Greg's diary
January 1966
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Saturday, 1 January 1966 KL Images for 1 January 1966
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... Chartered Bank, and knows Lesley. Kicked on at the Dog after that, and had quite a wild time. Bumped into Mr. Green of Ipoh. I wonder what he was doing here. Back home eventually at about 1.00, feeling very happy.

Woke up quite late, and rather expected Mum and Dad to be gone, for Dad had told me that they would be off at dawn, or not long after at any rate. Obviously he had forgotten to take Mum into account.

Nothing much happened for a while. Mum was obviously deadbeat and did not get up until abut 10.40, and then only slowly. Meanwhile my report arrived, not very good from Pad, about which Dad went up the wall. I wonder why he pays so much attention to what Pad says. Clod was, as ever, fairly satisfied, and, as surprised me greatly, so was Jimmy. Said something about expecting a good result.

Eventually Mum and Dad decided they had better get moving, which I thought was obvious if they wanted to arrive in Penang before noon. Went over to the office with them to get another Christmas (or was it New Year's day?) present and take it home. Again back via the Merlin - the access is changing every day, and the only way to get across today was to go down into the pit that they had privily laid for me.

Then Bev said something about going to see “Help” at the Federal, and so off in a taxi, after first having makan at a place called the Pancake house, which is obviously only a branch of the Oasis.

Then to see the film, which was very amusing. I liked particularly the photographic effects, some of which were really marvellous. Unfortunately, there was very little in the way of a plot to the thing.

Back home again, and, as usual, I felt depressed and, as is becoming usual, I wrote a letter to Lesley - another airletter. Then decided to post it, but discovered the Weld Supermarket was closed, an so back home, and did a bit of photocopying, and then, after I had finished the film, down to the Pejabat Besar Pos to post the letter.

Back again, just as everybody was breaking their fast, and all very interesting. I must take my camera with me next time.

After the news, developed the film, and to my utmost astonishment, it was reticulated. God knows how that happened.

Being that sufficiently tired for the day (I walked about 6 or 7 miles), I decided to leave what unpleasant TV shows there were, and had a bath, and got to bed quite early.

Sunday, 2 January 1966 KL.
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Eileen decided today that, as Dad and Mum were not here, there was no point in making any morning tea or such like. Damn her. As a result, I did not upwake until something like 10.30, which rather annoyed me. I am tempted to believe what Mum says about her getting a bit scroffy [?]. Still, time will tell - I think Mum is probably too intolerant anyway.

Up, and as I was doing so, saw Bev disappearing with a towel and bathers, and assumed she was off to the Lake Club, and she said she was going with Elspeth, and so on. I wish just occasionally, that I would be let into what is going on in this family.

Had breakfast, and then decided that I would not mind going to the Lake Club myself, and so rang and paged Bev - she was not there. Eileen then told me that she was at the Golf Club, but I decided nevertheless to walk to the Lake Club - I have been doing a lot of walking lately. I feel lonely - as though I have not a friend in the world. Got there, did not even change, and fairly soon back again. Why is life so pointless?

When I got back, Bev and Elspeth were at home, and planning to see the 1.00 pm show of “The Moonspinners” at the Odeon. Had makan, after persuading Eileen that I needed some, and then off to the Odeon jalan kaki [on foot].

Got there in plenty of time, and Elspeth was very put off that we paid for her, but we managed to stop her worrying, telling her that it was really Mum and Dad who paid. That more or less satisfied her.

The film itself was very good, although I was apparently the only one who thought so. Anyway, I enjoyed it. Then got a lift back with a Danish friend of Elspeth to whom I feel I could at least have been introduced. I have my suspicions that it was Ann Walgren, but could not swear thereto.

Back at home, decided to do a bit of printing, in order to send it to Lesley, and did so. Did the article “Get Involved” from Readers digest III/1964, which, despite the reticulation, was still quite legible. Also did the photos taken at half term - all on half plate. I hope she likes them.

Then gave it up as a bad job, and decided to have tea, despite the fact that Bev had not yet got home, and did.

Bev arrived back approximately in time for the first TV programmes, and did not appear to have missed her tea.

After makan, managed to feel as dead beat as usual, and had a bath. My piles are returning. Must get some Nupercainal.

Mum and Dad back at about 11.10.

Monday, 3 January 1966 KL
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And so goes life on, aimlessly, etc, and I sometimes wonder if it is worth it.

Up at a fairly normal time this morning, and discovered that I was not required for any work in the morning, and so decided to go to the Lake Club.

The weather, for some reason, was lousy, which did not help my tan at all - it was pretty cloudy to start with, and gradually got worse until I was sure it as going to rain. Apart from that, there was hardly anybody I knew here - Sally the 1st was there, but she is not worth talking to.

After a while, gave it up as a bad job, and decided to go down to the Dog and have some elevenses there, and then back to the office.

Tried to ring Mum from the Dog, but it was almost impossible to get anything through their internal exchange, and I was beaten by the operator.

When I got back to the office, I discovered a) I had left my bathing togs behind and b) Mum had wanted me to get Dads reciprocal card from the Lake Club for the Kuching Club.

Finally, with Miss Anthony's help, got on to the Dog, and got them to have a look for my bathers, which the [sic] subsequently found, and rang me to that effect.

After lunch, down to the old chartered bank building to have a cholera jab, which the doctor dealt with in record time. Then to Vanguards to see if they could repair my flash gun, without much luck, and bought some Araldite.

Then to Eastern Photographers, bought some paper, looked at the Polaris Zoom lens, and got some literature on the Pen F for Dad, who is becoming interested therein.

Then to the Dog, got my togs, and down Batu Road, and got last months Popular Photography at Jubilees, and read it in the Oasis.

The to Black and White, who could not do anything about my flashgun either.

Back to the office, where I did not stay very long, and soon back to the house, where I started printing the HP3 that I took on Christmas day. Rather soft, to say the very least. Must be more careful about the agitation.

Then put them in for their 2 hour wash - I want to make sure Dad realises the full difficulties of double weight paper.

Then put them up to dry, and did various odd jobs, and after makan over to the office, where we stayed rather longer than I had expected. Mum read my letter to Paul Hallett - that was a low-down, dirty trick.

Tuesday, 4 January 1966 KL
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As I had requested Dad, he woke me up when he got up this morning - we are all making sure of getting our full 8 hours sleep. Mum and Dad said something about making a new year's resolution to that effect. I can imagine how long they will keep that.

The thing that I hate about the mornings is the interminable waits for Mum to get up. She was not up before 8.30 this morning, at the earliest.

She said something about going down to the immigration department re Bev's entry permit. Rang them up, and they said we could do it by mail.

Off to the Lake Club, and there was, as usual, nobody there. Decided that, as the sun was shining, I might as well make hay, and did a bit of tanning. If only Lesley was here - I feel terribly lonely.

On the way back to the office, at about 11.45, bumped into Mrs Cannings outside Robinsons, and had a bit of a chat with her about the usual nothing-in-particular, and then on. Must see her about seeing Lesley at the beginning of term. Mum wants me to ask her, after reading my letter last night.

After that, rang the Nanyang Watch Company and Lals [both in Singapore] for estimates on the Spotmatic, and the Nanyang gave the better of the 2, although nevertheless not very good.

After lunch, down to the Chartered Bank and got what I thought should be $523.00, but they only gave me $522.98 and deducted a further 10¢ for stamp duty.

This appears to be the agreed purchase price for a Pentax Spotmatic. According to the conversion table printed in the diary, this corresponded to a little over UKP 61. The list price in the UK was £150.

On the way out, saw Mr. Cannings, although I did not speak to him - both of Lesley's parents in one day, after having been here for about 20 days, and seeing neither.

Back to the office, and gave the money to Dad, and then on to the income tax returns, which Dad calculated are due in on Thursday. We are not going to make it, what with Dad going to Sarawak tomorrow.

At about 5.30, had got to July 1965, and then knocked off until tomorrow. Dad was feeling pretty unwell, probably as a result of his calculations about the income tax.

After a very short while, discovered that there would be an immediate expedition to Subang to pick up little Lim from Penang, who is going to Kuching with Dad tomorrow.

Then back home, via the Federal Hotel, and had makan there, at which Carmel was also present and active. She has spied 4 Pentaxes for me, 2 of which were SV's. No change in position - just in the ratio of the popularity. 24 Pentaxes to 5 Nikons (2nd).

Very little in the evening after that. Lousy weather.

