Posts Tagged ‘island’

Seven Stranded Castaways

A portrait of our island crew. Clockwise from left: Luke, ’70’s moustache heartthrob; King Andrew, being fey; yours truly, in a skirt as usual; Pamela, clearly thinking funny thoughts, Nurse Nina, dresser of wounds; Miss Philippa, hater of fine literature; and Jo Lamb, Olympic crossword champion.

Girl With Puppy


Where Do You Wash YOUR Pig?


Pam Tries Paan

Pam tries paan for the first time.

Mad Dogs And Englishmen !

by Noel Coward
In tropical climes, there are certain times of day
When all the citizens retire,
to tear their clothes off and perspire.
It’s one of those rules that the biggest fools obey,
Because the sun is much too sultry and one must avoid
its ultry-violet ray —
The natives grieve when the white men leave their huts,
Because they’re obviously, absolutely nuts.

Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.
The Japanese don’t care to, the Chinese wouldn’t dare to,
Hindus and Argentines sleep firmly from twelve to one,
But Englishmen detest a siesta,
In the Philippines there are lovely screens,
to protect you from the glare,
In the Malay states there are hats like plates,
which the Britishers won’t wear,
At twelve noon the natives swoon, and
no further work is done –
But Mad Dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.

It’s such a surprise for the Eastern eyes to see,
That though the British are effete,
they’re quite impervious to heat,
When the white man rides, every native hides in glee,
Because the simple creatures hope he will
impale his solar topee on a tree.
It seems such a shame that when the English claim the earth
That they give rise to such hilarity and mirth –

Mad Dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.
The toughest Burmese bandit can never understand it.
In Rangoon the heat of noon is just what the natives shun.
They put their scotch or rye down, and lie down.
In the jungle town where the sun beats down,
to the rage of man or beast,
The English garb of the English sahib merely gets a bit more creased.
In Bangkok, at twelve o’clock, they foam at the mouth and run,
But mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.

Mad Dogs and Englishmen, go out in the midday sun.
The smallest Malay rabbit deplores this stupid habit.
In Hong Kong, they strike a gong, and fire off a noonday gun.
To reprimand each inmate, who’s in late.
In the mangrove swamps where the python romps
there is peace from twelve till two.
Even caribous lie down and snooze, for there’s nothing else to do.
In Bengal, to move at all, is seldom if ever done,
But mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.


Garbage is a huge problem. This photo was taken in Port Blair while waiting for the ferry to take us to Havelock Island, but it could have been taken anywhere in India. Not a day goes by when we don’t catch at least one debilitating snootfull of the stuff.

To those neo-spiritualists looking to India for enlightenment, I point here. Maybe we can start with public sanitation, and work up more gradually to the soul?

All smart-assery aside, it is difficult to seriously criticize a nation of over a billion people, largely employed, many of whom are barely partially literate, and who speak any of hundreds of different languages; a nation as peaceful and tolerant, both inwardly and outwardly, as India. There are clearly some solutions in play here, even if they are hard for an outsider to see. If there is an evident garbage problem, if there may be a caste-driven mindset of, “someone else will do it,” even if the final “someone else” in that chain is a COW, literally a sacred cow, who am I to say it is not the least problematic of available options at this time? Just don’t call it enlightenment… yet :)