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I noted previously the appreciation of my work by the Mullaitivu GA who said I spent more money in the poorer Divisions of his District than MPs from the North. And here I go on to record the opening of my fourth vocational training centre in the North, the third in the Mullaitivu District, this one in Manthai East.

But I also cite a letter to the Inspector General of Police giving details of various problems and suggesting how solutions might be found through sensitivity and consultation.

The pictures are of the delightful opening ceremony, and students in a classroom.

Another vocational centre in the poorest division

The Thampa had set up a branch hotel in Mullaitivu and I stayed there that night, and also had lunch before seeing the training centre at Kachilamadu School and having an afternoon meeting at the Oddusuddan Divisional Secretariat. The next morning I dropped in again at Thanirootu and on the GA and then had a morning meeting at Puthukudiyirippu Division. From there I went to Thunukai for the afternoon meeting, after which we had the formal opening of the training centre AeA had set up with my funds at the Palainagar School in Manthai East Division. Again it was a charming ceremony, and I did not feel too bad at the effort expended since it was clear the whole area was pleased at this beneficial programme from an unexpected source.

The next morning I went down to Musali in Mannar for a morning meeting and found there Hunais Farook, one of the local MPs. I think they had taken to heart my strictures about the sense of neglect the people felt, and he was relieved to find that I was not competing with him but simply suggested how he could do more. But I could not persuade him to come too to my afternoon meeting in Nanattan. Having finished that I went back to Colombo.

The letters I sent after this trip make clear the range of problems people put to me, but also how easy they would have been to solve had their been empathy and energy. My letter to the IGP covers a lot of ground, but the simple expedient of consulting all concerned and following rules whilst ensuring that no elements felt deprived was never put into practice –

I write with regard to a couple of matters concerning which I wrote also after my last visit to the Maritimepattu Divisional Secretariat in Mullaitivu for Reconciliation meetings. The first is the continuing use by the CID of a building in Kovilkudiyirippu that was formerly used by the Grama Niladhari. If this is needed on a permanent basis, arrangements should be made to acquire it and provide suitable compensation, but I hope that, with the improvement of quarters in general, it will be possible to return it.

The second problem is with regard to Kokila, where a temple has been built, with police assistance as the very helpful Sub-Inspector who attended the meeting informed me, on land belonging to private persons. A case is pending, but if this was an encroachment, it would help the reconciliation process if the land were returned to the owners, and the priest given alternative accommodation if needed. It seems that there is only one Buddhist family in the area.

This account of my journeys for reconciliation in Sri Lanka in 2014 covers a different element too, namely the readings by poets who wrote in different languages whom I brought together. This was in connection with ‘Mirrored Images’ which the National Book Trust of India had published.

The Indian Cultural Centre in Colombo brought over an Indian poet to lead discussions, and with him to read we had So Pathmanathan from Jaffna and Ariyawansa Ranaweera from Colombo and Kamala Wijeratne from Kandy. Vasudeva Nanayakkara’s Ministry of National Languages and Social Integration supported their participation, the sort of joint effort that rarely occurred in Sri Lanka since Ministers involved in the same area of work hardly ever spoke to each other.

Poetry for Reconciliation

There were no Divisional meetings in April but I had three poetry programmes for readings by Sri Lankan poets representing the three languages. This was in connection with the Kerala writer K Satchidanandan whom the Indian Cultural Centre brought over following the launch of ‘Mirrored Images’ there the previous year. They thought it would be a good opportunity to showcase an Indian writer which they had not been able to do before, and I felt the prestige of his presence would add a fillip to the readings together by writers representing different language groups.

We had four such sessions, three of which I was able to attend, at Peradeniya University, at Sabaragamuwa and then finally one at the Indian Cultural Centre in Colombo. The group also went without me to Batticaloa for a programme at the Eastern University. The events were all well attended and the readings well received, but I was also delighted by the camaraderie between our three poets who went on tour, Kamala Wijeratne and So Pathmanathan and Ariyawansa Ranaweera, and also Prof Satchidanandan.

The night of the last readings I left for Algeria for ten days, and then after a week of work back at home I started on my 60th birthday celebration, which involved meals for greater or lesser numbers at Getamanna and Weligama at my friend Miles Young’s Syrian type castle, and my sister’s beach house at Ahungalla and my own river house near Ingiriya and Derrick’s at Kandy (these last two on the day itself) and with Ena at Aluwihare and at Vasantha’s house in Nuwara Eliya. My father, who had spent the new year at the river house, was not able to travel now so he was at none of these but in June, when an English friend who had not been able to come earlier visited, I had the final lunch at Lakmahal.

