Greg
Greg's diary
September 1969
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This diary was entered manually from the paper original between 15 November 2016 and 25 November 2016.


Monday, 1 September 1969 Kuching → Matang → Kuching
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Dad somehow contrived to lure me out of bed this morning before noon, and immediately, even before I had woken up, suggested that I prepare him a 3-course breakfast, some of which I partook of myself, before my next errand, which involved persuading the Zodiac to use less fuel to go faster. Accordingly went downstairs with a set of feeler guages and had a look at the contact breakers, which agreed with me, so we are probably both wrong. Then up to Ridgeway to see the Reads, who had just recovered from last night,

Not otherwise mentioned, but the previous day was Merdeka, so they probably had quite a party.

but Rose saw fit to give me a cup of coffee to wash down some of the latest gossip, and I was there for half an hour. When I got back I removed 3 spark plugs with the spanners I had got, and was more than slightly disappointed to find they were all in perfect condition. Accordingly decided that the sparks were OK, and that it must be petrol, so decided the [air] filter was clogged, and disconnected same. Did a little bit of knob twiddling on that horrible Zenith [carburettor], and suddenly the thing seemed happy again, so out for a drive and gave it the works, and ascertained it would run from 8 mph [13 km/h] in 3rd [gear, the top gear]. Advanced the ignition and left the air filter disconnected - I like the noise the carb makes.

Then persuaded Dad to go food hunting, and found Wendy at the end of the drive. At the Sarawak Club found Pauline, conspicuous by her aloneness, and in due course set off for the open market, where we had lunch, and then got some petrol. On the way back to the club, decided to go to Matang, but Dad rather threw a spanner in those works by taking the Zodiac. Ended up driving round in the Citroën with Pauline, Wendy and David, and managed to dispose of these latter, and saw Dad in Sekama Road, so changed cars, and Pauline and I went off to Matang after all, though it was pretty crowded, and before we got caught in the rain had it off once - again none too good, and the condom burst. Home again, and Pauline rang her parents up, and her father collected her. Did comparatively little in the evening - finally adjusted the sliding windows, and did a few things for Dad's benefit, then off to bed, where I read for an inordinately long time.


Tuesday, 2 September 1969 Kuching
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Up once again late at 1100, and was only then woken by Kirk, who wanted to go out to the airport to see Teen and Paul off. Was just preparing some coffee and coming to life when there was a further knock on the door, and a rather sweaty Pauline came in and had a shower - she had been walking all the way from her home. Then set off for the airport, without setting any new land speed record or anything, and arrived at a somewhat more likely time, in time to have a cup of coffee (Dr. Rozalla paid for it, thus setting my conscience at ease) and to do a bit of address exchanging before Paul and Teen left, the latter with tears in her eyes at the supposedly joyous prospect of never seeing Kuching again. Then off back - I am fed up of waiting after they pass the departure gates

In those days you could watch them all the way to the plane.

- and dropped Pauline home, then into town with Kirk for some makan, and still later back home to wonder how further to deploy my time. Eventually decided to take the car down to have the door fixed (at Chins - no sweat), and washed (near the Sarawak Club). Up to the club to wait for a while, and there was waylaid by a Lindsay incensed with the inpropriety of [me] having slept with Pauline, and so after picking the car up took her for a drive and showed her Kenyalang Park. Back again to the club, where I sought to drop her, and then in to town with Kirk, where I made a few purchases, looked in vain for some rubber matting, and took a film of his to be developed. Back to the club again, and finally found Pauline, so had a little chat with her of little consequence, save that we went down town and had her watch adjusted. Then back home, and had a rather heated argument with Dad based on the fact that I had not washed the car myself, but had had it done. He ended up by forbidding me to use the car or go out to any party this evening, and then left. Vaguely tidied the car, then to the club for makan, and subsequently to Lindsay's place, where a rather boring party was on its way. Lindsay managed, yet again, to kick me in the balls, and this time I had had enough, and gave her a bit back, and so she told me to get out of the place. Lay grovelling outside while all the males in the place offered their sympathies, and then off home with Pauline, arriving a good 30 seconds before Dad, so into my room for a bit of music and then a bit of the other, and was just resting when Roddy came round and said that Mr. Sissons had been on the phone, and I had better get her home quickly, which I did - told her parents I had been at my place, and, rather to my surprise, they accepted this and offered me a drink.

I have often wondered about their attitude to the relationship between Pauline and me. Probably on this occasion the fact that my father was there might have comforted them, but the age difference remained. And it seems unlikely they had not noticed that somebody (Lindsay and I) had been in their bed on 23 August 1969.

Had what proved to be quite a pleasant conversation, lasting about an hour, then home and had a bit of a talk to Dad and still later to bed.


Wednesday, 3 September 1969 Kuching → Bau → Kuching
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And on goes the monotony of life - not even the fact that I am having a comparatively successful affair alters the fact that I am gradually becoming more and more bored. Would probably have slept through till noon today were it not for the fact that Dad had left for me the ID with the intent that I should take Dave's bed back to him, so round 1100 went over there with the bed, then back again to continue reading “Come again, Nurse”. Dad took his while coming, and by 1220 had not turned up, so set off in the ID to drop it for him at the Aurora, but he was not there, either, and so had some makan at the open market and then changed cars at the Aurora, and back home. Hung about there for a while before I decided to go to the club, where Corinne was, and she told me I was in big trouble: round 0015 this morning she went past the Sisson's house and saw Pauline, mother and father in the living room, talking, looking anything but happy. On further investigation, it proved that she had mistaken me for Mr. Sissons, which must put some of these rumours in perspective.

My recollection was that Mr. Sissons was sitting where he couldn't be seen from outside.

Then in to town to buy some cheruts, and went to see Peter and Wendy, whom we picked up, then also Pauline, and off to Bau - this being decided on the way. Went swimming at Bau, at first in our underwear, and then took this off - Corinne being more than a little too forward for Pauline's liking. Then into town, where we had some laksa, and then back to Kuching, while Wendy and Corinne tried to castrate Pete in the back, and Corinne got carsick as a result, and brought all her laksa up - just the other side of the airport. Took everybody to Corinne's house, then back home with Pauline, but she was still sore (thor?) from yesterday, and so all we did was have a shower together. Dad came back in the middle of this, a little peeved that I still had not waxed the car, and so Puline and I set to and did it, and then to the film, “The remarkable Mr. Pennypacker, which, apart from the faded colour (i.e. mainly magenta) was quite good, although I was alone in this opinion. Then had hoped to bring Pauline home to (genuinely!) develop some film, but her mother thought she should have an early night - Corinne rather annoyed me by telling me that Lindsay had something important to tell me, but would not say what.

And I didn't find out for two more days.

Thursday, 4 September 1969 Kuching
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Dad in at 1015 to see if I wanted to have laksa with him, and was rather annoyed when I said I would rather sleep, so got up pretty quickly and down in the Zodiac to Carpenter St., where we had a rather more pědas than usual laksa, and then I took Dad back to the office, and myself up to Tan Sum Guan, where I discovered that dampers for the Zodiac rear axle cost $68.50 each, but the thing really needed them, so after consultation with Dad had them fitted - was astounded that they fitted them in 20 minutes after quoting ½ an hour. Then to the club - the car is little more comfortable, but most certainly the handling is much better. Along with raising the tyre pressure to 40[psi, i.e. 275 kPa] all round yesterday, they have completely transformed the handling, and my only regret is that it is considerably more difficult to get the back out now, at any rate on dry surfaced roads. Spoke to Heather a while at the club, then off down town to pick Dad up, brought him to the club, and then home to get my bathing things, and joined him in the pool, and rather surprised myself by doing 6 lengths backstroke in the time it took Dad to do 4 breast stroke - admittedly, though, I was exhausted afterwards.

My father, like my sister, was a very good swimmer. I wasn't.

Then did a bit of sunbathing, changed, and rang Pauline up and asked her to come photo taking with me this afternoon. She accepted, and when I told Dad about it, he offered to lend me a Mamiya C33, which he has bought for the office.

Strange that he had not told me about that earlier.

