Greg
Greg's diary
November 1966
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Tuesday, 1 November 1966 King's College, Taunton
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All the excitement of half term, and even more the anticlimax of getting back here, made me unwilling to get up this morning, and so left it to somebody else to make the move. Nobody had heard the bell, and Larcombe was the first to wake up, and about 0805, and about 10 minutes to ¼ hour later staggered into the Lady Chapel in the middle of the Gospel. Just as well—I hate all these farces in the morning.

After that, almost immediately into breakfast, which was, of course, ridiculously late, and later out again round about 0915, having missed first period. Whipped the Punch from the Sheldon room, and started reading. Round about 0950, it occurred to me that I should have been at divvers[divinity, i.e. religion], at which we had a bit of a discussion about compulsory religion, and left it at that—the chaplain was at a rather loose end.

Had a bit of chemistry after that, and just about managed to finish it in time for 5th period, which we spent going over the remainder of the paper.

After that, lunch, etc., and people were worrying about the now imminent House Music Competition, and Donald got us to go and bring his spinet from Stoneleigh. We were thinking of carrying it like a coffin, but thought it might have been considered rather bad taste. Donald pretended to help us carry it—I wish he had not, as it looked so stupid, helping with two fingers.

After that, could not manage a practice, and so went for first driving lesson, and went shopping first—down to the bank, deposited some money, and got a new cheque book.

After that, out on the Bishop's Lyddeard [sic]/Milverton road, and did a long circuit, which took a good half hour, and then back to the school.

To the common room, and there messing around with some of Allen's stuff, and before long appeared the man himself, and gave me all but 50 ft (about 48.5 ft) of Ilfochrome, which I think is about 32 ASA, and so finished off the KR in my Bolex, and then to tea, and thence up to the science library, where I had a German prose to do, and did it, and took it down to the pigeon holes to hand in, an then back up again, and loaded the Ilfochrome, and spent the rest of the period doing little. Packed up the Kodachrome, and weighed it on Hessey's [lab assistant] balance downstairs [in the chemistry labs], and decided that it would just have to make it with a 4d stamp, and then down to post it.

Русский in 2nd prep. I wish we would get moving.


Wednesday, 2 November 1966 KCT.
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And on drags life. I wonder what will happen to me in the next year, and what I shall end up doing. In a way, I suppose the fact that Jenny is not all that mad keen on me is rather helpful, as it means that I need to have few worries on her account. But I would, nevertheless, like go keep going on with her. Is life not complicated! I wonder what sort of birds I will meet in Germany.

Letter—or rather card—from Pui Cheng Wui after breakfast, and he is doing metallurgy at Imperial, London. I wonder if he knows Malcolm Lennox.

After assembly, to the science library, where, in my usual manner at such times, I was unable to do any work.

Then Deutsch, with Tyson, who had not corrected my essay, so I had to do it myself. After that, off to the Common room, where Aston was finally doing something about the film, but still wanted me to order it.

After break, back up to the science library, with the usual nothing to do. It is probably a prime example of the application of Parkinson's law.

After lunch, up came Aston with the lists for me to type out for him, and had just started when in walked White with a 1920 odd plate camera, 2½×3½, with a 112 mm f/4.5 Ros Xpres lens, which I decided to try out, and showed though its paces. 5 dark slides (he had buggered up the 6th) and a film pack, which completely bewildered both of us. I might even buy it from him, if I can get a suitable price.

Then, during games, to the science library to find out something about the Ros Xpres, and to my surprise, it is a 5 element lens, with a triple back element, but otherwise like a Tessar.

The fact that I found any information about this lens is surprising. Wikipedia doesn't know anything about it, and Google suggests that the preferred spelling is “Ross Xpress”. But there's very little information about it on the web. This link looks the most interesting.

I shall have to try out all the sooner. Discovered also that my Tessar would fit into the lens mount, although, apparently, not with the same register. Still, it would probably focus, though it is doubtful which lens would yield the better definition—the Xpres has against it also a couple of scratches on the front element.

Then in came Allen and spoke with him for a while, and eventually decided that there was not much point in going into detention, and Jimmy had not yet put it down, and so after roll call, down first to Prices, the glass people, and got myself a groundglass for the fantastic prices of 1/6d, and then down to Gray's, where I met Allen. After checking at the Camera Centre (and getting my NP10), bought some FP4 at Grays, and back to the school again to load them into slides. Should be fun, Also dished a VP (I suppose) for Atkins, and then to music practice. Saw Cynthia Beatt in 2nd prep.


Thursday, 3 November 1966 KCT.
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So begins another day with frost, which I decided to record on gelatin coated glass, and so down with all this old-fashioned equipment, and discovered that I had been let down by the most old-fashioned of all, the Weston Master V, which was on the blink. Guessed the exposure in the end.

After breakfast, over to the san[sanatorium], where I had my crèpe bandage removed, and did not bother to have another one put on, as it seemed to have been of little use.

After assembly, the usual nothing to do in all my hundreds of study periods. Letter from Mum who is thinking of bringing me home PDQ, and I am glad for it. I have had this place well and proper.

Changed into my suit for the Peter Harvey memorial service this afternoon, which was requested of[sic] the Headmaster after assembly.

After break, not even any music to keep boredom away. Strolled about a bit, and then to the science library.

Pad in in the 5th period, and, frustrated because he could not shout in front of Sue Deane, blew me up again for having photographic equipment in the science library. Thank God, I will not have to put up with him much longer.

After lunch, typed out some letters for Aston, and then into the Sheldon room, which, to my surprise, was deserted, to see an article in “The Listener” about German Universities, which Daisy Daw had recommended to me, and found it singularly irrelevant. Still, what they did have to say about it was quite reassuring.

Then to the PVH memorial service—his middle name, rather to my surprise, was Vernon, not Vincent. Ah well. One dies, and another learns.

That lasted for about the anticipated half-hour, and then out, while Allen took a photo of me with an ancient (also c. 1920) Brownie Box camera (“Hold still ... face the sun ... ker......lick—that's it”).

Then to a music practice, in which I beat up Watson, to the detriment of both our instruments, which, despite all, did not go too badly, and then off to a rather late tea.

This must have been the time I damaged the bottom joint of my flute. I had thought it was Hazlehurst, not Watson. Whoever it was, he was playing a cello.

After tea, to the common room, where Allen was having a go at taking my Sunpak apart, and it quite a nicely built instrument. I had a go at the resistor which had been melting the bottom, and lifted it up a bit. I hope that has cured that.

Then up to the science library, and stayed there for a while, doing nothing active. Soon down to the common room.

Prep was pretty well wasted—I am trying to find something to spend the money I have in the bank in.[sic] Music practice at 2115 hrs.


Friday, 4 November 1966 KCT.
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Life much as ever this morning—one hopes I shall soon be rid of this monotony and be able to get home and do something constructive.

After assembly, decided that I ought to write a letter to Jenny, and so started doing so, though various restricting factors came into play. It is difficult to write a very impassioned letter to somebody who admits that she does not care much for you, and this is the problem which I had to face today. Several times I had to give it up because I could not face it.

My study period wanderings are becoming consequently more frequent, and I was all over the place this morning—even to the main library, and later the common room, trying to find a road from Calcutta to Calais. I am still rather set on this of idea of Dad and me driving this route. I feel that it is about time that both of us escaped this monotony somewhat.

Then break, which was bitterly cold, and into a music room to keep warm, though to do little else.

After break, finished off my letter to Jenny, and wrote up my diary, which along with conversations with Rees and Rick, took up most of my time.

During lunch line-up, was called out by Jimmy, who told me that I was free to leave this place as soon as I wanted to, though he would like to know what was happening.

After lunch, house part song practice, which did not go too badly, and then up to the science library, where Pad was having a purge, and blew me up while he was at it, and threatened to beat me up. If he just tries, he will really have it coming to him.

I didn't get on with Padfield, but I don't recall any animosity of this nature. Clearly a teacher was not allowed to lay hands on a pupil, not even in those days, except in very clearly defined situations. If he had tried, he would, indeed, have had it “coming to him”.

Then to instrumental practice, which did not go too badly, and then over to Stoneleigh to purge my trunk, which has been floating about for some time, and was helped by various scavengers. Nevertheless had to throw a lot of my stuff away, and ended up with only a little of what I started with.

After that, no time for tea. Yellow said he wanted to buy my teleconverter, and so I offered it to him for £5, but, although he at first accepted this price, he later changed his mind. Pity. I could do to get rid of that thing.

