The Famous Grouse

Posted Sunday 6:45am

Sometimes think I’ve been here long enough. Working hours are fine: I have things to do and so on, but outside school time it has to be admitted that time can really drag. Internet access is so problematic that much of the time I can’t even check email or book a room for my next jaunt. Sometimes the connection is pretty good and I’m not blaming Sera for the problems as I suspect they’re further up the line, but it makes many of the things I want or need to do impossible: I have spent an incredibly frustrating couple of hours this morning trying to confirm a booking for next week: the service is so slow it takes a quarter of an hour to load a single email then the whole system crashes and I have to start again. Earlier this morning, access was fine and I managed to post those pictures you may have seen from yesterday. OK, in years gone by the Internet didn’t exist but nowadays we rely on it for so many things quite apart from a bit of blogging.

Although the cost of living here is lowish, nevertheless everything costs. I am not the sort of person who is happy to spend hours lying in a deckchair on the beach as I want to be at least a bit active and I’ve seen and done most of what the immediate vicinity has to offer. Public transport is amusingly quirky and laughably cheap but also uproariously slow, so forays further afield are impractical as travel inevitably takes up most of the time available during a weekend, even a longish one like mine: plus, of course, I end up paying for not only my room at Sera’s, but also the accommodation elsewhere.

I’ve just finished reading Anthony Powell’s twelve novel chef d’oeuvre “A Dance to the Music of Time” for what must be the third or fourth time. If you’ve not already experienced the delights of this masterpiece, then I strongly suggest you give it a try. Some of the huge cast of characters – especially the odious Widmerpool, the likeable Moreland, the distinctly odd X Trapnel and the frankly manic nymphomaniacal Pamela Flitton – are unforgettable. Widmerpool was played, if I remember correctly, by Simon Russell Beale in the excellent though heavily cut Channel 4 production of some years ago. If you’re looking for a taster of the book, you could do worse than find the program on DVD, even though it inevitably misses out more than it can include in the few episodes of the series. Of course, I’m currently unable to top up my Kindle due to the execrable state of the Internet connection. Ho hum.

I’ve not left base today: much of the time has been spent trying to book the Tangalle / Bundula trip, but with no real success due to of comms. I resorted to my horrid little SL phone, with its two number 5 buttons, which led to lots of errors! The elephants part of the trip would just be too expensive from Tangalle, so that’s off the agenda for the moment. I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to spend two nights at the Ibis in Tangalle, whose profits help fund an orphanage – any excuse on my part, eh? – over the forthcoming mid term and I’m looking at a trip to Tissamaharama, currently fully booked, in the few days before returning to Scotland on the 15th March.

Today has been incredibly frustrating and boring and I’m sorry to say Sonia got a moany text from my SL phone as well: the poor dear is still under the weather with her fluey cold, so had to give up her trip to exotic Dundee and I don’t imagine she really wanted me moaning at her by text.

I’m determined to do something tomorrow as, despite yet more moaning from me Sera hasn’t shown much interest in getting the Internet up and running again. I think I’ll take the bus up to Hikkaduwa and spend some time on the beach: at least I should get a dip in the sea, if I can find some way of keeping my stuff safe on the beach.



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