Greg's diary
July 1966
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Friday, 1 July 1966 KCT → Bridgwater → Minehead → KCT.
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Rumours still flying all over the place that today was going to be a free day, and the camps were divided approximately evenly into those who thought it would be and those who thought it would not.

Discussing it with Dave Hargrave in the Sheldon room after breakfast, while we tried to get Ricky Cookson to go to the san - he broke his nose last night. Life is getting nasty for him - he looks like being demoted from deputy to boot - runs in the family: Fred [his elder brother] was demoted this time last year.

Then to assembly - Clod took it, and announced that Pen had asked him to tell us that today would be a free day. Much less fuss about it now that the novelty has worn off - just got down to work organising it, and this time were off in just over half an hour, despite Paul.

Quite some time getting a lift, but eventually did, and the fellow took us to Bishop's Lydeard, and then we walked on for a way. Paul saw a sign to Cothelstone, and headed off in that direction, and pretty soon we got a lift. Cothelstone was almost non-existent, and so we went on with the lift to Bridgwater, and then Paul though of going to Ashford for lunch.

I don't know an Ashford in the area. There is Ashford, Kent, of course, where Lesley Cannings went to school. The closest I can get is Washford, but that would have been pronounced differently enough that I wouldn't have misunderstood it as Ashford.

It seems he was born in Bridgwater, but for all that has few fond memories of the place. Spent about an hour getting a lift, after having our packet lunch (one between the two of us - Paul had lost the other - but quite enough). Got a lift to Cannington, and then another to Minehead, which we took all the way, and went not to Ashford, and ended up on Minehead hill, which is very picturesque, and for some reason reminds me of Pantai Chinta Berahi.

Then down to town, and had some lunch at the Wimpy bar - Paul and I are not very original - and then had a look round the front, such as it is, and Butlins, which had all sorts of odd flags in front of it, including Australian and Malaysian.

Eventually I persuaded him that we get out of it, and started trying to hitch back, and took a hell of a long time - the weather was sunny, which probably accounts for it.

The, eventually, got a lift (significantly in the shade) all the way to Taunton, which suited us fine, and so arrived back in town at about 1445 hrs, and to Smiths for a while, as we were not allowed back until 1500 hrs. Then back at 1530, having bought “The physiology of Sex”, and proceed to to read the same, which is interesting.

As I write this 49 years later, I'm in the process of discarding a lot of books, including this one.

Up to the Sheldon room, and gave Paul some of my precious Java coffee, which after all that he did not like. Like throwing pearls before swine, I suppose.

Everybody dead chick about 'A' levels - did little work in 2nd prep, however, as I was too exhausted after the day - what does it matter: my fate is as good as sealed.

Saturday, 2 July 1966 KCT.
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No mail, as I had to wait until after breakfast to find out, apart from Trans Air for January/February, which has apparently been pretty late even in Australia, and there was an apologetic slip in it to this effect. Article on Melbourne, or rather the Yarra, which was not particularly inspired.

Then, after assembly, double maths, which we spent revising solidly, and I was in a sort of trance - I have obviously not been getting enough sleep lately, and find it more than mildly difficult to concentrate on anything. Such it was this morning. I suppose I shall make a mess of all the morning papers, and not liven up until the afternoon - or alternatively load myself with caffeine, which is more likely. In any case, did little in maths, apart from watch Jimmy do some stuff on the board. I am no longer particularly worried.

After that, study period en lieu of art, and when, at the end, came down from the study room to the tuck shop, discovered they had had a fire practice. I wonder if I will be called up for being absent.

Chemistry - more last minute revision, which is beginning to get me down. After that, nothing, as there was a cricket match in which Daddy G was participating.

After lunch, did little in particular - decided that I might as well send my Pentax off for servicing, and accordingly took the film out of it (half - exposed) and and spent most of rest describing the works of the thing to Fairweather, who has lately shown a lot of interest in the subject.

Then over to pack the thing up, and on the way, saw Sharoukh Noorvash sunbathing, and joined him for a while, until the sun went in, and then on to pack the thing up, and did rather better than last week, having managed to pinch some string and brown paper from Mr. Smith.

Then over to the common room, and consumed a packet of biscuits rather than do anything as constructive as going to tea, and at the same time contemplated what I should do down town.

Eventually got hold of a boater, and after roll call down and first to the Post office, and went through the routine of registering the thing. Then down to the camera centre and ordered a rear rangefinder window for a Fed, and then back again, and got a PO for Spas Lloyd, and deposited Daisy Daw's 6 week overdue book at the library, at great personal risk, and then to Smiths, and bought “Life at the top” the sequel to “Room at the top”, and when I got back started reading it, and started off quite well.

No driving lesson after supper, so carried on with the book, and got about half-way.

Sunday, 3 July 1966 KCT.
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Well, one could hardly say that 'A' levels are not near at hand now - too close for my comfort. In any case as a result I resolved to work doubly hard today to make up for my scanty revision for the rest of this last term, and might even have done so, had not the weather been so wonderful. As it was, quite a few things conspired to cheat me out of my study time - the first being Charlie Chaun's Observer Colour supplement about Australia, which I wanted to read, and then we had a House meeting for all the usual reasons, but mainly because it is about the only contact Skiv has with the house, and he does not want to lose it altogether. About Hugh Lane coming back - apparently we are not allowed to talk to him, and must treat him as though he were not a member of the school. Said something about this term not having been very good - understatement. Everybody in our study room has been in serious trouble in the last 4 months.

Chapel, and the usual boredom. I am glad I will soon be leaving this place - Christianity has got me fed up - as a religion, I feel it has little to offer.

After chapel, “Life at the top”, on with, and thus on until lunch time. I can't help feeling that it can't hold a candle to the first book, “Room at the Top”.

After lunch, arranged with Fairweather to once again go down to the park, and then up to the Sheldon room, and on yet again with “Life at the Top”. The only trouble with reading books is that they take up such a long time. But lately I have felt in need of a bit of good solid reading.

Then down town, and to the park, which was dead, and in any case, I am getting a bit fed up with the idea of taking photos of lovers doing what I myself would fain do. Made a couple of half-hearted attempts to make advances at some birds, but it got us nowhere.

Then back again, with a vague feeling of having accomplished nothing, and back again to the Sheldon room, and on as ever with “Life at the Top”, and became so engrossed in it that I couldn't be bothered to go to tea.

Some people were still kicking on after roll call, however, so I joined them, and spoke for a while with Paul while I was at it, and then up to the Sheldon Room. Then into the darkroom to pinch a beaker, and Pad was there. Commented not on my presence, but merely asked me if I had done any work, which I found rather a tough question to answer. Why? All I needed to say was “no”.

Came into the Sheldon room afterwards, and said he had always wanted to make it into a darkroom, and proceeded to tell me of the Tuckwells plans for the future.

The Sheldon room was across the corridor from the darkroom and the science library. I don't think it would have made a very good darkroom: it was very big, and had a couple of large windows.

Terribly depressed after chapel - wrote to Mum and Dad to tell them I didn't want to go to uni in this country.

It's difficult to recall from 49 years later, but the issue with Hugh Lane was pivotal in my decision. It seems to have happened relatively quickly, and with little comment in the diary. Only four days earlier I had been planning a holiday in Europe; now, it seems, was the point where I decided to change the course of my life. Possibly there was more in the house meeting than I recorded. Certainly Skiv's hypocrisy was a big contributing factor to my decision.

Monday, 4 July 1966 KCT.
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Der Tag selbst. It seems that I was not the only fellow who did not sleep well last night. Woke up at about 0600 hrs and looked at Rick Brown, who was already awake, and suggested to him that some coffee might be a good start to the day for us both (for he is taking 'O' levels this year).

After breakfast, no mail for me, as I had rather expected, and so in a vague fit of depression, went to a music room and had a go at the Blockflöte - music does help one somewhat to forget the evil that is to be.

After assembly, which contained Pen's heartiest and most sincere (is that saying much) Glückwünsche, Mathematics and Higher Mathematics (which was by no means easy, although I felt likely to be the easiest of the ones we get - I am convinced that I will, at any rate, do better in pure than in applied maths.

Rather to my surprise, when we (finally) got out, everybody else was none too happy about it all, and in fact, I had done a pretty average effort. Paul Callow was, in fact, wondering if Saturday 1300 - 1600 hrs would not be one glorious waste of time.

After lunch, in which, as ever, I received a letter from Jenny - I wish I could just be with her again - I just don't know what to do about women any more - over to the study room and started writing a letter to her. This method of doing all our work on the trestle tables outside the room is by no means my idea of fun, and I would much rather do it in the common room - at least it is more comfortable.

Lot of fooling about there - the place was pretty packed, and I had a job to write the 5 pages that I did do, and then gave it up as a bad job and over to the Exams to see how Paul [Hallett] had done in his Maths for Science I, which was apparently not very well, In fact, he was pretty pessimistic about the whole affair. I wish him luck.