Then trying to contact Bev, but no go, and so could not send a telegram either.

To chemistry, where we did little, and off to change into my suit after that, and then into the phone room again, and got Bev. Trunk OK, but they can't put me up.

House music competition—did not do too well in the part songs: came 4th. After supper, 3rd in the instrumental (should have been 2nd or 1st), and 1st in the Union (shock!). 3rd in the end: Fox won.

The “Union“ (if I can read my own writing correctly) was a chorus of the whole house. That's the only part I remember, that we won. Fox was Bishop Fox house (we were Carpenter).


Saturday, 5 November 1966 KCT.
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And on goes life—I suppose things will soon begin to hot up somewhat, though there seems at the moment little sing of it.

No mail in the morning, which did not unduly worry me, although I suppose it should have, considering the circumstances, and so after assembly just up into the science library, tidied up my study place somewhat, and wrote up my diary. Then along to the tuck shop, where Mrs. Smith was already present, and got her to cash a couple of cheques for me, one for sending a telegram to Mum and another for White, who wants cash for the camera he sold me last night.

After that, sent off my telegram to Mum, very cryptically. I had to pay for it myself, on the assurance that it would get there round about tomorrow morning local time—in other words, about 2400 hrs tonight, which seemed reasonable enough to me for 20/- [£1] for 21 words.

In break, White up, having changed his mind about the camera, damn him. I will not go any higher.

Chemistry after break, and turned up, and on with the estimation of nitrogen I started two weeks ago, and it looks as if the most difficult part is weighing accurately 0,08 gm of KNO₃, which I did to the nearest 0,00005 gm on Clod's analytical balance. That is a terribly accurate thing, but each weighing took ¼ hour.

After lunch, to room 27, where we elected Allen onto the phot. soc. committee, unanimous but for one abstention, and then to the study room to read about the new 85/4,5 Achromatic Takumar and the 19/5 Super-Takumar. Interesting. During games to the Wireless Club, where, without much success, I had a go at finding out what was wrong with the PCR. The signal seems to vanish round the detector stage.

After that, to the science library, and did little for a while, but eventually down to tea, where Snowden gave me a reply to my telegram. Quick work! The channels must be empty today, or something. Mum wants me to stay until I get her letter, with explicit instructions, which should be convenient.

After roll call, down town, returned slide rule catalogues and library books, and bought an LIR at Grays. Should be useful.

Did little when I got back—to the Wireless Club again for a while, and left it as a bad job. Will look at it again when I am in Germany, no doubt.

After supper, driving test (written), and then practical pyrotechnics in the chemistry labs. Never seen a thermit reaction before.


Sunday, 6 November 1966 KCT.
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A good way, I suppose, to start off a day of colour printing, or for that matter, any day, is to sleep in through breakfast. However, as luck would have it, today Jimmy Edwards decided to turn up, and noticed that I was not there—damn him. That fellow is just too keen.

After I finally got up, to the science library to breakfast, and before at all long was plagued by Allen, to do various things, and so into the darkroom to see what we could set up for printing before chapel, which was not all that much, though doubtless it was fairly helpful. I only hope this does not become a forgotten art when I leave.

After chapel, which, thank God, did not last to long, up to the darkroom again, and there got hold of the stuff, and made a few test strips off Cookson's CX 126, which was rather unpleasant, and after a while, managed to get about 3 more or less presentable prints.

After lunch, up again, and after the usual settling down period, tried a go with the same filtration on some of my CE negs, and they came out too green, so pulled 50 magenta out of the pack, and, to my surprise, got a pretty good print, so after talking another 10 magenta and cyan out, rattled them off. Those shots at the MAHA were pretty good—the orchids were really marvellous, considering that i did it all myself. I get the feeling that these are as good as the average commercial print—or at least, the better ones are, but I am keeping the not-so-hot ones because I can't afford to throw them all away.

This carried me on through the outside period, rattling the prints off—thank God one does not have to reassess the colour balance for each print—though as we went along they got more and more cyan, either due to developer exhaustion, or to the film itself, though I suspect the former. I shall have to get myself a Pavelle set, though I have heard some nasty things about the paper. Still, if I did not like it, I could always change it.

After finishing my stuff, off to the changing room to wash my hair and have a shower, and then back to collect the rest of my prints. That place stinks of HCHO.

After makan, had too much to do to attend the Sheldon Society meeting, and in to the darkroom, developed my 3 FP4s, and then had a go at Paul's TXP, and the latter came out quite well, especially the ones I guessed.


Monday, 7 November 1966 KCT.
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And now life takes yet another turn, and many more factors come into play. Received an airletter from Mum, saying little except that I was confirmed on the VC10 to KL on the 17th, though they might need to make it the 24th—at which I sware violently. Also a registered letter chit from the Bursar's office, which was conveniently closed. More swearing.

After assembly, along to the Bursar's office, and got the largest airletter I have ever seen—$[Malaysian]14.65 worth of stamps on it, including registration. Up to the science library and spent first period trying to orientate[sic] myself, and eventually got round it. Consisted of my university application forms and all I had to do was to arrange a few documents. The thing that worries me is that she says it might take so long that I would not be able to make the flight on the 17th. It looks as if I could get it done almost immediately. Over to the study room, and translated my curriculum vitae [presumably into German]. Then got my academic record sheet from Slob, who blew me up and threatened to throw me out while he was at it. Then over to the study room, and completed the curriculum vitae.

After lunch, over to see Tyson about the curriculum vitae, after ascertaining the Shitters would not certify my 'A' levels, but wanted Pentney to do them. Then to see Pen's secretary, and told her what I wanted, and she said she would have it ready by the evening.

Then found Paul Callow, and, after preparation, off to visit Mrs. Chaffey, and she again had little for us to do. She seems afraid to ask us to do too much for her, and was quite content with getting us to tidy up the budgie's cage, and chop a couple of logs for her, though Paul insisted on vacuuming her living room for her.

After that, the usual tea—possibly the last I shall have here—and then washed up, and went down town.

First to the Post office, where I unsuccessfully tried to get some international reply coupons, and then to Gray's, even more in vain looking for Pentax flanges, and to a travel agents[sic], where they told me that the VC10 was flight BA796, ETD London 1445 hrs 17/XI, ETA KL 1525 hrs, 18/XI.—very quick, probably because there are only 3 stops.

In those days Western Malaysia was in a time zone UTC+7:30, so that was a total time of 17 hours. After fighting my way through the British Airways web site on 4 January 2012, I discovered that they apparently no longer fly direct from London to Kuala Lumpur. The flight via Hong Kong takes a total of 17:15 hours. Malaysia Airlines has a non-stop flight leaving LHR at 22:00 and arriving the next day at 18:20, or a total time of 12:20 (West Malaysia is now UTC+8:00). The shorter time is mainly due to the lack of stops on the way.

Back, bought 18 IR coupons, and to the library to find out the geographical relationships of Hamburg, Lüneburg and Bergedorf.

Then back, got my 'A' level certified copies, and took them over to Tyson, and then tried to type out my curriculum vitae in vain.

2nd prep, Russian. I wish that bloke would get a move-on.


Tuesday, 8 November 1966 KCT.
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And on goes life. I am only glad that it will not be long until I am out of this place, and forever gone. Why should I even bother to join the O.A. Club?

In fact, they decided I wasn't eligible.

Letter from Mum after breakfast, or rather a copy of a letter from Mum to Pentney. She misunderstood my cable on Saturday to imply that I was leaving here whether she liked it or not, and was not at all happy about the situation. Also a letter from Jenny, written at the same time, and postmarked the same time. What a laugh.

It's really surprising how fast the mail was from Malaysia (and also from Australia) to the UK in those days.

After assembly, little time to arrange anything before we had divvers, in which the chaplain finished the story of the people of Judea.

After that, over to the dormitory, and on with my curriculum vitae, and got the beginning of the page started.

After break, did little in the study period. It is hardly worth the time to go over to the dormitory.

Chemistry, and did little else. I am getting bored.

Coffee in the Sheldon room after lunch, and a bit of fun there, though not much, and I am fed up generally with the place. It is going to the dogs.

