Search This Blog

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

My years as a "vampire" in the Central Blood Bank, Colombo.

By Dr. Nihal (ND) Amerasekera


The year was 1970. It was an ominous year. President Nixon protracted the hugely unpopular Vietnam war. The teenage heart throbs and ever popular Beatles disbanded. The charismatic Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser passed away. Our country was in economic decline and our coffers were empty. Political unrest loomed in the horizon. This caused great anguish and brought the middle classes and the rural folk to their knees. On a personal level, my professional and private life was in turmoil and 1970 became my annus horribilis.

I remember as if it were yesterday walking into the Central Blood Bank (CBB) in Colombo to accept my job as Medical Officer. It looked so pristine painted in brilliant white. National Blood Transfusion Service was moved to this site in 1960. Its newly refurbished façade hid the remains of a charming old house which stood there since the creation of the General Hospital, Colombo (GHC)  in 1864 by the Governor, Henry George Ward.

Dr. Nandrani De  Zoysa welcomed me warmly  and showed me the ropes and the rota. It wasn’t an onerous regime. After a month's training and fine tuning, I was to be a part of a happy band of doctors serving a huge mass of patients in the vast expanse of the GHC.

The Superintendent of the National Blood Transfusion Service, Dr Percy Goonewardene, had his office in the Central Blood Bank. He managed the service with remarkable efficiency. His planning, organisation and attention to detail made complications of blood transfusion a rarity. He ran the service with an iron fist but stood by the doctors under him. He never interfered with the day to day running of the unit and only stepped in to sort out problems. Dr Zoysa was the Senior Medical Officer, the matriarch. She remained our spokesperson and conduit to take our woes and worries to the boss.  Dr. Z represented us well with friendly kindness. I am also grateful for her help, understanding and courtesy shown to me during a difficult time in my life.

There were several from my batch at the CBB and in the transfusion service. Vedavanam who was a bachelor then was my constant companion. He had the time to join me in the evenings. I cannot think of a more helpful and considerate colleague. Asoka Wijeyekoon was great company and we often went on official travels together. One that I will always remember is staying at the Nikaweratiya Rest House by the ancient Tank and having a drink together in the evening putting the world to right. From a nearby hut we heard a song being sung “Oya thamai bamba ketu ekkana”. After the arrack, it sounded like a choir of angels. Bernice De Silva, Sydney Seneviratne and Razaque Ahamath were with us briefly. I am still in contact with MGS Karunanayake who was our senior. 

The Central Blood Bank then became the centre of my universe.  I accepted its quirks, idiosyncrasies and oddities as a part of working life. We were in the main, a fiercely united bunch of doctors. Although these posts were generally accepted as dead end jobs, its attraction was the luxury of being in Colombo. Since schooldays, I’ve been a city slicker and this fitted in well with my psyche. I free wheeled endlessly enjoying the company of friends, visiting the cinema and being a pillar of the Health Department Sports Club. The Club was a magnet for health workers who loved a drink and a chat in the evenings and I was never short of company.

The Blood Transfusion Service was a huge organisation. The Nurses, Public Health Inspectors, Medical Laboratory Technicians, Attendants, drivers and Labourers propped up the service with tremendous loyalty and efficiency. Travelling the length and breadth of the country collecting blood, was a task and a responsibility we all had to accept. Some were reluctant travellers, but I loved it. I owned a rugged and reliable 1954 VW Beetle, a masterpiece of German engineering. It never let me down as I crisscrossed the length and breadth of the country for the Blood Bank. This official travel gave me the opportunity get away from my personal travails and see the country at government expense. The travelling team included a medical officer who carried the money for the donors and supervised the programme, a Public Health Inspector to speak to the people and appeal to their conscience to donate blood and several attendants and labourers to assist in the collection of blood. Two vans accompanied us. One was the refrigerator van and the other carried the staff and equipment. We travelled to all the festivals including Kataragama, Dondra, Anuradhapura, Mihintale and Polonnaruwa. We were in Nuwara Eliya, Bandarawela and Diyatalawa at the height of the holiday season. Temples, churches and schools became our blood donation centres. I often stayed in Rest Houses. In the evenings, the team often got together for a chat and a drink by a lake or a river or the beach. The attendants and labourers had a tremendous sense of humour and often had me in stitches. Among them there were comedians, storytellers, actors and singers. We drank and laughed so much. They sang songs from the Sinhala films using tin pots for their tabla. I have such vivid and fond memories of those happy times singing in the stillness of a moonlit night on the banks of the Minneriya Tank. There was a time when I got dead drunk at one of these events with several thousand rupees of donors’ money in my pockets. The team looked after and cared for me and not a cent was lost. I value immensely their loyalty and friendship and remember each one of them with much affection. Despite the passage of years, as I write these memories, I can see their smiling faces and feel the warmth of their goodwill.

