Newsletter aus Sri Lanka von Royston Ellis


Hallo Premasiri,

wieder ein interessanter NL. :fing002:
Das Cricket Club Cafe z.B. kenne ich noch nicht. Was ich auf der HP vom CCC so sehe, schaut richtig gut aus. Wir sind ja ohnehin immer ein 2 Tage in Colombo, das werde ich mir mal vormerken.

Zu den Quail Eggs kann ich ich nicht viel sagen, aber anscheinend ist Mr. Ellis sehr angetan davon. :smil_koch:

Liebe Grüsse in den Süden, Biggi


Well-known member
Tropical Topics, Sunday 4 August 2013.
This week’s topics include a train trip to the hills, and literature. Welcome.

Kandy Trip
Rajadhani carriage

I went by train to Kandy last week, which entailed standing all the way to Colombo in 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] class on the Matara to Vavunya (the longest train journey in Sri Lanka) express. Then a couple of hours wait in the stray-dog and crow-infested Colombo Fort station, before boarding the Rajadhani AC carriage attached to the 15.35 Intercity Express train to Kandy. The fare was Rs1,100 [£ 5.50; $ 8.46] for the 116km (150 minute) journey; I paid for two seats so I had some extra space.

Rajadhani interior

The Rajadhani carriage is, like the Exporail one attached to the morning Intercity departure, a privately operated enterprise with passengers able to buy tickets in advance online, thus guaranteeing a comfortable seat for the journey. A snack is included in the Exporail fare, while a bottle of water per passenger is provided in the Rajadhani carriage and tea and snacks can be purchased.

The comfort, after the basic facilities of normal rail travel in Sri Lanka, is wondrous, especially the lavatory, clean and sweet smelling.

Rajadhani loo

Royally drunk?

Royal Hotel & Bar entrance

In Kandy I popped into my favourite tavern there, the Royal Bar & Hotel, where a painting of George III (“King of Ceylon & Great Britain”) stares with a certain understanding at the tavern’s customers.

King George III

The courtyard beyond the bar room is popular with locals, expat residents and tourists lucky enough to find it, for pleasant imbibing tended by mature stewards. There’s even a pastry trolley wheeled around occasionally for the peckish.

Royal bar stewards & pastry trolley
I was intrigued by this candid advertisement inviting patrons to “Get Drunk Here” although puzzled by the time limit 11 to 12am. I assume that means noon, not midnight?

Drunk until 12am?

Grand Thai?

The Grand Hotel in Nuwara Eliya has long been a bastion in the hill country for its solid appreciation of the values of olden days. This mock Tudor pile boldly announces to the world that all is well within; guests can feel assured of care and attention and good food and drink.

The Grand Hotel, Nuwara Eliya

So you can imagine my concern when I telephoned to book dinner in the hotel’s fine dinging Supper Club restaurant to learn that it has closed down. Where to eat? The open sided tea terrace (with its gas heaters to combat the damp chill) was suggested (one can smoke there) but we opted with trepidation for the coffee shop. The menu is a bit of a “please-all” mixture and the cooking is done in an open sided show kitchen where one of the chefs enjoyed his work so much he was dancing most of the time.

Grand Osso Buco

Some of my party opted for steak, which was a good choice as it was tender and flavourful. I tried Osso Buco and was delighted with the quality of the veal shank although it was rather overwhelmed with tomato sauce. Overall, it was a very enjoyable experience and perhaps the more sophisticated Supper Club won’t be missed after all. The rumour is that it’s being turned into a Thai restaurant, so farewell to traditional gourmet fare in the hills.

Templeberg Fellowship

Regular readers may remember that I was asked to be one of three judges for the sponsored Templeberg Residential Writing Fellowship organised by Templeberg Villa in Galle and Writers Victoria in Australia. I was sent the applications, including writing samples, of the 12 shortlisted writers.
It was an odd experience knowing that I had in my hands the gift of rewarding a writer with what could possibly be a life-changing experience devoting a month to writing in Sri Lanka, with return airfare from Australia, accommodation and a stipend all provided. This was thanks to the generosity of the new owners of Templeberg Villa, Christopher Shields and his partner Brent Carey and Christopher's mother, Karin Jansson.

Templeberg writer's cottage

The standard of writing of every entry was high although some writers were clearly influenced by literary trends or honed by writing teachers and courses. So I had to look beyond the writing to select my choice. I realised that many applicants seemed to be regular attendees at writing retreats and for most of them, all they wanted was an all-expenses paid month to concentrate on their writing – and that could have been in an apartment in Victoria, not in a plantation bungalow in Sri Lanka.

