Roaming the World: An Accidental Cameraman

Michael Roberts

In the course of composing items for THUPPAHI and during our family travels around the globe, photographs were ‘shot’ at will. These, of course, are amateur products. But on occasions the settings and subjects are striking or unusual. As one ages and withers, there is less hesitation in focusing on one’s past and the display of personal ventures.

I commence with a ”shot” taken on quick whim that happens to be spectacular …


 Casting Net near Wattala in Lanka where a canal meets the sea and I was at the prow of a padda boat

… and there are a few more chance moments that could spike reader interest.

However, the two camera shots that follow were carefully ‘constructed’ in the sense that the marvellous Indian settings encouraged me to choose my spot and time and select the location where I stood. The first picture is from the roof top of the pensione that Shona and I were staying at and displays the Royal Palace on an island on Lake Pichola in Udaipur; while the second shows the battlements of the Fort at Jaiselmer captured through  a decorated window on the top floor of a medievaal haveli belonging to an opulent family in the town that nestles below the Fort…. yes, below the fort.

                          Inky, Pinky Polly … when we were enroute to Banff and Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies     

Shona at the Abhayagiri Vihare in Anuradhapura in 1969 … & …. Lake Louise in all its summer splendour …wih another shot of the Chalet beside the lake












…. Shona at the riverside hotel on rafts at the Kwai in Thailand in the 1980s






while Kim & Maya pose in the first car we owned while at Augusta Hill, Peradeniya University in the early 1970s;

…. Kim at the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens in the late 1980s;

… Shona & Michael in the Rocky mountains in …aha ..when?


…. while a kookaburra surveys the world in its majestic style in our back garden at Glenalta, Adelaide

Intimate study group in discussion at the Centro Incontri Umani at Ascona, in Ticino, Switzerland in the summer 2007(?)

and Michael was snapped at the Eiffel Tower in the year 2007; and then took this unusual ‘impression’ of the Eiffel Tower ….







Michael at Yapahuva and the Vatadage at some point in the 1990s







and in the hills of Cumberland after visiting Daphne Garbett in Lancashire at some point in the year 2007 or thereabouts; .


with snaps of Shona in striking settings during other travels: one of the two of us at the little pond on top of Sigiriya fortress; ….


another of Shona at a kasbah in Morocco in the year 2018 or so; ….

………… and my ‘shot’ of a lively Russian performing troupe at ST. Petersburg in summer 2007


….. while there have been striking scenarios closer to home in Australia:

….. the remnants of a wreck on the shoreline sands of Fraser Island off Queensland being one example;…

Shona & Kim on the seashore off Willunga in South Australia … and a frolicking family moment at the seashore off Yala in the early 1970s (?);














However, there is no way forward in life without friends … and stalwart family ‘pillars.’

Trevor Roosmale-Cocq: a lifelong pal from Galle days in the 1950s; … to the De Alwises of Kalahe off Galle; and “Sam” Samarasinghe of Peradeniya University, the Ceylon Studies Seminar and the ICES in Kandy …

Trevor & Mary Lowe at Peradeniya University and thereafter at Somerset in UK —lifelong friends and mates erstwhile.

However, ultimately, my upbringing an routes depended on my father and a ‘contingent’ of elder sisters: Margie, Violet, Norah, dodo, Sheilae, Estelle and Audrey. To THEM, no praise would be adequate. A warm THANK YOU My Dear Sisters is all I can say as every one of them now rests in peace up there.

But let me dedicate this memorial in pictorial form to the last of the ‘mohicans,’ Estelle Barbara Fernando nee Roberts, a person extraordinary who passed away y earlier this year 2023.   



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