OK, no problem, let’s see what we can do.

I had agreed and arranged for the parking permit to be handled by the willing Manager of the New Elgin Hotel, Darjeeling. At the time it was received by the management with a positive nodding and convincing shaking of the head as a “no problem” issue. For that little extra confidence a “just leave it all to me Mr Conrad”.

But once at the hotel with 20 cars to park – absolutely nothing, not even a permit for one parking space, and still Mr Manager just smiled with confidence but without the thought of 20 cars arriving in an hour and nowhere to park.

With a shrug that I had been here before I went off on another last minute job.

The Police Superintendent was quite delightful. It was not going to be a problem one week and it would be ready. I had one hour and counting down. But I was in luck, all the signatures for such a permit were present. We went on to chat about how wonderful Darjeeling, is how friendly the people are, how good the tea is. Extraordinary because apparently it’s the best in the world.

Eventually the cheerful Superintendent calls his male secretary who, in shorthand, meticulously writes down every word for this permit. He reads the permit back to the Superintendent, who corrects, agrees the wording again and goes off again for typing. Back for double checking, out again comes the secretaries’ shorthand notebook for the amendments; back for re-typing (imagine the old typewriter clattering away in the side office).

And so back again, list of cars added, long chat over what they are, where they come from, age and usual classic car chat. Off to be signed off by the Chief Superintendent and Commissioner of Police, who both come out for a pleasant afternoon chat. We talk about the cars, where they come from, how old, they invite themselves along for a drive. Leave with the Permit.

Then the taxis were reluctant to move out of the my new parking area, so I flashed the permit and after an argument they go.