Templeberg inner lawn

Only one writer, the eventual winner, seemed genuinely inspired and also planned to make use of Sri Lanka as the setting for stories. So the award went to Michelle Wright whose parents migrated from Sri Lanka to Australia in the early 1960s. Wright has researched the country’s history for several years but has not been back to Sri Lanka since 1992. She will be in residence at Templeberg Villa in December and I am looking forward to reading the stories that result.

Gone Man Squared
At last, advance copies of my latest book, Gone Man Squared, a collection of my beat poems, 1959-1967, have reached me from the USA, where the 128-page book is published by Kick Books ($ 14.95).

Signed cover & paperback editions of GONE MAN SQUARED

I’m amazed (even shocked?) at some of the poems considering they were written 50 years ago – it’s pretty raunchy stuff.

I long to have sex between black leather sheets
And ride shivering motorcycles through your thighs…
That was John Lennon’s favourite quote from one of my poems.
You can read the full selection by purchasing the book (sent by airmail direct from the USA) by clicking on: http://nortonrecords.com/kicksbooks/ellis.php

Beat regards

Royston Ellis


Well-known member

TROPICAL TOPICS, Sunday 11 August 2013.

Welcome to some tropical topics with news of a sensational new perfume inspired by my poetry!

Made In Sri Lanka

I’ve just discovered Jackfruit Chips. Jackfruit is like breadfruit in texture and appearance but grows from the stem of the tree, instead of its branches. These chips are sold in 100g foil packets (at Rs140 [£ .70p; $ 1.07]) and contain “Jack fruit bulbs, vegetable oil” and either “sugar” (for the “Sweety” [sic] version) or “salt & spices” (for the “Spicy” version). They are manufactured and marketed in Sri Lanka by Vista Nature Products (email: vistanp80@yahoo.com) and carry the slogan “A product with essence of nature.”

Spicy or sweety [sic] jackfruit chips

It seems that it’s the flesh covering the fruit at the centre of the jackfruit that has been turned into chips. The taste is curious, without the earthy subtlety of breadfruit, and rather heavy, even dull. I suppose the salt & spice, or sugar, dusting is to make them more titillating to the palate, especially with a glass of beer or arrack. On their own they are undistinguished.

Pastry shops

At popular stops on main highways in Sri Lanka, a plague of pastry shops has broken out. On the Colombo/Galle road near my cottage several have opened in recent years, only to close down and remain abandoned as travellers stick to their old (and cheaper) favourites whose pastries they trust.

Ambepussa pastry shop

One of the most popular pastry shops in Sri Lanka is Avanhala run by the Ceylon Hotels Corporation at Ambepussa on the Colombo/Kandy road, located just before the A1 bifurcates, adding the A6 that heads off to Trincomalee. The ritual there is to make a choice of the attractive pastries in the glass showcases and then sit at a table until they are delivered. They include egg samosas (Rs65 [£ .32p; $ .50¢], stuffed capsicums (Rs60), large lentil wades (cookies) (Rs40) and the old favourite, seeni sambol (sweet onion relish) bun (Rs50) as shown here.


That’s where I found the jackfruit chips. There’s usually a buffet according to the time of the day, and always the toilets are clean and well maintained, adding to the appeal of the place to travellers.

Avanhala bright and neat interior

Amaara Sky Hotel

When I had to stay in Kandy for a meeting with my computer consultant, I tried the recently opened Amaara Sky Hotel. It’s just an eight-minute three-wheeler ride up hill from the station, with kerb side entrance and a bright and spacious lobby. The brightness comes from the broad, panoramic-view glass windows that let light flood in, plus walls hung with colourful oil paintings by talented Sri Lankan artists.

After a super night’s rest in the king size bed (six pillows!) it was only in the morning as I flung open the curtains that I appreciated what a wonderful view of Kandy and the surrounding hills awaited me. Inspiring. Breakfast began with possibly the best fruit platter (nine different fruits) I have ever had in a hotel.

Amaara Sky hotel fruit platter

Although we were on business (and managed to get everything done), Amaara Sky seems to be efficiently geared for tourists whether staying for one night or basing themselves in Kandy for a week and touring from there. It’s a welcome, bright, clean and cheerful addition to Kandy’s hostelries. ([url]www.amaarasky.com)[/URL]

Hamilton Canal Restored

While urban waterways in some countries are being covered over for vehicular traffic, Negombo’s famous Hamilton Canal is being restored.
The canal, opened in 1802 at the instigation of government agent, Briton Garvin Hamilton, was built to link with a parallel canal originally built by the Dutch. Hence it is also frequently called the Dutch Canal.

