Archive for October, 2010


Saturday, October 30th, 2010

Number 29; Sunday 31 October 2010.

Greetings to all.

What the doctor ordered

To the doctor on Tuesday with a bout of food poisoning (I won’t say where I ate but it wasn’t at home) and I was reminded by this poster in his surgery of the perils of life here. But it’s good to know he can treat patients who have been bitten by rats, monkeys and mongooses, as well as by cats and dogs.

He decided my blood pressure is too high so when I enquired if that meant I should give up drinking, he said emphatically, “No! If you do I won’t be able to have a drink when I come to your home.”


Here’s a photo of Sasindu, son of my house manager, Kumara, practising for the 2031Cricket World Cup.

Meanwhile, tickets have gone on sale for the 12 matches being played in Sri Lanka as part of the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup. This begins on Sunday 20 February (Sri Lanka v Canada) in a new cricket ground at Hambantota where stadiums are still being constructed, and concludes with the semi-final in Colombo on Tuesday 29 March. There will be 12 matches with Sri Lanka playing Australia, Canada, Kenya, Pakistan, and Zimbabwe. New Zealand v Pakistan is also scheduled for Sri Lanka.

Warm up matches are being played in Sri Lanka from 12 February with West Indies v Kenya, Sri Lanka v Netherlands and Kenya v Netherlands, and Sri Lanka v the West Indies (the one I’d like to watch).

Full information on


According to a press release from the Maldives Tourism Authority, the

Soneva Gili Resort is to sell water villas at internationally competitive prices (my italics) for the first time in the Maldives. The resort hopes to sell 14 four-room water villas for US$7 million each.

I like the presumption that US$7million is an “internationally competitive price” for a tropical villa. If it is, perhaps Ishould put Horizon Cottage on the market at an equally competitive price of, say, US$6 million. (Well it also has four bedrooms – and trees too – but no slide into the sea.)

Writer’s Block

I’ve never believed in writer’s block. Hangovers, laziness (yes, and food poisoning) may sap the professional’s will to write for a while, but all it requires is to sit down at a desk in an environment conducive to writing, and to get on with it. However, writing is a solitary business and many of us need encouragement to keep at it, which is why I was happy to discover the National Writing Month Organisation.

This year’s annual Writing Month starts tomorrow. The idea is to write a 50,000 word novel by the end of November. The emphasis here is on completing the course, not on quality. No one from NaNoWriMo actually reads the novel.The satisfaction comes from finishing the task. It’s a wonderful exercise in self-discipline and in focusing the mind on a story and characters.

I took part two years ago. I reached the total number of words, put the ms aside and returned to it six months later when I was asked to contribute a short story for an anthology. I found the idea for a story in those 50,000 words and wrote Season of The Peacock. To my astonishment that story is being published in the anthology in December, and the cheque has arrived!

So I heartily recommend NaNoWriMo to hesitant writers. You could sign up and start today. (

2nd World War

A curious request from reader Danile (see Comments No.28) for  “any shots of the 2nd World War?” Unfortunately the best I can do is this, an early photograph (c 1945) of the soon-to-be beat poet in existentialist black beret.


Regulars may notice a change in the title, following a suggestion from a Sri Lankan reader who commented that calling it “expat newsletter” sounded rather exclusive. True, but that wasn’t the intention. Having lived here for 30 years (after three years in Las Palmas and 15 years in Dominica), Sri Lanka is my home so I am only an expat by birth. Thus this weekly newsletter has become A View From Sri Lanka, not just a plug for my books!

However, I can’t resist saying that The Big Beat Scene is available in Sri Lanka through as well as worldwide through

Beat regards