Accordingly over to Dave's place to get my Edixa etc, and then home to sort things out, then to the Anna Studios to get some film - Pan F 135-36, HP4 135-36, NP20 120, VP 126, for which we managed a discount. Opened the back of the Mamiya to load and found a film (VP) already in there - confusing. Spent about an hour and a half going round town, having taken quite a few photos. Pauline had been using my SP with the 28/3.5 STak. At home, had it off for what it was worth, though she is still sore from the other day, and then took her home, as the Hardies were coming to visit in the evening. Home, and noted Dad's presence in the club, whither I went round 2200 to find him pretty full, talking to the Reads and David Bailey, who is leaving tomorrow. Carried on talking - David has obviously seen it all himself- and then took Dad to the office he was going to Sibu) tomorrow and got his stuff, then home - practically had to carry him, and left him pondering the wisdom of drinking whiskey water.


Friday, 5 September 1969 Kuching
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Dad in at 0650 this morning, a living reminder of my duties ferrying people to the airport, and so got up and more or less dressed, and then off to pick up Sek Cheng and Lin Kee, running slightly behind schedule, and this was helped neither by the ID, which I did not feel like pushing, nor the excessively rainy weather. Changed cars for the Zodiac at the club, and thus off to the airport, where despite the rain and the murderous early morning traffic, I was able to arrive more or less on time. Then saw them off and back home for breakfast, for which I made do with an onion omelette (Matin: „Rohe Zwiebel und Eier sind gut zum Ficken!“). Then in to town, and did some shopping, including some stuff which the girl needed, then set to catching up with a diary as sorely neglected as ever before my lack of sleep caught up on me, and I slept from 1040 to 1220, thus effectively missing David Bailey's sendoff, which will doubtless please Dad little. When I did wake up, having already had laksa in the morning, did not really feel like any makan, and so hung around at home for a while before deciding to go up to Pauline's and see what was happening.

Of course we had telephones in those days, but it seems we didn't use them as much as 50 years later.

Accordingly, at a time when I judged lunch to be finished, did this, and found her and her mother wondering what to do. Her mother eventually went into town, and I sat round taking a few photos of Pauline before we set off into town, and first to the club, where Lindsay told me what she had been waiting so long to tell: she had told her mother about Pauline and me, which I considered decidedly not nice. Then to Da Silvas to have Pauline's watch adjusted, as it is now gaining as much as it was previously losing. Had mine done at the same time - I am now prepared to believe it is gaining - and had a long chat with the bloke in the process. Apparently he had to go through a 2-year training with Omega in Genève before he could take on this job.

Somehow this seems improbably.

Then had a bit to eat at the Open Market, and subsequently back home, via a drop into the club to show Pauline a couple of photos of the Ami, which she thinks I should keep. At home, she was more responsive than ever before, and certainly had more of it herself. Then took her home, home for a while, and back to pick her up to see “The Jungle Book” - at her mother's expense. Film was quite good, but had to go just about straight back home.

Something about this incident—possibly the choice of film—reminded me that Pauline was only 15.

Saturday, 6 September 1969 Kuching
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Got up later than strictly necessary this morning, but for some reason I could face neither going down alone for laksa or going and asking Pauline to come with me, knowing as I did that she would probably have already eaten. Accordingly did not get under way anywhither until 1100, and passed the Sissons in Rock Road, just as I was going to their place and Pauline was being brought to my place. They stopped, and I came back and picked Pauline up, then went off to the airport, where of course we arrived ridiculously early, and so hung around drinking coffee and eating spring rolls. Finally the Cumming-Smiths arrived, and there was quite a bit of messing round there, but eventually Lindsay came over and scrawled her address all over my diary,

This must have been a different pocket diary. The present diary is very big, and I wouldn't have hat it with me. There's also no evidence of an address.

insisting that I come and see her sooner or later. Then she, too, was tearfully through the departure gate, and we headed back into town. On the way, a deluge of rain descended upon us, and we could hardly see where we were going. Went down to the Rex for some tickets for the 1430 show, but it was shut, so off to the club, where we had some cheese and discussed preparations for the trip to Tg. Poh tomorrow. Then everybody went, and I home to do some superficial tidying-up, then off to the Rex to get the tickets, and picked up Pauline and back to see, for what I believe is the 4th time, ”The Graduate”, which Pauline enjoyed quite noticably, though it was somewhat chopped about. The Sarawak film censors must be about the most puritanical I know anywhere in the world. Then home to my place to replace a button on Pauline's blouse, then took her home and went to the Reads, where we spent hours getting the boat going, but eventually had everything shipshape, and, with a leaner mixture, the boat started much more readily. Then back and picked Pauline up, and went home to develop some films - made some Promicrol up and then developed short PX and HP4 in the same tank. Left it washing for a while, and finished off my condoms, then hung it up to dry, then out to get some makan and some new condoms, in which latter I was had. Then home again, developed a new film, and took Pauline home and waited for an hour - she did not want to let me go home. Eventually home and could not sleep.


Sunday, 7 September 1969 Kuching → Tg. Poh → Kuching
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And so, as begun, the holiday ends with a trip to Tg. Poh, though God only knows how much has changed since then - certainly after these holidays my attitude to women can never be the same again as it was before. Up round 0730, and presently along to Pauline's place, where I had been invited to breakfast, thought had I known what it was to be I might have thought twice about turning down the Read's offer - I seem to remember from previous occasions that this is pretty good. In any case, made do with toast and coffee - it is, after all, more than I usually have - and off to the Reads, where we had more coffee before setting off more or less on time, and despite Dad's thoughts to the contrary ended up at Satok Bridge, where we had no difficulty launching the boat, and very little difficulty starting it. Off downriver at a rather slow pace, which after a bit of worry and adjusting the mixture control we attributed to the extra weight, which doubtless caused extra drag. Eventually got to Tg. Poh, without any sort of incident worth mentioning, apart from a bit of panic going round the Tanjong itself as the motor started jerking somewhat. Unloaded, and in the process did the steering no good, so Dad spent an inordinate time examining that, and then we prepared for lunch while Pauline and I messed around in the water - it was almost embarassing how, at a group outing like this, Pauline had eyes only for me. Had makan, mainly meat, and then washed up and disappeared behind some rocks for a while, though I felt no compulsion to match Dave's feat with Corinne, and shortly back again for some pie, in the middle of which Graham arrived.

This appears to be the only mention of Graham, and I don't recall who he was.

He hung around for a while, and Pauline and I messed around further, and then I off to sleep to make up for my lack thereof last night. In due course things packed up, and we set off on our usual sunburnt, tired trip back to Kuching, again without anything more interesting than a piece of seaweed caught in the propellor. Unloaded at Satok Bridge, and Pauline and I home to make up for the day's celibacy, rather thwarted by the condoms I had bought last night, which are really useless. Took a consequently dissatisfied Pauline home, and on to the Read's for tea, then back home again, and almost immediately out like a light, waking when Dad returned from the club with a raging hunger. Ate, read, and late to bed.


Monday, 8 September 1969 Kuching
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Up late this morning, as is becoming somewhat more of a habit than I would have liked, and almost a soon as I got up, Dad entered looking for the hydraulic calculations that I was supposed to have done for Lin Kee. Looked around a while for these, and then Pauline arrived without her glasses, which she has apparently broken. Dad off, none too happy, and followed us all the way to the middle of town. Then on to Carpenter St., where we had some laksa, and back home again, to make a start before lunch - I am spending a totally disproportionate amount of money on condoms of late: I am sure that the pill would work out cheaper in the long run. Thought about lunch, and Pauline decided that she would rather stay with me than go home, and so went to the club, where Dad was, and had some fish and chips. Then went out to the airport, as Dad had some work to do in Sibu, and left him there with a couple of other blokes and took Pauline home to sort out some clothes. Then to the Read's to have a look at the boat motor, and came to the conclusion that the mixture was still too rich. Washed out the inside of the cover, then picked Pauline up and went home - this relationship is really becoming rather sordid when we spend all our time in bed. Thus it was this afternoon, though I think Pauline's stamina ran out after a while, and then I took her home and spent a while collecting myself before collecting Dad and a couple of other blokes from the airport, and taking them all home. Then back to pick Pauline up and developed a rather thin HP4 - possibly roll films need more development than 35 mm. Then out for makan at the Rock Road café, where we were more than slightly embarassed by the fact that we were nearly broke, but somehow managed to keep our orders within means, and bloated back home,

My recollection is that we ended up with much more food than we had expected. Probably the portions were as a course for a Chinese meal, not individuals.

where we found that, although we were too bloated to do any photography, strenuous excercise came quite easily. Then Dad came home, and we decided to make a few prints, rather hampered by the poor light qualities of the enlarging bulb and the decidedly grotty paper. Also discovered that I had forgotten to dilute the developer last time - I really am losing my touch. Took Pauline home ½ hour late, and in to apologise, but instead got roped in for some cocoa, and, as usual, outstayed my welcome. Home, and finished “The Siren Song” - very good.