Then to tea, before the Chemistry I which I was vaguely looking forward to, and eventually in, and started, as ever, late.

The paper was not too bad, although I have seen better - 5 questions out of 7 were on physical chemistry, and I only did one organic question. In any case, I don't think I did too badly - if I carry on at this rate, my A1 [top mark in both 'A' and 'S' levels] is by no means out of sight.

Wrote 15 pages of foolscap - I am certainly writing my share today. 31 sides of foolscap and 5 pages to Jenny.

After makan, over to the study room, but did little work. Will no doubt have tomorrow morning for that. All I need to do now is get Chemistry II and III.

Tuesday, 5 July 1966 KCT.
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The pressure of the exams only just began to hit me this morning, when I felt so dog tired that I slept in - I wonder what I will be like on Saturday morning! By all accounts, I probably will not get up until about break.

After breakfast, Rick Brown came up with my paper, and started preparing a cup of coffee, ad I down to have a shower, and then in for mine [?].

Down in the common room, discovered a couple of letters - one from Mum, and one from Ronnie Ooi, who apparently is the FUEMSO [Malaysian student organization] flight secretary - he is giving me until Monday to pay up if I want to go.

This is quite confusing. This is the first mention of any plans to return to Malaysia in the summer, but it looks like some planning had preceded it.

After assembly, 4ple study, and decided that the trestle tables in the study room were pretty awful, and 'twould be easier to do it in the common room, and accordingly did so.

Quite a bit of running all over the place and talking to Paul Callow and Chris King - we are both on the seating plan this afternoon twice.

Then for early lunch, and rather a lively one a that - considering unlikely marks to get on papers. “Total 2000” etc. Paul worried about losing weight - all this running about in the woods with Swedish birds, no doubt.

Maths II was horrible. If I have passed it at all (which seems unlikely), I have only done so by the skin of my teeth, and I might just as well resign myself to the fact that I will probably only get 2 'A' levels [chemistry and physics, about which I had no doubts].

Eventually got out, and apparently everybody else thought it was a wonderful paper - and the best of luck to them! I am just going to have to resign myself to being a (comparatively) non-mathematical scientist.

After that, to the common room to recover for a while, and then to find Paul Hallett, who had not yet had any exams today, and after a while, during which he discovered he had my photographic map that I thought we had lost on Friday, off to tea, and sat there madly worrying about physics. If I only do well in my physics and chemistry, I should be all right. I only hope they can read my writing.

I found the physics paper an absolute gift - I discovered later that I did in fact make one stupid mistake, but nevertheless should have done very well, if, as Pad would say, I went into it in sufficient detail. I only hope physics II and chemistry II are as easy as these 2, and I will have a couple of good A levels, anyway.

Sent off a telegram to Mum & Dad about FUEMSO.

Wednesday, 6 July 1966 KCT.
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Oh, this examination stuff is all terribly tiring. Had to get up, of course, this morning, since I had an exam immediately after assembly, and besides, I wanted to get the AP.

No mail after breakfast - Lesley doesn't really seem to care much. Jenny will no doubt have a letter off to me by now.

After assembly, or when assembly should have been - there was none - off to the exam room for maths and higher maths, which, strange to say, I found quite an easy paper. I might even pass applied maths at this rate. Just imagine 4 'A' levels to my name - but then, Paul Callow will have 8. I wonder if you can really count the same 'A' level twice.

When we got out of the exam, discovered exactly the reverse of yesterday's opinions - I liked the paper, nobody else did. It looks as if I did as well as anybody on it. Good - that is what I like to hear.

After that, getting a bit chick about Chemistry II, and so to the common room, and studying madly the properties of amines and amides, which are apparently at once important and unknown to me.

Telegram from Mum before lunch - I am going back. She has sent £150 to the Westminster Bank for me - I wish she would remember that it was Lloyds.

Rang the bank up after lunch, and they are going to ring Skiv up when the money arrives, so (I hope) all will be well. Then got down to writing a letter to Mum and Dad, and also to Ronnie Ooi telling him that the money would be following as soon as absolutely possible, and also enclosed my driving license [Malaysian provisional driving license] in the letter to Mum & Dad. Down to Mountlands, posted them, and then off and gave an SAE to TGW for my 'A' level results. I wonder what Jenny will think about all this now - I have more than a slight feeling she will not be very happy. I am indifferent. I suppose at the bottom of it, I am happy, but I am pessimistic about my chances of finding a decent bird in the summer. I have more or less given up hoping for a bird with whom I can be for any length of time - I am too constantly (and unpredictably!) on the move for that. But I should like one to last me the Summer Holidays. I wonder - Jenny Williamson! I shall have to dig her up some time and get to know her better.

Then chemistry II, which I did not like. It was one of those papers with which it is difficult to do much, and besides, I was not concentrating on it anyway.

After supper, did little. Prick on duty in junior dorm, chucked my sandals out of the window. Laugh.

Thursday, 7 July 1966 KCT.
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All the usual this morning - either the bell didn't go, or nobody heard it, which, to all intents and purposes, is the same, and missed my shower and still only just in time for breakfast.

Had a shower after breakfast, and down to the common room, where an invoice from Rank, which did not quote a delivery date, and a letter from Jenny, and a telegram from Dad, postmarked Kuching, awaited me. Reading them in assembly. All this business about Jenny is a little depressing. Still, there is little I can do about it now, and in my heart of hearts, I am really rather glad, since I could hardly expect to be with Jenny the whole of the summer - but will I meet somebody as good in Malaysia? I wonder.

Physics II after assembly, and another quite nice paper. I may even have done better in Physics than in Chemistry - it is by no means inconceivable. 4 questions on electricity/electronics, and enjoyed that, and also one on reflecting telescopes. Right up my street.

Afterwards, wrote a stinking letter to Rank, complaining violently about their incompetence and demanding action.

After lunch, no wind band practice, and decided to see if I could have a driving lesson if I could squeeze it in, but it soon eventuated that this would probably not be possible, and after sitting in the common room for a while messing round with my camera, went over to Stoneleigh to write a letter to Jenny, and ended up in the dormitory with Pricky, and changing sheets. Started writing to Jenny, but my heart was not in it, and eventually, with many apologies, closed, and off to the school to have some tea, which, I discovered, had been early, and so went to play my clarinet, and played the Byrne suite, since I had met the composer, Dr. Andrew Byrne, in rest while waiting for my driving lesson. Quite a nice bloke - smokes a corn-cob pipe.

Then discovered it was gone 1530 hrs, and so over to Stoneleigh, decided it was to [sic]crowded to work, and so over to the common room, and there did some revision for Chemistry III - I only have one 'A' paper to do now: Maths IV.

After a while, ended up talking to Sharoukh Noorvash about something or another allied to all this, and then lessons ended and reading Mad, which has not been so good lately.

Over on prep to the Dormitory, and reading an article on Asia, which I found very interesting, and also agreed with, which is unusual.

Little in prep - too tired.

Friday, 8 July 1966 KCT.
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Either the bell didn't go, or I was really absolutely dog tired. In any case, I once again woke not up until about 0650 this morning, and once again had to wait until after breakfast with my shower, and once again had some coffee at the same time. Letter from Lesley - fairly non-committal, and besides nothing is much point any more now that I am going out to Malaysia - not that I am feeling embittered: far from it. I am just overjoyed and can't be bothered to bring my thoughts down to England.

Maths and more maths IV, and a very mixed bag indeed: about 4 really easy questions, which I managed to get out very quickly, and after that could hardly do any more than that. All rather depressing, and I was rather glad eventually to get out of the exam room at 1030 hrs, and to the tuck shop. Not many of the others thought much, however, of the paper, so I am not altogether pessimistic.

Had intend to go down town to have my glasses adjusted, but too difficult to get out of school, and so off to the Dormitory.

After lunch, getting a bit chick about 'S' level chemistry, and so over to the dormitory and started developing a couple of SP 127's for Forward, and at the same time started revising chemistry, and spent the whole afternoon thus. I shall be rather glad when this is all over - I shall really go mad round about 1100 hrs on Tuesday 12/VII/1966, and not really recover for about a week. I pity Jenny when I see her again - I shall be absolutely violent in my love-making.

Spent this afternoon, however sitting on Richard Rosser's [?] bed trying to escape being seen by anybody in authority, and learn some organic chemistry. Did not do too badly, and at about 1430 hrs, off to the school feeling dead chick. Allen did not help much: “Who is taking Chemistry 'S' level? Only one fellow. Who is he?”. Suddenly, my heart was in my mouth.

Finally in, and of course, it was not really so bad as had I feared, and I got moving, too fast, in fact. I quite enjoyed the paper, and think I did fairly well, although I had finished the whole paper in 2¼ hours, and so spent the rest of the time revising, and then decided that I could do better than question 12, and did question 11 instead. Last half hour I was the only candidate in the Gym, and I was getting a bit fed up. Thomas tried to carry on a conversation. Didn't object too much.

After supper, developed a couple of films, and little else worth doing anyway.

