Friday 27th December 1963
Saturday 28th December
Awoken at 6:15 am by telephone, which I knocked to the ground, breaking it. Bath, then dressed and down to breakfast with Chris at 6:50 am. Long wait on coach. Paddy and Girl turned up, and coach left at 7:55 am. Straight onto plane at [Heathrow, London] airport, take-off 9:15 am, delay due to tardy passenger. Arrived at Rome in brilliant sunshine at 11:45 GMT (12:45 LT). Sent post-card to MB and sat with Chris and Paddy for a while. Departure at 12:30 GMT (1:30 LT) for Beirut. Passed over Naples, Mt Vesuvius, Greece and Cyprus, arriving in Beirut at [not recorded]. PC to MB and first sight of Arabs, though nothing like Genooine Bedooine Ay-rabs. After ¾ hour wait, on to Kuwait and thence Bahrein, arriving Bahrein at 11:45 LT (7:45 GMT). Fuss with stewardess about subsequent travel arrangements, then fuss with Arab officials about where we were to sleep for the night. Abortive phone call to oil company to see about accommodation.
Sunday 29th December
Decided to kip down in airport lounge for the night; cause of intense interest and amusement to Arab porters and taxi-drivers, and also to last flight of the evening, consisting entirely of American servicemen in civvies. Chris started chatting up an employee, which tickled the latter considerably. After a while Chris settled down to sleep but Paddy and I played poker dice until 2:45 pm when we both settled down on the couch. However, I tossed and turned and couldn't get to sleep so at 3:20 pm got up wrapped in the rug and went out for a walk. After a few minutes, started talking to a taxi driver who showed me his car and asked me inside to have a look. Was a bit worried because Arabs are [reputedly] a) violent, b) unnatural. However, very nice chap indeed. We chatted away and I gave him 2/- to get 20 Seniors [Senior Service cigarettes] – as kiosk would not accept 2/- he gave them to me. We started an Arabic lesson and I started to get a slight smattering of words and phrases. At 5:10 am, I went to sleep, but awoke at 6:00 am and went off to wake Paddy and Chris and tell them of offer of "free" ride by driver. Hung around until 7:00 am when we had cups of tea upstairs. At 7:45 am, the British Adviser to the Sheikh of Abu Dhabi, Bill Clarke, arrived so Chris and Paddy chatted him up while I looked on. Then we left for ADPC offices in taxi, chatting up Exploration Manager in order to cadge a lift to Abu Dhabi. Tactfully rejected offer of hospitality from him until Tuesday, and booked a Gulf flight at 2:00 pm. Went round to visit Mrs Page, old friend of Daphne, wife of ADPC No I in ME. Then to airport, paid Charlie [?] £4, hung around, and caught the plane, a heavily loaded 4 engine prop. Felt very ill during flight (headache, thick sore throat). Met old Dutchman, young Scot-American civil engineer, on plane. Stopped once, bought tomato juice – delicious!!! Arrived Abu Dhabi, met by Colin Dwyer, No 3 at Political Agency, and Mr Matthews our liaison clerk. Matthews drove us to hotel, I having discovered I'd left the blanket on the plane. At hotel, made various plans for Monday, and rang airport about my blanket. [At] 7 pm went for long walk to Sukh to Indian store, where bought various things including this diary. Amused to see Arabs using beach as a lavatory – innumerable squatting figures, women looking especially funny in voluminous robes. Back to hotel, drinks with Dutchman, American and Bill Clarke. Dutchman rather tight "Vy don't you say somefing? You are too shy!" he said to me several times. American very scathing about our hair. Then drinks with Sayid Tarrik, Sultan of Muscat's brother, and Bill Clarke after we had showered and changed. Dinner with Bill Clarke, very amusing, and up to bed where wrote diary till 11:00 pm. Very tired and unwell.
Monday 30th December
Up at 6:15 am after phone-call from desk. Breakfast, then to Political Agency at 8:00 am in Tarish's (great pal of Chris and Paddy) jeep. Nobody in so to ADPC and met the retiring, and the taking-over, managers of Abu Dhabi branch of ADPC. Coffee served in tiny cups, very heavily spiced, only after-taste showing it to be coffee. Chatted for 30 minutes, then Bill Page, No I in the Middle East for ADPC, came in and made various promises of help. Then to Political Agency for liquor permits and to see Colin Dwyer again. All at Political Agency rather cheesed-off with life in Abu Dhabi, counting off the days to go. Then off in jeep to see the boat, which is almost ready, and the man in charge of repairing it – talks in his office. Then to bank to arrange accounts with Abu Dhabi branch of British Bank of the Middle East, all 3 starting with £10 overdraft. Then to Telegram Office to wire Shearman and Evans about "diplomatic" and "financial" state of expedition. Both embarrassing. Then to Chris Willey's office, head of ADMA., who knew "Waddell" and "had I any relations in Trebovir Road" – John and Julia! Happy coincidence, as it eased matters for me! He offered us his tennis court [barasti] to sleep in for a few days. Then to Alastair McLasky for a couple of drinks, rather drab wife – he's obviously sorry he married her, I think. Back to hotel for another meal on ADPC, changed into jeans and t-shirt, packed and Tarish drove us to tennis courts, where we unloaded all our things, cleared out a shed of equipment while Chris went to see Chris Willey again. Started opening crates of equipment, then Paddy and I with Tarish to buy food and sandals at Indian store. Back to change for drinks with Chris Willey, Mike Egan stopping to offer us meal and roof for the night. Pleasant time at Chris Willey's; met wife and 10 ton nanny. Little Willey most upset about leaking in his pyjamas. Listed to Fool Britannia, highly satirical.
After phone call from Egan, Chris Willey drove us there in Land Rover. Egan clearly rather annoyed about our lateness of the hour. As it was raining, Chris and I headed back to the barasti to arrange everything out of the way of the rain, and brought our camp-beds and sleeping-bags back to Egan's. Little did I know that grease from the framework had gone all over my trousers, which to my intense fury I discovered late in the evening. Very pleasant meal and drinks après, pretty civilized conversation. Everyone (of us) was a bit tight by this time. To bed at 11:30 pm. Felt absolutely rotten in the morning.
Tuesday 31st December
As mentioned, felt absolutely ghastly on waking at 6:45 am, completely stuffed-up head, dry burning sickly throat, exhausted etc etcet. Went round to shed next to barasti and fiddled around opening cases with a crowbar, unpacking tins of food – 150 tins of stewed steak, 130 enormous tins of tomato, everything else on that scale! Snatched 40 winks whenever possible. One or two outings, but in the main just unpacking and sorting. At 6:30 pm, started getting washed and changed for the New Year's Eve party at Chris Willey's. I really went to town, washing, shaving, powdering, toothbrushing, change of underwear, washing socks, combing hair, filing nails, etc, etcet, ETCET and felt really on top of the world for the first time. It's amazing what a difference keeping clean makes. A very jolly party; I chatted gaily to all sorts of important people, Boustead, bank manager Alan Ashmole, and Abu Georgei (?). Got really tight on beer, whisky, beer, whisky u.s.w. but held it extremely well I think. Very coherent. Left about 2:00 am. Paddy and Chris pissed as coots, although not showing it! Sank into bed and slept like a log until 9:30 am on New Year's Day.
Wednesday 1st January 1964
Woke at 9:00 am, tormented by flies and the blazing sun. The Arab who last night offered us hospitality at his house for the next few days, failed to materialise so Tarish arrived at 9:30 am. To Grey Mac to look at boat; decided sea too rough to launch today – on-shore wind whipping up the waves, high tide came right up to the coast road. To coffee and fruit at Tarish's house; his mother very ill with flu so we promised her some Veganin. Spiced coffee and communal orange bowl – cut food with right hand as left hand is used for wiping – they have no lavatory paper. His veiled female relatives actually came in to talk to us! Then to airport office to collect my blanket, and to Agency to pay social visit to Col. Boustead, who asked us to dinner this evening. To Bhojerat to order more supplies and try on Arab head-dress for protection against sun. Back to barasti for lunch – 6/- for 3! – and sat writing diary until 2:30 pm. Then to shed to help Chris with shifting crates and sorting tins, throwing and catching the latter right across the room. Then he and I carried stores to the boat and Alastair looked over the boat with us. Paddy joined us as we went into Sukh, driven by Alastair to collect stores and head-dress. While waiting for Alastair, a crowd surrounded us to stare and a Somali negro started talking to us. He asked if I could speak French and I said "Je peux parler Français un très petit peu." He started jabbering about Somali politics in an atrocious Somali dialect, and got very heated when I couldn't understand. Eventually I explained to a friend of his that I didn't speak French at all well, and that he shouldn't get angry if I couldn't understand. So it was sorted out, but at one point I thought that conversation would come round to a fight!
Back to barasti with Alastair, and sorted our things and changed to go to Boustead. We walked to Political Agency with our Arab gear on and must have looked a pretty sight. Bill Clarke and an Army officer were there, Squarebasher and the Political Agent having evening dress on. Boustead really has a beautiful house, though very comfortable and reassuringly "lived in"! Dinner was a magnificent affair: soup, crab, chicken, mousse, coffee, brandy (!!!) and sherry "pre" and white wine "avec". Fascinating conversation; one is talked to on their own level without the patronising attitude adopted by one's elders (and betters???) in England. Talk ranged from Arab personalities and events to Keynes, universities and geology. I acquitted myself well I think, and Boustead seems very "taken". Bill drove us back to the barasti, where I brought the diary up to date while the others settled down. Watered the barasti and then to bed at 12:15 am.
|(1)||Chap killed by lightning – Cable saying "X died of thundering clap"|
|(2)||Sayid bin Yussef drove into TOS camp in Dodge – scattering "base personages"! General opinion is that he was drunk.|
|(3)||Lion got into bathroom of TOS camp quarters. Indian NCO, new, wet, cabled information to H.Q. 400 miles away – "Send instructions." Reply – "Pull trigger of revolver. Report will follow."|
NB Only way to keep healthy is to keep clean and take all relevant pills. Better to be a hypochondriac than an invalid!