Tuesday, 9 September 1969 Kuching
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Up later still today, past laksa time, and only just about in time to go out to the airport to see Dave off. Accordingly first to Pauline's place, where I found her not feeling all that well, but she had taken a couple of aspirins and anticipated feeling a bit better before all too long. Accordingly out to the airport and soon all arrived who were to leave - at times I feel as if people are snubbing me because of my association with Pauline - not that it bothers me: I have never been so much in need of friends that I have to take into account their wishes before I make other friends.

Looking back, it's more likely that it was I who ignored the others in favour of Pauline.

Dave off, anyway, and then we went back, and once again arranged to have makan together, this time at the open market, probably the last time for Pauline, and possibly for me - certainly I do not envisage coming back for a long time. After lunch went home, and after the inevitable, which today came off particularly well, set to cleaning out the boot of the car, in light of some rather unpleasant threats Dad had made today. This proved to be more of an undertaking than I had anticipated. In places the mud in the boot was fully 4 cm deep, and Pauline had little more luck trying to clean out the rubber mat which goes in there. After rather over an hour doing our best to clean things up, went off to Padungan to get what we could there in the way of rubber matting and nuts, and eventually back home, where Pauline did not feel too well. Took her temperature, which was 38,9°, and, more than a little worried, took her home, where nobody else shared my worry, and so home again and had a bit of a chat with Dad, then to the Malaya Restaurant for makan, after which back home to sort out what barang I wanted to take with me to KL, and in the middle of this, round 2100 hrs, decided to see how Pauline was getting on, and so off, leaving a newly arrived Dad to think about clothes, and stopping en route to help the E-type,

Was this the only one in Kuching?

who was suffering from a flat battery, and inferred loss of charge. At the Sissons, Pauline was feeling all right, and we had yet another long talk - I wonder why her parents think so much of me. I suppose the relationship is as novel for them as it is for Pauline, which might have something to do with it. Home, where, as I suspected, Dad was slightly annoyed, though he soon cooled off, and left me to ponder the fact that, since Mr. Sissons had told me that he could change into 1st gear on the Consul on the move, I had no longer any difficulty doing so in the Zodiac, even of speeds of up to 30 mph [50 km/h]. Packed up, and comparatively early to bed.


Wednesday, 10 September 1969 Kuching → (-½ hr) Singapore → Kuala Lumpur
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Up earlier this morning, which, in view of what was to be done, was just as well, and set to adding the finishing touches to my admittedly somewhat rudimentary packing. Then thought, and down to Da Silva's to have my watch once again adjusted, as it seemed to be losing in the order of 7-8 seconds a day. This over, went to Carpenter St. for a final bowl of laksa, and had a chat with an AA representative about the practicality of the parking system. Then to the club, where I found Kirk having skipped school in order to see me off, but unable to come to the airport because his headmaster would be there.. Talked to him for a while, then home and load my stuff into the Zodiac, and off to the airport, where things were really hopping. In the middle of everything went to call up Sek Cheng, who had not arrived. Had a lot of fun with that, especially as the phone would not work, and eventually Mr. Sissons got it for me, only for there to be not reply. In disgust, turned round and nearly bowled Tan Siew Sin over as he went through the departure gate - odd, seeing as though Dad was to show him round Kenyalang Park this afternoon. Finally off, Pauline shedding a tear for Kuching, which I am sure does not deserve it. Arrived in Singapore, where Pauline was pounced on by a ground hostess, who said she would be taking her to the Singapura hotel. Sek Cheng then introduced me to a Jack Ruby of Qantas, who offered me a lift to the Raffles, and so disposed of my barang and off. From the Raffles by taxi to Hon Kong's, where I got my workshop manual, but unfortunately was not able to borrow his Ami 6, as he was working on it. To the Singapura, where I waited ¾ hour for Pauline, and then off to Change Alley, where she bought me a new wallet for my birthday - poor Pauline! - I do feel unhappy for her - she deserves somebody better than me, yet thinks I am what makes the sun rise anew each morning! Still, who knows: she may be young for me now, but time, they say, heals all things, an certainly thus I wonder at this stage if I will, in fact, get deeply involved with her.

To Jackie's bowl, where we played a game with phenomenally low score - I 67 to her 57, and that only because of a strike. Thne back to the hôtel where we did it once for old times sake, and were disturbed no less than 3 times despite the “do not disturb” sign without. The ground hostess seemed annoyed, and I suspect she might have contacted Pauline's parents about her suspicions - n'importe: if she does, we deny it and get her into plenty hot water by complaining to MSA.

My recollection was that she didn't want to let me into the room at all, and acquiesced after I threatened a formal complaint.

In any case had a shower and went down to the foyer, where no transport arrived. Suggested I paid for a taxi, at which the GH got downright insolent, and I threatened to complain there and then, which cooled her down somewhat.

I'm pretty sure this was a separate incident.

Off, eventually, to the airport, and checked in, had a bite to eat, and saw Pauline off, then kicked my heels for a couple of hours before going off to KL - flight time 57 min 58,3 secs. Bev and Sonny were there to meet me, and while waiting for my barang I was handed a note from Pauline! Off home, said hello to Mum, started up the Old Grey Mare, and then inside and spoke at length for a while. Late to bed, sneezing violently.


Thursday, 11 September 1969 KL
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Woken up, still sneezing violently, by Mum at 0915 this morning, wanting to know if I wanted any tea before attending to the other matters of the day. Had some tea, and then downstairs, and shortly later came Bev, dressed in a bikini - ah, the life of the idle rich! Gradually managed to get Mum through morning coffee towards allowing me out of the house, which was a bit easier in view of the way I was sneezing. She made a couple of phone calls, and then I was off with some money in my pocket, and first to ICI, of all places, and picked up some Vymura samples for Mum, meditating on the fact that the stuff was probably developed in res 3-2 in WGC, and on the manner in which I spent my time in Kuching - I find myself missing Pauline more than I anticipated. Then to the Dog, where I had my old favourite, but somehow things don't seem to be the same any more - 4 years ago I was sitting there, in almost exactly the same place, dying to see Lesley, my only beloved. Now I sit there and things are so different - the place is almost unpleasant, reminiscent of something, I know not what, which I would rather not remember, I know not why. Off to the Pejabat Besar Pos to post some letters, and then out to Ah Yok's, shearing a screw that retained the bonnet in the process. Extracted the end, and had a bit of a job fitting a new one, then off again, with instruction to Ah Yok to make me some more lamp brackets. Then to Lien Wah to get some NaOCl, and paid for it, but did not collect it, as I could not wait. Had lunch at home, and decided also to buy a new pair of bathers, and soon after lunch off again with money for same, and did a bit of driving round town before ending up at Ah Yok's place, where I put the Oscar LR and spot where the indicators used to be, and the indicators on the bumper bar beside the fogs. Looks very impressive thus. Then home via Globe Silk Store, where I bought some bathers, and began to notice what sounded like rather pronounced tappet noise, so when I got home adjusted same, in the process shearing off an adjusting screw. Off with Sonny to get a spare from Ah Yok's place, then back, fitted it, and let Sonny have a listen - he reckoned a bent valve, though I did not know what it was. Out, after an interminable wait for Mum, to pick Dad up - he had been waiting for 30 minutes. On the way back, the dynamo packed up, and when Dad started riding me it was the last straw. Ascertained at home that it was in fact the dynamo, then had makan and up to write Pauline a letter, and later still came to the happy thought that the rattling might be a loose timing chain. Early to bed, but my nose and throat were killing me.


Friday, 12 September 1969 KL
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Up quite early this morning to get over to Ah Yok's place as quickly as we could, but for some reason Dad thought it would be a good idea to have some breakfast first, and so it was not until at 0920 that we rolled into Ah Yok's yard, the car making more noise than ever, and Ah Yok came over to ask what it was. I told him to find out, and was rather shattered to find it was No. 4 big end bearing.

Now how did he know which bearing?

