This eleventh account of travel in Sri Lanka during my Peace Secretariat days is really about light relief, the only official travel mentioned being to Kalutara with regard to religious tension. In those days it was attacks on Christian churches, fundamentalist ones, and we found the police balanced and keen to maintain order though sometimes aggressive monks were supported by silly politicians.

The pictures are of Scott Richards making the Richard de Zoysa film, of Richard in his heyday and of Shirani Goonetilleke, one of my most dependable Directors at SCOPP.

11 Calm before the storm

By the end of June, as the war hotted up, I was spending more nights at the Galle Face Hotel, which was both enjoyable and facilitated meetings after work with Scott Richards and Roger Elsgood who were planning a film about Richard de Zoysa.

By now I had a new Coordinating Secretary at the Ministry, Chamil Prasad who had been a cadet in the first intake I had taught at the SLMA. He had left the army in high dudgeon after a row with a senior officer who had ragged him, but he had been taken back because, as Sudantha Ranasinghe the SLMA Commanding Officer who was in the same regiment put it, he was not going to lose his best opening bat. But now he had decided to resign, since the army high command had decided that officers who had deserted, even if taken back, would not be promoted. He lived around Pannipitiya, between the cottage and Colombo, and I would drop him on Friday evening and pick him up again early on the Monday.

I was back at the cottage on the Tuesday night next for the next morning I had to go to the Kalutara Police to talk to the probationary sub inspectors with regard to attacks on churches, and I then went to the concluding session of a workshop at the nearby Hotel Ocean View before getting back to Colombo for a long day’s work, ending with a dinner I gave at the Galle Face for my Director Legal, Shirani Goonetilleke, who was moving on to a job at the Commonwealth Secretariat.

The next weekend I had to get back from the cottage on Sunday, and then the following Friday I flew to Thailand for a break with friends for ten days. Monday, the day after I got back, I went to the cottage after work to check on the building I had started there for my security had recommended building a garage instead of keeping my vehicles out on the road all night.