On arrival at Kampung Morten around mid afternoon, it became clear Preoch was not a man to economise by revealing what he was privy to because we were put in two separate double bedrooms.
Nana later led the way out of the rust-red painted corrugated-iron village guesthouse on stilts. We walked hand-in-hand towards a mini-skyscraper with a red ‘Prudential’ sign ablaze. I suppose it reminded visitors of staid Western dependability by advertising a worldwide company unaffected by the financial crash. Nana said the sign was a good locating beacon for tourists, provided they remembered it was on the south bank...read more
I approached the club’s non-descript wartime building whose concrete wall and corrugated-roof structure defied modernisation. It was rumoured this prompted Dougie to kit it out in WWII style so it was akin to a fighter station crew-room with period easy chairs and paraphernalia. That was the rumour I heard when I first joined the club after moving to Port Solent. Knowing Dougie as I did now, I thought it more likely his constant financial plight dictated the second-hand furnishings. It just happened the clubroom had that wartime austerity feel about it...read more
“Coffee in the lounge, Gerard. Oh, and bring the brandy, I’m sure Mr Nicholas will be able to join me in a small one now he has eaten so heartily.”
“Sit down, my boy,” she said smiling broadly, “do you know Port Solent?”
Gerard interrupted my reply when he brought coffee and two huge glasses, mine with just a trace of brandy wetting the bottom. “Just west of Portsmouth? Yes Auntie, there are some good restaurants there.”
“Not just restaurants, but apartments—some with boat moorings—offices, a cinema and shops. In fact apart from a supermarket, it’s a self contained village.”...read more
As soon as I shed the chemo bottle and tests indicated the cancer was vanquished, I only had regular, basic monitoring as a reminder. I tried to forget the horrors of cancer to focus totally on our electronics venture, which we had started modestly. We were soon busy testing our trial models, which necessitated frequent trips to Chichester and outings on Sailing Science...read more
After I lay spent by her side she toyed gently with my ‘Elgin marbles’ until she fell asleep.
In the morning we were both keen to seize the day. For me heading off to some distant training station opened up fresh opportunities, but I could sense Nadine’s fear she had reached the end of an era during what she referred to as ‘the change of life’....read more
Two years later as a tall, athletic-looking twenty-one year-old, armed with a first class honours degree and a Private Pilot’s Licence, my contemporaries considered me an ideal applicant to be a pilot in the RAF.
Although I had told the truth on becoming an Air Squadron member and my flying instructor recorded me as an exemplary student pilot who had carried out his first solo after only eleven hours dual instruction, that damned Curse of Talipes still hung over my head....read more
Although well ahead of the game with the girls on my course and even those a year above and on other courses, Dr Jennifer Driscoll was outside this pre-selection circle of influence. Yet she taunted me from afar like a silent Siren needing some extraordinary stimulus to sing her special song.
Frustrated, I would have to seek further advice from Nadine about what might work in her case. I picked my moment carefully before Nadine dozed off beside me, to tell her I was struggling with my FORTRAN studies and needed to elicit extra help...read more
I found him in the garden, brandy and Evening Standard in hand, “Dad, what happened to my left leg, do you know?”
Dad slowly shifted his focus from the bottom of his empty brandy glass to the underside of the pulled up trouser leg I presented to him. “You were born with single talipes, Nick; I’ve not given it a thought till now, you don’t limp or anything so what’s the problem? Is it hurting?”
“What’s single talipes? I’ve never heard of it?”....read more
On a bright, clear morning, we wandered aimlessly around Brixham, never far away from supervision. Ruth took lots of pictures of the colourful waterfront and the replica of the Golden Hind before we left for the short sail around Start Point to Dartmouth. Mrs G had phoned ahead to confirm there were berths on the visitors’ pontoon still available. Apparently, she had decided we would be mooring up, not in Dartmouth itself, but at Kingswear on the eastern side of the river. My father seemed disappointed, but I hoped it might turn out to be a blessing in disguise as far as getting away from watchful adults was concerned....read more
We had made good time to Chichester, turned off the main road and headed for Appledram Marina. Dad inserted his pass and up went the barrier in robotic salute.
There were few people about, but the clubhouse seemed to be well patronised. “Would you care for a snifter after your ordeal, Son?”
“I’m not really bothered about booze, Dad, but I could do with a cup of coffee. Don’t let me stop you though. I expect your ordeal was far worse than mine.”...read more
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