Discussed the pros and cons of fitting new bearings, but after reference to the workshop manual discovered that the shells were apparently not removable, and so wondered whether it was worth getting a con. rod from the other engine, or, as I would have preferred, change the whole block. Dad got himself violently worried - why, I don't know: here I feel secure, know that this wonder who is Ah Yok can do it, and was pretty certain, as was Ah Yok, that the other engine was in much better condition. Dad had a bit of a think about it, and eventually decided to have it changed - Ah Yok reckoned to have it fixed by tomorrow afternoon. Also had a look at the dynamo - in fact, at the one I changed about a year ago, and found little to be wrong with it, so off, feeling none too unhappy - in England, with, say, the Ami, this would be a major crisis. I must discuss with Sonny the possibility of exporting him to England. Home by taxi - $3.00, which must mean 7½ miles - and hung around doing nothing until lunch, apart from talking to Sonny about the car. After lunch, Sonny and Bev had to go somewhere and were singularly reluctant to be of any help to me in my search for lubricants, so I had to wait for Mum, which is comparable to waiting for the dead to rise. Resigned myself thereto, and sunbathed for about an hour, and finally off. On the way Mum said that she only wanted to go to the China Co. for about 5 minutes, and so could take me to Ah Yok's. Accordingly dropped her there, then to SAAB to buy some Redex and some STP, which might be of some use in the motor as it is now. Back, and waited a good half hour before we left, then to Yuen's, where no 11CV gasket was available, and so took an ID 1911 one instead. Off to Ah Yok's, where we discovered that the gasket had one water channel at the end slightly too large, and that this would entail a water leak, so Ah Yok decided in favour of reusing the old gasket after a session on it with a blowtorch. Then back, Mum wondering about the advisability of fitting a Downton head to her Mini. At home, Dad was a bit worried about the car, and I suggested we fitted an oil pressure guage, which, strangely enough, he did not oppose. Had a sort of tea, then off to the temple of Kali in PJ, where, however, things were almost over, and so back to Brickfields for makan, and then home again, where I did little for the rest of the evening.


Saturday, 13 September 1969 KL
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Being without a car is like having a broken leg, or by some twist of fate being deprived of the use of one limb. Thank God it is a condition I shall not long have to endure. Today was dragged out of bed (and for once I had slept comfortably) at an unbelievably early hour, and then hung around for what seemed ages before getting hold of any breakfast, over which discussions began on how we should spend the day. Joined in at first, then started reading “The Whipping Boy” by Monsarrat, which Mrs. Sissons had given me, and then changed into my bathers after a quick run to the Shell service station in Ampang Road to get some money for Mum and also got some stuff for the radiator. At home, sunbathed for a while, and somehow in the middle of that Bev managed to more than slightly irritate Mum, and in the next half hour this blew up into a full scale row, though I carefully kept out of it. Then Sonny arrived, and I went to rescue Bev, and fairly quickly left, having asked Mum, who was surprisingly friendly towards me, and then first to SAAB, where I had a look at a few oil pressure guages, and eventually bought a Smith's one with a half scale for $22.40, and off to the Supermarket to dispose of some dry cleaning before continue to Ah Yok's place to give him the oil pressure guage and observe progress - the car was in fact going quite well. and he had had the engine running; it made quite an impressive noise (quality, not volume). Said it would be ready at 1500, and so, after removing the old engine timing chain cover to ascertain that there was no tensioner, off to PJ and had makan at the A&W, and then to Sonny's place, where he showed me a 3C edition about Imps. Off to pick up the Old Grey Mare, which involved getting some petrol for it, and then home, where Mum and Dad were both leaving. Adjusted the tappets and ignition, and off to PJ. Stopped at the Supermarket, where the distributor had slipped back to about -5° advance and was behaving like a sick 2CV, but eventually got it going again, and off to choose some cloth and have myself measured for a suit. Home, adjusted the ignition and lights, and finally had makan and spent all evening loading the car to the gunwhales.


Sunday, 14 September 1969 KL → Kota Bharu
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Dad in at 0600, while it was yet dark, and dragged me pretty quickly out of bed, and then we hung around at great length doing all the normal morning activities, so that by the time we left it was already 0700. Carried on out of town with no mishap, and everything seemed to be going well, though the brakes were, presumably as a result of the load, less effective than usual. Oil pressure bore up well along the Genting Simpah pass, and I was quite happy with the state of affairs. Stopped at the top to check on the radiator, which, strangely enough, was not boiling. Carried on down the other side of the pass, hitting a clock 70 [mph, i.e about 110 km/h] on shut throttle (though the idling adjustment was wrong), and on through Pahang, where the roads proved to be worse than I remembered them. Accordingly stopped after the silencer had had a particularly bad time of being knocked on the ground, and tied it up with a bit of copper wire, which lasted a couple of miles before melting/rubbing through. Got out again, and drilled a couple more holes in the rubber mounting (with the help of the Ronson blowtorch), and hung it somewhat higher up, which definitely helped, though it still grounded occasionally. Just before Kuantan stopped for nature's calls, and while they were at it, I checked fluids, and found the brake reservoir nearly empty, which, along with the soft pedal, looks like a leak to me. Was not helped by the check in Kuantan, where it was lower, and decided to go easy until KB, and then have it looked at at the earliest possibility.

My recollection was that this was not my decision. I wanted to have it looked at in Kuantan, but I was overruled. I even considered refusing to continue in the car.

The only good thing was that the oil did not appear any lower, and the petrol consumption was about 24 mpg [11.8 l/100 km]. Carried on up the East Coast, and in the next 200 miles [320 km] only used the footbrake twice, which, under the circumstances I thought quite good. Belted through most of the way with the rest of the family asleep, and then stopped for a drink at Kuala Terengganu. On to Jerteh, and Pasir Puteh, where finally a real emergency arose and I ran out of brakes, when a trishaw pulled out of the side, and I could not avoid him (oncoming traffic), and ploughed straight into him, ending up with the 3shaw under the bumper, driver on the bonnet, and passenger groaning to herself 30 yds back.

The trishaw driver was clearly in the wrong, but there were two cars in front of me that were able to swerve to miss him, but then came the oncoming traffic. So it wasn't exactly as if he had pulled out directly in front of me.

Went through all the formalities of reports, statements, etc., and finally the assistant OCPD [Officer in Charge of the Police Department] checked the brakes and found them effective - what a laugh! Dad was pumping like hell and was using all the engine brakes as well.

My father desperately wanted to get to Kota Bharu that evening. He didn't take the car out of first gear to demonstrate the braking ability. This, of course, pointed the blame squarely at me, when we could otherwise have explained it as a mechanical failure.

Then on to KB and to the Irama, and had makan there, while I stated a letter to Pauline, and, exhausted, early to bed.


Monday, 15 September 1969 KB.
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Maybe it was all the stress of yesterday, couple with the strain of driving such an unwieldy car for such a long distance [in those days, a total of about 640 km], or maybe it was the affair at Pasir Puteh, but when I was woken this morning I was still absolutely exhausted. Eventually struggled out of bed and downstairs, where there was tea and toast waiting in Mum's room - I have gradually come to the conclusion that tea is not the right drink first thing in the morning, and when I get to England I shall certainly endeavour to find some means of getting real coffee at such a juncture. After that off to Tengku Razaleigh's place to dump most of the barang,

This must have been stuff we needed for setting up the Resort PCB. Ku Li had agreed to store it for us, but he himself was not there.

and then I on to Jalan Tengku Chik and Pui Tiong Yong's place and got the car up on the ramp and quickly found a damaged hydraulic pipe leading to the back which was leaking quite copiously.

I attributed this to damage done on the unpaved road between Temerloh and Kuantan. The hydraulic line was laid in a protective channel, but the end of it had rusted away, and that's where the line got damaged. But I had already noted brake issues when leaving Kuala Lumpur.

In the meantime they had removed the rear brake drums and repacked them with grease - one could hardly claim that this thing is not being greased enough! They sent somebody off to have some piping cut, and when they brought it back, had trouble getting it down the intended channel, and damaged the fuel pipe in the process, so had to change that for a plastic job. Then they brought it up higher and bled the thing in a very haphazard way - I must do a bit of positive thinking about how best to develop a brake system with a few of the attributes of the DS.

Independent front and back brake circuits are the most obvious. That would have prevented the accident.

While it was up there discovered that the r.h. shocker was missing a couple of bushes, which doubtless explained the knocking noise from that quarter, so changed that, also the other side, and then upstairs to have lunch with Pui Tiong Yong, and down again later, and after a bit of a search found a couple of bushes to relocate the Panhard Rod on the axle beam. Then off to Jln. Sultana Zainab to pick up Mum and Dad, and round to the Stadium to look for some terazzo, and then to the hospital to see how the Hadjia was doing whom I had knocked off the 3shaw yesterday. She was apparently suffering from internal bleeding and would be operated on tonight. Then to Cold Storage and bought some cough lozenges for Bev, and then back to the hotel, where we had showers, then the 3 of us out to the Pantai, where I did a bit of messing around with the idling and also connected up the oil pressure guage illumination. Back into town again, and took Mum to some more shopping while I adjusted the lights. In the evening, off with Bev to see “Romeo and Juliet” for the 3rd time, which I feel should be quite enough. At least this time I saw the beginning. Home, and again pretty tired to bed.


