has written to you all. Well done to David Kilgour and his helpers for organizing the lunch and being the hub of the collection for Cathie. There are over 600 UK entries in the Koi Hai Directory (KHD) and only about 120 paid up members. The format of the KHD has been discussed with many members. Suggestions included telephone numbers and e-mail addresses, but it was felt that names and addresses allow telephone numbers to be obtained and those with internet already contact each other by e-mail and have access to the Koi-Hai website.

I will retain the present format but try to increase/update membership by sending this newsletter to all 600+ entries. Most members are paid up to 2010, which coincides with the publication of the next KHD, so all "new" members will be asked to pay their annual fee up to 2010. Thereafter, the cost of the slimmer KHD will include five-year membership to avoid annual payments. Every effort will be made to keep the cost as low as possible, but actual figures will only be realised when paid up/new members are known.

Deaths Sadly, (Padre) John Nelson and Kristina Moon (page 18) have died. Many changes of address have been notified and will be corrected in the new KHD

For general information, the Sir Percival Griffith's Tea Planters Trust was established to assist UK domiciled planters, their widows or dependents. Should there be anyone who may be needy, they may contact the Trust Secretaries at 28, Lower Belgrave Street London SW1W 0LN. The trust itself needs funds, so if anyone feels like supporting their less fortunate colleagues, please send donations to the same address.

A passage to India,  Venk Shenoi plans nostalgic trips to India , particularly tea estates/factories, Tocklai in early 2009 and would like to hear from anyone interested , at Shertally, Velthouse Lane, Longhope, Glos GL17 0AD. Mobile 07789 948633  or contact the website

The Eastbourne reunion was once again a great success with 85 of us enjoying lunch and some staying overnight . Well done mike Courtney who after 7 years as Convener handed over to Dacre Mogg (contact [email protected] or tel 01243 583563)

The editor of the koi-hai website is requesting memories and photos of sea journeys t/from India, particularly the gully gully men. Contact [email protected]

Look forward to hearing from you, especially those with outstanding dues. After the abysmal summer have a super winter and enjoy the festive season
Clive Roberson
Clives E-mail address is [email protected]