The weather can’t be nice everywhere, can it? The glorious summer months in northern Europe and America are the worst times to be in our corner of Sri Lanka.
While Europeans bask in their long-awaited sunshine, much of our island, particularly the western coast, is usually lashed by powerful winds and heavy rains. This year was especially brutal, with downpours causing flooding, mudslides and devastation, particularly in the central mountains.
Thankfully, our boutique hotel was not adversely affected. Yes, the wind was strong and we got a lot of rain, but we were spared damage.
Nonetheless, the unpleasant weather at this time of year is the reason we close our doors for a few weeks. We want our guests to enjoy the delights of our tropical haven without suffering tropical adversities.
But this also is a useful time for us, a time of renewal.
It is now that we have the opportunity to inspect the wear and tear of living on the beach and take matters in hand: repairing, painting, updating, renovating, polishing and preparing for a new season of hospitality.
This year, for example, we are replacing the rafters and roofs of the two dining pavilions, fixing the roof of the carport, upgrading the kitchen with new bespoke cabinets, replacing some woodwork in the suites and reupholstering some of the furniture with fresh and vibrant fabrics. We are regrouting the swimming pool and replacing some of the tiles. We are getting rid of those hard-to-open heavy blinds in the villa and buying lightweight bamboo.
These are the kind of chores that benefit from a quiet period, when we have no guests to disturb.
Nature is normally kind to us. But it can sometimes be quirky and cruel.
A few months ago – while we were in residence with our family, in fact – we were hit by an awesome thunder and lightning storm. A horrific bolt of lightning frazzled a few of our towering old trees.
Over the years we periodically have planted coconut saplings, many of which are now reaching maturity, gaining some height and bearing fruit.
But we shall miss those stately old trees. They preceded us on this patch by many decades. They were familiar and comforting, like old friends.
We will keep a good bit of their trunks, which served as the poles for our hammocks.
By their sides young trees already are growing.
Another act of renewal.