Greg
Greg's diary
August 1966
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Monday, 1 August 1966 KL.
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Up a little earlier this morning, and just as well, for at 7.45 a call came through from Kuching from Dad. Mum was, of course, still in bed, and I was shaving, so it could hardly have come at a worse time. The message, was, of course, the inevitable: he could not come back tonight, and would not be back until Friday evening. Ah well - I half expected it.

After that, decided to go to the Lake Club, and so waited for Mum, and drove her to the office, and then had to walk the rest of the way to the Lake Club.

At the Lake Club, the only person I knew was Gillian da Souza, and so joined her - she also was trying to sunbathe, which is difficult at that time in the morning.

Did little apart from join this attempt for a while, also reading the Fountainhead, and before long along came John Mann, smoking as usual. It all seems rather affected.

Bloke at next table had an Exakta Varex IIa, which he did not know how to use. Helped him.

Eventually, off back home, and on the way stopped at the Chartered Bank, and tried to get my money. Mr. Cannings saw me, and tried, without much success, to help me. He seems to be leaving in 2 or 3 weeks time. Next contract - Madras. Oh well.

After lunch, again at a vague loose end, and decided I might as well go and look up Ahmad b. Mahmuddin, and so again went jalan kaki [by foot].

Finally, sweating profusely, arrived at Ahmad's house, where all appeared to be asleep, and mak told me that Ahmad was in Kedah on holiday until Friday or Thursday, and so I asked her to get him to ring me when he got back.

Then down to Vanguards, with something about mad dogs and Englishmen ringing in my ears, and passed some tape, 1200ft for $10.20 (special price). I am thinking of buying about half a mile [2640 ft].

Then back home, stopping not even at the office, and started to read, and before long went off to sleep, and woke up about an hour later. I am getting a bit fed up with all this going to sleep in the afternoon. Of course, everybody does it here, but it leave an unpleasant taste in my mouth, andI must take preventative measures.

Then rang Mum, who was flat out, and so carried on reading and did a bit of recording.

Eventually Mum back home, and had tea, and then took the letters over to a client at the Merlin.

Did little in the evening, beyond endeavour to get an early night, which, as usual, failed.


Tuesday, 2 August 1966 KL.
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It has often puzzled me the way excitement is so unevenly distributed. After the past couple of weeks doing absolutely nothing worth recording, life was really full today.

Up as per usual, and decided in the morning to pay a visit on Vincent Josef, whom I have not seen for all but 2 years, and who no doubt had forgotten about my existence. Had, of course, to wait for Mum, and then down to an Ampang Road bus stop, and got a a bus to the Ipoh road roundabout, and walked the rest of the way to JKA [Jalan Kolam Ayer].

When I finally got to Vincent's house, discovered that he was at school doing some 'A' level revision (HSC - same difference). Accordingly got them to get him to ring me, and off back to town, where I bought some tape and DA163 in Eastern Photographers, and a manuscript book at Wiliams - Mr. Heng was also pleased to see me - the place looks even more untidy and cramped than I remember it to be.

Then back home, and went off to sleep, which is happening far too often. No doubt for want of something better to do.

After lunch, which as usual was very late - why can't Mum adhere at least vaguely to nature's times? - Mum decided she would need to have her hair done, and so we went over to the office, and at the same time had one hell of an argument on the use of the car, and then off to the Peninsula Hotel, where Mum had her hair done, and I had a bit to eat before getting my suit from Globe Silk store. Then to Williams to pay Mr. Heng for the manuscript book, and back to pick up Mum, and home to Change for the wedding, at which, again, we and everybody else arrived half an hour late.

Had what was, in all fairness, quite a good tea, although Mum was not very impressed, and then back home again - thank God these dos don't last very long - and off to the Supermarket, and the office. Coming out of Denmark house, Mum went off her rocker, I blew up, and walked home.

If this is the occasion I recall, I was driving (still on a provisional licence), and Mum thought (incorrectly) that I was doing something dangerous, and screamed at the top of her voice, completely unnerving me. She has always been a terrible driver—it was really not a good idea to let her supervise me while driving.

Changed for the party, and off, late as ever, to the Lake Club, without saying more than was absolutely necessary.

At the party, met Colin Reynolds, and trying to make off with Lindy, but she made it pretty obvious she didn't want me, and so off with another bird, who is rather young, from Weston super Mare called Judith (Judy?) Charlton, and stayed with her all night. She is rather sweet. We ended as winners of the only competition - the prizes must have been donated by the french embasssy - all french.

She is better than average on kissing, but not as good as some I know - I shall teach her if I get half a chance.


Wednesday, 3 August 1966 KL.
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Having gone to see Mum and friends in the orchid room after the party last night, got rather a late night, and consequently was very tired when Eileen walked in with the tea, and told her to take it in to Mum.

Mum presumably felt for the same way [sic] for she came in to me about 2½ hours later with a hot cup of tea, and managed to drag me out of bed by some means, and I signified to her my intention of visiting Vincent Josef, who had contacted me last night, to which she violently disagreed, saying he animals needed to be looked after. I have had these bloody animals - she cares more for them than she does for me.

Nevertheless managed to get away from the house, and ½ hour later was at Vincent's house- he was terrified by the size to which I had grown. Together spent some time reminiscing about all the good old days, and how they were gone for ever. Told him of a few of my exploits with women, and showed him some photos, which rather amused him. Said something about putting those film stars to shame.

Then back home, and as usual, Mum did not get home until 1.30, and spent ½ hour feeding the animals. I wish she would straighten out her priorities, and get them more into line with everybody else's.

After makan, decided, mainly to placate Mum, to stay at home, and so put on a record to while the time away - it gets rather boring sitting there just reading “The Fountainhead” (thank God I am now on the last lap!), and so put on “memories of Europe”. That record has always puzzled me - half the sounds mentioned are nothing more than passing references.

After that, feeling suitably inspired, dragged out my clarinet, and all inspiration was promptly drowned by a rather grotty reed and 3 decided unappreciative dogs.

After a while at that, gave it all up as a bad job, and sat on my bed reading “The Fountainhead”. This is an excellent book, and one of the few I have found which really depicts life - possibly because it is about Dad's profession. But surely, few books are as real as this.

Then found out when Mum was coming back, with a view to making the tea, but could not find a cloth to get started. Eventually Mum got back, and we got moving, and spent an hour and a half over tea, which dragged on into one hell of a long (2½ hrs) recording session, no holds barred (and that included Iggy swinging from every available fitment). Had makan in Campbell road.


Thursday, 4 August 1966 KL.
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These hours I keep must be modified. No doubt when Dad comes home he will ensure that I get up at a more human hour - but as it is, I am not getting up until about 9.00 am.

So was it this morning, although, thank God, the tea was still vaguely warm. But it is no use to have already washed and shaved before Eileen brings in the tea - I must come back to life again in the mornings.

Took Mum over to the office rather late - I wish to God she would not scream. I am shortly going to refuse to drive her about the place.

Then back home, and was just thinking of going over to the Lake Club on the off chance that Judy would be there when along came a friend of Gurdip's called Alan, who is chinese and introduced himself, and invited himself in. He turned out to be quite an interesting fellow, and had quite a conversation together. It seems he is going to England some time next yet.

Then, after he had left, rang up the Lake Club and paged Judy. She was there, damn it. Finally, however, got her phone number and found out a few more details, although she seems quite wooly about everything. I wonder if she has any more up top than the average Somerset lass (though, in all fairness, Jenny is very above average in that respect).

Mum home for lunch, after I had gone down to Vanguards and bought an extension cable for the tape recorder telephone adaptor [sic]. The thing did not work - some broken connection somewhere. Shall have to complain.

After lunch, took Mum to the office, and then down to the Dog, and read a couple of magazines. Very interesting, but unfortunately equally long article in the Saturday Evening Post about doing addition in american colleges, and I only had time to read half of it.

Lots of Pentaxes floating around all of a sudden - saw two within 20 minutes. Keep up that average!

Then back the office, where I got hold of a manila file (only it is grey) in which I propose to keep a file of all the women I know, for future reference. I suppose, in fact, it is rather pointless, but I find it rather convenient to keep records of everything (including, of course, this diary).

Back at home, animals of course came first, and so outside round the back, not so much for the animals as for the fact that Joyce Holmes was there. All of a sudden I know a lot of women whose names begin with J.