Tuesday, 16 September 1969 KB → KL
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And again found it difficult to get up this morning, though yesterday was not quite as strenuous as the previous day. But the time I had finally got the better (just!) of my tiredness, I was only just in time for tea and toast before we had to go off and finish off what remained to be done - first to the terazzo people at the stadium, and then to the hospital to see how the old Hajiah was getting on, which was not too well: her hopes of survival did not seem all too great.

My recollection is that she had a ruptured spleen, but refused to be operated on: “Jangan potong! Jangan potong!” (“Don't cut”).

In any case, off then to the welding place in Jalan PCB, and thence to one Azizah, who was of exceeding little use, and so Mum cancelled her order there and went to the market, while I went to Yuen Hing's [bookshop] and got a postcard to send to Pauline, and in the process reminded myself of all sorts of things which happened to me so long ago. I shudder to think what sort of memories I will have by the time I am 50. Then took Mum to the cane shop, after which left some stuff at Tengku Razaleigh's place and back to the hotel. Then down the road to have the car washed - a fellow who had cleaned it yesterday and not been paid had smeared it with mud

This would have almost certainly been an unsolicited wash. If we had asked him, we would have paid him.

- and then back to find everybody packed up and set off - this is decidedly a more difficult car to drive than most I have been in (I am surprised I did not mention this last year), and by the time we arrived in Kuala Terengganu I was only too willing to let Dad take over, though it still irritates me in the extreme that he should drive in such a slap-happy way - as long as the thing moves, the finer points are ignored. Had a bit of trouble with the throttle linkage, and refueled in Kuantan, after which, to my fury, I found the dynamo was not charging. By this it was too late to make KL in daylight, and so we decided to push on to Temerloh and stay in the resthouse, and continue tomorrow. 20 miles out of Kuantan the left rear tyre exploded, taking the rear lighting with it, and we had to put the spare on - the thing was in good condition yesterday, and I began to suspect foul play on the part of the car washer. Fortunately the dynamo began to charge again somewhat later, and so it looked as if we would make it to KL until, 15 miles from Temerloh, we had another blowout on the left front tyre - also a good tyre - and I had to hitch a lift into Temerloh with a lorry and got a Pirelli Sempione and brought it back by taxi. Fitted that, and back to pay for the tyre, and then home to KL, with nothing further going wrong apart from speedo failure. Exhausted, washed and to bed.


Wednesday, 17 September 1969 KL
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Mum mercifully left me today until I was in a fit state to get up, which after last night was not until quite late, around to 1030 mark. Still, other members of the family were not much in advance of this, and I was as a result in time for breakfast. This carried on at some length, and merged in with sunbathing and general messing around, and then lunch and Sonny came along in reverse order, while Dad told us all about a proposed 2 hour working bee that would take place tomorrow from 0900 to 1100 and involve the whole family and Sonny if he were here. After this rather unpleasant news, managed fairly quickly to get out of the house and go into town, though nevertheless I did not escape without getting a fair amount of work to do, and I had to go on my own, as Sonny and Bev had better things to do. Accordingly along to Petaling St. and Mun Loongs, where I double parked the car and went up to buy the material for my suit, and then out to find the usual khaki ticket under a windscreen wiper. That was not all, however; I was then stopped by a mata² [policeman] who got me to sign the thing and took it, all of which I did with rather bad grace until I realised I would not have to pay. Out then to Sonny's tailor, where I gave up the material and was told to come for a fitting on Monday and that the suit would be finished by Thursday. After that to Sonny's place, where we agreed that he could go and get some stones from Gombak and I would go to Ah Yok's. Left at the same time and proceeded along the Federal Highway side by side until Bungsar road, where Sonny turned off and I went straight on. Coming over the flyover by the Dog, 4 miles further on, I saw him coming up a slip road from the roundabout - still side by side. That must take some beating. Ah Yok diagnosed the rattle from the engine as a main bearing - I am getting a bit sick of all this - and said he could do something about it next week. Then to the Dog, had a bite to eat, met Sonny and Bev and back home. Did little in the evening - did a bit of reading, and Sonny and Bev brought home a curry makan, and then we rang up KB and discovered that the Hajiah has died - last night at 1945. So I could be served with a charge of manslaughter, or even, as in Singapore recently, of 1st degree murder. It was thus pretty unanimously decided that I should leave the country as quickly as possible.


Thursday, 18 September 1969 KL
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Woken up at some decidedly unpleasant hour this morning, I suspect even before 0800, though I did not get up until about this time, and in due course went downstairs, naked to the waist, and waited for some inordinate time, also reading “The Whipping Boy” as I have been from time to time of late, when not that obscene “Male Order House” of Sonny's. Eventually had breakfast, while Dad gave a rather distasteful “briefing”. Possibly they thought it funny or otherwise clever, but the effect was not evident to me, and possibly also not to Bev. Before it all began, Dad took some ciné of us picking up our tools and carrying them to the working area, but possibly he was not really expecting us to charge at him with parangs and scythes. Spent a miserable 1¼ hours trying to cut grass with an overgrown razor blade, while something did its best to ensure that I sneeze to death - and very nearly succeeded. Then had coffee, and afterwards I availed myself of a scythe and proceeded to chew half of the grass out by the roots and leave the other half untouched, and sneeze as before. Finally, towards the end, found Dad trying to remove a tree from the jungle, and so helped him, and then upstairs to have a shower and try in vain to stop sneezing. Then sat on my bed and read on through “The Whipping Boy”, not really feeling too good, though Dad tried to persuade me to come down and join them. Then had lunch - last night's stuff warmed up. I am fed up with the food we get here. In any case, Dad saw fit to calculate what I should get in the way of money, and rather to my surprise I was allowed £18 a week, especially with Mum's help: that is fully 50% more than I got in Welwyn Garden City, though the former appeared to be plenty.

My rule of thumb was that £1 in 1969 corresponds roughly to 50 AUD in 2016, so that corresponds to over $3,800 per month net—a sum that is more than enough for Yvonne and me now.

Still, I shall be in a flat, which may well cost me more than I paid in WGC. Then back upstairs, feeling for some reason tired - possibly lack of vitamins - and there listened to music and read “The Whipping Boy” while Mum sorted out my clothes for England - it has now been decided that I shall fly on Saturday. Then, after finishing the book, slept for a while, later up and had tea before going out with Bev and Sonny to see Kill me quick - I'm cold, which was pretty grotty, and later, after a bit of a look around, had some sateh in Campbell Road - much more on the stick here than in Kuching - and then to the Dog for some drinks before going home.


Friday, 19 September 1969 KL
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Dad in at some unearthly hour this morning to tell me that he expected me to drive him round town this morning while he did what work he had to do. Was not very keen, as I am more than a little worried about the state of the engine in the Old Grey Mare, and town traffic would hardly make it more pleasant. Nevertheless up, and although not immediately, were soon away into town. To the Supermarket, where Dad's watch was not yet ready, and also left mine for polishing the glass, which of course meant that we did not have a timepiece between us. To the Embankment and parked the car, then Dad to see Maclaine Watson and I to see General Accident about a report for last Sunday's fiasco. Met Dad at King Chong's, and then to the bank to, inter alia, get some cash for me tomorrow. Then picked up the car and out to the Town Planning Board, only to discover Dad had forgotten what he wanted to take to them. Then to Peiping Lace, where Dad wanted something carve, and around Kg. Bahru looking for some curved lintels, with miserable lack of success. Back to pick up my watch, leaving Dad in town, and then back to pick him up. they have polished the glass pretty well. By this time the morning was more than well spent, and so back home for what Mum considers to be an effective substitute for lunch. After this same, I felt exceptionally tired, and so yet again upstairs and prostrated myself on the bed, and remained in varying states of inactivity most of the afternoon. Mum had found out that the Sultan of Kelantan was in town, and had somehow or another contrived to get herself invited to the Istana Kelantan for makan, which meant that Bev, Sonny and I once again had to go out. After a particularly violent thunderstorm, which knocked down two trees in the compound, off with Sonny to have my suit fitted, and then back and in due course off with Bev to the “Garden of Eden”, where I had a large quantity of a particularly tough steak, and then off to see the flick, “I love you, Alice B. Toklas”, which was good in parts, but finished badly. Home, wrapped up a few things, and to bed.


