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A view from the lawn of the the house at GlenMyu Estate, Hotel and Bed & Breakfast, Haputale, Sri Lanka.

5 things I love about gardening.

5 things I love about gardening.

5 things I love about gardening.

From London banker to unpaid gardener in Sri Lanka.

The money is lousy but I wouldn’t change it for the world!

When I moved to Sri Lanka, I did not envisage ending up changing my office job for one outdoors.

A career banker, based in and around London, I had no idea where I would end up.
My destination was working for free on the 5 acre estate  in Sri Lanka that we have developed into GlenMyu.

I had little experience as a gardener in London. Why would I when the only outside space was a small terrace? There was very little room to plant anything at all!
I had little idea also that I would end up having a love for gardening and don’t find it like work at all.

1. Things I love about gardening- Gardening is my form of meditation.

I get lost in my thoughts as I use my brush cutter keeping the pathways and lawn in good shape.

It’s amazing how calming and relaxing it is. I do make sure that I am alert enough not to have an accident though, so it’s not like I’m in a trance. 

Maybe the hum from my brush cutter through the ear plugs I use gives a sense of comfort. 

Trying to get the grass as even I as I can do, on the hill country slopes, is my continuous focus.

I don’t practice meditation, however, this is the closest I get. I love it!

2. Making the GlenMyu Estate garden look good, makes me feel good!

I take a lot of pride in my work and try to make the grounds as attractive as possible.

When guests say that the garden looks good, I feel good. Actually I feel great. It makes all my efforts worth it.

I say my efforts, however there is a team at GlenMyu Estate who all contribute to making the garden look good. 

Ru is the designer of the garden (and most things) at GlenMyu Estate. Some of our daily workers are so adept at using the besom to sweep up the grass cuttings and leaves, I could never be as efficient or fast.

Doesn’t everyone like a pat on the back for the work that they have done?. 

3. I get to feel closer to nature and I feel that I am improving the estate as a home for wildlife.

One of our aims at GlenMyu Estate is to restore the land from an abandoned tea estate to a home for wildlife. Encouraging biodiversity on the land which makes it a healthy place for plants and animals to visit and live. 

GlenMyu Estate was part of a larger abandoned tea estate prior to being bought by my wife. It had also been a sugar cane estate which had failed when the government started to import sugar cane. 

Over the years the land was overrun by Guinea Grass which was brought in during Colonial times as a fast growing cattle feed.  This fast growing plant takes th light and nutrients from the endemic plants of Sri Lanka and dominates the landscape. It is not a good environment to welcome biodiversity.

Out with the old, in with the new. Things I Love aboutgardening

We have slowly removed the Guinea Grass over the years and replaced the plants with a fruit forest to feed us and the animals. Hundreds of endemic species have been planted and are starting to establish themselves on the five acre estate.

We regularly see dragon flies during the day, a variety of butterflies and some fireflies at night. This, we understand, shows that the land is healthy. 

There are no chemicals or pesticides used at the estate and everything that we grow is organic.

4. Things I love about gardening -Getting to enjoy the fruits of my work.

It’s a pleasure walking around the garden on attractive paths and weed free borders.  

The order calms the mind and allows me to concentrate on the nature that surrounds me.

Listening to the birdsong, watching the parrots flit from tree to tree and the Kingfisher fish in our stream.

The sound of the water softening any vehicle noise, the feel of the ground on my bare feet and playing with the dogs on the lawn.

A landscape that could be painted.

An inspiring landscape which brings out my hidden artistic side which was out of sight during my banking career.

One of the best things about GlenMyu Estate is our swimming pool

The pool is fed by a natural spring and the only heating is from the daytime sun. 
We don’t add chlorine to the water so I swim in a completely natural environment.

An evening swim is refreshing and eases the muscles that I have used during the day.

Finishing off the evening with a well deserved bottle of local Lion lager beer puts icing on the cake!

Our dogs turn up from time to time looking for a petting.
Maali our cow comes over and looks for her head to be patted. It’s as if she just wants me to remember she is around.

I sometimes have to chase the Eagles when it perches on branch eyeing our chickens and ducks.

Moving on the monkeys when they are trying to eat our Jackfruits, Mangos and Avocados when they are in season (don’t worry there is plenty for them to eat on the periphery of the estate).

There are lots that I love about gardening at GlenMyu Estate.

It's more than just cutting the lawn.

I don’t just cut the lawns and paths around the estate in my gardening duties. 

Cutting and replanting coleus, cutting down fallen branches and general weeding is all part of my day in the garden. 

It’s great to get variety in my day.

5 things I love about gardening - Summary

  1. Gardening is my form of meditation.
  2. Making the GlenMyu Estate garden look good, makes me feel good!
  3. I get to feel closer to nature and I feel that I am improving the estate as a home for wildlife.
  4. Getting to enjoy the fruits of my work.
  5. The reward of a swim at the end of the day (and perhaps a Lion lager!).