Wednesday, 5 January 1966 KL Images for 5 January 1966
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Up early this morning - very early, in order to see Dad off on the Singapore plane at 7.00am from Subang. Dad said I could drive, and so got it all set up, but only made it as far as the Federal Hotel, where we picked up Lim, before Mum decided that I was too slow. I did not think that that was very nice of her.

Then back home, and had breakfast, etc, and decided that I might once again to go to the Lake Club, as I once again had absolutely nothing else to do.

At the Lake Club, felt so tired that I lay down in a deckchair and went straight off to sleep (or pretty quickly, anyway).

Woke up about an hour later, thinking of Lesley, and wonder why the weather was so appaling [sic], and wondered whether it was worth staying. There was not a clear patch in the sky.

After a while, Duncan arrived, and I showed him the photos I took last holidays, and he asked me to do 3 blow ups for him to Postcard. A little while later, Jennifer arrived, and asked me for quite a few. Surprised to find that she is only 15.

Back home early, rather hoping for a letter from Lesley, but there was none.

Had to get my own makan, as Eileen had the day off, and had only left some salad and a rather skinny chicken for me. Made do with that. I might as well fast as the next man.

This was still Ramadan.

After a while, at about 2.00 pm, Mum and Bev arrived, and shortly afterwards Mum was off again. Stuck my 400 mm lens case together with Araldite - hope that does it.

Then off round town to do nothing in particular of importance, although I finished off my PX in the Canon, and to Eastern Photographers for some more. To Nainas to get a syringe, and while I was there, also tried to get a larger tube of Nupercainal, but they only have 20gm tubes. Nuisance.

Then to the Dog, and had some coffee and a hamburger, and then back home again, to discover that Bev was fast asleep and almost unwakable. Finally got in, and very shortly after that arrived Mum.

Did little apart from discover that Bev and I had been invited to a party tonight to make up numbers, which is adding insult to injury - it would be bad enough if it were not to make up numbers. Nevertheless, I discovered I had little choice in the matter, and so up to North End round 7.35, as Elspeth (who I am beginning to dislike) had promised.

Ran out of beer shortly, and so left Bev in Sonny's capable arms and down to the dog for some more. They picked me up before going home.

This appears to be my first mention by name of Sonny Rajah.

Thursday, 6 January 1966 KL
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And on with life. It irritates me that Eileen should not wake me up in the mornings when Dad is not here. Apart from not getting my tea, it means that I oversleep very badly.

Woke up eventually at about 9.30, rather annoyed about not being woken up, and out to have a fairly leisurely breakfast. then rang Mum up, and got her to send Rahmat over for me to take me to the Lake Club - is life not a routine operation on the whole?

Nobody was there when I arrived, but they started arriving fairly soon. First Duncan, who came over and had a bit of a conversation before going back to do some study. Then Jennifer, who found Gillian da Souza and spoke with her. She was apparently doing some maths, and so I went over and asked if I could be of any assistance. It eventuated that I could, indeed.

Got a lift back with the Patons, and am just a little afraid of getting involved with her. It might not be a bad idea, though. I should guard against getting too dependent on Lesley.

After lunch had to go down town to get my watch, which, I note with interest, has been out of commission for exactly the 12 days of Christmas. I wonder what the significance is of that. Bev also had a Kodacolor-X which he wanted developed, and was going to take it to some little place in Batu Road, whom she said would give her a commission or reduction nor something. Having seen her last photos, I wonder. Anyway, I managed to persuade her that Kodak handled all Kodacolor-X anyway, an that there was not much point in going elsewhere, and so handed it in in Pudu road. I did not offer to develop it myself because I knew it would take too long. I must get some stock solution.

Got back home, and Lokman b. Mohd. Noor [sic] was there, and apparently has an ulcer in his stomach, and is as a result not allowed to fast. Convenient for him.

Off to the Lake Club, where he has never been before, and which he rather liked, although not as much as did his brother, who I feel is dead set on joining.

Home again, and showed some Ektachrome slides, mainly of England, which rather interested Lokman - at any rate, I have somebody to show them to.

Then they had to go off, and I invited him round for makan tomorrow night - Ahmad will be coming as well.

Developed a film in the evening, in Rodinal - not bad on the whole. Reading “Tropic Temper”, about K.L.. The fellow is a nut.

Friday, 7 January 1966 KL
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And so goes on life - I wish I would get a letter from Lesley. I am getting rather worried that she has found another boy. Still, it is probably only my imagination. She finds it difficult enough to write to me in the term time. Still, I must hear from her in time to know whether I will see her on Sunday next. Should I ask her parents or no? I wonder what the effects would be.

Off to the Lake Club, as usual. I am getting a glorious tan, of which I am becoming quite proud.

Everybody always seems to arrive after I do - and I am not at all that early.

I wish the sun would stay out more of the time - it is rather annoying.

Before long, over came Duncan and spoke at length with me, and confirmed my suspicions that all was not well between him and Jennifer, and I am still surprised that he is younger than I - it is all very deceptive.

Was offered a lift home by the Patons, but went with Rahmat instead. Perhaps it is just as well Jennifer is leaving on Monday - I will have no chance to get involved with her.

In the afternoon, got down to printing some photos which Jennifer and Duncan wanted, and managed to get them over and done with pretty quickly, and left them to glaze. I am still not sure about this glazing solution, but I think I am getting the hang of it.

Left them for a while, and outside to write up my diary (with which I am becoming unusually slack. I think it is probably something to do with the lines being closer together this year).

Then read a bit more of “Tropic Temper”, which is gradually becoming slightly less ridiculous, although it has a long way to go.

After a while, discovered that a couple of prints had detached themselves from the mirror, and detached the rest myself, and tore the emulsion off the paper of one of them.

Then the wasted 3 hours between 4 pm and 7 pm. Why I do not know, but I never seem to be able to do anything then. Perhaps it is the thought of impending tea, which can fall at about any time in that range.

After that arrived Lokman, followed about ¼ hour later by Ahmad. Spent about ¾ hour talking to both of them about cameras.

Had Majid Satay this week, and the sauce tastes very much of peanuts. I think I like the place better next door. Bit of flute playing after that.

Saturday, 8 January 1966 KL.
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Was woken up by the phone, which Bev went to get, and it turned out to be Gurdip Singh, who wanted me to go to the Lake Club this morning, and I said that I would be there in about an hour, and then decided that I might as well go then, as Mum was going to the office, and so arrived about 15 minutes later, and it was a glorious day - hardly a cloud in the sky to start with (unless one could count the presence of Gillian da Souza and Jacky Webb as such).

About ½ an hour later, Gurdip rang up again, and said he would be coming straight over. What he did not tell me until he arrived was that he had also brought 2 of his sisters, Devi and Daljet, 16 and 17 respectively - I wonder what the Sikh method of naming girls is.

A little later arrived Duncan, whom I gave his photos, and then Jennifer, who I think was a little put of by the indian girls. Jacky Webb seems to think there is something on between us, and kept making comments to that effect. Then Jennifer got me to do some geometry for her. Some of it was quite tough.

I don't recall this incident. I wonder now whether Jenny was put off because they were Indian, or because she was jealous of them.

Back home, and dropped Gurdip on the way.

Dad rang up from Singapore re the cameras, etc, and said he would be coming back on the 052 at 3.15, arriving at 4.20. What he did not realise was that he was stopping at Malacca en route. Mum home and discussed whether we would pick him up or not, and eventually decided in favour.

Then arrived Lokman and Ahmad together, and first of all finished off the film in Ahmad's camera, and developed it in Promicrol mainly as a demonstration, and they took quite a few notes about it.

Then went to the airport, and I drove. I managed to get up to about 80 mph [125 km/h] not far from the airport. Lokman was surprised, as he told me while we were waiting.

Dad got through the customs with the camera over his back, and the fellow did not even notice, although he searched Dad's bags. Classic example of how to smuggle.

Then back home, and Ahmad and Lokman off, and Dad gave me all the stuff.

This was at least the Pentax Spotmatic for Paul Hallett and the Super-Takumar 28 mm f/3.5 wide angle lens and incorrect lens hood.

All excellent except for the fact that the fools had given him a standard lens hood that cut off the edges of the frame. I think there is something prophetic about the serial number 1364964, or 16².7².8².

There's also something wrong about it. 16².7².8 is 802816. 1364964 factorizes as I think I might have been taking the numbers in groups: the last 4 digits are 49 (7²) and 64 (8²). But 136 is not 16², so it's still wrong, and certainly not “prophetic”. Maybe I meant “symbolic”, but of what?

