Another death followed, a particularly sad one for me for Yolande Abeywira had provided stalwart support, along with Richard, for the work of the eighties, at the British Council and before that too. And then I describe my 40th birthday party at my house, the last large birthday party I hosted at Lakmahal, for I had 40 guests.

I recalled when writing this that, having been permitted just a couple of guests for my sister’s wedding in 1986, it was Richard and Yolande whom I asked.

Another death and a birthday

I worked at Nirmali’s next day and next morning went to Yolande’s house for she too had died. She had been ill for some time but visitors had been forbidden, so I believe I had last seen her when we commemorated David on his birthday in September. I also saw Manorani, and then worked on the proofs of several new books we were revising or getting ready.

Next day, after preparing reports for CIDA and the Asia Foundation, I started classes at USJP and then went to the UGC with Oranee, with EASL and Liberal Party meetings in the evening. Next day, after USJP classes and the UGC, I went on a long journey with Kithsiri, described previously.

Back in Colombo I took classes at USJP on theMonday and Tuesday with UGC GELT work to follow and Nirmali’s for project work on Monday evening, and Anne Ranasinghe’s for dinner on Tuesday.  On Wednesday I went to the UGC before a USJP class and then went with Kithsiri on another long journey. He dropped me a couple of days later at Anuradhapura where Nirmali, Paru and Saparamadu were due to join me.

We worked at both the AUC and the RESC on the next two days, getting back to Colombo on Sunday. There were classes and a Study Board at the former, and talks to teachers at the latter on the Saturday with a seminar for GELT teachers on the Sunday. They were all very lucky that such capable trainers were willing to spend so much time with them, all of which contributed to the impact of the AUC and GELT courses.

Monday and Tuesday were again USJP classes and the UGC, with dinner hosted by Neloufer de Mel on Monday for Anna Rutherford and a Liberal meeting on Tuesday. Wednesday I worked at Nirmali’s in the morning and at the UGC in the afternoon, where I had to wrestle with the finance department about our budget. I was again there on Thursday with paper marking later, and the same on Friday, with more administrative work. And over the weekend too there was much work at Nirmali’s, including consolidation of the Grammar component of the AUC English workbooks.

Monday was my 40th birthday, and after the usual routine at USJP and the UGC I had 40 friends for dinner at home, the last big birthday party as it happened that I was to have in the large drawing room at Lakmahal. Then I went out of town with Kithsiri but got back in time for a Seminar on Thursday for GELT staff at the UGC, after which I went with Gillian to Ian Goonetilleke’s re the Gratiaen Trust, following that with a meeting at Nirmali’s to plan a commemorative event for Bil McAlpine.

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