Greg's diary
April 1967
Translate this page
Select day in April 1967:
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
Select month:
1966 Sep Oct Nov Dec
1967 Jan Feb Mar Apr
1967 May Jun Jul Aug
Today's diary entry
Diary index
About this diary
Previous month
Next month
Greg's home page
Greg's photos
Network link stats
Greg's other links
Copyright information
The story so far

Saturday, 1 April 1967 OBS → (BC II) → Bagan Datok
Top of page
next day
last day
(Written on the “BC II”)

Up this morning, woken (I think) by Captain Rasputin, at about 0230 hrs, and spent about half an hour trying to get dressed under conditions of semi-consciousness and almost complete darkness. Eventually did so, however, and our for a cup of sweet black coffee and a doorstop of bread, and then down to the boat sheds, while Rasputin and Fucker went in the Land-Rover.

After arrival, out in the Gorgon to the BC II, and set off under engine at about 0330—not that there was not enough wind—in fact, quite the contrary, for there was a howling gale. Off to sleep, as the Port Watch was on duty.

Woke up at about 0730, when Guy, who had been making some porridge for those who would eat it, informed me that we were the only two trainees who had not been sick, and that he was feeling none too well himself. Eventually his seasick watch changed duty with my seasick watch, and Fucker and I sat in the cockpit talking and steering the boat. This bloke has some interesting conversation. Weather was really rough, and once bloody nearly capsized the boat, and knock the binnacle over in the process, cracking the glass and jamming the light in.

Eventually ended up peeling potatoes, which meant that I could not see where I was going, and that combined with the fact that I had had a fair amount of milk chocolate helped me go the way of all flesh and bring up over the side. At least I did not feel bad afterward, and when the Port Watch took over again, I was asleep and out like a light, and I took some waking for lunch, which was a surprisingly good stew. After lunch, pretty quickly back off to sleep again, and when I woke up we were tying in at a jetty near Bagan Datoh, and the Starboard Watch were given an hour's shore leave to go and visit the throbbing metropolis, and so off I went alone. That place is certainly a hole—nothing worth doing there, so I had a drink and a bite to eat, and back to the boat again, where I found Guy and the rest of the Port Watch scrubbing the decks—I suppose our turn will come pretty soon—and then they off into town to buy some equipment which we were lacking, and eventually settled down in the cockpit, and started reading “Autocar”, which I bought in Ipoh yesterday, and then Fucker decided to cast off and head for the (less windy) other side of the river, where he proposed to spend the night. Accordingly over, and then laid anchor, and sat around reading “The Heart of London” (Fucker and Guy were reading the magazines), every so often bringing up some motoring topic with Fucker and Guy—the former is quite knowledgeable about the subject. Went ashore to get some ice for Fucker's beer—agony, and he knew it, but Guy slopped in a fag on the shore.

Fun trying to work the bog in the evening, as one of the valves was not working properly—worked out a few extra verses thereabout for “The Good Ship Venus"

Sunday, 2 April 1967 Bagan Datoh → Pasir Bogak
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Pulled up out of our bunks pretty early this morning, and almost immediately up on deck—Fucker must have had some reason, but we did not see it very clearly. Anyway, he started up the engine, and off we went again out of the Sungei Perak, with intentions to try again to reach Utang Melantang [sic; I suspect this was a misspelling that I had been given]. It was our watch, but for some reason they had Raymond at the helm. Anyway, as usual, the cooks were slow, and time was approaching for the Port Watch to come on duty, so I decided that the Starboard watch would work sufficient overtime to let the Port Watch get their breakfast. After that, down and had my own, and then lay on my bunk reading magazines, etc, and find out out as much as I could about this new Ferrari engine for the Fiat Dino. I think it is quite likely that I would be able to fit it into the Citroën. It ought to be a lot lower than the Citroën engine, with only about half the stroke.

Then left that, and relaxed somewhat more to (finally) finish “The Heart of London”, and quite interesting it was too. My only wish is that I had not spaced out reading it for quite so long—nearly a month, and with this course, it seems more like a year. Than God, at any rate, that it is all finally coming to an end.

After that, back to my motoring magazines. It is true enough what Fucker say, that the American magazines rely too much on pictures rather than descriptions, and it makes one wonder about the validity of the statement “One picture is worth a thousand words".

Took over the watch at noon, and had lunch on deck, as the cooks, as usual, had not been able to get it ready on time. By this time, as I learnt when I took over the watch, we had on account of bad winds, given up the idea of heading to Utang Melantang, and were now heading, with considerable difficulty, to the Sembilan Islands, about 15 miles south of Pangkor. It would have been much easier had the winds not been blowing directly from the island to which we were heading, but there it was, and all we could do was tack rather slowly back and forth, and eventually Fucker grew as tired as we already were with this farce, and we stared up the engine, and arrived at Pulau Rumbia [spelling?] (I think) at about 1545 hrs, and then felt our depth (as there was considerably difficulty owing to a sudden shallow bank), and lay anchor where we could.

After a while (by this time, by rights, Port Watch should have been on duty, but they were not), we were allowed ashore to have a swim, etc., and so over with Guy, and, being a little more practical, discussing with him how to warm up slightly the 1911 cc engine actually in the Citroen. There is plenty of scope for increasing the compression ratio—that ought to help.

Later on, talking (or rather listening) to Tucker. He is a remarkably biassed [sic] and bigoted bloke “I hate all people who dislike the British, and even more those who like the Jerries [Germans]”. The feeling is pretty mutual. Set off for Pasir Bogak at 2100 hrs.

I strongly suspect that Tucker was pulling my chain here. He was clearly successful.

Monday, 3 April 1967 Pasir Bogak → OBS
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Woke up at 0750 with Fucker saying something to the effect that if I was not quickly woken up, I would be furious, because it would mean that I would have to go up on deck without breakfast. Up, and took one taste of cold, not sweet enough porridge—there can, surely, be nothing so terrible to eat as cold, congealed porridge. Made up for it be [sic] eating dozens of savoury cheese biscuits by themselves—everybody else was eating them with Apricot jam (which, in fact, I like very much) or Kaya, which is pretty terrible anyway. I shudder to think what either combination would have tasted like.

After that, a hell of a hulabaloo [sic] because the battery was flat, and the engine had to be crank started. Everybody had a go and eventually Raymond got it going, with the crank still on the shaft—the boat was jumping all over the place and Fucker said he thought the main mast was going to snap. After that, Guy came back with several orang putehs who wanted to look over the boat, and we changed into some bathing togs and played about in the sea for a while, until we set off. Off on the engine for a while, and eventually Fucker decided that the wind was nice enough to risk turning off the engine, and so sailed on for a while, merrily peeling potatoes and trying to explain to the cooks how to mash potatoes.

After that, the wind died right away, and we just sat there drifting somewhat out to sea, and unable to start the engine because the cooks were messing about in the galley. Eventually it was 1200 hrs, and off to my bunk and chugged nicely along until at about 1245 I was woken up with not too lousy a lunch, which I ate and then promptly went off to sleep again.

Woken yet again at 1315, as we were arriving at the boat sheds, and we had very little to put away, as we will get plenty of time for all that sort of stuff tomorrow. Took us about an hour to get everything done, that had to be done immediately, and then gout up to the school.

At school, a letter awaited me from Jennie—the first one for a long time—and I feel, somehow, that she has changed. More likely, though, I suppose, that it is me. Still, wonder from time to time whether it is worth worrying about women until I get to Hamburg. Jennie, I suppose, will be able to make it that far, but not very often.

After a while, Guy and I to the canteen, and then I decided to get some sleep, and Guy did likewise, but I woke up after about an hour because everybody had got back from their respective expeditions, and were shouting at the tops of their respective voices about the difficulties they encountered. Over to rouse Guy, who was dead to the world, and then to write my letter to Jennie, but as I was broke, and thus could not manage much in the way of stamps, I could see little point in continuing right then.

Eventually got Guy up, and we discussed our (rather shaky) financial position, particularly with respect to the fact that lawyer, who was going to take us down to KL, had decided not to go until Sunday.

Logs in the evening, as they were due in tomorrow, and resolved to go to bed early, as I was dead.

Tuesday, 4 April 1967 OBS
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

And back to the usual routine—or more or less, though I suppose we will not quite get back to the routine properly again. Anyway, it was a hell of a jolt to get up at 0600 hrs again, and go round the run—though I walked in order to in practice for the big walk this afternoon. Even so, I beat a lot of people round. Then in for a dip in the mud, and back to tidy up somewhat, and then to breakfast.

After breakfast, called into Tucker's study—he wanted to see the leaders of all the expeditions, and he did not really have much to say—mainly wanted to find out what we though of it all, and what we did.

Then down, after raising the colours, to the boat sheds to tidy up the BC II, and Guy and I were detailed to go out and pass out barang to people in prams, and then spent our time eating the remainder of the biscuits in the galley, this time with apricot jam, and I must confess it does not taste as bad as had I feared.

On with that for a while, and then it was decided that we had better go back to the school for the essay on “The benefits I have gained from OBS”, or words to that effect. I came straight out with it and said that the chief benefit would be the membership badge, finished halfway, and went into the quite room to finish my logs.

After that, lunch, and being on duty, had to clean up the stuff, and the usual consequent waste of time. Then hung around discussing life with Guy, and went to see Allen about the fact that I did not have any money for the barbecue. He offered to pay for me, which I did not find a very convenient state of affairs.

After that, the written test, which was a farce, and I again did the thing in about half the time, and spent the rest of the time looking round at other peoples' answer, seeing if they could give any suggestions to the parts of the questions that I did not know.