Thursday 2nd January
Up at 9:00 am approx feeling pretty good, which makes a change in the morning. Chris and Paddy still in bed. Paddy had terrible cold on awakening – suffered all day. When all ready, went to ADMA to see Willey, but not there; chatted with Indian clerks, read The Economist and got lift to ADPC via Post Office where posted Sunday's letter to MB. Collected chairs from ADPC and carrying them back, met Sultan, younger son of Shakhput, who offered us any help we desired and showed us his new speedboat, a rather vulgar affair from Dowty. Dumped chairs outside Bill Clarke's flat, went up to Cable Office to see [someone] – out. To Sukh where bought stuff at Bhojerat including blanket for Paddy. Pestered by children begging; then to Bill Clarke's for lunch – large cigar afterwards which made me feel distinctly green. To Bhojerat to collect blanket and food – beggar children clutching at the blanket in tears, trying to pull it out of my hands! When Bill Clarke shooed them off, they ran away laughing and giggling! To barasti (driven by Bill Clarke) and wrote letters etc until Tarish arrived with Godfrey, Chris and Paddy arriving back at same time by foot. Tarish brought blanket [from airport] and he and Arber, his brother, came for cup of tea. Wrote long letter to MB before supper at 9:30 pm. Godfrey and I washed up IN HOT WATER! Wrote diary 42DA, chatted to Godfrey, and bed at midnight.
Friday 3rd January
Awoke about 8 am or so; disappeared off to ADMA shed for sh*t, felt uncomfortably liquid. Back to barasti while Paddy dressed. Then to Grey Mac to hook boat-trailer to Land Rover; after immense struggle got boat to jetty where Alastair lifted boat into water using the mobile crane. Paddy, Godfrey and I went for joy-ride, picked up Chris from shore and went on trip to [a local] island, putting up sail (rather unsuccessfully!) as we went. I felt really unwell on landing (sh*t #1). Dug up a few sand crabs and then went for a walk, during which I felt sicker and sicker (sh*t #2), complaining to Chris about "The Sh*ts". Back to clubhouse – agonizingly long walk - where I had tomato juice and water, and went to the loo. Vomited, sh*tted for 20 minutes, agonising pain in stomach. Lift in Arab lorry back to Abu Dhabi, where went to straight to bunk, and vomited and sh*tted – nipping out to corner of tennis court continually. Hot sweat, slightly delirious – temperature 104 degrees F – in fact thoroughly under the weather! Completely liquid bowels, bright orange colour – DYSENTERY. At 8:00 pm, Chris Willey came in Land Rover and Paddy, Godfrey and Chris carried me to the car, to Chris Willey's, and Paddy and Godfrey carried me upstairs to bed. Spent the night in nightmares and dirtying the bedclothes.$ Have never felt so utterly miserable and sick and fevered in all my life. Thought the night would never end.
$ Terrific feeling of what [psychiatrist Viktor Frankl] calls "thickness." Perhaps explanation of this can hereby be elicited.
Saturday 4th January
In morning Chris changed the bedding, and helped wash me down. Felt much better although had one or two subsequent "minor accidents," due to liquidity of bowels and complete lack of muscular control. Most of day spent fast asleep, feeling rather (very!) sick. When conscious, worried about effect of rain on my suit in the barasti – apparently OK. Chris very insistent that I take n pills (n → infinity) but they seem to be working.
Sunday 5th January
Awoken at 3:30 am by alarm to take my pills. Couldn't sleep again for some time. Most of day spent in thinking about all the letters I should be writing! Godfrey stayed for some time during the afternoon, and then the other 2 arrived to wash and change – to Alan Ashmole for drinks while I patiently awaited my tray! Read during the evening, feeling very bored, and went to sleep. Awakened at 11:00 pm by Chris, Paddy and Godfrey, rather oiled! They had supper here, apparently, and came up to my room with a tumbler full of brandy, of which I finished ¾ and Paddy the rest.
Monday 6th January
Woke soaked by sweat, the whole bed being wringing wet – the results of the brandy nae doot! It had been raining furiously all night and continued all morning; a sheet of water covered the whole of Abu Dhabi. The water doesn't sink in very much because it is almost over the water table. (Whatever that may be!). I got up and dressed for the first time and came down for lunch with the others. Fantastically envious of the others tucking into steak, mushrooms, potatoes, peas, tomatoes and gravy, then jam tart! All I had was boiled rice and [boiled] bacon! All went round to the barasti after lunch and hung out sleeping- bags and blankets on the net to dry and air – the sun had broken through the clouds by this time, although there was a strong wind. Back to Chris Willey's for tea, then played records and read until dinner. Drinks with Lebanese couple, then at 9 pm, I could stand the strained atmosphere no longer and rose to go to bed, the others leaving at the same time. I read (The Law and the Profits) in bed for a while, feeling very bored and dispirited.
Tuesday 7th January
Slept till 11:40 am. Pills, bath, shave, washed vest, then down to lunch with Lucy and Charles. Lucy quite nice to talk to, but a bit vague and "far-away"! Washed t-shirt and pants, then came down to find Chris in the hall, telephoning man at the Wireless Company about his echo-sounder. Back to barasti with Chris, set out to ADMA, met Stan the Indian chief clerk, and sent a cable to Graham Evans requesting circuit diagram for echo-sounder. Back to barasti then to Chris Willey's. Read, then Paddy came for a bath. Read S.J. Perelman, quite good. Paddy came down to sitting room and read while I completed diary up to date from Sunday and commenced letters. Chris and Godfrey came in and I finished letter to MB. Then dinner and conversation/reading afterwards. Large vodka then bed at 10:50 pm.
Wednesday 8th January
Breakfast in bed at 8 am, ie 1 very under-poached egg on a piece of dry toast and some atrociously weak tea. Turned over and slept until 12 noon. Sunlight streaming into the room although very windy. Dressed, tidied room, gathered my few belongings together and said good bye to Lucy and Charles, then off to the barasti to find only Paddy, Godfrey and Chris arriving soon after. We had a very light lunch, then Chris and I set out to the Sukh to get a taxi, stopped at barasti to pick up [Paddy], then off to Ken at the wireless company. Paddy and I competed for copies of Playboy while Chris and Ken attended to the depth sounder with some measure of success. Ken drove us to the boat where Chris spent rather a frustrating couple of hours trying to get the echo to echo! Got a lift back to the barasti in the back of Col. Boustead's Land Rover, to find Godfrey fast asleep and very unwell. Chris and Paddy went for a walk to CAT company while I stayed here reading Hume. Wrote to Pa while Chris cooked supper. Most of everybody's supper seemed to go to Lucy the bitch!!! Tidy up then bed to write diary and read. Everybody else's light out long before 10 pm.
Thursday 9th January
Up fairly late, then Paddy and I got a lift to the Sukh, where we ordered various things at Bhojerat, from list compiled on back of my writing pad. Then to Bank where Paddy drew out some money, to the chemist, a funny fat old man, for vitamin pills. Trotted over to ADPC to ask Mr Matthews about progress of Land Rover affair. Then to African and Eastern, to order beer, spirits and cigars. Free issue of 2 cigars to Paddy and myself. Felt rather hot and sweaty in Manish's office. Loaded stuff into lorry, and to Sukh where Paddy picked up order at Bhojerat and I "took" the lorry back to the barasti and unloaded. Very nice little driver, all smiles and salaams! Sat writing to Mama awaiting the others. After lunch, Paddy stayed in barasti awaiting Doug, while Chris, Godfrey and I set off for boat accompanied by 2 dogs. Lift in the back of Arab lorry to Henderson's Folly. Shook hands with rather pathetic old guard. Doubled back in boat to pick up echo-sounder screw which had got lost in the sand, then off again and anchored near CAT Co. Godfrey and I went in for a quick dip while Chris took echo-sounder to Ken. Off to the G-island, beautiful flat little desert-isle, covered in thick soft white clay, little rivulets and green grass. Godfrey took some samples and we dug for crabs, finding two. Crunched into some coral on way back in boat, beautiful growths in clear shallow waters. Met Doug on walk back to barasti. He and the other two conversed quite happily about his experiences and how changed Chris Willey is this year. Unpacked his things in barasti, meal, reading, cigars (Godfrey and I) then sleep at 11:00 pm. Up at 4:30 in the morning, took beds into Chris' half of barasti to shelter from rain.
Friday 10th January
Up at 7:45 am feeling rather lousy and sleepy from our interrupted night. Sat around most of the morning with brief trot across to Gray Mac for rope, chat to Mrs MacLasky – a very drab nittish lady! Off to jetty with Chris and Ken at noon, and into boat with "pickanick basket Booboo" and Chris Willey, Charles, Lucy, Ken, Harry, Chris and Paddy! Very choppy water, but set off bravely under cloudy skies up the channel. After some time we beached on tiny little island – 20' of water almost up to water's edge! Carried Lucy ashore, quite a feat. Gorged myself on mushroom soup 3x and platefuls of meals and salad, 3x. Harry handed around cigars – prefer me own. Back past Sadiyat – tug on fishing line, but no success fish-wise. Paddy and I beached the boat by Henderson's Folly after disembarking passengers and hampers. Chris Willey gave us a lift back to barasti, where we washed and changed ready for tea. Doug and Godfrey not back from geologizing. Chris returned and to Chris Willey's for tea. Col. Boustead popped in and asked us to stay with him for a few days. Goody Joy. Read Private Eye book, drinks, then back to barasti for suit to be pressed. Lucy offered to do suit tomorrow morning ready for lunch with the Col. Back to barasti, sat around, arranged beds in water-proof section of the hut - no more farting around at 4 am for me! Cigar and diary then bed to read at 9 pm. Early start with Chris tomorrow.
Saturday 11th January
Up at 6:00 am, left barasti by 6:20 am. Walked to boat, arriving at 7:00 am. Chris had cr*p along the beach, then fiddled with echo-sounder for half hour. Took boat round to ADMA, Chris taking over at sand banks by jetty. Godfrey came on board complete with floppy hat and haversack. To ADMA half naked much to surprise of Arabs, for winch, which took back on board and fixed. Then tried to unshackle chain from anchor - seized up solid! So Chris and I took whole lot ashore, and mechanic sawed through the shackles. Took back on board again, Chris remaining ashore for something for a while. De-shipped Godfrey then took boat back to Henderson's Folly, engine packing up halfway! Walked to barasti, gin courtesy Doug, then collected suit from Chris Willey's, very badly pressed by Lucy. Frantic wash, shave, change, then thumbed lift from Arab Land Rover to get to Col. Boustead by 1:30 for lunch. Strange Arab sheikh there, could speak every language under the sun except English. Boustead just told him to sit still and keep quiet. Boustead asked us to stay for a few nights, which we gladly accepted. Chris and I left at 3:45 pm, thumbed lift from tumbledown crane-lorry to barasti, changed, collected gear and thumbed lift from Mike Egan to Henderson's Folly. Worked on boat until 6:00 pm then started to walk back. Met Land Rover with the others halfway. To barasti, dropped off to collect luggage, then Land Rover collected us and took us to Political Agency. Bath, change to dinner jacket and rather delayed dinner. Long argument, in which I took no part, knowing nothing, about Van den Platz's criticism of our sleeping in Bahrain airport. Read MB's letter in bed, which for some reason made me feel very unhappy. Strange feeling intensified by depression, felt really dissociated and unreal. Couldn't sleep for hours; Paddy was talking interminably in the next room.
