Saturday 30 June 2018

Sri Lanka

"I want you to understand that the island of Ceylon is, for its size, the finest island in the world - from its streams come Rubies, Sapphires, Topaz, Amethyst, and Garnets."
Marco Polo 1292 A.D.
Many who visit Sri Lanka arrive in Colombo via sea or air, and my advice is to move on as quickly as you can. 
Go to the Cultural Triangle. 
Rankot Vihara in the ancient city of Polonnaruwa - the fourth largest dagoba (stupa) in Sri Lanka. A stupa is a Buddhist commemorative monument usually housing sacred relics associated with Lord Buddha. Its association is similar to that of reliquaries found in Christian churches.
Remains of the Royal Palace
The ruins of Polonnaruwa are considered the highlight of the cultural triangle. The city was the centrepiece of the Sinhalese kingdom established by King Vijayabahu l, who ousted the invading Cholas in AD 1077.

Visit the hill country in Kandy, whose verdant slopes are busy with tea pickers.
Scale mountain tops
    then visit the jungle where Marianne North the intrepid British Victorian Botanical artist came to paint the flora in 1876. If you wish to know more about her then visit a post I wrote about her here. 
 Enjoy the cloud forests,
and the coastline fringed by the Indian Ocean.
Coastal stilt/stick fisherman
Sri Lanka's southern coast was a scene of devastation when it was struck by the Tsunami in 2004 - it is estimated that over 36,000 people lost their lives.
Go to the spice gardens to see the newly cut cinnamon bark air-drying on rope made using the fibre from the local coconut trees. 
 Sri Lanka produces 90% of the worlds cinnamon from the Cinnamomum verum tree which is native to Sri Lanka and considered to yield the finest cinnamon in the world. The rolled bark keeps its scent and flavour for many, many years.
Abutilon (pictum or tigers eye?)
Enjoy seeing exotic flowers

flowers that I nurture with care grow like weeds in Sri Lanka,

Ixora coccinea 

and what about the birds - this little Bee-eater is exquisite.
Then gaze in wonderment at some of the worlds biggest fruit.
These Jack fruit strangely grow straight out of the trunk of the tree, but you need a strong arm just to carry one of these fruits home.
Sri Lanka is smaller than Ireland, but has 26 national parks and 8 UNESCO heritage sites, all of which are representative of Sri Lanka's unique natural and historical diversity.

Next time - animals in Sri Lanka

Wednesday 27 June 2018

For Catherine

As we travelled along narrow blossom filled country lanes, through quaint Cotswold villages, passed fields carpeted in the hues of blue and yellow from the Linseed and Rapeseed (Canola) crops, suddenly we spotted a sign.

It pointed to Winchcombe Pottery, a place that I wanted to visit, as sometime ago I had mentioned to my blog friend Catherine that I would. Catherine lives in the United States, and although she has never visited the pottery, she is in fact familiar with it, and wrote about it on her own blog. 
Hope that you enjoy CatherineđŸ’›
There was a pottery on this site from 1800 which then produced a range of farmhouse wares for the surrounding area, but after the end of WWl it fell into decline. 
In 1926 Michael Cardew, who trained under the distinquished British potter, Bernard Leach, rented the pottery buildings and set about restarting it up again.

It is one of the longest running craft potteries in the country, and makes some of the finest and most practical domestic pottery wares. The pottery still follows the 'Arts and Crafts' ideal of being both beautiful and useful.

Their terracotta pots grace many homes and gardens throughout these isles from modest cottages to grand stately homes.
It was coffee time when we arrived, and all of the potters had left their wheels and were sitting around in the garden having a drink and chatting. It is a very relaxed, friendly place for a visit - entrance is free, you can wander around the workshops and see the potters at work. 

There is a shop selling their pots along with jewellery, glassware, and paintings made by other local craftspeople, together with a cafe where you can buy homemade refreshments.

My computer is working very well with thanks to my eldest son, and my granddaughter's boyfriend, but my blogger problems continue when creating new posts. There was nothing basically wrong with the computer, it was all down to my blog. However, I have discovered that I can only write new posts as long as I sign out of blogger and then sign back in again. It is a nuisance, but it is the only way that I have found which enables me to continue with the blog. 
I returned home late last night after a long journey - my head is full of the many exciting things seen, but, I am unable to process them, as my mind has not yet caught up with my body. 
The national flower of the country visited.

Saturday 2 June 2018

I will be absent during June

Just finished flowering in our garden at the end of May - Cercis siliquastrum 

My computer problems continue - I realise that it would be preferable to buy a new one, but when this one works I like it. A new hard drive has been installed, everything has been updated, but now my eldest son considers that more memory is required. When the parts have been delivered, my granddaughter's boyfriend has kindly said that he will install it for us. I have decided to take a break from this blog for the next three or four weeks, and wait to see how things transpire. Writing posts and uploading photos is very slow and tedious here at the moment, which takes the pleasure away from blogging. I shall still try to visit your blogs from time to time as that does not appear to be a problem.