Oh to go back and be here.
Somewhere in the full bloom of Empire before the War . . . . .
An afternoon to while away with the other chaps and back out to the country in the morning. The Residency and its troubles but not for today.
Enough fans to cover the ceiling with a boy for each one instead of every two or three. Bamboo and rattan chairs like the ones in Grandmama’s parlor back in Bournemouth that her brother brought home from the East.
Waiter with another tray of gin and tonics and another hour. No. Two, three or four what with no ladies about to insist on tea.
Food eventually on the terrace but not now. No, time to rest before piling on dinner attire. Easier back in the country. A bachelor existence. Not perfect but still. No gloves and almost never a tie except for Race Saturday at the club and that time the Prince of Wales came through on one of his state tours and stayed for a week.
A dance every night that time or a banquet. But the roar of the animals out in the bush and water dripping through the thatch on the porch roof when the rains arrive.
Letters from home and letters back. Like a kaleidoscope, seen backward. Home but a different home creeping in around the edges. Brighter in hue and with the same queen.
But the rest not. Father running the post office and now a Residence. One girl to help back then and a good ten now. But years left before that final steamer back.
The waiter back again with another round. Tall stories about hunting. Even taller ones about ladies sat with in opera houses in old colonial cities. All gone they are now with the jungle back. More time and the jungle over nearly everything but the Union Jack forever.
Image: Grand Lobby, Shepheard’s Hotel, Cairo, Egypt. No date or photographer. Via pinterest.com and Facebook.