Sunday 12th January
Chris awoke me at 6:00 am but felt very tired due to lack of sleep last night. My slowness in dressing reaped reward in terms of early-morning cup of tea, and lift in Agency Land Rover to Henderson's Folly via barasti. Echo-sounder not working, much to our annoyance. Driving rain made conditions miserable. Chris worked on echo sounder under cover, while I stripped to waist in order to helm in the open. Negotiated shallows myself. Beached at Chris Willey's for Chris to collect stuff from barasti. Stopped to talk to Ken before getting into boat. Waited around until 10:30 for Ken to return, got fed-up and went back to mooring, passing pipe-laying party on the way. Pouring rain all the way – Chris helmed while I sheltered as best I could. Hung around in boat at moorings, manoeuvering to keep away from rain. Eventually decided "hang it all" and beached boat, starting back to Agency on foot, soaked through. Popped into BP [?] on the way, for a genuinely social visit and got lift in Land Rover to Agency. Dried and changed for lunch. Paddy very bitchy to Doug. Chris retaliated very neatly! Harvest of hate from seeds of discord? Chris took echo-sounder to Ken after lunch. I read a bit, then dropped off to sleep for an hour or two. On awakening, tea, then letter to MB. Very difficult to write intelligibly, I felt so bad and feverish. Asked for iron and took it downstairs, but on going to loo, felt so unwell mentally and physically, backed out of dinner with Doug at Dwyer's and went to bed. Read and dozed, awakened by Chris and Godfrey for dinner. Dressed and went upstairs. Very pleasant meal, sensible conversation beforehand re Doug and Paddy. Record (Mozart 23, 24 Piano Concertos), read Szézely – utter rubbish. Bed at 10:30, diary until 11:20 – last 2 days. Others went off to cinema.
Monday 13th January
Up fairly late and enjoyed a thoroughly good breakfast for first time since Beach Hotel on 30 Dec! Chris and I took "second shift" as we were rather late, and by this time the servant claimed to have run out of butter! We then walked to the Sukh, where met Arber with whom I waited while Chris went to the Bank. Rather touchy, due to late night at the cinema, when Arber & I collected him. Picked up a few other Arabs in the Sukh on drive to Henderson's Folly. I handled the boat while Chris and the Arabs positioned the trailer in the water, Chris tripping over and falling into the water as he did so. After two abortive attempts, I finally steered the boat onto the trailer, a stiff cross-breeze making matters very difficult at low revs. Chris and I then both plunged into the water up to our necks, pushing the boat just over the trailer, the coolies on shore securing her with the anchor rope. There we left her, Arber driving us back to the Agency in our respective (Chris) bathing trunks and (I) underpants, for a piping hot bath before lunch. After lunch, Arber returned and we went to visit the barasti of his friend "Blueshirt", who gave us fruit, coffee and tea, and showed us his little boy, Muhamet, a very bright-looking chap of 8 months. We collected 4 coolies in the Sukh, and Blueshirt followed us to the barasti, where we changed, and to the boat, arriving at 4:15 pm. We struggled with the wretched thing till 7:00 pm, getting it about 100 yards from the water through the soft white sand. The wretched thing had settled at an angle on the trailer, which occasioned frantic caution in case we broke the cradles; the Dodge Power Wagon was not all it was cracked up to being – the winch-clutch slipped constantly and it bogged down in the sand every 10 feet. Back for dinner, and then wrote a long letter to MB, enclosing it with a card full of Arabic greetings. The others went to bed early, except for Paddy, who was also writing to his bird. We put on the Mozart and polished off the brandy. Bed at 12:15 am, undressing in the loo so as not to disturb Chris.
Tuesday 14th January
(reconstructed from notes) Up at 6:20 am, took stuff [from Political Agency back] to barasti. With Arber to Ken for echo-sounder – wrong address. To Agency (Colin Dwyer). Paddy and Doug to Bank at 11:15 am. Lunch. Paddy off to sabkha after lunch. [Chris] collected Blueshirt, and to garage [for Dodge Power Wagon]. I with Arber to see Chris, paid off coolies – 5 rupees each as not enough change for 4 each. Got boat out – triumphant return. Over to Willey's for farewell drink, [Gilly] sewed on buttons, [conversation about] property prices. Chris [X] tight. Supper at 9:00 pm bed by 9:45 pm.
Wednesday 15th January
Up at 6:15 am for final sorting-out and packing. Arber arrived at 7:00 am with Land Rover which we loaded up with stuff to put on the boat. Collected more odds and ends at store, then Arber & I drove to boat, nipping back to tell Chris that it would be some time before boat was in the water, due to barges. Unpacked Land Rover and put it all in boat any old how. Arber back to barasti, while I spent nerve-racking time crawling around the boat packing everything neatly, watched by dozens of itchy-fingered Arabs, 7:45 till 9:00 am. Hung around, ignoring stares and contemptuous grins from all and sundry. Chatted for 20 minutes to Somali negro who had worked for 3 years as a British merchant seaman. At 11:00 am got boat into water by crane, and had terrible time manoeuvering through barges, bending boat-derrick against back of barge rather badly. Took boat round end of jetty, then saw Chris driving past gesticulating, so boat into shore – Chris had disappeared, as it turned out later, to arbitration court to settle dispute with Bluecoat to tune of 270 rupees. Boat jammed sideways on beach, so I got 3 Arabs to help me push her out; I couldn't convey to them whether tide was rising or falling! Dropped rear anchor in 10' of water off Chris Willey's and waited for Chris, who arrived at 12:15 pm. By 12:20 pm we were off to Tarif. Beautiful day, but after 3 or 4 hours, clouds blew up and a few drops of rain. Great difficulty in locating channel behind Abu al Abyed, and after several very near misses, finally grounded on sand-bank in almost total darkness. Cooked meal; stove tipped up owing to slope of boat, and only quick action by Chris averted an explosion. Rearranged luggage and put our beds up with a canvas over the top of the boat. Rather a crazy angle to sleep at, but never mind. Boat is high and dry – I nipped out onto the sand to get a drink of water from front of boat. Chris reads, while I am catching up with my diary, working backwards to Monday!
Thursday 16th January
Up feeling rather groggy about 7:00 am, to find boat just about afloat. Had a very trying time attempting to find channel around corner of Abu al Abayad, following one right along the beach, about 20' out, up almost to mangrove swamp, where we grounded on a megaripple! Passed close to a colony of flamingoes and cranes wading around on a shallow sandbank. Flamingoes white with pink legs, while cranes were jet-black. Tried a centre channel, but no go. Back to shore where I guided Chris through rocks until we grounded at 10:00 am for ¾ hour. Made coffee, into which Chris popped some Arabian beans, and then poked fun, much to my indignation, when I claimed there was an aroma of Arabian coffee! At 10:45 set off again, and saw quite a few rays, both sting- and leopard-, 3 at once at one point. Loathsome creatures, seem evilly feline. Crossed delta then choppy trip to Tarif; I fell fast asleep on the bows. Grounded by a sewage or oil outlet, watched by some rather supercilious Arab boys on bicycles. Waded ashore with our 'best' clothes, changed and went to see Brian Light, rather a slobby geologist, who ran us to base camp by Land Rover, where we rejoined Paddy and Doug. Arber drove Chris and me back to Tarif to meet Harry, of African and Eastern, a very Anglo-Saxon gentleman, who was most refreshing company after all the 'Chris Willeys' out here. He gave us coffee, then we dashed down to the boat, which was almost stranded, and with the help of Ali, we got her into the water with tremendous effort. Unloaded our gear onto the sand, then Arber and Ali returned to the coolie camp. Had a stiff swig of vodka, then periodically shifted stones into the tent. Supper, then I got very sloshed on a mixture of vodka and beer. As luck would have it, Doug chose this point to start discussing my wages, but I managed to keep my end up, I hope! Went out and 'paid a large deposit' right next to Paddy's tent, poor chap. Lights out by 9:30 pm.
Friday 17th January
Decided to make the porridge with Nestles cream, with rather sickly results. Burnt the pan rather badly, which entailed much scraping before supper was cooked. Chris and I then sorted our stores for the next couple of fortnights, not bothering about the rest. Also books and clothing and medical supplies were separated into 'Take' and 'Not to take'. At 12:45 pm lunched on ship's biscuits, tomatoes and grapefruit juice. Then cleaned out various jetty cans and with Arber to BP where we got diesel oil on credit (our motto seems to be "Never Pay Cash"). Then Chris and Paddy went off into Sabka, via Tarif to fill water-cans, while I out to boat to check compass. Never before in my life have I cursed so continuously, what with jumping in and out of the freezing cold water, pulling the anchor-rope taut and dropping the anchor on my foot every time! Rather bum results, but I got the theory and practice of compass-checking off to a fine art. Anchored the boat a mile from the camp, and waded ashore at 6:00 pm, dried and changed. Godfrey there. Chris, Paddy and I off to see Harry, but he was fast asleep, so we knocked up Arber at the coolie-camp, had some coffee in their mess-room, and he drove us back to camp, returning home with the Land Rover. Chris cooked supper slowly, while Paddy joined us for slightly embarrassing and mutually congratulatory 'personality' conversation. Delicious stew with Arab coffee beans, one of Chris' better efforts! Doug and Godfrey came in rather stoked, for geology-biased anecdotes and reminiscing. After incredible efforts, eased them out for bed at 10:15 pm. Diary notes for past 2 days, then kip!
NB: Two methods of correcting a ship's compass:
|(1)||Fix NS of check compass along centre line bow-to-stern of boat. Slowly rotate boat, reading values of 'Check' and 'Boat' at each position, preferably ≤10 degrees apart. Plot either C against B or (C-B) against B.|
|(2)||Place check compass in any position relative to boat. Take two readings C1 and B1, and rotate boat slightly, preferably ≤5 degrees. Take two new readings C2 and B2. Plot [(C1-C2) - (B1-B2)] against (B1+B2)/2, i.e. [(C1-B1)-(C2-B2)] against (B1+B2)/2.|
NB: (1) far more convenient than (2) and also more accurate.