Saturday, 9 July 1966 KCT.
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Absolutely exhausted after the past week of exams, and as I had absolutely nothing today, slept in until quite some time after breakfast, and so first made my public appearance at 0805 [?] after assembly. My Pentax had arrived back after furious letter about it, and the shutter has completely given up the ghost below 1/15 second. Still, I can get it repaired by AA O'Connor if I keep it, or Allen can get Rank to do it if he buys it.

Then with Skiv to his study, and ascertained that the money which Mum had sent had not, in fact, arrived, and so sent off a telegram to Mum explaining the situation, and asking her to reply immediately to Taunton 2575.

Then to the dormitory, and rather without success, tried to get my Pentax shutter to work, and eventually gave it up and read some of Watson's “Readers Digests”.

Then down for break, and invited Paul over to the dormitory for some coffee, and before long entered Malcolm Lennox, Yellow Chaun and White South African Cookson to play Monopoly.

Carried on thus till lunch, after nearly being cayght by Pen. In and after lunch, talking to Prick about our plan to make C₆H₄.COOH OOCCH₃, and to the library to borrow Finar with all the yields, etc.

Then down to the front square to wait for a driving lesson, and had quite a wait, but eventually she turned up, and so along for a lesson. Reese was there with us, and to say the lest, he was not up to much, but when my turn came I did not do much better. God knows why. Still, managed to move about without anything unduly dangerous happening to me, and got back at about 1450 hrs, and up to the tuck shop wondering how long it would be before I heard from Mum.

My answer to this rhetorical question came soon - Pot told me that Skiv wanted to see me, and it seems that Mum had telephoned from K.L. no less than 3 times, and each time they had not been able to see me, and, what is more, the first time was before I had left for my driving lesson. Anyway, she intended to ring back at 1730/G.M.T/0100:10pon [?] K.L time, and I was required to be in Stoneleigh old house by 1700 hrs.

After roll call, down town to have my glasses adjusted, and then down to the camera centre to see how my Fed R/F window was coming on: it was not. I shall probably have to wait for it until next term, and give it to Jenny at half-term - or I could get them to send it.

Then down to Smiths, met Paul, and to the International Stores, where he bought some sauce and some cheese.

Mum rang 1745 - spoke about 15 minutes - $11/min. Money sent ex Kuching Dad, and send of £140 tonight. No could do with driving theory.

No, I don't quite understand either. But $11 MYR a minute is $165 in total, only a little less than half the price I paid for my Pentax Spotmatic a few weeks later. According to this calculation, it would correspond to about USD 980 nowadays (2015). And now I can make a 15 minute call to Malaysia for about $0.25.

Sunday, 10 July 1966 KCT.
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Ah, the blissful ability to be able to sleep in of a morning - I only wish I were able to do it more often. With nothing much else to do, it is quite enjoyable to sleep in until about 0900 hrs, and today I managed to do this. Not surprisingly, Paul wanted to know where I had been, and, to say the least, was rather insanely jealous when I told him.

It's still not clear how I managed to miss roll call.

Still, it does nobody much harm, and me quite a bit of good.

Into chapel - oh, boredom! both Paul and I had been seriously contemplating missing it, and might well have done were it not for the fact that we would be missed, and a hell of a fuss would be upkicked.

After chapel, decided with Paul that we might as well go down town and have makan as an end-of-term farewell mess, and so accordingly he off, and I went and saw Skiv, and at the same time asked permission to use the phone, and then he went up the wall when I intended to pay by cheque, and in the end I gave Simon a cheque for £3, and got some money from the PhotSoc funds, and then down with Paul to the Tudor, and there had a fairly conventional english makan - which I might as well have, since the number I will have in K.L. will not be very great - not that I mind, but there would hardly be any point in going somewhere like the “little east” near the station, where the food would not be up to much anyway.

That took quite a bit of time, and after that, I for one full of liquor and quite happy, still felt vaguely hungry, and so, after ascertaining that the Wimpy bar was shut, we decided to buy ein halbes Hähnchen, and then took it back to school and ate it in the carpenter upper common room, and left the bones on Yellow's study place (“Ah, Gleasy”).

Nowadays this sounds racist. It wasn't at all: part of the ambience of school life was to put each other down for any difference. And of course he spoke near-perfect English.

Then decided to head for the Sheldon room, where we had an argument about something or another, and I sat there wishing I could do what doubtless I shall do after lunch in 2 weeks time - have a bit of a tidoh [sleep].

Then to tea, but bread and tea and so on were pretty awful, so just had a cup of milk, and then off.

Then, after roll call, decided that I could do to hear Jenny's voice again, and so off to the telephone room, and called her up. I have been invited to stay at the Halletts from Thursday until I leave - great. Jenny sounded a bit subdued - I hope she is not going off me.

Then spent the rest of the time in the dormitory talking to Rick Brown, and after that to makan.

After chapel, no time left to do anything, and almost straight off to bed.

Monday, 11 July 1966 KCT.
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Before breakfast, no mail, and spent all the time after breakfast bracing myself for physics 'S' level, which, I felt in my bones, or other similarly unlikely parts of the anatomy, would not be a nice paper. Accordingly, did not get a chance to see if there was any mail.

The physics 'S' paper was, sure enough, a stinker, and I am quote convinced that I have not done very well in it. Pad, of course, helped little by not giving me a paper to start with. When I did manage to draw Kenny Remlake's [?] attention to the fact, he went and asked King what he wanted before he finally gave up the farce and gave me a paper. That Padfield fellow is a bastard. I could then cheerfully have wrung his neck.

Perhaps, though, the paper made little difference - I don't think I will get very far with it - nothing which I had revised came up, and I had to do my best, which I doubt was good enough, on the questions which did come up.

In the end, after doing my quota of questions, I decided that nothing would make much difference, and started writing a letter to Jenny, and had done nearly 3 pages by the time we were told to stop writing.

After lunch, still no letter from Jenny - in the morning post had come a letter from Dad in Kuching, c/c of the letter to Westminster bank, and then from Ronnie Ooi, flight details. The plane does not leave until 2000 hrs on Monday, 18/VII/1966 - later than one might have hoped. But it means I will be with Jenny on Sunday night, which would help. Also couple from Mum, exhorting me to keep my best face out, etc, etc, and a “Jangan biar orang bastard hanchorkan”, which is, I suppose, true enough.

Translated into something like Latin, that's “Nil illigitimi carborundum”.

After that, down to the synthesis of aspirin, which Ricky and I have started, together with Penks [?].

Our intention was to start from benzene. And I had a recollection of having been present the entire time. That's certainly not what the diary says.

They had already made the NO₂.C₆H₄.CH₃ [toluene nitrate] when I came in, and then we had to reduce it to NH₂.C₆H₄.CH₃, which we did in the usual way - I went down at one stage to send off a telegram to Ronnie Ooi, and had barely got back when I was called over to Stoneleigh to see Skiv - they had had a phone call from the Westminster Bank to say that my money had arrived, and that I would, however, not be able to collect it until tomorrow, but Lloyds did not mind if I sent the cheque off in advance.

Then back, and while hydrolysing the toluidinium stannochloride, managed to spray the grot all over the place - took all the varnish off the top of the bench - for about 3 feet. Everything was covered in grot.

My recollection was that there was as good as nothing left, and that we started again from that point with new materials. Maybe this was at a different point, though.

Got on, and managed to steam distil the stuff, and then after supper extracted with ether, and turned it into cresol, and managed to purify that, and left it to dry overnight. Very late to bed.

Tuesday, 12 July 1966 KCT. Images for 12 July 1966
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This was in the diary at this point. I don't see any other connection.

The time draws nigh for me to leave this place, as it struck me this morning, when I realised I had not yet had my exeat signed. Popped it into Skivs letter box. Letter from Jenny - written before I phoned her. She was rather worried that I could not stay for the holidays, to say the least.

General paper after assembly, and was nothing much more than a bore. It does not seem even to be of much importance, and I was, for some reason, feeling absolutely exhausted, and so spent not much time on each question, with long pauses between the questions while I summoned my remaining strength. First question was on about imperfection in art - comprehension - and then any 3 out of the remaining 20 questions, and wrote one about the farce of growth, seeing as though I did it yesterday as well, and one about an adventure into the jungle of Malaysia, and a 3rd on the ridiculous title “Self-rule is better than good rule”.

Handed over my Pentax SV to Allen after that, and then down town to Westminster bank, where the fellow spent 15 minutes apologising for the delay, and then to Lloyds, and deposited £202, and transferred £45 to the Hongkong and Shanghai, and then back again.

After lunch, on with the aspirin. Penks had distilled over the o-cresol before lunch, and was just abut to get down to acetylating it and distilling it when along came King to remind me that I had a driving lesson, and so off, and rather carelessly to Bridgwater - I really must be more careful, as of course Mrs Lewis lost no time in reminding me. Nearly went off the road at one point, due to bad surface mainly. Put it down to post-'A' level - pre holidays dormancy.