Minister of Economic Development, Hon Basil Rajapaksa, greeting well wishers. Western Province Tourist Board Chairman, Claude Thomasz, is with tie on the right of photograph. (Photo by B Kumarasiri)

The Canal covers a 22km stretch from the mouth of the Kelani River to the Maha Oya (river). After suffering from years of neglect, it is undergoing a dedicated upliftment programme. Under the Ministry of Economic Development headed by The Hon Basil Rajapaksa with assistance from the Japanese Aid Fund, this Rs378m [£ 1.89m; $ 2.9m] project has been initiated as The Hamilton Canal Development Project with hands-on involvement from the Western Province Minister of Tourism, The Hon Nimal Lanza, and WP Tourist Board Chairman, Claude Thomasz.

All set for a cruise at the opening of the canal. (Photo by B Kumarasiri)

I was privileged to be a guest at the opening ceremony of the Kelani River end of the canal on Friday 2 August 2013. Once again it’s possible to travel by canal to Negombo, which should make it an attractive adventure for tourists, especially if facilities (such as a floating market as in Bangkok or a pontoon restaurant) are established on the way.

Gone Man Squared

The collection of my beat poetry Gone Man Squared is already causing waves (or drum beats and smoke signals). It has been mentioned in the New York Times and the website shelf-awareness.com recently featured this interview with Kicks Books publisher, Miriam Linna, who has been involved in publishing and music for years.

She tells Shelf Awareness, “The idea behind the whole thing was to do a portable book you could put in your hip pocket. I didn’t like the Kindle argument that they were more portable than regular books. Just when they said paperbacks were dead, I decided to put out some paperbacks.
“In the grand scheme of things, these books might not be the next big bestsellers, but that’s not my concern. My concern is documenting history, and making sure it’s preserved. These are all senior authors—the idea of having their books out and fresh for new audiences, while these guys are still around and able to enjoy it, is really important to me.”
While the book might not appeal to some readers of my weekly tropical reports (it’s rather salacious), as a record of extraordinary times 55 years ago, it’s an eye-opener. Sometimes adolescent but always easy going, Ellis' hits [are] somewhere halfway between Rod McKuen & Allen Ginsberg.”http://www.weirdorecords.com

Signed and paperback editions

The book can be purchased through http://www.amazon.com or direct from the publisher: http://nortonrecords.com/kicksbooks/ellis.php

Coming soon from New York? Rave, an especially created fragrance – the first beat perfume – inspired by the poems of Gone Man Squared. Crazy, man!

Beat regards
Royston Ellis


Well-known member

TROPICAL TOPICS, Sunday 18 August 2013.

Greetings! From fruit salad to leaping langurs this week, plus a review of my new book.

Made in Sri Lanka
Generally, manufactured food packed for convenient preparation gets short shrift from me since I am lucky enough to have not only good help in the kitchen but also access (as has everyone in Sri Lanka) to fresh ingredients from the local market or wayside butchers. It’s easy enough to put together exciting dishes (eg: spare ribs broth, grilled egg plant & cheese, garlic prawns & spinach) at short notice.

Organic fruit cocktail © B Kumarasiri

Even fruit salad can be done speedily, as long as there are papaya, pineapples & mangoes around. So I wondered about the wisdom of buying this jar of 350g of Fruit Cocktail at Rs225 [£ 1.13; $ 1.73 ] when I saw it on the supermarket shelf. But the label said “100% organic” and it is made in Sri Lanka (www.pripa-organic.com). The label added: “Biolanka Fruit Cocktail is a certified organic product of preservatives and additional sweeteners. We use mainly fruits from own organic cultivation.”

The ingredients are simple enough: pineapple, mango, melon, papaya, pineapple juice. The jar yielded two portions, which we had as dessert after lunch in the garden last Sunday. While it may well have been organic, it tasted so bland I had to add a dash of Cointreau to give it a kick. Fresh fruit salad next time.

Paan Man

Sammy Davis Jr famously sang about the Candy Man in the 1972 song written by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley; in Sri Lanka the equivalent is the Paan Man.

Paan man © B. Kumarasiri

is actually the Hindi word for what Wikipedia describes as “a stimulating, psychoactive preparation of betel leaf combined with areca nut and/or cured tobacco. Paan is chewed and finally spat out or swallowed… Slaked lime paste is commonly added to bind the leaves.”