In the last week of May I went north for Reconciliation meetings. After Sunday night at the Thampa I went on Monday morning for a meeting to Maritimepattu, having dropped in before at the Thanirootu School since it seemed we might have to move. I also saw Mr Vedanayagam at the kachcheri, and he told me, since I was going to start two more centres in his Western divisions, that I was the MP spending the most in those Divisions. Since they were sparsely populated, MPs from the North, who used their decentralized funds to promote themselves, did not bother about such areas.

I note with regard to that visit to the east another letter, about something I felt strongly about, the complete failure to develop milk production and ancillary industries. After the war vast numbers of cattle roamed the countryside – incidentally depriving elephants of grazing which contributed to the human-elephant conflict – but the Ministry of Livestock Development did nothing despite promises made to us at COPE. Arumugam Thondaman was quite unlike his grandfather in that he had neither vision nor energy, another example of the folly of entrusting with executive responsibilities those who could win elections.

After that government there was no special attention to Livestock Development, though now at least there is a dedicated State Ministry, which was one of the reasons I thought Gotabhaya Rajapaksa knew what he was doing. But it is under someone called D B Herath and seems to have no website, nor to do any work. That sadly has been the pattern after the President’s good start, a constitutiona incapacity to follow up.

Unfortunately no one now seems to even think of such matters. Vasantha Senanayake did when he was in government and had diagnosed the problem with regard to the cattle that ran rampant after the war, but someone who thinks was of course anathema to the Yahapalanaya government.

Other problems in the East

Other areas I had to write about were the lack of personnel at two hospitals in Batticaloa, only one doctor and no nurses at Palaminmadu and a doctor only in the mornings at Traimadu; a tank in disrepair at Pultumanodai in Chenkaladi; a raised railtrack when the roads crossing it had not been raised in the Batticaloa Town Division; difficulties schools faced as to which, in writing to the Secretary to the Ministry of Education, I proposed that ‘the Ministry of Education too work towards strengthening consultation mechanisms at grass roots level by instructing Divisional Offices to participate in meetings to discuss problems raised at Grama Niladhari level, and work together towards finding solutions.’. I copied this last suggestion to the President for I was trying to get him to see the urgency of swift attention to small local problems, which could be done if mechanisms were in place to raise them with responsible officials. But there was no response, and no action, except occasionally from the Ministry of Health.

One other issue I raised had to do with a matter I had raised also in Parliament, namely the institution of a programme to increase milk production. I wrote to the Secretary to the Ministry of Livestock Development as follows – ‘At today’s meeting at the Chenkalady Divisional Secretariat, I was told that grazing lands allocated on the border of Amparai were under threat from farmers who have tried to take possession of these lands. This is doubly unfortunate since this is one instance where grazing lands have in fact been gazetted. It would be tragic if government efforts to develop milk production were threatened by such illegal action. It seems that the farmers feel they have support from some elements in government, so it would be good if you investigated the situation and ensured prompt action to prevent illegal encroachments.

These have reached worrying proportions, since we were informed that over 30 cattle had been killed. I would therefore urge prompt action to allow the industry to develop.’

From the time I entered Parliament, aware of how India had developed milk production from virtually nothing at independence, I had urged planned development. At first officials attending the Committee on Public Enterprises had seemed positive, but when they came back I realized that nothing had been done, and perhaps nothing could be when they had Arumugam Thondaman as Minister. This it seemed to me was another area where local planning would be better, and I wrote to the Governor too about the problem. But this continues an area of total neglect when action would help with both employment and nutrition.

I highlight here something I kept drawing attention to, the need for a comprehensive water policy, for it made no sense that the area should suffer in turn from droughts and floods. Obviously the ruthless building up of the coastal areas contributed, but there was also shocking neglect of small irrigation schemes.

The pictures are of Gamini Hettiarachchi, and the three ministers responsible plus the governor, but of course they never spoke to each other about these problems so concerted action never happened.

A letter to the Ministry of Water Supply

One of the problems that had regularly been brought to my notice had to do with water resources, so perhaps I should cite here the letter I wrote to the Minister in charge of Water Supply and Drainage, to which there was no reply, as had been the case previously too.