After giving it all up as a bad job, preparations for the big walk—well, it was only 5 miles, but what the hell. Eventually set off, at rather a leisurely pace, as I later found out, and saw Fucker after about a mile, and he made some comment to the effect that the layabouts were up the front. I suggested that by the time I next saw him, I would be in the lead. He promised a beer in Ipoh on Saturday. So was it. Guy and I came in 1st equal at 52' 7", 2 minutes over ahead of the next bloke, but still too slow (by 7 seconds) to get honours. Fucker, however, was as good as his word.

In fact, Guy could probably have made it in the time, but he held back to stay with me, maybe because of the bet.

Later on had a shower, and got a bit of food, and then off for briefing for the 30 miles expedition tomorrow, and just before was handed a hurricane lamp (antique) by Fucker for cleaning, and quite a beauty it is too.

After lowering the colours, Fucker got 4 of us to push start his Morgan for him, and as a reward let me drive it. Unfortunately, he did not realise the tank was nearly empty, and I ran out after about half a mile. Lousy gearbox, but it is rather fun to drive. Nearly got thrown out of my seat on a couple of bumps. Pity no more petrol.

Wednesday, 5 April 1967 OBS, and around
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day
Jennie's birthday

Up this morning at 0500 hrs, which is far too early for any civilized person to get up. Still, I suppose better that than getting back from the bleeding 30 mile expedition after dark. Plenty of preparation for the thing before we actually went off, at 0615, second to last. It is decidedly rather confusing starting an expedition in the dark, and it helped not at all when it started raining quite heavily. Still, both the darkness and the rain had passed off by the time we reached the main Telok Muroh road, and so all was comparatively OK. I suppose it must have been worse for Guy and mob, who had already climbed hill 883 by dawn.

Rather slowly up 883 when finally we got there—I was pretty exhausted anyway, and by the time we got to the top, Samaritan watch, who had started 10 minutes later, had caught up with us, and we, in turn, had caught up with the “slow party”, who had started 45 minutes before. Down the other side without too much trouble, apart from the fact that Rahim and Syed Mat Zin had twisted their ankles, and to check point no 1, where I checked myself for leeches, and fortunately had none. On to check point no. 2, which was only a couple of hundred yards away, and then about 6 miles to the next check point, passed on the way by the Warden in the Landrover, and when we got to the check point, Kuan said the Warden had said I looked unwell, and to take it easy. Some hopes. On, ever on, through some of the most uninteresting country I have seen in a long time—it seemed so pointless, just going round in circles. Thank God we don't have to write a log about this! Finally got back to Pundut estate, where we camped the other day, and had lunch there. After that, a bit of a kip—we were all pretty exhausted—and after waking, climbed “Bukit botak” [bald hill], so called because it looks so bald.

Check point no. 6 on the other side, near the road, and I told Kuan I could not make Ungku Busa, but he insisted that I try, and so on, but gave it up as a bad job after giving it a few hundred yards, and went back to school on my own, arriving just after the first mob, Adventure watch. Syed was there, and did not seem particularly surprised that I was back, and just sent me down for a swim, which, with my chafed crutch, was agony. Then had a shower and was sitting by the canteen having something to eat with Guy when I was summoned to the Warden's office, and this gentleman was very disappointed—not angry, as he hastened to point out, but I had gone down in his estimation a lot, and so on. The thing that irritated me was that he would not have taken it so badly had I refused to carry on beyond check point 6. Damn that—at least I tried.

After that, off to sleep for a while, but various factors made it difficult to sustain the effort, so found Guy, and carried on with our attempts to find out what to do at the end of this course. Finished off my last cherut after makan, and did little else. Oh, for this to come to an end!

Thursday, 6 April 1967 OBS
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Up, for some reason, at 0700 this morning—probably to make up for the exhausting day yesterday. Here one sees the difference between Asian and European outlooks—a crowd of Europeans would prolong the lie in as long as possible. These blokes started getting up at about 0630, and made it almost impossible for anybody like me to get any sleep.

This was written before I lived in Germany. Particularly in those days the Germans were very early risers.

Eventually I got up at 0700, and slowly woke up (it is taking me longer and longer every day of late), and spent half an hour getting dressed and tidying up my person. By that time, I was ready for breakfast, and everybody else seemed to have finished the usual nauseating morning duties, which somewhat pleased me.

After breakfast was spent talking with Guy, who had a bit of cleaning to do. Plans are more or less settled for end of term [sic] now—we go into Ipoh on the bus, and thumb from there to K.L., which Guy reckons ought to take us about 3 hours. I hall be astonished if we make it so quickly—it will involve an average of over 40 mph. Weighing after that—overall (and I have had a crap lately), I have gained 1 lb, which Guy has also done. Quite a few people have shown more violent changes than this, however.

Down after that to the boat sheds for the inter watch competition. I was only in the whalers as, mercifully, I am useless at anything else. Even that, though, was a hell of a strain, especially as I was the only member of the crew who put his back into it.

Back up for lunch, having come last in the whaler class, and had a pretty awful lunch, and then hung about near the canteen talking to Guy and Euan, whose birthday it is today. That makes the 3rd person I know whose birthday is today—the other being, of course, Uncle Bob and Lesley Cannings.

After that, briefing for the cross country run, which I found singularly boring, and to which I paid no attention whatsoever. After that, off for the run, and I made no bones about it, and walked the first half of the way. Rather heartened, however, which I caught up with about half of the school, and so ran on spasmodically for the rest of the way, and came in 3rd only to Ali Hassan and Syed Mat Zin, nevertheless in 29th position. Guy and Euan had come respectively 2nd and 1st—Guy is getting a bit peed off being 2nd all the time.

After that, refreshed ourselves, and then found Allen, who had corrected my logs, but, unfortunately, refused to divulge my marks, which somewhat irritated me. Had a shower—there was enough water by this time—and washed my hair, then lay on my bed reading for a while. Thank God this farce is all but over, anyway.

In the evening, did little, mainly because there was little to do. Spent most of my time floating around with Guy, doing little. Briefing for “Quest” in the evening—if ever there was a useless lot of time wasting operations, here they are.

Friday, 7 April 1967 OBS
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

So dawns the last day here—just the same as any other day to begin with: over to the fields and some P.E. with bullet head—the exact significance of which I am uncertain—and then a Rasputin type dip because there was just mud there. Up then, and, as I discovered considerably later, Duty 3 this morning, which involved me wiping the Brasso off the bell. Oh, this is all one hell of a waste of time.

After breakfast, inspection, etc, nobody bothered much about raising the colours, which I though was a serious omission for so patriotic a place. Off instead to the boat sheds, for exactly what purpose I am unsure, but when we got there, 4 of us, including me, were on the verge of being sent back again when again Sade changed his mind, and left us there long enough to decorate the edge of the whaler while everybody else pushed it up out of the water.

After that, finally, back to school, in the company of Guy, and there argued greatly as to what cleaning up we were to do, and ended up with me throwing parangs and long handled sickles all over the obstacle course, while Guy did his best to make the death slide more lethal. Then, having half completed the hob, we sat on the other side of the boat outside Fucker's study until the man himself came out and blew up the people for not doing any work, and Guy and I then cleared out before he had time to come round.

Thus we muddled on, quite efficiently, I thought, till lunch, and the usual mess then. Oh, what ecstasy will it be to taste some good food again!

After lunch, we had this quest thing, and I decided to get away from it all and make myself some rope, and so strolled down to Telok Muroh with Guy to buy some tobacco, and on the way back gathered several 20 ft grass roots, and made a sort of plaited mess out of that—I bet it is stronger than any of the other ones, anyway. Sat around for a while with Guy, smoking one of the cheruts I had bought, which was positively busoh [rotten]. Threw it away half way while there was still some roof left in my mouth, and back to school, where people took one look at my rope and started making their own, until Allen came in and told them that theirs would not do.

Left the place and strolled round quite a bit after that, and got some food at the canteen, and in general did very little of anything constructive. In any case, soon found Guy, which made two of us at it. Then Chee found me, and decided that I looked just like a mongolian warrior, with which I disagreed, but left him to it, and ended up looking like Robinson Crusoe.

After that, a domestic rift in the watch, and a hell of a blowing up from Allen as a consequence, but nevertheless we put up a pretty chaotic quest, and came last in just about everything. After that, Guy and I round cleaning all the food off the tables. At least we were sated.

Saturday, 8 April 1967 OBS → Ipoh → Kuala Lumpur
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Everybody up far too early this morning, though, I must confess, I myself woke up at only about 0530. It was impossible, however, to go back to sleep with all the noise going on, so I got up and took some barang over to Guy to pack, and then up and got dressed and into the quiet room to finish off yesterday's diary, while Guy packed the last few things. After that, duties, but by the time Guy and I had got everything into order, they were all over and done [sic; did I mean down?] for breakfast, which, as it was my last day, I hardly touched.

After that, the interminable wait for the inspection and presentation ceremony. After all that—I was the only bloke who did not gain membership, which was rather irritating. Warden had a little chat with me afterwards, but there was not really much to say. I don't blame him, but I think he felt a bit guilty about it all.

Then off to Ipoh in the bus, which was one hell of a bore. People kept getting off at different places, and it took us one hell of a long time to get to Ipoh. Arrived at about 1130 hrs, and in to the bar at the station to have a beer with Fucker, and in fact had two before we finally managed to push off south of Ipoh, and got a lift in an Anglia for about 2 miles, just past the swimming club, and on pretty quickly in a VW 1300 to Tapah, where we arrived at 1330, and were just about to go and get some lunch when I saw a Citroën coming, so immediately out on off chance and thumbed it, and it stopped, and said it was going all the way to KL. Guy got a bit of a shock, and had mixed feelings about missing lunch, but it was a 100 mile lift in a damned comfortable car, and nobody in his right mind would turn it down—nor did Guy. Unfortunately, the fellow did not move the thing very fast—hardly ever went over 60 [mph], and even on the straight bit near Slim River only hit 70, whereas last time I was there, with 7 up, I managed 100.

