Greg
Greg's diary
August 1963
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Thursday, 1 August 1963 London - Dover -
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This morning, Mum wanted us to get up early, so I got up at 6.45, but we did not go down to breakfast until about 07.45.

After coming back up, and ordering breakfast in bed for Bev, who was very tired we went out to do what business we had to do. In actual fact, all that I had to do was get Uncle Bob's manuscript from the publishers, and see Mum in half an hour. I spent my spare time looking at some things in a radio shop. We then went back to the hotel, packed, and vacated. Then we went down to Victoria and booked our train tickets for Hamburg tonight. Then we had lunch nearby, and took uncle Bobs manuscript to another place, and then to the Royal Commonwealth Society, where my new rectifier had arrived.

Then, having some time to kill, we decided to go have Mums heels repaired, and go and see an hour show, at our old stamping ground, and this we did. Then, we had makan at a place in Soho, where we got quite good value, and then headed back to the hotel, Mum writing some letters, after which we headed towards Victoria station, complete with luggage, and after all the usual red tape we left at about 2200 hrs, and arrived in Dover at about 2320 hrs, ...


Friday, 2 August 1963 Oostende - Köln - Hamburg
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... where we had to change onto the ferry, and after more red tape, I finally got to sleep. I was woken by Mum at Ostend, and discovered that I had missed my breakfast. As soon as we got onto the train which were getting on, I went to sleep, and woke at about 100 kms and carried on looking at the “beautiful scenery” - wheat fields on some of the flattest country I have ever seen.

Then, finally, we arrived in Köln, and had some food, after which we go on a fast train for Hamburg, and had another lunch in the process. Water seems to be unobtainable in this country. We were given mineral water, highly carbonised [sic]. However, I managed to finish off 2 bottles of it. Then to sleep again, and I woke about ½ hour from Hamburg with more mineral water waiting for me. I polished it off, and then we were just waiting for the train to arrive in Hamburg. When it finally did arrive we discovered that our bags had not yet, and we would have to collect them tomorrow. When we got to the Hotel where we were supposed to stay, we discovered that they had only reserved us a single room, and only offered to give us anything else when they heard that we were staying 2 weeks, after Mum had already complained to Lufthansa. Had dinner in an Austrian place again [?], the “Wienerwald".


Saturday, 3 August 1963 Hamburg
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As soon as I woke up this morning, I went upstairs to see Mum, but she was still exhausted from last night, and so I came down again, and did not go up again until I realised that it was nearly 09.30, upon which Mum absolutely flew out of bed, dressed and then we packed up. After that, feeling rather hungry, we exited, and went out and bought some Würste, and also bread, butter and breakfast rusks, not to mention Apfelsaft, which we took back to the Hotel, ate, and vacated as soon as we had finished. When we got to the other place,

This was the Wikinger Hof in Steindamm.

a fellow came out, and asked us, auf Deutsch, if we were from Copenhagen, and was rather surprised when he discovered that we were not. However, it took us some time to move in, so meanwhile we went out and had a bite of lunch, after buying more Würste and Käse. When we got back, and moved in, we dropped off to sleep, and woke just in time for dinner, which we had to be rather thrifty about, and just had a chicken and a couple of cups of tea, rather out of season, as the temperatures today went up to 34° in the shade, 40° in the sun. When we got back, we had a game of 500, much to the interest of the hotel manager, and got to bed at about 2330.

500 is quite similar to Skat, a favourite German card game, but we didn't know that at the time.


Sunday, 4 August 1963 Hamburg
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I woke up rather later than usual today, and had breakfast as soon as I could, (about 1000 hrs), after which Bev & I headed into the dining room to play cards, but it was rather boring, & we tried to elicit Mum's help, but she intended to spend the next hour or so painting her nails. When she had finished, it was lunch-time, and we asked if we could have lunch at the hotel, but apparently there was nothing to eat, so Mum said that we would go out and have something to eat as soon as she had had a rest. So into our room we went again, and I tried to do a bit of reading, but Bev once more wanted to play cards. I being the considerate type that I am could not refuse, and so I was beaten hollow at a diversity of card games. Mum was feeling very tired, and by the time we got out and changed some money and found a place, it was 1600 hrs, and, of course, Mum regarded that as dinner as well. However, I was still feeling rather hungry, and at 1930, after having some Würste, went over to the place where we had lunch, and bought a half chicken, which the hotel proprieter [sic] kindly let me eat in the dining room. After that, Bev insisted on me playing various games, and ended up at 110 2200 hrs playing strip Jack Naked.


Monday, 5 August 1963 Hamburg
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As soon as I woke up this morning, over came Bev to my bed to play strip Jack naked, but, as Mum was feeling rather lousy, we decided that we would go and buy the breakfast ourselves. This we did, and quite enjoyed ourselves. When we came back, Mum had already had a hotel breakfast, and Bev and I had come coffee as well, which was very nice.