The location of the Central Blood Bank was priceless. We had a wonderful view of all those who entered or left through the Kynsey road gate of the GHC. There was an endless stream of nurses, lady medical students and visitors passing through the gates of the hospital. We were often mesmerised by the glitz and the glamour that paraded before us. The proximity to the Medical Faculty with all its facilities was a great blessing. The tea never tasted better than in the smoke filled room of the Faculty canteen.

We worked in shifts, morning evening and night. The doctor on night duty slept in the old block at the rear. Although there were many intriguing stories of apparitions and ghosts I never saw or heard anything in all the four years. The morning shift was busy doing the cross-matching prepared for us by the technicians. Until the racks of test tubes were ready for microscopy, there was an hour or so of friendly banter and bonding with an exchange of racy hospital gossip.

I must pay tribute to the blood donors without whom there will not be a blood bank. Many donate out of the goodness of their heart. Some donate as the blood bank insist they donate if they wish to receive blood for their kith and kin. Others give blood for the money they receive. I presume the situation hasn’t changed since my time, except no money is paid. They all received a little red book as a token of our appreciation.

Much of those memories are lost in the fog of time. It may have been in 1971 when it was announced that the MRCP Part I will be held for the first time in Colombo the following year. I was one of the few male doctors in my medical school year who never wanted to go abroad. Since my childhood, I was always aware of the limitations of chasing money.  My ambition was to be a DMO in some distant town, far from the madding crowd. My dreams were dashed when the  Department of Health, in its wisdom, decided to send me to the CBB. This strange quirk of fate in retrospect was indeed a Godsend. Hence my firm and unwavering belief in the awesome force of destiny. Time passed relentlessly as I enjoyed the excesses of the “la dolce vita”. At least for the moment, this heady bohemian lifestyle suited me well. Living with my parents, I was never short of good advice. I saw my friends’ climbing the ladder and progress in the profession. This gave me great inspiration.  I was also getting disenchanted and weary of the indolent and lazy life I lead. After much deliberation, the decision was taken to prepare for the MRCP. I realised this was a huge commitment. At first giving up the easy life was painful and challenging. The Medical Faculty library was a great help as were my doctor friends who were attempting the same. After my reckless existence, I needed more encouragement than most.

The endless struggle with long days and late nights finally paid off.  To my great surprise, I was successful in the examination. This gave me a glimpse of a possible future career. By 1974 my personal troubles had ended and I was ready to leave the country. I recall most vividly the long hours and the agonising discussions I’ve had with friends of the rights and wrongs of leaving my homeland. The thought of leaving behind my aging parents and family was painful in the extreme and left me in a wilderness of confusion. By now I had done 7 years of service for the Department of Health and was free to leave. In the end I decided to  move to London to complete the MRCP. Arranging flights wasn’t an easy task then. The heartache and the sleepless nights that followed haunts me still.

Blood transfusion work and haematology were never my passion. I couldn’t see myself looking through a microscope for the rest of my life. After the examination, I started to search for my calling and niche in life. My well honed antennae drew me into a career in Radiology which was rapidly expanding with the advent of computer technology. This required another 5 years of training and further examinations. To borrow the cliché, I was in the right place at the right time.

On my many visits to Sri Lanka, I always went to see the old Central Blood Bank. The ravages of time took its toll on the bricks and mortar and the wonderful people who worked there. Many retired and others moved on. Dr Percy Goonewardene died in 1975 which was a sad loss for the National Blood Transfusion Service. I have often wiped a tear hearing of the demise of the staff who enriched my life all those years ago. It breaks my heart to know that of the PHI’s, attendants, labourers and drivers, none of them are alive today. I have fond memories and a tremendous affection for the CBB. It brought happiness to my life when none existed. I made friendship that lasted a lifetime. Those 4 years changed my life for the better, as I look back with so much affection. The CBB has lost its name and has moved to Narahenpita and none of the old staff work on that site anymore. In my mind's eye, it will always remain where it was. Voices and laughter must still echo in the ether of what remains of that grand edifice which once was the CBB. The enchantment of those years in that great institution will remain with me forever. May the Blood Transfusion Centre in its new surroundings be a great success.