Then back again, and did not get back much before 1530 hrs, and then decided I might as well start on my packing, as it would doubtless take me some time, and so up to the Study room and turned out my trunk to get out all the books I had to hand in, and then had a hell of a job getting all of it and more back in the trunk again.

Then down to the dormitory, and getting a move-on there. I am going to have a hell of a mess in both my scobs at the end of term - I shudder to think what Skiv will do when he opens it at the scob inspection. I don't honestly think I will get away with it this time - though my scob has never yet been passed.

By the end of afternoon school, at 1700 hrs, I had made quite a bit of progress, and order was beginning to emerge from the chaos. In 2nd prep, back into the labs again, and in oxidising the o-acryl acetate to aspirin.

Wednesday, 13 July 1966 KCT.
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Oh, God, am I getting tired lately! Am I suffering from malnutrition or something? I feel exhausted lately just running up the stairs - I must be unwell, or unfit, or something.

A.P. to keep me going through breakfast, not to mention letters from Bev and Ronnie Ooi - the latter enclosing a form which he wants returned. Bev was a little apprehensive that Rick Brown (whom she has christened “Phil”) wanted her to himself - I shall obviously have to correct her.

After breakfast, did little until after assembly, and then decided to finish off my packing, and did so, after washing my hair, which was full of grease.

That took me most of the first two periods. I have not been feeling as fit as I should be.

Then Pad, and he decided that each of us ought to have a go at making a homemade Woulff [sic] electroscope, and was a little put out when I said I would be going tomorrow, and so cut the production number down to two.

After that, maths, in which I handed in 11 books - what a pile! I nearly dropped them.

Made quite a bit of aspirin in chemistry, so that we would have something to show for the efforts of the past 3 days.

After lunch, decided I had better get my health certificate signed, and so down town, and got it stamped and back up again and discovered that I should have been having a flute lesson, and so over and had it, eventually in the inside music room, and on Miss Mills flute, which is an excellent instrument - it is amazing the difference between it and even mine, and mine is quite good (or at any rate ought to be, the price I paid for it).

Then on with the packing, and reading “Alfie”, which one of the juniors gave me after lunch. Quite good.

After a while, inbetween turns of packing, etc, got some biscuits to serve for tea, and about to go to roll call when Allen got me to seal a parcel for him, and missed roll call.

After that, to the chemistry labs, and purifying the aspirin I made before lunch, which did not take long, and shoved it into a dessicator to dry, and then off to make some fancy glass, and ended up with some water sealed in a tube, and heated it up. After about 45 second had an almighty explosion, which I had somehow to explain to Mr. Vaddon, who came in from next door. Managed somehow.

Weighed my barang over at the san, and 46 lbs main case - not bad seeing that I have 55 lbs allowance this time.

After supper, collected my aspirin, and did little else of importance.

Thursday, 14 July 1966 KCT → ~~~ → Sandown.
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Up at 0545 this morning for the usual last-minute grot, and eventually down to have a shower, where I met Sharokh Noorvash in a similar condition, and then up again and got dressed, and collected up my last lot of barang, and exhorted Rick Brown to give Jenny all my stuff to be dry cleaned, or as suited the article.

In breakfast, discovered Sharokh had not ordered a taxi, and so out to do so, and eventually got one coming.

At the station, to my disgust discovered that the next train that would get me any further towards Sandown would be the 0930 to Westbury, and so hung around on the station for about an hour and a half - in fact more - and then in a crowded train to Westbury.

After that, discovered I had yet another inordinately long wait at Westbury, from 1015 hrs to 1141 hrs, and cursed pretty vehemently at that, and then settled down to read about the few remaining windmills in England, and noted a passing reference to the one at Bembridge.

Then off again, and went off to sleep on the way to Salisbury - as usual, the trains were late. Still, I reckoned that I might just have caught Jenny were I lucky.

Arrived at Portsmouth Harbour at 1350 hrs - well, in fact, about 1400 hrs, but should have been 1350 - and swore for all I was worth when I discovered that the next ferry to Ryde was not until 1440 hrs - and Jenny got out of school at 1500 hrs, so that was not much use.

The times above were originally one hour later and had been corrected, converting BST to GMT.

Finally, still in a blind rage, got on to the boat, and got moving, and as I left the mainland of the Poms, calmed down somewhat, and decided that I would get off at Brading station, as it would be quicker, and then off at Ryde, where we had the only decent connection - only 10 minutes to wait.

Got off accordingly at Brading, and ordered a taxi, and no meter - rare in this country.

The total travel time appears to have been a little over 7 hours. It's interesting to compare this with my return from Brading to Taunton on 29 April 1966. I hitchhiked about half the way, and though I don't mention when I left or when I arrived, it seems that the time was considerably shorter. And nowadays (2015) the journey takes almost exactly 4 hours, 40 minutes, changing at the same stations.

Coming up the lane, ran into Jenny coming up, and gave her a lift the rest of the way.

The Halletts all seemed quite pleased to see me, which vaguely surprises me, but not unduly, and ended up, after the usual termtime [?] high tea, playing my musical instruments to Anne while Jenny did her homework, and before long she came in, and despite Anne I managed to show Jenny how to use my (or hers, now) Leica, and had a bit of a job, during which I discovered that the R/F was out of adjustment, and did that. Then out for a walk, and did little. Has Jenny really cooled off towards me? I wonder. But I am worried, in the way I often, without cause, am. Does she put the same warmth in her kisses that she used to? I wonder.

Friday, 15 July 1966 Sandown
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St. Swithin

Up again early this morning, about at 0610 hrs, as no longer could I sleep, though I knew that I would be up long before Jenny, as indeed I was. Another thing that vaguely irritates me about her is the way she is always apparently tired - I wonder why that is.

Eventually Ann got up, followed not much later by Jenny, whom I decided to walk to school, vaguely against her will - she said something about not feeling up to it. I hope she is not going through a period - that would cause added complications.

Eventually off to school, and when we got there she would not even let me kiss her goodbye - shy or something. Still, I suppose she is right.

After that, down into Sandown and bought myself a paper, and then some shaving cream (my face was still a bit raw after using soap to shave with), and a case retaining bolt for Jenny's Leica, which was rather necessary at the time.

Back by way of the front - this place is almost as depressing in the summer, when inhabited, as in the winter when not, and was rather glad to get back to Greenwood and play some music, which Mrs Hallett heard and commented upon favourably.

Then lunch, after which I (rather foolishly, since I did not know what I was letting myself in for) volunteered to dry up for Mrs. Hallett. After that, contemplated how I would spend the afternoon until I met Jenny again, and decided to go down town and have a look round, and in any case there was still a couple of things I wanted to do before going to Malaysia, which I might as well do now.

St. Swithin's day has a prominent place in seaside folklore - traditionally if it rains today, it will not stop for 40 days, nor, what is worse, for 40 nights. It rained while I was there, and so, after buying a tin of Promicrol, went into the public library and read Punch's 125th anniversary edition, which had quite a bit in it, including notably a facsimile of the original edition. Indeed the magazine has changed in the time it has been going - the similarity is difficult to see, in fact.

Then to meet Jenny, by which time it was pouring, but I wanted to get something for her mother for her birthday tomorrow, which I did, getting both of us soaked into the bargain. Also bought some FP3 for Jenny - I have had a change of heart towards that film. I always used to hate it.

At Devonia, Mr. Hallett was waiting for us in the car, and so up, and had tea, and then Jenny changed into something more comfortable, and into the lounge room to watch TV, and there was nothing on, and so we had a go at the competition in “Family Circle”, but got tired. I think Jenny has changed little in the last few months, but have decided she is not the sexually demonstrative type. Still, she does not do badly. Few girls, though, kiss as well as did Anne Day. I wonder why. Nobody seems to have any stamina.

Jenny got quite demonstrative in the evening, nevertheless.

Saturday, 16 July 1966 Sandown
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Mrs. Hallett's birthday

Up at what I thought was a later hour, but after I had washed, dressed, etc, the time was still only 0610 hrs, so God knows at what time I must have got up.

Jenny, needless to say, was still in bed. Sometimes I wonder what I think of her. She is a quandary, as I suppose all women are when one pries deep enough into it. Sometimes I wonder if I should not have stuck to Lesley after all, but yet, how can one tell? The grass on the distant hill is always greener (though I reckon it ought, by rights, to be bluer).

Up and had some tea, and then up got Ann and Mrs. Hallett, and I wished the latter a happy birthday, but was not able to get her present for her for a while. As usual, it was a bit of an anticlimax when I gave it to her—I claim absolution on the grounds that I do not get much practice.

After breakfast, as usual, got myself lumbered with the drying up, and after that into the living room (no, they actually call it the lounge room - our kind of people) with Jenny to take a few photos, and examine a few prints and negatives, which kept on going for a while. Uncle George arrived with a present for Mrs. Hallett, which was a home filing system, and also rather embarrassed me by giving Ann, Jenny and myself 6d each - kind of him, I suppose—that has not happened to me since I was about 10 at the most.