The evening was like all evenings - boring - until Gurdip rang at 9.00pm and asked me to come to see the midnight show at the Cathay, “Ski Party”, which was quite good, although I had a bit of trouble persuading parentals to let me go. Met another sister, Rani, who looks like a Jew.

Sunday, 9 January 1966 KL. Images for 9 January 1966
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Eileen in, as asked, at 8.30 with tea, but Dad went outside, and decided that the weather was so absolutely awful that it would not be worthwhile going to the Lake Club. I was feeling pretty tired, and so we left it.

Finally up at 11.30, and outside and slowly getting dressed while at the same time reading the newspapers, etc. It is good to feel lazy, and I enjoyed it to the full.

Then, however, discovered it was quite late, and hardly worth having any breakfast, although the table was yet laid to that effect, and so in to ask Mum (who was still in bed and thought it was about 11.00am) what we should have for lunch. She got quite a shock when we told her that it was 12.30, and suggested we went down to Bilals and got some curry. This is becoming quite a way of life on Sundays, and a habit which I by no means dislike.

Drove down to Bilals without too much mishap, and got a fairly comprehensive selection, and then back home again, and miraculously, had makan more or less on time.

Then did little after lunch, and after a while Bev mentioned something about going to the Golf Club, so I offered to drive her, but I had just got out of the drive when Lokman arrived, so I got Dad to take her and went back with Lokman, and told him all of the advantages of the Spotmatic (which I am beginning to like very much), and took a photo of him with the 28mm Stak. It did not show much distortion, and he said the same of me - maybe it is more prominent with Europeans, with less flattened features than Lokman's or mine.
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I can't find a corresponding photo of myself. Maybe Lokman just looked through the viewfinder.

Then off to the flicks, which Lokman paid for. Very kind of him, even if it was only the $1.60 seats.

After that, back again. Very good film, which I enjoyed very much - especially the happy ending. I must be getting neurotic - I must have a happy ending.

Lokman could or would not stay for tea - he said something about having to get the car back by 5.30. He does not know his way about KL very well. I hope he found his way back home OK.

Bev had apparently also gone off to a flick without telling Mum or Dad, who were understandably annoyed, and Mum said something about Phillipa being a shit. I beg to differ - in fact, I differ.

Making a lot of plans for the future in the evening, and did not get the early night for which I had hoped.

Monday, 10 January 1966 K.L
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Despite the late night last night, up again early this morning, and the usual wait around without doing much.

Going to the Lake Club is a way of life, but today first to the Supermarket to buy some rather exciting-looking orchids for Mum, and back again, by which time she was ready, and told me Gurdip Singh had rung. He is very persistent.

Took Hal's SP with me to the pool, still with the PX in it, and I am beginning to find it a very useful and easy-to-use camera. I must definitely get one as soon as I can sell my SV. I suppose I could always pay the tax on it, and still get enough money from the sale to make it worthwhile buying an SP.

Duncan over and spoke at great length, and it seems that he again has a hangover. He is an interesting bloke - I can't see what he sees in that 13 year old bag, though.

After a while, back home - lately I am going particularly early. Must see Lesley's mother about seeing her on Sunday. 10-page letter waiting from Lesley when I got back, and this must surely be the record length. She has, however, discouraged me to a certain extent, mainly because her arguments against our romance are so reasonable. Still, we shall see next holidays.

In the afternoon, Ahmad was supposed to come over to print his film, but it was pouring torrents of rain, and besides the electricity had packed up, so when he did not turn up, went down to get a new bulb for Dad's projector - it did not look dud, but he said it was, and I had no means of testing it without the electricity. Also bought a Canon J5 flash gun for PF10 and AG1s, and 20 AG1s. They are marvellous for their size.

These are the now completely obsolete flash bulbs.

Back home, and did little for quite some time. Life between 4 and 7 is usually wasted.

At about 5.30, after watching TV (different times, everything has been set out of whack by the Quran reading competitions) rang Dad, and he told me to come over to the office with some tobacco, and so did so. It appears that Mum was at some committee meeting of the International school, and had the office keys, so Dad could not lock up. Met a Kings Cambridge scholar on the way over.

In the evening, out with Carmel (whose birthday it is today), to see a very bad film in faded (no cyan) Eastmancolor about the Royal ballet. It was marvellously acted. Back home, showed some film of the middle east on Dad's big Leitz projector - the bulb is still OK.

Tuesday, 11 January 1966 KL.
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Sri Lal Bahadur Shastri

Whew! What a day. Why does activity come in lumps?

Before I was long out of bed, Gurdip Singh rang and said something about wanting me to come to the Lake Club, so that he could come too. I am getting just a little fed up with all his scrounging [?]. Also rang Carmel, who wanted me to get her a slide box and some slide cleaning stuff, which I said I would get at Eastern Photographers.

Just about off when Mum got up and said something about waiting 5 minutes. Half an hour later, we were off, and first to Eastern photographers, and got the stuff for Carmel, and also some AG1s for myself.

Could not face going to the Lake Club, so instead to the Dog, where I had some coffee, and took a few photos of the Secretariat - the 28mm STak comes in very useful indeed. I quite like sitting in the Dog of a morning, quite alone with my thoughts.

Then, just after noon, back again to the house, stopping at Eastern Photographers to get an EH135-20, but they did not have any. Tried at the Merlin, but they would not put it on the bill, so had a most complicated arrangement, and walked back to Jalan Mountbatten, where I saw in the Malay mail that the signing of the Tashkent agreement was too much for Shastri, and he died of a heart attack this morning.

Back home, and had lunch, and after that over to the Merlin to meet this Khrishnamurthi Ry bloke, and had to wait for quite some time for the car, and he tried to get me up to his room while we were waiting. Poor bloke is a queer, and started trying to make advances at me. Fortunately, the car arrived, and off to the Lake Club, where I decided that it would be wise not to change. Finally Carmel arrived, as intended, and we took a few photos. She hasn't got much of a clue. To the houses of parlement [sic], where I got nearly the whole thing in, although I fear that converging verticals and perspective may take their toll.

Carmel still thinks of a camera as a tool rather than an extension of the senses.

Back home, after taking some of the war memorial, and got some more barang, and over to Carmel's flat, where she gave me a tinned Tiger in exchanged for 3 AG1Bs of her flat.

Out, and took a couple of the Masjid Negara, and then down to the Chinese part of town, where Chinese New Year is coming in. This EH at 640 ASA is excellent.

Back home, and all had gone out to various parties.

My recollection is that Carmel took me back to her flat later and tried to seduce me. I probably would not have put that in my diary for fear of my mother reading it.

Wednesday, 12 January 1966 KL
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Up very late this morning, mainly because I was so dog tired, and would have got up a lot later, but first a phone call from Gurdip, who wanted to go to the Lake Club, and I said I was pretty dead but might go. Then back to bed, and almost immediately a phone call from Carmel, who had forgotten to get her cheque book back from me last night, and who said she would collect it some time tonight.

By this time, Eileen had decided that I should get up so that she could make my bed and go off early.

Tried to get transport to the Lake Club, and was completely unsuccessful, but decided to walk down to Eastern Photographers to get a negative album and while at enquired about a photoflood filter and lens hood for the 28mm lens. They said something about coming back this evening, and so off and had coffee at the Dog, and tried at B&W on the way back, but they had nothing either.

Decided at lunch that I would have to see Mrs. Cannings really soon about seeing Lesley, and so, on Mum's advice, rang her up and asked if I could go and see her after lunch.

Accordingly over after makan, and asked her pretty straight, and, rather to my surprise, she said she had not the slightest objection to it, but suspected (as I did) that the school might object, and so wrote a couple of letters to Miss Webbe (house tutor) and Miss Nightingale (headmistress), and showed me some photos taken at the SEAP games, all suffering from L shaped scratches, which I was at a loss to explain, especially as they were so regular. I think it might be to do with automatic enlargers, etc.

Back home in quite a happy frame of mine, and finished off the letter to Lesley, and down town to post it, stopping on the way at the office to glue it down. Nobody even noticed me, all were so busy.

After posting the letter, into Eastern Photographers, and the bloke told me that they could not get what I wanted. Forced it out of them, and in the end they decided that they could get me one by 10am tomorrow morning.