In the evening, reading, and finished the Fountainhead. It is really a most excellent book, and I would read it again if I had the time.


Friday, 5 August 1966 KL.
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Life much the same as usual today. Managed to stay awake when Eileen brought in the tea, and took some in for Mum. It was not long until she, too, was up, and so took her over to the office, and then back home again. All very well, but now that I have finished The Fountainhead, I shall have to find somthing else to read. Tried picking up where I left off in Kirkup's “Tropic Temper”, but did not get very far. That bloke is an absolute nut. Also going at my women file, which was about equally successful.

And so decided that I would go to the Lake Club, and if I was lucky, see Judy there.

Speaking to Duncan Cessford about education, etc, and suddenly remembered I had to ring the Goetheinstitut, and did so, and got a fair bit of advice on German universities.

This is the first mention of going to university in Germany.

The bloke recommended for chemistry Berlin, Bonn, Göttingen, München, Hamburg, and Köln. Said nothing about Heidelberg.

Heidelberg, it seems, was more a prestige university for foreign students, so really probably not the best choice for me. But I'm surprised he didn't mention Gießen.

Saw Judy - she looks about 12 years old in the daytime. I shall not go with her anymore unless I am really desperate. Eventually decided the whole lot was so useless that I could go home, and Mum got me to ring the French Embassy to find out who the agents for Citroën were. They did not know - not that one could expect them to, since apparently there are no agents.

Mum home for lunch, and no particular plans for the afternoon, and so I decided to go and see a flick, and so, after taking Mum over to the office, stayed at home for a while, and then over in the direction of the Cathay to see “The Singing Nun”, but when I got there, decided “The Silencers” would be better, and so went to see that, and very good it was too - about my tastes in women. though I found the most interesting TLR I have ever seen. The thing had a bayonet mount - when you press the bayonet release, the bayonet shot forward and knifed whoever was in front of you.

After that, walked back again, and tried a “short cut” along Treacher road, which took a couple of minutes longer than the other way.

After that, did little for most of the evening, apart from watch TV. Mum was doing some work for MAL, and it was all I could do to persuade her to come out to the airport to meet Dad.

Eventually, however, arrived there at about the same time as Dad, and back home again. He has got my SP, which is a slight improvement on Paul's—rear element of lens is more protected.

Dad wants me to go to Kuching with him. Couldn't be much worse than here.


Saturday, 6 August 1966 K.L..
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And up fairly early this morning, since I had Dad to wake me up, and had breakfast with him - a bit of a go-slow with the result that they did not get off until 9.00 am, and I stayed behind, as it would have been too much of a fag to get the L plates changed.

After a while at it, however, got a bit fed up with just sitting around at home, and so off down town with my camera, and stopped first at the Chartered Bank, and there cashed some money - $370 for my SP - and then down to Eastern Photographers for some equipment. They are pretty useless there, and I decided to order an eyepiece cup for my SP, since extraneous light can affect the meter readings.

Then to the Dog, where I had some coffee, and read “Readers Digest”, and then back home again, stopping in to confirm that Black & White were no more able to help me than were Eastern Photographers, and to the office, and gave him [Dad] his $370.00.

The money came from the sale of the SV in the UK.

Home after that, and, thank God, another letter from Jenny, and proceeded to reply to it. She is now away on the work party.

Lunch, and had quite a long conversation, and as a result started running late. Drove Dad out to General Sawmills after that, to see John Chow, but missed him by a split second, and then spent a while talking to Chan Peng Hong about business. The place started 5 years ago, and is now the biggest house-making concern in S.E. Asia- no doubt that will soon become Asia.

Back fairly soon, however, since John Chow was not there, and discovered that Mum had invited Mrs Holmes and Joyce in for a talk, and ended up talking about music - apparently they are a vaguely musical family. Joyce once played the recorder, about which Mum made a great fuss - just about every primary school kid does.

After that, Mum and I off to the Supermarkets with Joyce - I am not sure why Mum invited her, but do not object. What a behind that woman has! She seemed a little shy, but soon forgot that... I wonder how she would do.

Then back home, and Mum invited her in for tea, after which (Donald was there as well) Dad coaxed me to drag out my flute, and this seemed to interest them. It is about time my music made one a few girlfriends.

Then back home, and Mum After that, had makan, and down to Klang to see “Those magnificent men in their flying machines”, which was very good indeed - excellent film. I would have liked to be there in a Cessna.


Sunday, 7 August 1966 K.L..
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One notices here lately a greater observance of the Sabbath than has hitherto been the case - doubtless pure coincidence. Anyway, nobody does any work.

Dad woke me up with a cup of hot tee for later than the time had told me, and then managed to drag myself out of bed and got up and read the Sunday papers with him, and wait around for Mum to get up and come to life. I am getting just vaguely fed up with the fact that there is never enough food in the mornings to satisfy Dad and me, and so ad usually gets it. Ah well - that's the way the cookie crumbles, to use an Americanism.

Mum and Dad had intended to go to the market, apparently without me, and were rather offput by the suggestion that I should come. I changed my mind, however, when I discovered what it entailed, and stayed at home.

They did not seem to be gone long, and when they came back, did a bit of cleaning up, and took some photos of them doing it.

Lunch, as ever, was late - we sat down for it at about 2.30 pm - and dragged. Ah, 'tis well to have an occasional day of leisure.

Or should I say half a day? After lunch, and long before tea, Mum decided that her monkey was not getting the attention it deserved, and so we set about rectifying that, and I got my camera out and clamped a photoflood on it, which makes for convenient handling: the photoflood required no thought, apart from the fact that it rather tends to get in the way.

Finished off the film in this manner, and then, after a bit of deliberation, put in the FP3 that I started in my SV on the 1/VII/1966. I wonder if it is registering correctly. It ought to.

Then Mum and Dad, exhausted by the action, decided to have a rest, and so I developed my Pan F, which came out quite nicely, and then on with tidying up my room, which has been badly in need of this, until Mum and Dad got up again.

After tea, did little. TV is truly becoming the curse of modern life, and when it is on, there is little that one can do but watch it. Made a few attempts to get away, without achieving much.

Dad wanted to know about making really big prints - suggest my old favourite 20×24 to him, and he seemed quite interested. Did a few experiments with the Leitz Prado projector.


Monday, 8 August 1966 K.L..
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And so the last few days I shall spend in K.L. for a couple of weeks - I am rather looking forward to going to Kuching.

After breakfast, Dad and I walked over to the office the back way, and after I got over there, did not feel like coming back immediately, and so down to the Dog. Town could be rather photogenic at this time in the morning, and indeed I took a couple of photos on the way.

Met Carol Syme at the Dog - it has struck me that were she to lose some of her puppy fat, she would be very attractive indeed - as well as one of the few girls I do not have to stoop to. She must be getting on 6' tall.

Back to the office via Eastern Photographers to report the paper situation, and Dad was quite content with it, and got me to get him 10 sheets of CFL 3D 20×24.

Accordingly off to Kodak, where I managed, with difficulty, to get WFL 3D - no CFL available - and some opaque block and Farmer's reducer. Then back home, via the office, and almost immediately off to sleep.

After a while, woken up by Dad, and he asked me if I wanted any lunch.

After that, outside, and saw Joyce out there, and got talking. She is very nice, but, rather unfortunately like me, a bit shy. Had to do a few jobs for Mum, but back after that with a camera, and she was still there, and so carried on talking. I am rather annoyed that I should be going to Kuching so soon - 'tis rather a nuisance. But they are likely to be there for 3 years - that is an interesting thought - unless, as is possible, they are moved out.

Far too soon, Mrs. Holmes appeared on the scene, and invited me into the house. All very well, but it meant Joyce and I were not alone together, and the usual consequence. Mrs. Holmes brought out her camera, which, apparently, I was to explain to Joyce, and before long brought in some coffee. Comment: “You're not trying to be shy, are you, Gregory?” - “No, it comes naturally”.

That girl has a wonderful figure - one of these days I shall have to have her.

Mr. Homes back, and started telling me all about the organisation of the army stores, and why so much government surplus stuff is released. I am not complaining - it is very useful.

Made a couple of 20×24's in the evening - first was a bit thin. Lot of camera shake evident - Dad was a little put out, since he took the photo.