At makan (or, in fact, immediately after) Mrs. Hallett's sister Winnie arrived, and she seems to be quite a character. From Kingston-on-Thames, which, to judge by Winnie's accent, is in the Cockney area. She is certainly pleasantly nuts, anyway.

Kingston-on-Thames has nothing to do with the Cockney heartland, of course.

After that, mountains of washing and drying to do, which Jenny and I tackled. I certainly feel I am working for my keep here (although I would not have it otherwise).

Then plans to go down town, and Jenny and I decided to go, as we had some “shopping” to do, which eventually boiled down to just about buying a stylus for a record player. She put on a dress which is new since I was last here—a black and white opail [?] thing which I rather like.

After buying the stylus, walked along the sea front, which depressed me, although apparently not so Jenny, who thought little unusual in it. Oh, I shall be glad to be back in Malaysia—although I should be happier yet if Jenny could come with me.

Walked back, and I got back some time before the others, and started laying tea.

Tea was another birthday party, of course—I always come here for one—and quite normal.

After that, declined to do the washing up for a change, and watching TV with Jenny—got my hands moving, about which she was not too happy—why should my birds be ticklish?

Still, sie liebt mich noch—das genügt für mich.

Sunday, 17 July 1966 Sandown.
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I am gradually becoming convinced that I should not rely on my built-in up-waker - it still seems vaguely to be regulated to school time. This morning I woke up as the bell went at school, at 0715 hrs, and lay in bed for ¼ hour, until I woke up completely, and then out and had some tea while I waited for Jenny to get up - I wish she were up earlier.

After that, decided somehow that we could get out of the washing up - I think Mrs. Hallett was rather willing to let us after the amount we did yesterday.

Into the lounge room, where Jenny decided she would like to take a few photos, and accordingly got her camera out - she is becoming quite a cameraman (or girl, should I say), and before long we will have a real photographer out of her anyway.

After that, sitting listening to records and so on, none of which were particularly inspiring, and then did a bit of Blockflöte practice, during which time Jenny absented herself, and I found her in the lounge looking at my negatives, and ventured a few comments on them myself - and then in walks Peggy. Ugh. It seems that she is either a) crazy over me or b) thinks I am crazy over her. When Jenny left the room (damn her) I got real chick, and followed her. I suppose I should have embraced her violently and got Jenny to notice - it might have had some interesting effect.

Then lunch - roast mutton. 3 to 1 on we have curry this time next week at this time, and spent a lot of time singing the praises of a curry makan, and how I liked them.

After that, no washing up to do - special concession from the way Ma Hallett said it. I am getting a little chick - it strikes me that an affair gets a nasty twist in it when parents become almost more enthusiastic than the bird. But I somehow don't think, at any rate yet that this is so of this affair - although I notice everybody calls me “Greg” these holidays, and last holidays it was “Gregory”. Small thing, but it shows a tendency.

Off for a walk with Jenny on Brading down, and went quite a distance, and when we were right at the top, it started to rain, and so down - I wanted to hitch, but Jenny was chick. Finally got down, barefoot, since I had got a stone in the sole of my shoe, and soaked, and the house got struck by lightening to make things worse - no electricity, which seemed to confuse everybody. Their lives seem much more even than mine, to be ordered [?] by electricity. At least I have my Blockflöte, etc - they want TV or a gramophone.

Eventually all normal, except that I was wearing Paul's jeans - my pants were soaked. Had tea as normal, and then watched TV makan - some rather interesting handplay again.

Makan as normal - I am depressed for some reason - leaving Jenny, no doubt. I know not what lies ahead - but it looks dark from here. God knows why.

Monday, 18 July 1966 Sandown → Ryde → Portsmouth → London →
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Up at about the normal time this morning - 0610 hrs - and out to discover that Jenny was, at least for the time, unavailable, and so finished all my packing, and before long Jenny came out of hiding, and said she wanted to take some photos of me with her Leica, which she proceeded, with my help, to do.

Alas, does time not go too quickly at some times, and at others too slowly? These last few days it has been going at a terrifying speed, and all too soon my time with Jenny is over. Mrs. Hallett actually thanked me for coming to see her - I thank her for letting me come. At the final goodbye, Jenny just managed to prevent herself from crying - at least, in my presence. Then back home (for want of a better word), and got my passport and down to the bank to get some money, and back, had some coffee, and Mrs. Hallett ran me down to Brading station, where I caught to [sic] 0959 from Sandown.

Across, on the Brading again, and finally got the same dud 6d through the same slot machines that rejected it before. Took some photos of some SRN6's hovering about the place. Then on the fast train to London, which got me to Waterloo at 1255 hrs, and got a taxi to Bryanston Square and Malaysian hall, which is pleasantly near Edgeware [sic] road, where I wanted to pay a visit on DPS, and did so - bought 25 ft Pan F, 25 ft Mk V, and a tin of Promicrol - won't last the whole holidays, though, I fear.

Then still had plenty of time to kill, so down to Marble arch camera exchange to see what I could get for my Edixa, but they would not touch it - had two in already that they could not get rid of.

Down to their other branch, which I feel moves closer to Oxford Circus every time I go there, and they could not help either. Had a look at a Hasselblad 500C in Wallace Heatons - what a terrifyingly difficult thing it must be to operate - there must be a dozen interlocks, most of which have to be operated every time one wants to change a film. No thank you - a Pentax will do me far better. Besides, I think it is more versatile. What has the Hasselblad to recommend it? Just a name.

Met at Malaysian Hall at 1600 hrs, where chaos reigned, and eventually on a bus to Gatwick, and go moving, although my barang had to go on a different bus (there were 5 in all).

At the airport, going gradually mad waiting for my barang to arrive, which it did an hour after me. Booked in, and through to the transit lounge - a couple of nice birds. One redhead, of whom I like the look very much.

Britannias are crowded, stuffy, slow, noisy, and about as comfortable as a Malaysian railways 3rd Class carriage. Was...

Tuesday, 19 July 1966 (+ 1hr) → Αθιναί (+ 1½ hr) → Bahrain → Bahrain
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... hoping for a bird next to me, preferably the redhead, but no such luck - a couple instead. Makan not bad - all the extras, cheese, wine, cognac (about X) etc. Arrived Athens 0135 hrs.

At Athens it was 24°, and about 200% humidity. Finally made acquaintance with the redheaded bit, whom I was convinced was one of Anne Day's friends in Ipoh, called Cornelia, but I was wrong. Not been to Malaysia for 2 years, called Lindy Bournefield, lives in KL, and very nice indeed. Wow. I can see what is going to happen in any rate the first weeks of these holidays.

Left Athens 0250 for Bahrein, and out like a light, despite uncomfort.

Arrived in Bahrein at 0945 hrs, and stinking hot it was too. [40°]. Talking to Lindy, who seems either a) to be very shy or b) not to like me, or both - made out she was tired, but seems unlikely.

About an hour out of Bahrein developed some sort of radio trouble, and as a result had to go back to Bahrein again. Nobody was too pleased about this, but I rather surprised myself with my own calm reaction to the situation. Very confusing, man. Anyway, we had quite a long wait, spent playing cards, but not mich fun. Angkat turun was quite amusing, and played a couple of hands of that. Must teach some of my friends in England how to play that.

Then some other games, which were not so much fun. Another version of “Snap”, which was about the end, and after an attempt at a memory game, had to go - I couldn't face it as it was.

Finally we were told that we would be leaving at 2400 hrs GMT, and would be spending the night at a hotel in Bahrein, and accordingly off. Got rather friendly with Benedicte Foo, who was with Lindy and mob - bit of feeling about, but I don't think she is too keen on me.

Hell of a mess about in the hotel, which was grotty, about the accommodation. The heat, humidity, etc, helped little, and ended up after a lot of messing around in a room for 4 with 3 of us in there. Had a shower, of which I was badly in need, and then off for makan with the birds. Mike Syme came too - I was a little worried about him and Lindy. I want her, and, if I have much say in the matter, I shall have her. After makan Mike and I went along the main street (ugh) and had a look round, and then off to the balcony, where we had a right good sing-song, and had quite an audience of arabs below. All very amusing, but before long the management decided we would em [?] be infringing the peace. Benedicte, Lindy, and I decided it would not be worth going to sleep, and before long the manager had us in his room telling us of his adventures...

Wednesday, 20 July 1966 (+2 hr) Colombo (+2 hrs) → K.L.
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... in Paris - I think he was trying to get Lindy into bed, and to get me to do likewise to Benedicte. No go man - I want Lindy. Up after a while - I think the birds began to smell a rat - onto the roof. No lights - can't see the stars there. Had a good feel about Lindy - she has a damn good figure. She is, however, an enigma. That mini skirt - came up above her stockings. Wow!

Back to my room, but too hot to sleep, despite the air conditioner and fan - outside was just an oven. Bahrein has the hardest water I have ever known - I think they pump it straight out of the Persian gulf.

