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I continue here with more lively journeys in the first half of 1995, when I could indulge to the full my passion for new roads and old resthouses. The Ratnapura District had a number of delightful ones with broad verandahs and, in Ratnapura, a lovely balcony on the first floor, all ideal for evening drinks.

The first four pictures are of the Ratnapura Resthouse where I was able to stay a few weeks back, its facade with the balcony above the large windows of the ground floor verandah, and then a long shot of the balcony followed by the view from there down the hill and then a side view of the building to the exit gate. These are followed by a picture, not mine, of the lovely little Rakwana Resthouse.

Interesting roads and resthouses

The Raheems left Aluwihare on the Monday evening and next morning Kithsiri returned to take me to the Buttala AUC after I had inspected the Mahiyangana and Bibile GELT Centres. Next day Mrs Siriwardena gave me both breakfast and lunch while I observed classes in between, and then I inspected the Moneragala and Wellawaya GELTs though at Balangoda I only saw the students as they were leaving. I then saw the Coordinator in his quarters, before going on to the Ratnapura Resthouse for the night, with hoppers for dinner in Pelmadulla before than.

Next morning we left books at the Eheliyagoda RESC and then went in search of the former Ruwanwella Coordinator who had not paid for the books he had taken and proved elusive. I believe we had changed him so I had no luck about the payment when I visited the Ruwanwella GELT that afternoon, going on to the two Kegalle GELTsa and the one at Mawanella before spending the night at the Ambepussa Resthouse.

Next day I went to the Gampaha RESC for a seminar for teachers on the Ordinary Level English syllabuses and then after lunch visited the Veyangooda and Minuwangoda and Narammala and Kuliyapitiya GELT Centres. We stayed that night at the Negombo new Resthouse. We drove back to Colombo next morning along the coast road and then I had a look at the weekend GELT Centre we had started in Colombo to accommodate students who were employed.

The following Monday I set off again with Kithsiri to visit the Eheliyagoda and Ratnapura GELTs and then spend the night at the Rakwana Resthouse where I had stayed with Ena twelve years earlier. We sat on its verandah that evening with our beer, enjoying the spectacular waterfall on the hill opposite, though we were told it was seasonal.

Next morning we went via Deniyaya, on the Hayes-Lauderdale Road I had first been on with Ena even earlier. to the Kamburupitiya AUC and then visited the Dickwella and two Matara GELTs, before dropping in on Pushpananda at Rahula and then spending the night at the University Guesthouse. Next morning I ran a workshop at the RESC on teaching language through the Ordinary Level Literature syllabus and then visited the Tangalle and Ambalantota and Embilipitiya GELTs before going via the scenic Weligepola Road to spend the night at the Balangoda Resthouse.

I went to the Belihuloya AUC next morning where I saw Ruby Fernando who wanted to use the place for a Peace Corps seminar, and then went to the Kalawana and Matugama GELTs and on to Kalutara though that Centre was on holiday. I met the Coordinator then at home before heading back to Colombo.

There followed a hiatus as to trips with Kithsiri for the UGC wanted me to use their drivers and only after it became clear how inefficient that was was I allowed to get back to using a hired vehicle. The UGC mileage did not cover this but I subsidized this with project funds so I was not out of pocket.

The pictures are of Prof Thilakaratna and Ismeth Raheem, of the sylvan surroundings of the Pologahawela Resthouse and then the Ambalangoda Resthouse in its current decrepit state, a victim of political corruption and callousness.

A hiatus and then back to Kithsiri

Soon afterwards the UGC asked me to use their drivers so it was only at the very end of May that I could travel again with Kithsiri. I had found the UGC drivers impossible, and told the Chairman so, and the sensible Sirisena Thilakaratna understood and allowed me to make my own arrangements which he said would be cheaper for themg given how their drivers charged for overtime. , after I began to find them impossible and told the Chairman so

On Wednesday May 31st then I went with Kithsiri to the Kalutara RESC and then, after lunch at the Ambalangoda Resthouse, met students at the Ambalangoda and two Galle Centres. That night was at the Ruhuna University Guesthouse which we both liked so much.

Next morning we went to the Matara and Tangalle RESCs and then visited the Walasmulla and Weeraketiya Centres though by the time we reached Embilipitiya only the staff were left. That night was at the Balangoda Resthouse which I had long wanted to stay at, and it was only next morning that we went to the Belihuloya AUC and thence to Buttala where we had lunch. Then I visited the Bandarawela and Welimada and Badulla Centres and went on to Mahiyangana. Unfortunately the Resthouse was full so we had to stay in a guesthouse though we had dinner at the old familiar place.

