We live quite close to Catterick Garrison where there is a large contingent of Ghurka soldiers originally from Nepal. Over the years many of them have brought their families over,so it is quite usual to see elderly Nepalese men walking along the pavement, their wives following at a respectful distance; or to see them in the supermarket shopping in the aisles of World food, or getting a selection of vegetables; or to see them sitting in the Doctor's surgery, as my friend G does from time to time.
They seem to have fitted in very well. I must say that the Garrison is very well kept. It is neat and tidy and there a lots of lovely trees, so that this time of the year the Autumn colours are spectacular.
Today is a typical November day. It is not particularly cold but it is damp and foggy and any leaves which remain on the trees hang wet and look ready to fall. On the ground the fallen leaves have formed a damp, soggy mess.
We live in one of the most beautiful parts of the country, The Yorkshire Dales, where the hills are spectacular, the rivers wind through the valley bottoms, and people come to holiday here from all over the world. So in many ways the Nepalese are very lucky.
But I do wonder just how much they miss home. How much do they miss those snow covered mountains, those sparkling snowfalls, that sharp, icy cold accompanied by bright sunshine, the familiar sights and smells of their local markets, the colours, the familiar faces?
When I said this to my son he said that what was this compared with the fact that they had warmth, central heating, hot baths, unlimited water and food - and varied food at that - and most of all, health care, so that in the event of them getting some absolutely awful health condition help and good care was close at hand.
I am not sure in my heart of hearts that this fully compensates and I suppose the only way to find out would be to ask them - which, obviously, I am not able to do. What do you think?