Saturday 18th January
Up at 6:15 am again – this is too much of a good thing! Bitterly cold, and soaking with dew. Arber and Ali arrived while I was dressing, then we loaded the Land Rover with our supplies and drove out to the boat through the water! Loaded up the boat, then back for coffee and a cigarette in Paddy's tent. Paddy left for Jebel Dhanna with Arber, and Chris and I completed our packing and storing, and waded out to the boat, Godfrey following for his half of the ship's biscuits. Chris and I completely checked the compass. I read the boat compass and noted the results while Chris pushed the boat round and read the Army compass. He repacked the boat while I went off to Roedean [?] to fetch a file and some wire. Very pleasant clerk. On returning to the boat, I started to prepare the toothpaste tube to patch the silencer, while Chris fitted the frame to the back of the boat. I made a bl**dy good job of the patch, using the mirror to see behind the silencer, while Chris went ashore to fetch the mail, returning with Paddy who has had 2 Land Rovers pack up on him. 2 letters, one from Pa and the other from MB, opening the former first as the lesser! He enclosed letter from Birkbeck ACCEPTING ME!!!!!! I shouted and screamed for joy, so Chris and Paddy pushed me fully clothed into the water, for making such a row! I scrambled out coughing and spluttering, retrieved the letter, and hung up my clothes to dry. Couldn't stop hugging myself for joy! Then read Pa's letter (I thought I had written to Granny) and MB's which "fills my cup to o'erflowing"! Dug out my diary and sat on the engine, wrapped in a towel, completing the diary up to date, using pencil notes I had been making. Passed through a flock of dozens of cormorants sitting on the water, obviously near a shoal of fish. Lunched on ship's biscuits, a tin of sardines and a tin of fruit, which occasioned me acute indigestion!
Called in at Mirfa, which is a TOS encampment, and waded ashore past a dead sea snake, to be met by a couple of officers, a tall burly young chap called Archie, very pleasant, and a short thick fat chap called Peter. Into the mess-tent for a couple of beers apiece, conversation about dugongs, hurricanes and our respective colleges. Archie and Chris went off to fetch the Verey pistol that we wanted to borrow, while Paddy and I caught up with the news from Peter. They seemed genuinely pleased to see us, which made a pleasant change from the chilly receptions we have had so far, and asked us to call in again whenever we were passing, which we assured them we would! Off again, and camped on a bleak and desolate peninsula opposite the island of Kusaifah. Waded ashore over agonizingly painful rocks and spread canvas over frame off boat. Collected large quantities of driftwood and built a roaring bonfire to keep us warm and on which to cook. Tried to dry out my sleeping bag, but as soon as it was dry and warm on the side nearest the fire, the other side was dripping with dew! Bed at 9:30 pm. Paddy sleeping on the sand outside as he had no camp bed. Beautifully restful night, so I had taken precaution of wearing a shirt, and zipping up the bag BEFORE I went to sleep and before it got really cold!
Sunday 19th January
Although I awoke several times early in the morning, it was not until 7:27 am that we got up, broke camp in incredible haste and loaded the boat by 7:43 am, a total of 16 minutes! Despite initial difficulties with coralline rocks and sand shoals, we were soon speeding on our way, helped by the following sea of the same (wave) velocity, which gave the delightful illusion of flying. But Allah was playing a waiting-game! Soon clouds, which earlier had merely darkened the horizon, loomed above us, and the wind increased to what must have been 5 or 6 Beaufort, veered round to North West and whipped up the sea into waves of short length but large amplitude, spray flying over the canvas and soaking poor Paddy who was helming. Chris and I were initially quite warm and dry under the canvas by the engine. We could afford to laugh at this stage, but the weather quickly worsened. I took everything off except my trunks and stowed my clothes into a box by the engine to keep dry, an extremely wise move as it turned out. Paddy performed wonders at the helm, riding the waves expertly, but water washed over the side in ever-increasing amounts, soaking everything. The wind rose to literally gale force, driving up mountainous seas in front of us, which continually poured over the sides, and, tipping us sideways, constantly threatened to capsize us. We were bitterly cold and miserable, myself especially, as I was crouching semi-naked clutching cameras, cigars, notebooks, a packet of porridge, a box of books and clothing, and trying to hang on as the boat was thrown around like a cork. To make matters worse, a thick mist obscured the mainland and we couldn't see where Jebel Dhanna lay.
After much manoeuvering of the boat, the seas built up to such a frightening extent that we turned tail and fled for the shore, passing over an inundated island as we did so. The wind had pushed the water up to such an extent that we could creep to within a few yards of the shoreline, where we anchored and tied down a canvas over the whole boat. Dried by means of the engine, the petrol stove and the paraffin lamp, and changed into our driest clothes, mine having suffered very little damage luckily. Here we settled down, while the wind increased in fury, driving the sea up over the sabhka for miles, as far as the eye could see. We lunched on sardines, ship's biscuits and coffee, gloomily and apprehensively discussed the situation, while endeavouring to make our quarters as safe and comfortable as possible. Paddy settled down in his bag early, evidently exhausted by his valiant efforts at the helm, which had excited my private admiration. Chris and I watched the situation for a while, until the boat obviously grounded, pointing exactly due North. At 10:30 pm we decided we were hungry, and cooked a meal, awakening Paddy to join us. Bed by 11:30 pm.
Monday 20th January
Awake late after a bitterly cold night; at 4:30 am I had gone forward for a pee into the engine [?!] to find the canvas on the starboard side had blown loose. Chris awoke and came forward to help me tie it down. I was so cold by this time, I at last consented to getting into a very wet sleeping bag. The day was spent drying out our clothes, sleeping bags and blankets. We all read books and wrote various letters – my copy of Locke, Berkeley and Hume is being very heavily annotated, as Empiricism is now my latest craze! We arranged the canvas over the frame at the stern of the boat in the morning, and at my suggestion threw an oar across to stop the canvas flapping and on which we in turn hung our clothing, etc. In the evening, we again stoked up on vodka and beer, and sang lustily for an hour before turning in; my sleeping bag was by this time dry, so I looked forward, although in vain, to a comfortable night's sleep.
Tuesday 21st January
An aeroplane flew past early in the morning, but it was after we had dressed that a Beverly came thundering in overhead, as we wriggled thru' the canvas excitedly. We gave the 'thumbs up' sign as it circled above us, and after half a dozen turns, it passed low above us and dropped a large canister of water, iron rations and survival kit by parachute, to which Paddy and I dashed while Chris paused to take a photograph. After more interminable circling, during which we signaled LL according to the instructions from a booklet in the canister, the plane dropped a cardboard box with "Stay Put. We are directing a land-party towards you. Good luck" written on the side! After further circling, the plane flew off to Sharjah, the RAF base, and we reloaded the jetty cans etc onto the boat, that we had used to construct the signal. By this time, the old bowels, which had been almost completely quiescent yesterday, started to work, so I detrousered and wandered down the beach for a cr*p. I was just squatting in the water, when I saw the plane approaching again, so cursing and swearing back to the boat!!! After further infuriating circling, it dropped 3 encanistered inflatable dinghies, one of which broke open on impact and promptly grew to gigantic proportions! On [one of] the canisters was scrawled "Land party 25 miles away. Cheers". We dragged these completely useless craft back to the boat, and settled down to clean, dry and rebandage ourselves and wait. 9 hours later (8:30 pm) we are still waiting, having read books and written letters in the meanwhile. Paddy went to sleep early, not feeling too good with stomach pains, so Chris and I cooked supper for ourselves and went to bed early also.
Wednesday 22nd January
Paddy decided to start digging a trench from the boat to the channel, while Chris and I wandered off to do a spot of field work for a change. Examined the algae, and I was surprised when he pointed out how much variation in texture there was. A Gulf Aviation plane swooped down, when we were not too far from the boat, very low indeed, and dropped a message which I chased for ¼ mile, feeling, wrongly as it turned out when I retraced my steps, that I had dropped something while pursuing it. It said that TOS were bogged down all over the place and that party from Jebel Dhanna would be arriving at about 2 pm. Great jubilation and annoyance! We walked some way examining the sand structure and shells etc, bitterly cold wind. As we walked back, saw the shadow of a Land Rover on a Jebel, but nothing to do with the main party who arrived at 1:10 pm in 4 Land Rovers creeping down the Jebel. 4 American engineering consultants, very jolly, very boozy. One short Jewish looking chap remarked "I never touch the stuff myself" every time he half drained the bottle of whisky which was being handed round. One big fellow in large radially striped hat, a short stocky chap (Bill) with a small stride and baggy pants, and a good looking beaky-nosed man with deep set eyes. Handed round mugs of coffee, cigarettes, sandwiches, fruit and whisky. Across to the boat for beer; great admiration of the set-up. "Ya fellows ought to write a goddam book about survival!" Back to the Land Rovers to wait for plane at 3:00 pm (due 2:30 pm), which dropped a birthday telegram for Chris from Daphne. Great amusement all round!
They then returned to Jebel Dhanna while Chris and I carried jerry cans of fuel back to the boat. Lunched on remnants of sandwiches and fruit, and cooked up soup from remnants of last night's supper. I was very obnoxious and silly to Chris about subject of trench, which he took very calmly, so I got out and started digging madly. After a while he joined me and we worked till 5:50 pm, myself in bathing trunks to avoid mud splashes. Back to boat for clean up and rebandaging. I apologised genuinely and think he accepted. Great difficulty in fixing up beds – took from 8:35 pm to 10:05 pm – due to angle of boat as it had tipped when I dug around it. Felt very miserable when eventually in bed and couldn't sleep for a couple of hours.
Thursday 23rd January
Up fairly late (8:30 am) after an agonisingly uncomfortable night, ie cramps, aches and pains, completely unstable bed, sleeping on a slope of 30 degrees, to find Chris reading his History of Greece quietly. Felt absolutely ghastly and depressed and sat inside the boat smoking dejectedly while Chris curled up on the stern with his book and a good supply of tangerines! After a while I joined him in the sunshine and sat reading while we breakfasted on ship's biscuits and a tin of sardines each. After this we dug the trench for a while, exhausting work after our labours of yesterday. During a pause for some grapefruit juice, Chris saw a Land Rover approaching down the Jebel which we thought to be Paddy, but on going to meet it, Archie stepped out in TOS regalia, with 3 Arab soldiers, who followed us to the boat. The 3 of us shared a mug of whisky, the bottle having stood out overnight! We then discussed our position and also the Land Rovers and Scammell truck bogged down in the desert. We asked Archie to take some of the 'air drop' away with him so the soldiers each shouldered a dinghy while Chris took the chute. One young chap had great difficulty so Archie helped him to the Land Rover where I picked it up with one hand and put it in the back! They drove off and we returned to the boat and lunched on baked beans, plums and rice pudding. After further work on the trench, 2 more Land Rovers appeared, so we dragged the supplies canister some distance and met Paddy and Bill Ashe loaded down with whisky, beer, steaks, fruit, and cigarettes. Tied a rope to the canister and Chris, Paddy and I pulled it to Paddy's Land Rover. Bill asked if anything he could do, worried about leaving us!