In the afternoon, Bev and Mum did what they always seem to do - sleep. However, not being sleepy, I decided to go over the CRO to check for faults, and discovered that I had wired the CRT base one pin out of alignment: thus the rather unusual performance. After that I put it away to wait for Dad to come, when he can help me.

It appears that I had done some other work but not mentioned it. The previous state of play was that the EHT rectifier needed replacement.

When Mum got up, she decided to ring up Otto Dietrichs [sic; should be Dietrich], who was very pleased to hear from us. Later we got a call from Else [his wife], inviting us to go out to their flat for supper, which we did, despite the fact that we had already had some. When we finally got there, Else was absolutely overjoyed, and, presumably, so was Otto, though he did not show it. They insisted on letting us use the house whenever we wanted to, and showed us how to operate the various things in the flat. Otto, in a desperate attempt to be clearly understood, tried to speak english, but we would have understood him better in Deutsch.

My recollection over 50 years later was that he took us down to the bus stop and said “Ow Dry: You will become three tickets”.

Else even gave Mum the key.


Tuesday, 6 August 1963 Hamburg
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Once more we woke very late this morning and once more we had the same old breakfast—Wurst and Zwieback. After that, Mum went out to buy some more food, and we waited in the dining froom for a while. However, I soon headed back into the room, which still had not been done. Soon Mum came back with a considerable amount of food, and we had lunch. After that, we went back into the dining room, and after a while Mum suggested that I went out to get her shoes repaired for her, which I did, getting some ice cream on the way back. After that, Mum did the inevitable, and went back to sleep. However, when she woke up, we went out for dinner, the first dinner since we came here in which we ate no chicken. Then we went round town, and when we got back, Mr Hebe [hotelier] took Bev aside and told her that Dad was in Lüburg [really Lohbrügge], and that he would ring fairly soon. When he finally did ring, we could hardly understand him, the telephone was so bad.

The connection was really terrible. For a long time I thought that all German telephones were that bad.

However, he came down, complete with new car, which is about as comfortable as any vehicle I have ever travelled in.

The car was a brand new Citroën ID 19, which my father had just picked up in Paris. This is the car we later drove from Singapore to London. Considering the amount of detail I spend describing mundane things in this entry, I could have spent a little more time describing my first impressions, which remain to this day [2007]. The car was built to Malayan specs, and was thus right-hand drive, and my father was waiting at the kerb, so I had to get in to the back seat. When I did, I was amazed by the way I sank into the cushioned seat, and how we drove off over the cobbled streets without even noticing the surface. A sign of the times: while returning to the hotel, we passed an anti-bomb demonstration commemorating the 18th anniversary of the first US atomic bomb, dropped on Hiroshima on 6 August 1945.

He brought quite a few things with him, including a tool kit which he bought at Vanguard [Kuala Lumpur electronics shop, in Ampang Road], which includes some very useful items. Finally got to bed at 2330 hrs.


Wednesday, 7 August 1963 Hamburg
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At about 0745hrs this morning, I woke both Bev and myself, and went upstairs to see Dad, who was rather tired, and seemed to think that he had spent the night in an underground—the traffic was very noisy. However, he soon got up and dressed, and we went out, bought some plugs and had a haircut. Then we decided to go into town and do the rest of our shopping there, and took quite a long time in doing so. Dad and I talking about what type of radio equipment we should have on the yacht.

Lunch we had at 1340, after which we decided to buy a few more things and leave the Zahnarzt until tomorrow. This we did, buying some glue in the process, then spending a large amount of time looking for Else, whom we finally found, and arranged to go out with her to her place tonight, waiting until office hours were over, in the Car.

I have some recollection that this was not an ordinary working day for Else, but the day of her retirement. If that's the case, she must have been about 60 years old.

Then we crawled back to the hotel, and inched our way along Steindamm to Bergedorf, taking 1½ hours in the process.

My recollection, which I mentioned in my diary four years later was that my father was cursing and swearing about the traffic the whole way.

When we finally got there, there was a really wonderful meal waiting for us—a typical german one, with Gertrud Riepling there as well. After the meal, and fater Gertrud had been taken home, Otto insisted on pouring liquor down Dad's throat, and Else was talking to Mum to persuade her to let me spend some holidays with them. They are mad keen on the idea.


Thursday, 8 August 1963 Hamburg
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Once more I woke up early today, and headed over to the barbers shop, where Dad had left the plugs yesterday. When I came back, I put plugs on the irons, and proceeded to do, with Dads help, the necessary alterations on the CRO.

We finally had it done, and turned it on, but, although everything seemed to be going according to plan, the trace stayed down at the bottom of the tube, and nothing could move it up. During breakfast, we traced this to the valve associated with the Y shift, and I decided that it could only be the load resistor on the anode. I went round all this, but to no avail.

After lunch, we found a dentist, who managed to do our teeth for us, and drew many screams from Bev, and then set to work on another of my front teeth, on which he is going to put a gold inlay (!)

On the way back, Mum started an argument with Dad, and was rather stupid about it.