Then down to the Front Hall, and waited for Mrs. Lewis, and off for my R.A.C. test, and she had had the clutch adjusted, and when I started, the thing jumped off and stalled. Fine way to start an exam, but she let me off it on the grounds that it had, once again, been adjusted. Down East Reach way, and eventually on the way to Bridgwater, but unfortunately stopped before we got on the dual carriageway. Back into town, and in one of the suburbs she tested me on reversing and hill starts, and then off again into town, where she told me she had discerned only 3 faults, and one was allowed up to 20 before one was failed—so I have passed with flying colours, which pleases me somewhat.

This was the RAC “Junior Driver” programme, in conjunction with the Institute of Advanced Motorists, designed to produce better drivers than required by the UK authorities. At this time I didn't have a UK driving license—I didn't get that for some years—but I had a Malaysian one, which was apparently valid in the UK.

It's interesting that I didn't note here what I remembered later: she did consider failing me because I didn't drive fast enough on the open road. Clearly she didn't think it a serious enough problem. If I recall correctly, I didn't go above about 40 mph (65 km/h).

Back in, and working on my curriculum vitae, and in comes Jimmy and demands to know why I was in there. I am getting fed up with that bloke—he is just looking for trouble. On with my curriculum vitae, and finished the first page in all its copies before tea.

In 6th period, over to he dormitory, and told Mum all about what I would be doing, and asked about leaving on the 177th—after all, I have plenty of time.

Then over to the study room, and spent my time reading the B.J. and eating Yel's twiglets, and then posted my letter.

Little as ever in prep.


Wednesday, 9 November 1966 KCT.
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And on, on, on, and on, without anything to break the unending monotony. I am so in a rut, I hardly have the energy to do anything about getting myself out of it. Oh, just to be back in Malaysia. I am dreaming of it most of the time, and since (I may as well admit it) I am as good as done with Jenny, I had better start dreaming about some beautiful girl whom I shall meet there, or on the way over, who will be mad about me.

After assembly, to the science library, and just wrote up my diary and got a few envelopes into which to put my University applications, and then to German, where, fortunately, Tyson did not complain that I had not done my prose. Good. It is also rather convenient that he needed my Russian. I hope I can be out of here by the weekend if at all possible, though I may have to postpone it until Monday.

Then over to the dormitory, and before break finished my curriculum vitae, and then out for break, after which I went back up again, typed out the envelopes, and put everything in except the photos.

Over to the science library, where I got the OK from Hess to do the passport photos this afternoon.

Hess was Mr. Hessey, the lab assistant. The darkroom was at one end of the physics labs, next door to the science library where I had my study place. We were allowed to use the darkroom during the weekend, but not normally during the week.

In the Sheldon room after lunch, and had my cup of coffee. I think that, at last, the correct balance has been attained., though I fear they will not be able to maintain this balance through the year—not that this will have much effect on me, of course.

Just to make a nuisance of himself, Pad had members of various school games packing “Aluredians” in the physics labs, and so I could not go into the darkroom. Instead, wrote a letter to Sandy, from whom I received a letter at lunch time, and after a while, considering the coast clear, and having ascertain that Pad was not around, went into the darkroom and rattled off 15 passport prints of myself—would have only done 12, but unfortunately double exposed one, and so had to make some more.

After that, back to complete my letter to Sandy. She seems, amongst other things, to be a fully-fledged model now. I must take some photos of her.

Finally the prints were dry, and guillotined them down to size, and shoved them into the envelopes, sealed them, and down to the post office, where I spent half an hour sending them off. Eventually got it done, but not before I had been told that the TCC had something for me (by Allen), but this was not so, and so down for nothing. Bought some Mn-alkali batteries at Grays, and then back to school with Yel and Dais.

Thank God the University forms are off!


Thursday, 10 November 1966 KCT.
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Oh, if something does not happen soon, I am going to go mad! The boredom of this place is slowly, but equally surely, driving me crazy! Letter today, if one could call it that, from Popular Photography informing me that my subscription had only 2 months to go. I did not time it badly, did I? Shall I continue with it when I go to Germany, or change it to Modern? It is a difficult choice indeed.

After assembly, to the science library, to do nothing. Oh, to get out of the boredom, and once again do something constructive. It is about time I started packing my belongings together, I suppose—I will have to leave here at short notice.

I suppose it is not surprising that what I have been writing in here lately seems a lot of repetitive rubbish, since it is about all I am thinking of lately.

After break, to music, and once again heard the 4th Brandenburg Concerto—not that I minded much, although it sounds terrible with flutes.

Then back again to the science library, where thanks to the efforts of Ron and Rick, I got nothing much done.

After lunch, up to the Sheldon room, and spent all of rest up there, showing some of the Eastmancolor photos that I had recently printed around.

At the time, Eastmancolor was compatible with Kodacolor, and we bought it in bulk as offcuts from film crews.

After that, into the science library for a while, and decided that the common room might be a safer place, so down there to Allen's study place, looking in vain for his Readers Digest, and eventually, as often before, searched out his Pentax and compared it with mine.

His Pentax was in fact my old SV, which I had sold to him earlier in the year.

One thing that does strike me as different in the two cameras: the register of the Spotmatic is the tiniest fraction shorter, which is probably convenient from the point of view of focussing on infinity, since I remember having trouble with the SV and some long lenses. I wonder if there is any more significance than this in it. Also got hold of the Yel's camera, and confirmed that this also had the same register as mine.

Then over to the dormitory to get some stuff, back to the science library, taking some photos of some rugger players on the way, and then back over to Stoneleigh for a music lesson—the last I will have here, I expect—and that lasted just a little bit longer than usual in order to finish off the Weber Concertino [for clarinet], and then back over to the science library, and decided to execute the long-promised purge on my music, and managed to knock it down to about 40% of what I started with. Then took the pile of rejects and dropped it on Aston's study place. Did, as usual, little in prep, and doubtless will not have this problem much longer.


Friday, 11 November 1966 KCT.
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The unending monotony of life bores me. Thank God I have little longer to wait.

After breakfast, no mail—I was half expecting a telegram from Mum and Dad, but admittedly the chances were rather slim. Over to the dormitory to make my bed, as I had not done it yesterday.

After assembly, into the science library, and for once got [this diary] written up for the day before pretty quickly, and then started considering what I should do about packing my belongings together, and started a bit of preliminary packing with this in mind, and got a fair bit done. When one has everything in the school to consider, it is doubtless difficult to remember everything, and I am rather worried that I will leave something important behind at the last moment.

After that, break was on us, with Simon Atkinson's help. I am getting a bit fed up with people who keep saying, “What, haven't you left yet?”.

After break, wrote a letter to Jenny, and told her that I would probably be leaving tomorrow, and coming indirectly to stay with her, but would contact her first.

After lunch, was sitting fairly peacefully in the science library when up came Allen and demanded me to type out the new darkroom rules, which I decided to do, adding what I thought should be there as well, including the new things about darkroom bookings, and put up a notice, in Allen's name, to the effect that the bookings had all been changed, and would people please rebook.

Then to the common room, and managed to drag out his Reader's Digest, and spent the whole of the outside period reading this and messing around with Allen's SV. I am now more or less convinced that the SP is a better camera than the SV, though admittedly there is little in it.

After that, outside again, and to the science library, and thence to tea, talking with Allen. I am going to leave this school, and with it, a greater part of the West Country, with rather mixed feelings. I am not, however, that unhappy about the present state of affairs.

Allen removed the notice, involving a fight in which I nearly gave him a black eye. That would have been a nice going-away present.

Chemistry, in which I did very little. The work is pointless, seeing as though I will no longer be doing it.

Further tidying up in prep, and had half-term report in 2nd. Wrote also to Cheng Wui.


Saturday, 12 November 1966 KCTExeterTavistockHorrabridge
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And so draws my stay at this place to a close at last, thank God! I don't know how I would have been able to hold out until the end of term, especially with Jimmy pushing his nose into everything I (and, for that matter, everybody else) did.

After breakfast, desperately hoping for a telegram to come with the mail—after all, it was already a long time since the mail had arrived in K.L. Unfortunately, none was forthcoming.

After assembly, decided that, nevertheless, I would soon be out of this place, and so got packing in earnest, and in a few trips changed entirely the appearance of my study place, from the unspeakable mess that it was yesterday, to a completely different, but equally unspeakable mess.

After break, chemistry, and another telegram from Douglas, who was a bit upset when I told him that it was to the effect that I should go and stay with Jenny. While my steam source was warming up, I went and told Jimmy, and later Pen, neither of whom seemed the least worried by the fact that I was leaving. Good for them.