Next morning we went to Aluwihare where Kithsiri left me for the weekend. Nirmali was there too, and after two restful days I went down to Colombo with her on Monday June 5th, going via the Kandy and Gampaha RESCs to drop books.Then on Thursday I went with Kithsiri via the Bolawalana RESC and Chilaw to Anuradharpura where I saw Tilak Wehelle to collect book money. In the afternoon I visited the Galgamuwa and Nikaweratiya Centres but then the Resthouses in Kurunagala were full so we spent the night in Polgahawela at what I have recorded at the Mala Inn.

Next morning I went to Jerome Codipilly’s little hotel in Kandy and slept there before going to the Peradeniya RESC and then visiting the Gampola and Peradeniya and St. Sylvester’s GELT Centres. I also saw the Hemamala Coordinator before getting back to Codipilly;s for the night.

I gave a lecture next day on ‘Mill on the Floss’ for DELIC students and saw Jean Arasanayagam before getting to Aluwihare where we were joined on the Sunday by Ismeth and Dileni Raheem and their son Mirak, while Nirmala de Mel whom I had not seen for ages dropped in for lunch. Next day Monday we saw a young hornbill emerge from its nest and then had a lovely drive, after ages, before a long afternoon sleep.

I describe here travels on my AUC work with Nirmali Hettiarachchi, when we also took along for the ride Malathi Thalgodapitiya who had begun to work with us as her sister Mrinali had done. Kithsiri got on splendidly with these my Sri Lankan friends too, and much appreciated their great energy and commitment. And as noted he evinced this himself, in the readiness with which he undertook any heavy labour connected with my classes.

The pictures are of Saman and Gamini Weerakoon, and of the Monte Farno Seminary, the Mahiyangana Resthouse and the Randiya Hotel.

Travelling with the team

I travelled next with Kithsiri on Wednesday February 1st when I went to Belihuloya for classes and a meeting with students. Next morning it was the Bandarawela RESC and the Rahangala AUC and then the Nuwara Eliya RESC and the Hatton GELT Centre after which we returned to Colombo, having hoppers on the way back at a delightful boutique we had found near Pelmadulla.

It was only on the Friday that I set off again, driven by Shanta, taking both Nirmali and Malathi. We went via Belihuloya to Buttala where we were interviewed by the brightest student there, Saman Indrajith, whom I later introduced to the ‘Island’ where he has since worked. Nirmali dubbed him ‘Beetle’ since in the midst of an interview he diverted our attention to a beetle on the ground.

After Gamini Weerakoon the editor of the ‘Island’ took him on, he told me when we met at a funeral that he had expected someone from Royal or S. Thomas’, and this boy had told him his parents did not know English. I told Gamini that I no longer dealt in the big schools and most students in the country had parents who did not know English. I was gratified the next time I met Gamini when he told me the boy was the best trainee he had come across.

Saman was a difficult child and loathed by more orthodox teachers, one of whom gave him a bad mark in one of his finals papers. I was shocked and asked him if he was upset, to which he said not a whit. He had got an A from me for an international literature paper, and he said that was what mattered, not what others awarded him.

We spent the weekend at Girandurukotte, with Saturday night at the Mahiyangana Resthouse, getting back to Colombo on Sunday afternoon, having dropped Malathi at a relation’s place in Kandy and seeing Fr Stephen at Monte Farno. The next three days I worked in Colombo and then went with Nirmali and Malathi on Thursday February 18th via Negombo and Chilaw to drop books to the Anuradhapura AUC for classes, spending the night at the charming Randiya Hotel. I have not noted before that one of the many helpful qualities of Kithsiri was his untiring hauling of books into the car and out, counting them carefully whenever I passed them on to the various institutions which were to dispose of them.

Next day we went to the Vavuniya AUC for a Board meeting and seeing the students, and then came back to Colombo, stopping at the Randiya for lunch.

I describe here my first journey in 1995 with Kithsiri when we took along Ian Kramer, a good friend from Oxford who was visiting. Kithsiri got on very well with all my friends, and would fondly remember them afterwards, and their special characteristics. In Ian’s case one was to nurse a glass of gin all evening, while we drank more quickly.

The pictures are of the Gedige and Ian at Oxford, of Buduruvagala and the Sigiriya Resthouse and the Windsor Hotel and then my cousin Chanaka in his latest incarnation as Legal Adviser to the British mission to the United Nations, doubtless a difficult task at the present time.