48 comments:

  1. As I have said before, ND was and continues to be one of my closest friends. It so happened that his stint in the CBB coincided with my own shift to Matara as an MOH from Colombo South Hospital where I was MO., OPD. I was in Matara from October 1970 to December 1973 and had lost contact with ND. I moved out of Matara to proceed to the University of California, Berkeley to pursue my postgraduate studies in Public Health. I think by the time I returned to Sri Lanka at the end of 1974, ND had already left for UK.

    However, during my stay in Matara, I used to drop in to see friends in the CBB. Besides ND, there was Veda and MGS Karu. During my two years in the US, I must have been far away from the scene when ND was going through his fun travels. But quite sad that I was not by his side when he needed most, the company of close friends.

    Ever since then, my physical meetings with ND have been few and far between. But we have always been in touch, which has been facilitated by the entry of electronic communication.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Lucky
    Thank you for your kind comments. One of my CBB travels was to Matara when I stayed at the House Officers Quarters. You did come to see me there. CBB being close to Regents Cottage and Violet Cottage I made many friends and I did stay in the latter for a short time. I have fond memories of those years.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I shall say this- ND never fails to take us so vividly to the past with his mastery of the language and his amazing ability to recall. He mentions Asoka "Lubber" Wijeyekoon and one of the sadness's in my life is that I have lost contact with a person whose company, humour and wit, I enjoyed so much. Who can forget the Argyle Roberston pupil episode in the Fina year trip! I remember the CBB very well as it stood but never realised what a closely knit community it was.

    I must take a friendly dig at my friend on the statement he made. "This strange quirk of fate in retrospect was indeed a Godsend. Hence my firm and unwavering belief in the awesome force of destiny". As ND knows,we had many a friendly exchange of views on this matter and we both know that we will never agree on this! But to me "destiny" is always in retrospect and therefore can never be wrong. If ND met a young surgeon who made him think of a career in Surgery and he went on to become one of the foremost Plastic Surgeons in the UK, that would have been regarded as "the awesome force of destiny" working. But it didn't go that way. We know the way it went only now, because that was what happened out of hundreds of possibilities. One out of hundreds does happen as it indeed has to whether it is destined or not and it is easy with retrospect assign it to "destiny". The interesting point for me is that people gain both sadness, solace and happiness by believing in destiny. When it goes wrong, it is destiny, the way it meant to be, and when it goes well, it is again the way it meant to be. One could consider substituting the word "God" or "Karma" to destiny, with the substitution of "karma" probably being inaccurate in that with "karma or action",you have the ability to change your karma. This has been discussed by many philosophers and thinkers in different ways, such as, is there "Free will"? (Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Raymond Tallis etc,etc>

    So much for philosophy!

    Once again, thanks so much ND for sharing your memories in such beautiful prose.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Mahen
    Thank you for those comments. I do agree with you about destiny. I created my own 'destiny' by my actions. Whatever happened I would have called it destiny. It is just an expression without any depth and a frivolous one indeed.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Nihal, it's great to see you in print with this fabulous account of your early days as a doctor in the CBB and how you made such an enjoyable and educative experience of it. Whatever you write I find I am gripped in a firm hold to read, imagine and almost live the experiences you describe. Thank you! And more please! from Zita

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I heartily (or cerebrally) agree. I keep prodding him to write a book. It will be a best seller b

      Delete
    2. ND ,My reply somehow got deleted.But will attempt again.
      Kumar

      Delete
  6. Thank you Zita and Mahen
    My autobiography must be in the archives of this blog by now. So this is the book!, I am so grateful for the encouragement I have received from the few who comment. My heartfelt thanks to you both. Manel W and Rohini Ana too often comment by email which does not show up here, for which I am grateful.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Who is Manel W? There were so many Manels in the batch. I have not seen any contributions or even comments from Rohini Ana lately.

    This morning, I was asking Suriyakanthi (Suri) to contribute to the blog. She too writes well. Neither have I seen anything from Razaque recently. I would have loved to read Kumar's comment.

