Archive for April, 2010

THIS HIGH LIFE STYLE (2) by Royston Ellis

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Welcome to “This High Life Style” blog, especially if this is your first time. (And please opt out if you don’t want to hear from me any more.)

It’s only my second time, and I am able to write this column thanks to Andrew, my web-monster (of who is the young genius I’m driving mad with my incomprehension of things cyber. Without him, I would still be scratching messages with the fountain pen I’ve retained from my schooldays on the back of saucy seaside postcards.



Do you remember those wonderful cards by Donald Gill (1875-1962)? From Wikipedia I learn that one of his postcards, with the question: “Do you like Kipling?” and answer: “I don’t know, you naughty boy, I’ve never kippled!” holds a world record for selling the most copies at over 6,000,000.

One that intrigued me as a boy was a bright drawing of a stationary car with its indicator showing the driver was turning left. There was a couple canoodling in the front seat while a boy about my age, walking past, saw the indicator and commented: “Hey mister, your thing’s sticking out.”

Collecting old postcards is a fascinating hobby not just for the photographs of bygone scenes, but also for the comments that people make on them. I have one at home of Colombo’s posh Galle Face Hotel in 1906. The writer has scrawled across the picture: “This is the only thing free in this hotel.”

There is a website devoted to antique postcards of Sri Lanka, the island where I have lived for 30 years. Check for some interesting views, but not of the Donald Gill kind.

Artist emigrates

Art of a different form has occupied my thoughts  this week when I received this announcement:Artist Segar’s Ja-Ela, Sri Lanka, House for sale.

Specially designed for Segar by Architect Minette de Silva. Clear title.

Upstair house (3000 sq feet) in 21perches land.

4 rooms, 3 bathrooms +staff room and an attic floor.

Parking space for 5 cars.

Situated 22km from Colombo on the way to airport (16km).

Most of Segar paintings done in this house.Artist migrating.

Market value US$110,000.

Immediate sale price: US$90,000. (US$100,000 with furniture.

Email ; [email protected] or [email protected]

I shall be sorry to see Segar leave Sri Lanka. He began painting in 1979 and follows his own instincts; his paintings, whether in watercolour or oil, are vivid, evocative and totally captivating. Entirely self-taught, he is a good self-promoter, while being pragmatic about being an artist in Sri Lanka. He has been a friend since we first met by chance soon after he bought my 1989 bestselling guide book India By Rail.

I was lucky enough to buy a small painting by Segar (“Two Tennis Players”) at an exhibition he held in 1995. I treasure it for the unspoken spirit of companionship it conveys. I wish him well – and a good price for his house too!

Mystery Menu

No one has identified the place whose menu “Everything Swedish” I featured last week. Please check it (Blog of 20 April 2010) and send me your suggestions. It wasn’t in Sweden but was very enjoyable anyway.

I hope to feature a different menu every week, even if only to get mouths watering.

Here’s a meal I sampled a few weeks ago at a hotel in Bangkok. Which restaurant and which hotel?

Menu du Dejeuner

Gratinated oxtail, beef tartar, argon oil scented cauliflower mousseline and pistachio crisp; or

Rainbow trout with parmesanpaupettes, crab meat fondant and flat parsley potato; or

Basil and vegetables stew, light spiced tomato broth and golden roasted almonds.


Steamed cod fish with port wine reduction; or

Roasted duck breast with flower honey, polenta and duck leg rillette; or

Fricasse of crayfish and prawns, black olive tapenade, mild garlic and tomato; or

Braised pork fillet mignon, red cabbage confit and Guinness beer pan jus.


Dessert Trolley- Moka – Les Maccarons

It cost the equivalent of US$28 plus 10% service charge and government tax.

Get the restaurant right and I’ll send you a free copy of Am I Salad? from the self-help website of lifestyle guru, George Ellis.

In the meantime, please share this blog with your friends, who can find out more about me and my books on: and

(27 April 2010)