Last night, we stayed in an old tea mansion in Hatton, high amongst Sri Lanka’s verdant tea plantations. The hills roll and tumble, every inch covered in short, green tea bushes that look so much like my wild camellia at home.
The house, the Governor’s Mansion, is all very jolly hockey sticks, with a picture of a young Queen Elizabeth above the fireplace, and more four-poster beds than you can poke a walking stick at.
This morning, after breakfast, we borrowed one of the house’s mountain bikes (other gear includes fishing and tennis equipment, and waterproofs for bracing walks in the rain), and headed off down to the tea workers’ village.
I strapped Yasmine on my back and tore down the steep hills. We were mobbed by kids en route, demanding photos (and the occasional request for money) and took some lovely snaps of the picturesque tea processing factories and hillsides. Then I realised I didn’t have my mobile phone: I could have called my driver, Lucky, and have him pick me up at the bottom of the hill.
A week into the trip and I have completely given myself over: Australia with its housework and supermarket slogs are but a blurred memory.