After finishing titration, over to the dormitory and discard for the last time my school blazer, and put on my suit, and over to lunch.

More intensive packing after lunch, and a few scavengers (in the form of Yel and Will Perryman) came up. Then over to the science library for the final stage of the purge, and got Dave Hargrave to buy me some coffee while he was there.

Then carrying my trunk over to Stoneleigh, and while I was at it, tore my hand apart on a sharp bit of metal, and over to the san to have it stuck back together again. The did not do a very good one, but nonetheless, one sufficient unto the day, and so called a taxi, and after collecting all my stuff together, off to the station, with Paul Callow, who had decided to come down and see me off. After dumping my barang on the appropriate platform, back down town, and to a chemists, where they rebandaged my hand for me for free, and did quite a good job at it, and then to the Camera Centre and eventually bought myself a Paterson negative file, which is doubtless better than my ordinary 10×8 file, which was not wide enough. Also, of course, it provided a source of refills. Rang Mrs. Andrew up from the station, nor was she very pleased to hear from me, but said she would put me up for the night. Found £90 on the train, and was later picked up a few stations further on.

At the Andrews, Bev did not appear very pleased to see me, and made out that I was smelly, etc. I am getting fed up with her. Rang the Halletts—OK to continue.


Sunday, 13 November 1966 Horrarbridge → Plymouth → Bristol → Portsmouth → Ryde → Greenwood
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I most sincerely hope that today will be one of the last Sundays, if not the last Sunday, that I ever entrust my transport to British Railways and other Government controlled organisations. It is a wonder that this country is not already bankrupt, if the attitude in the railways is anything to go by.

Woken up round about 0900 by William, having spent a very cold night—dear old Bev gave me, I think, either one or two blankets, and this place has no central heating.

Down eventually for breakfast, and Bev had put me at the ping-pong table. I am eventually getting thoroughly fed up with her. It is really a bit much, the way she goes about playing me down the way she does. Had breakfast, and then on Mrs. Andrew's suggestion, down to take a couple of photos of the garden, which is quite nice. Back up again, and having arranged to catch the 1010 bus, Mr. Andrew took me down to the bus stop in his car, and then caught the bus to Plymouth. Eventually got to Plymouth Bus Station, and caught another bus to the station, stopping en route for our 2 minutes' silence, and then on to the station, where I got my ticket, and discovered that the first train left at 1340, so back into town to take a couple of photos, and had just taken one when I was caught in a rainstorm. Down town to look for something to eat, walked into a lamp post, and messed up the tilt lever on my tripod head.

Back at the station, managed to get my camera case stuck on the end of my tripod column. Ran up Bev, and she has forged today's date on the cheque I gave her yesterday, dated 25/XII [apparently without my permission]. Wrote a note to Lloyds Bank, Tavistock, and hope it gets there.

Eventually off on the train, and fairly quickly off to sleep, and woke at Newton Abbot, as the train became crowded, and had to relinquish my hold on the compartment. By the time we got to Bristol Temple Meads, there were 8 people in the compartment.

Long wait at Temple Meads, and tried, to little effect, to take advantage of the advertised injunction “Don't just stand there—eat something!” That joke in Punch is very true—the one of the girl biting her nails.

Eventually, after much argument, caught the 1850, which was running 43 minutes late. I was quite agitated, as I had only 44 minutes on my itinerary for my change at Portsmouth. Reading “On the Beach”, by Nevil Shute, which was very interesting.

Got into Portsmouth in plenty of time, and caught a taxi to Greenwood. All in bed, but Paul got up again. Crawled in through his window while he was looking for me without. Had some makan, and bedded down in the lounge.


Monday, 14 November 1966 Greenwood
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A farmer's day is long and begins early, as I was reminded by Paul coming in and recommending that I get up. Lay in bed for a while, thinking, and then it occurred to me that it was gone 0700 hrs, and so took Paul's advice, got up, and in to wish Mrs. Hallett good morning, and wait for Jenny to get up.

Eventually this lass obliged, and complained of having a cold—she always seems to have a cold, but insists that she almost never has them when I am not here. Ah well—I am sure that I can survive. I shall have to see if she gives it to me this time.

After breakfast, down with her to see her off to school, and then down town to look for a ball and socket head—Boots had quite a good one, but then to Holiday Snaps, and there they actually had a pan and tilt head, quite a good one, for £1-15-0—Velbon. Had a look at a Rowi elsewhere, but it was twice as expensive and half as good. Ah well. It is just too bad. Back to the house, and hung around there for a while, and then back, and with my 3pod to check that it would fit. Also with cable release, which has completely had it now, but will have to refer to the distributors.

Back to the house again, and did little there. It is rather boring sitting about the house when both Paul and Jenny are away.

Had lunch quite early, as Mr. Hallett had an appointment at a back specialist's in Shanklin at 1400hrs, and then into the lounge, after helping Mrs. Hallett with the washing up, and settled into “On the Beach” again. This is a most wonderfully absorbing book—I find it difficult to put it down once I start, and this time sat there the whole afternoon reading how the world died out towards the end of August 1963. It is rather unfortunate, I feel, that Nevil Shute had to date the book so soon in the future, but I suppose it was necessary in order to point out the moral of the thing. After all, even Orwell's “1984” will soon (well—18 years: we hare halfway there, as it was written in 1948) be out of date.

After that, down to meet Jenny. This climate is rather irritating: the sun set at about 1610, and consequently by the time Jenny's bus arrived, it was for to dark for any hand-held work with my NP10.

Back home, while Jennie complained bitterly that we had to wait for Paul before having makan.

Eventually returned Paul, while Jennie and I were messing around with recorders in the lounge room. Had makan shortly thereafter, and then disappeared Jennie to do her homework. Boy—do they work her hard at that school! Still, I suppose all is well, and she eventually emerged and entrusted herself to my arms. She is a little less reserved than 2 weeks ago, though took my comment about her daydreams a little hard.


Tuesday, 15 November 1966 Greenwood
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Unfortunately the weather did not hold out so well today—it looked rather grotty when, at about 0800 hrs, I woke up of my own accord, and quickly staggered (if such a movement is possible) out of bed, and without attempting to lacerate my face, into the kitchen, where, ironically, Jenny was not yet up, and eventually down came she, too, saying that her cold was worse than ever, and that I was bound to catch a cold from her. Nevertheless, she let me do my best to catch it, but to no apparent avail.

Ann was late for school, but not so Jennie—said something about being late back—dancing lessons, or something.

To Holiday Snaps again, and there bought a couple of EX135-36s, as this country is now (surprisingly) one of the cheapest places in the world for colour films. Did a Victor Blackman—changed films without losing a pace[?], and then back to Greenwood with intent to go to Brading, and get some photos, but the weather got progressively worse, and eventually I decided to sit it out throughout the morning, as little else would have been possible. Anyway, in 3 days I shall be in KL, so all will be well.

Makan as usual—I feel a little out of place with just Mr. and Mrs. Hallett there.

After lunch, requiring some money, decided to go down to the bank. However, Mrs Hallett said that she would be shortly going in with the car, so did the drying up for her, and then into town in the car, and got out £2··10··0, and down to the station to buy myself a ticket, and back to mess around the town for a while before returning to the car at 1530hrs, at which time Mrs. Hallett was due back, but did not arrive until 1540.

Picked up Ann [who was about 11], and later waiting at the bottom of the lane hearing her views on growing up while Mrs. Hallett paid a visit on a friend.

Then up to the house, which was not very much use, as there was nobody else there, and so sat around playing my flute for a while, and watching TV, and hoping that Jennie would come soon.

Eventually both she (wet) and Paul back, and, after she had dried off somewhat, in to have tea (which is now more like the Australian or Scottish meal of that name). Ah, Jennie—art thou not a paradox? I wish I could fathom her—though I suppose that, were I to do so, she would lose much of her charm, and that it would not really be worthwhile.

Then after tea, in went Jenny to do her homework, and said that she would not be long, and proceeded to spend 3 hours at it, and then required my help. Still, she more than made it up for me after, though she insisted on having a bath as well. Spoke to Paul in the lounge about cars and flash synchronising cords.

Oh Jenny—if only I knew what to do about you!


Wednesday, 16 November 1966 Greenwood → Ryde → Portsmouth → London
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Up at as normal a time as ever this morning, once again before Jenny, and was for a while rather afraid that her cold had now worsened to the extent where she would not get up, for, I could see her sitting there in bed. It proved, however, that he was just doing her homework, and shortly later got up. I knew that she would have to do this, though she denied it, when I suggested it to her last night. Even managed to get Paul up—he wanted to come and see me off, apparently.

