All You Need Is Words


As it’s fairly chucking down here at Kandamala’s awesomely odd eco-lodge in monsoon-ridden Sri Lanka, I’m in a forest recycling centre, learning how paper-trims from junk mail get turned into beautiful paper by mixing it with elephant dung.

I remember how the ‘newpapers’ like the Daily Mail tried to smear Chris Ofili, the excellent Turner prize winner, for using elephant dung in his paintings, implying that it was somehow typical for foreigners to try and blag prize money with exotic poo.

In fact, elephant dung gives the new paper a beautiful texture, rather like soft parchment. After the trims are turned into pulp, the sheets are wrung out and dried in racks, then made into elegant diaries and notebooks, where they await the addition of words.

I’ve also including a picture of the monkeys who stole my teabags this morning, but only to name and shame them. You know who you are.

Meanwhile the lake waters rise and the roads are becoming a bit dodgy. Our car made it across this road, but it was touch and go. In two days’ time I’ll attempt to outrun the storms by driving to the opposite coast. I’ve been watching eagles drop from the trees, and got slightly too close to an angry cobra today, so I’m going to kick back with an elephant dung book now. Let’s see the Kindle do that!

4 comments on “All You Need Is Words”

  1. Martha says:

    Wonderful photo-travelogue. Thank you so much.

  2. Helen Martin says:

    Some of these innovative papers are available here. I’ve bought some from one of our art supply places. Fine for imprint work, fine for ballpoint, fine for water colour and some will take liquid media without blurring but you have to try them first. All you get in the paper is the fibre the elephant ate, not the … rest? Neat to see some of the production process.
    There was a checking it out session at a Science fiction gathering last night. The one factor that did not seem to be part of the criteria was “will go in the pocket”. Mentioning it brought on a “why don’t they make it illegal to manufacture women’s clothes without pockets?” rant. Wow!

  3. Steve says:

    Raspberry all you like, I STILL like my Kindle. However….I now have an iPad…and reading material looks sooooo much better on it….

    And stop teasing the cobras!

  4. Anne Fernie says:

    I loved monkeys until I travelled and experienced them in situ. Perched on my camp bed rifling through the rucksack (and baring big sharp teeth); colonies of them in the tree all silently watching you as you went past – brrr, creepy – a bit too close to us for comfort………

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