After that, though Tanjong Malim, and, safely back in Selangor, I decided I could catch up on my sleep, and woke up on the other side of Templar Park, 10 miles from KL, and rolled slowly in—a hell of a long time it takes to get in through the outskirts of KL nowadays, though from about batu 4 [4 miles, implicitly the milestone] to the middle of town was along the new highway, which cut a lot of time off. Then to the Dog, where we called up Robert, had something to eat, and then off to Liliane's house, and she was out. Got Robert to drive me home, and then the inevitable blowing up, which was rather as I had expected, and then a phone call from Liliane—she has another bloke. So much for that. Had intended to go to makan with Mum and Dad, but they had an argument, and so out for yet another stag evening with Guy and Robert. Radiator in the Citroën was boiling, which was rather disconcerting [It had just been overhauled in Singapore for the Asia Trip], and meant that we could not use these Michelin XAs to the best of their superlative ability—they really are fantastic. Now I just have to get used to their feel, which is tending to understeer. Late to bed, after a binge at the Dog.

Sunday, 9 April 1967 Kuala Lumpur
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Old habits (or even comparatively new ones) die hard, as I had suspected at OBS, and despite last night's late night, woke up at 0800 this morning, and in to see Mum and Dad, who had apparently both been drowning their sorrows last night, to judge by the mess in the lounge, and to offer them some tea, which the accepted, and so into the kitchen and did my best to tidy up the mess there while I was at it. Then after tea in came Mum, and started getting the animals' food ready, while I got the animals.

After that, sat around, or rather did quite a bit of work tidying up the mess in the lounge room, while Mum got about getting us some breakfast, and then Dad said something about going over to the office, and urged me to get ready. Did so, and promptly he sat down with Mum and spoke at length with her about the house, while I shunted cars all over the place. Then Daljet rang up, and said something about wanting to go swimming, or getting hold of a typewriter, or something. I shall have to have her.

Then, finally, with Dad to the office, where the Carnet and the ICMV awaited us. In both the unladen weight of the car was given as 1016 kilos, which baffles me, especially as the ICMV said 1720 kgm (1016 kilos). They must think kgm is an abbreviation for katis, though how I don't know—and even then it was inaccurate.

Down after that to Bilals, and there bought some makan, and then back to pick up Dad, after which home with the makan, and had it mainly off newspaper, and then had to clean the mess out. At least it was better than what Dad had to do—clean out Iggy's cage. I don't know why, but everybody was extremely active today, running around doing all sorts of things. Robert eventually wanted to see me, and so, after, finally, finishing all my stuff, over to see him, and had a look at the car, as I was convinced that the choke vale on the carburettor was maladjusted, but I can't see how it could be. Left it at that, and then in to the house to look at my little enlarger, which is vignetting slightly at the sides which I tried, without success, to rectify.

In fact the enlarger was a bit of a failure. I never got it to work properly, but it appears that it took me a while to discover that.

After that, decided to go down to the Golf club for something to eat—by some omission, Robert's parents forgot to cancel his membership of that, and so he could still sign.

After that, back home to our place, and in for a while, discussing mainly photography. Robert brought over some cassettes which he wanted filled with Pan F tonight, in view of the trip to PD tomorrow, to which I have been invited. Then took Robert off to his house, and out to see Eileen at the hospital—she had cancer, and has had her right breast removed.

Back home again, and before long Robert rang, and said something which require further clarification, and meanwhile I asked Mum about PD tomorrow, and she was very unwilling, but finally yielded on the grounds that she did not want to force me and conditions that I went in Robert's syce driver car. Rather peed off about that. Out to Guy's, and on the way back skidded into a roundabout, and thought I had buggered the car, as it was on the other side of a 3 ft ditch, but towed it out with a Landrover unscathed. Thank God for that towrope! Loaded 50 ft Pan F in the evening.

My recollection is that the Landrover was a passing police patrol car. The skid was due to gravel on the road, so they didn't book me. And only one wheel had gone over the monsoon drain.

Monday, 10 April 1967 Kuala Lumpur → PD → Kuala Lumpur
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Dad in very early this morning (about 0715) wanting to know if the alarm which had just gone off was for my benefit. Managed to persuade him that it was not, but still had the problem of catching up on my sleep, which proved impossible in the end, and so up, and was given countless little chores to do—tea for all, makan for the menagerie, etc. Eventually got a bit fed up, and rang up Yuens to see if they could clean out the radiator and cooling system, which, despite the fact that it is Muslim New Year, they were able to do, so took the car over and came back by taxi. Then started having makan, and before too long Robert arrived, and rather hastened the proceedings, and managed to get a not inconsiderable quantity of food ready at rather short notice, and then over to pick up Bonnie, and, in PJ, Patti Ischi (or is it Ishi?), who is half American, half Japanese, and rather nice. Out then, down the Sungei Besi road, and on towards Kajang, talking about all sorts of subjects, which, unfortunately for the girls, kept returning to the subject of cars. It is rather unfortunate that Robert and I have difficulty thinking of much else. Stopped in Seremban for a while, and then on to PD, dropped the syce, and down to Blue lagoon, but changed our minds, and up to the old beach at Eden and Kelso, where I have not been for years.

After that, down to the beach, and the girls in almost immediately, while Robert and I got the cameras setup, and off to change then, and back to take photos. Eventually lured the girls out of the water, and suggested that we had something to eat (this was complicated by the fact that Bonnie had not thought of bringing any food), and found, very much to my surprise, that there was nevertheless a superfluity of food, which was somewhat confusing.

Then decided that, seeing as though I was at PD, I might as well take advantage of the situation, and went in for a swim, and did little while I was in there. For once, I like just floating around in the water, going where the waves and current choose, and enjoying it.

Out again after that, and went and changed, and back down again to continue my photo taking for a while, while everybody else changed into real live clothes again.

After that, down to Si Rusa, partially to look for Guy, and partially to have a drink, which was definitely not worth it—things are about 50% more expensive here than in most places, which does not do much good to beer.

Then back to PD town, to pick up the driver, and back to K.L., for part of which journey I slept, and then talked, for once not about cars—until I had to get Robert to drop me at Yuen's to pick up the Citroën, and was told that the water pump was leaking, and we would have to keep an eye on the water level. Took Patti home, and then to see Gurdip—he now has room at the back, which he has decorated very nicely.

Back home gain, and Gurdip rang up and arranged to go and see “Not with my wife, you don't”. At the very last minute Daljet could not come, which rather spoilt it for me, but it was still a very good film, though possibly not as good as I have been led to believe.

Tuesday, 11 April 1967 Kuala Lumpur
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Mum in early enough this morning and asked me to make her some tea, which I did, and then the usual attention to the animals, etc, and just about managed to feed them. Then got round to a cup of coffee ourselves before I had to go over to the office to get my list of things to be done à propos this trip, and then out to the airport to pick up Dad, and arrived some time in advance of him, and upstairs for a couple of curry puffs and a cup of coffee, and while I was gazing idly down at the car part, a Morris Minor which I happened to be looking at ran into another car—quite hard. Driver of the Morris hopped out, had a look at the front of his car, and, as near as I can judge, started wailing and tearing his hair. Driver of the other car just looked on.

Picked up Dad, and discussing the trip and preparations therfor on the way back, and then to the office, where I worked out a check list for today, and did my best to present it to Dad, and then off down to the AAM—half the time going there is spent trying to park the car—and got them to alter the carnet de passages ant the ICMV, both of which were in error about the weight.

We apparently didn't notice until much later that the chassis number was wrong too.

Back to the office, and picked up Dad, and of down to Bukit Mahkamah to make a declaration that Dad had had his driving license burnt, and down to High St police station to get a copy of a report, due to be ready this afternoon, and to Suleiman building for a stamp for Dad's declaration, all of this using up the entire morning.

After that, home to lunch—very makeshift now that Eileen is away—and then arranged to meet Robert at the office, and we would go round town together, which I did what I had to do.

First, then, to the AAM and waited around a bit until they got the carnet ready, and tried to find out a bit about insurance. It looks as if we might have difficulty.

After that, met Guy, and so took him down to the Supermarket, and while I was there, did a bit of shopping, and also got Robert to hop upstairs and get me some DA163.

Then to Kodak, to have a little discussion with the manager about why the EMS we had ordered cost so much, and eventually he gave us a discount, which worked out that we had to pay $94.75, which is still more than I would have liked to pay.

Down to pick up the police report copy at High St., and then to the Dog for a drink and bit, and had a look at this week's “Autocar”, which is a Mini feature issue.

Back to the office, with little to do, and were soon set home for tea, and on the way found one Robert Cotean [?] looking bewildered, and gave him some advice about finding his way round town.

In the evening, out to “La Gondola” in Bukit Bintang road for makan, in honour of Mum's impending birthday. Quite nice, though I still find meccheroni [sic] uneatable by conventional methods. Early to bed for a change.

Wednesday, 12 April 1967 Kuala Lumpur
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Mum's birthday this morning, and Dad in to wake me so that I could get up and make the tea. I am getting just vaguely fed up of late, trying to cope with 2 parents who both expect me to drop everything and instantly obey their every whim. Mum was quite pleased with the birthday card I got her, anyway, and even more so with the fact that I thought of getting one for her in the first place. Up then, and, as usual, fed the animals—what a bind this is, and is it my imagination, or does Mum make it harder than it really is?