Tuesday, 9 August 1966 K.L..
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Today is the first anniversary of Singapores secession from Malaysia, and from all reports they are celebrating the fact wildly. What a laugh - they have certainly made up for lost time, and got their republic back on its feet again. I don't know whether there was any connection, but in K.L. it was pouring with rain most of the morning.

Dad said something about going up to the Borneo Co. job, and I said that, seeing how I knew the place like the back of my hand, I would go with him.

Accordingly when he got back from another appointment, and when Mum had got dressed, and drove up to the Borneo Co. job. They have been complaining about undue moisture, which manifested itself beautifully today. I think they intend to chemically impregnate the floor.

Then Dad dropped me bck home, and in, and after doing a bit of music, in and read “Casino Royale” by Fleming - interesting.

Talking to Joyce before lunch, after having written to Jenny and told her about Joyce, and that she was a bit of a nuisance. In fact I find her quite nice.

Telling Mum about a letter from Lesley - that girl is almost illiterate.

Reading the letter, I don't see much evidence of that. A little rambling, maybe.

After lunch, the rain had eased off, and out on the front doorstep, where Joyce seems to spend a disproportionate amount of her time. Talked to her for quite a while, and played around with the animals. If only she was not so young - still, age is not everything, and I suspect Sally Barraclough (from last year) is not much older.

Eventually she dragged out her radio, but no much on, so I suggested she came in and listened to some of Bev's records, which she had conveniently left behind. Talking about hitchhiking, etc, and in the end I took the usual plunge. She sweats more round the hands than any other girl I know - no wonder she is always holding a handkerchief in one hand or the other. As it was, she was almost dripping. Not very responsive - probably shy, inexperienced or both. I don't think she dislikes me. But she promptly started talking about all the other blokes she knew - probably as a topic of conversation. In any case, it was all a bit of an anticlimax, and she will obviously need quite a bit more work - makes me feel happier about going to Kuching... who knows - far hills are always greener.

Developed a Fuji Neopan SS in the evening - fungus, fog, bad exposure, and only 5 shots taken. Ugh.


Wednesday, 10 August 1966 K.L. → Singapore → (+½ hr) Kuching.
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Just when life was livening up anyway - 2 headlines in the Straits Times today told me that Malaysia and Indonesia would be signing a peace agreement in Djakarta tomorrow - that will be a load off everbodies minds - and a hell of a lot of Pommie soldiers out of the place, thank God - I am not even worried about Joyce. To hell with her.

Over to the office with Dad, and then decided to walk down town, and at Eastern Photographers bought a lens brush and tissue, and then over to the Dog for a proper breakfast, and off to Chee Seng's for the tripod straps which they were making for me - only they had not made them. Raised hell, and said I would be back in 1½ hours, and off to the office, where Mum organised a council of war, and then back home to do a bit of packing before I went back to Chee Seng's for my straps. For $4 it is a bit grotty. Still, they do the job OK, and that is the most important thing.

Back home, and decided to get down to all my packing, and did not do badly - no doubt as time goes on I shall become even more adapt at packing quickly and living out of a case.

Talking to Mrs Holmes about irons - Joyce hovering in the background. She seems to be avoiding me.

Then washed and otherwise prepared myself, and awaited Dad's return, which was delayed approximately 1½ hours, and finally had makan at about 2.15.

Over to the office, where Mum still had a letter to type for Dad's signature, and delivering by hand, but it turned out that the bloke they wanted to see was out, and would not be back until after we left, so left it at that.

Out at the airport fiddling the usual excess baggage, and Mum had one of her moods, which I thought she had grown out of. Ah well. She will have a couple of weeks to calm down, anyway.

For some stupid reason, the plane went via Malacca, which was rather a nuisance as well as being rather uncomfortable: it was just a quick down and up thing, but we had to sit in the cabin for 10 minutes without any air-conditioning.

At Singapore, had to fill in an immigration form (with “Malaysia” written on it), about which both Dad and I raised hell, and then had about an hour sitting round doing nothing before we carried on to Kuching, and when we arrived there, had another identical form to fill in. It is about time this place realised what is going on here.

Singapore may have been independent of Malaysia for (just) over a year, but many structures hadn't adapted, and the only way to get from West Malaysia to East Malaysia was via Singapore's domestic terminal.

Customs over here are also a bit tough - worst I have ever had, and we were not even international.

Back to the flat, which is rather grotty, but admittedly, as Dad points out, potentially pretty good.


Thursday, 11 August 1966 Kuching
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Up at a fairly normal hour this morning - about 2330 hrs GMT: we are 8 hours ahead here, but otherwise it is much the same as K.L.. Had breakfast, which meant milo, biscuits and the usual vitamin tablets. However, after that, Lim had a woman to come along and get us breakfast, do the washing, and tidy up, for the rather extortionate rate of $50 a month.

After that, off to the office, which is also potentially rather good, and hung about there for a while. Wonderful view out of the window of a masjid, and in the distance the mountains. Took a few trial shots of those.

Some blokes in the office putting in new fittings, and the floor was consequently covered in sawdust. Various blokes came in to welcome Dad back - hell of a lot going on here, from what I can see.

Then off to Sekama road scheme, which is rather a grotty looking place - everywhere seems to be covered in mud. It would seem that there is a pretty heavy rainfall in this part of the world. Then to the Kuching club, where, according to Dad, all the women hang out, but there was not much evidence of it.

Then back into town, and had makan at the open market in front of Electra House, and then Dad up to the office. I had intended to go round town taking some photos, but after a while got a bit fed up with it, and it was pretty stinking hot anyway, and after taking a few photos of nearby objects of interest, crawled back into the office to recover, and read a book, “Prelude to mathematics”, which I had bought downstairs. Hung around for a while rading it, and then Dad got me to go down and get some coffee and bovril from a shop across the road. Unfortunately, very few people here speak malay, or even Iban, which is similar, and so I had a bit of a job to get any, but finally got a few small bottles of grot, and back upstairs and had a long-needed drink.

Looking at the Wikipedia page on Iban, I don't see much similarity with Malay.

Hung about for quite a while after that, while Dad finalised things, and got me to put hundreds of cheques into envelopes, and then away and posted them. Back to the flat, and helped Lim move out, and then with Dad to the Sarawak Club, and there had a couple of drinks, and intended to get away, but unfortunately the bloke we were supposed to meet at the airport turned up, and there was no end to it. Introduced to the local teenagers, all getting drunk, and to my astonishment saw Gordon from Ipoh - can't remember his surname - and it seems he is over here pretty permanently.

Back very late, and rather under the affluence.


Friday, 12 August 1966 Kuching → Sibu
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Up very early, and entirely exhausted, though mercifully without a hangover this morning, to catch the 8.00 am plane to Sibu. It is beyond me why Dad didn't leave earlier last night - surely getting pissed can't be that much fun.

Arrive rather late at the airport, and checked in, and when we were told that the flight had been delayed owing to wet weather, decided to have some breakfast, which put a bit of life back into me.

Finally got on to the plane, and took off. Sibu is not very far from Kuching - 35 minutes by plane, 20 hours by boat. Thank God I didn't take the latter means of transport - though Mr. Neal suggested it yesterday.

Nowadays there's a road, but it's still 400 km.

At Sibu, half dead, but instead of going to the hotel, first went straight to the Sungei Antu industrial estate, where they came to few concrete decisions except that it was muddy. Then to the BDCL offices, where everybody went into conference, and I sat stewing outside. After a while, it was suggested that I went back to the hotel, which I did, and stared writing a letter to Jenny, but soon I gave out and went to sleep.

Dad came in about half an hour later, to say that lunch was being served at the other side of the town (I would call it a village),

At the time the population would have been round 35,000, but it was the capital of the Second Division (now the Sibu Division) of Sarawak.

and so off, and it was apparently on BDCL, and quite a good makan. It is some time since I have had an 8-course chinese makan, and I rather enjoyed this one.

Back to the hotel again, as at this time of the afternoon the sun was absolutely belting down, and the chinese makan made me feel vaguely tired anyway.

Before too much longer, in came Dad, dead beat, and both off to sleep.

Woke up with thunder all over the place - this is, I believe I am correct in saying, one of the heaviest rainfall areas anywhere in the world, and today it was accompanied by some rather spectacular fireworks.