Eventually off to the airport, and more waiting around. I wonder about Lindy re a) intelligence (IQ ~ 90-100?) and b) age (15? - below critical age).

Off eventually after waiting for baby carriage, at about 0100 hrs, and apart from breakfast, slept like a baby for the 6½ hour flight to Colombo - nobody can understand how I can sleep so easily on a plane. I find it a damn sight easier than in the Hotel Bahrein Abd.

Colombo was, in contrast to Bahrein, cool - only 24°, and quite OK. Had a cup of coffee - local grot, tastes wonderful - just like the stuff I buy in Taunton.

Off from Colombo pretty quickly - at about 0945 hrs, en route for KL.

Everybody was, understandably, tense about coming back home, and I no less so than anybody else. Had makan, which took up a fair amount of time, but not nearly enough, and so gave it up as a bad job, and just sat there looking vaguely silly and thinking about Lindy, and how we might get on together - who knows? She could be quite nice for all I know. Maybe it is just that she is shy.

After a while, people decided that we would be arriving in KL in the next 5 minutes, and after this had gone on for an hour, the hostess announce that we would arrive in about another 45 minutes, and so more waiting about.

Eventually off, and got hold of a red immigration card, filled it in, and though to the arrival hall. I have never seen such a crowd at Subang in all my life. At 10.30 pm there must have been a couple of thousand people there.

Considering that the airport had only opened for traffic less than a year before, I can't have been there more than 2 or 3 times previously.

Managed to pick out Mum and Dad, and talked to them while waiting for my barang, and eventually off back home, talking for all we were worth. I am glad to be back home again.

At home, had some left-over curry. I have decided I don't like meat soaked in coconut water much.

Eventually to bed after a long time talking. Mum and Dad are in the same room again, after at least 2 years. Things is looking up.

Thursday, 21 July 1966 KL.
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Dad woke me up at 8.20 am, mainly because nobody else had been awake enough to get up any earlier - but I am going to make sure that these holidays I do something about making the best possible us of my time.

According, after Dad and I had breakfast, cleared a few things up, said goodbye to Mum (who was still fast asleep), and off jalan kaki [by foot] first to the office, where I was not required, then to Eastern Photographers, where I bought some Kodak Lens cleaner - rather in need of same - and then off, finally, to the lake club, where I was disappointed to find a) nobody I knew b) Earthworks in progress and c) almost no deck chairs.

Lay on the ground for a while, and felt thereto very hot, and had some kopi [coffee] and chips. A while later, over to get a fresh lime, and a bird there having one as well - boy gave me the kira [bill] for both of them. An excellent, if unintentional, gambit. Name is Christine Denhem (I am uncertain of the surname - must check up).

I'm still uncertain. I can barely read it.

She is quite nice, a bit shy, a little body hair (dark - she out to suntan) and wears glasses, which nevertheless suit her. Nice face. I reckon I ought to keep a woman file these holidays. Eventually she was off, and I did a bit more suntanning, and then got a bit fed up (but not very brown, damn), and packed up and walked home, and was pretty hot by the time I did so.

After lunch, all sorts of plans were afoot, and as I had nothing in particular to do, decided to go to the Lake Club. Other factors, were, however, against me: Mum was up, and intended to do something, she knew not what, but would probably take me to the Lake Club. It is rather inconvenient now that Rahmat has left.

Eventually Mum decided what she wanted to do, and so off to have a perm, and I stayed behind, and suddenly it occurred to me that Rahmat's bike would be in the garage, and so out to examine the thing, and had a bit of trouble. Thing seemed to have no gears. Over to the Bridgestone agents in Denmark House, and they showed me the gear system - unlike any bike I have ever seen.

Back home again, sweating like a pig, and battled with the thing for a good ½ hour, by which time I was absolutely soaking, and not much closer to understanding it. I might have it next go, however.

Then back inside, dried off somewhat, and decided to go to the Lake Club again. I must wait until Lindy turns up. Either a) she will know other people and introduce me or b) she will not, and stay with me. Either suits me well enough. But Christine sounds interesting. I must try my first orthodox date with a bird. Could be rather amusing.

Friday, 22 July 1966 KL.
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Woke up at 6.30 am this morning - one of these days I shall get used to getting up at a fairly normal time, but alas, not yet. Got up, and tidied up my room, washed etc, and before long in came Mum and asked me if I was OK or something, and to keep an eye on Theo. Eventually everybody up, and we had a communal morning tea, and then Bow Cheong (who is, apparently, now in KL) rang, and Dad off to the Borneo Company site to inspect progress (or, from what I gathered, lack of same) on the buildings.

Mum off, and not much later I followed suit. Over to the office, and then, as usual, walked to the Lake Club, and arrived there to discover that Mike Symes had been there since 8.15, and was now exhausted. Not much in the way of women - Mike and I are both a little put off by this. I wonder what has happened to Christine. She obviously doesn't come here very often.

Speaking to Mike at some length about our holiday plans - he said something about an international party this evening, about which he knew nothing, but would find out from Carol [his sister] if I might turn up, and then both of us off home. Lake Club party is also earlier this year.

After lunch, rang up Mike (his father is making him pay for the calls now that these are no longer unlimited ones). Seems it was the International school party, and I would have to gate crash if I wanted to turn up, but nevertheless would probably be welcome.

After that, Mum and Dad off, and I did a bit of music, and then decided to go down to the lake club again, but before long my lack of sleep caught up on me, and so I gave it up as a bad job, rang up Mum to ascertain that Dad was not so urgently in need of underpants that he would want me to make a special trip into town to get them, and then into my room to catch up with my sleep.

This I did with excellent efficiency, and did not even vaguely come round until 6.45 pm, and by that time Mum and Dad were back, and had tea, which dragged on for a while. Rang up Mike this time to ascertaining what time the do started, and then Mum and Dad off to an exhibition of Bettly Rollinsons at Galerie 11 in Ampang road, while I had some makan and a shower.

Off eventually to the party, and there were a few poeple who knew me, and a few people whom I knew, but would rather not have. Tried, without success, to make off with Ines Westra, and both the Lyon twins - the latter were about the only ones really worth having, and when they left early, I decided to follow suit, and walked home via the dog.

Mum and Dad presented me with Pop's old watch, which was given to Dad as a heirloom when Pop died. Nice of all concerned.

Saturday, 23 July 1966 KL.
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Woke up at 3.30 am this morning, and despite all attempts could not get back to sleep. Surely it cannot be excitement? I have more or less calmed down now, and besides, I woke up at more normal hours yesterday and the day before.

The only thing that stops this being normal jet lag is the late onset. I seem to have forgotten that I reported the same issue on 31 July 1964, and to a lesser extent on 16 July 1965.

Eventually in came Dad and was vaguely surprised to see me there awake, reading “The Fountainhead”, which I think, despite its 700 odd pages, I ought to read. At the rate I have been doing this last term, I should finish even that in a couple of days.

After that, Dad and Mum off to the office, and Mum decided to be kind to me, and dump me at the Lake club. Changed, and lay down on a deck chair, and off to sleep.

People started arriving after I woke up again, and mainly women, none of whom I knew, until Gillian da Souza came along and tried to persuade me she had been kicked out of Bukit Nanas. Then John Mann, arrived yesterday, and he got talking to a number of girls, one of whom I thought was Janet from the flight. Eventually John introduced me to the ones I did not know - what a ratio: John and me to Ina, Marita, Ann, Simone, Lis, Gillian, Janet, Lindy and Tina. Lindy seems to be less worth having every day. I like Janet in a bikini. I wonder how much her face out to count against her.

Walked home as usual, stopping on the way at the Dog to have a hamburger, and at Eastern Photographers to change some Amfix. Then had makan, which, with coffee, we managed to drag out until 3.00 pm. Then off to the office, and I carried on a letter to Jenny (replying to hers arr. today) on Anna's Olivetti 82. No bell, which is confusing. I would like to get my hands on Mum's IBM.

Eventually finished about 3 pages of type to Jenny, and then watched Mum use the IBM. It is a dead complicated machine, and Mum is not too sure how to use it, and she made a couple of mess-ups before she got going. Wonderful type - I have had a few letters done on one of these.

This was a Selectric Composer, which did proportional script. Backspacing required knowledge of the width of the characters.

After that, Dad and I down town to get some sarongs and underpants, and spent quite a bit of time trying to round Batu Road. Dyalchands did not want to give him anything between 75¢ and $5.50 - nutty. K.L. is getting too big.

After that, back home, and Dad preparing to go to Kuching. Loaded him a Pan F to put in my Spotmatic, which he will be getting tonight - a year ago tomorrow since I first got my SV. I wonder what camera I shall get on Saturday, 22/VII/1967.

Dad off at about 7.00 pm, and after that Mum and I preparing to go to a party at some bloke Brian (forget his surname)'s place, and quite fun, despite my worries to the contrary. British High Commissioner, Sir Hugh (?) Walker was there. Interesting bloke. Party broke up (or should I say, Mum and I left) rather late, and not to sleep before 2.00 am.

