We’re Sally Martin and Jerry Smith. Sally was born in Sri Lanka, the sixth child and only daughter of the fourth generation of a British tea-planting family. Her great grandfather moved to Sri Lanka in the late nineteenth century. She lived there until the age of thirteen when the policies of the nationalist Bandaranaike government were making things increasingly difficult economically for Europeans and the family reluctantly decided to return to England. It was twenty seven more years before she was to set foot in Sri Lanka again.
Jerry, who met Sally in the early 1990s, has no previous connection with Sri Lanka, though he was brought up in a guest house in Somerset, England, so feels that in his own small way he’s also returning to his roots.
We came to Sri Lanka with Sally’s then eight-year-old daughter in 1998 simply for a holiday. Sally immediately felt she’d returned home and Jerry just fell in love with the place. But it wasn’t until our second visit, in 2001, that we even considered living in Sri Lanka and not until three years later that we took the step of buying the land where Jungle Tide now stands. It was another four years before the house could be completed and we’re delighted that we have finally managed to move to live at Jungle Tide and can host your visit personally.
Though we have no children in common we’ve been involved in bringing up five of them, one way and another, and between us we have five grandchildren so far. A big part of what we do with Jungle Tide is to make it a great place for families to stay. Sri Lanka is one of the safest developing countries where children are doted upon and if you want to give your child/ren an experience of the world outside the west with very little risk involved, it’s the place to be.
Jerry has written a humorous account of how we came to live at Jungle Tide. Called Broke’n’English: Learning to live in Sri Lanka it chronicles the roller-coaster journey we took from our first visit in 1998 to 2017 when the book was published. Broke’n’English was positively reviewed in the Sri Lanka Sunday Times by poet and travel writer Royston Ellis. Ashok Ferrey, perhaps the best-known Sri Lankan author living in the country, describes the book as “absolutely delightful” while fellow comedy travel writer Paul Topping (aka The Whingeing Pome) who is based in Colombo said: “I couldn’t put it down. That hasn’t happened since Dan Brown!”
Broke’n’English is available from Barefoot Books in Colombo or online from Amazon ISBN no. 9781974150205. And of course from Jungle Tide price Rs2,000/-.
Jerry continues to record the ups and downs of our Sri Lankan (and UK) life in his personal blog: https://wordpress.com/pages/brokenenglish.blog
Martin and Rani Fernando are the beating heart of Jungle Tide. They have worked as our housekeepers since 2010 and keep the place spotlessly clean, cook amazing Sri Lankan food, organize all the other work that needs doing as Jungle Tide develops, and keep our guests happy and content – as many comments on Trip Advisor and in our Guest Book demonstrate. They live at the house and have that rare knack of being always available but never in your way. Martin and Rani are always willing to go the extra mile to make your visit memorable and to ensure any problems you encounter while staying at Jungle Tide are dealt with. Martin doubles as one of our drivers and takes guests on walking tours of the village, while Rani is always happy to share the secrets of her brilliant cooking.
Noni is our other fulltime worker. She has been with us since 2016 and assists Rani with housekeeping and gardening work. Hardworking and cheerful sums her up, despite the tough life she has had. We could not hope for better staff.