Tomorrow’s planned move to Pelawatta will only take place for my son’s father in law. The rest of us will move in later in the week. Jaia will stay on site as security and to comply with the Auspicious Day advice from the Monk.
Yesterday’s pressurised day ended very late for all of us – we the parents waiting for said son and daughter to return with news of what had transpired in the new house. And they arrived back here very late indeed.
A different set of plumbers arrived on Friday and yesterday disclosed they had discovered that all the pipes laid by the previous set of plumbers were leaking so all pipes have or are being replaced and redirected.
The ceremony will still happen tomorrow and we will all travel to the house for that. Cleaners are in the Pelawatta house today and furniture and furnishings which are being taken from this house are being dismantled and stacked ready for the early arrival of the lorry/van tomorrow morning.
We are getting to the end of a long road and what adds to the pressure is the hour and a half drive from this house to and from the Pelawatta house each morning and night. Lots of lessons have been learned in the renovation of this house. During the planned building at Haputele, my son has said he will stay on site through the whole process.
We have a lady who comes in to clean in this house three times a week. I discovered the reason why the €3 per yard for the beautiful material was considered expensive and why the £45 for dinner for five of us was also thought of as expensive. The cleaning lady is paid the equivalent of £5 per day. She takes two buses to get here and we only know if she is going to arrive when she makes an early morning phone call. Whether she is going to come or not depends on her husband. He is a lorry driver, and doesn’t know she works here or anywhere else for that matter. She waits until she knows he has gone to work and the coast is clear to set out. Sumitra has a friend who will employ her when we no longer need her here. She is a tiny pleasant woman and I noticed yesterday brought her own lunch, wrapped up firstly in newspaper and then in a plastic bag. There is always plenty of food in this house but she may have her own reasons for bringing her own lunch.
Poya Day is a Buddhist Holy Day also known as Uposatha. It is celebrated as a holiday once a month when there is a full moon. There was such a Poya Day the day before the wedding last August two years ago. The hotel staff at the Negombe Beach Hotel had warned us ahead of time that they could not serve and we could not buy alcohol on a Poya Day and some of the lads had prepared by buying champagne and crates of beer etc. However the Saturday night high jinks went on a lot longer than anticipated and there was precious little alcohol left for the next day, if any.
Close friends, family and rugby club mates, who had travelled out for the wedding joined my son and myself for his last meal as a free man, at a restaurant set back one row from the beach front. The restaurant owner apologetically explained about the Poya Day and how he could not serve alcohol, which we all understood. For whatever reason, he had a change of heart and politely handed us a cocktail menu – as we were all tourists he didn’t consider cocktails as alcohol – was his reasoning. So the image stays with me of all these burly rugby players sat twirling cocktail sticks and paper umbrellas around the cocktail glasses. They had quite a night.
A practicing Sinhalese Buddhist observes a Poya Day by adding a further two rules to the five they should practise on a daily basis. They should not lie, commit adultery, do deliberate harm to anyone, kill a living creature, or eat meat or drink alcohol. On Poya Days the further two rules are they should visit the temple and sit on the ground remembering how humble they are and they should keep their arms close to their body so they do not wave their arms which could hurt anyone. Apologies if I have any of this wrong as this is as it has been explained to me. Happy if anyone corrects me.
I think much as religious observances have been relaxed around the world, Poya Days are now seen as public holidays and families take the opportunity to spend time together – which is what it is all about anyway.