After that, was just contemplating some breakfast when Dad decided I had better take him over to the office, and so over, then back again to the house, where I prepared a slice of toast (which Mum calls breakfast) for each of us, and then back over to the office again, to do nothing. How I hate just waiting round, talking when I get a chance and achieving nothing!

Took Dad down town later to get a form for international insurance at some place in Mountbatten road, and also did some clothes hunting in Batu road. Looks grim for the insurance, especially behind the iron curtain.

After that, back to the office, dropped Dad, and got away again pretty quickly, and off to wake up Robert, and out to Naina's to get a few things for the first aid kit, and then the Dog for (finally) something to eat. After that, dropped Robert home, and home myself to prepare something to eat for all of us for lunch, and got ready some Frankfurters which I had bought for just such a purpose.

After that, was suddenly called out to take Ramli to a place in Petaling St. to get some paper cut to size, and did a few engine adjustments while I was there.

After that, finally back to have some makan, and at the same time rang Yuen's to get them to cable Citroën in Paris about a workshop manual, but they seemed unwilling, so over there myself after that, and dictated the telegram over the phone myself.

Back to the office, somewhat late, and loaded Dad and Mum into the car, and then off to the airport in what may not be record time (what could be? Mum has the same effect as a ½ tonne ballast in the back), but was pretty good, even if there was a BMW there that I never quite got round to overtaking.

At the airport, off pretty quickly, as Dad only just made it before boarding, and in any case, he had forgotten a file, which had to be forwarded to him by air freight, as as soon as I got back (well, not quite), got the file from Mum and over to pick up Gurdip (which took longer than I would have liked), and out again, this time to the freight offices, and all the usual tali merah there, and finally got the thing off, back to town and dropped Gurdip near the Rex, after which home via the office.

Oh, all this is rapidly boring me. Did almost nothing in the evening—talking to Mum again. She is happy with me again, and is thinking of buying me a Mini. Now I just have to persuade Dad it would be better to keep the Citroën.

Thursday, 13 April 1967 Kuala Lumpur
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Mornings are of late uneventful. They all seem to be the same as each other, and it is difficult, in retrospect, to differentiate between them. This morning, about the only difference was that Gurdip rang up and wanted to know what time I would be able to pick him up, as June was unable to perform that duty.

After finally getting everything settled, therefore, over to Gurdip's house, and picked up him and Daljet and Devi, and over to the office with them, and Mum pretty quickly pounced on them and gave them their own little piles of newsletter to staple together, and then, before she could give me anything, got herself involved in something else, and then finally back to me, and suggested that I went over to Gestetners with some paper, which I understand is to be used for printing the book, and thus over and came back, by way of exchange, with a spare 250 copies of the front page of the Newsletter, which were also soon pounced upon. Before very long, it looked as if, as is only too often, we would run short of page ones, but we just about made it. Then off to the house with Gurdip etc and aired the dogs, and then took Gurdip home and dropped Daljet and Devi at Robinsons, and then down to Yuens to see what sort of goodies they had for me, but this proved to be nothing, and so back home, and started washing the front carpet of the car, and then came back home Mum, and so we had lunch, and the usual mess round with the dogs while we were are it.

Then Mum off to the office, and I to the Supermarket to do some shopping, after which back home, and then over to the office, where Mum wanted me to take some printing instructions or plates over to Sam, which accordingly I did, and then off to Yuen's again, and this time they had the stuff I wanted, and so collected it, and spoke at length with them about it, and eventually, amongst other things, came to the conclusion that the correct tyre pressures for Michelin XAs were the same as for X's—24/20 (psi front/back, i.e. 170/140 kPa), which is a far cry from the pressures Michelin gave me: 27/24. Sounds like the front 3 tyres [sic—no more text]

Back to the office, nothing to do, and back home and washed the car, and this took me a good deal of time—at least the thing looks a bit better now, with a pretty comprehensive cleanout inside and out.

After that, sat watching TV for a while, before finally deciding to clean out the boot of the car, and get everything packed into a more compact space, and, to a greater or lesser extent, succeeded.

Then Mum back, and we had makan. Nothing fantastically important on TV, and so developed the film I took at PD the other day—it came out quite well.

Friday, 14 April 1967 Kuala Lumpur
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Today I judge, in my perverse way, a “special day”, though it turned out to be one for different reasons—as it is a year ago today since first I met Jennie Hallett. What has happened to me in that year? I wish I had time to really think about it.

Breakfast, etc, much as usual, though I was a little slower this morning, mainly because of the fact that I am very tired of late, and am taking a long time to wake up.

Eventually out, and over to the office to receive my instructions for the day, and ended up working out what had to be done about our trip before completion of all the manifold formalities. Eventually set of [sic], collected Robert (in other words, got him up out of bed again), and then off to Gestetner's, and took over the printing instructions, and got some paper in return.

Then to Ubaidullas, and there got the tickets for the passage to India—doesn't that sound romantic!—but a lot of red tape, which I handed on to the AAM when I got there. Took in the application form for the insurance, and then off to the Dog for a bit to eat, where I met Gillian de [sic; should be da] Souza, and invited her out to a flick. That should be fun.

Home for lunch, and discussed it with Mum, and then waited for Gillian to ring up as I had asked her, and explained that 'twould not be possible until Sunday, and so arranged the 1515 show on Sunday. I wonder how Gillian would react to amorous advances.

A bit late out of the house again, to find a non-at-home Robert, and then to AIA for insurance, but no luck. Then shopping at the Supermarket, and bought some moly-slip for the engine and gearbox, and used the former, and then off to the office for instructions, which were none, so took some more stuff down to the insurers and the AAM, and then home again, and to look for Robert, whom this time I found, and to the Golf Club for something to eat. After that, home—power cut—for a while before returning Robert home.

Mum home a bit later, and the usual evening would have ensued, except for the fact that Robert had invited me to come over to his house and do some printing, which I finally persuaded Mum to let me do. Off, and almost immediately a power cut, and took a few star photos. Then the printing, and early back home, but saw a drunken tart who wanted to be taken somewhere, preferably Jackies, but did not know where. Ended up undecided as to whether she was a whore or not, and left her at Jackies, off for a drink with Am, and back home, where Mum had had the police out looking for me—24 cars must be pretty lousy—and then out to find Robert. Boy, was Mum worried! Her natural assumption that all Asian birds are whores led her to all sorts of fantastic delusions. Shudder to think of the repercussion.

In principle there was nothing wrong with what I did. I suspected even then that the girl had been lured home by somebody in an adjacent block of flats, and she was clearly in need of help. But my mother heard me talking to her and driving off again, and assumed I had gone up with her to Jalan Duta, the “lover's lane” on the other side of town (Jackies was just round the corner, on the site of what is now Petronas Towers). She had also involved Guy Belsham, and I ended up having to go out there and call off the search.

Saturday, 15 April 1967 Kuala Lumpur
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Considering the state of agitation in which Mum was last night, and also the threats which she made at this time, I was fully expecting an enormous scale blow up from her about the whole affair. Admittedly, she did not sound very happy, but I was astonished at how calm she nevertheless managed to remain. She is obviously learning a little bit of self-control—or possibly she is realising that these explosions have little of their desired effect on me, and tire her out.

Prepared breakfast (such as it was) for her, and made her bed, and in general behaved so that it would be difficult, in cold blood, to explode, and eventually sent her off to the office, and then did a bit of tidying up of my own. Then decided that I might as well finish the shopping at the Supermarkets, and so down to Robert's house, and woke him up—that fellow is always in bed, nor does he get to bed much later, if at all, than me. Collected the prints I made last night while I was there, and then down to the Supermarket, and did not much shopping there, and then off back home again, and inside, where we did exceptionally little. I did a bit of tidying up and so on, while Robert sat about and read, and eventually, after asking a few questions, decided to push off, and wondered what was worth happening this afternoon as he left.

Washed the car after that—after last night it was absolutely covered in mud, and I was surprised how much mud I removed without really trying—in fact, without using soap!

This must have happened round Jalan Duta.

After that, Mum home for lunch, and the usual. Frankfurters may be rather nice, but eventually they get rather tiring. At least we had some soup with them—imitation Pot-au-feu.

After lunch, big clean up organised by Mum, so that Eileen would not come home to a dirty house, and before long Robert rang, and asked if he could come over, so I said sure, if he could help us clean up, so he took me up on that, and come on over, and Mum got him to sweep the carpets while I scrubbed madly away at the shirts I took with me to OBS, which began to show some sings of improvement after about half an hour, though I reckon that brush removed more skin from my knuckles than dirt from the shirt.

It's amazing to think that we didn't have a washing machine.

After that, Mum said something to the effect that she needed some shopping done, so down in the Mini to Naina's, and while there saw a Citroën Ami 6, and over to examine, and met the owner, who was only too pleased to show it to us. 425 cc two cylinder engine, 80 mph [130 km/h]! And the suspension is even softer than the D type.

In fact, it had a 602 cc engine, and on the flat this model could reach about 115 km/h.

Home again, and did little, having more or less persuaded Mum that the shirts were not worth going to the trouble over, and why didn't we just send them to the dhoby?

After a while, Robert home, and we had tea, and then back to work—Mum never lets up, from the way she acts now.

Out to tell Eileen what was going on in the evening, and then back again for makan, after which considered it to my advantage to get a good night's sleep, and so to bed at only 2315 hrs.

