We just got back from a trip in the North Bengal foothills. The forests were an endless spread of green and shone in the soft sun after it rained. One morning we drove up through clouds to a little monastery, took pictures, ate Tibetan food at a tiny restaurant doubled up as a novelty store.

What I liked best were the houses. Not all were pretty, most rambling and wanting repairs and fresh paint. But every one of them had window boxes spilling with flowers- red geraniums and marigold and the sudden hibiscus. This made my heart sing.