Saturday, 20 September 1969 KL → (-2½ hrs)
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Up somewhat later, woken my Mum to tell me that I had better get into town and get my ticket before noon or I would not get it at all. Accordingly up, and was just about to have breakfast when Pui Cheng Wui rang up from down, so arranged to pick him up as well. Off in the Mini and to Donald Moore Galleries, where I found him opposite in the “Golden Flamingo”, where he paid $3 for two orange juices, which I found somewhat excessive. Then to High St. and got my ticket without any great sweat, and so back home via Kg. Bahru to show Cheng Wui what has happened while he was away.

Was this construction, or the results of the 13 May riots?

At home, Cheng Wui quickly latched onto Dad and tried to sell him an IOS policy, and I went upstairs and did some packing, in the middle of which Ahmad b. Mahmuddin rang up to say that he was coming over this afternoon at 1500. Carried on and got just about everything packed, and then downstairs to have a swim, as for once the weather was quite sunny. In due course Bev and Sonny rolled up with some Bokhara Biriani, which sounds more like a carpet than a dish. Had makan, a particularly fiery on, and then continued with a bit of sunbathing. In due course arrived Shiela and Micheal, friends of Cheng Wui, and then Ahmad, and we had quite a number of people there, and the afternoon grated proportionately. Eventually had tea, and Cheng Wui and mob left, and then rang up to discover that the flight had been delayed a couple of times, and finally was told that it was coming in at 2130 and leaving at 2100. Assumed that this latter was somewhat unlikely, and so off with Bev and Sonny to the Dog for makan, and had quite an altercation because Sonny did not have a coat and refused to wear one of the club ones. Then had makan, after I had contact the airport and been told that, departure time notwithstanding, I should have checked in at 1900. Off from the Dog to the airport, and Mum and Dad arrived some time later, and I did not check in until 2155, which worried nobody. Then had a bit of a tête-à-tête with Mum, and into the departure lounge, where I met a bloke who was interested in rallying Minis. Also spoke from time to time with Sonny and Dad, and Sonny introduced me to a bird whom I had already seen floating around, called Helen Dane from Sydney, and got talking with her and a friend called Erna. Then went on board first, and kept a place for me, and round 2340 we were off.

It's not immediately obvious (and it wasn't at the time), but this was a turning point in my life. For over 10 years, half my life, Kuala Lumpur had been home to me. I was never to return except as a visitor.

Sunday, 21 September 1969 → (-2½ hrs) Karachi → (-3 hrs) İstanbul → (-1 hr) Gatwick → Horsham
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Had makan pretty early, and then decided to go to sleep, as this was the order of the night anyway, and wondered whether Erna and I could arrange something to ensure that we were both more comfortable, but such was not the case, Lay round for an hour or so, and then she went off to the toilet and I got talking to Helen and eventually took Erna's seat. Erna did not seem to mind when she got back - in fact, I think she preferred it that way - and so off again thus to sleep, and this time was a little better off, though Helen had never been on a night flight before and could not sleep, which involved a lot of chopping and changing. Apart from anything else, I think she was a bit disturbed by a letter she had, for some reason, opened in the plane: I gather it was from her boyfriend, and he was telling her to give it up, and that he could not stand the way she was all over him. Odd bloke! Had a bit of a discussion with her, in which I gathered she was inclined to agree with him. I can imagine the circumstances of the affair, and feel sorry for Helen. Then into Karachi, after some extremely unpleasant sandwiches, and after a a vain look around for some cigarettes and KX, off for a walk round the airport and out a gate to the outside world, all without anybody raising the slightest objection, not indeed there being anything to forbid us. Helen was ecstatic, picking up lumps of sand and saying she could hardly believe it was real Karachi soil. Went out of the square - typical of Pakistan, apart from the airport in one corner - and down a road, where we found a Catholic Church with swifts flying all over the place. Finally back into the square where Helen took a photo of me, and I took one of a bearded (like a Patriarch) taxi driver cleaning his spark plugs. Back inside and discovered the flight had already been called, and we got a lift across the tarmac in an lhd Jeep

In Pakistan traffic is on the left.

the bloke wanting to know what had happened to us. All in all rather more interesting than the average transit stop, and we were wondering whether or not we should do likewise at İstanbul. Up again, and had another long flight to İstanbul, and once again slept quite a lot of the way, though we also had breakfast. Weather below was quite clear, showing mile after mile of desert, and Helen spent quite a lot of time working out what everything was. In İstanbul had another look round, and bought a copy of Stern (only 3/6d!), and sent Pauline a postcard. Then back up again, and it had clouded over, so after Yugoslavia there was little more to see. Landed at Gatwick about 1520, and had a hell of a time getting through immigration and customs. Tried to rent a car - the Hertz girl kept telling me that I could not leave my car in Devon, as Exeter was the nearest depot they had to Devon, and would not hear that Exeter was in Devon.

In fact, it's the County Town (capital).

When I finally got it across to her, she still refused to believe. It all came to nothing, anyway, because they wanted a £30 deposit on the car, and so I rang up Ivor Shipley and asked him to put me up for the night. Then helped Erna, who had not been met, get a train, as well as some Irish woman who was desperate to get to London, and wanted a taxi, which would, as I suspect, cost her £5. Helen had already left for Worthing, and so I put Erna on her train and then off 10 minutes later to Horsham, where Ivor met me and I went back to their place - can't get over the resemblance between Helen Dane and Jane Shipley: they could almost be twins, although one is 3 years older than the other.

I later established that Jane was 15, so that would have made Helen 18. Somehow I recalled her being closer to my age.

Watched TV - “Heavens above!” - had a bath and collapsed into bed.


Monday, 22 September 1969 Horsham → Tun. Wells → Horsham
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Up with the others this morning: in fact, what with the lights outside (Ivor is another bloke who designs houses with glass panes over the doors, but I think his kids are used to the light on.). In any case, outside and into the kitchen, where breakfast was in full swing, and gradually Ivor and the kids petered out. Then Stella said something about going and having a bath, while I attended to my diary. Quite some time later she emerged, complaining bitterly of the pain in her arm, caused by the dog dragging her sideways down a hill. Eventually we were each through with our respective operations, and decided to go into town, I to look for a car to hire, she to perform various indeterminate functions. She suggested she take me to Caffyns, where she knew the people, and this suited me fine, as I wanted a BMC car if at all possible. However, there were no cars available at Caffyns; they did operate a scheme, but all were let out. Had a look round some of the other places, but the story was the same all over Horsham. One of the people, the Rootes mob, had a Californian coming in tomorrow, but that would involve me in a further 35/- over the basic Imp, just for the decreased luggage space. Made a tentative booking, and then back home with Stella to do a bit of phoning round. Found a 1100 at Caffyns in Haywards Heath, and subsequently had a bit of fun ringing up Phoenix and arranging for insurance cover, but finally sorted it out, then rang Caffyns, only to discover the 1100 had broken down. Still, better now than later. Rang around further, through Brighton and Hove to Lewes, which in itself was not the easiest thing in the world. Finally got down there, and had a worthwhile walk from the station, but everything went smoothly enough (apart from the clutch of the car), and I only had to pay the rental fee, not the £25 deposit as well. Then off in the direction of Tun. Wells, through as clear a day as one could wish for anywhere, and it occurred to me once again that England can be quite a pleasant place. In Tun. Wells went to the Wimpy to have something to eat, only to find it had closed down, so went to Fortes. Then to Rawsons to get some stuff out of the Stiletto, but found it to be no more than my rally jacket. Up to see Mr. Greaves, who told me Jim was in Westwood again, and so down to Westwood, where I was not exactly greeted with open arms, but Jim was not there. Then down to Grosvenor Rd, where I parked right behind and very close to Larry's car, which how looks somewhat hideous with red PVC down the bottom. Bought a book, “The Virgin Soldiers”, and sat reading it while Larry came and tried to get out. Followed him home and had a long talk, mainly a monologue on my part telling him what I did in the summer. Then he went to have makan and I went to pick up Jim and buy him some fish and chips, and then to see Larry, where we talked for a while, and I wrote a letter to Pauline, then again off to a pub with Jim, Larry, and a bird called Judy. Jim and Larry off, I took Judy home, and then on to Horsham, where it was suggested I stay the night, which, exhausted, I did.


