We decided to follow our swallows down to Southern India this year and have just returned from a fortnight in Kerala. It is always a bit of a busman’s holiday when you are in the business and you can’t help but compare, pick up ideas and so on. Keralan rice pudding will certainly be on our dessert menu from now on and bears very little resemblance to the English nursery food version.
The final resort we stayed in was an alternative/eco resort where we started each day with a yoga class overlooking the Arabian Sea. The resort did not supply bottled water, instead serving filtered water in copper jugs. Copper is thought to add health giving properties to the water. Well all our water at Dale Farm comes to you through copper pipes so we can tick that box. We will be offering yoga weekends soon but the Arabian Sea I can’t do I’m afraid.
The resort didn’t use washing machines or washing powder because of the environmental damage – all the towels were a bit thin and grey unlike the nice white fluffy ones you get at Dale Farm so I don’t think we will adopt that policy. Also, having visited an Indian laundry I just can’t see it happening in the UK.
Our resort had a serious crow problem – guards patrolled at breakfast with catapults. We used to have a serious crow problem but Paul reached an … understanding with the crows (and not with a catapult). I have to say the wildlife was astonishing – we saw monkeys, schools of dolphins and the amazing birdlife included Sea Eagles, Malabar Hornbills, electric blue Kingfishers (hence Kingfisher beer). I would point out that Bempton Cliffs are also a sight to behold if you like sea birds. I can’t offer you elephants but we never actually saw elephants (they had always been the day before.)
There were a lot of stray dogs in the area, all looking a bit like Dingos – impeccable manners and very well behaved unlike some of our much loved and indulged doggy guests (only a very few of course).
One thing I really can’t compete on is the swimming. I love the beach at Hunmanby Gap but we have spent 2 weeks swimming every day in the warm, clear waters of the Periyar River and the Arabian Sea. I’ve only plucked up the courage to brave the waters of the North Sea once in the last 2 years and won’t be doing it again in a hurry!
Finally, according to our guide, many Keralan foods are ‘good for the penis’…I really can’t promise you that but if you have anecdotal evidence as a result of staying at the farm I’m all ears.