Wherever I lay my hat

Indian notebook 2

High in the uplands of Kerala, surrounded by acres of tea plantations, sits the town of Munnar. We were visiting anyway and, prompted by a friend who grew up there and whose father was a tea planter, we searched out the High Range Club, an unreformed relic of the imperial age. In the bar, surrounded by the stuffed heads of tigers and leopards, we found her father’s hat. Anyone who was a member for 30 years or more was entitled to have their hat hung on the wall. The hats are still there, but not the culture that engendered the Club.   [read more]

1 July 2016

At 07:28 last Friday, 1 July, I was standing with hundreds of others on the edge of the Lochnagar Crater, near La Boisselle in the valley of the Somme, scattering the petals of poppies into the wind. It was at this place, and at this time, 100 years earlier, that the Battle of the Somme commenced. A vast mine had been laid by the Royal Engineers, and it was the detonation of the mine that acted as the signal for this part of the British offensive.   [read more]