Sunday, 16 April 1967 Kuala Lumpur
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Well, at any rate I got a bit more sleep last night, which, to a greater or lesser extent, makes up for my recent lack of sleep—though getting to bed early as I did last night resulted in me waking up at dawn, as at OBS. Finally up at about 0910, when Mum suggested that I got up, and out to have breakfast, and then hung about a it while Mum suggested all sorts of nasty little things that had to be done. If there is anything I hate, it is spending a whole day at home like this cleaning up.

Finally managed to make some scrambled eggs, which Mum did not like because she said they were overcooked, and then down to work. Admittedly, Mum, whom I was pumping full of caffeine, did most of the work, but it is difficult to coöperate with Mum a good deal of the reason being that she has such different ways of doing things form those which I use.

Eventually hung all the washing up to dry and back into the house to read the paper, for what that was worth. I have more or less come to the conclusion that Sunday papers are a waste or time, as they have so very little news, and such a hell of a lot of rubbish in them.

After that, decided to write a letter to Paul, particularly as it is his birthday tomorrow, but was quickly shouted down by Mum, who set me to work tidying up my room, while I pointed out to her that it was about time we got thinking about lunch. For this, I was set to work cleaning out the bath, and before long in came Mum, and set to with Vim to my developing dishes and forceps, rather (at first) against my will, but I must confess she did a very good job of it, and so I did the other 4 myself. But I don't like her references to the fact that I will be working so hard my first year at University that I won't have any time for photography. Damn that. If she doesn't think I'm adult enough to be able to allocate my time at University properly, why does she allow me to be sent there?

After a while, along came Robert, just as we were about to have makan, though at 1445 he might be excused for thinking we had already finished. Off he went, however, to get some cigarettes, and we had lunch, and then he came back, and suggested that I come out with him to the Golf Club, which request was turned down by Mum, so, after some coffee, into my room to discuss portrait lighting with Robert, and get into quite a discussion on this subject before Mum suggested that I tidied up my bathroom [again?], and so set to, and nearly killed myself sneezing in the process. I was never made for a house with so many dust traps—I am always sneezing here. In any case, out and took the dogs for a walk and discussed photography further with Robert, and then back home again. Robert considered leaving then, but wanted to borrow a 28 mm lens, and to this end he had to stay for tea, until Mum came out of my room. Then he went off, and I hung around for a while, before going over to see why Eileen hadn't come out [of hospital] today, and then back, and started writing a letter to Paul, and had a power cut. Then decided to load the EMS into cassettes, and with a break for makan, managed this, putting 4 just on spools in tins. I will be astounded if we run out of film on this trip.

Monday, 17 April 1967 Kuala Lumpur
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

And on—not long now until the beginning of our trip, and I am greatly looking forward to it, and think it will be a great success, though I am still a little worried about insurance, which looks as if it might be a problem.

Mum in to wake me at about 0800 this morning, but it was not until about 0830, when she brought me in a cup of tea, that I paid much attention. Before I had much chance to do anything, however, Guy rang up, and suggested that I might be able to pick him up later on this morning, and left it at that. Then had breakfast—cooked myself some scrambled eggs, this time to Mum's liking, and had them. After that and a few more complaints from the usual direction, off, and first, as intended, out to Kenny Hill to pick up Guy, and hung around for a while while he waited for his mother's return. Then off down to the Dog for a drink as of old, which, however, was somewhat curtailed bu the fact that I had some stuff to do in town. Got Mum a sliver cleaning cloth at Robinsons, and then to the AAM, where people spoke to me about Maine Insurance and such like, and I finally came to some agreement about it all.

Then, after a brief visit to the Supermarkets, to the Merlin Service Station, and did my not-very-good best to get some Moly-Slip into the gearbox of the car, and ended p getting it everywhere else instead. Then home, and had a shower, during which Mum arrived home and also Eileen, and the usual happenings then, during which Guy took his leave. Eileen seems very anxious to prove that her efficiency is in no way impaired by her operation.

After makan, had asked Gillian da Souza out for a flick, but could not contact her anywhere, but, having reason to believe that she was at the Lake Club. [sic] She was not, but on the way back I saw Angela, the Brazilian girl, and offered her a lift, which she declined, but she saw (and recognised) me at the Dog, and bought me a drink, and told me all sorts of nice things about me, and so on. She is almost as much a nut as I am, and we get on like a house on fire. It seems that the whole family is, if anything, slightly nuttier than I am. Anyway, eventually off to the A&W, and spoke on a sufficiently high intellectual plane to make people think that we were nuts. That girl can certainly talk, but with her I can talk back too, and enjoy myself. She says that she is half Arabic, and that her real name is Nadia/Natasha, and so on. I am wondering if she is having me on, but I suppose she is likely to be serious.

After hanging around in the A&W for a while off peeing in no particularly direction for a while before picking up Muhammad, her boyfriend—that was a bit of a blow for me, but he did not seem to mind the fact that I had been with her all afternoon.

Dreary evening—some Sharifah came to stay. Some relation of Syed Abdul Rahmans, come to see an invalid at the hospital.

Tuesday, 18 April 1967 Kuala Lumpur
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

And on with life. Of late I am finding difficulty waking up, which I suppose is a bad sign, and I am thinking seriously of going to bed earlier even than last night sometime soon. Anyway, up with the usual cup of tea, and did my bet to accompany yon Sharifah in her breakfast, which was not easy, as I ate about 5 times as much as did she. Eventually got it over and done with, however, and so off with her to the General Hospital, and passing Denmark House saw the result of an accident, with Gurdip Singh hovering about it in the middle of it minding somebody else's business. On the way back, looked for him, but by this time he was gone.

Back to the house, and discussed with Mum what I was going to do today, and ended up without too much to do, and thence off to the Supermarket and did the daily shopping (which costs a packet) and delivered that back home, after which down to Naina's to buy some salt tablets, and paid bills there and at Robinsons.

After that, down to the Lake Club on the off chance that Nadia might be there—I discover, rather to my surprise, that I am rather fond of her. She was not, but I bumped into Gillian de [sic] Souza some time later on, and so invited her to see “That darn cat” this afternoon, and then back home, by way of the Dog, after which to the AAM to see about shipping and marine insurance.

Home again round about lunch time, and waited around for Mum to return, and Robert rang before she made it, and arranged with him to go to the Golf Club after lunch, and arranged this with Mum when she came back and Eileen gave us the cold shoulder for lunch.

My guess is that this was literally cold lamb shoulder.

After that, off to the Golf Club barely long enough to have a drink, although, on reflection, I could have done with something to eat while I was at it. Nevertheless, quickly back home again, and go the car, and then off to the Lake Club, and after looking around finally found Gillian, and then to the Cathay, where we arrived in plenty of time—in fact, we walked in towards the end of the 1300 hrs show, and quickly out again for a drink before going in again.

The flick was extremely amusing—not quite what I had expected, but probably better than I had expected by virtue of the fact that the cat did not do much about the situation itself, but rather, it was a matter of the FBI tailing it.

After that—I might as well have gone alone for all the response I got from Gillian—off to dump her near Guthries, and then to the Dog, where I phoned up Mum for permission to stay there, and then Robert to ask him to join me, which he did for a while. New Autocar should have had a supplement, but no such luck. Will have to see what I can do.

After that, home. I think it is a lousy trick of Mum's to keep me at home after dark of late. At any rate, before dark, managed to adjust the throw of the clutch—it is now much better, and easier to handle.

Wednesday, 19 April 1967 Kuala Lumpur
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

And on. Time is drawing far too rapidly to a close, and I am concerned that, when we finally leave, there will be dozens of things left undone. A thing which has gradually been occurring to me of late is that not only are we going on a journey, but also I am going back to Germany—a thing which pleases me more than a little. I am, however, also a little apprehensive about the enormous itinerary that I am going to have to get through first. I don't think we can make it all in the allotted time, and I wish, for a start, that we would give Srinagar a miss right now.

Maybe this is the background of the following comments, which I wrote at the back of my diary on this day, possibly with my father's help, though I see no evidence of that in the diary:

Points to be born in mind. 19/IV/1967

  1. You are going to Germany, not England.

  2. The trip will be no less enjoyable if Mum comes with us. If it is, too bad. Make the best out of it.

  3. In England, see women if possible. But which are more important—they or you?

  4. a) There are other cars besides Citroën—and what about 2CVs?

    b) Is a car absolutely essential to continuation of life? A thumb can be a pretty good substitute.

  5. Sprich Deutsch.

Up early this morning, as Mum wanted to take her Mini into the garage to have it fixed up—or rather, lubed and report made on the other things wrong, such as (as proved to be the case) worn steering, brakes and drive shafts, which is pretty good for a car that has only done 18000 miles.

After that, back with her to the office, and then was given a dirty great long list of things that had to be done. First over to see Datin Rajasooria about Lalita, and thus, via home, to a dhoby near Princes Circle, to get my white drill shirts (ex OBS) cleaned, and then, while in the neighbourhood, to Yuens, who gave me some radiator pipes, and a clutch cable, and changed my SÆ40 oil for SÆ30—but Citroën recommend SÆ20, but Yuens say this is no good for an old engine. I wonder about multigrade...

Off to look for a spare battery for my Spotmatic, but no luck, and so to the Dog, and at Ubaidullas bought some motoring magazines, complete with an advertisement (and stickers) for Duckham's Q20-50 oil, which could be good.

Home for lunch, and picked up Mum, and did little at home. She was quite busy, and had plenty for me to do which was not associated with the trip, and so first over to Gestetner's with 3 reams of large paper, and back again. It has been raining a bit lately, and I note with pleasure that, since I have been paying more attention to exact tyre pressures, when I do lock the wheels, I slide to neither side.