According to Wikipedia, rainfall is 3,230 mm per year. August was in fact one of the drier months with “only” 218 mm. But that doesn't come close to Kuching, which has 4,116 mm rainfall annually and 230 mm in August.

After a while, during which we washed and got dressed, decided it would be worthwhile going and having some makan (or makai, as the Ibans would have it),

This appears to be correct.

and found a couple of malays selling Sateh, of which I am very fond, and so had some, and it was not bad, though very different from W. Malaysian stuff.

Then, after getting my cameras, off to the JCI trade fair at the waterfront, in which BDCL had a stall with the Sungei Antu models displayed. Interesting - took a few photos. Fairly early to bed.


Saturday, 13 August 1966 Sibu → Sebintek → Sibu → Kuching
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Woken fairly early for breakfast, feeling more than a bit tired, probably because I had slept longer than usual, and as a result was not really in tip top form. However, managed to wake up fairly quickly, and ate with Dad the breakfast that the bloke brought in, and then off went Dad down town somewhere, and I stayed back at the hotel to finish my letter to Jenny, and then waited for Dad to come back so that we could go off to Sibintek.

I haven't been able to locate Sibintek. Maybe the name changed.

Eventually he returned, and down, had my letter posted, and tried to get a taxi, but there were 3 peace corps people already there, and the taxi was only licensed for 4 people, and in the end we had to take a 2nd taxi - not that Dad was particularly worried, for he did not have to pay the fare. Anyway, it was pouring with rain like it can only do in Borneo, and the whole place was about knee-deep in mud, and when we got there there was nobody there, and so we had to go back. One of the peace corps people was a bint, wearing a mini-skirt - strangely out of place in the world of Borneo.

Back in Sibu, had a look for the M.S. “Joffre”, and discovered that Chong, the bloke we were supposed to meet, was not there, but at the World Hotel, and checking there revealed nothing. Slipped down the stairs - rather uncomfortable. Still pouring with rain, so bought a couple of pyongs [umbrellas], checked out of the hotel, and had some makan.

Then Dad had an SUDC meeting to attend, and so I went to the Lido to see a flick about some spy job in Bangkok, which turned out to be rather interesting, and a Kraut job - very annoying, although, perhaps surprisingly, not much sex in it.

Back after that to the hotel, and found Dad reading “Room at the top” in the lobby, and suggested we shifted to the airport, which we did, and he carried on reading, while I read “A kind of loving”, which is also very good. It makes a bloke like me think a bit about what love really is.

Eventually, after far too long a wait - I wish flights were a bit more frequent - managed to get on to our flight, and back to Kuching, where little Lim was waiting for us, and took us back to the flat.

Carried on reading for a while, and then out to the open market to have some makan, and then back again. Finished “A kind of loving”, and Dad also finished “Room at the top”. I shall have to get him “Life at the top”, back from Paul.

Carried on discussing the books and associated subject matter very late.


Sunday, 14 August 1966 Kuching
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For the first time in about a week, little to do - Dad decided that, for my benefit, he would do little work today, and so we both lay in bed until about 8.10, when the bell rang, and the girl we had got to do our cooking, dhobying, etc came along. A little while after this, I made an attempt to get up, but this was defeated by lack of support, and so I went back to sleep until Dad woke me again at about 10.30. Then got up, and Dad pointed out that we had no food here, and so suggested we went down to the Open market in Power St. to look for something there, and accordingly down, and had something like the “Dim Sim” so common in chinese restaurants in Melbourne. Then into a coffee shop to have some coffee - apparently they are not allowed to sell coffee in the open market.

Then decided to go for a swim at the Kuching club, and so down there, and discovered that they were having the annual swimming gala there, and after a while, discovering there was no talent about, pushed off, and went down to see how they were getting on with the speedboat Dad is having made - pretty well, apparently: the woodwork will be finished today, and the thing will be ready for use sometime midweek - though probably we shall not use it until the next weekend, although Dad might be able to manage it sooner. Now all we need is a plane.

Off to some peace corps site to have a look at progress (or rather, lack of it) there, and then off, and for a change had makan on the other side of the open market, and then, as it was so hot, back home.

There took the rangefinder housing off Dad's Canon, and examined it. It looks a lot more professional than the Leica rangefinder, and decidedly more complicated. Dad did not seem to be very interested, until I thought I had lost a prism. Took a few photos, adjusted the rangefinder, and put it back together again.

Then had a bit of a snooze, and Dad almost immediately woke me up and called me all sorts of names, including some which reflected rather poorly on himself, when I said I would rather sleep than go to the Sekama road scheme ... out to Sekama road, and there tried attacking the enemy from the rear, armed with a 15 month old aerial photo. The place has changed a lot in 15 months.

Walked about a mile and a half through dense secondary jungle, and got nowhere. Eventually found our way back again, and had makan at a little pub in Sekama road, bought some provisions, and over home. Lim came over in the evening - feeling lonely, no doubt. This is a hell of a place.


Monday, 15 August 1966 Kuching
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Very tired indeed this morning, since I had not got to sleep until about 2.00 am, and as the morning had little to offer me, I decided that I might just as well sleep in, despite Dad's rather weak protests. He eventually woke me up to tell me that he wanted me to take the iron down to a shop down the road and have the element repaired, and then off.

What with the cleaning girl popping in and out of the room, I did not feel up to getting up until about 11.30, and when I did, she had gone, and no breakfast awaited me. Instead, discovered I could not take the iron to the shop, since I had no key for the flat, and so found a few biscuits, thought much of Jenny, and read a book on One-upmanship, which may be OK for Poms, but I don't find it very funny.

After no long time, along came Dad and asked if I had done the iron, and so off to have it done, and discovered there were no spare elements available, and do off, Dad in disgust, to have makan at the open market - it is about time we tried some new stalls.

After lunch, Dad thought it would do me a bit of good to go up to the Kuching club, and accordingly went up and did a bit of suntanning, but eventually got depressed, and thought of going to the office and writing a letter to Jenny, and then changed. While doing so, saw Gordon and Roderick in the changing room, and was not particularly sad to be off.

Eventually got to the office, where Dad suggested I had a haircut. It is just about settling down...

Bought a couple of books in the shopping area: “Girl with Green Eyes” and “4th dimensional nightmare”, and settled down to read the former. I should have been writing to a girl with orange/cyan eyes... ah, Jenny, how I miss you now!

Carried on reading for quite a long while, and in the middle of it came a call which Dad was making to Mum.

The calls were connected by the operator, who called both parties.

She spoke to me: letter from Paul waiting at home, and she wants me to come back in time for the opening of parliament on Monday. I think I shall, too - it is terribly boring here. But I don't think Dad would be too pleased.

Then, after work, decided to see a flick, “One Spy too Many” (an U.N.C.L.E. film), and off to the open market for makan. It is about time we went somewhere else. But the Cathay [cinema] is right by the place.

The flick was good, though I should have liked a little more in the way of women. Ah well .... once can't have everything. Then home and reading.


Tuesday, 16 August 1966 Kuching
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Oh, this place is by no means slowly getting me down, and the sooner I get out of here, the better.

Took a long time getting up this morning. I have a theory, which I think I expounded in the Easter holidays, that the better the prospects of the day, the less tired I am in the morning, and consequently this morning I found it very difficult indeed to get up.

Breakfast did not help - this chinese girl does not know how to cook (which is not surprising, as she is only about 14), and the eggs tasted awful.

Off to the office, after Dad had desperately, and not altogether in vain, tried to get the iron fixed up, and then upstairs, and started reading “4 dimensional nightmare”, which proved to be more than averagely boring, and so downstairs and bought a writing pad, and started writing a letter to jenny - how I miss her - and then put it on Gracie's desk, and on with the reading.

Before too long, albeit a little late, off for makan tengah hari [midday meal], and discovered that a most terrible predicament had befallen the open market: the whole place was out of rice, which is a thing that should never happen to anybody, so the 3 of us (Lim as well) made a makan of 18 dim sims, which did not go down too badly.

After that, up to the office for a while, and decided to buy another book, as the “nightmare” was not too good, and bought “Absolute Beginners”, by Colin Macinnes. About an 18 year old photographer in London. Interesting.

Then off to post my letter to Jenny, buy some stamps, and clear the box, which contained only a letter for Lim from the Income Tax people. Oh Jenny - why hast thou not written?