Sunday, 24 July 1966 KL.
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Mum had said something about getting up at 8.00 am this morning, and so I woke up at that time, and went in to see her, greeting her with Strephon's greeting to Iolanthe, but she did not take it very well: she had a hangover/headache or whatever else one likes to call it, and did not want to be disturbed until 10.45 am, which gave me quite a bit of time in which I had nothing to do, and wrote up my diary, read “The Fountainhead” and the Sunday Times, all of which did not help time go by at any great rate, and took a photo of Iggy, which finished my supply of B&W film, and so spent a while nedoing [?] that.

Then made some more tea for Mum, and took it in to her. Be it the extreme impurity of the water here, low barometric pressure, inaccurate thermometers, or what, I made it boil at 97°C. It probably was not properly boiling.

Clearly it wasn't impurity. That would raise the boiling point. Nowadays I'd guess inaccurate thermometers.

Then Mum said something about going to the market, and so drove her there, and had fun doing our shopping, especially since Mum had forgotten the money, and I had brought none. Eventually staggered through, took some fish to Brian, and back home, while Mum put everything away.

Then down to Bilals, and had a curry makan - not surprising. I told Jenny a week ago that I would.

After makan, out to UK heights for a drive, and then back home again, and got out Mum's tape recorder and started doing a bit of unsuccessful recording on that, and then off to my bedroom for a short rest, and was out like a light. What is it about a curry makan that makes one want to go to sleep? I wish I knew: you can't fight until you know the enemy.

Woke up finally to hear that the phone that had been ringing in my dreams for such a long time was ringing especially loudly outside, and hopped out and answered it. The caller timed it beautifully - as I lifted up the receiver, he put his down.

Then in, roused Mum, and told her the time, and then started getting tea ready. This took a fair deal of time, and we carried on eating for some time. Professor Hendrickson rang up - he is in KL for the while, and was ringing up on Leslie's behalf to see how Bev was doing.

After that, started getting my darkroom in order, and discovered that the enlarger bulb had had it, and in disgust threw it away.

Then spent a concerted couple of hours, broken only for makan, which was Ma'aruf sateh, working out how to keep the darkroom tidy, and labelled all my bottles so that I now know what everything is. Was not helped by quite a few good programmes on TV, which I could not help watching, especially with Mum's influence.

Late to bed - sometime I must get some sleep.

Monday, 25 July 1966 KL.
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Much to my surprise, annoyance, and disgust, I woke up this morning at 10.05, and out almost immediately and rang Mum and asked her why she had not woken me up. She managed to produce some excuse that I was dog tired, and that she had not liked to wake me, and I let it go at that, had breakfast, etc, and sat around reading a very old issue (in fact, anthology) of Mad. Finally decided that there was no future in this, and decided to stroll in the direction of town, and first to Eastern Photographers, and bought some photo-flo and a couple of enlarging bulbs. Also had a look at the new Minolta SRT 101, which I find hardly impressive. It is cheaper here than the Pentax SP.

Then down Batu road, and had my watch band loosened - it is one of these things that has to be done by a jeweller. Also bought some batteries for Mum's record player, which was rather in need thereof.

Back home, and setup the darkroom and did some 2½×3½'s of Bev just before she left for UK, and then out to listen to the record player, which, I discovered, took 6 batteries, not 4, and got Mum to get them to get another 2.

She eventually back, and had lunch, and, as usual, carried on for some time. Mum said something about the woman next door having a daughter coming home tomorrow, and that she was either 12 or 15, but she couldn't remember which. Even 15 is a bit young, but if she is a good looker, the convenience might make it worthwhile.

After that, drove Mum over to the office - every bit of practice counts - and off back home with some onionskin paper for use later, and into the darkroom to print some of the better negatives from last term, and did about 25, and spent a good hour doing so - thank God it did not get very hot in there. Then leaving them to wash, and out to listen to some Mediterranean Magic. Back, and Shelly Berman - what a mixture! Ascertained when Mum would be ready, and over to pick her up. As usual, Mum's estimate was on the optimistic side, and so it was another 40 minutes before she was finally ready.

Back home, and had some tea, after which Datin Rajasooria wanted us to come over and pack some clothes into parcels for Lali. Whether it was Mum's appearance, or a sudden change of heart, or God knows what, when we had been at it about 10 minutes, she offered to get some professional blokes to do it. Then a long discussion with Dato Rajasooria about a case he had recently had, and back home to makan.

Quiet evening, and did little. Prints dry far faster when the air conditioner is on.

Tuesday, 26 July 1966 KL.
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As a result of our decision yesterday following my late arising, Eileen brought the tea in for me this morning, and I then took some in to Mum, and took some photos with me. They did not, contrary to my expectations, fall off the wall, but waited to be peeled, perfectly glazed, off the window. Mum seemed quite interested.

Then had breakfast, etc, and drove Mum to the office, where Mum calculated she would be 20 minutes, which I multiplied by my “Mum factor” of 3, that was still too short a time. In fact, had an unexpected visit from a friend of Mum's whom I was supposed to know, and so pretended to, although I still have no idea who it was. Total time 100 minutes.

Then took Heide along to the vet to have a bone removed from her mouth, which was a rather unpleasant looking happening. Theo was terrified lest they should do something to him as well.

Then to Globe Silk store, and had me measured up for a suit and more trousers - 3 pairs in all, to be ready in 7 days time, and then back to the office. Mum reckons that the hunds next door are very young - “babies” to use her expression.

Home early for lunch, but of course that did not mean that we left early. Mum decided that it would be unfair on me to walk to the Lake Club, and so let me drive.

Nobody I knew there, apart from John Mann, and decided to leave him well alone, apart from comment that I thought it rather bad taste the way he is always smoking. Over to the end of the pool, and noticed quite a party stirring up at the table next to John. I wonder if a) I could b) it is worthwhile - getting involved with that mob. Too many notorious people such as the Westra girls and the Lyon twins, whom I am beginning to dislike, no doubt on a mutual basis. I have finally come to the conclusion that the Lyon twins are too fat.

Saw Christine on the other side of John, and went over to talk to her, but she was not very receptive. Ah, what the hell - dance next week. No doubt I shall find somebody there.

Back to the office, via the house, as Mum wanted to go shopping at the Supermarkets, and, as usual, waited about 3 times as long as quoted. I am more or less getting used to this now - I shall have to study individual differences now in the modes of delay.

Finally got to the Supermarket at 6.35, when it closed at 7.00. They have an IBM at the cosmetics counter- interesting. Bought quite a bit of barang. Mum is right. Stuff is expensive here. Bought $32 worth of stuff.

In the evening, developing and printing. Did a 10×12 of Jenny, developed a Pan F, and printed most of it, with the result that I did not get to be till quite late.

Wednesday, 27 July 1966 KL.
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Today, as requested, Eileen woke me at 7.30, but brought the tea in at 7.32 instead of 7.45. One of these days she will catch on what I want her to do.

Unplanned for this morning, since Gurdip had intended to come over to the house, but at the last moment he rang up and asked me if we could meet at the “Dairymaid” in Batu Road at 11.45 am. OK by me, and so drove Mum to the office, and then back home, and finished off a letter I was writing to Paul, and then hung round reading “The Fountainhead”, and got not too far with it. It is quite an involved book, all 600 odd pages of it, and it will doubtless take me some time to finish it.

After a while, got fed up with that, and after doing a bit of music, off down town, via the office, and got opposite the Dairymaid far too early, and so went down town further to have a look for a photographic magazine which I didn't already have. Jubilee had nothing, so went to Ubaidullas, and got Australian Photography for April, and then back to meet Gurdip , and on the way bumped into another Tamil bloke who was at SJI, and could have been “Zerog” [spelling?]. but I was not able to recall his name, so gave him my phone number, and asked him to ring.

Quite a long conversation with Gurdip, and it seems he wants to throw a party at our place, since he would not be allowed to do so at home. Might be interesting to meet some of his sisters - I seem to remember that one is eligible and worthwhile - is her name Daljet? Anyway, I rather liked her. But these indian birds are likely to be a little hard-to-get.

Home for makan without Gurdip: he had to go to school (to teach), and I did little for a while. In the afternoon had little in particular to do, and started off reading “The Fountainhead”, and playing some music, and then got the phone tapping attachment for the tape recorder, and tried that out. It works quite well, and could be very useful.

This was a device attached to the back of the phone. My recollection is that there was an unacceptable level of hum.

Then reading “The Fountainhead”, and gradually dozed off, and when I woke up, it was 4.50 pm, and so rang up Mum, and had a rather long conversation with her, and then rang up the Odeon to book a couple of seats for the 8.00 pm show tonight of “Dr. Zhivago” (or, I suppose, Др Живаго”), and then over to the office.

Eventually off, and to the Supermarket, and Mum was trying to buy some shoe polish, which is no longer available here - while we were at it, met no less than 6 people whom we knew. That place is crawling with them.

Saw the bloke next door when we got back - I want to see his sister Joyce. The burning question is: is she eligible? Film was excellent - really enjoyed it.