Back at the office, and Mum had intentions of getting me to do several things, and finally sent me down to Hews to get some pills for Dad, and Greniers to get a will form—that sounds ominous.

After that, at the office for a while, and hung about doing nothing for quite some time. I suppose, on reflection, that a Mini would not be all that unbearable in Germany—a Citroën would be nicer, but having a Mini would be by no means the end of the world.

It's funny how little I considered buying a German car.

After that, took Mum to pick up her car, and then home and got a bit of a rest until Mum came home with the two largest Dewar flasks I have ever seen, one of them wide-mouthed for solids, etc. The smaller holds about half a gallon [2 litres]—we should have no difficulty with hot drinks, etc, en route.

Thursday, 20 April 1967 Kuala Lumpur
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Woken up today by Mum, who reminded me, at 0730, that Dad would be arriving at the airport at 0815, and so up, quickly dressed, and out there, and made it in time for breakfast, and then picked Dad up and back home. On the way back, finally came to a conclusion to tell Mum about the enlarger (the dufungus) and thence to the office, where Dad and I both went up, and I discussed with Mum the thing s that I should do this morning. Eventually I was permitted to go home and have for breakfast, and so as on the way down to see if Vanguards could fit a car radio aerial socket to the radio, but no go, so down to Law Joo Ghin, where I spoke with the boss at length, and eventually persuaded him that he could do it by winding an extra coil round the ferrite rod.

Then home for breakfast, and collected the dufungus from Robert [Bliss] while I was at it, and then back again to the office, and got down to arranging duplicate passports for Israel, and so over with the forms, and photos to get Dato Rajasooria to sign them. If I had known how much it would take out of him, I would not have asked—he is a very sick man.

Then over to see Carmel, but she had left for lunch, so down and had a chat with Law Joo Ghin, and all seems well under control. Then home for lunch, and as Mum had seen the enlarger before Dad had had a chance to show it to her, there was a row doing on, which lasted through most of lunch. Dad was exhausted, and so we managed to lay him down in bed for a while. Then off to town to do some more work, and first to take the passports to Carmel, and to my surprise, was told that they would be ready tomorrow morning, and then to Ace, to get my little cylinder filled with butane, and had to leave it there for them to puzzle out.

Then down Jln Masjid Pudia way, and down to Batas to take some shoes in for Mum, and then to Globes for Dad's overcoat. After that to Robinsons, and bought a silver cleaning cloth and some degumming [?] fluid there.

After that, up to Yuen's, to discuss multigrade with them—they do not recommend it. Had a repair manual there for the ID19, up to September 1962—not all that much difference in the models. Back home, and hung around until Mum and Dad came home for tea, and did very little.

Persuaded Mum and Dad to let me out in the evening, and on the way to Jackies, was run into by an ancient Morris 8 with no lights. Nearly went mad with despair—he knocked the whole front of the car in, ruined the hydraulic reservoir, and even bent the chassis—it was several hours before we could even move the thing. Mr. Antony came along, and was very helpful, though even though the two of us peed all over town, we could not find anybody to tow us, and had to roll the thing into the Coq d'Or [local restaurant] and leave it there overnight.

Friday, 21 April 1967 Kuala Lumpur Images for 21 April 1967
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Up early enough today, and over, without breakfast of a very substantial nature, to the Coq d'Or, where I inspected and took photos of the remains of the car. It certainly is badly knocked around. It almost breaks my heart to see it in this condition. In any case, Yuens were supposed to come over in a crane to drag it back, and took their time (about 1½ hours) and finally arrived in a Land Rover, so back with them to get a crane, and managed, without doing too much damage to the thing, to drag it back to Yuen's, and there spoke with Mr. Teo and explained how it was imperative that we get the car on the State of Madras [ship], and that if all possible, they should work day and night at the job, give it priority, etc, etc. They have quite a few spare parts, apparently, including a new hydraulic reservoir. The most difficult thing, apparently, is the fact that the chassis is twisted, and straightening it out with [sic] be the most difficult and expensive item.

Then back to the office, where Mum and Dad were in almost as bad a state as I. Mum made a suggested draft of the report I had to make to the police, and I enlarged and improved on it, and then sat about, waiting, until lunch. The AAM were most uncooperative, until Dad rang the Penang office, and, on the verge of tears, it seemed, lodged a complaint about the service. Poor old Dad—this is as much, if not more, of a blow to him than to me. He spends all his life here, slogging his guts out, and it never seems to let up.

Home for lunch, and my report from OBS arrived. I have never in my life seen such an outspoken criticism of anyone, nor such a scathing one. I suppose they must be right—arrogant, uncooperative, etc.—up to a point, but that point is as far as most people get.

In the afternoon, feeling exhausted, stayed at home until such time as Dad should call me up to go and lodge my police report, and managed with no trouble to go off to sleep, despite the 2 caffeine tables I had taken not long before. They seem to be of only limited use.

Guy rang up after a while, and said he was coming over, and rang up Dad, who said something to the effect that the next ship to sail to Madras, or for that matter anywhere in India, was the Rajala, in 2 weeks time.

Guy over, and spent the time with me providing not very scintillating conversation about the distances we would have to go without petrol or water. 317 miles seems to be the best—we should easily make it.

Dad back home later, for tea. Looks as if we will have the car ready by Monday, for shipment from Penang. Off to the police station to make my report, and quite a long one by the standards they have. Things don't look as happy as they could be.

Saturday, 22 April 1967 Kuala Lumpur
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Dad in to wake me this morning, suggesting that, as we had plenty of work ahead of us today, I should quickly be up, and ready at his beck and call. Accordingly staggered out of bed, and then out to see what there was in the way of breakfast, which was not much. Accordingly, as by this time it had been decided that there was not all that much urgency for my services, off to get Eileen to make me something a little more substantial for breakfast, while Mum and Dad went off to the office.

After that, over myself to the office, and there hung about for a while, while Mum and Dad did the best with their arrangements, and then sent me down to the AAM with some documents which had to be forwarded to Penang, where it now looks quite likely we will be loading the car onto the boat. On the way down, called in at Law Joo Ghin's, and they had managed to find a coax plug for the radio and aerial, but had not yet fitted it. Accordingly arranged to collect it this afternoon.

Then back to the office, and shortly later to the house and Naina's with Mum and Mum and Dad. At Naina's, got a few last things for the medical kit, and then up to Yuen's, where they were welding the chassis back together again, and got a few photos of that. Also had them put some MoS2 in the gearbox while it was so easily accessible.

To the dhoby—shirts still not ready. Similar story at Ace about the gas cylinders. All this afternoon.

After that, back home via the office, and started sorting out what I would be taking with me, and what I would be leaving behind, and then got Robert to come over to at least partially collect some stuff which I was lending/giving him.

After that, hung about a while for lunch, and Robert rolled up again while we were waiting, having fully completed his lunch long ago, and so off again, and waited until we had had ours.

Over after that again, and [Robert] took me round town to do my work, and to Yuen's, where they have made considerable progress since this morning, and the chassis is now almost complete. To the dhoby, and had a hell of a wait for the clothes. Gas at Ace was OK, ant then down to Law Joo Ghin's, and they were closed, which was a hell of a nuisance. Off down to the Golf Club, and on the way examined a Citroën 2CV. Suspension is, rather unbelievably, even softer than the Ami 6. Also, I am beginning to wonder if Citroën have ever made cars with rear wheel drive—I doubt that they could have in the last 20 years.

At the Golf Club, had a bit to eat and drink, and got soaked and then back to the house for tea. There hung around a bit and eventually Mum and Dad off to do a bit of last-minute shopping. Loaded plenty of equipment into Robert's station wagon, and that should be plenty to keep him going for some time.

In the evening, took time off to recover from the events of the past few days. Discovered my film, dozens of potentially excellent photos, had not be winding on. Damn.

Sunday, 23 April 1967 Kuala Lumpur
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

On, ever on. Not at all long should it now be until we leave for our long-awaited tour. It seems almost too good to be true, even if it did come to pass in a manner rather different from that in which we would have expected it.

Up, thanks to Dad, at an hour unusually early. I never have a very clear recollection of mornings—it takes me such a long time to wake up and clear out my respiratory tracts, etc.

In any case, this morning started off a little different. After tea, reading the Asia Magazine, etc, decided that I could do with some breakfast a little more substantial than Mum's usual coffee and toast, and so enlisted Dad to have some scramblex [scrambled eggs, from Afferbeck Lauder's “Let Stalk Strine”] with me. This Eileen did relatively well, though both Mum and Dad prefer them slimier.

After that, as intended, over to Yuen's to see the car. They have now moved it, presumably under its own steam, to the front of the shop, and are really moving with it. It now looks like only a job of bolting everything back together again. I rather liked this little chassis balancing tool, working on some optical principle.

After that, Mum and Dad back to the office, and I back to the house—they actually trust me with the Mini now, though they obviously seem to think me to blame for the prang the other night. Tried to get a haircut, but fortunately the shop was shut.

Home, and did a bit of sorting out—as much as I could. All this dust stirred up has had me sneezing my head off all day. Eventually back over to the office, and picked up Mum and Dad—Mum nearly went mad when I touched 25 [mph] in the mini. OK, so this car is in poor condition. I don't understand, though, how they manage to work out that it needs that careful handling.

