1988 saw me engaged in a range of new initiatives, both for the Council and outside. The first para here refers to political interests plus a String Quartet, but then I go on to a visit I made to England, which the Council kindly funded though the original idea was to use up the return ticket I still had after my flight back from the journey round the world.

In addition to an attachment at the Council office in London, I also met with a wonderful character who ran the Ceylon Bloomsbury Group, which we had helped by providing an air ticket for a drummer to perform for them. This was a worthwhile initiative, and we did more with the Group later, funding the singer Amaradeva too for a visit to perform in London.

The pictures exemplify the range of activity, with Amaradeva and Piyasara and Ramya and then Margaret de Silva top right at a Council Workshop, with Yogendra Duraiswamy at the bottom.

The Ceylon Bloomsbury Group

The first week of 1988 saw a couple of talks, a visit from officers of the American National Democratic Institute, a talk at the Hall on Oscar Wilde by Chanaka and then a tour by the Coull String Quartet. Their flight was late so I had to take them straight to our Hall for a workshop on the Saturday morning, with a reception that evening. Next morning we had another workshop and that evening the former Civil Servant Yogendra Duraiswamy had me for drinks to meet some American diplomats after which the pianist Ramya de Livera, who had been at school with me in the Ladies College primary, gave the Coull dinner, I believe because she had trained with one of them in London.

On the Tuesday the Coull had a concert at the Galadari, and after that I took a night flight to London. I had had a return ticket from my flight back the previous January after the ship trip and I asked the Council, since I did not want to waste it, whether I could get one of the free tickets we received from the airlines to get back. Rex agreed and arranged an attachment at the Council for a few days as an excuse but then the lady in charge of ticketing, Margaret de Silva, told me that getting only a return flight would be more complicated than my using a full return ticket on KLM.

The reason we had these tickets was that we sent over 100 students to England every year on a technical training programme that Margaret administered, and the airlines competed anxiously for the custom. I was of course quite happy to fly KLM, for I had got used in the previous years to pop over to Amsterdam for a break when I was in England, and this time the airline put me up on my return journey at a grander hotel than I had previously known.

I landed in England, going via Amsterdam I presume, on January 13th, and had a great time with friends though I followed a course at the Council office for three days and had dinner one evening with Geraldine and Cathy, and also met with the Bloomsbury Group with whom I had been working recently to send some of our artistes, the singer Amaradeva and the drummer Piyasara Shilpadhipathi, to perform in London. The livewire of the group was a Tamil gentleman called Sivasambu who was devoted to the promotion of Sri Lankan culture and in particular Sinhala music.