A journey with Ian Kramer

I was hard at work from the day after I got to Colombo, working at the UGC and Nirmali’s on Thursday 5th January, and then going on the Friday with another Codipilly driver Shantha to Mahiyangana. I took with me my cousin Chanaka Wickremesinghe, who was over from England with his Indian wife Radha, and we stayed at the Resthouse at Mahiyangana and I checked on classes. I did the same next day while Chanaka and Radha went on to Polonnaruwa, and after they got back I went to the Buttala AUC where Mrs Siriwardena gave us dinner. After a class next morning I took them to Buduruvagala for the wonderful range of 10th century Buddha statues, and then we returned to Colombo.

The following Thursday I set off with Kithsiri again and my great friend Ian Kramer who was visiting. We drove straight to Sigiriya and climbed the rock so we were there for sunset. Kithsiri was intrigued when Ian, who was a master of several languages, proceeded to tell us what the Italian tourists who were at the summit with us were saying.

That night was at the Sigiriya Resthouse, and next day we went to Anuradhapura for Kithsiri to take Ian round while I worked at the AUC. Then we went to Polonnaruwa and stayed the night at that Resthouse, watching students swim in the Parakrama Reservoir as we had tea. We had a long morning next day exploring Polonnaruwa, and went off to spend the night at the Mahinyangana Resthouse. I checked on classes that afternoon and next morning while Ian relaxed at the Resthouse, and then we drove on the Nuwara Eliya and stayed at a modern hotel called the Windsor, which was pleasant enough.

Next morning we drove to Kandy, and saw the Botanical Gardens before lunch at the Peradeniya Resthouse. Ian then went to the Temple while I went to see Fr Stephen, former St. Anthony’s College Principal who was our third Gratiaen judge, at the Monte Farno home for retired clergy at the Ampitiya Seminary. I dropped books for judging also at Nihal Fernando’s, on the road to Matate, and took Ian then to the exquisite Nalanda Gedige before heading to Aluwihare where we were given tea on the terrace. I think Ena was away, so we spent the night at K2, her restaurant-cum-guesthouse on the main road.

Next morning we went back at the Walauwe to see the work and for Ian to buy handicrafts, and then we went to the Matale RESC and the Polgolla AUC before visiting the Lankatilleke Temple and also the Elephant Orphanage at Pinnawala.

In Colombo the next day, after work, I took Ian to the Mt. Lavinia Hotel for tea, and Anila then gave us dinner, and Chanaka Amaratunga joined us for coffee afterwards at the Oberoi. Ian left the next day.

I note here two lovely holidays in the midst of work, with Ena and Shanthi Wilson at the Udawalawe Park, and then with Robert Scoble at Negombo, reminiscent of the great times we had had there a decade earlier, though in less salubrious hotels than those we now were in.

But I record also a realization of how awful was the situation the Tigers had engendered, when I registered the fear of children in a remote area where we were trying to implement the furniture project, devised when there had been optimism after the Indo-Lankan Accord.

Apart from Chris Bigsby, whom I remember fondly for he was great fun, the pictures are of the range of hotels mentioned, Tissawewa and the Walawe Bungalow, Nuwarawewa and Ranthaliya and the – even more – upgraded Royal Oceanic.

Breaks amidst work

The next day I went to Anuradhapua where I addressed a seminar for English teachers, before lunch with Siran and Gill and the two Assets I had taken to help me. We stayed that night at the Tissawewa Resthouse where Siran and Gill joined me for drink. The next day I visited six schools about furniture, including some in distant Padaviya where I found the students asleep in class. When I mentioned this to the Principal in a tone of complaint, I was duly rebuked when he said they had spent the night in the trees, for this was an area where the Tigers attacked, and families spent nights in the jungle rather than in vulnerable villagers.

I had lunch at the Nuwarawewa Resthouse and then went on to Polonnaruwa with Gill, dropping Siran at Sigiriya en route. Once again, together with Roland Silva, we saw the site illuminated, after the adjustments suggested on the previous occasion, and then stayed over at the Resthouse. Next day I visited eight schools in the district, had lunch at the Seruwa with the Director of Education, and then went to Anuradhapura to pick up the two Assets. We  headed back to Colombo then, with dinner en route at the Kurunagala Rantheliya Resthouse – where I recall the girls had giggles when I asked for boiled water and used the wrong word in Sinhala.