Lunch somewhat late, and before I had much say in the matter (not that it would have had much effect it I had), Mum and Dad back over to the office, and I hung around, and read some motoring magazines, and eventually came to the conclusion that there was not much point just hanging around, and would have got some sleep, were it not for the fact that all beds were either inaccessible or covered in barang, so hung about, and got dozens of phone calls from Dad about the details of the accident as well as a couple from Mr Teo—the latter to say that the car was ready for road testing, and so got a spare wheel and a taxi, and over to Yuen's to try it out. Good for them—right first time, and though it is obviously not a first class job—paint not quite the right colour and the bonnet not cemented, looking rather like beaten copper (or aluminium). Still, it handles well, and the only thing which required attention were the air horn (fuse blown) and the bonnet, which worried me by rattling on the other side. Got them to fix that up, and then took it back home. Spent the whole evening packing. I must confess, even I was surprised when I saw how much barang we managed to fit in that boot—and still had room to spare.

Monday, 24 April 1967 Kuala Lumpur → Kuala Kangsar → Georgetown →
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Up at 0300 hrs this morning—what an absolutely inhuman time! I had barely got used to being asleep when I was woken up, and still felt extremely tired. Nevertheless, up and quickly loaded the remainder of the stuff into the boot, and then, after a wait of considerable duration while Mum checked and double checked the security of the house, set off North at 0335 hrs, and I was in the back, doing my best (which was not very good, as Mum and Dad were keeping up quite a conversation in the front) to get to sleep.

On, ever on. As usual, or far too common, it started pouring with rain on the section between Tanjong Malim and Slim, and for the privilege of crawling through torrential rain at 25 [mph] over some of the best highways in Malaysia, we had to pay 50¢. I took over after that, and in about 10 miles the rain stopped. On, on. At ? we came across some pretty realistic fog, which again reduced us to a crawl. Dawn broke between there and Ipoh, and we arrived at KK at 0720 and had breakfast at the rest house. A little later on, I let Dad take the wheel, and so off to sleep, waking not far before Butterworth. Across on the ferry, and parked not far away, and then to Dad's office. Soon after arrival contacted the AAM, and they managed, without too much difficulty, to get us a stamped Customs document, which was apparently essential for loading [the car on] the boat. Back to the office for a while, and then off to Wearnes to get an inventory taken of the car, and left it there for a while to go and have lunch at Poshni's, not far away. That place is terrible—Mum say it has gone downhill—but the food is excellent.

I think this might be the first time I had ever eaten tandoori chicken, which in those days was a rare and unusual dish.

After that, looking round, and managed to find some asbestos rope for lagging the exhaust pipe, and then Dad off to Wearnes, and Mum and I to the docks—Dad took a long time, and so I rang him. It seemed that while we were away for lunch, one of the rear hydraulic cylinders sprang a leak. I am extremely suspicious of what Wearnes did, but that helped little, and it looked like we were loosing oil [hydraulic fluid] far too rapidly to forget about it. Down with Mum to the wharves, while Dad rang up Singapore and KL to see what could be done, and eventually joined us at the ship were we were busy a) loading stuff on to the ship and b) trying to make sure that nobody whipped [stole] our barang. After loading everything on, back to town. Dad is having a complete hydraulic cylinder and set of hydraulic ring seals sent out from Singapore by air to Madras, and we will just have to change them when we get there.

Thus down to Penang St, and had a look round for photographic equipment—Ruby had plenty of Harmony equipment in stock, and I ended up, after trying the market, buying a TR105 for Paul and a TF100 for Jennie—the former electronic flash, the latter a very nice little exposure meter, one of the best I have seen at any price.

On the ship after a rest, and hung about ad nauseam wondering when the ship would sail, and eventually got rid of Mum and Chor [Chor Kai Guan, the boss of my father's Penang office], and sailed at about 2300 hrs.

Tuesday, 25 April 1967 Straits of Malacca
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day
-1 hr
I'm a little dubious about the “-1 hr” above, but that's what I wrote. That would mean a change from UTC+7:30 to UTC+6:30, which I don't think is a valid time zone.

Fellow in this morning at about 0615 with some coffee, which is hardly in the best morning tea tradition, and so I just shoved it in, and rather grudgingly, at Dad's request, poured some for him, and then went to sleep and was woken by him at 0745, to discover that my watch (automatic) had stopped about half an hour previously. Gave it a hefty whack and it started again, but it worries me that it should have stopped in the first place. I wonder if it has anything to do with OBS, though I would hardly have thought so.

Up, and out to look for Dad, who had said something about breakfast, but he was no t there, and so looked all over the place, and finally found him on the starboard deck, and asked him why the hell he had not told me where he was going, and got one hell of an explosion, and was sent down to have a shave, which was rather pointless, since I supposed to be growing a beard. Eventually down came Dad, calmed down, and then both up again. Had a word with this bloke going in a VW [Kombi] the same way as we are, and did not get very far before we had to go for breakfast, and at the table was another couple, also going in a VW—these big VW's seem very popular, as yet another mob are doing the same trip in one, which is being shipped in the hold. Gone are the days, unfortunately, when it was a hell of a thing to do this trip.

After that, up, and looking for our cars to ensure that the deck passengers were not using our hub caps as frying pans, but it seemed that the cars were right down in the bilges, and none of the passengers had access to them—not so John, the first bloke, whose car was being used as a bed, a cover and a support for a washing line. Hung about on deck for a while, doing little, and discussing our trip, before going down to tidy up the cabin somewhat, and then had a bit of a rest before going down for lunch. The service in the dining room on this ship is terrible, and we have been constantly sending things back and asking for proper service, etc. At least it seems to be having some effect.

After that, hung about for a while, and got a magazine to read. There is singularly little to do on this ship—even the normal rather boring ship type activities are missing, which makes it even worse.

Read the Reader's Digest just about cover to cover, and then managed to persuade Dad to come to tea—what a mess that was. I have never in my life tasted tea that so resembled tar.

After that, up on deck for a while before we decided to go and get a bit of sleep in the cabin. The heat in there is terrible, and it is a wonder we ever get any sleep a all.

Woke up, with the sense of foreboding that I have about 15 minutes before makan was due, but when we got to the dining hall, we could get neither beer, nor makan for another 20 minutes. The steward is gradually getting a little more pandai.

Film in Tamil after that, which, we decided, we could miss, and out on the deck—early to bed.

Wednesday, 26 April 1967 Straits of Malacca → Bay of Bengal Images for 26 April 1967
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Already I can see what a hell of a boring time this is going to be. By the time we finally leave this ship, I can't imagine how glad we will be. For some reason, the less we do, the more tired we get—I suppose it is largely psychological.

Up, or woken at any rate, at the usual early hour by the cabin boy bringing in coffee—we are going to have to put him right about this [and get him to bring tea]—and then back to sleep again, until Dad woke up at about 0800 hrs, complaining about something, and decided to go and have a shower. After that, staggered up on deck, and on the port had a bit of a chat with John, the family man doing the trip, and then down for breakfast—we are getting somewhere, though not all that far, with improving the meals. Today, after quite a heated argument, we managed to secure some fruit juice, and then some not-too-thin porridge, though it got worse as we went along, and by the time it got to Bert it was pretty awful.

After breakfast, to the cabin for a while, doing our best to arrange some dhobying, and then up on deck again, and saw that we were approaching the Nicobar Islands, and so down again, and reappeared with some photographic equipment, and took several photos of the islands, and the flying fish which abound round here. Carried on taking several photos—the Nicobars look rather nice places, though I am told that the main occupation of the population is piracy, and that the main reason we were passing was for the ship to stop, lower the flag, raise it again, and go on. Took a couple of photos by infrared while I was at it, too, and I hope that these ones come out. I wonder how seriously to take the expiry date of this film.

After that, down to the cabin, after doing my best to get some writing paper to write a letter to Jennie on, and hung about more or less keeping Dad company, while he redesigned our house, and then off down to the second battle of the day—lunch. We more or less got our own way, thank God—though one of the fellows at the next table started complaining about preferential treatment—I don't blame him, either, though I can't see them getting round to serving us all properly.

After lunch, to the purser's office at 1400 hrs, as he had asked me, and the place was locked up. Kept trying at regular intervals, though it got me nowhere. Eventually at about 1520, rang the bell for the cabin boy, and he said that the purser would be in his office at 1600 hrs.

Just before tea, down, and was asked to return later, so in to tea—we have finally persuaded them to bring us a pot, and separate milk and sugar. After that, got hold of the paper—something to do with a fuss in Madras—and started writing a letter to Jennie. Boy, is it difficult to decide where to start, with such a long time since I last wrote to her.

Makan in the evening was comparatively civilised, though there is plenty of room for improvement. After makan, saw a bloke playing an Indian stringed instrument, and got some photos.

I was told that this was a Dhilruban, though I can't find anything appropriate on the web:

Thursday, 27 April 1967 Bay of Bengal Images for 27 April 1967
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Life is boring—this is what I was worried about, going on a sea trip such as this: one's whole fibre seems rotted away, and resistance worn down to nothing. At least we may thank God for one thing: that at least every meal is transformed into a battle of wits. This morning, following our request yesterday, we were brought it up on the deck before breakfast. The only trouble was they had forgotten Bert, who was not about then, and so, as usual he asked for some fruit juice when he came in, and was, to say the least, very indignant when he was told that, as he had paid a lower fare, he was not entitled to the same quality food. We pointed out that the was given the same menu, which rather puzzled everybody on the staff side, but eventually got a promise that he would get some decent stuff tomorrow.

Breakfast was not bad, apart from that. They have more or less got the idea of cooking/serving cereals, and the are not too bad at the old eggs to order (though they brought all of us ham and eggs instead of bacon and eggs—possibly somebody along the line doesn't know the difference).

After breakfast, back to the cabin long enough to try to find out what was happening with our laundry, and it seemed that their washing machine had broken down—wonderful.