The Paan Man shown here is selling what is known in Sinhala as Sara vita, cones of betel leaf stuffed with areca nut pieces and kattapol (grated dried coconut coloured red or yellow) to which various sweet flavourings (from the rack of plastic bottles on his tray), and a smidgen of lime paste is added. Cost for a kick? Rs30 [£ 0.15p; $ 0.23¢].

Wild Life

The Sri Lankan elephant is supposed to be more docile, and more intelligent, than its African cousin; it has smaller ears too, which is the easiest way to tell the two varieties (elephas maximus maximus & loxodonta africana ) apart.

Elephant ride © B. Kumarasiri

I made the acquaintance of this chap at Kandalama in Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle interior recently when I was offered a ride (for Rs3,000 [£ 15; $ 23.08] per person for one hour). I declined since I’m not comfortable with wild animals (especially charmed cobras) being used as entertainment for tourists.

I prefer my neighbours, a troupe of wild grey langur monkeys who regularly picnic in the garden and entertain me with acrobatics when they see me watching them. These monkeys seem to spend half their time on the ground and the other half in the trees where they leap up to 15 feet from tree to tree.

Leaping Langur at home


Lobster is usually sold at restaurants in Sri Lanka by weight “at the day’s price,” so it was a surprise to discover it at a fixed price on the menu of the “Kaludiya” A La Carte restaurant at the Heritance Kandalama Hotel. This grilled lobster – a favourite dish of tourists -- that Kumara photographed before enjoying it, cost Rs3,100 [£ 15.50; $ 23.84].

Lobster dinner © B Kumarasiri

Personally, I loathe lobster as a result of a surfeit when I was living on the tiny island of Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) in 1966. Part of my job as barman at Foxy’s Bar (famous today as the best happening Caribbean yacht destination) was to help cook lobsters in oil drums on the beach brought by fishermen for transhipment to a restaurant on the neighbouring US Virgin island of St Thomas. That meant I used to eat lobster for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Enough!

Gone Man Squared

When I left England 50 years ago, having reached retirement age as a teenage poet, I went first to Las Palmas, Canary Islands, with a commission to write a book about the filming of Wonderful Life starring Cliff Richard. The filming finished, the book never happened, and I stayed on until I had to make a hasty exit in 1966. At the airport I took the first plane out which happened to be bound for San Juan, Puerto Rico, from where I eventually washed up in the BVI and was given a berth by Foxy to run his bar after the previous barman, coincidentally called Roy, had been murdered.

Signed and paperback editions are now available

I was writing still poetry and now those poems of my wanderlusting, beat generation years have been published by Kicks Books of New York, and reviews are trickling in. "First appearance of the British beat king's early works in over 50 years. Royston, who vanished from Britain in 1963, was THE paperback writer - as referenced by those Beatles guys. In fact, the Silver Beetles (with Stu Sutcliffe) backed Ellis and his 'rocketry' in Liverpool, as did Jimmy Page, who wrote the foreword. These writings 1958-1962 fill in an unwritten chapter in British beat history." 128 pages; paperback. http://www.othermusic.com/products

Copies are also available direct from the publisher on http://nortonrecords.com/kicksbooks/ellis.php
If this isn’t your cup of tea, please pass on the link to the erstwhile beats, beatniks, hippies, mods & rockers, jazz aficionados and poetry lovers in your life.
Meanwhile, watch out for this perfume!

Rave, the perfume inspired by Gone Man Squared.

Rave on!

Beat regards



Danke Premasiri,

für die weiteren Newsletter!

den Paan Man (in wechselnder Person) haben wir übrigens auch schon öfter in SL angetroffen. :vorsicht:

Liebe Grüsse an Dich, Biggi


Well-known member

Tropical Topics, Sunday 25 August 2013.
Welcome to today’s tropical topics: squid, hotels, steam, and the world’s first beat perfume.

Freshly caught squid

There must have been a glut of squid (calamari) last week because one evening a van stopped outside the cottage with dozens of them for sale. We bought 3kg for Rs750 [ £ $] and I wish I’d bought more because they were fresh and tender and delicious when Kumara cut some into rings and tossed them in garlic and butter as a nibble with cocktails.

Squid sizzling in garlic

The River House

The River House is 10 years old, and I stayed there for the first time last week. Originally it was a village headman’s house that became a guesthouse until taken over by the Sri Lankan designer and entrepreneur, nicknamed Taru. She demolished it and built her own version of the place she would like to stay in: just four suites in one house and another in a separate villa; with a swimming pool and boat mooring, set in seven acres of woodland on the southern bank of the Madu Ganga (river) at Balapitiya.