Stay at GlenMyu Estate and enjoy the gardens.

A stay at GlenMyu Estate as you explore the Sri Lankan Hill Country and see sights like Horton Plains National Park is a unique experience.

We only have three bedrooms and you will need to book early during the peak holiday season.

The estate is usually within an hours drive of the major sightseeing locations such as Nine Arch Bridge, Ella Town, Upper Diyaluma Waterfall, Lipton’s Seat, Bambarakanda Waterfall and many more,

GlenMyu Estate is listed on Booking.com and Airbnb.
Contact us by the WhatsApp button on our website for direct booking rates.

5 things I love about gardening. Read More »

Changing jobs at 50 – moving to Sri Lanka

Changing jobs at 50.

Changing jobs at 50 – inspired by Gina d’Albiac of True Colours Coaching I thought I would write about my experience of changing jobs at 50 yeas old.

Some of the items that True Colours Coaching can help you with resonates with my move from a career in Banking in the UK to a new life in Sri Lanka:

  • Explore your purpose and how to live a more fulfilling life
  • Uncover a career- or life-path where you are free to be yourself and to do something that is in line with your values.

These two elements reflect my change in life and what happened when I changed jobs (and countries) at the age of 50.

And that was then.

A career in Banking in London was fulfilling for a long period of my life.
I was motivated, learning, challenged, energetic, ambitious, happy, rewarded, developed, and much more.
Most of my work was a happy experience and of course there are always ups and downs. I did feel, at the time, that I had a fulfilling life. 

My wife and I had a good lifestyle and really enjoyed living and working in London.

There is a saying that “familiarity breeds contempt”. Although these words are a bit too strong a description of what I went through, being in a career for so long eventually creates a desire for change.

I had experienced credit booms and busts over my career and there were periods where the enjoyment and fulfilment were stressed. In addition to this, despite earning well, my wife and I were not able to spend as much time together as we would have liked.  

Business travel and long hours became the norm and it was clear that we both needed a change.

50 - a good moment to change my job.

My wife and I had a plan to relocate to Sri Lanka. Shortly after my 50th birthday we landed on this Paradise Island. Ru is Sri Lankan and this would enable her to spend more time with her parents and reduce the amount of work travel she was enduring.

I had some projects to do in Sri Lanka before deciding on next steps so was engaged for a while. 

My change of job at 50 had not yet been determined.

It didn't go to plan.

After some months being based in Colombo, it became clear that the work travel and stress my wife was experiencing was not going to change.

Same experience, different location.

We ran to the hills!

Maybe this is a little bit of an exaggeration. My wife had purchased part of an abandoned tea estate in the Sri Lankan Hill Country many years ago. We planned to build a small holiday home for ourselves so we could escape from the heat of Colombo from time to time

Once we started building, we added some additional rooms and eventually we ended up with GlenMyu Estate.

Changing jobs at 50 - From Banker to Gardener??????

My job role changed once GlenMyu Estate was open. I became an unpaid gardener maintaining the grass pathways and lawns around the estate. A far cry from my work in London, but I really do feel fulfilled and love it. I’m very proud when I see the results of my efforts trying to get the grass as flat as Lords Cricket Ground. (I’m still working on that!).

Fulfilment is added to when meeting our new guests on a regular basis. I really enjoy talking to them about their experience of Sri Lanka and providing some recommendations on what to do and se when they are staying at GlenMyu Estate.

The pay is lousy but my new job is the best.

Sure, I was better off financially when I was living in the UK. I was able to drive in a nice car, eat in a good restaurant and holiday a few times a year.

I now am able to spend more time with my wife, the stress levels are lower and it doesn’t really matter whether I have the latest i-Phone. We keep on dropping our older phones around the estate so a new phone wouldn’t be shiny for too long!

I really enjoy my new job and my new life. I’m very happy that I decided to change my job at 50.

We both feel privileged to be in a position to live our new lives and know that continuing to work hard and do the best for our guests at GlenMyu Estate should result in a long and fulfilling job and life.

Changing Job at 50

Stay at GlenMyu Estate to experience the Sri Lankan Hill Country

A stay at GlenMyu Estate as you explore the Sri Lankan Hill Country and see sights like Horton Plains National Park is a unique experience.

We only have three bedrooms and you will need to book early during the peak holiday season.

The estate is usually within an hours drive of the major sightseeing locations such as Nine Arch Bridge, Ella Town, Upper Diyaluma Waterfall, Lipton’s Seat, Bambarakanda Waterfall and many more,

GlenMyu Estate is listed on Booking.com and Airbnb.
Contact us by the WhatsApp button on our website for direct booking rates.

Changing jobs at 50 – moving to Sri Lanka Read More »

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