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November 20, 2006

Back in Ceylon

After a few days in Colombo we caught the charity's van down to the house on Saturday - a three hour journey just to cover 100km due to Sri Lankan driving and the amount of traffic on the road. What was once a nerve racking trip down the coast against suicide drivers has now become a mundane weekly occurrence for me, occasionally livened by police roadblocks (looking for terrorists) or sometimes an elephant on the back of a truck.

Faye and I were quite worried about what we might find in the house after being away for two weeks. Monsoon season has gone on longer than anyone can remember this year, with the rain still falling in torrents every afternoon, and this seems to have caused a small mudslide in the back garden. With visions of snakes, spiders and families of cockroaches living happily in the house, we entered cautiously, not knowing quite what to expect, but things turned out to be all right with only a collection of dead bugs lying around on the floor, and our family of geckos on the ceilings. The garden's still full of wildlife, however, and not long after opening the back door a huge snake appeared, looking like it wanted to come in, before thankfully changing it's mind and disappearing away into the jungle.

November 23, 2006

Loft Inhabitants

We seem to have finally discovered what's living in the roofing space in our house. We've heard footsteps and the occasional fight coming from the ceiling for months and had been guessing that it was either palm-squirrels or a mongoose.

Tonight, however, there was a loud thud on the ground and we looked out the front door to see a small bundle of fur sitting there dazed, and a bunch of big eyed, inquisitive faces looking out from a hole in our eaves! The mother, black and white and about the size of a small fox, jumped down to rescue it and they climbed back up the peppercorn tree outside our door amidst lots of squeaking from the others. Later, one of the adults walked casually along the phone-line like a tightrope, high above us, before disappearing into the trees.

From the books we've looked at so far we think it's a family of Common Indian Palm-Cats, which look like a cross between a mongoose and a cat, but they're something we've never seen before, and we're constantly surprised by how many animals we seem to be living in close proximity with here.