Later I connected up the PCR, and discovered that it still works. Then Dad, I and Bev went out, and considered what might happen if Mum did not come for the rest of the holidays.

When we got back, I had a look at various receiver waveforms on the CRO, as best I could, after which came in Mum and blew us up right, left and center, and in the end were we reconciled.


Friday, 9 August 1963 Hamburg
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Dad woke us up at 0700 hrs this morning, and we had breakfast, after Dad and I had gone out to buy some milk. Then at about 0830 hrs we set out for Bergedorf, and went to the Glasfabriken, where all were pleased to see us, and we had quite a long conversation, which had to be terminated to go to the dentists, and we did not arrive all that late, after which I spent all but an hour in the dentists chair, and we then parked the car and headed into town for lunch, but when we got there, we spent all our time waiting for Mum to finish looking into her shop windows. When we had finally had some lunch, and Mum had looked into more shop windows, went and bought a morse key, but could not get a 6.8 k resistor for the CRO. Then, after losing Mum, Dad, Bev at the Rathaus, and getting dressed for this evenings dinner, we went and picked up Else, and headed to Lohbrügge, where I polished off 4 Martinis, and then headed towards the Gasthaus Stadt Hamburg, where after waiting a record time of 50 minutes, we had a very good meal with very good wine, but Dad thought I could not take it, and only let me have 4 glasses. The band was exceptionally good, and amongst other things, played “Negara Ku”, and I also had an interesting conversation with Gertrud, who had arrived late. Must do it 9/VIII/1965 again.


Saturday, 10 August 1963 Hamburg - Bremen - Hannover - Grasdorf
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Mum woke us fairly early this morning to get packed, in order to leave for Bremen at 0815 hrs. I proceeded to get up, and be told that I was not needed, so I proceeded to pack up my radio, toolkit, etc, and then sat around making a nuisance of myself until, at about 0930 hrs, we had moved all the baggage downstairs, and left a little later for Bremen, where we were supposed to arrive at 1000 hrs. Needless to say, of course, we were late, arriving at 1150 hrs. Nevertheless, the Rieplings were extreemly pleased to see us, and Mrs Riepling poured some Apfelsaft, etc, down my throat all the time we were there. Then, after taking a few photos, we set off for Hannover, where Tante Grette [sic] insisted that, as I could speak Deutsch, I should come over to Hannover for Weihnachts [sic], and stay for about 10 days. This as all in the space of 1 hr. Then we went to see Tante Irma, who was having a bit of trouble with her Asthma, but was still very pleased to see us, and dragged out a lot of very old (c. 1900) family photos to give to Connie when we went back to Australia,

Connie was a cousin of Irma, if I remember correctly. I don't think that she ever left Australia.

and then we left along the Autobahn to Frankfurt, and stopped of the night in a Gasthaus in a sehr kleines Dorf called Grasdorf, which was most quaint.


Sunday, 11 August 1963 Grasdorf - Hahn
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I was woken quite early this morning by church bells, but soon went back to sleep, only to be woken by Dad a little later, and to be helped out of bed by the same, after which I washed, went downstairs to the inconveniences, and then had a very good breakfast - one of the best I have had. After that, having put the baggage in the boot, polished off some Apfelsaft and took a few photos. Then on to the nearby Autobahn, and in the general direction of Frankfurt. We were going at quite a pace, and it was not long before the car went over the 1000 mile mark. Dad then proceeded to tell us that the old Citroen [11C] had gone over 99999 mark, and ended up 00000, but not looking it. Dad did 6000 miles since then. Then, one a layby, we had lunch, which we quite enjoyed. Then again, as we passed Kassel, we bought some maps for the unknown regions ahead.

We coon came to Frankfurt, but t did not look very exciting, so we decided to go on to Wiesbaden, but this also was no good, and we arrived much later in a little place called Hahn, where we discovered a very nice little Gasthof.

Then, after a sleep, as of old, we went into Wiesbaden, where we had a look around, and, after achieving nil, headed back to the Gasthof, and had Makan. When getting ready for bed, Bev told me that a girl at school is madly in love with me.


Monday, 12 August 1963 HahnRöfingen
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I was woken very early this morning to get packed, and promptly went back to sleep. Once more was I woken, and this time I got up, dressed, and downstairs to where breakfast, complete with mouldy marmalade, awaited us. Then, down to Wiesbaden, and more sitting in the car while Mum & Dad bought several items of necessity. Then to Frankfurt, where Mum had some business to do. Then we had lunch, and tried to find our way to the Autobahn leading to München, which we did after about half an hour. Then, of course, we had to see Worms Cathedral, which took about ½ hour, and it was not very impressive. Back then onto the Autobahn, and we got as far as a place with some unpronounceable name before we stopped again, this time to buy some food, drink, etc., but Mum would not let us get get [sic] any Martini, as it was not Deutschss [sic], and in the end we got some inferior German „Wermutwein”, which was considerably cheaper. Then to have an Imbiß a little further along the road, and along once more to München. Of course, we could not possibly have got there, and we ended up in a little place nearly 100 km away—will have to do about 500 km tomorrow.

