|JUNGLE TIDINGS: FEBRUARY 2023|
|Welcome to our last newsletter before we move to live in England next month. Jungle Tide will remain very much open, though, and we intend to come back here for three months each year, January to March to escape the English winters (and the heating bills!). Rani, Martin and Noni will continue to serve all our guests as they have always done, and day-to-day management, and phone enquiries will be in the capable hands of Kenny, our favourite driver, adviser and fixer. The move means that for most of the year we will have an extra guest bedroom – the one we use – increasing the capacity of the house to twelve people, plus another four in Mulberry Cottage.|
At least for our first six months in England we will be living in Ludlow, Shropshire. After that, who knows? It’s all our next big adventure.
More to do at Jungle Tide
In the last newsletter we introduced our naturalist and trekking guide, Sanath Herath. Since then some of our guests have gone on walks and birdwatching with him. In all cases the feedback has been brilliant. One guest thought that Sanath must have several extra sets of eyes as he seems to be able to spot birds in any direction. He also speaks their language, calling to them and getting responses. Sanath also teaches yoga and we are hoping guests will want to make use of that facility, too. Finally, Sanath is helping us and our staff to create a curated butterfly-and-pollinator friendly garden, with the plants all labelled to show their value for wildlife, medicinal uses and use in Sri Lankan cuisine.
We do seem to have had a lot of adventurous guests recently, too. One group who stayed with us tackled successfully the first five stages of the long distance Pekoe Trail – they walked about 60km. Another group hired bicycles for a tour of the local area. We really do feel that we can now offer almost any activity available in the Kandy and Hanthana area through our many contacts. If in doubt, enquire!
We are also putting basketball hoops onto the end wall of the bungalow and onto Mulberry Cottage. So with swimming, badminton and basketball on offer as well as walking and yoga it’s easy to keep fit at Jungle Tide. But if you like your sports at a slower pace we also have petanque/boules and croquet.
We are also offering more in the way of daytime hires, for Sri Lankans and expats, for local organisations and for people staying several days in Kandy who would like to experience something of the surrounding countryside. As well as trekking and birding, these range from village walks and cookery lessons (see next section) to birthday parties, team building days, or just coming up to the hills for lunch and a swim.
More broadly, we have started a Facebook group called Sri Lanka: The Road Less Travelled which is trying to showcase the fascinating places in Sri Lanka that don’t feature in the well-worn tourist route. If you’re not already a member, do please join: https://www.facebook.com/groups/517266750500890 And if you are a member, please encourage others, and comment (even very briefly) rather than just liking posts – apparently this is much better for raising our profile. Most important of all, if you know of anywhere in Sri Lanka that deserves to be better known please write a post for the group to appreciate. We want this group to be owned by its members. And we can guarantee that there will be no photos of pretty young women hanging out of trains or bathing in waterfall pools. This is a group about the real Sri Lanka, not the tourist hype!
Two-way cookery lessons
Rani’s cooking is legendary. One of our guests wrote in a review once that she should be UNESCO protected, and she is more and more in demand to provide cookery lessons to our guests, as in the photos below. But with us soon to leave for England, we and Rani thought it would be a good idea for her to learn some western dishes, so we have been teaching her a repertoire of western foods including some vegetarian and one vegan option and puddings. So even in our absence Jungle Tide will continue to offer a mix of Sri Lankan, South Indian and western dishes.
Volunteer help.As well as the usual gardening work, recent volunteers have helped make some small but important improvements including a firepit and bonfire area (above) and repainting the walls and bridge along the approach drive (below). Our volunteers in the past couple of months have been from Spain, Iran, Germany, New Zealand and Scotland.
|Mulberry Cottage – proving popular|
.Our budget accommodation, Mulberry Cottage, is proving very popular with backpackers such as Alison (pictured below with her permission) and families travelling on a tight budget. Volunteers and staff have fixed some small problems and greatly improved the garden. The pathway will soon be lit with solar lights. The photos also show the kitchen, the study area and the frontage. Although the wifi is not good enough for serious digital nomads, the cottage is also an excellent place for someone who needs space to write or pursue a project in a peaceful environment away from the crowds of the city. But it’s booking up fast in the short term so do plan ahead if you’re interested. Marmalade and jam making.Ready for marmalade making: our own oranges (dodang) and a couple of properly orange ones bought for the colour of the peel. The local ones are orange inside but green on the outside..Sally has just made a batch of marmalade, and there may well be more to come before we leave at the end of March.
We have also been harvesting mulberries and nelli fruits and turning them into jam. Mulberry jam is always a hot favourite along with Sally’s guava jelly. Nelli is a weird local yellow fruit which has many medicinal uses but as jam is bittersweet in flavour. If you like bittersweet (Jerry does, Sally doesn’t) you’ll enjoy nelli jam, but we could say it’s the jam equivalent of Marmite! Food aid update
We recently organised a third food drop to forty of the poorest families in our two nearby villages. There is still enough money left in the fund for a fourth and final drop in March, though perhaps not as much per household as before. We are pleased to have done our little bit to help the suffering of poor Sri Lankan people in this ongoing economic crisis, and hugely grateful for all the donations from our guests and house swappers. And don’t forget, the most effective way you can help the people of Sri Lanka is to come and spend money here. And if you can’t do that, please try to persuade others to do so. Jerry’s book
A second edition of Jerry’s book Broke’n’English: Learning to live in Sri Lanka will shortly be published by Jam Fruit Tree Publications in Colombo and will be on sale at all good bookshops in Sri Lanka. We’ll bring a few copies with us to England if anyone wants to buy direct from the author, and of course there will be plenty at Jungle Tide for sale to; guests and visitors. Jerry has almost completed the draft of the follow-up book, Magpie Robin, which he hopes will be published towards the end of this year. Jungle Tide on You TubeBelow is a short video made by Ana Lopez, a recent volunteer, last month, including interviews with some of our recent guests. Please take a look and share it. And if it won’t play through this newsletter (we’re not that technically competent) here’s the YouTube link: https://youtu.be/gqxlun6s5go
Best wishes to all, Sally and Jerry, Martin and Rani.