Tuesday, 23 September 1969 Horsham → So'ton → Exeter → Tavistock → Exeter
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Up again much as before, and out to a similar scene to yesterday, and had a discussion, instigated by Stella, with Jane on the physiological and psychological problems facing a fish living in an estuary. I rather like Jane - funny how I always thought her too young, but she is a month older than Pauline. Also, I suspect, very shy or self conscious of her virginity. As yesterday, they gradually dissipated, though this time I took all the younger members of the family to school, wearing my skid lid [racing helmet], so they could tell their classmates a real live racing driver took them to school. Then off towards Billingshurst, giving a lift to a Citroën driver who had pranged his Goddess. Joined the A272 at Petersfield, and on to Southampton, reminding myself in the process of how short the distances in this country are - everything seems almost ludicrously close together.

A sentiment I repeated 32 years later in the same area.

In Southampton found Mrs McGibbon and Olive hard at it, drinking tea, so joined them, and showed them my carpet and goddess (note: with small “g”). Predictably, she was delighted, and seemed almost scared at the responsibility when I asked her to look after the carpet (which was, in fact, looking somewhat dishevelled). Changed my pants and got hold of a considerable number of clothes, then off in the direction of Exeter, and in Romsey decided to go on the A303 after all. A few miles before Salisbury, saw a sign pointing to Downton, and so off, in the hope of finding Downton Engineering. Downton is a much larger place than I had been led to believe, and I had already given up hope when I found the place, and had a chat to the sales bloke about setting up a 1275S for rallying, and he gave me some quotations, which, when studied later, were quite hair-raising. Then on through Salisbury, where, after trying to find a parking space, I decided against lunch, and instead refuelled at Wylye. A little later had a bit of a look for the lions of Longleat, but they were too far away. Stopped at the Ilchester Wimpy Bar, and had a bite, then on to Exeter and to Dunn's motors, where things still remained to be done - though surprisingly, not much. A wheel securing ring and grease cup had to be changed (out of stock: stupid when it has to be replaced every time the brakes are relined), and a new alternator was needed.

This is really quite amazing. They had had the car for over two months, and we knew about the alternator three months previously, and yet I wasn't surprised. I continue to be amazed how bad car service was in those days. Considering the general unreliability of all cars, you would at least have expected quick repairs.

Also I was told the big ends were going - why do bad things always come in 3's? In this case it would involve a new crankshaft - con rod assembly, as the con rods are in one piece, placed on the big ends in the factory: £36 plus labour. Outside, looking for a second hand mini van for under £100, which might give me less trouble. The Ami has certainly cost more in maintenance per unit distance than the DKW, and I am thoroughly fed up. Then out of town, after finding no very encouraging news about flats, and got a bed and breakfast place on the Moretonhampstead road, then took 2 thumbers to Tavistock, and up to see the Normans, who were quite pleased to see me - all the fuss about the cheques had obviously been forgotten, and all that remained was a good long talk. Home, nevertheless, none too late, and, once again exhausted - early to bed.


Wednesday, 24 September 1969 Exeter
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Up early enough, and down for breakfast, not frantically inspired, and then out to go into town, and found the car somewhat unwilling to start. Suspecting some foul play or lack of petrol, down and filled up, and then into town, and had a look round for a cheap Minivan, in which I was by no means unsuccessful: there are plenty available round the £50 mark, and I was shown quite a good one which was only £40. Started contemplating then what Cooper bits and pieces I could use, and asked about a few scrap yards, and was sent up to Redhills, where the Mini was too recent to be of much interest to them. Then up to a place on the Okehampton Road, where they did indeed have a few mini bits and pieces, but told me the Cooper situation was pretty poor, as people seldom wrote them off. Had a look found, and then back into town and fount the public library, where I finished a letter to Pauline and then wrote up in a sadly neglected diary until I got somewhat bored, and went into the town to have a look round, and then up to the Express and Echo offices to see what I could get in the way of accommodation. When the paper did come out, there was precious little of anything available and they all had box numbers, so I started to think again about it all. Eventually off home, and decided I could do worse than to write a couple of letters, so did so, and then finished off “The Virgin Soldiers”, about Singapore, and quite good. Later into the E² office, and left the letters, and then off in the Crediton direction (which happened to be the easiest) for a drive, and after a bit of cross country messing around ended up in the Old Forge at Chagford, where I had a cream tea and then pressed on to Tavistock, where as yet not everybody was home. They arrived, talked, etc, and I stayed at length, which involved having makan, before going back home and having a bath and another early night.


Thursday, 25 September 1969 Exeter → So'ton → Brading IOW
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Up later this morning - why the hell have I been so tired of late? In any case, after getting up was somewhat a loose end as to what to do this morning, and ended up heading into town to see what I could do. Parked in Bedford St. and went and did a little bit of window shopping, and then along, as previously intended, to the library, where I did a bit of diary writing before it occurred to me that I was really rather wasting my time in Exeter, and that it ought to be worth my while to leave for London or the East [of England] today and see what I could do up there. Accordingly back to the place and paid up - she wanted 12/6 for tonight as well, which I thought a bit rough - and then over with a large amount of barang to leave at Mrs. Normans in Tavistock. Then down to see Dr. Lindsay, who kept me ½ hour before he even deigned to see me. He was not exactly helpful when he did, and to crown it all I heard his wife claim she was sick and tired of all these young foreigners coming over here and making nuisances of themselves.

It's really strange that I had so much difficulty getting him to pay up for the damage he did, let alone his obnoxious behaviour. I suspect I went about the issue in the wrong way; surely the insurance would have been able to follow up on this, especially in view of the fact that he lost a court case about the incident for bad driving.

That really infuriated me, and had she been a man I have no doubt I would have clobbered her, but hard. Instead went off and complained to the police, but it seems that the race relations act does not cover this sort of thing. Back, threatened them with all sorts of dire action, and eventually took off in the direction of Exeter and Southampton. This took its time - 3 hrs 20 minutes, and I arrive about 1700 hrs to find the McGibbons with some friends who had come over from Canada. Had quite a long talk with them, and nearly promised to buy this bloke a Konica in Singapore. Then off again to Portsmouth, having rung Paul and arranged for him to pick me up at Ryde and put me up for the night. Missed the first ferry, and did not arrive until 2130, then back with Paul in his van, which he has brought up to stage 1 tune himself, which I thought pretty good. Had a bite to eat, then out in said vehicle, which is quite a bit different to mine, having in particular a very sloppy gearchange, snatchy brakes and slightly more performance. Back home and spoke at length before going to bed - persuaded Paul to come to Tun. Wells with me tomorrow.


Friday, 26 September 1969 Brading_ → Tun. Wells → Ashford → Nutley → Tun. Wells
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Up somewhat later than I had hoped this morning, and it seemed to occur to Paul in the same instant as it did me, for just as I exited from the caravan, I found him coming towards me. Cooked some breakfast and then planned our trip across to the mainland, and discovered that the first boat we could catch would be the 1130, so managed to get Paul sufficiently packed for that, and then Jenny drove us down to the station, though I did my best to persuade her to take us to Ryde. Eventually got there, anyway, then slowly off to Portsmouth, and got the car, which, thankfully, had not been stolen, and set off for Petersfield and the A272, and somewhere round Haywards Heath began to wonder if Guy Belsham was anywhere to be found, and so off through Chailey and Fletching to Nutley, where a woman at Tyes told me that Guy in fact would be returning hither this evening. Accordingly off and to Tun. Wells, arriving at the somewhat unsatisfactory hour of 1430, and so off to look for Jim in Grosvenor Road, and were just in time to wake him up from a lesson about dynamos. Had a bit of a look round, then he had a break, and we had a little chat, and I discovered a letter from Pauline was waiting for me at Larry's place, and so off thither to find a not-very-happy letter from Pauline, and got the impression that she might just be pregnant, so belted off to Ashford on the off chance that I might see her, and of course, did not, but left a letter for her in the nearest post box and off back again. Time there was a pretty good 40 min off, and on the way back decided to go to Nutley, which I did, and saw a Mrs. Belsham rather more friendly than last I remembered her, and gave me a drink and talked at me at length. Then Guy came in and was suitably astonished at my presence, and in due course I was asked to stay for makan, and so I did, reminiscing with Guy as I did about the good old days, and also more recent problems - he had his girlfriend in the family way recently. Then off to Tun. Wells and found Jim and Larry with Paul at St. Peter's church hall, and so hung around there. Later took Jim's bird home - Jim had disappeared - and on the way picked up Jane James and a Linda, surname forgotten, then back to Larry's cellar.