Arranging with Dad to leave tomorrow, as I had had the place, and then on to find out more about times, and got a confirmed booking on flight ML451 to Singapore at 10.15 tomorrow morning, and a waitlist on the 030 to KL at 9.00 pm - I want to do a bit of shopping in Singapore.

Then Dad decided we might as well go out for makan tonight, and invited Mr Neal and Mrs Neal and Lim. Over for drinks at the Neals, and then to the kedai makan, and Lim did not turn up odd. After the makan, went over to look for Lim, but I have forgotten the way to his place.


Wednesday, 17 August 1966 Kuching (-½ hour) → SingaporeKL
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Up fairly early this morning, making preparations for leaving for Singapore, and before much longer Dad was too, and finished my packing, and downstairs to improve my day by having one of those awful breakfasts which that girl is so expert in preparing.

Then finally got off, and on the way checked in the Post office for any mail, but none - why has Jenny not written? - and thence out to the airport, where half the population of Kuching had turned out up to see a real live jet. Checked in and had some coffee with Dad, while we waited for them to call the flight.

Eventually airborne. This Silver Kris service is certainly something, and I rather enjoyed it. They gave me quite a good mid-morning snack, as well, which I enjoyed considerably.

Arrived in Singapore, and after considerable trouble, confirmed my flight to K.L. on the 030 at 9.00 pm tonight, and then into town, in a private cab, and got him to drop me in North Bridge Road, where it was pouring with rain, and tried finding some right angle finders for Pentax, with little success, so turned to Electronic flash units, and they are certainly doing things right there lately. Sunpaks, about which Paul was recently talking, are under $40 and superior in every way to the Kakonet I used to have.

Finally, in a little grotty place by Collyer quay, found a Yashica right angle finder, which fits Pentax, for $20, but by this time I was also set on a Sunpak 7D, for which I only need pay $32, ad I could not quite afford both, nor would they let me put it on the kira, so I left the finder. Will have to get Dad to get it for me. Bought the flash, and then got a bus out to the airport, and tried to crash on to the 052, and missed same by a hair's breadth, and had to wait in the airport for 5½ hours for the 030, and spent most of the time reading. Thank God just that I don't get bored easily. They have a taped music thing inside, and I must have heard it 5 times. “Wonderful, Wonderful Kopenhagen”. I wonder when I will next be there - it is over 9 years now, but I have pleasant memories of the place. I must go back some time.

Back at K.L., I was almost relieved that nobody was there to expect me, and got a taxi home. $6.00 on the dot, just as Dad had said. Mum was rather surprised to see me, but not as much as I would have thought.

Fairly early to bed. A year ago today I met Lesley Cannings.


Thursday, 18 August 1966 K.L..
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Up very late indeed this morning - obviously I was more exhausted by my trip back from Kuching than I had thought would be the case. Eventually, however, dragged myself out of bed at about 9.30, and managed to persuade Eileen that I was still in Kuching, but that I would nevertheless require a breakfast in K.L.

After she had supplied this, off she went doing some cleaning, while I greeted the Holmes and told them what a hell of a dump I thought Kuching was. Talking about kuchings [cats], it seems that Queeny's one remaining kitten has been given to them, and Queeny is going mad about the fact.

Then Eileen did a bit of dusting, and I got out while the going was good, and only then decided where I ought to go, and first to Eastern Photographers to price the Sunpak 7D - over $55, so I wonder how much it is worth in UK.

The the Dog, where I read a bit of the Saturday Evening Post, and would have read more had I not not [sic] intended in the first place to stay longer.

Home eventually, however, and Mum came back, as usual quite late, as she is lately flat out, and I am now rather come to expect it.

Off she went again fairly soon, and I with her, for she had pinched my typewriter while I was in the middle of writing a letter, and, disliking this, I went over to the office to find my letter to Jenny - she is trying to convert me to Christianity, and so I produced a fairly long argument as to why I do not want to be a Christian. I think I shall, one of these days, go through all the gospels, and write what I think to be a good argument, and make a microcopy of it.

Also posted a letter to G.F.Allen (from whom I have had one saying that the Pentax situation is OK), and to Paul, from whom I have not, after all, had a letter.

Then back home, and sat around doing remarkably little for a while - took a few photos to while away the time - I am getting just a little worried about how easy I find it to relax.

Mum being flat out, I decided to have tea by myself. Lokman b. Mohd Noor [sic; should be Noh] rang up and invited himself over, and spent some time waiting for him. He is going back on Saturday. Has grown a moustache - most distinguished, I think. I might follow suit. Had makan from Bilals - had already had makan, but persuaded him to have a lot more. He invited me over for tomorrow.


Friday, 19 August 1966 K.L..
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Slept in even longer than yesterday this morning - I wish to god (or should I say God?) that somebody would wake me in the mornings. If they do not, I may well get violent tomorrow. This morning I was lying in bed, dreaming of Jenny sitting beside me, when she heard the phone. I told her it was the phone upstairs, and, as if to answer me, somebody answered it.... Eileen woke me up to say that it was Gomes (I forget his first name, and he did not tell me).

Talked for quite a long while, and then, suddenly, he was cut off, and, although I gave him a chance to ring me again, he did not, so I got up and prepared to live another day.

After a while sitting at home, started cutting a space in my CDC bag for my electronic flash - I fear I cannot get both it and my Canon J3 [?] in.

That took a good deal longer than had I expected, and then sat round reading C.J. Dennis until lunch. Mum rang (I did not ring her, for fear of disturbing her), and told me that she was bringing Munah and Anna over for lunch, so had a mad rush to get enough food ready for all of them.

It was a bit of a rush, too, and at the end of it I discovered I had eaten almost nothing myself, and Eileen had almost to push some curry down my throat.

Feeling thus revived, off down town to Eastern Photographers, where I tried to get some Cu intensifier, negative albums, and extension flash lead - and to my horror, they had none of these. I get occasionally very fed up with such people.

Disgusted, started back home, and on the way stopped in at the British Information Service reading room, where, to my delight, I discovered the had up-to-date Punch, which pleases me.

Then back home, and did a bit of music practice, and then watched TV, which has an afternoon show in honour, doubtless, of al Jumaat. Sherlock Holmes - very interesting.

After that, Mum wanted me to come over, but I had to wait for Lokman, so told her so. Even then, she wanted us both to go over. Did so, but fairly soon she let us off.

Over to see Tail b. Dolmat, in SJI with me - I hardly recognized him. He has grown. Then to see another friend and a couple of birds. One is going to Exeter University. I must see her over there.

Makan at Lokman's house, and very good indeed. Mohd. Noor is a nice bloke.


Saturday, 20 August 1966 K.L..
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Damn Mum - why does she not wake me up when she gets up in the morning? I hate lying in in the morning - it gets the whole day off to a bad start, and also usually results in a lost morning.

It helped little when I got up - Eileen did not seem very interested in getting me breakfast, and I finally got her to do so, only to discover that there was little or no food in the house, and so issued my usual injunction in such cases, to fry a couple of eggs. I do not think I know anybody who fries eggs as badly as does Eileen - I think she looks on it as a furnace job.

After that, of course, there was indeed little for me to do, and I sat around reading “Goldfinger”, which, I seem to remember, varies quite a bit from the film.

On an impulse, later rang up B & W, and asked them about negative albums, 12×36 - $8.00.. And that is all they have. What the hell are the things made of?

Taking a few photos round the house - it is about time I had some decent photos of the inside of the house, and I might as well get down to it.

Mum back home, as ever, very later - today later than usual, it seems - and had a correspondingly late lunch.

After lunch, Mum expressed the opinion that she would like to get some sleep done, and so left her, finally, to it - Mum takes her time about everything, and went to bed half an hour later than, at 10 minutes' notice, she had intended.

Into my room, with intent to carry on reading “Goldfinger”, but before long I, too, succumbed to the need to replenish my strength, and so to sleep, and with a bit of difficulty managed to rouse myself shortly before I was due to wake Mum, and with a superhuman effort came to life in time.

Then up to Supermarkets, Mum still half asleep, and did what little shopping we needed to.

Back home, and, after a fashion, had tea. I enjoy crumpets at such times, and I wish the Supermarkets were not so regularly out of them.

After that, the usual sitting round the TV set, and about the only redeeming feature of the evening was that we saw “Get Smart”.