Until copying this diary to the web on 26 November 2011, I had little idea where Röfingen was, not helped by the fact that I had misspelt it “Rölfingen”. In fact, it's only 2 km from Burgau, the home of Klingson (now Hammerschmidt-Klingson), who made some of my recorders and the Boehm flute that I was to get a few months later. I probably had at least one of the recorders with me at the time.

Went for a drive after we had booked in, and got caught in a rainstorm. However, we soon turned back, and turned in very early. My height, measured tonight, is 5' 11 1/8¨ [1.806 m]


Tuesday, 13 August 1963 Röfingen → Wien
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When I woke up this morning, I discovered that the attack of asthma which I had last night had got considerably worse, and I was almost helpless. We were soon on the way to München, but we did not stay there, although it was a very beautiful town. However, we did take some photos of some of the more interesting buildings. Then we were back on the Autobahn bound for Salzburg, where the car had an oil change, long overdue. As a result, all had to get out, which did not do my asthma any good. Then we bought some food for lunch, but I was not feeling up to it, and went to sleep until Mum & Dad woke me up trying to find out where the Autobahn was.

I don't understand why we had so much difficulty finding the Autobahnen. I can't recall the road signs being that bad a few years later. Did my parents just not understand them?

While we were in that village, we bought some more food, and on the Autobahn ate it, and then I went back to sleep, to wake up at about 30 km from Wien, where Dad & Mum were trying in vain to find a hotel room. We discovered from a few hotel managers that we would be lucky if we got one at all, but after an hour or two, we found a place that was a little more than a roof over our heads. After that, we had dinner, and went into Wien, which we found rather dissapointing [sic] but perhaps we saw the wrong parts of it.

We really don't seem to have been at all well prepared in our travels. Wien is a beautiful place, so I suppose we really didn't see the right areas.

When we got back, my asthma got considerably worse, and caused quite a bit of trouble.


Wednesday, 14 August 1963 Wien → Leoben
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I woke up this morning feeling quite a bit better, and ate quite a bit in breakfast, where a fellow sitting at the table next to us put on a one-man-band, which was very realistic. Then, paying all our bills, we headed into Wien, where Dad & I started looking for an autotransformer, and meeting up with all sorts of trouble. When we finally did find a reasonably priced one, however, they would only accept austrian schillngs [sic], and we had to go back and change some money. However, it was quite a reasonable buy, and I am quite pleased with it.

Once again I'm puzzled by this. It suggests poor preparation. What did I need the autotransformer for? I suspect I thought that southern European countries used 110 V power, and I wanted it for that. And why should be have expected people to take payment in anything except local currency?

Then, after having a look at the sights, we headed in the general direction of Venézia [sic], having lunch at Wiener Neustadt, and then making once more as far towards Venézia as possible, and carried on like this all afternoon, which had become rather wet, and finally arrived at a little place (not so little) called Leoben. We had a bit of a traffic jam there, in fact, and it was quite some time before we were in a rather expensive hotel, which was supposed to have hot water, this being the only reason why we went there. I then proceeded to do my work on the oscilloscope, but I did not get far—the trace is still down the bottom of the screen.

This was a Heathkit oscilloscope, similar to the one depicted on the Wikipedia page, that I had built at the end of the previous term. I had had some difficulties with it, but the problem here was that the PCB board was defective and had an interrupted conductor. Tinning the traces (5 mm wide!) finally fixed the problem.

We went out for dinner and had a very good meal, which however cost about its value. Then back to the hotel, where I discovered Lux [Radio Luxemburg] is now transmitting to W. Germany.

Radio Luxembourg was the only radio broadcaster apart from BBC that was available at the time. They broadcast pop music and were the logical forerunner of the later pirate radio stations. But that had nothing to do with Germany; Luxembourg had been broadcasting there (on the same frequency, amusingly) for a long time.

Thursday, 15 August 1963 Leoben - Venézia
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We got up this morning and quitted the hotel as soon as we could, after Dad had refused to pay more than S.200 for the place, as we had no hot water whatsoever. Then, after tipping the porter the S.30 that we saved, we moved off, not having any breakfast until nearly lunch time, as it was a public holiday in the valley. However, we finally found some food, and ate it in a very picturesque village, 13 km from Gurk, this being the only way by which I can remember it.

Looking at the map, this could have been Kleinglödnitz a name that I would find even more amusing.

Then we finally arrived at the italian border, and bought some petrol, at which time I discovered that we had been averaging 38.2 mpg [7.4 l/100 km], but I don't think we could have been given a full tank of petrol. Then, on the other side of the border, we went round a little town, where man spricht nur Deutsch, and bought a couple of rather down at heel tyrolean hats for £1500 apiece, with feathers coming to £300 apiece [I wish they would change their abbreviation for lire]. Then, once more, we plodded on to Venice, and arrived in the neighbourhood rather late. We could not get any hotel at all, and ended up in the caravan park that we came to in 1957, Mum & Bev to sleep in the car, and Dad and I to sleep somewhere else as best we could. To help us sleep, we polished off the bottle of Vermouth, which tasted lousy.


