Being in the civil service, we are able to book Cluny Lodge, a bungalow owned by the Singapore government. D often suggested we stay there, but I kept putting it off because I liked Strawberry Park & am usually lazy to try anything new. Our colleague C the Toothbrush Man brought his family there to stay once, though, & after hearing about it from him I decided to give it a try.
Lane leading to Cluny Lodge, lined by firs supposedly planted by Lee Kuan Yew; Cluny Lodge in morning sunlight
In the end I was very glad we went. It is a little stone bungalow, & it turned out to be much nicer than staying in a hotel because it was more homelike. There were large windows everywhere with views of the surrounding hills and the garden, which was well-tended and full of flowers. Since it was off-peak season we had the entire bungalow & garden to ourselves.
I liked the dining area; the plates used were similar to those used in my grandmother's house when I was a child, & made me feel nostalgic. There were also vases of yellow roses & chrysanthemums set on the table, which I guessed were from the garden. Meals were provided & the food was really good, with soups, main dishes, dessert, plus coffee/tea/Chinese tea. It was like home-cooked food, with a choice of Chinese or western.
Dining room; plate; bedroom
Cluny Lodge is near Sri Menanti. D's grandfather has passed away, but Mr Lim, the caretaker at Cluny, remembers him well. In fact, D had a great time talking to Mr Lim & family (all in Cantonese, so I didn't follow much) about his grandfather & old times. On the last evening after dinner, he went off to the kitchen to settle the bill while I stayed in the bedroom & read my book; & he was gone so long that I knew they must be having another of those nostalgic sessions.
Front of Lodge; view from the front; rosy clouds at sunset
He finally came back, rather excited. Apparently Mr Lim said that Lee Kuan Yew (Singapore's first Prime Minister) was staying here (at Cluny) around the time of Separation from Malaysia. In fact, Mr Lim said Mr Lee was here when the writ of separation was delivered to him, & also that Mr Lee had planted quite a no. of the old fir trees around the Lodge.
Mr Lim says that the bungalow is historic, & that it's sort of modelled after a castle, because it's one of the few bungalows around which has a basement/cellar. Apparently Mr Lee must have liked the bungalow, because he arranged for it to be leased to the Singapore govt for a limited period. In another 25 years, it will go back to the Malaysian govt. Pity.
Steps leading down from the Lodge to a little playground; garden; rose in garden
We didn't trek around much this time, but we did go down to Tanah Rata so that I could make my usual visit to the ceramics shop. We also took an early morning walk to have a look at Sri Menanti, but there were guests there, so we decided not to disturb the caretaker. On the way back, we saw a huge millipede on the road. It looked like a fat sausage or a miniature minibus, trundling along. One little tap & it curled up into a perfect sphere. We rolled it into the grass, in case a car came along & crushed it.