In Colombo, in the early sixties, at the time we got back from Canada, we certainly led a comfortable and well-protected life; but out in the provinces, as far as domestic help was concerned, it seemed even more sheltered and cosy. In Kurunegala, at Palm Court where my grandmother and later all her four children had been born, and where her brother and her sister still lived, life continued as it had done for the last half century.
Or perhaps for a slightly shorter period, from the twenties onwards to be precise. Before that, her father had been alive, and in his time life had been far more florid and exciting. All three children who were left, in their sixties and seventies now, described the way he had lived it up and the parties he had thrown when he had dominated the social life of the town, to the extent that natives could. Beyond of course there were limits. For years he had not been allowed to join the club, the preserve of Englishmen alone; and how much that had meant to him was clear from the photograph of the club committee after his admission which still had pride of place in what had once been his study. It was a photograph with just one dark figure in it, his own, amongst the formal looking white men who seemed to have made no effort to put him at his ease. It was very different from the photograph of him on his bicycle, the first in Asia his eldest surviving daughter used proudly to claim, surrounded by admiring friends and relations of his own colour.