Greg's diary
September 1962
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Wednesday, 12 September 1962 Kuala Lumpur → Images for 12 September 1962
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Back to England to start at King's College, Taunton, taking Bev with me:
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This was the first time we had ever traveled any distance without our parents.

Thursday, 13 September 1962 → London
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Arrived in London and were picked up by our uncle Bob Herbert, as planned. He put us up in the Mapleton Hotel in the middle of London's West End.

Friday, 14 September 1962 London
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Bob is in London preparing for a production of My Fair Lady to tour South Africa and Australia, and today he took us to the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane to hear a performance—in a box, no less. After the performance, we went backstage and met the actors and got their autographs.

At the time, the main actors were Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison, and though I lost the autographs, I was sure that I had met both of them. It wasn't until some time later that I realized that this must have been the troupe who were planning the South African tour, so they would have been Diane Todd and David Oxley.

Thursday, 20 September 1962 London → Taunton
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To Taunton and King's College today, a big difference from Kestrels.

Monday, 24 September 1962 Taunton
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One of the interesting things at school is that we can do an optional subject, one of Biology, German, Geography and something I forget. Damn! I really wanted to do both Biology and German, and I had to choose only one of them. In the end, in the interests of balance, I decided on German.

This was one of the most far-reaching decisions I have ever made. Not learning biology turned out to be more of an omission than it seemed at the time, before genetic technology took off. If I had done Biology, it would have been possible that I would become involved in that explosion. And learning German took me away from the British fold and shaped my life for the next 35 years.

Round lunch time, Donald Tyson, our German teacher, rounded us up, most of us in the “A” stream that would take O Levels in only two years instead of three. He explained that while we had a few years of French and Latin behind us, we had no German, so we would need extra classes, including the period after afternoon tea on Mondays, which was usually free after playing soldiers (“Cadet Corps”) in the afternoon. Much joy all round, of course.

We showed up in the classroom (room 27), sat down, and our teacher looked at us and said „Das ist die Tür“, helping us by pointing at the door. Any normal German would have taken that as a request to leave, but of course he was just trying to get us to understand the language. The whole lesson went on like that—and we, who spoke no German, understood him!

That went on like that for a long time, maybe the whole year, during which he didn't speak a word of English. I'm still full of admiration for him for how he managed that.

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