    By the way, Nihal Goonetilleke had arrived in SL last night. He called me this morning. He will be staying for the Reunion and the Royal-Thomian match. Attale will be arriving on the 21st. Bunter has been here for some time. These are the early birds.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Prof. Manel De S Wijesundera nee Ratnavibushana

      Delete
  8. What a sublimely beautiful nostalgic account.You deserve acclaim and esteem from one and all,for turning an annus horribillis to anni mirabile.
    I especially liked your tribute to the paramedics and "minor staff".Mostly unsung and unhonoured ,they nevertheless were an integral part of our working lives.
    Some were politically influential and made good use of it.In Gampha hospital in 1970, the power brokers were said to be the gatekeeper,switchboard operator ,and an attendant in the male medical ward.They had cordial relations with junior medical staff, however as we readily saw their numerous "relatives" in the OPD and elsewhere.I remember in particular the switchboard operator.He must have had a romantic streak.When he heard that I had recently got engaged he would give me free"trunk calls".Kanthi was living in Wellawatte.I'm sure he was a gentleman and didn't eavesdrop, but then our conversations were very sedate..
    In Galle too the switchboard operator was a colorful character.He had strict instructions from the medical superintendent to respond to calls in English; but he would announce himself as "Huwamaru " especially to the MS.He was Galle born and bred and hence he was not disciplined.This caused us much glee as the MS was a bit of tyrant who would fine us if we did not wear white overcoats.
    I also remember with much affection the staff at Kalawana hospital.There were only attendants and midwives .They were caring and hardworking but not punctual.A previous DMO had kept th the attendance register in his quarters just behind the hospital.Knowing their hardships Istopped this practice.
    One day a mother brought her teenage daughter who was complaining of abdominal pain.The female attendant got her to undress and without a word to me squeezed the girl' breasts.A trickle of milk came out and she triauphantly said Sir this is the problem.A Spot Diagnosis if there was one.The mother threatened to skin the daughter and paramour alive.Unfortunately my literary and journalistic skills were not well honed then and I did not follow up.
    I must have won the hearts and minds of the staff as they gave me a grand farewell and gifted me a set of ice cream cups on a stand which I still have.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nice to read your story Kumar."Minor staff", so badly named. are the forgooten heroes. I was pleased to note your appreciation of them. Your ice cream cups, are they just on display or have you put them to use? The former use is so typical of a lot of Sri lankans (not exclusively of course) - lovely chairs in covers and not to sit on, beautiful crystal glasses in cabinets, not to be used for drinking and so on. More from you please.

      Delete
    2. Thank you Mahen,I did use the ice cream cups in my youth but now restricted on account of an expanding waistline.The glasses which were bought usually during sales in big department stores in UK are in use but not as liberally as before !!! Could you pl update instructions on how to publish and comment in the blog.My original reply to ND got deleted when I tried to preview.

      Delete
    3. The 20th century will be remembered for the great wars and the rise and rise of the power of the common man thanks to the Russian revolution and the thinking of Karl Marx. The days of the ruling classes waned and the power of the working classes rose. That was all ok until some of the pointless strikes paralysed countries and destroyed the economy. There has got to be a balance and we are reaching it but slowly. Karl Marx is buried in the Highgate cemetery just a short distance away from my humble apartment.

      Delete
    4. I am a left of centre armchair politician happy to observe the world and cast my vote. My politics starts and ends in my armchair!!

      Delete
    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    6. Even in our batch there was the bourgeoisie and the proletariat to churn up a bit controversy.
      It is all a part of the rich tapestry of life

      Delete
  9. Pl excuse the "typos" Previously when I tried to preview, the whole article got deleted!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Kumar for the kind comments and your wonderful experiences working in Sri Lanka. We look forward to more stories from your pen. They are a pleasure to read.

      Delete
  10. Kumar, first read the "How to post a comment" link which appears on the Right side under "Post category index". If you still have problems, come back to me. It seems to me that you are doing the right thing as your comments are appearing. When you preview before posting and especially when you are editing, you have to be VERY careful of avoiding deleting your comment. It has happened to me too!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Kumar, you and Nihal are giving us a really lively account of your work at the Blood bank, and no wonder, as it is the liquid that keeps us alive! And your memory of events so long ago is phenomenal! You are providing us with a Soap Opera. And we are really enjoying it. Thanks to you both! from Zita

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Zita
      Bernice De Silva who was in our batch too was at the CBB with me. She is a wonderful, friendly and kind soul. I am reliably informed she became a Consultant Haematologist at the Pontefract General Hospital near Leeds. Our paths never crossed in the UK but I hope she had a rewarding career and a happy life. She married Samarakoon from our junior batch. I spoke with Razark last week who is doing well. Sydney Seneviratne lives in Sheffield. The last I met him was at Bobby Somasunderam's Batch Reunion in Manchester. MGS Karu is in constant contact and was a Geriatrician in the UK. He will arrange for us to meet with Titus Dissanayake when the winter woes are at an end. Titus D is a magician with humour and he creates it from nothing!!