At the station, discovered I had lost my ticket, and had to buy a new one. Jennie gave me a Christmas present—a torch, apparently, though I did not open it. But it glowed when I squeezed it. I wonder what she thought I would need that for. Still, it's the idea that counts.

Crossing was very windy, and got myself covered in spray before admitting defeat and going below.

Caught the slow train to Victoria, which got me in at about 1255hrs, and discovered (or rather, jogged a very old memory) that the BOAC terminal is almost next door to Victoria Station. Left my barang in a left luggage locker (at 20¢ a go, and up to see what went on at Victoria.

The reference to 20¢ may be an indirect way of saying that I used Malaysian coins in the machine. The 5¢, 10¢ and 20¢ were the same size and weight as the British 6d, 1/- and 2/- coins respectively, but they were worth about a quarter of the value.

When I had satisfied myself that I would have no trouble with excess barang, off to a nearby Wimpy bar, and had lunch. Then walked to Piccadilly Photo, who, rather disappointingly, could not supply me any tubes for Pentax. To Burlington camera centre, where they told me that my Bolex was in lousy shape, and that it was not even worth repairing, and to demonstrate this compared it with an overhauled C8. They are right—but does motor inefficiency make much odds?

To Wallace Heaton, after ascertaining at Campkins that the Leicaflex diaphragm was completely different from the Pentax. At the former had a 1½ hour argument about the tubes, and came to several conclusions, not the least of which was that some f/1.4 S-Taks are not good enough on their own—though he failed to produce any sign of this on mine.

Then to DPS, where I bought another 25 ft of CE, as he tells me they may run out of the stuff. Was told that an SP f/1.8 costs £28··10··0 in Japan. They can't cost more than £20 to make.

Then to Tavistock Square, to see Cheng Wui, and had makan there as a guest of Cheng Wui's, and he suggested that I spend the night there, and so (with the loan of a season ticket) to Victoria, and checked in my big bag, and took the other one back. Did little apart from that—at Piccadilly circus looking for a toothbrush, and in the evening writing a few letters. Cheng Wui wants me to post some for him in K.L. Considering how far we have come in 10 years.


Thursday, 17 November 1966 London → (+1 hr) Beirut → (+3½ hrs)
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Rather a restless night, not surprisingly for this time of the year with no pajamas and just a blanket over me. Still, I slept far better than would I have done had I stayed in a Wimpy bar or at Victoria Air terminal. Apart from waking up cold a couple of times in the night, all went well.

Got up, etc, and then smuggled my barang out with Cheng Wui's help, and off to Russell St. tube station, and wended my way as best I could to Victoria, and blew another 20¢ on left luggage, and then proceeded to disengage myself from the rush hour traffic (which was just beginning) and up past Buckingham Palace, where I blew a lot of EX, and eventually ended up, by way of Trafalgar and Leicester Squares, in Lisle St., and tried in vain to get some NiCd batteries before continuing through Soho to Oxford St., and decided to pay a visit to the GPO tower. When I finally got there, discovered that the restaurant (where I could have had some breakfast) did not open until 1230hrs, and so up to the viewing galleries. Not a very good day for photography, though.

Back to Oxford St., and had brunch at my favourite Wimpy Bar, and then down aimlessly to Oxford Circus, and to Schott's, where after some deliberation, I bought a Loeillet sonate (G-moll), and off to Victoria to collect my barang, and thence to the terminal, where I checked myself in and caught an early bus (7/-, damn it) to London airport. Taking some photos there while I was waiting, and a rather officious deputy superintendant came up and told me I was not allowed to use a 3pod. That baffles me. Ban a camera, OK, but why a 3pod? How many 3pods have ever taken incriminating or restricted photos? Eventually got away with it, on condition that I would not use the slides for commercial purposes.

On the flight, eventually, and not many passengers, so that I managed to spread out quite easily—seat next to me was empty, and on the other side of that was a pregnant chinese girl going to Singapore for Christmas.

Eventually off, a little late due to some delayed connecting passengers. These planes are quite a bit roomier even than the Comet, and far more so than the Boeing. Still, not enough to make me want to fly the VC10 in preference to the other two—though the Comet is fast becoming a plane of the past, unfortunately.

At the time I had not realized that the amount of space in a plane was a decision made by the operator. The Boeing 707s I had been on were charter planes, and thus much more cramped. This was a commercial flight.

Makan en route, which was quite good. Got into a bit of a mess over the booze—forgot that we have to pay for it with IATA, and was broke. Eventually they wrote it off as a bad job.

Arrived in Beirut at 1910 hrs [apparently GMT], and stayed about an hour, though they suggested the usual ¾. Back on board, had a drink, and then off to grab what sleep I could before Bombay, where we ...


Friday, 18 November 1966 → Bombay → Colombo → +2 hrs K.L.
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... arrived at 0050 hrs [GMT]/6.20 am, just at dawn, as I had guessed. Even in winter, the temperature was 22°. Missed a wonderful photo of the dawn in against the tailplane, as photography (with cameras) is forbidden here. I expect they would confiscate a 3pod on sight.

Off therefrom, on a very short flight to Columbo[sic], and as a result had little chance to get any sleep—only about 2¼ hours, and we had to have breakfast in that time, so by the time that farce was over and done with, we were coming down again to Columbo, where we eventually arrived at 0400 hrs [GMT], and it had just been raining. Tried to change some dollars [presumably Malaysian] to send a postcard to Jenny, but I only had coins, and they wanted notes, so no go.

Eventually up again, en route to K.L., and were served rather a grotty goat schnitzel for lunch—nearly everybody left it—and then I moved my barang and myself to the vicinity of the door (I suppose one would call it that), and managed to get pretty quickly off to sleep, for the odd hour and a half, before we started descending to come in to K.L., and the change in cabin pressure woke me up.

Once on the ground, out as fast as I could get, and then through immigration, which was a bit of a nuisance—have to report to the immigration authorities within the month, and get further permission to stay. Through customs with my hand baggage on the understanding that I could collect my case after, and out to where Mum and Dad were waiting for me, and had my conversation with them until I saw my bag floating about, and declared it, and the bitch examining me made me go through the whole thing—first time I have ever been asked to open my cases anywhere. She must have been in a bad mood or something.

Then back home, stopping on the way at the Supermarket to buy some toilet requisites—that was rather a nuisance leaving my stuff behind at the Halletts.

Back home, little has changed. Mum and Dad apparently spent yesterday tidying up my room, and consequently were anxious that I should keep it in a tidy condition during my stay here. In fact, they seem pretty concerned generally—I do not seem to be allowed to do anything worthwhile. I am, apparently, to work at the office from Monday, and for the first week will not even be paid.

Over to the office, and there found a few terms of reference w.r.t. myself, which where not fun. Back home before I had time to comment on them, and by that time were all under the influence of a bad but potent Australian claret, which led us to no conclusion save that Dad [Norman] was Normal and Mum [Aud, short for Audrey] was definitely Odd.


Saturday, 19 November 1966 K.L. → Klang → K.L.
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I wish that, when I come back here from the West, it did not take me so long to adapt myself to the local time. This time, as usual, I woke up very early, at 0500hrs [presumably local time], and could not get back to sleep, so eventually up, washed my hair, and started writing a letter to Jenny explaining what had happened since I had arrive back, only yesterday.

Got hungry before too long, and out to raid the dapor, and found dozens of all kinds of nuts, and had about 6 walnuts before my conscience took over, and I went out to read the paper.

Eventually the rest of the family woke up, and the usual morning ritual, and then into the office, where Mum had plenty of last minute work to catch up with, and as I predicted, left a good 10 minutes late, and so speeded [sic] out to the airport and saw her off on the 042 to Kota Bharu, and then back. Dropped Dad at the office, and then to look for the AAM, but found it not. To Shell, looking for maps, but they could not help beyond telling me that the AAM was in the Chartered Bank building. Over there, and got some forms to fill in re our proposed journey from Madras to Calais (pity not Calcutta, but what's in a name?). Then to Yuens to have the horn adjusted, thence back home via the office.

After lunch, Eileen (who has suspected cancer of the breast) got me to take her down to the market, and while I was waiting, went to Eastern Photographers, and spoke about the Bolexes—they tried nonetheless to sell me a Canon Super 8 Reflex Zoom. Had a look at a B8LVS, but the meter had more kick in it than mine. But a 13/0,9 Switar!