Saturday, 27 September 1969 Tun. Wells
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Up rather later today, round the 1100 hrs mark, for the excellent reason that we had nothing better to do. When, however, we did get up, I felt quite hungry, and so we went into town and to Fortes to get some sandwiches, then along to a bookshop to buy 3C, which I have not seem for some time, and which in the meantime has put on a considerable weight. Then walked around for a while before deciding to go and see Annette and see how the Canon was getting on, so dragged out her card (why does she have a card in the first place?) and off to her place, where indeed she was in, and had a bit of a talk with her once she got off the phone, when she quickly started showing us all the equipment she got for her “darkroom” in town, which included quite a bit of stuff, it must be confessed, including an enlarger/timer setup which she claimed did not work, so set to repairing it or proving her wrong, as the case might have been. Hung about some while longer, as conversation gradually petered out, and then Paul and I set off into town, but then decided to go to Brand's Hatch to take the Mini round, and so back to see if Annette wanted to come. Then off, while we were waiting, to St. Peter's to see if I could manage a handbrake turn, which I did, and then picked Jim up, and after a bit of waiting round went off to Brand's Hatch, with Jim making out with Annette in the back. Brands was being used for a motorbike meeting, so that was out, and we went back again - whole thing barely took 30 minutes. Then Annette collected her dog, and we all went off to her “darkroom”, which was a dark, dingy little closet with all the walls at odd angles to each other. Then up to look at what must be the most untidy flat I have ever seen - belonged to some friends of Annette, and she was proud of it. On the way home, Annette contrived to spill fixer on the seat, get her dog in it, and then put it over the back all over my jacket. Lost my temper, but eventually retrieved my jacket, and then dropped her home. Later had makan, and tried to bring Jim over, but he was disinterested, and so Paul and I back home for a while. Later still over to see Jim and borrow some clothes, and also looked for some birds. Quite early to bed.


Sunday, 28 September 1969 Tun. Wells → Ashford² → Tun. Wells²
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And so dawns the day for which I have waited for one third of my lifetime! Finally I have reached the legal status of adulthood! At last I can be treated like any other man (as opposed to boy) in the street, can be tried and convicted, if circumstances permit, of such heinous crimes as rape and murder, can vote for the future of a country whose politics mean nothing to me, if I ever return there. In short, nothing much of advantage. Then way things are going, it looks all too likely that I will actually be convicted of rape and murder, though possibly I cannot be treated the same as I was not yet 21 at the time. In any case, the day reflected precious little of the importance of the occasion. Got up round 0730, and once I had got round to getting out of the place, headed on Hildenborough way looking for petrol, and fortunately found one, and topped up the oil at the same time. Then off to Ashford, making it there, thanks to the lack of traffic, in the almost unbelievable time of 35 min 18 secs, which represents an average speed of 54,4 mph [87.5 km/h] - this must surely be quite exceptional, bearing in mind the lousy road, and increases my intent to buy a Mini. One of the consequences was, of course, that I arrived in Ashford about 0900, and had an hour to kill before even the first church service, though I suspected Pauline might go to the second. Bought this month's Reader's Digest, though I had already read the Asian edition, and sat a while in the car reading that, until gradually girls from Ashford school started heading towards the church, and I thought it prudent to get out of the car and take up a more strategic position. Almost immediately I got out of the car, Pauline appeared with 3 friends round the corner: Anna, Jinks and “Droop”, the latter from Australia, and, significantly or otherwise, some inches taller than the others. Pauline came to one side with me, and told me that she was no longer annoyed with me, as something had come on Friday - she suspected, nevertheless, that I had done something, for she had never before been this late. Into church with them, where it gradually dawned on me that she had only been a week late, and that things were, in fact, alright. Eventually got out of church and went down to the school, where I told whoever it was in authority that I was a distant relative from Australia come to take her out, and this was accepted without any difficulty - do I look that much older than her? Was told to bring her back by 1930, and that was that. Headed off back to Tun. Wells, telling Pauline about the Ami and all the trouble I have had with same, but she was very upset that I wanted to dispose of it. Then passed one in Tun. Wells, with the rather interesting consequence she did not like it so much in the metal, which was somewhat confirmed when I showed her the one that lived in Frant Road. Then to Larry's, place, where in the cellar she changed into something less offensive, and we went down to the curry inn for makan, where she somewhat embarrassed me by saying in none too soft a voice that she had told her friends she had slept with me. Back then, had a piss, and then off for a drive, as the weather was pleasant, but somehow ended up on Crowborough Common in the back of the car, and just before I went to sleep she suggested that we went home and slept. Off accordingly, and into the cellar, where we indeed slept, though little else of note happened - in fact, she resisted my advances quite strongly.

After all, she was having her period, something that I don't recall occurring to me at the time.

Woke up some time later, having repulsed Paul's advances a couple of times, and down to the Bull for a drink, but found it closed. Then back to the house, where Paul had finally returned with the Mini, so Pauline got changed, and off again to Ashford, making slightly better time this time (44:47), and got her to school at 1928:40, giving her almost exactly enough time to check in in by 1930:00. She came back 10 minutes later, much later than promised, with a birthday card, “chosen by Anna” - why couldn't she have chosen it herself - or something better for that matter? In any case, it had an interesting theme: “Love” 20 times, as well as an extra one from her which made up with the numbers, with the statement that it was all we needed, which leaves me as puzzled as I was before. She is, though, I know, more than slightly worried about the adverse opinions of her classmates, and probably is as fond of me as before. Back to Tun. Wells - 40'08 - and off later with Paul for makan and an abortive search for petrol, then quite early to bed.


Monday, 29 September 1969 Tun. Wells
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Paul woke me this morning far earlier than might be either expected or desired, and suggested that I convey him from hence to Brighton, which rather annoyed me, as I had rather hoped to be able to get away without taking him anywhere further than Tunbridge Wells Central Station. In any case, up and got dressed, and off to Rawsons for a couple of gallons of petrol, most of which he paid for, and then off as quickly as possible (after all, time was at a premium). That took long enough through the morning rush hour, and it was well past 1000 by the time I got back to Tun. Wells. Thought about it all for a while, then into town to see what I could achieve on my own, and ended up walking round all the bookshops to see what I could find there, which accounted to little more than a 9/9d slide rule. By this time, lunchtime was coming round, and several things occurred to me: a) I was hungry b) all the oriental restaurants were still closed, c) I had to get the Mini back by 1400 d) I wanted to see 3 into 2 doesn't go. Accordingly had some fish and chips and off to Lewes, where I left the Mini without any trouble, and got a lift back with a former theology student at London, who was driving an Imp and hoping to do philosophy at Oxford, in that order. Saw the flick, which was not too bad, and it occurred to me in how many ways Judy Geeson reminded me of Pauline. Firstly, apart from being somewhat flabbier, she looks like her from the neck to the waist, 2ndly she has a habit of saying embarassing things in public (especially during meals) and 3rdly she thought she was pregnant. Back after that and told Larry about it, though he was too busy to be very interested. Went for a walk in town later in the day, but had no money and so did little.


Tuesday, 30 September 1969 Tun. Wells
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Being without a car is a veritable curse. The most immediate result was that I got up much, much later today, and did very little once I was out of bed. Eventually it occurred to me that I might just as well go down town and see what I could afford in the way of money out of the bank, and on the strength of this got £5 out of Barclay's at the end of the Pantiles. Then up with my new-found wealth and contemplated a decent makan, as distinct from fish and chips, but I did not quite achieve this objective insofar as I went to the PoKing restaurant and had their fixed menu, which is nothing very fantastic. Also went round a few watch shops and collected some interesting stuff - “The Book of the Moon Watch” inter alia - the fellow who served me was slightly deaf, and I had the greatest difficulty persuading him that I did not actually want to buy the watch. Further up into town and bought some socks, then tried to get my watch adjusted, as it is gaining about 3 seconds a day, and they made a bit of a mess of the back trying to remove same, but had no luck, and just told me it was gaining 10 seconds a day. Then to the public baths and had a bath, and had a bit of a walk round town, before it occurred to me to ring Guy up and see what was happening. He said something about ringing back later, and so, after a bit of thought, I went and bought last week's “Motor”, and sat reading it in the Pantiles for a while before going back to Broadwater down and sitting outside reading about Minis and writing to Pauline. Then had a phone call from Guy, who could not make it tonight, but suggested tomorrow night. Then posted a letter to Pauline, telling her to ring me tomorrow, and off round town for a not-very-interesting solitary boozeup.


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