Rescuing A Purple Faced Green Leaf Langur

by Chris Devonshire-Ellis


March 15th, 2015


I have a troop of the exotically named “Purple Faced Green Leaf Langurs” regularly visiting my garden in Sri Lanka. They’re quite a rare monkey, so I’m lucky to have them, but are unpopular with the locals as they decimate the fruit trees. They are discouraged by the letting off of fireworks aimed at them. I don’t mind them though, I have plenty of bananas, jak and mango and it’s a small price to pay for having them regard my land as a bit of a sanctuary. So Purple Faced Green Leaf Monkeys are welcome to roam my property and they frequently do. The troop comprises a large male, who stands about three feet tall, and often makes a gorilla-ish sound. “Owo owo owo owo” in a dark guttural throat. With him are various females – perhaps a harem of about twenty, and various younger monkeys and infants. When males reach adult hood they are expelled and have to go off on their own – or fight the dominant male for the right to be King

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Sri Lanka’s Bronzeback Snake vs. Indian Frog

by Chris Devonshire-Ellis


February 20th, 2015


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One of the wonderful things about Sri Lanka is living so close to nature, although often the natural cycle can expose itself somewhat brutally in terms of life and inevitable death. It’s no wonder the concept of reincarnation is so strong in the Buddhist beliefs here, daily exposure to the natural worlds recycling technologies means the underpinning of reincarnation is a viable way to understand the rather too quaintly titled “circle of life”. That’s only half the equation, the circle of death stands by opposing it.

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An Udawalawe Safari

by Chris Devonshire-Ellis


January 25th, 2015


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Udawalawe is the nearest national park to where I am based in Sri Lanka, sited on the edge of the southern plains just as the rugged mountains of the islands interior begin to appear. Adams Peak shows itself amongst the many crags, and this huge expanse of rolling mountains, carved in part from ancient volcanic rock allows Udawalawe its regular downpours, keeping the area lush. It is one of the best places in Sri Lanka to see wild Elephant.

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The Ashburnham Estate, Sri Lanka

by Chris Devonshire-Ellis


January 15th, 2015


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As winter starts to get a grip in Europe, it is time to decamp to Sri Lanka, and the warmer climate it has to offer. While I live near Galle, on the South Coast and can enjoy the mild tropical breezes and acres of unspoiled beaches, Sri Lanka is a large island with plenty of variety. Famous for its tea, this is a plant that prefers to grow in heat but also altitude – and Sri Lanka is perfect for this as its southern plains give way to rugged mountains and chains called “The Knuckles”. Kandy, the old Kingdom, is elevated at 1,600 feet, and the highest point, Nuwara Eliya even more at over 6,000 feet.

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The Devonshire-Ellis’s and the John Brown Company

by Chris Devonshire-Ellis


December 15th, 2014


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I’ve been researching my family history, which I knew was nautical themed, but never quite sure exactly how. With Parents, Grandparents, aged Aunts and Uncles also now long deceased, it is impossible to obtain detailed answers. However, the internet can indeed sometimes be a wonderful thing. How many hours it takes devoted netizens to archive, record and place available, online, sometimes the most trivial and esoteric data never quite fails to amaze me. Researching the Devonshire-Ellis’s was a bit of a task – the name is not always used amongst family members, and is carried down via the eldest son. On occasion, it’s been dropped from use altogether – fear of being cast as aristocrats or as wealthy was not such a desirable thing in post war Britain.

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Bossner Baron Cigars – An Exclusive Smoke

by Chris Devonshire-Ellis


November 10th, 2014


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I enjoy a good cigar, however this habit means I need to pay serious money for the experience. And even that is sometimes not enough – I have purchased cigars from reputable and expensive five star hotels in China, only to find they were fake,  and persuading a Chinese barman that the USD100 just blown – and tried – is fake isn’t going to work. Once lit, the deal is done with cigars. Even worse though was the entire box of fake cigars purchased at Beijing Capital Airport in the Government run duty free. That box of “Panamas” was even sealed.

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Baronial Letters Patent Issued For Chris Devonshire-Ellis

by Chris Devonshire-Ellis


October 26th, 2014


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Although I have assumed the title of Baron of Coigach and been able to use it since 2011, Royal protocol dictates that as a new Baronial Blazon and Crest has been created, this needs to go through the correct approval procedures. As the Barony is a Scottish title, the responsibility of this lies with the Lord Lyon, being the Queens representative for Scotland. This is because Scottish Baronial law is different from the English equivalent.

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The Malta Penthouse

by Chris Devonshire-Ellis


October 1st, 2014


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Having been in Asia for 25 years, yet being European, I have been feeling a little disconnected from my roots. When I left for Asia, Maggie Thatcher was Prime Minister, the Soviet Union still existed, Hong Kong was British, and Deng Xiaoping was the most senior Chinese official. The Euro as a currency did not exist.

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How To Use A Traditional Russian Samovar

by Chris Devonshire-Ellis


September 15th, 2014


image4I’ve been fortunate this summer to spend a good month with friends of mine who have a Dacha about 100km south from Moscow, on the road to Minsk. Correctly speaking, Dacha’s were summer houses gifted to individuals who had ‘served the State’ – a traditional begun by the Tsar and continued during the Soviet era. Most Dachas today that are in family hands date from the latter period, and are often collective – with owners all having had the same background in the military or with specific factories or organizations. Consequently they are often grouped together in a compound, albeit out in the country, typically near a large lake or river, yet enabling a common and shared security.

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Discovering Herzegovina Flor – Stalin’s Tobacco

by Chris Devonshire-Ellis


September 1st, 2014


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Stalin is his later years was not dissimilar to Churchill, corpulent, and a bit of a gourmet. When meeting Roosevelt and Churchill at the Yalta Conference, Stalin laid on gallons of Sovietskya, the mass produced, sweet sparkling wine as evidence that as a result of Communism, even the poor could drink ‘champagne’ in the USSR. Churchill wasn’t taken in by that, and wisely refrained from commenting, but he did appreciate Stalin’s ‘Cognac’ – Armenian Mount Ararat Brandy. Churchill went so far as to pronounce it “better than the finest French Cognac” – and I wouldn’t disagree. It’s the 20 year old  that is the one to try, although I make a Sovietskaya/3 year old Armenian brandy cocktail I call the Stalin when these products are available.

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