I note here hazards of travel without Kithsiri, who was an excellent mechanic. When the car broke down with Jayantha driving I had recourse to towing and a lorry, but all that did allow me to spend a night with my aunt Rupa, in her lovely old house at Bataduwa, something I have not regrettably done since. And I note a serendipitous meeting with Kithsiri’s boss and the other of his drivers I got on well with, Palitha, which gave me shelter for a night when I could not find a suitable place in Dambulla.

The pictures are of three of the most picturesque Resthouses in the country, Matara and Habarana and Dambulla.

Travel problems

I got back then to Aluwihare but must have gone on then to Colombo for I was teaching at USJP next morning, with the UGC in the afternoon. I was back at the UGC early next day and then taught a couple of classes at USJP before getting back to the UGC, with a Liberal meeting that afternoon.

Next morning I went via the Kalutara RESC to the Niyagama AUC and then, with Jayantha driving, we had a breakdown so I had to ask the director to tow us to Wanduramba. But I managed to get to the Matara Resthouse that night, and next morning I saw Pushpananda who ran the RESC and then took classes at the Kamburupitiya AUC, presumably in the Director’s car for after lunch I had to get a lorry to tow the car from Wanduramba to my aunt Rupa’s, near to Galle, before taking a bus back to Colombo. 

On April 1st I had interviews at the UGC and in the evening prepared a note on all the books EASL had produced, and then worked at Nirmali’s next day and sent my note to Lakshman Jayatilleke who was Director General then at the NIE. In the afternoon I went with Nihal Cooray to see Regi Siriwardena about the Advanced Level syllabus, and next day worked on IB marking while seeing an Oxford friend who had entertained me in Hong Kong.

Over the next three days I taught at USJP in the mornings and worked at the UGC on two afternoons while on the Tuesday seeing Michael Ondaatje and his sister, with a discussion the next evening at the Council about the Gratiaen Prize. I also finished the IB marking and sent off the results and spoke at the NIE on Literature in Language Teaching, and also had a Liberal Party meeting.

On Wednesday evening I set off, hoping to stay at Kurunagala but there were no rooms there or at the Dambulla Resthouse. But Jerome Codipilly happened to be there, with Palitha, and I was able to share their room, after a great deal to drink, which was Jerome’s wont, after which he slept soundly. I am afraid Jayantha had to made do with the car, since I could not ask Jerome to put him up as well since as it was they had to squeeze in an extra bed for him.

I was off early next morning to Trincomalee for interviews at the AUC and a talk to students and Examination and Study Boards, and then got to the Habarana Resthouse for the night, leaving next morning for Batticaloa via Valaichenai.