Developed the FP3 I had taken in Kuching. The whole film was double-exposed - first in my Edixa, and then in my 2 Pentaxes. Really given the works. So much for FP3 - still no negs.

Also did a Pan F, which came out beautifully - there is something nice about 33 negs in line, all perfectly exposed.

And, at the time, something unusual. This was what sold me on the Spotmatic in the first place.


Sunday, 21 August 1966 K.L..
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At last! Eileen has finally brought me in some tea in the mornings. The change was such a shock that I dozed off for half an hour after she brought it in, and did not bother to get up until 8.45. Then took some tea into Mum, and back to my room to read the cartoons in the Sunday Times, the only part of the paper really worth reading.

This was the Sunday edition of the Straits Times.

After a while, Mum sort of staggered up out of bed, and said something about early birds getting the worm, and so we should go to the market - the analogy evades me. In any case, I did not like the thought of worms on an empty stomach, so I told her that Eileen did not know how to fry eggs, and so Mum went into the kitchen, and 5 minutes later brought out an egg as bad as any of Eileen's efforts, which Eileen had cooked. Then in again, and out came one of Mum's, better, but still with room for improvement.

Somehow fried eggs have been an issue for me all my life. In May 1976 I lost my job as a result.

Then off to the market, where I finished off my Mark V/HP4 (I suppose I ought to call it the latter, now it is becoming popular). At 1000 ASA, it is well-suited to indoor work.

Back home, and changed my film, and then Mum thought it might be fun to let Iggy off - I did not, but felt that my new electronic flash might better be able to stop him than 1/30 with reflector photoflood, so had a go. God. Apertures, guide numbers, focus. How much does a Honeywell Auto-Strobonar cost, I wonder.

The Auto-Strobonar was the first electronic flash with automatic exposure control. And I still have problems with flash.

Then had the usual Sunday Lunch, discussing plans for the future. Mum is all set for me to go to a German University, and also OK by me. Even suggested getting me a Volkswagen - that is a very good idea. I expect I shall have to take driving lessons in Germany, but what the hell?

After that, decided to print the Pan F that came out last night, and spent about 45 minutes sweating away at that, and then decided that it would be interesting to print the photos of the Leica I that I took on 4/IV and 5/IV/1966, and so back in for a while. Must buy some stuff at Eastern Photographers tomorrow.

Then out to have tea, which was not ready yet by a long shot, and sat round further reading “Goldfinger“.

Later writing in my room. The sound of prints falling off the wall is very disconcerting.

Tea at last, and not bad. I don't, however, think rum goes too well in chocolate icing.

In the evening, felt exhausted - I have been taking d-glucose for instant relief at such times, and it works. If only I liked sweet things.

Later to bed than I would have liked.


Monday, 22 August 1966 K.L..
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Reflecting on this holiday, I suppose I shall think of it in future times as a wasted holiday, or perhaps - in fact, there is a very distinct possibility - I shall think of it as a rest from my English phase, and a time taken to consider my decisions [?] before going on to my German phase.

In fact, of all my holidays in the 1960s, this one was the least memorable.

But at the moment, I feel a failure. What will I achieve in the next 5 years? Am I really running away from the stress of Oxford and Cambridge? Probably - but it is equally probably just as well for me. I could not stand another term like last term - it would drive me mad. The only regret that I have is that I will be leaving Jenny behind. Will I forget about her, or will I eventually take her with me? I wish I knew. But at the moment, I hope it is the latter. Ah, I am a pathetic fool.

Off late, as usual, to the opening of this particular meeting of parliament. Got into a bit of a mess as where to go, but eventually sorted everything out, and in to listen to a debate on Dr. Lim Yew Hock - very amusing. So much for a really formal debate. The chief subject of the debate seemed to be who had the most revealing photos of Lim's girlfriend. Very amusing. Also Tan Siew Sin, of 2 wives fame, had something to say about why Singapore and Malaysia are having separate currencies from 12/VI/1967. Very plausible. I must confess I now agree with him.

Tengku Abdul Rahman then had what will no doubt be an historic speech about the ending of confrontation, in the middle of which we walked out, and back home, and had a look at some slides of 10 years ago. Not very fascinating,

Then had lunch. Mrs Holmes in. Asking how to get to High St. I will never understand women - the way Mum did it was almost unintelligible to me, yet Mrs Holmes understood it perfectly.

After that, down town, and bought some stuff at Eastern Photographers, and then to the Dog, by which time it was raining like hell. Got soaked despite the payong I had seen fit to bring with me, and spent an hour in the Dog drying off and letting the weather do likewise.

Eventually back home, and doing a bit of reading, when in came Eileen with a bottle of liquid paraffin. I had ordered paraffin wax, damn it. Went mad, rang Nainas, and discovered they no longer dealt in it. Found an old candle, melted it, and impregnated my Promicrol corks. Eileen very distressed.

After awhile - a very long while - Mum came home, and we had tea, and I in to make up some Promicrol.

After makan, which followed not much later, developed an HP4 (as I think I shall call MkV). Very good indeed at 1000 ASA. That is obviously its best speed.

Early to bed - Cantonese feature film.


Tuesday, 23 August 1966 K.L..
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Lethargy is creeping up on me - I must out of bed more promptly in the mornings. Managed a bit better this morning, nevertheless.

Mum off pretty smartly to PJ for something to do with Dr. Arulampulam's round house, and that was the last I heard of her for a while. Then tried, despite Eillen (who has lately been irritating me considerably) to read a bit, and decided to write a letter to Sandy Schaedel, and got down to it. It is getting on for a month since she wrote to me - I really must be more prompt.

Then retired to my room to look for some maps, etc, and anything else of interest that might be about. In the middle of reading a casin [?], when the mail came, and with it my 'A' level results: jjEO, kBu, lB1, E, which apparently means Pure maths E, applied maths O, physics B unclassified, chemistry B1. Rang up Mum, who was having her hair done, rang up Dad, whom I finally contacted - he was delighted.

My recollection is different, that he was somewhat disappointed.

Then Mum back, and I told her, so she rang up the Goetheinstitut, and we invited ourselves over.

Had a very long discussion with Dr. Heidt, the head, and it looks as if I am likely to get in quite easily for the Summer Semester. All looks very promising, and he gave us lot so books, mainly superfluous.

Back home for lunch, and then Mum off again, and I read the main book “Foreign Students in Germany”, which was a mine of information, but quite a few conflicting factors - we shall have to write to the Universities concerned about this. From what I can gather, no particularly university has higher status than any other in Germany, so I might just as well choose my university from point of view of geographical position and research facilities, so a place like Hamburg is likely to be excellent.

Spoke to Mrs. Holmes about Customs, and she told me a lot more too, whether I wanted to know or not, and then, to get away, I offered to print some photos of the cat we gave them, and so off to print a whole HP4.

After that, so exhausted by the effort that I went off to sleep, and woke with the phone ringing - it turned out to be Ahmad b. Mahmuddin, who wanted to come over tomorrow. Told him it was OK, but then remembered Eileen was not going to he here. He will have to lump it.

Mum back shortly after that, and had tea, closely followed by makan malam [evening meal]. She is working herself into the ground again. Talked at great length about universities, and tomorrow we are going to make applications.

Very late to bed.


Wednesday, 24 August 1966 K.L..
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And on with life. It seems to have taken a turn for the better since I got my 'A' level results - now life seems worth living again. I suppose I might even put in an application through UCCA - who cares any more anyway?

Rang up Eastern Photographers about a red filter. I am thinking of doing some infrared photography, following my purchase of the Kodak guide book on it. Ready by this evening.

Then taking a few photos round the house, and after a while, over to the office, where Mum wrote a draught of my letter to the German Universities, but I had to leave before she had finished. At Eastern Photographers, bought a flash bracket - the accessory shoe is a little flimsy, especially for an electronic flash - and the red filter had already arrived. Smart work. Bought a new exposure notebook, and own to the Dog for a hamburger. I wonder who soon I could get hold of some infrared film. The only real snag is metering for the stuff. I must get (or build) an infrared light meter. It could come in very handy.

Then back home, and before all that long had elapsed (in fact, at about 2.00 pm) Mum and Lisa [?] Wee arrived, and had to scrape up some makan (since it was Eileen's day off).