Friday, 16 August 1963 Venézia - Torino
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Dad woke me this morning at about 0545 hrs, and we headed towards the car, and got out the necesaries [sic] for washing, and headed to the ablutions, which were in a horrible mess. Then, after packing everything away, we headed into Venice, to have a look round. Almost as soon as we got there, we got on the ferry to St Marks sq, and proceeded to wait for Mum in a stinking sun, half dying of thirst, while she looked at various odd looking scarfs, belts and other such objects. Finally, after buying hardly anything, we headed into St Marks square to polish off bottles of orangeade and 2 cups of coffee, which cost a total of £2230 - really staggering. Then we went to see some glass being made. One of the things done was to make a horse out of molten glass in under 45 seconds. Bev wanted to buy it, but in the end it was given to her. It really was well made. Then on the road again, complete with a reminder that you have to pay to use italian autobahns. We had our lunch on the way, and after that it was the usual days drive as far as Torino, where there seemed to be very few hotels, most of which were full up, and finally, after being a bit worried about spending another night as last night, we came across a very nice looking hotel called the the Hotel Maiana, where we could only get one small double room, and I ended up sleeping in the dining room, where another bed had been put in for me. The food was some of the best that I have ever tasted, and very cheap, as well.

I noted the location as Torino, but in fact it was 25 km away in Avigliana.


Saturday, 17 August 1963 Torino
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Dad woke me up, as usual, this morning, and we then had breakfast, of the usual continental style - bread rolls and accessories. Then we intended to go for a walk around the lake, although it was not a very nice day. Bev, however, went up to tell Mum, who was still asleep, and Mum insisted on coming as well, so that, instead of leaving at 0900 hrs, we left at 0945. We went along the road rather than the lake, and little did on going along there. However, when we turned back, we first thought that we was a wolf about to pounce, but it turned out to be a dog, who was very friendly, and so Dad took a few photos. Then Mum collected a bunch of wildflowers, and more photos. while we were on the walk, Dad explained the organisation of his practice to me. Then, when we got back, Mum & Dad went off for a drive.

In the afternoon, after a wonderful lunch, we had a rest, according to the old Malay custom, as Mum put it. Then, Mum & Dad wanted to do some letter writing, and I attempted to do a circuit diagram of a 6 + 12 V power supply for vibrators, but it was not practical. Then I had a talk with Dad about maths in general, and soon he got onto stress in beams in buildings, and maximum bending moments, etc, and how difficult it was to teach the fellows at the Tech. He now has the sort of attitude that Poop has - in nearly every way. Proved to him that 2 = 1.


Sunday, 18 August 1963 Torino - Montpellier
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I was woken by someone at 0330 hrs today, and dropped off to sleep again until Dad woke me at 0600 hrs, when I got up, dressed, and before long we were due to go. After looking at a little dog with a thorn in his back, we had to wait for an italian train. When we finally got to the border, Dad discovered that he had lost a document that had been given to him when he came in. He got away with it, however, but when we got over to the french side at the border, we discovered a) We could not change any money, b) we were nearly out of petrol and c) it is yet more expensive than the italian stuff. However, after about an hour, we finally managed to change $10 A for 45 NF,

These must have been US dollars. Australia didn't introduce dollars until 1966.

with which we bought about 8 l of petrol, and then some more out of Valence with another $10. On the way down from the Alps we started the watermelon we bought 10/VIII/63, and half finished it.

Then to Grenoble, Valence, and along the road to Nîmes, but it was about the only fast one, and Dad decided to turn off onto another, much slower road, with the result that we got to Nîmes quite late, and had to stop by the time we got to Montpellier we had to stop [sic], especially as most of the hôtels were full up already. Fortunately, we got into a quite new looking hôtel (finished 10 days ago, in fact). Dad was commenting not too favourably on the architecture.


Monday, 19 August 1963 Montpellier - Barcelona
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I woke up rather early this morning, and lay in bed thinking of nothing in particular, and finally got up to put everything away. We then went down to have breakfast, contrary to our plans. Then on the way again, misreading Béziers as Brassierses, and listening to Dad tell us a story about the dreams he had had last night. So it carried on until about 2 km from the border, where we ran into an amazingly long queue - France seems to be a rather unpopular place. We arrived there at 1150 hrs; but the time we were through tax, customs, etc, it was 1310 hrs. After that, we carried on to Barcelona, taking a long time about it, and so we stopped at a little café on the roadside. When we went, we left our hats and Dads cigarette lighter there, and had to turn back.