Back home, and did little, and after a while arrived Mum with Tan Soo Hua, who it has suddenly stuck me is another S.H.Tan.

S.H.Tan was a contributor to the Malay Mail. I can't find much about him online except his obituary.

Off to a barbecue at the Reynolds place in the evening. Only other bird our age there was Jennifer Williamson, with whom I made off. She has sticky hair. I think she likes me, but is a bit self-conscious.

Colin tells me that Mrs. Cannings says that Lesley & I get on so well because we are both interested in photography.

Thursday, 13 January 1966 KL → Mentekab
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And the usual again this morning - up with Dad, but he went off to the office before I was ready, and I had to wait until Mum was ready. Then off to the office, and popped up to see Dad before going off to the RIMV to apply for a driving test, and it eventuated, after a lot of messing around, that I could not take a test today - the fellow said the earliest available time was 27/I/1966, and I told the fellow I was leaving on Saturday, and so he said I could come tomorrow, but I said I would be in Pahang, so we finally settled for 11.30 am on Saturday. I hope I make it.

Then back to the office, and told Mum the news, and while I was there entered Harry (Anna's boyfriend), handed Mum a box of sanitary napkins, and asked her how one wore them.

Off then, and down to Eastern Photographers, where I got the filter and lens hood - the latter is an enormous, impressive looking sort of thing.

Back home, trying them out, and took a photo of all my Pentax equipment to date, and sat around doing nothing for quite a while.

Then reading the Malay mail photography corner, and while contemplating entering the weekly competition, Sonny rang up and invited Bev out to the flicks, and, knowing that Bev would not be allowed to go as such, I told Sonny that I would take her, and meet them there. Mum did not object to this at all, and all went well - stopped off at the Supermarket first to do a little bit of shopping, and then thither. Graham Perrier got me to buy him a ticket, and Tony and I spent most of the film making sarky comments thereabout. The film itself was not much cop - I thought, in fact, that it was pretty feeble. Called “7 women”, but the trouble was most of them were old maids.

Back home, and did little until the final of the quiz - SJI v. VI, and a most spectacular finish. SJI were never in the lead until the very last question, when they won by 1 point. Good old SJI.

I went to St. Johns from 1959 to 1961.

Then off to Pahang with Dad and his new supervisor, Mr. Wu, who is 60 and doing it for fun. Very impressive sort of person. Stopped for the night at Mentekab in some grotty but cheap pub. Had Dim Sim for makan, which is the chinese equivalent of makan kechil. Mentekab is a dump.

Friday, 14 January 1966 Mentekab → Ulu Jempol → Jerantut → Kulau Valley → Raub → KL
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Woke up at 6.25 am, and lay in bed thinking that it was only 2 days until I would see Lesley again, and feeling vaguely happy, etc, about it.

After a while, Dad woke up, and we both got up. Finally got our breakfast, which was supposed to include hard boiled eggs - they seemed to have given us fresh eggs, dipped into hot water as an afterthought.

Eventually off to the first scheme that we were to visit, and I drove a good deal of the way. We got there (a distance of about 50 miles) before 8.00 am, and nobody was about, so we had to hang around for quite a while. Eventually arrived Mr. Lee after we had already gone up on a hill, and were looking at some rather poorly built houses there.

Dad rather irritated me by taking a couple of photos on my experimental EH135-20, which I was taking at 640 ASA.

The sun was stinking hot, and as a result, nobody was too happy, but eventually we got away, are Mr. Lee's car broke down. Said he would still try to get to Klau valley this afternoon.

Out to Jerantut, where we had lunch, which was fairly good. A bottle of Anchor beer has never tasted so good before - I had not had a drink since breakfast. Still very hot in the afternoon, and Dad nearly went to sleep at the wheel..

Eventually got to Klau Valley - it was still, at 3.45, terribly hot, and the sun was beating down relentlessly, and to crown it all, Klau Valley is in a worse condition than any of the other schemes. There are a lot of settlers already living there, and they are complaining about all sorts of minor disasters.

Went around taking a couple of photos, and noticed a rainbow to the east, which looked rather pleasant, and took a photo of it. Lots of little birds hanging around, very curious. None of the rain came our way, unfortunately - or at any rate, not enough to make any appreciable distance.

However, by the time we got to Raub, it had become much cooler, and we had tea there in comparative coolness. I wonder if it is something to do with the altitude - but is Raub that high?

Wikipedia doesn't know either. Further west is the main range that runs down the Malay Peninsula

Then started climbing, however, and quite a nice view at Walsh's corner, about 10 miles from the Gap. I hope the fact that I didn't use an UV filter is not serious.

Finally back home, as predicted, just in time for the news in Mandarin, and Carmel was there to greet us.

After makan, got packing. We must be getting experienced - 20 kilos on the nose, and not much other barang.

Very late to bed, despite attempts.

Saturday, 15 January 1966 KL → (-2 hrs) Colombo →
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And thus begins the last day of the holidays, without seeming violently different from any of the others. Life is still there, I suppose, and that is all that matters.

Up very late, as I was feeling rather tired, and did not want to be dead when I arrived in Ashford tomorrow, but had to get up fairly soon to go and take my driving test, so up and gradually got dressed, and then discovered that Dad had gone off somewhere with Rahmad, and the latter had not yet returned. Mum was also kicking up a bit of a fuss, but eventually she got going in a taxi.

Just about when I had given up hope, Dad rang up to say that Rahmad was on his way, and soon over to the office to get $10 for a license should I pass. Over to the RIMV, and after a while located the right place, and they said something about IC's, insurance, parental consent, etc, and had to off for that. Eventually back, was asked questions about the highway code, etc, and did fairly well, and then the confined space business, and they told me I just grazed one of the posts, but I do not believe them.

I had taken the test in a Citroën ID19, a big car without power steering. The confined space was the same for all cars, so clearly I should have taken my mother's Mini.

Anyway, what the hell, there is always a next time.

After that, to the Lake Club for lunch, and also did a bit of suntanning. Then Bev and I got parental permission to go and see a flick called “Secrets of Paris”, and so off. It was very interesting, but the trailer was much better, and rather misleading. The actual thing was just a glorified documentary, and by the end of that I felt that I should have taken Bev's advice and gone to see “Licensed to kill” at the Pavilion.

Dad was not there when we got out, and I rang up Mum to find out what was going on, but she did not know. Dad turned up about 5 minutes later, and so home, and changed into my travelling clothes, and was ready before Mum came home.

When she finally did, got involved in a dogfight, and I went out to investigate, and declutched Swoopy's jaws from another dogs throat, which latter, out of gratitude, bit me on the ankle. C'est la vie! Sterilized it and bandaged it up, and shortly after off to the airport, where I met Colin Reynolds, who is on the QF741.

Upstairs after weighing in, and Mum objected to the cigars in my pocket, and got Dad to confiscate them, and had one hell of a lecture as a going away gift. It all makes me absolutely sick, and I said so. Off at 8.00 pm (1230 hrs [GMT]).

The bird next to me on the plane was about 13, and it took me a bit of time to do anything with her. Ended up talking to the bloke on the other side. The bloke would not give us any beer, so had some local stuff at Columbo (arrived 9.05 pm/1505 hrs, left 9.50/1620 hrs).

Sunday, 16 January 1966 → (-½ hr) Karachi → (-3 hrs) Cairo → Athens → (-1 hr) Rome → (-1 hr) London
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Then on, and arrived at Karachi at about 12.15am/1915 hrs (15/I/1966), and decided that I had been to Karachi airport enough to know better than to get out now, and stayed on board. Off in 45 minutes as usual, and en route to Cairo.

Arrived at Cairo at about 3.45/0145 hrs, and got off there, and again got shouted a beer, this time arabic stuff, which, contrary to my fears, was not dealcoholated [sic].

Just about to get back on when we were told that there would be a 1-hour delay in flight time - nobody seemed to know why. I started going quietly up the wall, thinking that I would have hardly any time with Lesley. Boy, was I right. We stayed there longer than at Bombay, and we were lucky.

It seemed that there would be at least a 12 hour delay while they flew in a new part for a radio compass from London. Had breakfast, which I spent filling a transit card with coffee with my hypodermic syringe, and then were supposed to go on a guided tour of the pyramids, but somehow miraculously Colin, Nigel and I managed to get on an Olympic airways flight to Athens which left at 10.45/0815, and arrived at 12.30/1030 hrs, and almost immediately we were transferred to a BEA flight to Rome and London. So much for never travelling by Comet again - both planes were comets.

