≡ Menu

A proper start has now been made. The worst holes and bumps have been levelled and a heavy roller has been over the whole road. So while it’s still slow, it’s less bumpy and drivers are n o longer likely to damage their vehicles. At the moment (mid-July 2016) nothing much is happening; no drains have been dug and no tarmac surface has been laid. But it’s certainly a whole lot better than it was!Start of roadworks June 16

{ 0 comments }

We’re beginning to get the fruits of our labours at Jungle Tide. In the past week we’ve picked our first avocados and our first mangoes, of what looks like a very heavy crop. Home-made mango chutney coming up. And mango sorbet in the freezer. A half-ripe hand of bananas succumbed to the recent storms when the plant blew over but Martin and Rani rescued and ripened the fruits in the kitchen. Coming along nicely are custard apples (heavenly taste!) and mulberries, plus more guavas than anyone could want. We’ve also got a lemon tree fruiting well, though our other citrus are a big disappointment so far. Lots of foliage but they refuse to flower let alone set fruit. Maybe it’s just a matter of being patient. Apparently you shouldn’t prune them. It’s all a long if not too steep learning curve.

Birds and monkeys are our main competitors for fruit. We’re trying to persuade them to agree to a fair shares for all policy, so we’ve put lengths of white mosquito netting around some of the mulberries against the birds, but left them a couple of trees to go at. And we’ve tied plastic carrier bags around all the mangoes we can reach, leaving the ones at the top of the trees for our monkey friends. We’ll shortly have to do the same for the custard apples, but the avocados grow too high to pick – shaking the tree and seeing what comes down (and hoping not to be hit by it) is the answer.

They say time flies like and arrow but fruit flies like a banana, and it’s true. As our bananas ripened on the kitchen table they attracted clouds of drosophila, so tiny they can get through the netting that keeps the house flies off.

 

{ 0 comments }

The last 3km of road from Kandy to Jungle Tide have been deteriorating for years, to the point where the road is only just passable in places. But help is at hand – the contract to resurface and, in effect, rebuild the road has been let to a company called Edward-Christie and their surveyors have been busy since January. Real work has now started with the clearing and rebuilding of culverts taking streams under the road, though as yet there’s been no sign  of the heavy machinery. We have spoken to the Project Manager who said the road would be completed up to Uduwela (where you turn off down to Jungle Tide) in August. We think that’s probably optimistic, but at least we feel confident now that the work will be done. The contract provides for the road to be fixed right through to the town of Galaha, 7km in the other direction, by the end of next year. We’ll keep you updated as things progress.

{ 0 comments }

We’ve finally realised our dream of living at Jungle Tide, having arrived two weeks ago (and what’s more we now have Sri Lanka residence visas). So far we’ve had people staying from Sri Lanka, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Czech Republic and France (via Hong Kong). Three of these have been our wonderful Workaway volunteers, Katerin, David and Martina who have been busy transforming our new garden room and doing lots of hard labour in the gardens.

In a week’s time we’re headed off to Colombo as the ship from the UK with our container on it is due to dock on 9th November, so sometime soon after that we’ll have to find room for its contents. Luckily, we’ve got plenty of space to play with.

Jerry and Sally

 

{ 0 comments }

One of our recent guests has reported that during his stay in Sri Lanka he saw no fewer than one hundred and eleven different species of bird. About a third of these were in our garden. Can anyone beat this?

{ 0 comments }

Sally’s brother recently discovered a relative living in Edinburgh who has provided us with information about her ancestors we didn’t previously have. It seems Sally’s great grandfather first came to Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) in the 1880s – about a decade earlier than we had thought. He died quite young but his widow lived into her nineties and wrote a lengthy memoir about him in 1949-50 which explains lots of things we’d not properly understood before, and which was passed down to her granddaugher, Sally’s relative. Very exciting, and lots of information about the lives of planters and estate workers in the late nineteenth century.

{ 0 comments }

The Kandy Esala Perahera, world’s biggest street parade, is later than usual this year, culminating on 29th August. We’ve just heard of a new viewing gallery set up by The Bake House on Dalada Veediya (the main street) which is offering seats with a meal and soft drink for up to 10,000/- on the last couple of nights, which we think is a decent price even if it sounds a bit steep! To book a seat tel +94 777 860103 or e-mail theprinceofwaleskandy@gmail.com

Jungle tide has no business connection with them, we’re just letting people know as it can be incredible hard to find somewhere to see the procession from on the last few nights when it’s at its biggest.

And Jungle Tide still has accommodation available in late August.

{ 0 comments }

Our wonderful Martin and Rani already do several little extras for our guests without charge, such as Sri Lankan cooking lessons (Rani) or walks in the village to meet local people (Martin) and we will be extending these when we live at Jungle Tide from October. We like to think we’ve done our bit, too. For example with the help of our project manager we organised a wedding at Jungle Tide with the registrar coming out from Kandy (the paperwork was a nightmare!) and we often arrange complex itineraries for our guests – tours to places near and far including getting entrance tickets in advance. One thing we’ve given up doing is getting train tickets for people in advance – down at Kandy station the touts snap these up and want exorbitant prices and none are left for sale at the booking office. But even that one we’ll see if we can get to grips with once we’re there.

{ 0 comments }

We’ll be visiting Sri Lanka next month and staying at Jungle Tide from 15th November to 4th December. So if you want to try out Jungle Tide and meet us, here’s a chance. We’ll be living there permanently from October 2015 so this will be our final visit to the island before then.

{ 0 comments }
Gem mine

I’m not sure what I expected. Certainly not pithead gear and belching chimneys, but probably something vaguely industrial-looking. Probably great opencast pits. After all, gem mining is a significant part of the Sri Lankan economy so to find it carried on like a 19th century cottage industry was a bit of a surprise.

We were driving through the Ratnapura area en route to Haputale and pestered our driver to show us a gem mine. He took us to the Gem Museum which was closed and padlocked. Beyond the city he pointed out a small collection of palm-topped huts in a field and said that this was a gem mine. A few miles further on we stopped and he suggested we take a look at another one – we’d passed several by then. The mine is literally a hole in the ground with a rough timber and palm shelter constructed above it. The miners descend and ascend on a rope wound round a wooden spindle with a handle – just like a wishing-well. Then they crawl along galleries in the dark and mud to look for gems. They are provided with food and shelter but any pay comes only from what they find – which is often nothing but of course there’s always the chance of the elusive big one. Fascinating and scary in equal measure.

{ 0 comments }