On an impulse, rang up Kodak and asked them how soon they could get me some infrared film. To my astonishment, they actually have some in stock! This is astonishing. And it is quite cheap too - only $3.30 for 20 exposures (which I think I shall take with a pinch of salt - 21 or 22 as like as not).

Could do little, however, immediately, for by the time Mum and Lisa had left, Ahmad had arrived, and we settled down to renew our friendship of old, and spoke about manifold subjects. It would seem that he has been instilled with a little of the Wanderlust, and is at the moment saving up to go to Bangkok in December. The best of luck to him, though it is beyond me why he does not hitchhike.

Did a bit of flute practice, and then a bit more talking - told him about my plans for infrared photography, which rather interested him.

Eventually he decided to go, and I got him to take me round to Kodaks to buy some Infrared film, but unfortunately they were closed by the time I got there. Rather annoying - in fact, I very nearly swore, but for Ahmad's sake withheld myself.

Back to the office, where I had, as usual, to wait an inordinately long time for Mum, and then up to pick up Dad's ID19, and home. Had a very late tea (7.30 - about the latest yet), while I verified that the Spotmatic's meter was sensitive to infrared light.

Out to get some makan - Penang Laksa and satay, and got, by a misinterpretation of Mum's instructions, an inordinately large amount of the former. Watching old ciné in the evening.


Thursday, 25 August 1966 K.L..
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I am, by observation, becoming more and more convinced that the time at which I get up is fairly directly connected with the day's prospects. Today, had intended to do quite a bit in the morning, and up correspondingly early. In to take Mum's tea in to her, and she asked me to come over to the office for about an hour this morning and help her do some work. What can one say? No - I haven't a work permit? Then all I get in reply is “That's all right, I won't pay you”. And if I flatly refused, I would set all hell loose.

So I took the easy way out, and went back to sleep. Up eventually at about 11.00 am - it has occurred to me the beauties of living life without paying any attention to the time of day, as I did in April and early May of 1963. Doubtless when I am on vacation from Germany I shall do so again - perhaps even now. I wonder what Mum and Dad would think thereof.

Over to Kodak's in Pudu road, with the dogs, who complained greatly of the heat, to buy an IR 135-20 (which, I suppose, could be confused with L IR). It is really wonderful that they have the stuff in stock.

Back home again, and recovered for a while before Mum came back. There are times, becoming more and more frequent, when I feel that I, like Cain, am destined for ever to be a nomad - where on earth could I settle down and enjoy it?

After lunch, eventually conceded, and over to the office with Mum , where I licked my tongue raw putting stamps on about 200 envelopes - it is more of a job than one would think. Eventually, well over an hour later, I finished, and had to wait further until Mum could take me home, for it had started raining, and I had to go by car.

Back home, took a couple of photos on IR. I must be careful with these damn silly Kodak leaders, cut long for Leica and Contax. Had a bit of trouble with engaging them in the sprockets.

The leader was half width and about 10 cm long, like all commercial 35 mm film I have ever seen. When I loaded my own, I cut them to about 3 cm, saving a lot of film and making it easier to load in a modern 35 mm camera.

After that, settled down an armchair and did little until Mum came back. I wish I could have just a little of the impatience I used to have, and the inability to just sit down and relax, which I seem to be developing now to an alarming degree.

Had tea, watched the Flintstones (almost as of old), and then out to the flicks to see ”Dr. No” and “Goldfinger” again. Every single detail has been changed.

Back home very late. Mum as a driving instructor is hopeless. She disagrees all over the place with the highway code.


Friday, 26 August 1966 K.L..
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And on grinds life - I wonder where I will be in 2 months time. I am rather looking forward to the future, and the only thing that even vaguely worries me is that I shall either have to forget all about Jenny, or retain quite a bit of contact with the UK, both undesirable consequences. However, I do not think I shall forget about Jenny unless it is decided for me - if, for instance, she does not want me. But I would like to have her come over to Germany this Christmas - with Paul, of course.

Mum (and I following suit) slept in until 9.00 am, and then both of us over to the office, where I helped out by making a few prints - they are using diazo paper now, which is better in quality, but makes the office stink of ammonia.

Back home after that, and took a couple of experimental infrared photos, including an idea of mine for retinal photography. I doubt it will come out very well, however. But it is still a possibility.

No mail at all - has the postman given up, or is it Jenny? Perhaps one tomorrow. I wish she would write.

Mum eventually back for makan, while I was going through some old KR and K1, in preparation for the massive splicing which I shall soon be doing, mainly in connection with the “Childrens film”, which is more likely to be a “family film” than anything. Discussing with Mum what presents we out to get for the Halletts when I went back, and decided, eventually, to have a look round town to see what was available.

Got as far as the office, by which time it had started raining, and so could get no further, and so decided to write a letter to Jenny begging her to write to me. O God, what if she has found another bloke? It would just about kill me. Could she? I suppose so, though whether she would or not I don't know.

Carried on, and filled a whole airletter form, which was not, contrary to my expectation, sufficient for what I had to say.

Then in came Brian Rockingham-Gill, and had a cup of coffee, and invited Mum over to his flat for tea (I was also invited, but later declined), and so spent little time at Peiping [sic] lace. Bought a couple of brocade hot-water-bottle holders, which might come in handy generally, and also a trick box for Ann.

Then to the Supermarkets, and home, and had tea there by myself, and then on to further edit film (or rather, sort out the subject material). This stuff is terribly badly attacked by fungus.

Mum back and spoke with Mrs. Holmes for 1¾ hours. Boy - can she talk! Developed a Pan F, PX, both OK.

Man from UNCLE - using infrared binoculars and infrared polaroid film. Interesting, though the latter is impossible.


Saturday, 27 August 1966 K.L.. → P.D.
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Life mooches on. I decided, eventually, to get up at the same time as Mum, and managed to stay awake long enough to achieve this goal. Had breakfast and took Mum over to the office, and then decided that, as the weather was not too bad, I might be able to get some decent photos down town.

When I bought my first Pentax, well over a year ago, I bought a magazine at the airport in Singapore, called “Chop Suey - Malaysia's family magazine”. One of the cartoons in this showed every available receptacle covered in flags, and Papa Tan saying to Mama Tan “It happens every other Saturday”. This has always struck me, in my perverse way, as being typical of the Malaysian scene, and the truth of it was brought home today when, for 20¢, I acquired one in honour of the K.L. youth club.

On an impulse, up to the University book store, and looked round, but, apart from finding the construction of the Leitz Summar, achieved nothing.

To Eastern Photographers, where I achieved little, and then down to the Dog and was asked on the way by Gurdl [?] Singh, Guthries jaga [security guard], to take a photo of him and his father, and did so, on infrared film. Hope it is OK.

To the dog for the usual, and then back. I must get either a car or some anti-perspirant.

Letter from Jenny. She still loves me, of course. I wonder how long it will last, and who will finally break it off. Wrote back to her - ah Jenny, how much you mean to me.

Mum back late for lunch, after which she spent a hell of a long time packing, and eventually I got rather sick of it - especially as she could not be bothered to spend the time to go to the Post office to post my letter to Jenny.

Posted it eventually in Jalan Pekeliling, where it was, I have no doubt, cleared only an hour later, so there is all OK [?]. Off to P.D., and the traffic, as ever, was terrible. I suppose it must be quite easy to get a lift with one of the slower bods - but one seldom see people hitchhiking.

Eventually got to Seremban, and Mum was so exhausted with the effort of back seat driving that she had to go in to Cold Storage [shop], where we each had a milk shake.

Got to the bungalow, after losing our way. Gordon Lang asked Mum if she had lost her way. She said no. Needles [sic] dishonesty like that irritates me intensely - at the risk of creating a scene, I nearly told the truth.

Carmel Paull also there, and she had the Pentax SV I got for her a year ago. It seems funny using an SV after an SP - the former seems to have changed.

Messed around a bit on the beach, after which we had a beer with the people next door, and then in to prove that Carmel's lens was only ⅙ stop slower than mine.

Spoke at great length in the evening.


Sunday, 28 August 1966 P.D.K.L..
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Mum changed her mind in the middle of the night about where she would sleep, and came up to my room, coughing fit to kill. Why does she refuse to see a doctor?

Tea in at 7.30, and up to have a swim before breakfast, and Gordon was also there. Nearly went over and spoke to him, until he was invaded by some little kids who had half killed me yesterday, and so I changed my mind, and went inside, and got dressed, and then out again, and hung around messing with cameras.

