Spring Fever

Spring is here! The plum tree is in blossom. The first tulip is out. The cat looks two sizes smaller because she has lost her winter fluff. If I needed any further proof I got it yesterday when I found Felix in the garden with a bottle of his favourite pinot noir. He had flowers in his hair and he was singing On the Road to Mandalay in a sonorous baritone.

'I always find that a sad song,' I said.

'The sad songs please us most.' He smiled at me, a look of exquisite melancholy. Then he broke into another verse.

'Ship me somewhere east of Suez.
Where the best is like the worst,
Where there ain't no Ten Commandments
And a man can raise a thirst.
For the temple-bells are callin',
An' it's there that I would be --
By the old Moulmein Pagoda
Lookin' lazy at the sea.'

'A tale of lost love,' I said.

'Indeed. A tale of lost freedom and opportunity. It's as the poet says "I'm learnin' 'ere in London what the ten-year soldier tells: If you've 'eard the East a-callin', you won't never 'eed naught else."'

'That may be so,' I answered, 'but my problem has always been that I am never sure where the east is. I get confused between right and left. On maps, anyway.'

'The East is here!' he told me, surprised that I had missed the obvious. 'You can't get farther east than this.'

'A suburban garden in the South Pacific?. Well, I suppose you're right. You go east far enough and you get back to the West somehow.'

'What goes around, comes around.'

'That sounds right but what does it mean?'

'It means "As the twig is bent so grows the tree".'

'Does it?'

'No, not really. More wine?'

21 September 2008


© Chris Else 2008