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Sing a thong of sixpence.......

In my teens, I lived in Western Australia which has a similar summer climate to that I am currently enjoying in India. By that, I mean that temperatures are well into the thirties (which used to be called the nineties, or even hundreds) and it certainly could be described as rather warm.

Peer pressure among teenagers reflects some, to others, incomprehensible trends. In my time it was regarded as being cool to be able to walk barefoot. This is not as easy as it seems, and if you have any doubts, try a leisurely stroll along a pavement that has been baked for eight hours uninterrupted 35 degree sunshine. Personally, I used to play a kind of undercover hopscotch hopping from shady bit to shady bit, while trying to look as if I was walking normally.

For more formal occasions, we used to wear thongs. Stop right there! This was in the days before the word 'thong' was hijacked and reapplied to an item of ladies underwear that appears to me to serve no valid purpose other than to remove the differentiation between the front and rear bottoms. What we used to refer to as thongs, are now universally called flip-flops, and they are pretty well universal footwear in India.

One of the things that first puzzled me, was that about every couple of hundred yards along an Indian road, you will discover a single discarded flip-flop. Then I discovered why. Amongst Indian teenagers it is de rigour when being transported on the back of a motorbike, or scooter, to travel with your feet only millimetres from the road surface. Then, of course, the bike hits a bump........I will, eventually, pluck up the courage to inspect one of these discarded flip-flops just to see if it also incorporates a big toe.

Anyway, I bought a pair of flip-flops the other day, and I don't like them. I didn't like them in Australia, and I don't like them here. I am now going to swallow my pride and buy a pair of sandals.

Oh, and a pocket full of rye, as well!