We said we would go to Jebel Dhanna to collect radio for boat, which Doug has said we must have, to avoid future panics. Bill then drove off, Paddy remaining to help us set up tent on hard patch of sand 75 yards from boat and transfer stores thither from boat. He offered to stay but on reflection decided to drive to Tarif, which we had heard from Archie to be 4' under water. Chris and I dug some more of the trench until 4:45 pm then went and settled into our quarters – no more churned-up mud every morning! We filled the stoves and lamps, munching lemon puffs the while! Attended to bandaging sores and blisters while he explained the geology of the region. Then read for 1½ hours until supper time. T-bone steaks, potatoes, peas and beans, all washed down with beer. Read for a while then turned into bed, where I am now writing, Owl hoots in the distance disturbed us, and I got rather neurotic, feeling someone was floating round outside, but torch inspection by Chris revealed nothing.
Friday 24th January
As I write on the 28th January, I can remember little of importance from today, except that we finished digging the trench down to the channel and then went for a walk to the Jebel, up to the top where the flints were very painful to our bare feet, and then down a little way into the dune-country looking for hares, without success. The steak was not so successful that night.
Saturday 25th January
We went for an abortive sample-taking trip to the island on the other side of the channel, being defeated by the hardness of the rock underlying the sand. Back for lunch then set off for a 5½ hour trek across to the headland$ and back. Chris lectured me about geology as we went and I now understand a little more! We saw tracks of camels, dogs and bare feet everywhere so the Bedouin were obviously around although we hadn't seen them. Chris very excited about the rock- structures on the seaward side of the headland, considering the whole place is a classic area for geologising. Saw a dead squid for the first time, which was rather repulsive looking. I felt very tired on the way back, being laden down by the sand samples he had taken. As we neared the tent, we collected pieces of wood for a campfire; which just about exhausted me. Had a light meal of raw onions, bread and chutney, then examined the samples using a binocular microscope; I took notes while Chris examined and dictated. Read for a while then lit the oil-lamps and laboured for a long while to get the fire going, expending a lot of paraffin as the wood was so damp. Delicious meal – best steak I have ever had, to Chris' eternal credit! Turned into bed fairly early as knew we had to be up early tomorrow.
$ Not sure which at the moment
Sunday 26th January
Up at 7:00 am to find water lapping round the boat so, after a hasty breakfast, we packed our belongings in case it was possible to float the boat. While packing the boat with boxes, at 7:50 am, I noticed the boat was rockable so we hastily broke camp and started pushing the boat down the channel at 7:55 am. By 9:35 am we got the boat almost along to the little inland, and set off for Jebel Dhanna. Rather heavy swell which made helming difficult especially in shallow water off the headland. Caught a couple of large mackerel on the way, one each, which we handed over to EBC by way of a "Thank You". Installed in [accommodation] A4, and then spent frustrating couple of hours in radio room trying to get through to Tarif, during which I [was] moved into D1 as part of A4 was now occupied. Down with Bill Ashe to the boat, where Chris moored him in the middle of the harbour and swam ashore. Unable to get any oil from BP or Khahnsahib, so back to EBC for shower, rebandaging, hair wash, toothbrush, etc. Very necessary I'm certain! Then to bar, where had a most depressing time reading the newspapers. I felt really unhappy and homesick. To restaurant for the biggest meal imaginable, which I really needed. Steaks, roast beef, roast potatoes, cabbage, carrots, dry toast and butter, soufflé, etc. Yum! Yum! Spent long time talking to A4 chap who was at next table. At 9:30 pm to bed where I continued letter to Grandmama until 10:40 pm.
Monday 27th January
Up at 6:15 am when Mohammed brought cup of coffee. Washed and dressed, met Chris in D1, and over to mess-hut for breakfast at same table as Captain Lawson. Obtained tide-table and to EBC to duplicate 3 months' tides. Initial difficulty, but as photocopier warmed up, reproduction became pretty good. Gave copies to Mike Davis who regretfully informed us "We got to turn you fellows loose" as rooms were needed for visiting dignitaries. Over to ADPC offices and chatted to Jeff Coffins who had been in the launch standing by. Told us that Jebal Dhanna waterlife rotted even ½" nylon ropes. Obtained lift from northcountryman Peter to NCC, American chap taking photograph of Chris and myself before we left. Obtained oil free from Rudi after long wait, then Peter drove us down to the boat, where Chris started repairing the engine while I fiddled around with petrol, kerosene, stove and lamps. Then hitched lift in broken-down lorry to NCC, where obtained spanners from an extremely rude Hans. Lift back to the jerry with Lebanese businessman. At 1:30 pm, Doug and Paddy arrived and Chris disappeared into the Land Rover with them. Sounds of furious altercation until after 40 minutes, a red-eyed Chris, dejected Paddy and nervous Doug appeared. Beer all round, while argument continued in veiled form. I at last got the drift of the argument – no need to recap it here. Chris continually rude to Doug, who eventually went off somewhere with Paddy while Chris and I worked out our 'Defence', interrupted by 3 talkative Arabs. Chris then went off to look at bulldozer while I read my letters – rather depressing. Doug, Paddy returned and Chris turned the full fury of his rage onto Doug who got very annoyed himself and almost walked away. Eventually we decided to go back to Mirfa and packed the Land Rover and covered it with canvas. Said good bye to Bill Ashe and set off for Mirfa.
Passed police post under beautiful moon which was shining so brightly it was like midday! Lost the road and on Doug's insistence turned back to police post where we went in and sat round the fire at their invitation. Chris and Doug continued the argument while Paddy glowered and I kept quiet. Coffee, then food which Doug refused to touch. Continued the conversation, then Paddy and I to barasti where we talked then chatted to Arab who insisted on showing us how well he could read and write. Chris came back looking very cheerful. Doug staying to sleep in the Land Rover in order to consume his secret hoard of corned beef!
Tuesday 28th January
Up at dawn after a very restful night and piled into the Land Rover straight out of the sleeping-bag, covered in feathers! We wrapped ourselves in blankets in order to compensate for the absence of the rear window. The evaporated salt on the sabkha surface looked like a fresh snowfall and lent a fairytale appearance to the desert. We turned off the road to look at the Jebel opposite Shipwreck Point, following the tracks of EBC and the TOS. Arrived in Mirfa soon after 9:30 am to be met by Ali, who now appears to have forsaken Ramadhan completely, smoking, eating and drinking! He unpacked the Land Rover while we wrote our various letters, Chris to Professor [Gill], Doug to Professor [Gill] and myself to Grandmama. Paddy kipped down, being exhausted after several days' driving. Chris tore up his letter after seeing Doug's 'glowing report'! Doug drove off to Tarif to post the letters and collect water, while we chatted [and] I brought diary up to date. Felt very unhappy and depressed after doing so; wrapped myself in a blanket and went for a long walk over the dunes and to the top of the nearest jebel. Wandered back and hung around dejectedly until Doug returned from Tarif with the news that the atmosphere was clearing at Tarif; he has talked with Brian Light and they had squashed the completely unfounded rumour that we had been drunk and disorderly on the plane to Bahrain. The other 3 discussed the situation while I dozed fitfully under the rug. As evening drew on, Chris and I washed and changed to pay a social visit to the TOS camp at Mirfa. We took along our washing and a bottle of brandy, and were very off-handedly received by Archie and the 3 other officers. We stayed for an hour, talking occasionally to Archie; mostly they talked amongst themselves about getting drunk and how clever they thought it was.
The atmosphere was terribly strained so after an hour we excused ourselves; they didn't even look up as we walked to the door of the tent, but Chris' remark of "Cheerio, as it were, don't you know, f*ck off!" absolutely stunned them and we walked out feeling very angry and depressed. When we returned to camp, the others were asleep, so we cooked a stew during which Doug popped in as he couldn't sleep, and went to bed feeling very fed up.
Wednesday 29th January
Up at 8:30 am feeling very tired, worn out and depressed. Sat around thinking about MB, reading History of Greece, and general moping until lunchtime. I cooked an enormous and, let it be said, delicious stew; while Chris tried to dissuade Paddy from his avowed intention of packing up field-work and going for a holiday, but without success. After lunch, Ali loaded the Land Rover as Arber had still not turned up, and Paddy drove us to Shipwreck Point, stopping twice to try and repair the engine which was firing only on 3 cylinders. We drove across the sabkha on the seaward side of the Jebel and found a convenience crevice in which to make camp. Unloaded the Land Rover and Paddy returned while Chris and I searched beach for planks to support canvas over crevice. Dug out the crevice to convenient size and shape, putting food box as a support for the main beam on one bank and packing it up with sand to make a cupboard. Great difficulty in holding down canvas over beams until at my suggestion we buried the guy-ropes in the sand, which proved very successful! Arranged the stones and sat reading our books of Greek history for an hour and a half, until supper, after which we continued reading, after a while, in sleeping-bags where I started writing up Diary. Lights out at 10:20 pm.
Thursday 30th January
Friday 31st January
Up, gradually, at 6:45 am, feeling very tired altho' good night's sleep; probably due to 'emotional dilemma' [?] and itchy anus – a wonderful combo! After hasty breakfast of porridge, syrup and black coffee, the usual, we shouldered the bags and cameras and set off sample-collecting. I made a traverse along the shoreline, while Chris waded through the water. Much experiment and thought went into working out how many paces to 200 yards! The sampling was accomplished by 9:30 am, so back to camp where we read our respective Greek books for an hour or so, and then settled down to microscope examination of the samples. Great excitement as Chris slowly but surely unveiled the mystery of the quiet-water oölite! At 1:30 pm, quick snack of rather 'off' Spam, grapefruit and rice pudding and off on a trek to the trench along which we had pushed the boat. Very interesting conversation re scientific 'laws' and 'definitions' and the nature of inductive reasoning and innate principles. Various samples taken on the 'cuspate spit island', noticed some extraordinary little 'ant hills' of broken shell round the ant holes. Back to the camp again, discussing "La fidelité que je préfére est celle du coeur et pas celle du corps", although inconclusive. Further sample examination, from which Chris finally put the last nails into the coffin of current theories concerning the 'quiet water oölite'. By the time we had finished packing the samples into polythene bags 2 times over, it was 8:30 pm, so cooked a hasty stew and settled down to read and write, endeavouring to dry out my bed which has been soaked by dew, with the stove.
