Pierre-Yves looks up after an interval. What has he come to and how has the rapid turn of events left him in this God-forsaken outpost of empire? He looks across the dusty compound that contains his office AS WELL AS his living accommodation. The latter is a bungalow of sorts. It looks definitely rickety, nothing like his pavillion in the Vendee. In fact, with hindsight, his pavillion has now assumed palatial proportions. He tries not to think of the chic flat in Paris in the chicest of arrondisements where he had started his career and he and Colette had started their married life. Not for the first time, he rues the day of the armadillo and the night of the radishes. In fact, he wishes he has never so much as set eyes on Poles. He reassesses his new situation. Separated from wife and children, he nevertheless has a certain standing in his new community. He determines he will go to the the Australians' party down at Kylie's Billabong. The blood of the Pompadore de Frou Frou's flows in his veins after all. He is nothing if not resourceful. His antecedents have not survived the horrors of the revolution with their heads still firmly attached to their bodies for nothing. Alors, he belongs to a nation that possesses both resource and some cunning. He determines to survive in this hell-hole. He now has 48 years and there are but only 12 years to go to his retirement. He will have annual leave. For his grandes vacances, he will return to his beloved homeland and be reunited with his wife and children. In the meantime, his first priority is to change out of his sweat-soaked clothes and smarten himself up after his long journey here. He removes his jacket and looks at the sweat marks in the underarm of its sleeves, and shudders. He drops it on the floor....... Dr Chandra meanwhile, back at the Vendee, climbs back into bed after his night's work. He has managed to strike up a good working relationship with Mme Berland, the vet. Together, they had managed to extract the child from Marie Therese. All right, so they have had to use all their ingenuity and every mechanical help available to both the medical and veterinary professions to enable them to complete their task. Still, it is always satisfactory to attend a birth with a good outcome. Marie Therese has survived their ministrations and the new-born baby with the cow's horns has a certain distinction. He remembers seeing many representations of Moses in many a church where Moses has what looks suspiciously like horns on the sides of his head! Dr Chandra is a happy man. He is so glad that his scholarship to Guy's in London has lifted him out of the poverty of Bombay, or Mumbai, as the city has now been renamed. He remembers well the slums of his childhood there. True, Mumbai is now no longer in such dire straits. Why, it is now a veritable city of gleaming multi-storey offices full of graduates working in call-centres for British Banks. If you don't believe me, I invite you to ring your high street L.......Bank and see if you don't get a charming but totally incomprehensible voice asking you what your mother's maiden name is (part of the security process, you see). Dr Chandra has no regrets about leaving Mother India. After all, who wants to have spent their childhood in what is now dubbed the "AIDS capital" of India. He feels fortunate in having been in England during the Thatcher years. Ah, those were the days; the days of true meritocracy. If a grocer's daughter can become the Prime Minister, then this is the American dream writ large in a UK setting. In his medical school, Anil had made his mark. For a start, his dedication to his studies was hardly shared by his fellow students. They brayed in their Home Counties accents and partied when they should have studied. By his dogged determination, Anil had triumphed. He was top of his intake at his graduation. After that had followed his dream of becoming a top physician. His was not the nature of a surgeon. Not for him the crude excising of tumours and gangrenous limbs to effect a "cure". No, no, his is the painstaking nature and attention to detail of the true-born physician. He loves the investigation into the cause of disease and its elegant solution. Not for him the "quick-fix". He is a fastidious man in many ways and, in this respect, he is not unlike our hero, Pierre-Yves. However, he found that even Thatcher's Britain had its limitations for a man with a dusky skin from the sub continent. Brilliant as his research work and clinical practice had been, he found ascending the ranks of the medical establishment closed to him. He applied for many many consultants' posts, but there was always some insurmountable hurdle at the last fence. Once he was told that they needed a consultant who had "shared experiences" with their patients. Well, there was no way that he could have had similar experiences to his British patients in Mumbai, or Bombay, as it then was. Disillusioned, and accepting that he was never going to ascend the British medical heirarchy, he had opted for general practice. The only GP placement that would accept him was some third-rate practice in a Welsh valley. Horror of horrors! He has not left one third world country to live in another. (Please do not take offence, Welsh people; this is merely the thought of Anil. I do NOT say that it is the reality). But, back to the present. Yes, this is much more like how he would like life to be. His pretty wife, Lakshmi, is from a caste high above his own. His children are in the French education system. His house is a vast and beautiful Vendeen property. Although he would have liked to have practised more challenging medicine than his present situation, he understands that this is the softest of soft billets. The expatriate British practice population is "a piece of cake, old boy!" Of course, he can't be bothered to learn all their individual names, but he gets by very well by calling all the women, "my dear" and all the men "old boy". He takes care to call all the children "sweetheart" and thereby earns the undying gratitude of their parents. The French patients of his practice are another matter altogether. He wonders whether he couldn't make even more money out of these "frogs" by substituting the Colman mustard powder with Asda's own brand? Surely, they would not notice the difference? Or course, the Lea & Perrins is a different matter. Who could mistake the taste of Lea & Perrins after they have tasted it? Tonight's work has been more than satisfactory in many ways. The mother and all 7 putative fathers have invited him to be godfather to the child. He has a lingering interest in all things Hindu and a boy with the horn-like protruberances of this child is not come across everyday in the Vendee. He sighs with contentment. He cannot know that thousands of miles away in the tropical heat, Pierre-Yves has also come to some conclusion from his mental deliberations. Pierre-Yves has determined to make his mark on Guiana. He resolves to introduce the taxe de sejour in this most French of former French colonies.