Welcome to our latest newsletter keeping you up to date with life at Jungle Tide. As always, let us know if you don’t want to receive them and we’ll unsubscribe you.
Jungle Tide wins Travellers Choice award.
Yes, we know that Trip Advisor deals out awards like confetti but this one is special. The Travellers Choice award means that we are in the top 25 of all the guest houses and B&Bs in Sri Lanka – and that’s a lot of places. We’re really delighted and very grateful indeed to all of you who gave us five star reviews which made this award happen.
Down on the farm
We paid a visit to Nuwara Eliya last week, with our good friend Charlie from Yorkshire who is staying with us at the moment, and took the opportunity to see a couple of places we’d never got round to visiting. One was Hakgala Botanical Gardens – perhaps not quite as good as Peradeniya but very interesting and different, being on a mountain, with tremendous conifers and tree ferns as well as some rather unhappy-looking oak trees to remind us of England.
The tree ferns, though, reminded us of our holiday in New Zealand two years ago and it was to New Zealand – or to be accurate New Zealand Farm – that we headed next. It is one of two Ambewela Farms open to the public so we can see where Sri Lanka’s limited supplies of fresh milk and butter come from. Friesian cows is of course the answer. Here are a few in the
milking stalls. As a tourist operation the farm is typically Sri Lankan, having very little information and missing out on obvious commercial opportunities ( we couldn’t buy any cheese), but it was interesting nonetheless. There is a café and shop, but the sales list is, shall we say, a little eclectic. Here’s part of it.
The rest of Nuwara Eliya is pretty much as we have always known it. Charlie went for an afternoon stroll, got caught in a downpour and was invited backstage into the grandstand of the racecourse to dry off, and offered a free ride on a race horse (allegedly) which he sensibly declined. The Hill Club continues to re-create a colonial outpost seventy years after independence and the Grand Hotel is back to its best after some refurbishments.
We returned to Jungle Tide on the train, a bumpy and noisy experience which Jerry enjoys rather more than Sally does. But we got second class seats just by turning up at Nanu Oya station half an hour before the train was due. Getting seats in the other direction is next to impossible because all the tourists travel the well-worn route clockwise as they want to end up on the southern beaches. Result – overcrowded trains between Kandy and Ella.
Galle Literary Festival
Our other recent jaunt was to the annual Galle Literary Festival last month. As impressive as ever with the stand-outs for us being a stunning presentation on climate change from Lord David Puttnam, the infectious giggling of Alexander McCall Smith being interviewed about his prolific output, and a fascinating three-way conversation about the role played by Indian soldiers in WW1. Lots of other good stuff too, and we stayed at a great if a bit overpriced place in the heart of Fort along with a couple of friends from Kandy. And ran into another friend from Hebden Bridge in Yorkshire where we used to live. But the GLF is like that – as are all good festivals. It’s not easy to take interesting photographs of literary events so here are a couple of Jerry’s arty ones of Galle Fort instead:
Jerry’s book is now out and he’s had lots of positive feedback from readers. Indeed one of our guests enjoyed it so much he kept waking his wife up in the middle of the night to read her the latest funny passage – probably not a good idea. It was reviewed in the Sri Lanka Sunday Times by Royston Ellis, a poet and travel writer we know, and is being stocked at Barefoot bookshops in Colombo and Galle as well as being available from Amazon and on Kindle. But most sales have been direct to guests and people we know around Kandy, to the extent that we’ve almost sold out our first shipment and are on the point of ordering more from Amazon.
The wonderful cover picture was created by our friend Marion Rout, an artist from Sheffield. If you want to read Jerry’s account of how we came
to live in Jungle Tide the book is available from Amazon ISBN no. 1974150208 or 978-1974150205 if ordering via a bookshop.
Jerry is following up the story with more expat tales from Sri Lanka on his blog: wordpress/brokenenglish.blog and would love to get more followers.
Man with a Van
We are trialling having our own small van at the moment. We are hiring it initially for February from a man in the village who doubles as our gardening advisor and as the principal of a local primary school when not hiring out vehicles. Martin drives us into Kandy in it for shopping, or takes guests for local trips. For airport and hotel transfers or longer tours we use our favourite tuk-tuk driver, Ruwan. We still hire other vans when we need something bigger, or child seats, or indeed when our little van is off on tour as it is on the moment, with the aforementioned Charlie.
Lots of stuff in the pipeline which we hope to report on in the next newsletter in a couple of months. Meanwhile, enjoy yourselves and stay in touch.
Jerry and Sally