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Happy New Year!

Monday, April 14th, 2014

Happy New Year!

ROYSTON REPORTS Number 206   The Full Moon Chronicle, Monday 14 April 2014

Welcome to the first edition of my new lunar monthly email newsletter from Sri Lanka.

Poya Day

Full Moon over Horizon Cottage (B Kumarasiri)

Full Moon over Horizon Cottage (B Kumarasiri)

In Sri Lanka Monday 14 April is the Bak Full Moon day; it also happens to be the Sinhala and Tamil New Year. The day of the Full Moon is known as a Poya Day in Sri Lanka and is marked by a public, bank and mercantile holiday, with most places closed and with the sale of alcohol and meat on this day being banned.

The celebration of the Full Moon has it roots in history. In ancient times Asian ascetics made it a practice to cease worldly pursuits and engage in religious activities on Full Moon days. It became a government decreed public holiday throughout Sri Lanka in 1966 to celebrate the lunar rituals of the traditional Buddhist calendar.

It was on the Bak Full Moon Poya day, in the fiftieth year of his enlightenment, that the Buddha perceived with his divine eye a dispute brewing between the two Sri Lankan Naga communities. So the Buddha visited Sri Lanka and preached his doctrine illustrating the evils of discord and the value and benefits that accrue from unity and peaceful co-existence.

Full Moon at dawn

Full Moon at dawn

The lesson to be learned on this Bak Full Moon Poya Day is that victory brings hatred and the vanquished live in misery. One whose mind is calm, tranquil and undisturbed lives happily.

The next Full Moon is on Wednesday 14 May, 2014, so check on the new website www.roystonellis.org or www.roystonellis.com on that day for the next Full Moon Chronicle.

Living Heritage

This is the name of an amazing boutique hotel set in 80 acres of forest at Koslanda in the lush hill country of Sri Lanka. And it only has four accommodation units.

I use the term “units” deliberately because the rooms, being self-contained suites, are unlike any others in Sri Lanka. The sense of being in for a rare experience begins at Beragala junction where the A4 narrows and winds through woods and passes a sign reading “Motor Bus Halting Place” near a round red Georgian pillar box.

Koslanda ancient bus halt

Koslanda ancient bus halt

The hotel’s website instructs drivers to turn at the 203.3km stone mark by a blue house. The house is now orange, but its gate is blue. The website also claims that the hotel is 20 minutes from Haputale Railway Station but by road it takes a good 30 minutes longer than that.

Koslanda Living Herritage long veranda

Koslanda Living Herritage long veranda

The main accommodation consists of three suites linked by a long veranda, with an ancient sedan chair setting the tone for pure relaxation. Step through the heavy beamed doorway of a suite and you really do step back in time with a meda malawa (ancient style courtyard) in the centre. The bedroom leads off this and each suite also has a modern bathroom and an open air Jacuzzi.

Koslanda Living Heritage suite courtyard

Koslanda Living Heritage suite courtyard

Standing alone near the gate is the fourth suite, a granite brick cottage of formidable exterior and cosy interior with, instead of a veranda, an entire ambalama (pavilion) for private relaxation.

Koslanda Living Heritage gate house

Koslanda Living Heritage gate house

Deep within the hotel’s private forest, a perfect stamping ground for trekkers, is a delightful waterfall and a cool jungle pool. There is a real swimming pool stretching into infinity overlooking paddy fields atop a small hill.

Koslanda Living Heritage is deliberately named to record the story behind its creation. The buildings have been constructed and positioned according to traditional Sri Lankan architecture and astrology. The management stresses that because of its creation jobs were created for local craftsmen who used traditional materials and building methods, some of which had to be re-learned and revived. The place’s attraction for guests is being able to step back in time but with all modern comforts. (www.koslanda.com)

 

Gliding Butterfly

A reader writes:

“I was very interested to learn that the Sri Lankan provinces now each have their own butterfly.  You are fortunate to have the iconic Tree Nymph for your province.   It has the most graceful and mesmerizing flight of them all and it might be apt to quote from Bernard D’Abrera’s classic work The Butterflies of Ceylon in which he said the following:

“The flight of this huge insect is a thing wondrous to behold….floating and      sailing like a paper glider from the tops of trees or hills down to the water’s edge.   These butterflies convey a sensation of great calm and to me are perhaps more reminiscent of a Paradise Lost, than any other animate creature”.

Tree nymph

Tree nymph

“There are at least five other Indo-Australasian Tree Nymphs within the genus Idea but the Sri Lankan or Indian one (iasonia or jasonia) is the largest and most spectacular in my view.”

Spiked Drinks

The latest advice for visitors to Sri Lanka issued by the British government contains a warning that drinks in southern coastal resorts might be spiked! My advice for tourists is to be aware that forged large denomination (Rs5,000 & Rs2,000 & Rs1,000) currency notes are in circulation in Sri Lanka so only accept such notes from banks or licensed money changers. https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/sri-lanka

Bombay Velvet

Not a spiked drink but the title of a big budget Bollywood movie filmed in Sri Lanka, according to this fascinating article:

http://travmedia.com/Login/Redirect/28096/d02afbd2fa827bf70a4b463eb8c4dcaa5e900a5e/Company/ShowPressrelease/171214

Guidance

A great comment from a reader of my Bradt Guide to Sri Lanka.

“Well here we are back in the UK after a wonderful three week holiday and its no exaggeration to say we are truly “hooked” on the Country and its people!

“Sri Lanka and its people are a joy to encounter, we met so many lovely folk and experienced such a blend of culture and humour the likes of which we could never have imagined. We came away thinking that other societies may be wealthier in material terms but Sri Lankans are rich beyond comparison in their humanity; of course you will have realised this a long time ago!

“Thanks to you and your excellent book we had a real head start to our trip and I have just ordered the 5th edition to lend to a friend who is planning a trip over.”

The Bradt Guide to Sri Lanka is available direct from: http://www.bradtguides.com/Book/622/Sri-Lanka.html

Sweet Ebony

A rollicking read

A rollicking read

http://kicksbooks.blogspot.com/2014/04/royston-ellis-series-launches-with.html

I am delighted to announce that a retrospective of my oeuvre (my writing since 1959) is gradually being published in separate paperback volumes by the enlightened and enterprising New York publisher, Kicks Books, a division of Norton Records.

The first volume, published in 2013, was a collection of my beat poetry with an introduction by Jimmy Page, Gone Man Squared .

Just published by Kicks Books (as a paperback and as a Kindle) is my novel Sweet Ebony, a rollicking romp of a story about four women on safari in search of the “F word” (fulfilment, of course) in 1970’s Kenya.

The plan is for a new volume to be published every month, so watch each issue of Full Moon Chronicle for more details.

Sweet reading

Sweet reading

Sweet Ebony Kicks Books hip pocket paperback is available by mail from:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sweet-Ebony-Royston-Ellis/dp/1940157072/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1396574649&sr=1-1&keywords=Sweet+Ebony

Sweet Ebony Kicks Books Kindle ebook from:

http://www.amazon.com/Sweet-Ebony-Royston-Ellis-ebook/dp/B00JBV49Q0/ref=sr_1_1_bnp_1_kin?ie=UTF8&qid=1396526423&sr=8-1&keywords=sweet+ebony

Some of my other books can be ordered via my bookshop website: http://www.roystonellis.org/Books_on_line.html

Sweet reading.

Royston Ellis