Archive for March, 2014


Sunday, March 30th, 2014

ROYSTON REPORTS, Number 205, 30 March 2014

Welcome to readers around the world to this final edition of my weekly report on tropical topics. But read on…

Indian Oak

1 Fallen flower

Last Sunday, while having lunch at a table set up in the shade of a venerable tree in the garden, I began to wonder about the flowers that lay strewn around the lawn. I was told the local name of the tree is Mudilla and, thanks to Ruk Rakaganno, the Tree Society of Sri Lanka, I learn that the tree only flowers in the evening.

True enough, the next day soon after dawn, I saw the tree had several flowers greeting the sun, nestled within the shade of large, glossy and dark green leaves crowded in bunches at the ends of the branches. By breakfast they had fallen to the ground.

Barringtonia asiatica abloom

Barringtonia asiatica abloom

The flowers are fairly large (about 12cm wide) and have four thick, waxy petals, with many pink tipped stamens. There is no flowering season so we see them all year round. The wood of the tree is soft and white and is used to make boats, cabinets and other furniture including the inner fittings of railway carriages, and bullock carts are made of this wood. The leaves, seeds and bark are used for medicinal purposes.

Mudilla is indigenous to Sri Lanka and is known as Midella and Diya Mudilla in Sinhalese. In Tamil it is called Arattam. The common name is the Indian Oak. The scientific name is  Barringtonia asiatica. There are two varieties, the racemosa bearing pink flowers and the asiatica bearing white flowers.

Spot the blooms

Spot the blooms

Saffron & Blue

It seems that every spare perch of beach along the west coast where I live is being walled off by new hotels. However, look carefully and there are a few villa and bungalow style hotels defying the urge to expand and retaining the reassuring calm of a small exclusive, boutique property.

One of the most unusual is Saffron & Blue. It’s unusual because it isn’t a conversion of an old mansion but a comparatively new building designed as a residence for guests by Channa Daswatte, one time protégé of the renowned Sri Lanka modernist architect, Geoffrey Bawa .

Although the clean lines, concrete columns and air flows of a Bawa-inspired building are evident, Daswatte has added his own touches: a flair for the bizarre and for creating spaces that are fun as well as practical.

Heart of Saffron & Blue

Heart of Saffron & Blue

The heart is a mini-atrium railed by first and second floor galleries serving as links between the villa’s two wings with a spacious master bedroom, two second floor bedrooms, and an amusing ground floor double bed room featuring an unusual staircase made out of hollow wooden cubes, which leads to an attic where there is another bed, suitable for junior.

Saffron & Blue bedroom staircase

Saffron & Blue bedroom staircase

The other side of the central atrium is the dining room, which has an enormous square table with seating for three guests on each of its four sides.

Although the beach and the sea are a few paces away, the villa garden and its enticing swimming pool are walled off from the beach because of the private, exclusive nature of the property.

Saffron & Blue square table for 12

Saffron & Blue square table for 12

Managed by Jetwing, this unusual small hotel, popular wit Sri Lankans as well as expatriate residents escaping the city, has all the attributes of a boutique property as well as input characteristic of Jetwing properties, such as fine dining, good housekeeping, attentive service and even special varieties of tea produced exclusively for Jetwing:

Flutterbye typos

I’m grateful to a keen eyed reader, and butterfly fan, for spotting these typos copied from source in last week’s newsletter:

Sri Lanka Tree Nymph (Idea lasonia)= Idea iasonia. 

Blue Glassy Tiger (Ideopsis simils)= Ideopsis similis

Sri Lanka Lesser Albatross (Appias galena) = Appias galene

Banded Peacock (Paplilo cino) = Papilio crino

Spot Swordtail (Graphiu nomius) = Graphium nomius

Baronet (Symphadria nais) = Symphaedra nais



Thank you to loyal readers around the world for your support and comments during the past four years of the circulation of this weekly newsletter on tropical topics.

Full Moon Chronicle coming soon

Full Moon Chronicle coming soon

Now, for various reasons, I am changing the publishing schedule of Royston Reports from weekly to lunar monthly. So the next issue, named Full Moon Chronicle, will be circulated on Monday 16 April 2014 and subsequently each full moon day. If you don’t receive it when the moon is full, please go straight to my website: and read it there.

In the meantime, here is an update about my books in print.


The Beat Poems of Royston Ellis (complete & unabridged) with an introduction by Jimmy Page.

The Collected Beat Poems

The Collected Beat Poems

Available as a hip pocket paperback from Kicks Books on  and the perfume the poetry inspired, called Rave, with its stirring notes of cardamom, can be bought online from the same website.

The eBook version of Gone Man Squared can be downloaded instantly from


14. Jet & Royston, 1959. From THE BIG BEAT SCENE

(Photo above) Jet Harris with Royston in 1959 from: The Big Beat Scene – “An Outspoken Expose of the Teenage World of Rock and Roll. First published in 1961, republished with a new foreword and afterword in 2010. Essential reading to understand the dawn of the Swinging Sixties.”


The fifth edition published in 2014 of this comprehensive guide to Sri Lanka revealing secrets only a long time resident would know.

Coming Soon


A Rock and Roll Memoir by Royston Ellis

Coming soon

Coming soon

Until the April full moon, beat regards.

Royston Ellis