News for all writers on how to write? Previously I have relied on what I was taught by teachers, with the aid of raps on the knuckles with a ruler in earlier years. Now we have the advantage of the new Rees-Mogg Style Guide which recommends the use of Esq. which needs a full stop but Miss and Ms doesn’t. He declines to advise on how the write the plural of Ms. (I put the stop here as it is the end of a sentence.)
Two down, another one coming up.
‘You’re joking. Not another one!’
Local council elections, European elections and next, an election for the new leader of the Conservative Party. But do not worry, you will have no part to play in this unless you are a member of the Conservative party and who will admit to that today. [Read more…] about Elections and Politicians
I have visited Sri Lanka over 15 times now, living there for several months every year for the last 10 years. Early visits were during the civil war and there were inconveniences such as roadblocks, curfews and limitations on travel.
On one occasion my friends arranged an escort to the airport. There were no problems with me giving lectures at the University and to audiences containing Sinhala and Tamils. [Read more…] about Sri Lankan Bombings
Edward, Prince of Wales, born 1841, had a reputation as a playboy. One of his 55 mistresses was Alice Keppel whose great-granddaughter, Camilla Parker Bowles, became the mistress and then wife of the present Prince of Wales. Edward became King Edward VII on the death of his mother, Queen Victoria, in 1901. The Prince’s other great interest in life was shooting animals.
This transcript from The Times reports a visit of the Prince of Wales to Ceylon in 1875 and relates how the highest dignitaries of the British Empire enjoyed a day out in the jungle. [Read more…] about Elephant Hunt
It is pleasant to be offered a small savoury amuse bouche in a restaurant to savour before your meal arrives. Also, to be offered a post-prandial mint chocolate or small liquor.
Restaurants theme themselves to appear more interesting. The Cricketers out here in Colombo is decorated with bats, balls and stumps. The Slug and Lettuce chain may be themed but I have no intention of finding our as neither are to my taste. [Read more…] about What’s not on the Menu
Freedom to –
“The more people chant about their freedom and how free they are, the more loudly I hear their chains rattling.” ~George Orwell (1903-1950)
We’re a free country, aren’t we? Well, kind of. We are encouraged to think so. Our government tells us we are. The more they tell us the more we wonder. [Read more…] about Freedom
It is the season of parties, not to be left out, we are arranging one. Is it any different in Sri Lanka?
Sri Lankans do not seem to plan their diaries too far ahead nor do they always respond to invites but they turn up on the dot. There is no angst about who to invite and there is no angst about who should come. If you have friends staying, you take them along. [Read more…] about Party
At 11 in the morning of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 the guns fell silent on the fronts of the world at war. Turn your minds to that event and write a strict 500 words to catch the moment. [Read more…] about Armistice
What did Jesus look like? You know, don’t you? He has long, straight hair, a full beard, wears sandals and Arabic robes, he never smiles.
In Europe, he is depicted with fair skin and hair. What did he really look like? There are no clues from the Bible. [Read more…] about What did Jesus Look Like?
“Why not write something about growing old,” she suggested, shortly after my birthday.
“But I don’t know anything about that.” Then I thought I must know something about it as most people, even if not me, consider me old. Oldies are not that special these days, about 25% of us are 65 or older and 3% are 85 or older.
The first clue I got about age was in a café in California. Coffee in hand, I approached the till. “It’s free for oldies before 10 on Thursdays,” said a young girl at the counter. To her, anyone over 40 would look ancient. [Read more…] about Lean and Slippered Pantaloon
Winchester Cathedral held its festival of flowers this weekend. The sensations of colour, architecture and music were overwhelmingly beautiful. You might like to see some pictures of the exhibits. The more natural the environment for the bloom, the more pleasing it is to my eye.
Farewell, my love. I hope we meet again. An adolescent emptiness swells in the breast as the love affair ends. I will see her again, but it will not be the same. We will not have that informality of friendship where one can take up again where one left off the last time. No more will we lie long and easy under the apple bough. When we meet next I will have the same yearning, but I will be in a new position, a stranger, étranger, and you will be in a different situation too, having to regard me as a foreigner. Formality and reservation will be the order of the day. Likely we will need to make an appointment, obtain a visa, before we meet. Certainly, we will be supervised by authorities who believe they know better than both of us. [Read more…] about On Returning from France
Going to the loo used to be easy, you just looked for the signs that said, Ladies or Gentlemen. Somehow these two straightforward words have become politically incorrect, they hinted at elitism. Now we use Men and Women.
Sitting just on the Welsh side of the border with England, Hay 0n Wye is a small town of just 1500 population. Come the https://www.hayfestival.com/programme-quick-view.aspx?SectionFilterID=495&pview=0 Hay on Wye Literary Festival every summer since 1988, up to 250,000 people visit over a 10-day period. This year we were two of that horde.
Come Thursday we are all invited to vote in the Borough Council elections; all of us on the electoral register that is. If you are not on the register, get on it. Too late for this election but ready for the next which could occur at any time as we are in a state of political instability. Who to vote for? Party or person? The political parties have sent round leaflets, so you probably know the names of the candidates. Parties want you to vote for their candidate but, are their candidates any good? [Read more…] about Democracy
The cricket toughies, the ones who engage in heavy sledging, the brave men who face fast bowlers slinging down bouncers at 90 mph, the ones who will field at silly mid on (a position close to the batsman) collapse in tears when caught cheating. Mind you, the rest of the world really seems to have it in for them; something of an over-reaction. Many of us and many cricketers are enjoying a temporary feeling of schadenfreude; others will be feeling fearful lest telephoto videos of them are re-examined closely. [Read more…] about Playing the Ball
Here is what you need to know about nerve gas in relation to the events in Salisbury. Nerve gases are a terrible and frightening weapon but, if you survive an attack, you will be OK, unlike after a conventional injury which may leave you without a limb or full of shrapnel.
For much of my professional life, I have flirted with nerve gases. A dangerous thing to do you might think but interesting and important as recent events in Salisbury have shown.
What a difference a few years makes. Back in 1947 we had a real winter. Snow and freezing temperatures lasted for ages. Those were real austerity times, food rationing, power cuts every day to conserve coal, clothing was still rationed, nobody had central heating and most had outside lavatories, even the BBC was cut off during the afternoons to save energy. It was enormous fun. I could not wait to get out with my sledge and the chance of a snowball fight.
I guess most of us know of a person with one leg, an amputee, even if knowing is limited to Long John Silver from Treasure Island. There are quite a few amputees in the swashbuckling, sea-going world of fiction, Captain Ahab in Moby Disk, Captain Hook in Peter Pan, though his was a missing arm replaced by a terrifying hook. Lord Uxbridge, at the battle of Waterloo, lost a leg and many statements are attributed to him. He commented to his surgeon, in those pre-anaesthesia days, ‘the knives appear somewhat blunt.’ Oscar Pistorius, murderer and Paralympic runner is a living amputee, so is socialite Heather Mills. [Read more…] about Legs
Here is a story to freshen the fins and gild the gills even if you are not piscatorially predisposed. I heard the tale from the young Zoologist and Doctor who made the discovery.
Sri Lanka has a fish called Kami or Kami’s Barb or to give it its Linnean name Puntius kamalika. It is an unremarkable, small, silver-grey, fresh-water fish first recorded by Georg Dunker, a German ichthyologist, in 1912. He thought it was the same as a fish found in India, Puntius amphibius, first identified in the early 19th century near Bombay or Mumbai by a German naturalist. [Read more…] about A Fish Called Kami