At today’s Reconciliation meetings at Aladivembu and Kalmunai, representatives of several Grama Niladhari Divisions mentioned that drainage problems had been exacerbated by recent roads which had been built without, in their view, proper planning. I have no idea if their complaints are justified, but there were so many that I believe you should ask for a full report on the matter.

Whatever the reason, I think it is important to develop a comprehensive plan to address the problem. When I first began regular consultations, in 2012, I noted the need for a comprehensive water policy for the Eastern Province, and every meeting reinforces this perception.

I will therefore copy this letter to the Hon Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources too, to suggest that you arrange a Roundtable on the issue since unless some action is taken, this problem will only get worse. Since the Disaster Management Centre has prepared plans in this regard, but there is no provision to implement them systematically, and since it would seem from the recent complaints that on some occasions government agencies act in contravention of the guidelines the DMC has laid down, I will copy this too to the Director General of the DMC.

In this connection, I should note that, in Kalmunai, there was a particular complaint about the failure of the Municipal Council to lay drains properly or clear them systematically. While obviously the responsibility is that of the Council, this exemplifies the need for national policy on such matters that affect health too, and I would urge that the Cabinet, instead of arguing dogmatically about devolution, develop general understanding of what devolution means and how it can be meaningfully implemented whilst ensuring formulation and oversight of implementation of national policy in all appropriate areas.

I copied this letter, with a covering letter asking for action, to the Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources, and also to the Governor. But nothing was done, though the Disaster Management Centre had prepared plans for every Division as I had gathered from Gamini Hettiarachchi. But after Mahinda Samarasinghe and I left the Ministry nothing moved, and Gamini had to face persecution by the new Secretary who had a direct line to Gamini Senerath in the President’s Office.

The Minister the mild Mahinda Amaraweera felt powerless before her, and in fact told me when I persuaded him to take charge of the COPE Committee on Follow Up which I had had instituted that he found that work more productive than sitting in his Ministry unable to achieve anything. It was not surprising that he turned into one of Maithripala Sirisena’s strongest adherents after he won, though of course he had not had the courage to come out before that. And I do not think he was effective as a Minister afterwards either, though he was probably more honest than most.

I look here at another suggestion I made about educational reform, which again government has begun bleating about without doing anything about it. The Prime Minister in his budget speech highlighted ‘the need to promote sport, particularly among the young generation.’ but obviously no one else is interested – as those of us who pushed for this in the 2010 parliament found.

I also talk about my efforts to get more done for women after that Northern visit. And then I move on to a journey to the East, for my second round of visits to Divisional Secretariats there after I had started this process of consultation. By now I knew which problems were most serious, in terms of difficulties for people, and also which would repay attention in promoting economic activity and their welfare.

The pictures are of various groups of women I interacted with during these years.

Women’s empowerment and another look at the East

In my letter to the NEC Chairman I noted that ‘Opening up learning opportunities through co-curricular activities is also vital, and the recommendation of the Parliamentary Consultative Committee, that co-curricular activities should be made compulsory, would also if implemented help considerably to change the educational culture which is now destructive, with its emphasis on rote learning and the privileging of tuition after school.’ This would have been helped had the Ministry moved on the new Act ‘which has been through innumerable consultative processes since 2010.’ And I urged Lakshman to push in this regard. 

Another area in which I thought productive action necessary was with regard to women’s empowerment though for this I tried to rope in the UN. I wrote to Subinay Nandy, the UN Resident Coordinator whom I would meet frequently, to say ‘At a recent Reconciliation meeting in Madhu Division, I had a well thought out request for assistance to the Women’s Rural Development Societies, for a more structured approach to the production and sale of handicrafts which they use to supplement their incomes. Given the increasing numbers going to Madhu, and not only for feasts, this is something worth encouraging. Perhaps you could also think of new models of development that would promote contacts with counterparts in the south…. building up a group of such concerned agencies would help with training and marketing.’

After those suggestions following a visit to the North I went eastward in March. On the 17th, after a night in Getamanna I set off early for Aladivembu where I had begun Divisional Reconciliation meetings in the East in 2012. I had lunch there after the meeting and then went on to the Kalmunai Muslim Secretariat, one of those divisive enclaves set up to satisfy Mr Ashraff when Chandrika needed his support in 1994. That night was at the Bridge Hotel, with the usual heartening meeting with Mrs Charles before a meeting at Manmunai North, the Batticaloa Town Division.