Saturday 1st February
Up at 6:30 am before the sun itself had risen. Breakfast of grapefruit juice, and then off into the bitter cold to take samples. Chris got very wrathy because in my first traverse, the course I took was not parallel to his own. Collected some more polythene bags from Chris as he sat on the beach-ridge at the end of his traverse and set off to retrace my footsteps to my last sampling spot; the tide however had obliterated them near the creek, so I chose a new course // to my old. On reaching beach-ridge, was overcome by violent bowel urge and was squatting happily when in the near distance, suddenly heard and saw a Gulf Aviation plane rapidly approaching! Quick work with some loose sand, then strolled around trying to look nonchalant while it roared low overhead! Back to camp where spent the entire afternoon examining and then packing the samples, the latter taking until 7:30 pm. A good gossip enlivened the latter part of the proceedings. Another of Chris' massive curries, after which neither of us could manage the treacle pudding which was heating up on the stove. Felt very tired and bloated, so we sat around chatting desultorily for 20 minutes, then turned into bed where Chris read his Plutarch and I wrote diary for 2DA, then read for a while until lights out at 10 pm.
Sunday 2nd February
Awoke to find hills covered by thick, cold fog. Dew was visibly falling. Stayed in bed until Paddy arrived in Land Rover, which we speedily loaded and were soon on our way to Mirfa. Immediately on arrival, we left for Tarif to collect water, and to call in on Harry, who was disgusted by our appearance. Back to Mirfa where spent evening writing letters to the girls in Pines and to MB. Bed at 11:00 pm feeling very tired.
Monday 3rd February
Up at 7:00 am feeling really wide awake for the first time in a fortnight! Perhaps this was due to my late night last night, thus vindicating my theory of alternating depths of sleep! After cup of coffee brewed by Ali, set off for Abu Dhabi at 8:00 am, stopping at Tarif to post letters and meeting Brian Light, very affable. On road out of Tarif met 3 Scammells bogged down in the mud; quite impressive seeing their mighty wheels churning up the sabhka. This proved impassable, so took road skirting the hills. Very pleasantly smooth road, but after some time, tilt of Land Rover indicated flat tyre. Hour's stop to repair inner tube, assisted by Arabs from passing Land Rovers, who lent us a vulcanising set. However, tube continued to leak, so on our way using dangerously split nearside tyre. Annoying hold-up at Police post on causeway, then into Agency to meet Col. Bonstead, looking very well indeed, and rather hazy conversation with English legal expert and his wife. To barasti, no sign of Doug or Godfrey, so called in to see Chris Willey. Then to Ken to meet various characters; had coffee. Then to Bill Edge and his wife; very kind and welcoming though rather 'Suburban Gilroy'. To Bhojerat to make purchases of food and car repair equipment. Dropped me off at AC shed, to look after stores. Read Christian Belief while Chris and Paddy went to collect radio from Ken. Chris Willey called to ask us to supper tomorrow night, and then Doug and Godfrey arrived. Gin & tonic, then Chris and Paddy arrived. General conversation concerning finances, while I nipped out with a spade. Doug and Godfrey to Willey's for dinner with Danish archaeologists. We 3 remained in AC shed, reading and writing. Rather tasteless stew! Continued writing up diary for past 2 days.
I feel rather depressed after previous euphoria induced by large swigs of Johnny Walker. In the square bottle! Very tired, as evidenced by numerous mistakes in writing. Doug and Godfrey blundered in, very tight, at midnight.
Tuesday 4th February
Doug, Godfrey, Chris and I went off in Land Rover with Mohammed to area behind the Muqta to geologise for most of the day. We examined trenches, both previous day's and newly dug, for first part and then after lunch set off for long and tiring trek towards the coast to the north. Great arguments on the way about the meaning of truncated folds revealed by trenching, and intimate admixture of gypsum and anhydrite. Met the Willeys on the causeway on the way back; very scathing about our dirty and unshaven appearance! Returned to AC shed and then nipped across to Willey's for cold bath, shave and change into check suit. Dinner – 4 lamp chops! Packed fruit and cheese sandwiches into our pockets and off to ADMA to see Telltale Heart – no resemblance to original short story! Got very depressed due to resemblance to my own situation. Back to Willeys for change into old clothes and farewell beer.
Wednesday 5th February
We sat around all day, in great distress from the Abu Dhabi trots. The others were in and out of the shed on various errands all the time. I wrote to MB all afternoon and evening, getting very tight on half a bottle of whisky. Very well-behaved notwithstanding; nipped out and was quietly sick over the side of a wall. Paddy very tight on 9 cans of beer. Chris and Doug went early to bed after discussing the [Second World] War at great length. Eventually, the lamp gave out and I assembled my bed by the light of matches struck by Paddy and Godfrey alternatively. Felt rather ill in bed, but soon dropped off to sleep.
Thursday 6th February
Awoke many times during the night, and finally when Doug tripped over the end of my bed in his frantic efforts to get ready in time. Eventually he scrambled off to the airport in a Land Rover. The rest of us got up slowly, interrupted by the arrival of Mohammed and the subsequent infusion over the 'chitty' to Mrs Edge. After this, Chris and Paddy went off to the Sukh to check progress of Land Rover repairs. Godfrey and I remained. I continued letter, and then starting talking about ionic theory, geo-synclines, college politics, EH and PH, university life and study. Very interesting indeed. Chris and Paddy returned very disgruntled, and we broke our fasts with a gigantic curry! Sat reading, then sang, whistled and played recorder lustily, watched by Arab children! Then Paddy and I went to Sukh, given lift by Alastair; Land Rover still not ready, so walked round Sukh for 2½ hours, returning to find Chris and Godfrey at Willeys for tea. Changed quickly and went round for tea, toast and chocolate cake. Returned to shed where sat drinking while I bring diary up to date for past 3 days. Long conversation about experiences with the fair sex, during which I kept a tactful silence on the whole! Chris turned in fairly early as did Godfrey and I, but, whereas he quickly went to sleep, we remained talking to Paddy who was finishing off his 19th beer of the day! Very hot, sandy and sticky; completely undressed for sleep for first time since arriving out here. Paddy rushed out and was violently sick after No. 19!
Friday 7th February
Up fairly late, and was still in state of disarray when Nicky Page arrived to ask us all to dinner. Chris and Paddy to sukh to check progress of Land Rover repairs, while I wrote to Pa. They returned in triumph in the Land Rover at about 11:00 am. Sat talking until 12:00 noon, when washed and changed into our suits, Nicky arriving in Power Wagon at 12:45 pm. Drinks, then Willeys arrived, saying Diane had almost electrocuted herself on a live metal door frame. I talked mainly to Gulf Aviation pilot, quite pleasant bearded gentleman. During lunch, conversation dwindled and were glad to leave at 2:15 pm. Back to shed, changed, loaded Land Rover, and dropped clothing at Willeys, who are fast becoming close friends it appears! Rode postilion till past Muqta police post, then cramped journey in front to Mirfa. Read Locke Berkeley Hume for part of way and got several good ideas. Arrived at Mirfa in dark; unpacked to find Chris' radio malfunctioning, which annoyed him intensely! Cooked quite a decent stew and then to bed, where I spent most uncomfortable night as camp bed tipped on its side!
Saturday 8th February
Awakened at 6:30 am by Chris, whose voice initially worked its way into my dreams! Pulled on jeans and staggered out to rouse Paddy; after hasty breakfast of coffee and porridge, he and I set off for Tarif with Ali. Brian Light wasn't there so collected letters (3 for me) from large gentleman rather like Mike Egan, with exotic moustache. Filled water cans then to camera-shop for look around and to tailors next door to get trousers re-zipped. Brian Light still absent, so speedily back to Mirfa, reading Pa's letter and cards from Pines on the way. Reloaded the Land Rover and set off for Ras al Aish, making several abortive sorties into the sabkha, changing wheel due to puncture. As cabin was very cramped, Godfrey and I sat on the back – very rough journey! On arrival, excavated convenient wadi to considerable depth and for some distance. Beautifully spacious cave, then covered with two canvases, leaving narrow exit. Read Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, which extols virtues of drink, while Chris and Godfrey went for reconnaissance. Cooked supper of curried rice, then settled down to write diary and discuss proposed visit to Greece. At 9:30 pm, retired to bed, first leveling out the floor!
NB Must visit Mykonos!
Sunday 9th February
Very uncomfortable and sleepless night, due to lying down the slope. Awakened by Chris at 7:30 am feeling absolutely rotten and very, very tired indeed. Washed up at the camp entrance then at 8:45 am we set off on long trek to opposing headland. Discovered I had left the rucksack with Magic Markers and polythene bags in tent, so Godfrey lent some to Chris. Took several samples, then Chris and I took circuitous route back to camp via opposite headland. Godfrey went opposite way, arriving some time after. Exhausted, flopped into seat, and lunched on dates, baked beans, corned beef, peaches and cream! Examined specimens while Godfrey went off for exploration. Saw 3 Land Rovers on other side of bay, wandering around haphazardly; they approached us then disappeared behind some hills. Made tea while discussing college, then set to work packing and labelling samples. Went out for long walk to watch sunset. Cooked supper of enormous watery curry, very delicious, then heard engines very close. I scrambled up hill with torch and saw headlights seemingly very close and wandering about as though trying to reach us across the sabhka. Chris and Godfrey followed with Petromax which shone brilliantly while we watched, and listened to, the distant vehicles. Eventually they disappeared behind headland opposite and we returned to the tent to read. Insistent noise of vehicles – if they are not trying to reach us, why are they out so late? Read History of Greece until 11:00 pm, then turned out the light and thought sadly of MB.
Monday 10th February
Extremely restful night and awoke at 7:15 am feeling rarin' to go! Up before Chris for first time since coming out here, washed up and got breakfast going. Felt really fit and wide-awake and we were soon prepared, and off to dig holes in the sabhka. Spent morning examining gypsum crystals some feet below the surface, then back for lunch of dates etc, in beautiful weather – hot sun and complete calm. Made one traverse this afternoon, very slowly and carefully, and by the end Chris had got the Abu Dhabi Squirts, so we took a photograph of a squatting Kendall! On our return to the tent, secured the canvas against the wind and tidied up. Cup of tea and a long geological conversation. Chris still suffering! Long nostalgic look at MB's photograph and then set to work, firstly writing diary and then letter to Ma.
