30 June 2012


Finally, we have arrived in Sri Lanka. I didn't realise what a huge island it is.  It took us the best part of two days to hug the southern coastline until finally, finally we arrived at Colombo's stinky fishing harbour, close to De La Salle College. Nalin and his crew were of course intent on selling their fish for the best possible price so I had to kick my heels for a while. 

The weather is what you might properly describe as sultry. Yes, sultry. I wandered along the wharfs exchanging pleasantries with the native fishermen. Of course, I was the only white man around so small children followed me as if I might be the Pied Piper. But I like these Sri Lankans. They have happy smiles and open hearts.
Nalin and "Mickey" at the fish market in Colombo
Later, Nalin led me to his humble home in a labyrinth of side streets. It's made of corrugated iron sheets and sits next to what I can only describe as an open sewer. His wife, Vinoba, is devoted to her children. They have at least four - possibly five. She is presently breastfeeding the youngest. They invited me to stay in their shack but I declined. All those days at sea had left me tired and dirty and desperate for cleanliness and a soothing long sleep in a quiet room that didn't rock with the waves.

So I took a motorcycle taxi to  the Blue Gum Hotel off the Negombo Road. Only £29 a night. Last evening I slept like a log - dead to the world - before showering and heading out for breakfast in a little roadside cafe close to Mary Immaculate Convent.

Senator Brague from Georgia urged me to travel overland to Yorkshire and the idea was sorely tempting but I have decided to take the easier option and have booked a flight with Sri Lankan Air back to Merry Olde England. It leaves on Sunday morning.

Oh no, the hotel's lights have gone off just as I was about to upload this blogpost. Such is life. I will try again in another few minutes... Bingo! It's published!


  1. Well, I'm sure that Shirley will be pleased to see you home after your long absence.
    When I worked in the dairy factory laboratory, my boss was a Shri Lankan. He was indeed a genial guy, smiling all the time, and very easy to work under. However I left under unhappy circumstances. Let's just say that of the two of us, someone was 'improving' my out-of-spec product test results and it wasn't me.
    Have a good flight home.

  2. KATHERINE An artist in a laboratory? That's like a heavyweight boxer taking up embroidery or a ballerina lugging buckets of cement on a building site! But please, no more racist remarks about Sri Lankans!

  3. Surely sir, that was an anecdotal remark, not a racist one... ? At least, I do hope so.

    I have been a scientist a lot longer than I've been an artist. I'm a born-again artist :-)

  4. For Y.P.'s information, National Football League player Roosevelt Grier did needlepoint.

  5. KATHERINE Perhaps I forgot your scientific history or possibly you have been keeping it quiet? When I think of that, and I'm not being derogatory at all, it probably shows in your approach to Art.
    RHYMES WITH PLAGUE There are exceptions to every rule. Wonder how the other guys in the locker room reacted when they saw him with his macrame hooks and pin cushion? "Hey Rosey, can you make me a hammock?" Don't think so.

  6. thanks for sharing.


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