Why does one always stay such a short time at Rome? It is usually about 15 minutes, and this time was no exception.

Finally arrived at London at 1630 hrs, and of course landed at Passanger [sic] building 1, as we were on a Continental flight. This made me a lot happier about bringing stuff through - I somehow feel that they are not so thorough here. Anyway, they took my word for it that the only additional thing I had brought in was the 28 mm S-Tak, noted that down [in the back of my passport], and then we were off to the Gloucester Road air terminal, where Colin was met by his uncle, and I found a hotel across the road with bed and breakfast for 30/-, and so there.

Rang up Lesley, who had not apparently heard from me at all, and discovered that I might be allowed to take her out for tea tomorrow, and so out for makan, back, and at 2000 hrs rang up the school again, and spoke to a Miss Job, who said that that would be fine.

My day having been thus made, off to have a bath, and then off to bed to recover from the events of the past 36 hrs. It is snowing here.

Monday, 17 January 1966 London → Ashford → London →
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Woken up as requested at 0700 hrs this morning, and down, and wrote up my diary. Then to look for the dining room, and nearly ended up in someone elses bedroom. Thank God they did not wake up.

After breakfast, for some reason caught the tube to Charing Cross station (which I discovered, was much closer to Strand and Trafalgar square station), and found out what trains I should catch, and then to look round town. Into one place and had a look at the S-Tak Zoom, and CDC gadget bags, and spoke about infrared film. Bought a couple of filters at Kodaks, and then along to Wallace Heaton to buy some optical flal [?], and they had none. Did, however, have Minidex refills, of which I am desperately in need, but at that stage ran out of money, and so back to the hotel to pay the bill, but they would not take a cheque, so had to look for a branch of Lloyd's bank and try there.

Finally to Paddington, and to the left luggage office to do the usual, and bumped into Slob Davis, who said something about Phil Ranger being about, so disappeared [sic] pretty quickly to Charing Cross.

My guess; Ranger was a prefect, and I should have been returning to Taunton, not heading for Ashford.

Then off for Makan, and got some Kodak lens cleaning fluid and Minidex refills while I was at it., and then back, and missed my train, and had to catch one about ½ hour later, which arrived much closer to 1600 hrs in Ashford, and I was gradually going up the wall all the way. My fears were needless, however, for I got to the school (by taxi) a good 5 minutes before Lesley appeared. She has had her hair cut. While I was waiting for her, Sue came up and asked me if I had done the photos. Fool.

The photos were taken during my clandestine visit in October 1965

I tried to pretend not to recognise her, but Lesley arrived soon, and so off to Gizzis, and there to have tea - and I mean tea. Lesley said something about having to go to tea when she went back anyway, and all we had was tea - not even milk or sugar, of course.

Then Lesley said she wanted to buy me a Christmas present, and simply would not take no for an answer, and so off round town, which she tried to think of something to get me, and ended up at a sort of compromise with a pair of socks.

Then had to take her back to school. I wonder how many blokes have kissed their birds goodbye in the front entrance hall of their school. Not many, I should imagine.

Then back again, and the train was running late, and so missed my connection at Paddington, and had to wait until 2230 hrs, and so down to see Gui, and also Laddie, who just happened to be there.

The things I do for Lesley - I sometimes wonder what kind of a nut I am.

Tuesday, 18 January 1966 → Taunton (KCT)
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Arrived at Taunton at 0300 hrs, vaguely on time—how do they do it? I nearly overslept, but some miraculous force helped me. Got an offer for a taxi as soon as I got out, and got him to dump me outside Briarlea, where I discovered the door was unlocked, and so in and down to the waiting room, where I slept until about 6.45, and then got up and went over to the Common room. Ranger and Robinson iii are deputies [deputy prefect]—what a waste of time!

Contrary to my expectations, nobody seemed unduly surprised to see me in non-reg clothing, and took it almost for granted. Howard (who, along with Callow ii, Smith III [?] and Archie Rollinson, is a school nark [prefect]) even asked me if I could lend him some clothes.

Semi-unpacked before I discovered there was a chance I would be in Stoneleigh, and so left it for a while. Found Skiv before assembly, and apologised for being late.

After break, double study, and by this time I had confirmation that I would be in Stoneleigh, and so spend my time getting my barang more or less sorted out. This took quite a considerable time, and discovered that I would be allowed to keep my common room study place. Also found a letter from Lesley, written at the end of last term. What do I feel for her? Is it love, or if not, what is it? I certainly don't know.

After lunch, did little—I hung around in the common room, and told Aston what I thought of his camera (Mamiya family), which was not much. Saw Archie Rollinson about a phot. soc. meeting, and settle for Friday after lunch.

Run for the rest of the school, but pioneers had a free day, which I spent writing a short letter to Lesley, which nevertheless less took me quite some time.

After that, gave up, felt more than vaguely dissatisfied, and paid my first visit this term to fort George.

Back to the common room, and red this month's Pop Photography, which has in fact been out for some time, and it is not all that madly interesting.

Then decided that it was approaching tea time, and to the tuck shop to by some spread, and just back to the common room before Hallett came along with some home made jam and tomato chutney (looks like lady's finger curry) and suggested we go to tea, which we did. His sister is one day older than Lesley—coincidence.

Double maths, and both Norman and I were woefully unprepared therefor. Must do some major revision. It was bitterly cold there as well, which did not help much—one could hardly think.

Then prep over in Stoneleigh, in which I achieved little. I am still not quite with it as a result of the events of the past 3 days.

Robing of the new school narks in chapel.

Wednesday, 19 January 1966 KCT
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And already the routine is vaguely apparent, after only one day at it I am already becoming depressed at not being able to see Lesley until April. I am beginning to wonder whether this habit of keeping a photo of Lesley in my diary is a good one. It depresses me too much to think how far she is away.

P.E., and it was terribly cold, and besides I felt that I would not be able to find my P.E. shoes, so I got permission from Sarge to do a study period instead, and this I did, although I was sorely tempted not to.

Then lecture, which this term is with TGW, and before going any further he got us to write various personal details on a piece of paper for some examination consensus or another. Then he issued us with notebooks, which I thought was a bit rough. I don't mind attending the lectures, but I flatly refuse to take notes to which I shall never refer.

Then study instead of music - TDH was probably feeling too cold.

After break, maths, though I nearly went to chemistry by mistake. All about rectangular hyperbolae, about which I have forgotten much.

Then chemistry, in which we did very little, although Clod said something about seeing some work that he had set us at the end of last term, after I had left. I had better buckle down (or buck up).

After lunch, no choir practice, so I hung about in the common room for a greater part of the time, talking with various interested people about cameras. Then they went off for a run to Stoke, and I decided that, as I had little else on my plate, I might as well hang around the common room and read some photographic magazines., which I did for quite some time, until I felt the urge to do something more practical, and decided to duplicate the feat of a Nikon and take a photo of the innards of my watch, which took quite a deal of setting up, and finally I forgot to stop the lens down before taking the photo, so had to do it again. Also one of my eye, as a sort of trial. I wonder how it will come out. Had a wager with Aston that he couldn't do it with his camera, which he accepted, and so even sold him a flashbulb to do it with.

Then, after roll call, to an Iolanthe practice, and hung about for an hour, doing nothing, but listening to the Bishop Fox girls sounding like anything but fairies, and after about an hour gave up and walked out, and back to the common room, where the flash contacts on Aston's camera had given up the ghost. Told him it was crappy.

Did not much in prep, but I got quite a few of the maths out, which was more than Norman could do.

Thursday, 20 January 1966 KCT
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Oh, 'tis cold - I have been freezing since I came back, and since I have been back at school, the temperature has not risen above 0°C.

No doubt partially due to this, the whole house overslept today, and I had to turn the lights on to wake them up. Only 5 people in breakfast lineup - that must surely be a record. Next time I think we will let them sleep in.

Mechanics first, and on, ever on. I am getting more than a little depressed by the amount of work I have on my plate - yet, I must do it all if I have any hope of getting my 'A' levels.

Then study period, and first of all taking to Atkinson, who says we have £50 in phot. soc. funds. Also spoke wrote letter to Lesley.

Lecture, and did not bring my notebook, although I was the only one. Most people seem to pay little attention, but rather act as scribes.

After break, double Pad, for the first time this term, and on with light, and so on, covering all our O-level stuff. Asked him about taking 'S' level - he still thinks so, dammit. African bloke in our form - looks quite intelligent.

