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I return after ten posts of earlier travels after I returned to the university system to the new century when reintroducing English medium was the most important of the many tasks I was engaged in. But while this post records much work in this regard, including a workshop at the Mahaweli College of Education, which had overtaken Pasdunrata as the best College of Education for English, there is also a valedictory note. I knew that soon Peter Rowe, who had been a great companion over the previous three years, was leaving, and I record too here the earlier death of an old family friend whom I had not seen for years but who had been part and parcel of our lives in the early sixties. And I note too a visit to Lorna Wright, the first time I think I saw her after I came across her in Prague in 1971.

The pictures are of C Q Perera second from left, between my aunt Lakshmi and my cousin Tekla, with Neville Kanakaratne and my cousin Ayra Perera further on, then of Lorna Wright, and finally of Peter Rowe at my cottage when he was back for my 60th birthday in 2014.

New work and old friends.

I went to the Ministry then, and established targets for the month, and then went to a Swiss Party and Peter’s before getting home for a dinner my father was giving. The next day again was at the Ministry, but in the evening Kithsiri and I picked up Ena and then Shirley Perera to go down to Yala for three splendid days. On the way back, on Sunday August 6th, I went to Nimalka’s and then took a lass at the Radiant, lunched with my uncle and then took another class at the Project and did accounts with Shantha before going on to the university. But next morning I went to the Academy for a day of classes before getting back to the university for the Senate, and then went back to the Academy for the night and two days of classes. I went, via the university on the Wednesday afternoon to finalize our external results, to the cottage, and got some bamboos, and then must have gone home because next morning I went to the Ministry for the day.

On the Friday I picked up Paru and Chitra Wickramasuriya and took them to the Mahaweli College, where we found the accommodation arranged for us so dirty that alternative arrangements had to be made. After a full day of training I dropped Paru at Codipilly’s Kandy hotel – Chitra I assume had gone home – and stayed myself with Derrick. We trained the next day too, and then I think Paru went back to Colombo while I went to Ena’s for two nights, going on Monday morning to Diyatalawa to teach after lunch and over the next two days. After a Study Board that afternoon I went via the university to the cottage, met the workmen next morning and paid them and then went back home, getting later that morning to the Ministry. But after lunch I went to see Lorna Wright in the home she was in at Mutwal, why I do not know, but it was a lovely meeting. We had first met in Prague in 1971 and though I had not seen her since, I recalled her ebullience and found her unchanged despite advancing years.

I was at the Ministry next day and at the NIE on the Saturday morning, having prepared a proposal the previous evening for the Swedes. On Saturday evening I went to the reception of the child of my uncle’s great friend C Q Perera, who had died a few years back, his wife having predeceased him. And that evening it was dinner at Peter’s, both of us aware that there would not be many more such meetings for he was due to leave at the end of the year.

Rajiva Wijesinha


August 2022
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