Bright clean towels beside the pool © B Kumarasiri

Now owned and run by Asia Leisure Hotels it provides just that: comfortable – if staid – accommodation to enjoy leisure in an Asian tropical garden. It’s a reassuringly tranquil setting where the sun reflects off the placid waters of the broad river. Dining takes place at tables on one veranda with river view while the adjoining veranda has smart white sofas smothered in plump cushions for enjoying sundowners.

Kirinda suite with walled garden © B Kumarasiri

My room, Kirinda, had a private walled garden with a pond and a bathroom with doors opening onto the lawn. The bedroom was huge but sombre and it was only when I had the air-conditioning turned off, the ceiling fan turned on, and threw open the doors that it became less claustrophobic. Something new for me in a hotel room was a serving hatch to the kitchen that, when opened, revealed a handbell to ring for service. The bed tea arrived there promptly at 7am. Also welcome were the plentiful ashtrays, often hard to find in hotels these days.

Lanka Railway Digest

Lanka Railway Digest cover

The latest edition of the Lanka Railway Digest (LRD) has just been published and it is packed with photographs, both of the new S11 DMU (from India) and some evocative photos of steam, including an NG steam engine and BG Garratts. The magazine also carries a review (by me, actually) of Hemasiri Fernando’s fascinating account of creating “The Viceroy Special.”

Photos of the past in LRD

For more information about this great magazine, email

lankarailwaydigest@gmail.com or go to the website of the group producing it, the Ceylon Railway Enthusiasts’ Circle, at http://www.ceylonrail.net

TCK 6685

As well as reading about trains in Sri Lanka you can also experience how it must have been to travel in a wooden carriage in the days of steam. At one of the most unusual hotels in the world, converted out of a silent (abandoned) tea factory, the Heritance Tea Factory Hotel looks from the inside as though it has been assembled from a gigantic Meccano set. There are girders, fly wheels, pulleys and huge wooden fans from the time tea (not tourism) was king.

Tea Factory hotel's pulley operated tea drying fan

Accommodation is cosy.

Room 416 Tea Factory © B Kumarasiri

There is also a fine dining restaurant in a converted narrow gauge (2’6”) 3[SUP]rd[/SUP] class railway carriage. Parked at 6,850ft above sea level, it is Sri Lanka’s highest restaurant, and has a special (but non functioning) station named Hethersett after the tea estate.

Rail restaurant

With space for 16 diners and service by a steward dressed as a guard (who blows a whistle to announce each course) the carriage rocks as though on a journey through the hills while steam-train sound effects play between nostalgic music. The original luggage rack has become a shelf of wine bottles.

Wine stored in the luggage rack
The menu consists of seven courses (Rs7,500 [£ 37.50; $ 57.70] with several choices for each course; most feature tea in some form. As my main course I chose duck breast and even that came with tealeaf garnish.

Tea leaf garnish

No newsletter?

Bob, a friend from the 1960s living in Guernsey and who’s visited Sri Lanka a few times, very kindly sent me this email last Sunday: Alas my Sunday morning is ruined…no newsletter from Royston in Sri Lanka!
My apologies to Bob and all subscribers for the late delivery of last week’s newsletter. I don’t understand what happened but if the newsletter doesn’t arrive at the usual time at the weekend, then go to www.roystonellis.com/blog to see it online.

Gone Man Squared

From the Kicks Books newsletter:
“GONE MAN SQUARED by Britain's teen king Beat poet '58, Royston Ellis, will be the first Kicks Book to see release in simultaneous print and electronic editions. GONE MAN SQUARED appears in three different print editions-- as our traditional "hip pocket paperback", in a first-time ever dust-jacketed paperback, and in a boxed, numbered special edition for which Royston has signed the limited dust jackets.

“Each Kicks Book enjoys a signature promotional fragrance. RAVE is the "World's First Beat Perfume". It is a poetic concoction packaged in a presentation box with an individual antique typewriter key as a nod to the paperback cover, which shows a young Royston Ellis banging away at his typewriter... you should know that RAVE was the title of our hero's second book, originally published in 1960, and seeing print again here for the first time in history.”

Signed and paperback editions

The book - with its preface by Jimmy Page - and the exquisite cardamom themed Rave perfume, are available direct from: http://nortonrecords.com/kicksbooks/ellis.php or for the Kindle version go to http://www.amazon.com

Beat regards


wünsche allen einen schönen Sonntag ohne Sorgen



Well-known member
Joe ich auch...sieht sehr lecker aus....Royston weis was gut ist...seine Drinks/Cocktails bei ihm zu Hause sind legendär...die vergisst man nie auch nicht seine Spitzenweine...