Wind band, of which I am now the leader, after lunch, and very few people turned up. It is rather fun being leader, I suppose - one looks up to me somewhat.

Then over to the study room to write up for yesterday - I must try to write up everything in 2nd prep for the same day, although I would have to do something special on Sundays.

Then clarinet lesson with Mr. Trevett, who I think is beginning to take just a slight disliking to me - perhaps it is just my over-sensitive imagination, though. Did little clarinet practice, although he dragged out some fugue on a nursery rhyme (baa baa black sheep) written for him by Sidney Lawton. With all due respect, I do not think much of it. He is trying to enter me for grade 6. I suppose there is not much point in resisting it.

Then to tea, and decided to miss my bassoon lesson - I am getting rather fed up with the instrument, especially this particular one. It is all very well to say 'tis a challenge, but that is just a rather optimistic way of saying it don't work.

Then double maths, only it was not all that long, as Norman was away. Nevertheless, Jimmy wend through all my differential equations in depth, and I feel a lot happier about it now. Rather amused at the look on his face when I got the answer to a question before he had even worked out what it was about. Still, 'twas a bit of a fiddle. Knocked off at 1820 hrs.

Friday, 21 January 1966 KCT
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Well, today we did not oversleep, which somewhat irritated me, although not violently. Accordingly into lineup, where my paper did not come, but with the mail (later) came enough. First of all, an EX from Colin Reynolds, then a letter from Dad, which was little more than a blowing up, and then a bank statement - I am £22··0··11d in the red, and likely to quickly got down an extra £43. Accordingly to find Hallett after breakfast to get me to pay me my money as soon as he possibly can, which does not look like being before Wednesday.

Then double chemistry, in which Hal was talking about buying a lot of my barang off me in the summer, and pay me now, to help me out of debt. All seems well. Clod did not, as threatened, take in our exam questions that we should have done in the holidays.

Mechanics - I must be careful not to relapse again. 3forces [?].

Study period, which I spent reading “Passionflower Hotel”, which Ricky has been promising to lend me since the beginning of last term. Optics, and halfway through the experiment in the period.

Rehearsal for “Iolanthe” after lunch in room 26, for the gentlemen only, which does not particularly worry me - I suppose it is because I would be at an all time low now, which I suppose accounts for it.

This might be a reference to bio-rhythm.

Then languidly over to change for pioneers, but got over there and realised I still did not have any boots, and although I found my shoes, I could not find my boots, and so over and told Paul, and up to the Science Library to carry on reading “Passionflower Hotel”, and while there was interrupted far too often, but more or less got on with it. Finally this african bloke came along and asked me to help him with his physics, and being the good-natured type I mistakenly think I am, I went along and doubtless confused him more until tea.

Tea talking to Hal. I wish the bread at this place were better. It really has been pretty awful lately.

Then double physics, and in a further 10 minutes finished off our experiment, which was by no means accurate, and spent most of the rest of the period writing it up, although at one stage Pad came along and suggested we look for flare spots, which we did, quite successfully. As long as we don't have to calculate anything on it.

In prep, finished “Passionflower Hotel”. It really makes me feel sick - getting a girls school to become a brothel. It has made a profound impression on me - I feel like writing to Lesley and getting her to promise me never to do that.

Choir practice in 2nd prep, quite short.

Saturday, 22 January 1966 KCT
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And once more to the end of the week, and I am always glad to get the first week of term over and done with, and as much this term as ever before.

No mail, which I feel is rather lax on Lesley's part, and nothing happened until assembly, when Pen officially announced that the Sheldon common room would be opened at 2015 hrs tonight. It all promises to be very good.

Then double maths, for which we had no prep, and straight in with notes - all about making definite integrals out of series - it is all rather confusing, and apparently pointless.

Then out, in which I still felt quite cold, and as a result, and partially because I felt bolshy, wore my Swedish hat, with uproarious results from Cocky-Locky and class. The former even put it on (much laughter).

This was a hat that my father had bought in Stockholm about 5 years previously. It looked “Russian” to English people.

I am getting tired of art lectures, and could not hear the jokes for the ear flaps [on the hat].

Then chemistry, in which I was considering what I would do if Lesley came here in the fashion that I did last half-term. Interesting.

Had a pseudo-intellectual discussion with Gilkes about the purpose and aims [?] of TV in English.

I think this parses as “about (the purpose and aims of TV) in (English class)”.

After lunch, photographic society meeting, and Aston very nearly got elected to 4th member - I shudder to think what could have happened if he had. Fortunately, we fiddle Hal in. Also new members, competition decided, etc.

Free day for pioneers, which was fortunate, and it seems that Hal had also decided not to do anything, and so we spent a bit of time talking in the common room, until we were ushered out by a composite [?] force of Matron and Phil Ranger, and so up to the science library, and I tried to read a book which Hal had out of the Taunton Public Library about a fellow who lived in Caulfield in Melbourne. Not very interesting nevertheless.

The went down about halfway through tea, and decided it was too late to go in, so to the tuckshop to buy some food, and back to the common room.

After roll call, Iolanthe practice, which was rather more interesting, as we were on the stage nearly all the time. It seems that we are rather low on high tenors - or at any rate, seemed so until Partridge uncovered [?] himself and Mr. Rogers turned up. Had quite a bit of fun messing around with the finale to act 1.

After makan, up to the darkroom, where Hal was going to show the little whatnots how to develop a film, and then to the opening of the Sheldon common room. Very good indeed. I like the coffee - it is real. Back to the darkroom, and found Hal had forgotten to expose the film before developing it.

Sunday, 23 January 1966 KCT
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And so the weekend, and not much to show for it. Depression about being back at school has begin to set in, as well as an absolute hatred for this country, which has hardly been matched since I have been here. Why do I dislike the country so much? There is something terribly depressing about it which makes it so different from Australia - or have my ideas about Australia become so distorted? I don't think so.

Sheldon society meeting after breakfast, to discuss what times we should be allowed in here. I feel rather irritated that we should not be allowed in at any time when we are free, and said so, with little apparent effect.

Then chapel, the first real do this time, and, as Lewis told me yesterday, he has pinched my cassock and given me another one which he hopes will do until they can buy some more. It will not, and I hope he does something about it soon.

Then CCC meeting, and spent at least 15 minutes deciding who might use the gym when. Eventually got down to something concrete about phot.soc., etc. Then to develop the first film Hal took in his SP, and only just got it in the fixer in time for lunch. Then out in the middle to take it out of the fixer.

Then, after lunch, up to see what it looked like. Last nights was unexposed. This time, somehow, he had managed to go to the other extreme, and it was fogged from top to bottom. God knows how.

Then gave it up for a while, as we did not have much to do, and besides there was a film, “Carry on Constable”, showing at 1415, and so decided to see that, and somehow managed to fiddle a chair - in fact, I was actually offered one. This is suddenly becoming quite pleasant.

The film itself was rather good, if old, to judge by the clothing, and reminded me even more of what I thought of this country when I first came here, all but nine years ago. I suppose the film came out even before that.

In fact, it was only 6 years old.

After that, up to the darkroom, and decided to do a couple of prints, as we had little else to do, and after looking for the PX that I took in Hal's SP (the only evidence that it worked), I printed a couple of the ones I took in the holidays, and then to tea.

I had taken a film with the camera while in Malaysia, and had been particularly impressed by the evenness of the exposure. Strangely, I didn't mention the fact.

After roll call, up to the Sheldon room, though not immediately, and read more of “Brave New World”, by Aldous Huxley, which I find a terribly absorbing book, if rather terrifying. It makes one feel like altering one's views on free love, amongst other things.

After lunch [?; sic], 3rd Sheldon society meeting in 24 hours, and also a chance to make some more prints. I am still a little worried about Jennifer.

Monday, 24 January 1966 KCT
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I still feel depressed why? I wish I knew, but it is definitely something to do with this country getting me down. I feel depressed, unloved, etc. I am even beginning to wonder if Lesley is all I think she is - in general, I am going through a period which the psychologists would probably call “extreme emotional disturbance”. Yet I do not feel like going after the girls, attractive [?] as some of them are from Bishop Fox's - least of all Hilary Marshall.

Mechanics, and just to make himself objectionable (I suppose), Drax gave us a test with which I fortunately managed to cope.

Then double chemistry, which I had, however, to leave fairly soon for a flute lesson, and, typically, had to wait ¼ of an hour before I could do anything. Why does she have to come at such a dead inconvenient time, anyway?

