I spent several Christmases with Ena at Yala and later at Wasgamuwa. The first of these was in 1987, when her daughter Kusum too joined us, and Ena decorated the Bungalow and its surroundings magically, Japanese lanterns winking at us through the trees as dusk fell. We were in Talgasmankada, the most distant bungalow, on the banks of the Manik Ganga. In those early days we would regularly venture also into Block Two, which required a permit and very steady driving in a good vehicle. Raji furnished both, and we would have long days out in that arid plain, a marked contrast to the lush jungle of Block One. We rarely saw anything, but the landscape was enchanting, and the picnics in isolated spots of green that had sprung up around scarce sources of water.
A friend from England joined us for two more Christmases, in 1990 and 1991, when Kusum came out again with the husband she had married in 1989, at a series of weddings including a spectacular ceremony at Alu at the height of the JVP problems. In 1990 there were just a few of us, which was bliss, though Kusum terrified poor John, having decided that someone who had been to Oxford and taught at Eton needed to be taken down a peg. This was grossly unfair, for John was never obtrusive about his position, but as Ena said, Kusum was just being Kusum. To me she was absolutely charming, and it was a pleasure to talk to someone so obviously bright who was keenly interested in the social and political upheavals going on in Sri Lanka at the time, without the partisan commitments evinced by so many in what might be termed the Colombo establishment.