LG Premasiri
Zuletzt bearbeitet:


Danke für die Grüsse Biggi..stehe noch neben den Schuhen...

Hallo Premasiri, fühl Dich fest gedrückt von uns!

Zu den NL von Royston,

ich lese sie einfach zu gern, gerade weil er immer wieder Interessantes entdeckt und viele Tips gibt.

Liebe Grüsse aus dem verregneten Koblenz, Biggi


Well-known member
TROPICAL TOPICS, Sunday 1[SUP]st[/SUP] September 2013.
Welcome to this week’s newsletter touching on road signs, a mountain retreat and a rare map.

Made in Sri Lanka
I did last week’s shopping while visiting Balangoda, a busy town in central Sri Lanka that has given its name to Homosapiens balangodensis since it was near there that skeletons of Stone-Age men, dubbed Balangoda man, have been found. I found a packet of breakfast cereal called Kurakkan Crunch and since kurakkan flour is gluten-free (it’s made from finger millet) I decided to try it.

Finger millet (Courtesy Wikipedia)

The 150g box (with two sealed sachets of cereal) cost Rs 150 [£ 0.73; US$ 1.15] and proclaimed it as having been awarded “The Most Innovative Product” & “Product with Local Raw Material” in 2007 by Sri Lanka Food Processors Association. “No preservatives, artificial colours, artificial flavours.” The ingredients were listed as “kurakkan, minerals & vitamins” and the box recommends that the cereal be enjoyed with milk and fruit or “eaten on its own.”

Crunchy but tasteless

It is an unappetising grey-green colour and looks like the pellets given to poultry and has a taste of cardboard when eaten “on its own.”. Milk and kithul honey helped jazz it up a bit but I can’t say I enjoyed it very much.

Kelburne: a secret revealed

Kelburne Bungalows are on a private tea estate (c) B Kumarasiri

Kelburne Mountain View Resort is certainly that – sensational views from a plateau 1,300m (4,500ft) above a stippled quilt of hills and hazy plains stretching for 40km to Kataragama and the south coast. I first heard about Kelburne at a diplomatic function in Colombo in the early 1990s when someone whispered its name as the best place in Sri Lanka to “get away from it all.” It was a secret until I stayed there and wrote about in The Sunday Telegraph and other UK newspapers.

In those days a bungalow cost Rs2,000 [£ 9.75; $ 15.38]; now it’s ten times that price, but still worth it. There are three bungalows (with log fires in their parlours), all different. My favourite is Wildflower Cottage although it is at the foot of a flight of granite steps so I didn’t leave it once settled in. Meals were brought by Ravi, who has been stewarding there for 16 years, and we enjoyed breakfast on the terrace with its breathtaking views.

Kelburne: ready for breakfast on the terrace (c) B Kumarasiri

The climate is always bracing, the air crisp and fresh, and the surrounding scenery the source of Sri Lanka’s best tea. The bungalows were once the homes of the superintendents of what remains as a 45-acre estate. Close by is Lipton’s Seat where Sir Thomas of that ilk sat at 6,000ft above sea level to survey his domains; today it is a tourist attraction.

Commemorating my 10th visit in 1997 (c) B Kumarasiri

Wild signs

I’ve featured odd roads signs before, and my travels during the last couple of weeks have been especially fruitful in revealing some curiosities. On the road to the Heritance Tea Factory Hotel these wild signs added to the enjoyment of the scenery.

Hare today, gone tomorrow?
Wild sign

The road to Lipton’s Seat is rich in reading material. There are rocks painted with slogans urging visitors to respect the beauty of nature, which the signs, although neat, themselves desecrate. But the journey was brightened by these warnings.

Who's crossing now?
Not a hare out of place?

This sign still has me puzzled as to what it really means. I suppose the author wanted to state that water should always be boiled before drinking it.

But what does it mean?

Ceylon 1756

However much I resolve to give up collecting antique maps of Sri Lanka I can’t resist a bargain when I see one. That’s what happened with this 1756 map of Ceylon by Thomas Jefferys. Jefferys was Royal Cartographer to King George III and specialised in compiling and re-engraving earlier maps by cartographers. In the case of this map, it has borrowed from the Bellin map of “Ceylan” of 1750 (a copy of which I also recently bought), putting place names in English instead of French.