      Delete
    2. Asoka Wijeyekoon became a Psychiatrist and after retirement became a locum GP. The last we met was about 10 years ago. I have lost contact with yet another valued friend.

      Delete
    3. Nihal, I really appreciate reading about all the batch mates and other associated people that you talk of. Finally I understand the great job all of you did all those years ago. I am sure you have all contributed in a big way to the advanced state of affairs in that department at the moment. Please do write any snippets about people you have met along the way, that makes me really sit up and take notice. Thanks again! from Zita

      Delete
  12. Thanks Zita.
    CBB was a happy place made so by the people who worked there

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thank you Zita.I totally agree with ND that "a place is only as good as the people you know in it".
    I didn't work in the CBB.My only direct brush with the blood bank was during the internship in Galle.We had to group and cross match after hours ,in a spooky building.We had been well trained by Titus Dissanayake and there were never any mishaps.TD became a close friend
    Karu and I were bestmen at Siri de Silva's (a senior)wedding to Kumudini from a junior batch.Karu I believe became a geriatrician in UK.Asoka W and Razaque both had an irrepressible sense of humor.Both could make any company come alive. Sydney wasa fellow Thomian,engaged to a beautiful cousin of his.We really looked forward going to her parties as she had a lot of pretty friends from HFC at these.It was "La dolce vita" and to be young was very heaven !!!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I remember attending Siri's (MBS) wedding at the Taprobane. Dr. Darrel Weinman proposed the toast.

    Titus D now spends a good part of the year in his renovated house in Ratmalana.

    I also remember attending Sydney's girl friend's birthday party at her Kirillapone house when we were students. I think she too was a Seneviratne (?Lalani).

    ReplyDelete
  15. When I worked as an SHO in Base Hospital Matale in the late 60s, our "Blood Bank" was a fridge in the Theater! Before any major planned operation, relatives were sent for to get blood donated. The source was sometimes the relatives (or friends) but quite often from the Matale Market, known to have able bodied unemployed persons who readily donated for the cash. We finger pricked and grouped the blood of potential donors and we also did the cross matching before the operation. Those were the days!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Phew! That was a lot of text to get through! ND, as usual, you wrote a beautiful narrative about your days at the CBB. Thank you for sharing your tough times with us, that's what friends are for. I am glad that you are now doing well, AFD or otherwise. Kumar, thank you for paying a tribute to our support staff. They are the people who showed us the ropes when we arrived on the wards, raw and green. Where would we be without the kindness and patience of the experienced attendants and nurses? Even the cooks and houseboys who kept us well fed at HO's quarters? At Ratnapura, our night calls were relayed in person by a guy who carried the call book and knocked on our doors in HO's quarters. There was only one phone in the common room of the HO's quarters. We had to get dressed in a hurry, sign the book and follow the person to the ward. If that guy dragged his feet, the patient (and the doctor) would have been in deep trouble. I still remember how scared I was when I was first awoken with a knock on the door in the middle of the night. Again, there were kind seniors next door to give me reassuring encouragement, and send me on my way. Kumar, I am not surprised that the staff gave you ice cream cups as a parting gift, because I am sure you were kind and gracious to every one.
    As for some of the people referred to in your exchange above, ND, I think you mean Bernadette de Silva, not Bernice. The last time I met Asoka Wijeyekoon was when he came to NYC, to a dinner dance organized by SLMANA. I remember, I enjoyed talking to him very much. Perhaps we can find someone at the reunion who is in touch with him. I hope he is OK. As for Manel W (Owli), she and I are looking forward to being room mates at the reunion! And Rohini Ana was in Sri Lanka in December because of family events. I missed her by a few minutes, literally. I had been in touch with her via email. My flight was due to land about 1:30, but was delayed in Dubai. Rohini had a family get together that evening and was flying back to NZ the next day. All we managed to do was have a phone conversation while I was in the taxi from Katunayake. I hadn't seen her in many years. C'est la vie!
    I'm looking forward to seeing Mahen, Kumar and many others in two weeks. We'll miss you, ND and Zita, but I know you would have been there if you could have.
    FYI, I am getting into that nostalgic mood by listening to the Everly Brothers while I write this!
    Cheers everyone, Srianee (Bunter)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Dear Nihal, I just made a comment on one of your 'comments' and tried to post it and did the mistake that Mahendra warned us about i.e. didn't wait till it appeared but went away and it just said 'publishing--' and nothing came out. What I was saying was that it is really interesting to read about all the characters both in our batch and non batch that feature in what you are saying and it makes it really good to read these little snippets. So more please! It is so good to go back! Zita