To Vanguard to see about fixing my flash lead, but no go. Took Eileen back home, and over to the office, where, for my pains, I was allowed to run off 20 odd stencils—30 copies of each. This machine is decidedly less modern than the one at school, and the cheap paper they are using sticks to the equally cheap skins, making it impossible to turn the speed up without the things flying all over the place.

Then all left except Dad and I, and he finished a plan and tried to make a print of it. Used dyeline instead of diazo, so it did not come out, and the plan got stuck inside the machine, so that we had to take it apart.

Put it back together again, cut up some diazo, shoved some more NH₃ in the box, and, on the second attempt, got an acceptable print. Back home for tea and decided to go to the Lido [cinema] in Klang to see “Thunderball”, and so had a fairly early makan. The place was crowded out—these films are certainly popular. Lately Bond seems to have more women than ever.

Sateh in Campbell road on the way back.


Sunday, 20 November 1966 KL.
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And another day of rest comes and goes, without much of importance happening. If only this weather would clear up, I could go to the Lake Club and find myself a bird to get around with, but lately it just has not been worth it.

Up at 0800 hrs, more from force of habit than anything, but discovered pretty soon that even on Sundays, a daily trip to Subang was the order of the day, and checked with MAL to find out what time the plane from Penang, carrying Tommy Lim, would be arriving, and discovered we had a good 15 minutes to get dressed and out there, so belted it out as fast as we could go, and out, arriving only 7 minutes late.

Back again after giving Tommy Lim the drawings—I wish to God it would stop raining. Had the monsoon backfired, or what?

Then got home, carried on with my letter to Jennie, and thus until 1100hrs, when I took Theo to the vet, as he had managed to himself pretty mutilated last night, and had him sown together again. Discovered I did not have my wallet on me, and so back to the house to get it. Coming back again from the vet, nearly crashed a traffic light, but stopped from 60 mph in about 80 ft, which was pretty nerve-racking, and skidded slightly.

Lunch, as all good curries, was late, though not badly so, and it was quite an excellent meal—good old Eileen: she excelled herself.

The only real trouble with a curry is that it tends to put me to sleep, and by 1430, despite the coffee, both day and I, needing sleep anyway, succumbed to the influence, and of for a ziz. Woke up at 1600 hrs, with Bow Chong ringing Dad. Dad got up, and I back to sleep for another few hours. I have not had 8 hours sleep together for well over a week.

Up eventually at round about 1800 hrs, in one of these moods where I was more asleep than awake, and tried to have tea, and, at any rate, went through the motions pertaining thereto. Then did a bit of writing to Jenny while Dad did some work, and eventually we got round to discussion what to put in the AAM form, and while I was searching for relevant documents, tidied up the inside of the car, which had a hell of a lot of superfluous rubbish floating about.

Makan eventually, and watched a lot of TV afterwards, but it has gone down the drain. Not even “The Utter limit” for me to laugh at any more.

As late to bed as ever.


Monday, 21 November 1966 K.L.
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If I were that type of person (and I may well be—who knows?) I could look upon today as the beginning of my working life—the first day at my first job. But this is rather artificial, is it not?—for [text ends here]

Up with Dad at 0700 hrs, and he preparing for his trip to Penang, and fairly quickly over to the office, where Dad swore because he could not get into the cupboard which contained the specifications which he wanted to take up to Penang, so arranged that I would send 5 copies up to him afterwards. Then out to the airport, to have breakfast in a more complete style than we did at home, and to see Dad off to Penang. Then back to the office, and got the specs out, and discovered we were missing a page, which we had to run off on the Gestetner. Then finished off my letter to Jennie, and down to the Post office to post it, and also the parcel to the Penang office.

Then back to the office again, and very little remained to be done. Anna had asked me to do some copy typing before I left, had had done it herself by the time I got back, so I just hung around doing nothing until lunch time, and then back home where Eileen thought Dad would be coming home, and did not believe that he was in Penang. A letter awaited me from Sandy Schädel, and quite an amusing one at that, written at the office. A kindred spirit, even if she is a female and understands Jennie about this bloke (whom I am convinced is called Rupert Murdoch, though I see no reason why he should be). Said something about going manhunting over the weekend immediately past. Had makan and then back to the office, and started writing a letter in reply to Sandy, which was in much the same vein (I hope) as hers, and carried on thus for quite a while. Eventually got bored with this, and under some pretext or another, down town, and to the Lake Club, to see if there was anybody about there. Considering that it was pouring with rain, it was hardly surprising that there was not, but I was nonetheless disappointed. Where have all the young girls gone? The soldiers are disbanded, not graveridden, and mainly bachelors anyway. Will I have to wait until the middle of next month? I hope not. Then back home, after checking with Yuens that the Citroën was ready, and got a taxi there, and thence back to the office to serve out my time, when, at 1655, Anna asked me if I could stay back until 1730 to run off a print of a plan, and so obliged, and prolonged my letter to Sandy accordingly, and then Ramli was complaining about having to wait for the letters, and I offered to do them. Ran off the plan, and discovered that Anna was going to be ages yet with the letters, so off and had tea, rang her up, and left her to post them, and out to pick up Dad, who had had a rough trip back, owing to the lousy weather lately.


Tuesday, 22 November 1966 K.L.
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Ah, the rains have come! It seems as if it has been pouring with rain for the whole day non stop, though one realises that this is an illusion. Still, I absorbed a goodly amount of water.

Off to the offices as early as ever, and only Anna was there—the rest of the staff did not arrive until well after 0900 hrs, owing, doubtless, to the fact that they were swept away by the floods.

Eventually, however, people began to come in, and things slowly began to happen, but nothing much for me to do. As the horn was on the blink again, I started going over to Yuens, and it promptly came good again, but I carried on, and down Batu Road/Lane, and to Jubilee Book Store, and there bought this month's Modern Photography, presumably], which was singing the praises of High Speed Ektachrome type B, and some of the result of the improved film induced me to buy a roll, and so, with Dad's sanction, down to Eastern Photographers and beat them down to $8.50 from $9.50—not too good for a 20, and back again, soaked despite the payongs I had bought this morning. Up to the office, where everybody was going mad because the New Zealand Information Service had commissioned us to run off 1600 copies of a 5 pages newsletter (IBM/Lith) [IBM Composer typewriter, offset lithographical printing], and nobody knew how to use the monster. The Gestetner bloke was organised to come some time in the afternoon, so off home with Dad for a very quick makan, and then back to the office, where, eventually, the bloke turned up to continue setting the thing up, and explained a few points about it to use while he was at it. It seems now even more complicated than ever. I am very puzzled as to whether Ramli will ever get round to working the thing properly. Still, the best of luck to him. He will obviously need it.

Then out to Subang with Dad—how well I am getting to know that place. The weather, which Mum reckons was brought here by Dad, certainly seems to be going with him: the sun shone for just about the first time since I have been here, so I was feeling pretty happy coming back home—until I nearly knocked a damn fool cyclist, who was swinging all over the place, off his bike. Locked into one hell of a skid (at 80 [mph, 130 km/h], and missed him by about ¼ metre. He is lucky to be alive.

To the Lake Club, but was nobody there that I knew, so, down to the dog, and read a magazine, and then back to the office to finish a letter I was writing to Paul, and there the girls were going mad, trying to operate the IBM typewriter, but eventually got the thing going, and typed out the first page of the newsletter, and also rang up Mum, and I then back home, had makan, and, apart from ringing up Gurdip Singh, did nothing. Early to bed.


Wednesday, 23 November 1966 K.L.
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Another hectic day—this offbeat lithography will doubtless end up driving me mad, if what happened today is anything to judge by. Up at 0730, and the usual matinal messing around before going to the office, where singularly little was as yet to hand, so, after hanging around for a while, decided to write yet another letter, and this time chose on Lesley Cannings, as I had written to just about everybody else worth writing to. Wrote only an airletter form. I am not able to write so much to Lesley, as to, say, Jenny, presumably because of her lower intelligence. Still, I should not say such nasty things, even if the are only to be read by myself—which brings me to the question, why do I write my diary? It is, after all, a very large thing, and nobody is to read it but myself—or are they, and if so, who? Jenny has seen some of it, but is not likely to see much more; Dad, too, has read some, but will see little more; why, then? Oh, for a reasonable answer.