I had lunch then in a restaurant overlooking the lagoon, a lovely spot where we lingered, one of my last fond memories of the peripatetic existence of that period. The afternoon meeting was at Chenkaladi and then I went to Derrick Nugawela’s in Kandy for the night.

I record here suggestions with regard to educational reform, which the current government talks of, having done nothing in its previous incarnation and with no new ideas now. Coincidentally my Council for Liberal Democracy Facebook post records what I tried to do to promote provincial initiatives in higher education, in particular with regard to teacher education, given the appalling shortages of teachers of essential subjects in rural areas.

The pictures are of classes I visited in the North, including one in a vocational training centre I started and two at Manik Farm where government did a great job in ensuring education from the start.

Educational reforms

The administrative coordination I proposed  would have ensured a more coherent approach to essential services such as roads and transport and water supply. Instead, decisions were made by the Ministers at the Centre who had been put in charge of District development, and they were generally concerned only with their own vote base. As I wrote to Basil Rajapaksa, who was efficient in many respects but could not work with efficient people, ‘At the recent Reconciliation meeting in Madhu Division, attention was drawn to the bad state of many roads. Though I pointed out that there had been considerable progress over the last few years, it is true that the three main roads apart from the A roads are in disrepair. This also affects transport since bus companies are not willing to work such roads.

It was claimed that proposals for road repair have been put forward repeatedly, but these tend to be ignored at DDC meetings which prioritize other roads. The vehemence of the complaints was greater than elsewhere in the North in recent times, so perhaps you could look into the matter and see what relief can be provided under Vadakkil Vasantham or the other projects under your purview.’

With regard to Education, which I have long seen as the key to productive reforms in all sectors, I now know that no one else could ensure quick action. But in those days I had faith in Mohanlal Grero who had been made Deputy Minister of Education and I thought he only failed to perform because he was under the ridiculous Bandula Gunawardena. I wrote then to the Secretary, the very able Anura Dissanayake, to suggest ‘a dedicated Ministry of Educational Reform under Mr Grero, while the main Ministry would deal with general administration and appointments and examinations and the matters that take up the bulk of attention now, to the detriment of planning and productivity’.

I hoped this would set up ‘new systems of teacher training, and to allow the Provinces to engage in this, with a view to developing good teachers in essential subjects (Maths and Science and English for instance) who might stay on in rural areas.’ Obviously the Ministry would claim that standards would be affected, but equally obviously the answer to this was to provide for certification by the Ministry. The bottom line was the need to have teachers willing to stay on in rural areas, and for this recruitment from such areas was the best solution. This I should note was a problem brought up at most meetings, the appalling lack of teachers in rural schools.

Other problems in education I tried to address through the National Educational Commission which was now chaired by the very capable Prof Lakshman Jayatilleka. I suggested he try to implement straight away some of the ideas in its latest Annual Report,  such as that that citizenship education were made compulsory at the GCE Ordinary Level.

This post on reconciliation looks at further suggestions made in 2014 on the basis of the needs people expressed at the Divisional meetings. It would have been very simple to solve some of them, particularly with regard to education and transport.

Also it was clear that people appreciated being consulted, even if not all their demands could be met. Ensuring meetings were held regularly would not have been difficult, but those in authority avoided these, as they profited and provided benefits to their supporters alone.

The pictures relate to travel in an earlier period but, having failed to highlight scenery in recent posts I thought it worthwhile sharing one of my incentives for all this work I did, the beauty of the countryside through which I passed again and again in those three years. Here I feature the bodies of water I kept repassing, sea and inland.

Promoting Coordination

One of the biggest problems local communities faced was the disjunct between the central government, the provincial government, the local government and also the administration that was accountable to the central government.

The structures were all over the place, which is why I gave so much attention to streamlining them in my proposals for reform when I ran for President last year. But even without structural changes it would be very easy to ensure coordination through better consultation mechanisms.

I had requested that the chairs of Pradeshiya Sabhas be invited to the Reconciliation meetings in every Division, and most attended in a spirit of active cooperation. The TNA had sensibly selected for these positions not political activists but rather those with good social standing, such as retired government officials, and they would have been willing partners for development with government.

