Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Sue Lawley!

Only two weeks before I return home, it’ll be awful weather, I don’t actually have a home, and I haven’t finished my book. It makes me melancholy just to think about it, I know I need time to organise my next trip, I need personal space and a reliable Internet connection. I have none of them in Wales, anyone know of a warm little cottage for rent, I only need it for about six months? Isn’t it strange that so many offers to put me up fall on deaf ears? Yet however much reassurance folk give me, however obliging they are, I feel I’m intruding on their lives, that I’m imposing, it isn’t where I belong. In the last 11 months, I’ve spent over six of them abroad, on a succession of trips to various places. Sri Lanka is the place I’ve felt most settled, there again it’s the longest I’ve spent in one place. But I want to sort out the next adventure. I’ve fannied around for too long, whether by horse or bike I am riding off into the sunset next spring, I just have a lot to organise before hand. Documents, permits, visas; whichever method of travel I finally choose there’s paperwork to be sorted. The regulations and travel restrictions for various countries have to be researched, before I can even make a decision. (Photo: Prospective real estate - Kalkudah beach, Sri Lanka)

What I actually mean about the book is that it won’t be quite finished, at least I don’t expect it to be. It’s close, but not close enough! Having written over 200 pages, there can’t be too many more to write. Its 90% complete, which looks good seeing it expressed that way. I’ve just had a couple of days off again, I need a break from the daily chore of writing. Not that it necessarily feels a chore, but with the beach a short walk away, a totally deserted beach at that, it’s often hard not to just go off to the beach for a day in the sun. But right now I'm looking after the guesthouse for Runi! The whole family have gone to Jafna on pilgrimage, leaving me to keep an eye on things. So for the last two days I've had the whole place to myself. Strange, but very nice. (Photo: Let sleeping dogs lie - Rainy wasteland, Kalkudah, Sri Lanka)

One great day when I did go to the beach, I watched half a dozen Brahminy kites and a pair of large eagles. The others were whiter than white over the body and head, then black over their backs and wing tops. They were twice the size of the Brahminy. One chased a kite into the palm trees and emerged with it’s catch, I’d been watching and saw the Brahminy dive and make the catch, it then flew fast and low into the shelter of the palms, but not fast enough. Quite a while was spent just watching the soaring birds, scouring the length of the beach for any carrion before making out across the water for fresher prey. Two of them appeared to be smaller, they seemed more intent on playing around than hunting, now and then one would peal off from its hovering to swoop down at the lower one. Surely a young pair out to play! (Photo: A deeply religious Mantis - Newland guesthouse, Kalkudah, Sri Lanka)

A group of Singalese turned up, important looking people, with a police escort. I thought politicians almost immediately, one pretty fat one made me even more confident in my opinion. But the tinted windows of the police vehicle had done more to confirm it, looking that sinister it had to be people of power, and they weren’t military. Runi confirmed it, it was the opposition leader, the head honcho of the UNP. His brother, a Singalese hotel owner, and the local Tamil MP accompanied him. Despite the ethnic differences the UNP leader is seen as a good man locally, someone who is respected for him support of a shared power structure, equal opportunities for the Tamil population. They’d all come to have a look at the hotel development on Pasakudah beach, the new resort hotel of the brother. Does this, maybe, smack, just a touch, of divided interests? It seems par for the course, the financial interests of top politicians, and families, marring their stance on national policy making. Whatever the political agenda, the rich get richer while the poor pay for it. (Photo: A two dog day, Rainy times - Kalkudah, Sri Lanka)

A Collared Scops Owl came crashing to the ground last night, with a broken wing. At least I hope it was the fall that broke it, rather than the mishandling by Runi. It’s now in a corner of the porch by the guest rooms. Poor thing, I can’t see it surviving and don’t want it to suffer either. In all honesty it would be dead now if it hadn’t been rescued by a couple staying here. They’re trying to get it to eat squid, which can’t be likely to entice it to eat. A broken wing has got to be a death warrant, unless someone with the skill and dedication to care for it is around, which they’re not. So one gorgeous little owl awaits its certain doom, I wonder whether it might have been kinder to have left it in the undergrowth, let nature take its course. I’m sure something would have dispatched of it already! It took 24 hrs to convince an Israeli couple to release it, they’d been trying to feed it bits of fish and squid, with the occasional bug. It was only young, I expected its parents to be more competent to care for it. I have to be honest though, as it had been captive for a day it’s unlikely to get reunited with the parents. ( Photo: Collared Scops Owl - Newland guesthouse, Kalkudah, Sri Lanka)

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