Ceylon by Thomas Jefferys, 1756

I found it at an on-line auction and amazingly was the only bidder so it came to me at its reserve price. The framing will probably cost more than the map!

Don’t forget
With the slogan “Bringing a smile to those who cannot remember” the Sri Lanka Alzheimer’s Foundation (www.alzlanka.org) supports a centre for those with Alzheimer’s. To raise funds they are having a draw, and the organisers say We need your support to help us sustain the services offered. Should you be interested in supporting this worthy cause, please volunteer to sell, or purchase books of raffle tickets. Each book is priced at Rs 500/- [£ 2.44; $ 3.84] i.e.10 tickets per book at the rate of Rs. 50/- per ticket.” (Cheques to Lanka Alzheimer’s Foundation, 110 Ketawalumulla Lane, Colombo 10, Sri Lanka).
The draw takes place on Saturday 21 September, which is globally recognised as World Alzheimer’s Day.

Gone Man Squared
The reaction to the publication of my beat generation poetry is gathering momentum. The cover has been featured in the booksellers’ prime source of information, Publisher’s Weekly, with a profile about the publisher. And Mark Lewisohn the author of the colossal The Beatles: All These Years, Vol 1: Tune In due to be published in a 1,000 page mass market version in October, has this to say: “Gone Man Squared arrived a few days ago, so I took it with me to Liverpool for a dirty weekend. I'm delighted with it… Great intro too by Jimmy Page: you surely couldn't have wished for a better endorsement.”
Signed, paperbacks and Kindle versions now available.
The book can be purchased direct from the publisher: http://nortonrecords.com/kicksbooks/ellis.php or through www.amazon.com which, incidentally, carries this newsletter every week.

Beat regards
Royston Ellis
(Erstwhile beat poet)

LG Premasiri


Hallo Premasiri,


Von dem Kelburne Mountain View Resort in Haputale hab ich auch noch nichts gehört. Wieder mal ein super Tip! Ich nehme an der Preis von 2000 Rps. gilt pro Person im Bunglow. Finde ich, nachdem ich die Webseite gesehen hab, einen günstigen Preis.

Liebe Grüsse, Biggi


Liebe Biggi,
wenn ich das richtig verstanden habe, hat das Bungalow in den 90er Jahren 2.000 Rs. gekostet. Jetzt sind es "ten times that price", also 20.000 Rs. Auf der Homepage habe ich auf die Schnelle allerdings keine Preise erspähen können.

Pak Bahasa

Hallo Mädels,

haputale.de gibt die Preise (off season) mit 14.000 - 17.000 Rs. zzgl. Steuern für die Bungalows an (Stand März 2012). Dürfte sich inzwischen also auch noch ein wenig nach oben verändert haben.

LG Joerg


Well-known member

TROPICAL TOPICS, Sunday 8 September 2013.
Greetings - with this week’s topics touching on cookies, nuts, trains and a video link for women visitors to Sri Lanka.

Made in Sri Lanka - Cookies!

It was the attractive packing, in a simple brown paper bag with an enticing label, that made me buy these Chocolate Chip Cookies – since I can’t eat them as I am allergic to both wheat flour and chocolate. The ingredients are “wheat flour, sugar, vegetable fat, cocoa powder, milk powder and leavening agents, salt, soya, Lecithin and permitted flavour.” Ten cookies (100g) cost Rs140 [£ 0.70; $ 1.07]

Eat chocolate chip cookies for charity

These cookies are manufactured by a charity, Sahan Sevana, with help from Ceylon Biscuits Ltd as a “Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative.” The members of Sahan Sevana, according to the package, “have certain disabilities” and the charity helps them with employment, part of which is the manufacture of “hand-crafted confections.” The cookies must be good, as there were none left at home the day after I bought them.


I went by Rajadhani carriage attached daily (except Thursdays) to the 06.55 departure from Colombo station, via Bentota, to Galle last week, and back by the 15.20 departure from Galle the next day. The one-way fare from and to any station between Colombo and Matara is Rs990 [£ 4.95; $ 7.60] and tickets have to be booked in advance online (www.rajadhani.lk).

The Rajadhani special AC carriage
With 48 comfortable, reclining seats, snacks and soft drinks service from a menu, and air-conditioning (when it’s working) this is a much better way to travel by train than standing in the 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] & 3[SUP]rd[/SUP] class carriages, which are always full.

