Archive for July, 2013

Royston’s Report Number 171

Sunday, July 28th, 2013

ROYSTON’S REPORT Number 171

TROPICAL TOPICS, Sunday 28 July 2013.

Greetings. Eggs, auctions & a famous film producer feature this week.

Laid in Sri Lanka

I’ve written about my passion for quail eggs before; now this week my foraging in the local supermarket unexpectedly yielded not pickled quail eggs (see Report 144), but natural, freshly laid ones. A packet of 10 cost Rs100 [£ .50p;  $ 0.76c] and they are marketed by Siripela Enterprises of Moratuwa.

 Quail power

Quail power

When I googled Quail Eggs, I was gratified to learn that they are “packed with vitamins and minerals. Even with their small size, their nutritional value is three to four times greater than chicken eggs. Regular consumption of quail eggs helps fight against many diseases. They are a natural combatant against digestive tract disorders such as stomach ulcers.

“Quail eggs strengthen the immune system, promote memory health, increase brain activity and stabilise the nervous system. They help with anaemia by increasing the level of haemoglobin in the body while removing toxins and heavy metals. In men, quail eggs provide the prostate gland with phosphorus, proteins, and vitamins that can be a powerful stimulant for sexual potency.”

I’d better buy more!

 

Schokman & Samerawickreme

It may not be a catchy name but the Auction House of Schokman and Samerawickreme has caught the attention of those who collect or sell anything in Sri Lanka. Nothing is too small or too big for the two dynamic brothers who now run the firm, Navinda and Anuja Samerawickreme, to auction.

The new showroom

The new showroom

They have just opened a dedicated saleroom in Colombo where drop-in customers can buy anything on display, and where auctions can be held in space and comfort (fans have been installed too!) Previously auctions were held on site, with potential purchasers clamouring to see what was being offered in hot, stuffy rooms, or in dusty, rented halls and makeshift shelters.

Spacious and bidder-friendly

Spacious and bidder-friendly

The new auction and sales facility is massive; purpose built and user friendly. It can even be turned into a car showroom, and an auction of vintage vehicles is planned there soon. Everything on display (from tiny saucers at Rs400 [£ 2;   $ 3.07] to a huge wooden elephant at Rs250,000 and a rare Chinese wooden door at Rs750,000  [£ 3,750;  $ 5,769]) is price marked. The prices are a guide; offers are welcome. The sale room at 63 Isipathana Mawatha, off Havelock Road, Colombo 5 (www. sandslanka.com), is open daily from 9am.

Everything is catalogued and price marked

Everything is catalogued and price marked

I’ve bought and sold several things with Navinda and Anuja during the past 20 years. Their auctions are always well conducted, fair and fun. The company has its roots in the19th century when Edwin de Alwis Samerawickreme joined founder Schokman who specialised in auctioneering the effects of colonials returning “home.” The next generation of Lloyd, Derrick, Gwen, Shirley and Anuja Samerawickreme expanded the business and now Navinda and Anuja are bringing it into the 21st century. It is the only auction house in South East Asia to possess the ISO 9001:2008 System certificate for Auctioning, Valuing and Real Estate brokering.

Auctioneer Navinda Samerawickreme, JP and potential bidder

Auctioneer Navinda Samerawickreme, JP and potential bidder

Navinda states, “We treasure the trust placed in us. Our unwavering commitment is to deliver quality and value to our customers.” I’ll bid on that.

 

Lunch

Lunch in Colombo used to be limited to buffet dining in the city’s hotels, fast fooding it in international chain outlets, pot luck in a local hotspot or diving into the Cricket Club Café (CCC). Although now there is a great choice of restaurants in the city, a lot of them put up their shutters at 2.30pm and, although their food might be good, the waiting staff so often lacks understanding (not of language but of “service”).

So what a relief to discover that CCC is still going strong. I always head through the garden and parlour dining spaces (and ignoring the AC long room restaurant) for the bar. It’s pub style (smoking allowed) and open all day, as is the kitchen, producing marvellous quick cooked grub at reasonable prices. I usually start with spinach salad topped with a poached egg and bacon pieces and drenched in an enticing dressing. (Rs395 [£ 1.97;  $  3.03])

Pie appeal

Pie appeal

I follow that with an amazing Drovers Pie (available with either pastry or mashed potato topping) crammed full of juicy lamb chunks, and costing only Rs895 [£  4.47; $ 6.88].  The service has always been good at the Cricket Club Café and it remains so, with personable young men who know their job and are happy to explain the menu’s dishes or make sure the Margarita (Rs 755 [£ 3.77; $ 5.80]) is mixed perfectly.

Billed with a smile by Aruna

Billed with a smile by Aruna

Jamil Dehlavi

A welcome visitor to my cottage last week was Jamil Dehlavi, the independent film producer behind such iconic films as Jinnah. That 1998 award-winning film starring Sir Christopher Lee is the story of the founding of Pakistan. Jamil’s latest film with the intriguing title of Seven Lucky Gods tells the tale of an illegal UK immigrant from Albania who infiltrates the lives of a group of Londoners, with devastating consequences.

Jamil Dehlavi on the train to Galle

Jamil Dehlavi on the train to Galle

I first met Jamil when he bought an option on the film rights to novel set in 16th century Maldives, first published in 2000 with the title A Hero In Time. We’re still hoping the film will eventually be made. Jamil was fascinated by the “walking trees” (screw pines) in the cottage garden (see Report 34): and horrified at the cost of beachside land here (Rs 700,000 [£ 3,500  $ 5,385] a perch, ie: £ 490,000 an acre).

 A walking tree

A walking tree

Hot off the press

My latest book, Gone Man Squared, is now available direct by airmail from the USA via:

http://nortonrecords.gostorego.com/kicks-books/kicks-books/hip-pocket-books/gone-man-squared-by-royston-ellis.html

Beat regards

Royston