Archive for June, 2010


Friday, June 25th, 2010

Greetings from Sri Lanka, once known as “A Land Like No Other,” an apt slogan as we shall see. But first some tips.

Writing Tips

I sometimes get asked for advice from people who say they want to be a writer. They seem to think being a writer is easy, as though I have a magic laptop that I just touch and it writes what I want, and the royalties roll in.

They can’t believe that to be a writer requires a dedication and discipline that few people have. Luckily, that can be learned, as can the technicalities. But you must have the passion.

I have drawn up a list of Ten Tips For Aspiring Writers, and will post a couple of them each week in this newsletter.

  1. Stop aspiring and get on with it. Don’t daydream about being a writer and think how wonderful it must be. Don’t daydream about the story you can write, get on with it.
  2. How? Start by reading. No one can write without reading. Don’t use the “I don’t want to be influenced by other writers” excuse. Read everything from newspaper columnists to the classics; from drivel to the inspired.

(To be continued next week!)


Ducks at Horizon

Ducks at Horizon

I have always been fond of ducks and we used to have them at Horizon Cottage and enjoyed their eggs and their company, until snakes decided to take an interest in them. Now I have these jolly cement ones instead lining the drive.

I saw these other ducks on parade in the restaurant at Mount Field Cottage, where I

Ducks at Mount Field Cottage

Ducks at Mount Field Cottage

stayed last weekend. Look behind them to see three jackfruit sprouting from the trunk of the tree that grows through the restaurant’s roof.


Mount Field Cottage is actually a cluster of cabanas and apartments on the hillside outside Haldummulla, 178km or about four hour’s drive east into the hills from Colombo. It’s a marvellous folly in 22 acres of woodland and tea gardens, with rooms built of stone and timber and rocks forming the furniture.

The food is deliciously Sri Lankan, made with home grown or organic produce, and prepared by a young chef who knows his onions, or by the owner himself.

Fool in the pool

Fool in the pool

It’s the place to try a real Sri Lankan breakfast. After a session in the cottage garden’s cool rock pool I was able to do justice to a repast of steaming beef curry, lentil curry, white coconut sauce (kiri hodi), tempered potatoes, coconut sambol (a spicy relish), egg hoppers (a rice-flour pancake with an egg in the centre) plain

Breakfast at Mount Field Cottage

Breakfast at Mount Field Cottage

hoppers, string hoppers (like a nest of noodles), roti and two kinds of bread: supermarket slices and a village loaf freshly baked in a wood fired oven.

Organic Tea

Ogranic Tea

Ogranic Tea

Sri Lanka boasts the world’s first certified organic tea gardens. But what is organic tea and can you really taste the difference?

I doubt that you can tell whether the tea you drink has been organically grown or drenched with chemical fertilisers.

In theory, though, organic tea is better tea because it is produced with natural enhancers, such as a slurry of dried cow dung, ground eggshells, cow horn and flower seeds, and small rocks ground to a fine dust to produce calcium silica.

This, if applied according to nature’s habits and rhythms as set out in old almanacs indicating when are root, leaf, flower and seed days coinciding with the descent and ascent of the moon and the sun, is the secret of organic tea.

It’s all here in my newest eBook “Organic Tea, A Better Life” available for downloading from

Like I said, Sri Lanka is a land like no other.

Big Beat Scene regards,