The next day I was off to Udawalawe with Shanthi to join Ena, getting back only on the following Wednesday with Ena, after we had spent the previous day, her birthday, dashing down from Udawalawe to Yala, to celebrate her birthday. That evening there was a party to inaugurate the Follow Me programme the Colombo International School was producing, but after that I met up at home with Robert who was visiting again. Next day, after going to the Ministry, and seeing Prema Fernando, I went to Negombo to stay with Robert at the Royal Oceanic Hotel, a leg up from places we had stayed in previously. I had three lovely days with him, before getting back by bus on the Sunday.

The following week Lesley Randles hosted a dinner on Tuesday and Barbara Goldsmid one on Wednesday, and Gail had her housewarming party on Friday which was attended also by Chris Bigsby who was visiting us, our first academic since I had started at the Council. I knew him for he had been the main organizer of the Cambridge Council Seminar I had attended five years earlier.

I note here the new initiatives I had embarked on with regard to publications, given the negative approach now of the Council, Fortunately CIDA under Andre Vinette was even more supportive, if that were possible, of the work I did than Valerie Young had been.

But I note here too other efforts to cut down Sri Lankans, with the arrival of a new head of our Language Teaching Operation.

I was delighted to find that a stamp to commemorate Tissa Balasuriya was issued after his death, when I sought a picture of him. That is juxtaposed with Rudi Corens, an odd combination of two great idealists.

A changing world

But the work was already moving beyond the scope of the Council, for I had discussed hiring for the new book project for CIDA the house of my father’s cousin Ranjith Atapattu who had gone from being Minister of Labour to a post with the International Labour Organization. It was a small and narrow house, but adequate for our purposes, and was in Bagatelle Road which was just round the corner, and also opposite my aunt Lakshmi’s new house.

On Saturday the second Asset course began, but I also had an APC meeting for a draft on Human Rights, before getting back to the Council for finalizing arrangements for the Assets. The next day I got some of my staff at home to clear up Kew Gardens for our use, in between more APC work.

The next day Neil had a dinner for the new head of the Council’s teaching operation, a man called Dave Rowlands whom I thought unpleasant. I had little to do with him, but he tried to cut down the role of Shalini Amerasinghe, who had been Deputy Head from the time the operation started. He believed in pushing what he termed native speakers – which included those with bizarre regional accents – and treated Shalini with contempt, which none of his predecessors had done. Gail also had a party for him on the Wednesday, and the next day I went to the Ministry to meet Kamala and also Chandra Amerasekera, wife of the novelist Gunadasa, whom I had initially met through ACLALS, who was now advising at the Ministry. On the Friday I had the APC in the morning, the intensity of my attendance doubtless because Chanaka was away, and that afternoon we had a farewell tea party at the Council for Fred.

I dropped in at the Assets Course the next day to find Regi in good form, and that evening Tonya Shand hosted a piano recital after which I had to head back to the Council where we had put on a play by Richard’s cousin Ruana Rajapaksa. Assets work continued the next day but we also welcomed a group from Peradeniya who put on ‘Hamlet’ in the hall.

The next day I went to UNICEF to see someone Scott claimed Richard Ralph was having an affair with, which rather coloured my approach to whatever work we were supposed to be doing together. That afternoon I went to the Centre Rudi had set up at the radical Fr. Tissa Balasuriya’s Centre for Society and Religion, which seemed an odd justaposition but he seemed happy. Next day there were talks to DELIC Teachers and to the Teachers who were students at the HIEE before a meeting of the APC.

This details the beginning of Neil’s efforts to clip my wings, though it began with him actually giving me the use of the upstairs of the house in which Rex Baker had lived – for Neil himself had refused to live there and got himself an expensive house on rent down the road. But the pictures are of the continuing joys of those difficult days, scenes of the New Oriental Hotel in Galle.

Kew Gardens

Back in Colombo after breakfast I met with the ODA forestry team for some reason, to do with books, and then had lunch with Prema Fernando at the Oberoi, along with Gill. We had James Goonerwardene speak at the Council that evening, for ACLALS, and next evening we opened an exhibition at the Council before Iris Gooneratne who ran the Wendt had a dinner. Next morning I went to the Matara Education Office, for that District too now benefited from the Furniture Project. I looked at eight schools, and then went to Galle where I stayed at the New Oriental Hotel which I loved, which gave excellent rates though only for the rooms in the garden, not the massive ones with four poster beds over the entrance. But I much loved the garden, with its swimming pool under frangipani trees.