I told the President after the northern meetings in March 2014 that in Madhu Division, the Chairs of the two Pradeshiya Sabhas that cover the area were both present, and extremely positive in their approach. They continue to have great faith in you as President, though for obvious reasons they indicated disquiet about the national politicians to whom you have given control of such areas, in contravention of the vision enunciated in your manifesto.

It is a great pity that you do not have personnel who can work productively with such local leaders who, while representing the TNA, give priority to local development. As we have discussed, empowering local institutions would be the best way of pursuing the goals of the Mahinda Chintanaya while avoiding any threat of separatism.

In the present instance they mentioned that, though you had pledged Rs 1 million per Pradeshiya Sabha in the budget, this allocation had not as yet been received. They have also not been sent the amount due on stamp duties since 2009.

Another matter that came up was the establishment of a separate Pradeshiya Sabha for Madhu. I believe it has been generally agreed as a matter of principle that Pradeshiya Sabhas should be coterminous with Divisional Secretariats, which would provide for ease of coordination and administration and also promote structural unity. In this case all plans have been made but for some reason, which they seem to have identified, the Ministry had delayed gazetting the change.’

I continue with the letters I wrote in 2014 to try to get some action from Ministries that were simply not concerned with our rural populations. The best I should note was the Ministry of Health, and I note in the letter here a positive response to an earlier letter. This was one reason I looked favourably upon Maithripala Sirisena when he became the common candidate, and it was sad that a relatively competent Minister turned into an utterly incompetent President.

It is also so sad that it is only now that the Rajapaksas have identified water supply as a major problem. I wrote about it constantly and said that that, and elephants, were major issues, which they realize only now. I still cannot understand how they continued to rely on scoundrels such as Rishard and Hisbullah who were simply feathering their own nests – and encouraging extremism in the process, without any consideration for the poor peasantry who had been placed in their charge.

But they simply did not care about providing essential services, or ensuring coordination amongst those responsible for these.

The pictures are of two ministers who never ever responded. The third, Dullas Alahapperuma did and tried to be helpful but he could get no action from his Ministry.

A schedule of recurring problems

Dr Nihal Jayatilleka

Secretary, Ministry of Health

Dear Secretary

Thank you for responding swiftly with regard to problems I raised recently about services in the North. I hope the action you mentioned has proved successful.

I write now about questions raised at the recent Reconcliation meeting in Madhu. I was told that there is a hospital with excellent facilities recently built at Periyamadhu, but there are no doctors. Whilst appreciating the difficulties about getting doctors to serve in such areas, I hope you will be able to fill the gap swiftly.

I was told too that the well equipped Health Centre at Palampitty has not had the required personnel working there, though it seems that recently a doctor had visited for a day. Again I hope you will be able to look into this and provide a remedy.

It may be an idea to request all Provincial Directors of Health to monitor the situation closely and send you a schedule each month of gaps in the system. This will also help you to ensure that at least some facilities are working at full strength in all areas.

I wrote amongst others to the Minister of Youth Affairs and Skills Development about the lack of Vocational Training and the need for higher level qualifications that would facilitate lucrative international employment too; to the Minister of Justice about preventive measures with regard to alcoholism; to the Minister of Agriculture about the compulsory insurance levy imposed by the Agrarian Services Department in providing fertilizer; to the Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources as well as the Minister of Economic Development about repairs that were needed to irrigation schemes, support with digging of wells in particular for domestic consumption for which must time and energy is now spent for bowsering at times of drought; and the need to restore the catchment area of the Arugampuleliya Tank using the waters of the Van Ela which now run uselessly to the sea, and also about the problems new settlements would cause. I should note that these problems were brought to my attention by the villagers themselves. What is sad is that I was about the only one available to listen to them, given the callousness of those government had put in charge of the areas.

This letter describes Bruce’s 21st birthday party, which typically he persuaded his mother to host in our flat, though it was very small and one room has to be closed off since all the furniture was piled in there. But it all worked out very well, and the guests were happy, and so were the dentists who had rented us the place. I anticipate now, but when I finally left many of the girls who worked there, and the wonderful Secretary to the practice, Mrs Dent, said how much they had enjoyed having us there.

Bruce at 21 does seem so very long ago, compared with another picture taken just a few years back.