Tuesday 11th February
MY 19th BIRTHDAY
Up at 7:30 am feeling very tired after late night. Very confused and fumbling around for some time. Chris very peremptory as regards making a quick start, but waited while he and Godfrey bound their feet into polythene bags with black insulating tape, in order to keep their wounds clean and dry. Made a traverse to the other side of the mudflat, a distance of several miles, and by the time we got there, the sun was really blazing down from a molten blue sky; my thirst, which initially was mild, now parched me, and I found great difficulty in swallowing. The heat was tremendous, sapping all the energy from ones mind and body. Every time Chris or Godfrey stopped to dig a hole, I flopped down exhausted onto the mud. By the time we were halfway back to the camp on the second traverse, Chris and Godfrey were clearly exhausted also, and all pretence of geologising was dropped as we literally staggered back – at one point while wading through mud, I thought I was going to pass out. On our eventual arrival, I gulped down pints of water, followed by whisky and grapefruit juice. We then lay around recovering for an hour until 4:00 pm. Chris and I wrapped and labelled the samples. Then Godfrey and I rapidly dug down the level of the floor in the sleeping section, and tidied-up the generally rather revolting mess! Chris was now feeling very "feak and weeble" and sat wrapped up in a blanket while I made coffee and then cooked the supper. After supper, an enormous stew, Chris retired to bed, while Godfrey and I sat reading and writing. The feeling of intense well-being which followed our return to camp has now deserted me, and I feel rather bloated with rice and water!
Wednesday 12th February
Up at 6:55 am, feeling very loth to leave the comfort and warmth of my sleeping-bag. After hasty preparations, staggered off heavily laden with rucksack and spades. It was 2:15 pm by time we were halfway through 1st traverse, and by this time my feet were cut to ribbons. After abortive attempt to wrap them in polythene bags and cram them into my shrunken canvas shoes, decided to go back to camp, taking rucksack of tightly-packed core-tubes, leaving Chris and Godfrey to complete traverses. Never before I have felt so much at the end of my tether as on the way back. I literally thought I would never make it. Staggering from side to side, stumbling and swaying, I lost my bearings several times, and at one point walked in opposite direction to the camp! After ¼ hour rest on beach-ridge, finally reached camp, where gulped water and whisky indiscriminately! Read Greek History for ¾ hour, then set to work preparing curry for supper, halfway through by time others returned. Nobody felt very hungry when faced with vast quantities of rice, so left remainder for use tomorrow. Wrote to MB after supper, finishing off yesterday's letter. Read Greek History in bed, paying less and less attention until finally losing thread of story.
Thursday 13th February
Friday 14th February
Lay in bed until 8:15 am, and then packed all belongings and broke camp, ready for Paddy to arrive. Then sat reading and talking in the wadi, until driven to the top of the hill by the tormenting flies. Settled down to read and sunbathe in little sandy dip. Godfrey doing a spot in the raw! Flies still very annoying, especially when I tried to sleep. Lunch of dates, onions, sardines, baked beans, apricots and cream! Very indigestible. Slept for most of afternoon, apart from brief look for Paddy, and then cup of tea sitting next to the stores. I then nipped off with a spade, only to find that a convenient cr*pping place had already been discovered by Godfrey [though without use of spade]. Went for a walk and then back to camp to put up canvas again. At 7:45 pm, Paddy arrived in Land Rover, bringing mail which I jumped upon. Very upsetting letter from MB, although bringing relief in one sphere. After discussion, decided to load Land Rover and get back to Mirfa, before imminent shimal broke. Called in on Archie while passing through; very friendly and talkative. Left at midnight and back to camp, where I read some more letters which awaited me; slightly more encouraging effort from MB. Felt very sick and tired after journey.
Saturday 15th February
Very restless and uncomfortable night – bitterly cold. Felt very tired and ill on awakening, and lay in bed until 10:00 am by which time Paddy and Godfrey had gone to Tarif in Land Rover. Spent morning applying much needed tidy-up to nails, and then writing letters and diary. Chris and Ali cooked up some minestrone soup, which is all the food I can face. At 3:30 pm, Paddy, Godfrey and Nicholas arrived and we hastily packed up and left Godfrey and Ali to go off to Harmiya. Pouring with rain, so we drove to beach to collect driftwood for the hut and then back to camping site, and starting excavating. I still felt rather low, but improved no end with a spot of exercise! Finished stowing [?] tent by light of Petromax, and then Chris cooked an enormous meal of curried chicken, which proved too much for everybody. Lights out at 10:45 pm for a rather cramped, though restful, night.
Sunday 16th February
Up at 7:30 am for breakfast of bananas, chocolate and porridge successively. Excavated well of tent out further to make more room, and then at 10:30 am set off for algal flats. However, by this time, tide was well up, and after resting in the lee of a windbreak for some time, trotted off to sabkha to west of hill, and searched in vain for anhydrite, although surface contortions of NaCl crust proved very interesting. Chris by this time feeling very unwell with the screaming sh*ts, and stopped frequently to relieve himself. Wandered back to tent at 2:30 pm and spent rest of afternoon lying inside chatting. Chris very amusing with anecdotes of Dublin days. Cup of tea, then I tied up canvas properly and weighted it down scientifically with lengths of wood. As dark came on, I tidied tent and at 8:15 pm started cooking supper for Nick and myself. Chris feeling very shiverish and unwell still. After supper, wrote up diary and gazed longingly at MB's photograph.
Monday 17th February
Very uneventful day – trotted across algal flats for most of the time. I felt very unhappy about MB and Pa for most of the time, and trailed behind. Waited for Paddy on our return, then Chris cooked up a curry, and we retired to bed early.
Tuesday 18th February
Up at 7:15 am - [unprintably ecstatic] were my first words as I had enjoyed a good night's sleep for the first time for some days! Breakfast of chocolate and porridge and then, after a jolly conversation, we set off eastwards along the road. The sun shone brilliantly, and we stripped down in order to acquire a suntan. Spent some time taking photographs of beetle and rabbit tracks, and then off again along the road, searching for anhydrite, which we finally found at the edge of area previously examined by Doug and Paddy. Dug a great big 'ole and then set off back to the jebel. Suddenly heard a Land Rover behind us, and thumbed a lift from a couple of Arabs, one of whom appeared to be the brother of Ali's guest the other day. I rode in the front, and due to a polite protestation, they dropped us some distance from the jebel! Late lunch of chicken curry, and then spent rest of afternoon reading and sunbathing, waiting impatiently for Paddy to arrive, which he did an hour before nightfall. He had had trouble with the Land Rover for most of the day, and was very tired and depressed. Packed up and set fire to our stock of driftwood, and then to Mirfa, having trouble with puncture in right-hand front wheel on the way. Ali turned up soon after our arrival, and we spent rest of evening talking re geology and Danish archeologists. Nick retired at 9:15 pm, and I continued writing up diary.
Wednesday 19th February
Up fairly late, loaded Land Rover and set off to Abu Dhabi to see about boat which ICST telegram had authorised us to use. Dropped Nick at Tarif, as he was catching plane, meeting Bill Clarke outside waiting room. Collected letters from Brian Light, and trousers from tailor. I read the letter with initial fear and trembling, and then found it the most intelligent and sympathetic MB has ever sent. Very happy indeed, and overcome with feeling for her. Set off again, and had puncture opposite broken-down Arab lorry, who watched us trying to repair tyre with lever several sizes too large! Put on spare, and after a mile it too was completely down. Borrowed spare wheel from passing Land Rover and followed by it all way to Muqta, where it overtook ½ minute before our third puncture! Thumbed lift from passing Dodge leaving Paddy in charge, and soon after causeway, it too blew-out and we careered off the road. Loaded tyres, 3 of ours and his one, into passing Persian's lorry of gravel, and sat on top. Just outside Abu Dhabi he stopped to tip his load, and then Col. Boustead drove up, giving lift to Chris, myself and Arab's original passenger, leaving Arab in charge of tyres. To Colonel's for quick cup of tea, meeting his distinguished guests with our hair matted, clothing torn and bodies unwashed! Graham drove us out to Paddy, Arab having disappeared with tyres meanwhile, to find that he had knocked back ½ bottle of whisky! Back to shed after borrowing Graham's spare tyre, and Chris and myself nipped over to Willey's for bath and clean-up. Paddy by now adamant about going home! Back to Willey's at 10:30 pm – they were out to dinner – and had supper followed by bed.
Thursday 20th February
Friday 21st February
Up at 7:45 am, washed up and made breakfast to atone for my laziness of yesterday. Chris and Paddy off to Grey Mac and then back to change before going to Willey's to await Sultan's summons to visit Shakhput. I wrote letters and helped Godfrey with his work, until at 12:30 pm they arrived back, not having met Shakhput, and said we were going to 'curry-lunch' at the clubhouse. Violent row blew up while I was 'attending to the bucket' between Godfrey and the other two, Chris taking (naturally!) the leading part. It looked as though party had split into two camps, but after some time shook hands and made up. I looked very bizarre in my motley clothing, including Chris' gigantic Chelsea boots when we went off to club, and thus was rather subdued on our arrival. Very good curry; talked to Dutch Arabist for some time, who asked us to his lecture that evening. Read halfway through Somerset Maugham's Painted Veil on our return, then cooked the supper with Godfrey. At 8:35 pm left for clubhouse for drinks before lecture, which was very 'ambulocutory' but quite interesting. Talked to Mrs Page afterwards and then back to shed and into sleeping bag where I read till 1:30 am finishing off the book.
Saturday 22nd February
Chris awoke me at 7:20 am, and I struggled out of bed very tired and bleary. While I swept the floor, he cooked breakfast, Paddy and Godfrey arriving to enjoy the fruits of our labours. Read science fiction for a while and then over to Willey's to collect my suit from Mrs Gough's room, accompanied back by Charles and Diane. Chris and Paddy off to boat in Land Rover, and then Paddy, Godfrey and I off to Sukh, where left Land Rover in garage shown to us by Somali mechanic. Then walked to Agency, where I relieved my frantic itching and joined the other 2 talking to Graham, a very nice chap indeed. To post office, leaving Godfrey halfway, posted long epistle to MB and then walked back to shed, where washed and changed to shorts, sitting outside to write up diary. Washed again and changed into suit, and then we all set off on foot for lunch with the Colonel, arriving 1:35 pm. Not very much to eat, unfortunately! Back to shed after lunch, in Land Rover which we had collected, changed and off to Bhojerat's. Frustrating time with man who sold tools, and then spent much time buying a pair of desert boots to take back to England. Godfrey and I waited by Land Rover, and got embroiled in conversation with man whose [hunting] knife we had admired and who thus wanted to give it to us. Very tempting to accept as it was of silver with inlaid gold! Back to shed, and Nick asked us over for drinks, sandwiches and then supper – his parents were going out. After supper he returned with us to shed for a cup of nauseating black coffee. Bed at 11:30 pm.