I met that evening with the Galle Director of English and then went next morning to see a class at St. Aloysius conducted by one of our best Pasdunrata students. Then I met with staff at the Provincial Education Office and visited the Regional English Support Centre, a new initiative which the Council was supporting, our contact person being Lesley Randles at the time. David would complain that she never visited, since she enjoyed a leisured life in Colombo, and I took this with a pinch of salt until I saw her one working morning emerging from the stairs that led to the swimming pool at the Galle Face Hotel.

After lunch at the Triton I went to Pasdunrata for the closing ceremony of the Insett Course, and then came back to Colombo with Gail, before a party the Americans gave for one of their officers with whom we had worked. The next day Caroline Elmes had a party for someone I met with her the next morning too, after Asset interviews. Barbara Goldsmid was at the meeting, which suggests it was about education, but there were political elements too at the dinner the previous night.

The following week I had an APC meeting – the term used for the group of political parties Premadasa had brought together – about devolution which took place at the Ministry of Higher Education. But then on the Wednesday there began the structural changes at the Council regarding my work, which I think were because Neil and Gail wanted to stamp their mark on it. So on Wednesday the Book Project was moved to Kew Gardens, the house where the Bakers had lived. Now that Neil had moved, our examinations service functioned from the downstairs there, and I was given the use of the upstairs, terming it the Asset House though I think the main reason was that Neil did not think we should continue to work from Nirmali’s house.

I look here at the start of the second archaeology project, when I visited the Japanese site at Belihuloya which was to become a second home for me in the course of the decade. The pictures are all related to that visit, Ekneligoda and the Budugala ruins, a site Gill explored, the pool below the Japanese restaurant and finally Ananda Coomaraswamy on whose work Gill built.

Belihuloya for Archaeology

On Thursday I went to Pasdunrata again with Nirmali, and this time Maleec Calyaneratne, who later worked for Save the Children, and whose sister Shani had joined the second Asset batch, and would later join the Foreign Ministry. As previously we lunched at the Tangerine after our presentations. Then on Sunday I went with Gill and John Payne to Samanalawewa since the project had now been approved.

We stopped for tea at Ekneligoda Walauwe, the wonderful old house where Siran Deraniyagala lived, and then had drinks and dinner at the camp set up by Balfour Beatty for their work on the powerhouse. We stayed there and after breakfast next day Gill took us to a prehistoric site at the top of the hill and then to the foundry below which had to be excavated before the dam filled up.

Gill was a mine of information about the region, explaining that Ananda Coomaraswamy had also recorded the remarkable iron smelting in the region, which had otherwise received no publicity. The reason was the suppression of an occupation considered beneath them by the dominant Goigama caste. Hence indeed diffidence about admitting to this work by villagers who feared condemnation on caste grounds.

That was why, though steel from Serendib was celebrated in Arab chronicles, which recorded that it had contributed to the strength of their armies, this was ignored in Sri Lanka. It was of a piece with the neglect of all our resplendent history, except for the farming in the North Central Province. The magnificent Kelaniya kingdom where Vihara Maha Devi had come from was never studied, nor was the long standing Ruhunu civilization from which Dutugemuna had hailed, though all that was forgotten when he was subsumed within the narrative of the Mahavihara monks.

Gill took us to the delicate suspension bridge at Kinichigune and then we paddled in the Denagama Oya and walked up the stream and through paddies to Belihuloya, to the camp built by the Japanese for their work on the dam. We had lunch there, in what was termed the Japanese restaurant, at the site that was soon to become home to me when I worked on the Affiliated University Colleges programme, for the Belihuloya AUC was sited here.

We then had a look at the tunnel head, which was where the British worked, and then had drinks at the guesthouse where we had been put up before more drinks at the central restaurant where we were given dinner. And then, when we were back at the guesthouse I retired for it was clear John, not entirely sober now, was waiting to be left alone with Gill.

The next day we drove to the escarpment and to the site of another foundry at Taniantenne, and then we went on to the Irrigation Department Bungalow near the Walawe dam and then the ruins of the Budugala hermitage at Kalthota. After that fascinating tour, we went back to the British camp for lunch and then rested and left after tea. But while John went back to Colombo, Gill took me to Ekneligoda for the night where Siran gave us drinks and dinner in that wonderful old walauwe.

This post describes perhaps the most exciting part of the first Cultural Triangle Project, the lighting up of Polonnaruwa. Sadly the Ministry did not have the capacity to build on this as we had hoped, though it did respond positively whenever I wanted to show the lighting to friends, a mark of what I term the ‘machang culture’, helpfulness to friends with no idea of lasting impact.

