12 Things To Do In Mannar


Jutting out into the Palk Strait and connected to mainland Sri Lanka by a three kilometre long causeway, Mannar is just thirty kilometres from India. The dry, sandy and laid back Mannar Island where donkeys roam the streets, is surrounded by blue seas. It is a great place for a few days stay and here’s…

Weekend At The Blue Magpie


  We spent a weekend at he Blue Magpie Lodge in Kudawa, Sri Lanka, using it as a base for visiting Sinharaja Forest. We left Colombo at dawn and drove to Ambalama – a roadside cafe in Hanwella, for a fine Sri Lankan breakfast of freshly made hoppers – pancakes made with rice flour and coconut milk…

Brunch In The Bush


The oarsman beached the boat. It was painted blue and the man was wearing a blue sarong. Three young women in blue traditional dress stepped out of the dugout canoe. They were wearing white necklaces and had white flowers in their hair. They carried wicker baskets full of hoppers, milk-rice, fish curry and Sri Lankan sweets to…

Weekend At Jetwing Surf


It was already dark when we reached Jetwing Surf. From Pottuvil on the east coast of Sri Lanka, a fleet of Tuk-Tuks ferried us to the little seaside hotel – the coach could not negotiate the narrow roads. With twenty cabanas in a seven acre coconut grove, Jetwing Surf looked pretty. We checked-in, sipped chilled…

Road To Pottuvil


  The coach sped along the Southern Expressway. We ate stuffed roti and egg buns from the picnic box and sipped mineral water from glass bottles. It was six thirty in the morning. The motorway service station was packed. The sun was beating down and men and women were eating breakfast in shady corners. There were queues…

Christmas 2019


  This year we celebrated  Christmas at Nick & Renu’s house in London. Rani & I  drove down from Harrogate on the 23rd and Dilu, Nadja, Alma & Lottie came over from Germany. It was three days of foodie fun   That evening, Renu cooked sausages in onion sauce and mash with lots of cream…

Up & Down The Great Wall


Is there anything new to say about the Great Wall of China? You already know that many of the 400,000 – give or take the odd soldier and peasant, that died building the 22,000 kms long wall from the seventh century BC to 1878 are buried within the wall, and in 2007 a British couple…

Hutongs Of Beijing


“A square foot of property in Beijing costs 54,000 Yuan” Kathy said. That is about £6500. The average size of an apartment is 100 square feet and a young couples would struggle most of their life to pay the mortgage     Not everybody in Beijing is keen to live in high-rise apartment blocks. Many…

Beijing – Beaming Down & Settling In


I flew to Beijing with Etihad on an 18-day Ancient China Tour arranged by Wendy Wu Tours. It was my first visit to China, first flight with Etihad and the first tour with Wendy Wu.     The Chinese visa application form is the most complicated such document I have ever encountered and an absurd…