"Wading neck deep in a swamp, your revolver is neither use nor ornament until you have had time to clean it" Mary H. Kingsley (1897)


Battening Down The Hatches

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The roof terrace is a sorry sight.

Since my return to India the rain has barely ceased.
This was something of a miscalculation.
I choose to visit my family in friends in Britain and America specifically during June and July for a reason:
to avoid the worst of Kerala’s monsoon.

This year, however, the rains have proved excessively heavy and markedly prolonged.
In the last few days Cochin airport has been closed for days at a time, schools sat empty, the ferry to the mainland was suspended,
and my roof-terrace became a dangerous place to visit.

As monsoon storms lashed the house, the sound if my hard-wood blinds beating against the terrace’s walls worried me during the day and kept me awake a night.

Yesterday Sebastian, my carpenter, came to fix the problem.
He and his workmate have permanently locked the lower edges of the blinds to the walls with heavy-duty fastenings.
I am not quite sure how this will affect the annual repaint. At that stage we might have to think again.
But sleep came more easily last night.


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The expression “batten down the hatches”  probably originated in 1867
Pictures taken on my roof terrace.

Afternoon Angles


Light pierces the blinds.

Picture taken on my roof terrace


The season’s monsoon has drawn its close.
But after three years of typical tropical weather, my roof’s old bamboo blinds have fallen apart.
Pigeons nest in the roof terrace beams, and crows roost at night leaving the floor covered in their droppings.

Sebastian, my carpenter, is busy constructing much sturdier replacements blinds:
lengths of hardwood bound by nylon webbing.

My hope is that they might outlive me.


Picture of Sebastian and his team taken on my roof terrace in Fort Cochin

Green Fingers




Pictures taken on my roof terrace.