Consul in Paradise describes a life full of interest, and a world that is now long past. Embracing all of Siamese life we discover a racing stable with just one pony and Siam expertise in beetle fighting, the Siamese language and etiquette, and the nuances between the mountain tribes.
It relates a distant period of diplomacy, a time when Wood's duties could include concocting love potions, exorcising evil spirits (at one time from a rice bin), and creating huge straw hats to protect elephants from sunstroke.
This evocative portrait of a corner of the British Empire, an entertaining encounter between Victorian Britain and Siam, "consists merely of a little of the froth collected by a cork which has floated for 68 years on the seas of Siamese and Anglo-Siamese life".
W.A.R. Wood was appointed in 1896 by Queen Victoria appointed as a Consular Officer in Siam (now Thailand). He spent 69 years in the country, rising to become British Consul-General. During World War II, Wood was interned as an enemy alien. He also wrote one of the first histories of Thailand, A History of Siam. He died in 1970.