Maths, and spent the whole time going over the differential equations again for Normans benefit. I don't mind. At least I am less likely to forget them.

This stuff about geometrical integration, or whatever it is called, comes very easily to me. Good.

After lunch, to the common room with intention of doing very little indeed, and carried out this intention. After a while, however, got a bit fed up, and went up to the science library (it is infinitely too noisy in the common room) to carry on reading “Brave New World”, and did so. It is getting interesting now. I think I shall have to hold my views on free love in abeyance for a while. It is at least a good story if with a very strong science-fiction bias. It is really well written, and I can see myself finishing it within a few days.

Then down to the common room again, still feeling rather depressed. Were I to analyse this bolshyness of mine (or, for that matter, of many other people), would I find it stems from lack of something better. And if so, why is that cause allowed to exist or persist?

After tea, in which I was speaking about Netherton with Gautam, who shared my unfavourable opinions, did little, and then decided that this was not good enough, and to the common room, to peruse the Wallace Heaton Blue book to see if I could find any decent enlargers for colour, and found a Krokus thing which seems to have everything that we want, and went to look for Atkinson.

Iolanthe practice, and covered some new ground which is a nice way of saying we hadn't the foggiest what we were singing, which was true enough.

Piano lesson with Gilly. Did little.

Tuesday, 25 January 1966 KCT
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It is getting just a little irritating the way I so seldom hear from Lesley - I feel sometimes that she is taking me just a little bit too much for granted. Slept in this morning, and just to make it worth getting up, got absolutely no mail at all. I shall obviously have to fight fire with fire - it seemed to pay very rich dividends last time I inadvertently did not write for a while.

Although I notice it is not noted in this diary [in the printed headers], today is the conversion of St. Paul, and in honour thereof we had a service, which at least got us out of half of double physics (or, in my case, rather more than half. By the time I turned up, Oni (as this African bloke proves to be called) had pinched my place, which I thought a little unkind).

Then chemistry, and Clod was telling me the results of the experiments they did yesterday, and he ended by deciding that we had both been wrong, and it was really Cu turnings. So much for that. I think it could have been Hl [?].

After break, did little work - wrote to Wallace Heaton and asked for details of the Krokus enlarger and Agfa short process paper whatnot. All very interesting if I get a reply.

In lunch, a letter from Lesley, which brightened me up somewhat - although not all that much, the way I am feeling lately, and for some reason I got the idea that she is going off me. With this idea still in my head, after lunch to have a haircut, at Pen's request, and had a bet of a pint of beer with Kenny and Jones that I would not have a crewcut, and so had a crewcut, losing all my beautiful locks in the process. I was toying with the idea of sending one to Lesley, but decided against it. I don't think a crewcut really suits me, but what the hell. I hope it is a little better by the end of term.

Then carried on reading “Brave New World” in a place where I could get sufficient solitude from people commenting about my hair - i.e. in the science library.

Thus just about until tea, after which I did some music practice and came across “Le Rossignol en amour” by François Couperin. All these Nightingales! It is really beautiful music now that I can make a better attempt to play it - although I still have a long way to go.

Then double maths, and went on, ever on, with differential equations: a d²y/dx² + b dy/dx + c y = f (x) and so on. Then some terrible things about forming differential equations, which looked absolutely incomprehensible until Jimmy showed us how to do them.

Wednesday, 26 January 1966 KCT
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One of these days, no doubt very much in the future, Bev will get a birthday card from me, but the time is not yet come. So be it.

Today was her 15th birthday.

A.P. arrived this morning, and I spent most of breakfast reading that, although there is seldom much of general interest in it. However, it is quite sufficient to keep me going over Wednesday breakfast.

After breakfast, up to the Sheldon common room, and there carried on reading AP, and did little else.

In assembly, discovered that we had had some maths prep to do, and so missed PE in order to do it, and learnt a few standard integrals while I was at it.

Then lecture - this is not particularly interesting, but well worth listening to, which is, I am afraid for I know it [?], should not be more than I can say for the excerpt from “Götterdämmerung” that we had in music.

After break, nothing of much interest in maths - one gets the feeling that maths for science is so insipid when one is also doing maths and higher maths.

Then chemistry, and again little of interest happened. Must buck up on my organic chemistry considerably. Then a fire alarm, which was rather amusing, especially as I had my camera on me.

After lunch, choir practice, for which I turned up rather late, after reposing for some time in the Sheldon (common) room. When I turned up, was the only Cantoris tenor, and TDH, damn him, got some of the basses to help me.

Then to the common room (I am getting well out of pioneers) and tried to continue to read “Brave New world”, but was interrupted by Ng, who wanted to join the photographic society, and at the same time admitted Phillips. Had a look at Ng's camera - it is an Olympus Pen S, and he does not seem to have any exposure meter for it, which must be rather confusing. I wonder what sort of results he gets with it.

Then back to the book, and finished it, the end being a bit of an anticlimax, but all in all I feel it was a very interesting book. But now we will have to read it in class, which may prove rather a bind.

Then did some more practice on “Le rossignol en amour”, and to tea, although Hal did not turn up.

After roll call, first to arrange dancing lesson (Saturday 4:35), and then to Iolanthe practice. We have more or less finished this now, and have to get fairly intimate with the fairies. I got chatting to a rather nice one.

Before Chapel, David Hargrave came up to me and went up the wall at me for pinching his girlfriend. Ah, the pangs of first love. I shall have to offer him some competition, I suppose. It is all terribly amusing, and I told him so.

Thursday, 27 January 1966 KCT
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And so another day goes by, and will be, for the most part, forgotten by all concerned with it. I wonder how many people will, in 50 years time, be able to remember anything at all about today, and realise that it was today, 27/I/1966. I should imagine very few, other than those who, like me, keep a diary.

Indeed, 51 years later there's nothing in today's entry that rings a bell.

After breakfast, saw Atkinson, who had received the bit of enlarger from MPP, and also an invoice for 4/2d. Up and put it on the enlarger. That is a load off my mind now that the parallelogram head is working again. It has been broken for more than 6 months.

Mechanics, and handed in my book. Drax was not very annoyed, in rather marked contrast to last time I forgot. Did little work, and Atkinson did not even turn up.

Study period, in which, by tradition, I wrote to Lesley, and took the whole period over it.

Shitters lecture, and nothing very much of interest. All about Gross National products, etc.

Pad was trying to get elementary theory of lenses across to the class. They seem surprisingly unwilling to accept it. I can't understand why.

After lunch, wind band practice, and TDH reprimanded me for being late - I must have my coffee, must I not? Very few other people were present - one really must turn up. I shall, I suppose, as leader of the band, have to do something about it.

Then preparations for the junior steeplechase, and I was mainly interesting in getting photos of the event, and dragged a hundredweight of photographic equipment down with me.

Took a couple of photos of the start, and then finished off the rest of the film taking candid shots of the masters. There was some very good poses going, to which I hope I did justice. Then up to the darkroom, as I was suspicious about what was going on inside my camera, and took the film out and put a PX in.

Presumably I was concerned about whether the film was winding correctly, a common problem with 35 mm cameras.

Then faggott lesson wit Mr. Fawcett, who [sic] I find overpoweringly enthusiastic (though, I suppose it is just a reflection of my own lack of enthusiasm for this instrument). A couple of new reeds, both of which were too soft for this instrument. If I could afford a decent Heckel [Heckel system bassoon], there might be some point in my going on.

Then double maths, and on with differential equations, only this time we had to both form them and solve them. A little puzzling, although I suppose I shall get used to it.

After 2nd prep, saw Shitters about Cambridge entry, and got all the usual dope on what to do, etc.

Friday, 28 January 1966 KCT
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The sore throat which I have been nursing for the past couple of days was quite considerably worse this morning, and so I decided to go over to the San after breakfast and see what was up. I reckon it is tonsilitis. First, however, to the Sheldon room and had some coffee, which I must make a habit of, even though the coffee is by no means the best I have ever tasted. I shall have to start importing Palembang beans from Malaysia.

Palembang coffee is now almost unknown under that name, though it clearly comes from Sumatra.

Over to the san, and nurses made some comment about my tongue being yellow. She has obviously never heard of black coffee. Anyway, she took my temperature, and decided that I was violently unwell, and sent me down to the waiting room. Managed to get permission to go and get my barang from school, and over. Clod made some crack about “Do you want black or white grapes?”.