We finally arrived in Barcelona, and did some shopping, and even managed to get a copy of todays Daily Telegraph. We also got some towels for the beach, got some money changed at the official rate, etc. Then on our way again and noticed that everybody was amused by our hats. All the spaniards must be like Teresa. We stopped for the night in a little place not far out of town, having makan at a pizzeria, where we met a woman, complete with Dachshund, who was very helpful as regards to places to stay, etc. and Mum, being the type she is, gave her half her possessions.


Tuesday, 20 August 1963 Barcelona - Benecasim
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I woke up feeling very tired this morning, and dozed for some time, getting up just in time to be blown up by Mum for not washing my thongs. I went down to the car, brought them up and ashed them. I then took my oscilloscope down, put it in the back, and put the rest of my tools in the front, as Mum had instructed, and then was blown up by her for doing so. Then, however, we finally got on the way, and stopped at Villanuaeva for breakfast. I could not eat much, however, as I had on a new pair of jeans which were very tight. Soon, though, we were on our way to Benecasim [sic; should be Benicàssim], which had been recommended to us twice already. Then, of course, Bev was afraid that we would not make it until late in the evening, and nearly started a scene, but Mum managed to calm her down. It was a pretty horrible road, and it took us such a long time that we dd not arrive until 1500 hrs, as against my estimate of 1400 hrs. However, we did stop for almonds (Mum has been going crazy on almonds again), and a motor smash up. The place we stayed at insisted on complete board, but it was all there was that was worth considering. Dad, Bev and I did go in for a swim, and the water was quite warm, but Dad would not let us go out to the diving platform, as he thought it was too far. We will show him. Bought a few books in the evening, including one in Deutsch, and spent the evening reading it.


Wednesday, 21 August 1963 Benecasim
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I woke up fairly late this morning, and immediately realised that Bev's idea of a pre-breakfast swim had had it. I did not get up until forced to do so for breakfast (Mum would not let us miss it even if we payed the 35 pts it is worth), after which we went back to the room for a while, but Bev went in almost immediately. We then went out to the diving platform, and Dad was quite suprised [sic] that we made it. He should have known. However, it did tire us, and we were reluctant go go back on the grounds what while we were there, we might as well enjoy it. Then back to the shore, and to change for lunch, after I got my radio out of the car, to work on.

After lunch, a siesta in the true spanish style (or so I imagine) but I got tired by 1530 hrs, and went for a swim with Bev. Then along came Dad, and we tried out the radio, but the autotransformer gets very hot. Then Dad & I cleaned the car and noticed how the hydraulic system worked.

In the evening, I found a beetle in my glass, and we played around with it for some time before disposing of it, attracting the attention of the mob next to us. They seem to be quite friendly - I wonder how old the girl is. Had an interesting conversation on geneology [sic] after supper.


Thursday, 22 August 1963 Benecasim
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About 0330 hrs this morning I was woken by Mum screaming, and could not get to sleep again until about 0530 hrs. As a result, when I woke up again, was I very tired, and did not really wake up until we had our coffee at breakfast. Then, after doing a lot of sunbathing, during which time Dad & Mum decided that Bev would go to Malaya for the Christmas holidays, but I would only go to Hannover to see Tante Gretta [sic] as originally planned. Dad seemed very pleased that I did not kick up a fuss about not going to Malaya myself, and said that it would be “worth your while”. It will probably be better than going out, knowing Dad.

Then we went in for a swim, and talked about the type of Xmitter we are going to use out on the trimaran, and decided that we would us an all-transistor circuit, after a bit of thought.

In the afternoon, Mum, Dad and Bev went out and I got a chance to work on the radio, and got it working, and before long had the BBC overseas programme, and got the latest news on the Malaysia situation. Then, however, my sun-tanning started to play up, and became rather painful, but I did not know where the suntan lotion was, and had to put up with it until Mum and Dad came back. Then we changed and went into the water and had some fun on the breakers, but when we got out, Mum was in a queer mood, and Dad started quoting Omár Khayyám.


Friday, 23 August 1963 Benecasim - Valencia
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I was woken up fairly early this morning to help pack before breakfast, but, being very tired, did little. Mum still seemed to be acting strangely in breakfast, and I commented on this. She found this surprising, and said so, but left it at that. After breakfast, however, she blew me up once again for bringing my “junk” as she termed it. I did not like this, and before long we were in the middle of a heated argument. Before long had she lost her temper with me, and attacked me - after telling me to keep my temper when I was annoyed. She can't talk.

Finally, however, were we on our way to Valencia. It took us some time to get there, and when we did arrive, it was stinking hot. We had decided to go to a decent hotel for a change, and ended up in a suite in a place called the Hotel royal, paying little more than at the last place. It was so pleasant, in fact, that we changed our plans and decided to stay for some time. We then went out, had lunch, and watched Mum window-shop until 1400 hrs, when all the shops opened. I then bought a radio magazine.

When we got back, we had a general relax, which is happening far too often. Then we had dinner in the hotel, and quite enjoyed it. After that, I came up to read again, and very nearly finished off Bud Flanagan's autobiography.


