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This letter at the end of the last week of real vacation, before students trickle back, took me back to ordinary life, but there was still much social activity even though this was the first term in which I had to face a public examination, eleven papers if I recollect aright.

Most important of all, I stood for the position of President of the Junior Common Room, the College student body, which was an unusual candidacy for I did not play any games or run any societies – the other contestants were the rugby captain and the conductor of the college choir.

This was the only Presidential election I stood for that I won, so the picture, taken a year later, is of me with my successor. Pictures of Presidents were framed in sequence but I had failed to provide one: my successor, John Hakim, arranged for portrait pictures and, since they took a dozen at a time, there were two of us together, in addition to the five individual ones from which we had to choose.

From the city of aquatint 26

14th January

The past week was quite peaceful – hardly any undergraduates were back, except my neighbor, who had a philosophical paper to write and kept reading all he’d written out to me and I pretended manfully to understand; 2 evenings of bridge, including one with Admiral Gretton & family, in the course of which I won 20 pence and made a small slam after mucking up the bidding. Yesterday Senapala came round to see me and I gave them a short tour – tell Thatha the arrack arrived safely – they took me out to lunch, to my regret, since I’d discovered a nice place to take them to where I ate last week due to the toaster I’d borrowed for the Vac. having broken down.

28th January (1973)

Life’s been terribly busy, and looks likely to be so for the rest of the term, though one problem has been solved, by the Balliol and Univ machines reaching agreement – we gave in, I regret to say, though perhaps wisely – on Labour Club officials for next term and, as part of the agreement, the following term. It’s all terribly involved, but I should be Secretary next term.

At the moment, we’re having a violent campaign on for the Univ JCR, where I’m the underdog candidate for President – though I do have the stronger ticket. My opponent happens to be Captain of Rugger, which doesn’t help. Unfortunately, the elections being next Monday, I’ve got to give up the Dean’s trip to Covent Garden, to see Sibley and Dowell, which is all very annoying. Still, I’ve got enough to keep me occupied. I’ve been offered my 1st paper speech at the Union, in favour of Euthanasia, along with Trevor Huddleston and other worthies, and though I don’t know whether I quite approve of Euthanasia, I accepted; having bought my dinner jacket last week for 28 pounds from my Bursary, which left 12 which will be swallowed up by the Union Anniversary Dinner and the Labour Club dinner, with Harold McMillan and Harold Wilson respectively. I should be on High Table for the latter, being the editor of the Club Magazine and so on – which I’m modelling blatantly on the New Statesman, with Competition and Diary. Tomorrow, having a very Conservative and Social Chairman, we have Lord David Cecil speaking to us, with dinner beforehand. Most of the party regulars considered it anti-social to attend, so there’ll just be 3 of us, the Librarian of the Union, and Cecil – should be fun.

Collections went rather well last week and I’m more confident than before of getting through, though the Class will not be all that is desired. My tutor’s on Sabbatical this term, so I’ve got an eccentric man at Corpus who believes in lots of hard work, which is a bit annoying, though he was very kind about my Greek unseen last week – the Latin this week is bound to drive him nuts.

Rajiva Wijesinha

October 2020
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