Thursday, 28 July 1966 KL.
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Life seems to be settling into an established pattern for a while, and since it is on a short-term basis, I do not particularly mind. Up at the usual 7.30 am, took Mum's tea in for her at 7.45 am, and sat around for the next 2 hours waiting for her to get up. I often wonder how well she would do if she got up, turned up in the office at 9.00 am (or better, 8.30 am) every morning, worked without fail until 1.00 pm, had lunch, was back on the job at 2.00 pm, and worked until 5.30 pm. I have more than a vague suspicion that she would be no worse off than she is now. Still, that is none of my business.

Finally got her up at about 10.00 am, and spoke at great length at the day's programme (nipped in the bud by Mum's late rising), and then drove her over. Did not feel like going to town - the heat was already too intense.

Back home, on with “The Fountainhead”, which is beginning to become more interesting. Finished book 1, and on to book 2, subtitled “Ellsworth M. Toohey”, and on much the same as I did before. Did a few 10×8 prints of Jenny to relieve the monotony after improving the light trespping [?] considerably.

Poked Mum up for lunch, and then home again, and had sardines and salad - Eileen had taken the day off today instead of yesterday, and so all the tidying up was left to us. It is funny with what revulsion I here think of washing up, yet less than 2 weeks ago in Sandown I was only too eager to help.

After taking Mum back to the office, back home again, and reading “the Fountainhead”, and feeling a bit grim, so tried a couple of old remedies - or at any rate, rather crude. About 20 gm sucrose, and 10 gm NaCl, dissolved in water. Felt a bit fresher after, anyway.

A bit later, however, despite all this, dozed off, this time however for a shorter period of time. Rang up Mum, and then out to see Ma and Pa from next door, saying something about Joyce staying out overnight or such like. They seem all to like Heide [dog].

Over to pick up Mum - the inevitable wait is scarce worth commenting on - and over to the Supermarkets again. Mum wanted to get something for the office, but as usual ended up getting a lot more than that.

Back home, and Mum drew my attention to the fact that Joyce from next door could be seen from near Iggy's cage, and so out. Interesting. Had another look when Mum came out, and said something about Iggy climbing coconut trees. Looked up. What to make of her? I fear little.

Curry laksa makan, which Mum enjoyed, but I found rather tasteless. Had some Ismail sateh to round it off.

Friday, 29 July 1966 KL.
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Ah, the monotony is beginning to become a little overpowering. I must meet some more people - I hardly know anybody, and on the whole, those people whom I do know do not seem to be worth knowing, or, do not like me. Christine is a puzzle - does she dislike me or is she shy? I think she is too sure of herself for the latter explanation, but that does not necessarily follow. Anyway, I must see what I can do on Tuesday at the Lake Club dance.

Managed to get Mum up at a fairly early hour, since we were to go to Maha (OK, OK, MAHA), and so she was not too reluctantly up. Then came the fame [?] “You ight as well stay at the office, since I won't be there long”. Only 2 hours odd. Oh well, I was rather expecting it. What the hell - life is pretty predictable now, and that is probably what I dislike about it.

MAHA is down the Old Klang Road, as we discovered by trial (no error) on the 7½ - 8th mile from town. Nothing particularly marvellous, but all vaguely interesting. Took a few photos with a view to the Agfa-Geveart [sic] competition, but was CE, and they wanted 6½ × 8½ prints on Agfa paper, and CN111 is unobtainable here. Pity.

Back home for makan - we had intended to have something at the stalls, but they were not too hot. When we got back, Eileen said that there had been a phone call from Kuching, and that it would be repeated a little later. Just finished packing up the tape recorder to take to the office when the call came through - got it out again in record time, and taped most of the conversation.

In those days long-distance call were almost invariably person-to-person.

Then decided to go to a flick, and also got my glasses adjusted - they are always working loose. Went to Motion Smiths, but their bloke was in Klang, so in disgust along to the flick. Arrived early, and decided to look round for an optician in Jalan Sultan - there was one, of course, and he did the job perfectly well, and also sold me a soft case for them.

Then to the flick - “7 spies with diplomatic passports”, which was quite an anticlimax. A dubbed french film, which made me feel that I had thrown $2.30 away. What is it about B&W ciné films that makes them appear grotty? I wish I knew - B&W stills are perfectly acceptable. Maybe it is just that stills can be more reasonably considered a form of art than can movies - but that is not the full explanation.

Joyce Holmes, from next door, is only 14½. Damn.

Back home, did little - on with “The Fountainhead”, which is a very absorbing book. One of these days I shall finish it.

Did little in the evening. Did another TX same as on 27/III/1966. Fog again - damn DPS.

Saturday, 30 July 1966 KL.
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For some reason wake up every day more tired than the night before - why? I get a good 7 hours sleep every night, and should not need any more than that. But apparently I do.

Only just managed to bring Mum's stuff in for her in the morning - I very nearly slept in again. Anyway, after that had a heartier than usual breakfast, and sat round waiting for Mum to come to life, and reading “The Fountainhead”, with which I am not making nearly the progress I should have liked. If I went at my old pace, I should have finished it days ago. As it is, I am not even half-way with the thing.

Eventually Mum asked me if I was ready - what a question for her to ask me! Took her over to the office, and, after arriving back at the house, lay down on my bed, primarily for want of anything better to do.

Woke up, and it was Gurdip Singh, whom, after confirmation with Mum, I invited to Lunch. Then found a letter from Jenny under the door. That was quick work. Set down to answer it, and done about a page before I had to go over to the office en route to my fitting at Globes.

I might have known Mum would doom that to failure - we were 25 minutes late, and the tailor had gone to lunch. After dragging her out of a watch shop, managed to persuade her to come home for lunch, and then crawled home in the Saturday rush hour traffic, and Gurdip was even later, for the same reason. He apparently stopped outside and asked Joyce if I was in. What a laugh! She was apparently dumbfounded.

After a rather late makan, Gurdip talking (sensibly) for quite a long time, and apparently made quite an impression on him. As a result, though, we were an hour late for our appointments in Batu Road we took him home to the Lake Gardens.

That's what I wrote. I wonder what I had intended.

Then down to Globes, and finally (at 3.45) had the fitting. I am not too happy about what he is doing with the waistcoat, but can always blow up on Tuesday, as I will not need the waistcoat for a while.

Then down to the watch shop again, where Mum, complaining she had no watch to wear, bought a couple, and then back to the office and got some stamps, and got Mum to drop me at home where I rattled out the rest of a rather short letter to Jenny, and prepared to post it when we went to Zamal's [?] wedding (from the office).

Mum back from the Supermarket, and had tea, and then prepared for the wedding, and off only about 5 minutes late, but by the time we had posted the letters and crawled along Jalan Hale, it was 8.05. But nothing happened until 8.30, so all was well. Rather interesting ritual - prime aim to make them laugh.

Sunday, 31 July 1966 KL.
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Oh, God, why am I so tired? This morning I woke up when Eileen brought the tea in at 8.15 am, and then went to sleep again until about 9.10. Realising the felony of my ways, quickly poured some tea and took it in to Mum, but too late - she was already awake. Ah well, after all, it is Sunday, and one does like to faire la grosse matineé.

After that, however, I was up and dressed long before Mum - it not only takes Mum a long time to get moving - once she has begun, it still takes a long time for her to finish.

Eventually she got up, and said something about going to the market. I did not, as usual, prepare, but carried on with a letter I was writing to Lesley, and this, I think, was the best choice, for I still had about 15 minutes to wait.

Once under way, had to stop at the Merlin while Mum delivered another lot of stuff, and left me and the dogs to sweat in the car for far too long while she was at it.

The market was pretty empty, and expensive, this morning. Anybody else would not have bought so much. Mum spent more.

Then back home, and considering with Mum the disposition of the tape recorder, and eventually decided to put it by the air conditioner, and spent about an hour installing it there, but now it looks quite with it there, and is much more convenient thus.

Late Sunday makan. Talk about curries! Today we had a really filling meal - left-over spaghetti and fish and rice. Still, it keeps the hunger at bay, and that is much of what counts. But I like a curry on Sundays.

After lunch, drinking coffee for a long time, and also messing around with the tape recorder, and then on with reading “The Fountainhead” while Mum tidied up - she was having on of her sprees today, and we had a fair-sized difference of opinion - predicted by the horoscopes in the newspapers.

Then had tea, while I was trying to tape the sound track of “South Pacific” from the record, with very little success - most wierd [sic] form of motor-boating, What is the cause? Inter-channel positive feedback? I wonder.

After tea, which, as usual, dragged on, at rather loose end for something to do, and carried on rather reluctantly reading Book 3: “Gail Wyneard”.

Then, eventually, came makan, after I had shared a bottle of beer with Mum as a prelude. About as good as school stew - why can't we stick to dishes which Eileen can cook? It would be a lot better for all concerned.

Loaded some Pan F in rather less than ideal conditions - Sellotape was awful.

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