Down to the Pejabat Pos to post my letter to Lesley, and then to the Dog, to have a hamburger. Back to the office, and the bloke was just about ready to start printing, and managed, after tearing a few, to run off 650 before lunch, before he tore the master—did Munah swear!

Off for lunch, and then back again as quickly as possible, and helped Anna proof read the other masters, and then in came the blokes and started running off the other pages. Several things became evident in this time: this offbeat lithograph is a hell of a thing to operate, and it probably will take us 2 weeks to learn how to operate the thing. The paper masters are not all that they are cracked up to be: after about 500 copies, the print began to get lighter where it had been altered, owing to the print actually coming off the plate, and by copy 1700 the print was looking decidedly under the weather (though I doubt that anybody reading would notice).

Then gown to Greniers to buy some staples to bind the whole mess together with, and on the way back noticed lots of people down along Ampang road, apparently on strike picketing their (or, as I discovered later, in order to save face, each other's) firms, apparently because of a pay claim. But, with 1700 copies of the newsletter due tomorrow, no time to sit round and take photos, and so up, and painfully slowly stuck them together. There must be an easier way, though I have yet to find one as cheap.

Finally gave it up as a bad job, shortly after 1800 hrs, and back home for tea, and then into my room to do little, apart from a bit of music. After makan, to the Cathay, but discovered the wrong film was on, and spent half an hour trying to get out of the car park [where I had been parked in]

Little left to do in the evening, so another early night.


Thursday, 24 November 1966 K.L.
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I suppose, sooner or later, I could do with a lot more mail—it has been some time since I heard from Jenny, for instance.

Up at 0700hrs this morning in order to get over to the office early to get those newsletters stapled together. When, eventually, I got there, the whole place was locked up, and nobody about. Rather discouraging, to say the least. Out and to the Merlin service station, and back to examine the picketers, even now setting up outside the various buildings, and eventually up into the office, where Anna was by this time, and started stapling newsletters together, and before long, in came a Mrs. Partridge, whom apparently I met at David Wehl's [spelling?] a couple of years back, and helped me stick them together, and then, eventually, ran out of page 1's, and had to be satisfied with a total count of only about 1680 copies. Then I out, and down to Yuens, where I had the reflector replaced and finally got the horn not to work. They took the thing out, but declined to have it back in again before 1600hrs.

Then ascertained that Mum would be back on ML117 at 1325, and so back home for lunch, and then out to the airport. When the little DC3 got in, it was crowded with people from the court case, and we gave a lift to the plaintiff, H.W.Wong and his bodyguard, whom I heard of only as “Mighty”. He is an unlikely looking bloke for a bodyguard—probably a karate/judo expert.

Home eventually, after depositing them at a flat somewhere behind the Cathay, and Mum had already eaten, and was intent now only on seeing her animals and collapsing on her bed in the state of utter exhaustion, which one would expect of a woman of her age working 16 hours a day.

Then hung around the house, not being bothered to go to the office, while she told me all about the mess which this case was about. Wow—what a mess!

Over to the office eventually, despite all, and I stayed in as short a time as possible before going over to Yuens and having the horn replaced. It certainly sounds louder now, anyway.

Then back to the office, where Mum was talking clothes with Anna and Munah, and so I left them to it, and went back home and waited there for Mum to call me and tell me she was ready. Needles [sic] to say, she did not, and I phoned her just before the Flintstones began, when she said she was coming, and absolved myself of the duty. She came, after another prompting, only 40 minutes later.

Makan—satay and laksa. Pedas.


Friday, 25 November 1966 K.L.
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I can never understand wherefrom Mum gets all her energy—surely it can't all stem from that little tin of C₆H₁₂O₆? In any case, it takes me a good amount of effort to keep up with her. Admittedly, when I brought her tea in for her at 0715 she suggested that she would probably not be up before 0800 hrs, but she was up then and eventually (doesn't she take her time!) off to the office, where I had the usual nothing to do—boy, does it get boring here! After a while, she suggested that I run off 35 20"×30" dyeline contact prints of a contract drawing for the Muda River scheme, which I did—it is certainly a time-consuming job. Eventually, nevertheless, got it finished, and then off, with Mum's eventual sanction, to Eastern Photographers with the f/1,5 Canon lens. I wonder sometimes if it is worth it, even if they are doing it free. But Jenny might have some use of such lenses—who knows? Delivered a letter to Guthries first—funny in an office where the staff are all on strike—and then shouted hell out of Eastern Photographers, only to discover that they know nothing about it. Over to the Dog—no electricity, ∴ no hamburgers.

Then, almost as soon as I got back, was sent out to the airport to send off some air freight to David Marshall/Wong in the Chenderong Concession case, and the usual tali merah there, and back, picked Mum up, and home for lunch. Arguing about use of darkroom.

After that, back to the office again, and Mum got snaky about the mess int he drawing office, and I, being pretty snaky anyway, got snaky back, so all went with a nice degree of friction.

After that, off, and took Mum to the hairdresser, and then off to deliver some hand mail to Cheng & Wong in Bangkok Bank building, and off to Batu Road to have a look at some shoes. It is inconvenient having feet as big as mine, but there were a few about.

Then to the Lake Club, as Mum was due out of the beauty machine at 1720 hrs, and had a bite there. Back at that time, and was requested to wait at the Dog, which I did, ordering coffee (which puzzled the boss at teatime) and teacakes (which puzzled them even more). Eventually, at about 1810, Mum was her second self again, and down to Petaling St., where she had a bra to buy (or pair of bras, as she called them).

Home eventually via the Supermarket. Those things were designed for people like Mum. When I go there, I can't think of anything to buy, but she manages fine.

Dead evening. I wanted to go to the flicks, but Mum wanted company.


Saturday, 26 November 1966 K.L.
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Mum up not much earlier than usual today, despite the fact that she was due to fly up to Kuala Trengganu on the 1020hrs plane, but nevertheless we managed to get to the office by about 0820 hrs, and nobody turned up for quite a while, to Mum's understandable annoyance. Eventually, however, things began to happen, and we went ahead at the usual snail's pace with the mess that always seems to need cleaning up before anybody leaves this place.

As I predicted, Mum was 8 minutes late for our estimated 0920 T.D. (though by right it should have been 0935). Nevertheless, out and arrived at Subang in plenty of time, and there met Drs. Heidt and von Walther of the K.L. Goetheinstitut, and spoke with the latter about doing advanced German courses while I am here—after all, why wait until I go to Germany?

Back through P.J., as usual, but doing 80 [mph, 130 km/h] was stopped by a mata², who gave me what I thought was a ticket for doing 55, but when I got back home, it appeared only to be a warning. To Kodak's, where I tried to get some E2/E3 chemicals, but their stores were closed, and so to the office, where I finished a letter to Jenny Paton, and took that an a panel and some other letters down to the Pejabat Besar Pos, and then back home for lunch.

After lunch, just sat around reading “The Carpetbaggers”, and a very good book it is too, though remarkably earthy. The thing that astonishes me is that they got away with the language of Lady Chatterley without a murmur.

Eventually decided to ring Jill Goodwin and invite her out for the evening to see “Thunderball” in Klang, as she had expressed a wish to that in a game we played on the night I met her. No reply, though I tried 3 times, so off to see „Emil und die Detektive”—who would have thought they would make a film of that? It has been changed considerably, but not as much as some storied I have known. I rather like the girl who plays Pony Hütchen (I forget what they called her in the film). She is very nice.

Back home after that, and tried to ring Jill again, and at least found out this time that she, along with the rest of the family, was in P.D. So much for this evening, and so during tea, decided to go to Jacky's in Ampang Road and see what that was like.

Accordingly along after makan, and before long met Robert Bliſs, and spoke to him for a while, but did not get much in the way of women. Bloke passing round a marijuana cigarette—tried it without much effect. Met a girl called Debbie Smith-Mitchell who is not much to look at, but a possible.


Sunday, 27 November 1966 K.L.
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After last night, felt like a sleep in this morning, and though Eileen brought the tea in at 0830, I did not get up until 1000hrs, by which time it was decidedly lukewarm. Up, nonetheless for breakfast, and reading “The Carpetbaggers”, which I started yesterday. It is an interesting book, though all rather unlikely.

