Saturday, 16 May 2009


This is yours truly, when I was 12 or 13. Skinny little fella, wasn't I?

I was born in Ceylon in the days when Ceylon Tea was known throughout the world!

It was exotic: Rudyard Kipling (the renowned British poet 1865-1936) is supposed to have referred to Ceylon as the the Garden of Eden, now known as Sri Lanka famous for its Tea, Spices and beautiful homely beaches, has produced many culinary specialities and gastronomic delights. Noel Coward (the English playwright, composer, director, actor and singer 1899 - 1973) wrote Mad Dogs and Englishmen, in Ceylon in 1955, and Arthur C Clarke (British Science Fiction Author, Inventor and Futurist 1917 - 2008) made his home there (I learned to scuba dive in his pool).

My Dad was a tea estate agent in Colombo and part of the business managed Hotels. The leopard was a guest at one of them (had a room by the pool with room service). I still recall what it felt like to stroke a leopard - short coarse fur and powerful frame. I was well aware of the leopard's killing skills and that under different circumstances I could easily be on the menu, so for me to stroke one was definitely a privilege. I was happy he didn't take my hand off. He chewed my shoes instead and Mum had to get me a new pair when we returned to Colombo.


  1. Hey Mike,
    This is so cool! My grandpa was in the merchant navy during the second world war, and his ship was sunk by a Japanese sub. Their boat went down and my Grandpa couldn't swim, but he held onto a piece of debris and washed onto a sandbank until the tide changed, then I think they had lifeboats which came and ferried them to shore. They were in the jungle, I think, and had to walk for two days before they arrived in... Colombo!!! That's my small piece of history connecting me to your past.
    Keep up the blog - I'm sure you've got lots of stories to tell!
    Nicola :)

  2. Those were the days when children were allowed to pat leopards! :-)