Saturday, 24 August 1963 Valencia
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Again we had breakfast brought in for us this morning - at about 1030 hrs. After that, we went out to do some shopping, and had a bit of fun trying to buy a plug for the spanish sockets, which we finally managed to do. Bev got some stamps, and Dad tried to get me some jeans, but the spaniards being the small people that they are, there were none big enough for me. Dad got himself a pair of shoes, and then nearly lost them. Then I had an hamburger, and Dad reckoned that as lunch. As a result, while Mum & Dad had lunch (Bev had none at all) I set to work to try and fix the oscilloscope, which Dad had let me bring up with the radio, after I had got a plug. Despite the fact that I cured a few rattles, loose screws, etc, the trace still stayed stubbornly at the bottom of the screen. Then I decided to go over all the foil [PCB trace] with solder, and scrape away all the flux on the board itself. After this, I did not bother to test it, but tried experiments with various combinations of valves removed, with most interesting results.

After dinner, when Mum & Dad had gone out to see Valencia by night, a few things clicked, and with all the valves, etc in place, I tried out the effect of the vert. shift. It worked! After a bit of adjusting the preset control for same, everything went according to plan, and I finally had it finsuhed, as Bev, who was trying to sleep, quickly found out. When I told Dad when he came back, he was almost as pleased as I.


Sunday, 25 August 1963 Valencia
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I woke up rather tired and bewildered this morning, and then remembered my oscilloscope. however, even this prevented me from getting up before about 1045 hrs, after which I got dressed, and down and went down to a place across the road, which was unfortunately rather grubby. I spent most of my time talking to Dad about what was wrong with the oscilloscope, and came to no conclusion in particular except that the circuit diagram was more than a little inaccurate. Still, I might as well keep the larger one to post up in the coach house.

After that we decided to go for a swim and ended up at a little hotel, where Mum & I had a few drinks and waited for Dad & Bev, who were swimming. Finally out they came, and we had lunch at about 1415 hrs, which was very good despite the time. After that, we were going to have a swim, but as we had to be at the bullfight at 1700 hrs, we turned back.

The bullring impressed me as being very cramped, rather like a circulation of sardines. Obviously for small spaniards. The first bull was well done, but after that, everything was very gory. Nothing very interesting happened at all, and it was really rather boring. The fountain in the center of town was doing a variety show in the evening, after which we had to go window shopping.


Monday, 26 August 1963 Valencia
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I was rudely awoken by Bev at about 0750 this morning, trying to open the shutters of the window to see the barrel organ which we saw on 24/VIII/63. However, something had gone wrong with them, and as I had let them down last night, Dad blamed me for it. Then he proceeded on a general blowing up, and ended up by making me have a bath. After that, he & I went across the road and had breakfast there again.

After that, i wanted to do some work, but I needed ink. Mum had it locked up, and I ended up talking to Dad about sex, and he enlightened me about several things. Soon, however, in came Mum, and the subject of the conversation changed. Soon, however, it was completely over, and we had to go for another swim, out to the same little place that we went to yesterday, having lunch at 1450 hrs this time.

After that, I changed into my bathers and got a bit of suntan, until Dad felt that it was time we could go in for a swim, when Bev stepped in a lump of tar, and got it all over everything about her. Then out again, and more sunbathing. After that, we had a cup of coffee and went home, and I started examining neon tube waveforms. It seems to depend considerably on the voltage, but at lower voltages there is considerable damped oscillations.

When we went out for makan, we noticed some tar on the seat where Bev was sitting, but she denied having done it, and resorted, as usual, to tears, which completely soften Dad


Tuesday, 27 August 1963 Valencia
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I woke up this morning feeling very tired, and before long came in Dad to find out the time, but my watch had stopped, as had both his & Mums. However, I soon went back to sleep again, and woke to find Mum sitting by my bed, reading. She insisted that I got up, until I told her that I was tired out, and so said she would bring some food back for me. When Dad came back, out they went, and I spent a bit of time comparing oscilloscope specifications. Then got tired, and had a got [sic] at fixing up my stamps. Bev came in in due course, and let me have a look at hers, but she has very few indeed.

After having a bit to eat, I decided to tidy up the scope chassis a bit, and discovered that one of the voltage equalising resistors had come off the EHT supply. Luck the electro hadn't had it. However, I remedied that, and straightened up a few things, and noted that the CRT is in fact a 3AFP31. When I turned on, however, I thought it had had it, but was all right. The maid, who was doing the beds, was impressed.

Then to sleep again, and was woken by Bev to tell me that the train robbers in England had finally been caught in this Hotel! (Room 206). I thought I heard a lot of noise in the small hours of the morning, when they were caught. However, the BBC made no mention of it.

This was, of course, one of many false alarms.

In the evening, we ate at the Restaurant downstairs, and I ended up very full.