Tamarind Hill

I stayed in Galle at Tamarind Hill, an impressive colonial style bungalow inland from the Lighthouse package tour hotel on the coast. The veranda entrance of Tamarind Hill leads to a parlour and a long table under a gaily coloured, restored punkah fan, the kind that used to be operated by a “punkah wallah” pulling and releasing a cord to create a cool breeze long before air-conditioning changed lives.

Tamarind Hill, restored punkah

Blessed with space, wooden floors and high ceilings, and a garden courtyard with 10 rooms, the hotel has an air-conditioned restaurant on one side veranda and non-a/c restaurant on the opposite side. There is cosy air-conditioned, glass walled bar snuggled in between columned arches in the centre, decorated in regal style wallpaper with swivelling stools and a brass foot rail. Drinks are stored in two white painted glass fronted bookcases.

Tamarind Hill garden courtyard
I stayed in the Captain’s Suite, one of two on the top floor of the main mansion and was thrilled by its long, wooden floored bathroom and carefully selected accoutrements including soap prettily presented on a leaf on a wedge of stone.

Tamarind Hill, leaf & stone soap dish
Another first-time experience for me was the presentation of an evening snack of sour woodapple, to be spooned from the shell, and a clay pot of sweet jaggery; a delicious taste combination.

Tamarind Hill bedroom snack
For dinner indulged in one of my favourites, billed on the menu as rack of lamb but actually three lamb chops heavily marinated in fresh rosemary and presented with neatly chopped ratatouille and rice (Rs3,250 [£ 16.25; $ $ 25].)

Tamarind Hill lamb chops
Quite a surprise when I stumbled upstairs after dinner to find an elephant in my bedroom.

Tamarind Hill, towel elephant

Betel Nuts

In Newsletter 174, I featured a walking paan man (betel nut seller). In Haputale, just by the railway crossing, opposite the halal chicken butcher and below the High Cliffe Bar & Hotel, there is another betel nut trader.

He sits all day on his haunches under an umbrella (to protect him from sun as well as rain) offering his delicacies for sale to the addicted. And it does take an addiction to enjoy chewing the betel nut wrapped in a betel leaf and then spitting out the crimson residue.

Betel nut & leaf seller
In the photo above can be seen the green husked betel nut (areca nut, the seed of the areca palm, [areca catechu]). This is peeled and then sliced into pieces to be chewed, with the addition of a green betel leaf like those stored under the seller’s newspaper.

Have Fun & Stay Safe

This is the title of a video just released by the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) with the participation of some of the lady consular wardens, who can be seen genteelly sitting on a British High Commission settee and dispensing sound, if rather matronly, advice. This is part of the FCO’s focus “on increasing and making mainstream the global use of social media and digital tools to raise awareness of and to provide consular and crisis services.”

It is intended as a message about the safety of the woman traveller visiting Sri Lanka and has presumably been necessary as some female visitors aren’t aware of the differences in culture between east and west. I wonder when the FCO will issue a similar video to help the male visitor? It’s on

Gone Man Squared

Apologies for blowing my own trumpet, or beating my own drum, but I do so to promote my latest book, a collection of beat generation poems called Gone Man Squared and published by Kicks Books of New York. The publisher, Miriam Linna, is famous in her own right as a rock drummer and recently sent me this encouraging comment: “I love your writing, Royston. You are an important person in music, literature, and pop culture... and having this book out will fill in the blanks for many readers. I sure hope to meet you some day!”

Days & nights of the British beat generation in raunchy poems.
The paperback book or Kindle version is available direct from: http://nortonrecords.com/kicksbooks/ellis.php or through www.amazon.com.

Beat regards
Royston Ellis

regnerische Grüsse aus der Schweiz Premasiri


Hallo Premasiri,

Zug fahren auf Sri Lanka ist toll! Diese Strecke aus dem NL führt immer am Meer entlang.
Ich bin da schon gefahren, das ist klasse :fing002:

Das Tamarind Hill sieht auch sehr gut aus! Das habe ich mal notiert ;) .


Well-known member
Hallo Premasiri,

Zug fahren auf Sri Lanka ist toll! Diese Strecke aus dem NL führt immer am Meer entlang.
Ich bin da schon gefahren, das ist klasse :fing002:

Das Tamarind Hill sieht auch sehr gut aus! Das habe ich mal notiert ;) .
Hallo Claudia,

Bin schon mehrere Male in Sri Lanka Zug gefahren...Bentota Colombo, Bentota Welligama...am schönsten war es aber von Nanu Oya nach Hatton. Im Hochland gefällt es mir sowie so sehr gut.

Das Tamarind Hill gefällt mir auch....

LG Premasiri