The sun shone brightly, and all seemed happy, and I looked with distaste at my white skin, and so over to the Golf club, changed, and planted myself on the sun deck. About 5 minutes later, the sun went in, and hardly reappeared for the rest of the day. It also looked like raining, so I took the precaution of hopping under the porch and waiting until the sun came out again (which it never did). Before long, while I was looking round at a bird who looked interesting, a woman came along and asked if she could share the table, and started talking, and I decided that there must be a lot of people around here with odd family histories. Eventually things began to happen—she appeared to be Debbie's mother, and the other bird I was looking at was Kathleen, Debbie's sister. Coincidence is rife in this country. Still, I now know quite a bit about the background of Deborah Smith-Mitchell, and would make a pass if conditions were a little more conducive. Kathleen seems quite precocious, but conditions might be difficult.

Back home for makan, and for once it was some local food. I am getting fed up to the back teeth with orang puteh food, and I rather hope when Mum comes back she will cut down on it. In any case, it is more expensive.

After makan, on with reading “The Carpetbaggers” for a while—it is a difficult book to put down—and then decided it would be a good idea to type out a skin for some form of personal details of the girls I know—it could come in handy in some obscure situation, and anyway, it would be a good thing to have a record. Accordingly over to the office, cut the skin, and ran it off. I hereby make a note never to cut a skin on that Olivetti 82 again—it is terrible, though by no means illegible. Kept the copies, and filed them with an index, and then back home and began filling in a few details—it is going to be difficult to fill in the whole thing for any girl, even Jennie Hallett or Lesley Cannings.

Then back to reading “The Carpetbaggers”. A book such as this is habit forming. I can't stop reading it, until I finish it.

After tea, makan, etc., a call from Mum in Trengganu to say that she might be back tomorrow on the ML117/1325.

Over to Mahmuddin's house after that, and ended up playing quartets. 3 flutes and fiddle. Ahmad has had appendicitis.


Monday, 28 November 1966 K.L.
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A week's work begins to get boring now—not that there is much work to do, but the very fact that there was not much work meant that I got bored. At any rate, it gave me a chance to write up my diary before I forgot about it, as I have been doing lately.

After that, not much more remained to be done, and so, after a bit of thought, remembered that I needed a new cable release, though, and so down to Eastern Photographers, on the assumption that they would have some ordinary wire braid cable releases, but no luck—just cloth and springs. Why they make these springy cable releases, I don't know. Eventually, after going to the Dog and having a bite to eat, up to Black & White, and they had them there, though not with the self locking collar. Not being fussy, bought it, and then back to the house, changed cars, (I was exercising Mum's Mini) and while there, discovered 5 letters, all concerning me to a greater or lesser extent. Letter from Bonn (Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelm Universität), and they want more details before they accept me. Goethe-Institut have booked me into the February course, wanting 1250 DM for payment of at least 4 weeks in advance. Letter from Jennie, longer than usual.

Back to the office, and started writing a letter to Jennie, and carried on thus for about half an hour before heading out for Subang airport, where, after clearance, discovered that Mum was not on board, and so back home for lunch, at [sic] went the back way because I felt like a change from the Federal Highway. I was, in fact, rather surprised that I remembered the way, as I had only once seen it on a map, and that about a week ago.

After makan, back to the office, where Anna was bewailing the fact that she had to write a letter to Harry, and could not think of anything to say, and bewailed the fact that I was on page 3 of quarto type and still going strong.

Eventually, Mary (Indian/Malay girl) came out, and she, too, was writing a letter, and it struck me just how much work one did here.

Eventually finished the letter, and then down to the Post office to post it, after which back home and was persuaded to get some stuff from the Supermarket by Eileen, and so up, and when I got back, finally got my tea, and sat round still longer reading “The Carpetbaggers”. Now on book 8, entitled “Jennie Denton”. The name Jennie alone sets me on edge.

After that, Eileen got makan early again, and then she off home, and I after taking a bit of persuading myself, out to take some photos of the night, and wound up in indeed some strange places.

Mum rang from K.B. to say that she would be back tomorrow.


Tuesday, 29 November 1966 K.L.
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Is it a sign that I am getting older, that I find life so boring, or is the routine really getting more monotonous? Perhaps it is because I have now been keeping a diary for such a long time that nothing new is really happening to make it worthwhile recording it. But yet, in my Herzensherz, I must know that it is all my imagination. All I would need to do to liven up this life would be to go up and watch what is happening about the Chenderong concession—that would really liven things up.

The Chenderong Concession was a disputed land grant. Google doesn't know anything about the case in 1966, but it was still going in 2010.

After writing my diary up, into town, and to Eastern Photographers, where they told me that last January that had never, in fact, cemented the Canon 50/1,5, but had only cleaned it up. Wanted $100 for cementing. Swore violently at them, and down round town to look in vain for some Canada Balsam, and then back to the office after trying to find the receipt in their receipt books, and advising another bloke what film to use, as the blokes there were just trying to make the biggest profit.

Rang up El Parrish, and they had some suitable cement, but only in 500 cc bottles at $48 each. No go.

To H.A. O'Connor, stopping to get my Pentax, and a letter of acceptance from Hamburg University (whopee), and they told me that they would replace a broken screw, but it would take 3 months, and it would be quicker to write direct to Asahi about it, which I did, and then out to meet Mum at the airport. She, too, was delighted at the letter from Hamburg—I have been given the details about when to turn up, and where to go, what to do, etc. Should be fun, but I am obviously going to have to learn a lot of Deutſch first.

In the afternoon, although she was dead beat, Mum decided to go and have her hair done, and so I took her along, and then out and gave Gillian da Souza and a friend (quite nice—I think she is called Carol) a lift to the Lake Club, and there had a drink before going up Batu Road to look for some Christmas presents for the Halletts, and then back, hopefully, on time, to pick up Mum, and only had to wait 20 minutes this time before I managed to get her to come down Batu Road with me, and she went all over the place—to Globe Silk Store, which half killed us, but eventually got up to the part which I was looking at—Peiping Lace and China Arts, and bought some presents for the family, although nothing particularly fascinating, and then Mum, who claimed she was exhausted, took me back down the other end of the road and bought a telephone—or would have, had she had her office cheque book on her.

In the evening, invited H.G. Wong, Eugene Phoa and Mighty over, but H.G. could not make it. Pleasant evening.


Wednesday, 30 November 1966 K.L.
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I am finding it difficult to wake up in the mornings again. I shall have to do something about it, but still, I need not worry overly, since Mum is so exhausted herself of late. Dragged her in tea this morning at about 0820, and even then she complained about being dead, but while I was getting dressed, at 0858, she came in and asked me if I would take her to the office, as she had to be there by 0900 to take dictation. She did not make it, of course, despite my efforts and hopping out into the car semi-dressed. Once I had dropped her, back home to finish dressing, and have breakfast, and then took Theo to the vets to have his stitches taken out, and, after dropping the dogs at home, back to the office.

Little for me to do there, and eventually it was decided that I had more to do in town, so down with Ramli, dropped him at the bank, bought some stamps, and up to Batu road to pick up the telephone Mum bought last night. Picked up Ramli, and then, after dropping him at the office, back again to look for a comparatively cheap exposure meter to give Jenny for Christmas, but they seem to have stopped making the things, for some reason.

Eventually after stopping a while at the Dog, back to the office, and arranged with Mum that I should go to the Lake Club in the afternoon. When, however, we got back, a bill awaited from the Milverton driving school [in England, where I had learnt to drive], and Mum went screaming up the wall. Eventually, after telling me a dozen times that she was not going to talk to me about it, decided that I would work for the office for 2 months without salary, in order to pay for that, and other imagined debts.

Back to the office—not that I particularly missed going to the Lake Club, as the weather had taken a turn for the worse—and there was originally planning to go and do some work for Mum in town, but she had different ideas, and got me to install the telephone she had bought, and then I hung around for the rest of the afternoon until I decided to make a photocopy of my letter of acceptance to Hamburg, and discovered that the machine was in need of cleaning and new developer, and so cleaned it out, took Mum down to the Chartered Bank Building, and back, made up the developer, and then made, after a couple of failures, one copy before Mum rang to be picked up, and after picking her up, back and made another copy. Results on Agfa Copyrapid are not bad.

Then over to get Mum's car for her, after which I bought the Citroën back, via the Supermarket, and had tea, as Mum had said she would be some time. Then started reading “The Maltese Falcon”, which is not an absolutely fascinating book, and while waiting for Mum to come home, got a phone call asking me to makan with H.G. Wong at Yow Kee's in Cross St. Not a bad makan, though I could have done without a couple of the courses.


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