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These last letters from that second summer describe much activity, but they mask what I still think of as my greatest disappointment, failing to get on Standing Committee as I had hoped. The then President changed the electoral system at the last minute, to privilege those with a committed political base, so the two positions went to hard conservative and labour party stalwarts – I was eliminated by one of my proteges by a whisker, and I suspect he knew the system had been changed to make sure he was elected, as the President later admitted.

The pictures are of that party at Evenlode in Gloucestershire which I mention, my long suffering SRC Rep dressed as Nell Gwynne at the Delusionists, and a picture of the Chalet from the previous year, which conveys something of the splendour of the scenery.

From the city of aquatint 30

June 1973

I thought the card looked a bit crude, but horseshoes are supposed to be the thing, aren’t they? Took part in the Univ – funny – regatta and fell off my slide continuously, made my Union paper speech to tumultuous – Univ-based – applause, established myself as a fascist at SRC, played rounders against the Dean’s team and lost, finally decided not to go to America, got up and served on the morning after the Boat Club dinner and felt dead all day, discovered a shortage of handkerchiefs – hint – as the advantages of your pyjamas suggestion, and worked hard enough to have one rotten tutorial and one good one.

Perhaps the lack of letters is explained by forgetting to post the birthday card I wrote to Hope and Kaly about the 20th, but I’m sure I did, and I can’t find it here. Sorry for any worries caused, and have a marvelous week – I shall be up on the 15th night, waiting for Union election results, and shall think of the great do.

PS – I shall be here throughout July for Punch and anyone else who might come, except for the first week.

27th June 1973

Happy Birthday for today – it was not forgetfulness or carelessness, but a desire to finalize my plans, which were thrown into confusion by $300 from the Stokeys arriving for my fare, to which I succumbed, though only for 4 weeks. I leave for the States on the 15th of July, after Punch & Peggy’s daughter’s wedding, and go straight to the Chalet on the 11th of August, and then have a week in Italy with A. Thilaka’s sister, and a week in France with a friend, till about the middle of September. Shall send you the Chalet address if mail comes there, the Stokey address being – I seem to have lost it, so Concord Rd will have to do.

I had a chaotic 2 weeks before term ended, 7th week spent in a terrific tussle with the lefties in the JCR which culminated in my attitude to S.R.C. being deplored, and my N.U.S. Rep. – who only stood for office for my sake – being censured.

Disturbance 5 hours ago by my P.P.E. protégés coming in with exam fever, so we went out to dinner and got caught to a thunderstorm and smoked cigars and philosophized and Unionized. One of them got onto Standing Committee last week – I didn’t barely, but I did come 2nd  for Treasurer, to everyone’s surprise, even though it doesn’t mean a thing if you don’t win – and we just got back, which says a lot for my looking after, when I’d given the S.R.C. Rep a lecture on not looking after the 1st year exam candidates properly. Anyway, that’s what happens when one ought to work. I’ve got a lunch in the country tomorrow with a pathetic man from Merton who might have won Treasurer but failed and came 3rd, dinner with a Don, 2 parties next evening and Cornwall on Saturday. I went to Bexhill also to relax after 3 dinners and 3 parties in 6 days which got me to bed after 2 each day, but having recovered, it starts again.  It’s not worth refusing through – only 2 years more. Do send me dates of your trip soon, & I’ll write before leaving.

Rajiva Wijesinha

October 2020
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