    ReplyDelete
  18. Srianee
    Thank you for the comments. Yes it is Bernadette. We called her Berny which I thought was spelt Bernice but I would go along with whatever you say. What's AFD?
    I will miss you all at the Reunion. Please raise a toast for absent friends. I have such fond memories of those happy times at the Faculty. Manel de S W, like you , writes so well and I wish she writes for the Blog. I heard from Rohini Ana after her return from SL but I believe they are in Australia now.
    Gave a great time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. AFD I think, refers to the famous Awesome Force of Destiny!

      Delete
  19. ND, your post has established a new record for the largest number of comments- 34 so far! Keep going mate!

    ReplyDelete
  20. My replies account for a lot of them. But a record it is. I wish a lot more will join in to make the Blog a greater success. The Reunion is a good opportunity to firstly to find out why some don't comment and secondly what they think of the blog. Do Try to get them involved.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is on account of the esteem we have for you as a friend and writer and not least a raconteur.Pleas send through Luky or Mahen a video or audio message for the reunion.

      Delete
  21. Mahen,
    An idea, shall we give some informal mini tutorials on how to post comments when we get together at the reunion? Are you bringing a lap top with you? I could bring mine too. We could do this during our breaks, while we are sitting on a verandah sipping whatever. I know you have posted the instructions on the blog, but there is nothing like a hands on demonstration. I often (but not often enough) take advantage of similar demonstrations, which are given free of charge at the Apple store near me in Connecticut. People will be able to sign on to my computer as a guest. I think there are several people who visit the blog even more frequently than I do, but they do not make comments. I think they are tech phobic! I was once that way until my daughter said "Mom, you cannot break the computer, and it is not going to blow up!"
    What do you think? I am perfectly willing to be one of the "demos."

    ReplyDelete
  22. Fabulous idea Srianee.How about throwing in a typing lesson too for us one and two finger typists. I'm joking of course..We all have have wonderful and interesting memories of medical school ,hospitals and life in SriLanka and elsewhere. We are now in a stage when we have time to read write and relish
    memories.At the risk of being pedantic will quote Francis Bacon."Reading maketh a full man,conference a ready man,and writing an exact man". I'm sure he meant woman too.!!!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Srianee
    What a great idea. If your interest and enthusiasm is taken up by the batch we can have a blog like no other. It will be a reservoir of anecdotes ideas poems and music and a fabulous community of friends. Am I get ahead of myself? At least you have tried. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Lucky is yet to send details of the programme. This will come after the final committee meeting on the 21st as he indicated in his last email. I have a sneaky suspicion that he has some ideas on presenting the Blog and how best to make use of it. If he hasn't, I am all for following up on Srianee's idea.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I have drawn up a tentative programme which is yet to be approved by the committee. I am all for it, but time is a stumbling block.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Lucky, I think we can do this in the afternoons instead of napping! It does not need to be anything formal. We could offer it to those who are interested. We can gather around a laptop in twos and threes. There was definite interest when I mentioned this to Sriani and Pram today. Manel W was interested too. People need to sign on to a Google account, if they don't want to be "anonymous" and if they have one already they need to know their Google password. The more people who make comments and exchange ideas on the blog, the more lively it will be! It will be a wonderful way to stay connected after the reunion.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I agree with Srianee and would be delighted to help. Over to you Batman!

    ReplyDelete
  28. I remember that at our last Reunion in Hikkaduwa, Bora conducted some informal classes in Ballroom dancing one afternoon. We might be able to do so with those tutorials on the blog. I know that some viewers had never seen one or heard about the word.

    However, let's make it very informal. Just spread the word round. Srianee and Speedy can take the lead. I will be around but only as a bystander and learner.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I note that they have Free WiFi and it should be quite easy to so it there. Lucky, I know it canbe informl but would it be an idea to just ket people know that this will happen? Just a thought.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Maybe one of you guys can mention it when you address the group on Saturday morning. We can also pass the word around, which I have already started to do. It will be great if we can generate more interest.

    ReplyDelete