Then into the Ward, and the only other fellow there was Eftekhari [?], and so little conversation. There are always a hell of a lot of juniors in the san.

Started writing a letter to Lesley explaining my position, and after a couple of pages gave up. I seem to have left all my perseverance over at the school - but I did not feel violently unwell. Still, I wish that they would give me some better treatment than aspirin. They seem to regard them as a universal cure-all, and I am sure sucking them is not the most pleasant way to take them.

The afternoon carried on much as the morning, without much to show for it other than that Sister Treadwell came on duty. I feel that she is considerably more considerate than Nurse Whateverhernameis.

Various noises going on outside indicating that the steeplechase was in progress. What a pity I could not be there to take some more photos. Still, I can only pray that wall was well with the film I took yesterday, although I fear that such will not be the case.

Great cheers outside the Woodard changing room - they obviously won the senior as well as the junior steeplechase.

Then entered Nedham with Howard leaning on his shoulder, limping with some foot ailment - he had apparently not been too hot at the beginning of the race, and only lasted out ¾ of the way. It looked beautifully swollen, and was rather interesting to watch, especially when Sister pulled off the plaster that was round it. What an expression on Howard's face! Barri Evans in, who gave me a bit of information about the race, although not very much. Howard was in a lousy mood, which for some reason cheered me up, and went off, very happily indeed, to have a bath and learn about partial differentials.

When I got back, I had some quite satisfying arguments with Howard which he refused to accept, but nevertheless kept me in my happy state of mind. Maybe the real cause was an overdose of aspirin. Listening to Lux after lights out.

Saturday, 29 January 1966 KCT
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Oh that such a misfortune should befall one as active as I. It is slowly, but fairly surely, driving me nutty. I can't stand being in bed all day long, and I am sure it is not healthy. If only this had happened to me before I left Malaysia. To start with, the climate is much more healthy, and I would not have to stay in bed. Besides, I rather like the Bungsar Road hospital - and the food is much better than the muck we got here.

I had been in Bungsar Road hospital with pneumonia in late 1959.

Spent a terribly restless night, doing almost nothing but swallowing, each swallow a double-sided agony, and groaning because of it. Then, when the lights were turned on (one can hardly say “when we got up”, because we didn't), Howard said “I pity the people who sleep in the same dormitory as you. You were snoring, talking and swearing in your sleep all night”. Fool. Has he really got that little intelligence? I suppose to him, “O Christ” is a swear word. That is about all I said. I shall have to start saying “Al ilaha ila Allah[sic], but that might insult Eftakhari over there. It would probably have some effect on him, anyway. He seems to be a fairly ardent Muslim - he has a copy of the Koran on his scob.

My throat felt even worse than yesterday - so much for their “treatment”. Eventually at about 1030 hrs, along to the doctor,

For the first time, after over 24 hours!

and had a look and decided that my ear was inflamed, and that, as I discovered later, I had tonsilitis. So much for nurse, sister, or both.

A little later I was brought up some capsules to take - rather striking black and red ones, which look quite amusing. When I asked Sister about it later, she said they were some kind of sulphonamides, presumably benzene derivatives.

Not exactly the way to look at them.

Said something about each doctor having his own favourites, and that I was being given a double dose. Also some lozenges, which tasted vaguely of menthol. My throat was so bad, nevertheless, that I had to consume all my food in liquid form - milk, coffee, soup, marmite water, the lot. It is agony even so. How I hate this country! I wish I were back in Malaysia. As soon as I get my degree I am going straight back to Malaysia (if I can) or else to Australia. It would take one hell of a high salary, and quite a few other things besides, to persuade me to stay in England.

Thus went by the day - I felt very weak, I am sure I have lost about 5 lbs wt, and I slept most of the day, making up for what I missed in the night. Wrote a few lines more to Lesley, but could not keep it up. I must decide soon what we are going to do in the holidays. 2 months is not very long. I must, at any rate, get out of this country, and preferably take Lesley with me.

Sunday, 30 January 1966 KCT
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Oh, the monotony of it all. I am sick to death of this place! How I hate England, etc, etc. It is really getting me down, being alone in here with nobody who gives so much as a damn about me, and so on.

My throat was a little, but only a little, better this morning, but I was still unable to eat more than the albumen of the egg which was part of my breakfast. I have gone off hard-boiled eggs, although I would not go so far as to have them the way we got them in Mentekab a couple of weeks ago. Even that, however, I would prefer. There are times when I feel like leaving this country, going back to the East Coast of [West] Malaysia and completely forsaking the Western world. It really does depress me.

About halfway through the morning, which dragged, a note from Simon Atkinson to say he had been doing things down at Grays yesterday afternoon, and had bought some Promicrol (good), 3 8"×10" trays, but no masking frame, as for some reason he does not like the LPL. On the back was a note from Hal, telling me all this, and congratulating me on getting into the san on as meagre an excuse as a sore throat. If only he knew which side my bread was really buttered. They are having a fellow in from Grays on Tuesday to look at the enlarger to give us a trade-in value on it. Hal says something about hoping for £15. I hope we can get more for it than that.

Throat was feeling a lot better by lunch-time, with the result that I was able to eat a full roast beef lunch (although I would fain have had seconds), and in general I felt considerably happier. Even the sun was shining (briefly), and this inspired me to take a photo of the chapel. Those power cables rather get in the way. I wonder if it is possible to somehow retouch them.

The afternoon went peacefully by, with the good news that I might be allowed out of bed if my temperature was down tomorrow. I hope to God it is. This place gets me down.

Finished off my letter to Lesley, including my plans about the holidays, which I hope she will like. Chucked it to Atkinson to post for me. Trust him to miss!

Slept a good portion of the afternoon. I can see that this will be a bit of a problem when I go back to school - I will probably be on the nightshift by then.

Borrowed Eftekhari's Koran in the evening, and read a considerable amount thereof. It is quite interesting - especially what it has to say about Mary.

Discovered the fellow who came in last night, in the bed next to me, has also spent most of his life in Malaya, but he seems to have forgotten most of it. He lived in Clifford Road, and it took me a good ½ hour to persuade him that Merdeka Stadium was not in the Lake Gardens below.

Monday, 31 January 1966 KCT
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I feel ready for a complete change of life. I am utterly and entirely fed up with my present way of life, and feel that I will go mad if I do not do something about it soon. I am becoming more and more convinced that I shall have to spend most, if not all, of these holidays coming abroad - I wonder who will be fool enough to come with me. I am even having my doubts about my relationship with Lesley. What, in all honesty, do we have in common? Interest in photography, as Mrs. Cannings puts it? - Hardly even that! Besides, why a steady girlfriend who is never likely to live near you again? And she does have some rather odd beliefs, etc. Still, I should leave decisions until I return to normal. I feel a bit guilty about dropping her, though, after the way I led her on last summer, half-term, etc. And what is more disconcerting yet, I am thinking a disproportionate amount of the time about Jennifer Paton in particular, and other girls I know in general.

Letter from Dad, admonishing me for not having written sooner, which I proceeded to rectify after Dr Nowles had come round, and agreed with Dr Fleming that I had tonsilitis. It must be pretty definite if they both agree on what it is.

I feel a lot better - in fact, just about completely recovered. Now all I want is to be allowed up.

Makan on Mondays is awful, almost by definition - it is certainly as predictable, if not more so, than the weather. (Is that saying a lot, or not? It depends on the interpretation).

The afternoon, as always, is much the same as the morning. Finished off my letter to Mum and Dad, and wrote a very long note to Simon Atkinson about phot.soc., etc. Is it just that I have gone into the san at a bad time, or that we are always this busy? I rather think the former. In any case, I had quite a bit to write to him about.

Then reading magazines, etc, and once again, as many times before, got rather interested in bulk Ektachrome from the US - this time EH. I wonder how it will go. It might, with all this club emphasis on colour, be worth trying to get the club to subsidise colour heavily. We used, after all, to do the same with black and white. And it strikes me that it is more worthwhile to subsidise colour - although it might mean overbooking of the darkroom. I wonder what Atkinson has said to the Bursar about another darkroom. It might, if such were the case, be possible to have one for film and another for paper. It might prove quite feasible. The trouble with making these sort of plans, of course, is that we are going to leave so soon that we will never have time to fulfill our ambitions. Still, what we have to do is first find another room, and I also wonder if there is any point in having 2 enlargers, one for B&W, one for colour - there might be some advantage. But what about the problem of safelights?

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