Poya Day

I’ve already mentioned that periods of inactivity here can drag a bit. The up side of that is that I’m getting lots of reading done. I’ve rattled though a couple of Stuart MacBride novels, a brace of Bernard Cornwells and some Terry Pratchetts, but the author I’d like to recommend is JG Farrell. I came across him by accident when doing a General Knowledge Crossword a couple of years ago with Sonia. I’ve just finished re-reading his “Troubles”, which is the last book in his “Empire” trilogy, following on from “The Siege of Krishnapur” and “Singapore Grip”. The series is set against the loss of the British Empire and makes an excellent read: at times moving, at others funny, bordering on farce. He has a great ability to get inside the heads of his characters and frequently depicts fundamentally decent people caught up in events about which they have at best equivocal feelings and over which they have no control. Whilst it probably makes sense to read them in order, each novel is complete in itself and can be read independently. Give them a go!

After Yala, Sunday was a very quiet day: a bit of washing, lots of reading, plenty of perspiring, a trip into the Fort and nothing more.


Silly me: I had heard, but completely failed to register that today (Monday) is a Poya Day. That’s Full Moon and auspicious in the Buddhist calendar, so schools everywhere are closed. If I’d taken that into account, I’d probably have stayed one more day in Tissa and made another trip somewhere. As it is, I’m back at base and haven’t left the premises. I’ve done a lot of reading, which has been pleasant, so not all has been lost. Tomorrow is work, though!

Having seen some of Sri Lanka’s biggest beasts, I now have to confess to having been being plagued by one or more of its smallest as for the last week or so I’ve had a flea. I suspect it jumped aboard on a bus sometime: the bedding here was all brand new when I arrived and is changed weekly. It’s probably tempting fate, but I’ve had no new bites for a day or two, so perhaps it’s moved on… Also, today, when I stood up from reading outside, something inside my sandal gave me a couple of nasty little bites and scuttled away whilst I was still going “Oohyabugger!” Each bite consisted of two small pin pricks about ¼ of an inch apart and hurt quite a bit for a few minutes. No sign of swelling, discolouration or gangrene, so I’ll probably live.

Reading this back, I spotted the construction “…have to confess to having been being plagued…” My English lesson with Sera’s kids has been moved to Sundays and last night we were looking at verbs – the lad tends to stick a few nouns and the odd adjective together in the hope that he’ll produce something comprehensible and we were also going through his text book which was referring to all those verbal constructions I’d forgotten about, such as past continuous tense etc. Anyone like to deconstruct the phrase I just quoted? I certainly can’t! Getting the girl to speak is like pulling teeth: she’s not bad but lacks confidence. The boy in particular sounds like he’s got an old sock in his mouth when he speaks. I spent a while last night trying to get them to make a difference between “w” and “v” when speaking, with little success. We also tried “She sells sea shells…” and “red lorry, yellow lorry” in a vain attempt to get some clarity of diction. Any language teachers out there with hints or tips are welcome to get in touch as are Jo or Ben who were teaching English out here years ago!



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