To the lounge, where I continued my letter to Jen, and while I was there noticed who I think to be the Welfare officer floating about, and so persuaded him to open the library, as they probably call it, for me, and got out a science fiction anthology and “The Spy Who Came in from the Cold”.

Then on with the letter, until came in Dad to tell me that there were dolphins (in fact, he said they were fish, but through my lens they were obviously dolphins jumping all over the place, and so out to get some more photos. By the time I got out they were nearly all gone.

On with my letter for a while, and then had a couple of drinks before lunch. Lunch as pretty dismal—I rather gather that Harry is afraid to push the blokes too far in case, for some inexplicable reason, his car gets damaged on the way off at Madras.

In the afternoon, to the cabin. It is terribly difficult to think of anything to do on this boat, quite probably because there is nothing. In any case, I got down to “The Spy Who Came in from the Cold”, by John le Carré, who, I am told, is the son of Mr Cornwell who is doing his best to introduce football pools to Malaysia.

The book, I feel, is somewhat overrated—it is, admittedly, very good, and the intrigue and counter-work is fantastic. But as a descriptive story, I don't think it is all that much cop.

Why am I sleeping so much? I wish I knew. In some way, I remind myself of Jennie, always tired. Maybe I could, from this, fund a way to prolong her useful period of action.

Makan was not too bad—somehow or another, we managed to persuade them to bring us some sliced roast beef, as well as some vegetables to go with it.

Friday, 28 April 1967 Bay of Bengal
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Thanks God this well-nigh unbearable sea trip is nearly over. It certainly leaves quite a margin for improvement, at any rate. I am quite convinced that, at a later date, I shall be forced to consider all the days of this trip as indistinguishable—after all, nothing did happen, apart from the usual complaints about food—though that is a story in itself.

In the morning, I never wake up very adequately—it always takes me far too long to regain consciousness. At any rate, breakfast (well, I have to talk about it—it is all that occupied us) was considerably better, with eggs to order, bacon (this time we asked for ham and got bacon—you can't win) etc.

After that, lethargicising both in the cabin and out, and got down to reading some of the Science fiction sstories that I got out of their “library” the other day. In fact, they are not too bad.

It ooccurred to me then that tomorrow we arrive in Nagapattinam, and that I had intended to write my longest-ever letter to Jennie (or anybody, for that matter) and send it to her from there, and as I had only done about 8 pages, decided I had better get down to it, and so into the first class lounge and carried on writing. Poor old Jennie—I hope she can read it. Anyway, as Dad says, it ought to keep her busy until I get back.

Then lunch, which, if anything, was a relapse from what we had been accustomed to eating, and Dad pointed this out, and, primarily for argument's sake, I think, he worked out a menu for makan tonight, which would not place unreasonable demands on the ship's resources, and which might not be out of place on a normal ship (as has been all the food we have had up to now). In the end, he decided to give it to the steward, and ask that it be presented for makan tonight. The fellow took it without a word, and I mentioned at the time (as well as slightly later in my letter to Jennie) that, come this evening, we would probably be told too late that they could not do it. Vati said he was prepared to wait until midnight, if necessary.

After that, back to the lounge to continue my now rapidly expanding letter to Jennie—I am now confident that it will be my longest ever. In any case, that occupied most of my afternoon, except for a break, against my better judgement, for tea.

After a while, left the letter, and up on deck for a beer before makan, and then down to the usual (in fact, somewhat worse than usual) fare, and so we asked to see the chief steward for an explanation He would not come, so on the suggestion of the steward, who is really on our side, up to see the Captain, who was apparently very upset by this poor standard of food, etc, and called up the Chief Steward, and told him that we were to have the sort of food we paid for, etc. Later on, we were told that those two work hand in glove to cut costs in the galley, and split the profits—this from the chief engineer. Down, and got some rissoles, and then on upstairs to continue my marathon to Jennie, and rather overshot my own estimate, writing 27 pages—½ as long again as my hitherto longest letter.

Saturday, 29 April 1967 Bay of Bengal → Nagapattinam (India) → Images for 29 April 1967
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Woken again by Dad. Since we have been drying clothes in the cabin at night, it has been becoming insufferably sticky, and I have not slept at all well—and this morning, I did not even wake up with a dream of Jennie on my mind, as did I yesterday.

In any case, I was covered in sweat, and so had to head straight into the shower room, where I notice, doubtless owing to some of the assorted complaints we served the Captain last night, where wee duckboards on the floor.

After that, outside, and discovered that, although we were not actually in the port of Nagapattinam, we were anchored about a mile offshore, whence apparently we were going to unload into smaller boats. Took a few photos of the deck passengers preparing to disembark—the ship had a pronounced list to the starboard today—that was the side on which we were unloading.

Down to breakfast—we were not really complaining last night about the breakfast, but that has nevertheless improved greatly. I wish we had complained earlier on in the trip.

Up on deck again after, I doing my best to read more of the science fiction book, but all sorts of activities prevented me: vultures on the port—luff rigged boats taking the passengers ashore, etc—finished off the film (EMS, too), that I started on Wednesday.

Also was the problem of immigration. It would have to be in India that the immigration officers board the ship and do all the immigration work there, stamping the passport with tomorrow's date. All very confusing.

Then to lunch—scotch eggs are hardly my favourite, though the [sic] were, strangely enough, better here than at KCT.

After lunch, were was really very little worth doing. This heat makes one very lethargic, and in the afternoon one can hardly stir oneself to do anything. Dad to the cabin after a while to carry on with design work on the new house, while I lay around doing little, in a state of semi consciousness, and then was suddenly forced into consciousness when Dad decided to talk to me about what we were going to do at the end of the trip, and we came to the conclusion that, before going over to England, it would be worthwhile going to Gießen to see if we could hurry them on, to ensure that I could find suitable accommodation there before going on to Lüneburg via an extended stay at the Hallett's—that ought to please Jennie.

At the time I had intended to go to the University of Gießen, mainly, it seems, because it was named after Justus Liebig, the inventor of the Liebig condenser. Looking through the diaries, it seems that I had not been able to decide whether to go to Hamburg or Gießen, but clearly at this point I was in favour of Gießen. It's interesting to think what might have changed had I decided on Gießen in the end, rather than Hamburg.

After that to tea—the state of these tablecloths is appaling [sic]. It would probably be a better state of affairs for everybody if they dispense with them altogether.

After that, floated around on deck mainly, until makan, which was nothing spectacular—in fact, Harry even turned down the pork chops because they tasted slightly of curry.

Did little in the evening—there was an English film on, but it was hideous, and so we went away and packed up.

Sunday, 30 April 1967 → Madras
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Sort of vague things happening round about dawn made me sleep badly at this time, though I did not wake up until about the normal time. Up, and washed the sweat out of my body—thank God we no longer have to sleep in this little Turkish bath. Up, and out just in time to see us coming into the Madras harbour—the wharf rather reminds me of the ferry terminal at Portsmouth harbour railway station. Nothing much to do then, so down for breakfast, which was a bit of a shambles, as nobody seemed to know what was going on. Eventually got our service, and after that went up, and were trying to ascertain what had become of the bloke from the AASI when a fellow came up and asked for Mr. Norman Lehey, and showed a card from a local firm, of which he was an employee, and a telegram from Dato Nachiappan in K.L. [This must be an error. Nachiappan spent his whole life in Kota Bharu, or KB] and said that he was here to offer every possible assistance, so then off to find the AA man, and then found that, come what may, we would not be able to get the car off until 1600 hrs, and so tried to stay in the ship, but were not allowed to, so off with our barang to the Customs, who had a field day writing out a receipt for all our cameras, and pointed out that the blokes in Amritsar would be interested in them. Off then to get a taxi—more haggling, as we had more than the regulation 84 lbs. Dad had just gone off to arrange something about the carnet [de passages en douane, for the car] Off to the hotel, where we booked in, and then to our room to collapse. I notice, but the way, that in this country there seem to be nothing but locally made cars. There must be a hell of a tax on imported cars.

At about 1300 hrs in came some food—rather odd looking stuff.

There's plenty of Tamil food in Malaysia, but it's different from what they serve in Tamil Nadu. In particular, the Indians in India are almost only vegetarian, and the Woodlands is a strictly vegetarian hotel. In Malaysia, non-Indians see very little Indian vegetarian food.

Did little after that, until about 1445, when we started preparing to move to the docks again to see if we could get the car, and before long came along the little man with the unpronounceable name (aren't they all?), and off to the docks, where all was set to unload, but the bloke from the AASI was not there, and he had the delivery order, or some such thing, without which they refused even to unbatten the hatches, etc. Dad was all on edge—just why, I don't know, as all was going more or less according to plan—but that didn't make much difference.

Eventually John got his car down safely, despite refusing the normal (I suppose) request for baksheesh, and so came the other 2 VW's, and when our turn came (another request for baksheesh, which I pretended not to understand), lost oil at a hell of a rate trying to jack the thing up, and then, once up in the air, they tried to ruin a lifeboat with it, but fortunately the car was not scratched—but boy, what a fright Dad and I had. Got the car down—at ordinary height it was not losing at all much oil. Nobody has ever seen a car like it in Madras—they all think it is a racing car. More trouble getting the carnet stamped (also expensive), and then off back to the hotel. Driving by night in the towns here is terrifying—I wonder why the don't believe in street lights. Saw John Crowley & family for makan at the hotel.

Top of page Previous month Greg's home page Today's diary entry Next month Greg's photos Copyright information

Valid XHTML 1.0!

$Id: diary-apr1967.php,v 1.26 2016/02/26 00:31:18 grog Exp $