Wednesday, 28 August 1963 Valencia - Barcelona
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Old habits die hard, and this I discovered this morning, being completely unable to get to sleep until about 0345 hrs, and we had to get up at 0630. However, went I to the fort, and learnt quite a bit about valves for the P.S. [?] oscillator that I am going to build. They say use a high gain valve, and specify EF50 (4400µV). However, I think I'll use an EF184 (at 22000µV). Should be able to get up to 150 kc/s.

When I was finally woken, I felt quite lousy, and just sat around making a nuisance of myself. However, try as I might, I could not get to sleep in the car until some time after breakfast, after the dirty jokes had ceased, and woke up going through some very bumpy roads with a sensation rather like going through air pockets. Soon after this we had lunch at a little place where the forts were filthy, and the food little better. However, it filled the gap, and soon we were on our way again, and did not stop until we got to a wine festival, where, in the bar where we had our free wine, was written one of Einstein's formulae. The champagne, however, cost money - 6 pt a glass, 32 for a bottle. After that, as I once more went to sleep, Mum insisted that I had had too much champagne. At least had it not the same effect on me as on her.

When I woke up, we were in the Rambla de Barcelona in a little place which has few characteristics in common with the Vramor [?]. However, i managed to stay awake long enough to watch Mum window shop, and then to have Makan and watch “The Absent-minded Professor” - in spanish.


Thursday, 29 August 1963 Barcelona
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This morning I was woken up by Mum, but according to the dream she should have been calling Green. Breakfast (which was on the tariff) was not as good as could be, and I did not exactly get my full. Then out with Dad to get our hair cut, and the bloke who was doing me seemed to be engraving it rather than cutting it. However, he had finally finished, and I was free once more. After that, I bought a copy of Mad, which Dad made me pay for out of my own pocket, although everybody used it after me.

Then we went out for lunch, which was Pizza, and after that sat down for a while in some seats in the Rambla which we actually had to pay for. However, I soon got bored, and went around the book stalls to see if there were any electronics magazines there and got a copy of one that had a review of the current test equipment. I went back to the hotel to read it, but before I had got far, however, Dad came in to say that if I did not go to the theatre at once, I would miss the beginning. 1 hr later, it started, and this time Bev & I saw it right through. After that, back again, more reading, and then Mum and Dad came back from a shopping spree, we had tea, and then were going to see an ice show, but as there was a lower age limit of 18 we went out to see Mary [?], who was in Barcelona when we got there.


Thursday, 29 August 1963 Barcelona - Andorra
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I was woken this morning by the telephone, and promptly went back to sleep. Then in came Dad and woke us again, and this time I got up, and did a few sundry jobs, and then went to buy a satchel that I had seen last night, but could not get for want of money. Then I came back, had breakfast, and went with Dad to the garage, where we picked up the car, and noted that my slide rule, which Dad had handed in for safe keeping, had been dropped, and one of the scales had been stretched. However, we had soon forgotten this, and were looking for the Citroën agent. We finally got one, and, of course, they could not speak a word of English. However, after a while, they managed to say that the dynamo was not working properly, and it will take until tomorrow to fix. We could not wait that long, of course, and headed in the direction of France, lost our way, and ended up 55 km from Barcelona 2 hrs later, and had lunch, when I calculated that it was another 1030 km to Calais, to be done in 2 days. So we belted on again, and did much better time to Bourg-Madam, where we stopped and blew all our pesetas. Then on we went, with intention of belting as far as possible into France. However, we saw a sign pointing to Andorra, and because we could not afford to, we went there, across roads that are fit only for mountain goats, and finally arrived in Andorra, or so we thought, and booked in hotel. Then we went around the town, and Dad was bought a pipe by Mum, with which he was very pleased. Things are cheap here.


Saturday, 31 August 1963 Andorra → Châteauroux
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Official foundation of Malaysia

True to order, we were woken this morning at 0605 hrs and were gone by 0623 hrs, our quickest getaway ever—18 minutes. Then we went to look for Andorra itself, and were nearly at the spanish [sic] border before we realised that we had passed it. We turned round, and saw it. noted filled up with petrol, and headed for França, where we were held up for a while, and had breakfast. Then we went on the way again, and before long were stopped by a puzzled looking frog, who let us go when he discovered we were not frogs ourselves. Then on for a while to Wechsel, and got some money changed, and had some café at the same time. Then we went on again and had an interesting discussion about the fact that malay aboriginies [sic] use pith in their blowpipes, and before we knew where we were, we were lithping all the time until lunch, when we discovered that the oil level was very low, and we emptied all the oil we had into it, which did a bit of good.

On the afternoon run, we started counting British cars, and counted 323 before we finished quite some time later. After stopping at a place called Limoges, where Mum wanted to see some potter, we had a look round the exhibition at the town hall, and she did get some jewelry, and was very pleased with it. While she was getting it, I did a few calculations and discovered that with silicon rectifiers, I can use the PCR from 96-275 VAC.

We could not find a hotel in the evening, and slept in the car.

I didn't mention it here, but I did in my summary at the end of the year:

... we met a poor old sailor, who wants us to write to him. Poor fellow. I feel rather sorry for him.


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