I record too a welcome initiative of our ASSETs and then lunch with James Goonewardene, who did so much for writing in English though the academic establishment had scorned him.

The pictures are all of Polonnaruwa, though on a much later visit, the first four of the site at night though with noting like the lighting Springford had placed.

Lights at Polonnaruwa

I stayed over at the Queen’s and went next day to Polonnaruwa via the Matale Education Office, for breakfast at the Resthouse. We must have worked on the site then before getting back to the Royal Lotus at Giritale where we stayed the night. But after tea we went back to the Polonnaruwa site to see the lights her other consultant Richard Springford had set up. He had done a wonderful job, bright lights on some wonderful buildings, a more subdued effect on more delicate carvings, atmospheric glow amongst the trees.

We were all much impressed, including Roland Silva the showman who ran the Cultural Triangle. Unfortunately he could not make good use of this phenomenon, to attract tourists of an evening which had been the intention, but rather used the lights to impress distinguished visitors, with no public use of the marvellous work Richard, and behind him Gill, had done.

We stayed that night at Giritale and went back to Colombo next day, via the Dambulla megalithic burial ground I had not known of before. That afternoon I had a tutorial for Assets who had been at Pasdunrata, and then there was a meeting of the Classical Association for which I had been persuaded to take on the Presidency, a thankless task though I got through that stint satisfactorily – failing miserably when I had been pushed into doing the job again a decade later.

The Assets put on a play that evening, and I was also pleased to take delivery of This Other Eden and also the guide to reading poetry called The end of a golden string which Reggie had offered to write for our Readers series. But then I went to Sundari’s funeral, which was immensely sad for she had been a lovely personality and seemed far too young to have died.

On the Monday, after Richard had reported on his work, I was given lunch by the head of Penguin India, which had published a novel by James Goonewardena, whose work in the seventies I thought admirable though it had been panned by our academics. James and his wife Sonia, who had worked for the Council, had wanted me along with them because I had arranged for the novel to be launched that evening at the Council, though I fear he was upset because more attention was paid to This Other Eden which we also launched. But then, James had not been murdered as Richard had been.

It was not long before I realized that my influence at the Ministry did not sit well with Gail. The speed with which she turned hostile however I put down to Neil Kemp, whose own inadequacies had prompted resentment. Gail Liesching too proved determined to assert herself despite her lack of capacity.

Apart from what I suspect Neil contributed, she also fell prey to one of the Consultants, Richard Webber, who complained about me according to David. He was not very efficient though David stressed that the least efficient, Lesley Randles, was not as insidious. But with the Council now led by individuals who were concerned about their own positions, and not success in our work, it was soon obvious that I would not be allowed to work.

I note here too a sad occasion, the death of our neighbor of many years, Sundari Pathmanathan, whose son Gaji my father had sent to Oxford while I was there. She was a lovely gentle lady, who died young, the first I think of my parents’ generation to die naturally as it were, and that marked for me a shift in the status of the generations, with my own now taking as it were centre stage.

The letter I record collecting from the Ministry was the last of those in the grand tradition John Keleher had established, of helping the Ministry write to ODA and ODA to write to the Ministry. The pictures are of John Payne and Lesley Randles, there being none on the internet of their less pleasant counterparts.

Gail’s qualms

On the Monday I took Gail to the Ministry to meet Dharmasiri and other officials and began to sense she was not entirely happy about the regard in which I was held. We also met Nihal Cooray at the old Curriculum Development Centre, which was being closed so that its work would be absorbed within the NIE.

One of the other KELTs, Lesley Randles, whom David claimed did little work, had a party that evening, and then we were back at the Ministry next day to draft proposals for the ODA representatives were now in town. We had a preliminary meeting with them that morning and lunch at the Flower Drum before I went back to Nihal with the proposals, after which I went to the SLBC to record a programme on Richard’s poetry.

But that day was also a sad one for our neighbour of many years, Sundari Pathmanathan, whose son Gaji my father had financed at Oxford after his father’s sudden death, died suddenly. I went to her house for a wake that night, and then next day we met Lalith at the Ministry of Higher Education and then had lunch at the Galle Face with the ODA team, and dinner at Neil’s that night. In between I had collected from Kamala at the Ministry of Education Services the letter we had helped her draft for ODA.

The next day I went to Kandy with Neil and John Payne, who had a soft spot for Gill, to present our archaeology work to ODA after lunch at the Queen’s. That evening there was a party at the library for them before dinner at the Flower Song.

Rajiva Wijesinha


February 2022
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