Gordon soon came up, and suggested I saw if Mum would like to join us for breakfast, and up I went, and she did not yet feel like it, so we had it by ourselves.

Eventually Carmel and Mum got up, and had breakfast, while Gordon and I had 11ses.

Then Carmel and Mum wanted to go over to Blue Lagoon, and Gordon said something about going to the P.D. club, and eventually I decided to go with the former party. There was exceptionally little to see at Blue lagoon, and plenty of sandflies to make up for it, and so when it started raining, we gave it up as a bad idea, and came back to the bungalow, and discovered Gordon was next door having a drink. Did not join him, and spent the time drinking Tiger, and finishing off the KR 135-36 in Carmel's camera (at her request, of course).

After that, Gordon came back, and eventually we had makan, and a very good curry it was, although, despite the fact it was cooked by a chinese, it had a decided “orang puteh” [white man] flavour about it. I can't quite pin it down, but I suppose all the makan kechils [snacks] and the way it was served must have helped.

This type of curry always puts one to sleep, and so shortly all up and had a bit of a snooze, and after that up, contemplated going in for a swim, and decided against it.

Then had tea, and managed to persuade Mum to pack up all her stuff (which, in all fairness to her, she did very quickly).

Just about to pull off, and Gordon told me that our tire was flat.

I recall saying “No, Citroën tyres always look flat”, to which he said “I don't think they're supposed to look that flat”. And my mother got really upset that I should have said that in the first place. That's clearly the background for the following;

Changed it fairly quickly, though Mum got on my nerves, and eventually I lost my temper with her, much to the shock of Gordon and Carmel. They don't have to live with her. Not much fun on the way back, and Mum (I was only back-seat driving) managed to loose [sic] the way.

Ultimate insult from Carmel - at her flat she, Mum, and Gordon had Löwenbräu, and she gave me Tiger.


Monday, 29 August 1966 K.L.. Images for 29 August 1966
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And back to the drag of life. Brought Mum in her tea as usual, and she seemed to have vaguely calmed down since yesterday, and almost as if life were back to normal again. So much the better, as far as I am concerned.

One notes that it is Bank holiday today.

This was in the UK; it's written on the header of the diary. And this Bank Holiday is the basis of the British joke that summer falls on 26 August, the (not quite) average date of the last Monday in August.

Doubtless Sandown will be pretty well booked up over this past weekend. Ah, just to be with Jenny.

Decided that the time was eventually come to write a letter to Lesley, and so got down, and with a bit of difficulty managed to write her a page and a half - doubtless she will appreciate it. I wonder what she now thinks of me.

Then had a go at translating my German draft, and got something which would at least be intelligible to the average North German.

Then Eileen rang Mum up, and Mum asked to speak to me - Sue Peters had written, and they had forwarded everything to the office.

It had been addressed to me at King's College, so “they” were the school administrators:


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Diary entry for Monday, 29 August 1966

 

It's interesting that international resending didn't cost anything.

Good for them - and Sue. While getting the letter from the office, also got some black plastic, and after writing to Sue, proceeded to black out my electronic flash and adapt it for infrared. Dad also phoned, and asked what I wanted, and said he would be back on the afternoon plane. Good for him.

Miss Anthony over with Mum - apparently Munah has not been well over the weekend, and they have been paying regular visits to help her.

Spent much of the afternoon doing experimental shots to determine the guide number for electronic flash with infrared film, and thus finished off the roll. I must buy some ORWO NI 750, which promises to be about 100 ASA with appropriate filter.

After that, hung around doing little for a while, and eventually dozed off - I am far too sleepy lately for it to be good for me. All in all, these holidays have been a flop.

Mum rang to tell me that she did not like something in my letter to Sue, and that Dad would not be back until the late plane.

No, I did not like the way she read my letters. But she probably read my diary too, which might explain the lack of objection here.

Developed the IR film after makan - underdeveloped, underexposed, and one of the worst films I have ever done generally. Ah well, it was just experimental.

Dad phoned again, and again postponed, until tomorrow evening. Mum up the wall, and said all sorts of things, phoning madly all over the place. Eventually they came to a compromise.


Tuesday, 30 August 1966 K.L..
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Oh I think it is terrible that I should have so little to do that I could not even be bothered to get up, but, I fear that is the case, and I did not get up today until very late because of it. One of these days, I suppose, life will begin to make sense - but right now, if I had the choice, I should go back to England to be with Jenny.

Did little in the morning, and almost enjoyed so doing. Occasionally it is rather fun sitting round and playing my flute and reading such second rate literature as “Great World Mysteries” by Eric Frank Russell.

Mum decided, however, that i we were to meet Dad, getting the tire changed, and shopping before going to Subang, we had better get a move on. She was right, but unfortunately did not leave us enough time all the same. Dumped the tire, to the market, collected the tire, and dashed out to Subang, and arrived less than 10 minutes late - and the plane was 15 minutes behind time. It arrived while we were having coffee, and Dad came out with starling rapidity, as he had only hand luggage, and was out before I went down to look for him.

Back home - I wish Mum and Dad would not talk shop, though I know it is a rather futile wish - and Dad gave me the stuff he got in Singapore. All OK, except that he had been somewhat taken down. I reckon I could have done it for at least $10 less - still, I don't care too much. Most of it is going to Paul. The right angle finder is quite useful, though, and while Mum and Dad were at the office, I cut a place out for it in my CDC. I think that thing has just about reached its maximum capacity (I thought that almost as soon as I got it, but much more so now). Possibly space in front of my Pentax for a Fisheye Takumar.

Then Mum and Dad came back, Dad full of what Mum had told him about the changing of the tire on Saturday, and none too pleased about it all. As had I expected, I had another blowing up. As far as I can gather, I am not worth sending for further education, because I would not study. This is a truly remarkable decision on the grounds that I lost my temper with Mum on Sunday.

Party at Colin Reynolds', and met a bird called Ann Stewart. Turned my back, and the bitch, having been intimate enough with me before, ran away. Then found another bird, Jill Goodwin. She knows her stuff, and I thought I was getting along well with he, but at the end of the night she told me to go to hell. At least she had the decency to tell me.


Wednesday, 31 August 1966 K.L..
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Ah, lethargy, thou wilt be the death of me yet! This morning, despite a couple of interruptions, I slept right on. First of all, Dad came in to borrow my comb - for the whole day, as I found out when I came to life again, and he spent the day in Singapore. That was bright of him.

Then in came Mum, and said something about it being Eileen's day off, and would I please not sleep in too long? I had an odd dream a thief had stolen my Edixa and my Exakta Varex (old model), and I had seen him do it, and followed him and told him that this was not nice of him, and he was pointing out that he had to keep the wolf from the door. Finally he got so sick of me that he gave them back, but kept the stuff he had stolen from Mum....

And of course I never had an Exakta.

Eileen came in and said she had a hari op, and I had better getup quick. I told her I would make my own bed, which she did not believe possible, and eventually left me to it.

She had thoughtfully left some fruit in the fridge for a breakfast, and this I ate quite voraciously, and then out to take 17 off photos of the TV Malaysia mast with all possible lens combinations from 2400 mm (which I did first to centre the 3pod) down to 28 mm, with 7350 times the area. I might even scrape up enough money for a fisheye-Takumar sometime.

Lunch I got for Mum, and she was feeling pretty lousy. After that, wrote a letter, 4 typed pages to Paul, and all (or nearly all) of it about photography, notably about absolute speeds of lenses. What is the effective reading of a TTL meter without a lens? Is it equivalent to an f/1 lens? Or (more likely) is it comparable to a lens with stop diameter lens mount diameter, and register for focal length? That still gives extremely high values for the speeds of some of my lenses - it must be more complicated than that. The mirror must somewhere throw a spanner in the works.

Just about finished the letter to Paul, asking him to draw his own conclusions, when Dad came back, having finished his work in Singapore earlier than expected, and we managed, between the 2 of us, to prepare tea.

Then tidied up, and I into my room to read about what they have been doing with the long Takumars lately. This latest literature, which I got with my SP, give a completely new list of lenses, different construction from the old ones, but unfortunately with the same name, f, and aperture. The new ones, however, have more elements, are generally smaller, and presumably better definition.

Made a 70mm transparency for Mum in the evening. That film has kept well for over 15 months.


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