3rd November 1977 (cont)

Anila took her degree last weekend and I very dutifully attended, as well as her Principal’s tea and her lunch next day, even though her capacity to irritate increased apace. I suppose it was my fault for being too nice at first – so that she thought I was patronizing her for my own delectation. I know I ought to be more forgiving. I hope it’ll be much easier from now since I’ll see her so much more rarely.

We had the most enormous party here last Saturday – about 80 people, in two rooms and a landing; there were 4 beds and heaps of chests of drawers in my room, and a carton of cream collapsed on the floor 5 minutes before the party was to start – absolute chaos, and the caterers looked on in horror. 4 hectic hours later, having got rid of everyone, I had just sat down with an enormous glass of brandy and a volume of Evelyn Waugh, when 20 people returned with fireworks they insisted on setting off. Only one neighbour complained, and all 6 people who were staying the night having been made to help clear up, there was only a bit of broken glass for the dentists to discover – so the party can be said to have passed off successfully. The same can hardly be said for the next night when I only got back at 5 am so that I nearly hadn’t the energy to get to Stratford the next day – ‘As You Like It’ which was a joy. Since then I’ve refused every invitation and am trying to finish 6 more obscure novels before next seeing my supervisor. I think now I’ll take at least 2 years more, but the subject is beginning to cohere now, and I think I’ve worked out the chapters – but there’s so much more to read!

11th November 1977

I am taking my BPhil degree on the 26th, in case Mum’s able to come up for it, if only for the afternoon; I think Shan and the family are going to be here that weekend as well. As you may have assumed by now, I didn’t get into All Souls, indeed didn’t even come close.

I have decided to be good and give up all my societies again, in theory permanently, though it may be only for this term, on the grounds that I must get a fair number of words written fairly soon. Term’s gone exceedingly quickly.

I start with the introduction to the letters of my seventh year, recording the political careers of some friends who shared my flat. But the mainstay of the place was Bruce Balden, whom I had met through Adrian, and who was a great companion over this year.

The pictures are of the house in Norham Gardens, the front with Bruce and me in the bay window in which he slept, and the view over the garden from my bedroom window at the back.

The world impinges

There is more about Sri Lanka now than previously, and I assume this suggests  my readiness to return, as well as an interest in local politics which lapsed only for my earlier days at Oxford.

Interestingly, my British political connections have only come to fruition now, with Damian Green, the flatmate I refer to, being now in effect Deputy Prime Minister. Theresa May I knew and liked, but she was not a close friend, and I was also somewhat surprised when she rose so far in the party – and ended up as Prime Minister. When Cameron became leader of the Conservative Party, I thought my generation would be forgotten, and understandably so given the appalling behavior of Tony Blair, an exact contemporary though he was not involved in politics while at Oxford.

I had only three very short trips in Europe during this summer vacation, Berlin and Sicily as briefly mentioned, and in between a delightful time in the south of France, staying in Narbonne and visiting also Perpignan and Carcassone, leisurely sightseeing, and lots of reading and much wine tasting.

And then I came back to my last abode at Oxford, No 22 Norham Gardens where I had rented the top floor flat from the dental practice on the ground floor and basement. It was a wonderful place to spend what turned out to be my last two years. Bruce, who had the middle room which did duty as sitting and dining room too, was very hospitable as I was, so we had lots of people who came back to visit to stay – overnight, and in one case for nearly a week, which had Bruce in paroxysms of relief when the guest finally left.

Andrew Turner, who replaced Damian in the front room, also entered Parliament, and served for a couple of decades as MP for the Isle of Wight. Interestingly, Bruce and I drove down there to stay with him last September, the first time both of them had met since Bruce left Oxford.

The letters however make clear that I was really very hard at work, and I enjoyed this hugely. Being paid to read Dickens and Thackeray and the Brontes and Trollope was very satisfying. Though very different in rhythm from the previous years, this last period was also quite wonderful.

Flat 2, 22 Norham Garden

3rd November 1977

Goff’s Secretary said the Churchill, where Sanjiva’s place will be, was about to write. Of course it was quite obvious that was not the reason Thatha rang – the number is genuine and I hope it won’t be tested too often as it really is very worrying when one’s not expecting a call. I was quite convinced that the infected Maple Syrup had done for you all and, though it was only briefly, I think as I grow older the Goonewardene (or was it Moonemalle) nerves or lack of them tends to predominate.

Rajiva Wijesinha


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