The Writer’s Life

The Writer’s Life

Oct.20, 1945

“I had a pleasant stay in England. Didn’t do a lot but enjoyed the visit that’s the main thing. I had a lot of fun with Alma’s 5 year old boy. He sure talks a blue streak and when he talks one would almost think he was a speaking dictionary. He has a terrific vocabulary, 5 and 6 syllable words and he knows how to use them correctly.”

(Extract from a letter from a serviceman to his wife in Canada after being billeted at the home of Jack and Alma Ellis, Royston’s parents, at 36 Deancroft Road, Eastcote, Pinner, Middlesex, England, where this photo of the young existentialst in black beret was taken.)

King of the Beatniks, River Thames, London, 1959

The Write Place

Having lived in Sri Lanka since 1980, I eventually bought Horizon Cottage, built in 1904 overlooking the railway line (the trains seem to run through the garden), the A2 coast road linking Colombo with Galle, the beach, and the Indian Ocean.

It’s furnished with items bought at auctions that match the age of the cottage. ThereI am looked after by Neel who has been my business partner and personal manager in Sri Lanka since 1981, and Kumara, my house manager since 1997. In all senses this is the write place for me, and I do my writing in the attic with its view of the sun-drenched beach and the sea.

My bust watches over the house when I am away, usually visiting the Maldives or enjoying the cooler climate of the hill country tea gardens while staying in plantation bungalows.

Horizon Cottage

Royston being served tea at home by Kumara

Kumara, & Neel

Royston at Lipton’s Seat