Sunday 23rd February
Monday 24th February
Awoke at 7:45 am to find Chris and Nick had got boat underway; felt absolutely lousy after one of most uncomfortable nights I have ever spent. By 8:30 am, was feeling much better after washing etc and spent rest of voyage sunbathing in my swimming trunks; coffee and porridge served up in the galley! Found Paddy awaiting us at effluent station – much grimacing gorilla-style at him and Tarish. Letter from little Miss H, very witting and amusing – typical KH. I stayed in boat while other went off for petrol etc; had much needed cr*p with ingeniously-continued WC! On their return, pushed the boat off and went for fishing trip, catching two mackerel, but losing initial hook and weight. Added one fish to last night's curry; called in at anchored dhow for exchange of salutations and then anchored off Rodaim for lunch. Much fooling around in the water, especially when trying to pick up tins. Waded ashore to GGC and had beer with Ted Bates and discussed situation – Paddy's Land Rover had faulty pump and our radio and echo-sounder were both dead. Back to boat which was stuck on the sand. I fell asleep in cockpit while Chris waited ashore for Paddy. Pump temporarily repaired, so unloaded boat onto Land Rover and back to Mirfa, calling in for beer with Adrian at TOS. Unloaded Land Rover, and Ali to Tarif, while Chris and I fiddled around repairing lamps. Paddy and I hummed through our entire Mozartian repertoire, while Chris mixed delicious rum cocktails. Superb supper of chicken pie and spuds and date pudding, retired to bed at 10:00 pm to write up diary.
Tuesday 25th February
Wednesday 26th February
Spent most uncomfortable night with stomach cramps. Woke Paddy at 6:30 am, then lay half asleep with recurrent pain in the guts. Paddy left with Chris and Godfrey soon after breakfast, Nick staying to look after yours truly! On their return, having seen Paddy off to mutual V-signs, took me to Indian doctor at CAT Co, who said I had 'Gas'. Lay on camp bed until 3:00 pm feeling very miserable, when Nick drove us to doctor in Suq, who gave me excruciatingly painful injection [into stomach lining with curved needle], which did the trick, temporarily at least. Back to shed, and sat reading, with Godfrey and Chris then to Page's for drinks; I stayed reading and thinking. They returned to cook up some soup, then bed at 9:45 pm.
Thursday 27th February
Up at 9:00 am, and across to Pages for bath and shave 9:45-10:45 am. Then stayed talking philosophy with Nick over numerous beers until lunchtime. After lunch, dropped Godfrey at shed, then to Umana to see Danish archeologist and look over island; burial mounds and 3000 year old settlements. To airport at 4:30 am to find Godfrey had already met Ray Murray in the Land Rover. Back to shed to collect spade, then back to sabkha behind Muqta, to examine Godfrey's holes. I nipped back to Land Rover, as I wanted to avoid stomach chill after yesterday's episode. Drove Land Rover to meet Ken, then back to Dodge (for fear of theft), Nick taking Dodge back to pick Ken up. Back to shed, Godfrey letting me take over for a while after the Muqta, calling in at Agency for mail. Discussion until 8:30 pm then to Page's for dinner; Ray's anecdotes of his Russian boar hunting holiday very amusing! Discussion about formation of dolomite, CaMg(CO3)2
Ca2+ + CO32- = CaCO3
Ca2+ + Mg2+ + 2 CO32- = CaMg(CO3)2
(Ca2+)(CO32-) = K so (Ca2+)2 (CO32-)2 = K2 = K2
(Ca2+)(Mg2+)(CO32-)2 = K3 so (Mg2+) / (Ca2+) = something or another
Then back to shed at 10:30 pm for discussion following day's programme.
Friday 28th February
Spent day looking round sabhka at anhydrite, CaSO4. On return to shed, Ray insisted on taking us to hotel for dinner, as a thank-you. The others showed him round the Suq while I finished letter to Ma. Washed and changed at Nick's then to hotel, meeting Bill Clarke outside. Rather mediocre meal, Ray being overcome by the sh*ts halfway through. Took him back to shed, then to Page's to change back to our scruffy clothes. Bed at 10:15 pm, being careful not to awake Ray.
Saturday 29th February
Up at 6:30am, dressed rapidly and then Godfrey to Suq – no Land Rovers! Hailed passing taxi, and immediately loaded up, Nick having arrived, and to municipality for chitty. Delay while our names were recorded in Arabic. Left Abu Dhabi at 7:15 am and to Tarif in dense mist/sand storm. Top speed all the way – most uncomfortable journey ever made, one jolt almost killing us! At Tarif, hung around in lounge, Ray revealing secrets of interview and selection of research geologists. At midday, charter plane arrived and after introductions, drove halfway to Mirfa. Chris and Godfrey gave talks to 8 Top Geologists while Nick and I sweated digging trenches displaying anhydrite. Great enthusiasm shown in examination of trenches, then to airstrip to see them off. To Mirfa, sat around sunbathing, reading and eating with Ali's askari friends. Godfrey returned to Abu Dhabi with driver, while Chris and I tidied up tents and buried rubbish. Chris cooked very tasteless supper in pressure-cooker which refused to pressurize; long discussion about org*sm, hypnotism, and psychology; validity of psychology as compared with physiology disputed by Nick.
Sunday 1st March
Up at 7:30 am despite Chris' desperate attempts to wake us earlier. Loaded boat after hasty attempt at porridge, and left for Rodaim. Chased school of porpoises but they were too quick for us. Anchored off GGC and ate fruit while Chris went ashore. Hung around until 2:00 pm then to GGC – nobody in, so hitched a lift then doubled back when we saw somebody we knew, Sarkis, then to GGC for beer and sandwiches. "Bullshit Bert" came in for innumerable whisky and limes; talked incessantly of anti-moisture seals for engine, 'fixing' of professional football, etc. At 7:30 pm he drove us to Mirfa, the shimal preventing moving the boat. Bert completely sloshed – further whisky in the tent; on discovering the parentage of Nick, he became revoltingly loud in the praises of Pa Page. We pressed him to stay, but eventually Ali drove him to Tarif, he being incapable of driving himself. Chris to bed at 10:00 pm; I stayed writing diary, then started talking re Nottingham fiasco to Nick, turning into bed at 1:00 am, much to the disgust of Chris.
Monday 2nd March
Although awakening at 6:30 am, lay abed until 7:30 am to avoid meeting Bert, who had arrived with Turkish driver. He was already punishing our whisky bottle while we were having breakfast. He then took us back to GGC where we spent the morning reading, tho' I went to Tarif to collect mail, with Sarkis – one letter from Pa, the [incoherent] style rather than the content of which, upset and depressed me to hell. Then we sat in boat until 2:00 pm, when Nick and I carried water from shed to boat, while Chris to IAL in Tarif with non-functional echo-sounder. Nick and I took the boat through very rough seas to Mirfa, arriving at 8:00 pm, and swam ashore with ½ full jerry can of water each! Early bed to compensate for last night.
Tuesday 3rd March
Up at 6:30 am yet again, loaded boat and off to Salaha, Chris finally abandoning all attempt to repair echo-sounder, on the way. Sea very choppy with aftermath of shimal; anchored in deep water to try to make radio contact, but in vain, with GGC. Spent day taking samples. Chris anchored boat off Mirfa on our return; Adrian called in to make sure we had found telegrams requesting Nick's return to Abu Dhabi on Thursday 5th, and stayed for coffee. After supper, I made brief notes on Greek epistemology in Paddy's own work book, being distracted by long and inconclusive conversation in broken Arabic with Ali, while Chris and Nick to Mirfa to send telegram to GGC asking them to call us up instead of vice versa. Made notes on theory of æther until 10:45 pm, then bed.
Wednesday 4th March
Up before Chris at 6:30 am; Arab from Bedu encampment arrived during breakfast, very interested in possibility of supplying us with bibis for jigajig; seemed surprised when we raised little enthusiasm! Nick waded out for boat, which Chris and I quickly loaded, then off to Salaha, catching 2 large mackerel on the way. Anchored in channel past Salaha, and tried to contact GGC radio operator in vain. Travelled up channel taking samples of sand by grab and coral-life by hand, and then turned westward behind islets, to ground on sandbanks; waded around for a while, then pushed boat back 100 yards to deep water, where we anchored for lunch of date pudding and peaches. Bedu fisherman punted up to give advice on choice of channels, and mainly to ask for 'baksheesh' of which fortunately we had none, apart from one Rothmans Kingsize [cigarette]! Grounded in coral garden, where after pushing to little avail, we remained for ½ hour, then along bank to Juneina and up channel for numerous samples, finally making contact with GGC on the way!!! Back to Mirfa, 3 fish on the way. Nick and Chris unloaded the boat and I anchored her in deep water, finding ½ cwt weight and large shell cartridge while wading ashore. Coffee with Ali, then at 8:00 pm to TOS for fried fish with Adrian. Not a bad meal; Adrian becomes more talkative on lengthier acquaintance. Back to tent at 10:15 pm; diary for past 3 days.
NB GLAYMAR (?) liqueur
Thursday 5th March
Awoke many times during night due to anxiety to get up early, and consequently when time came to get up, felt very washed out. Nick walked to TOS camp after breakfast for lift to Mirfa, while Ali, Chris and I to Bedu camp for breakfast of powdered bread and sugar with the Bedu women – very pretty little girl who kept peeping from behind her veil. Then back to tent and packed boxes for boat. Chris waded out to boat, Ali and I waiting at the water's edge with the boxes. Chris spent 1½ hours trying to start boat; when I eventually waded out, he told me to carry boxes back to tent. This exhausted me, and I was glad when askari and Bedu boy came along for coffee. Great jollity over my 'reading Arabic' aloud from book! Ali arrived in Land Rover from Mirfa with Chris; coffee and then stew which I cooked. Waited at side of road for lift to Tarif for mechanic, then asked for lift at Mirfa, without luck, but cup of tea with staff sergeant. Back to examine specimens, then sergeant and askari called for coffee. Rearranged sleeping tent, then supper of fish caught in local nets. Long conversation with Ali; Chris has decided to learn Arabic properly. Ali to TOS, and Chris and I retired to our tent early, Chris to bed and I to read T H White Once and Future King and write up diary. Bed at 9:45 pm.
Friday 6th March
Up at 7:30 am and thumbed lift into Tarif from Arab soldiers in large lorry. Practised our Arabic on the way. Called in at Khansaheb to ask Dudley for mechanic. Sat around reading old copies of Sunday Post – very old L.M.C. Scottish paper. Mechanic then drove us into Mirfa, and I set watching him fix engine while Chris busied himself around the camp. Back to tents for coffee, his Land Rover breaking down on the way!
Saturday 7th March
Spent day working like a [Trojan] in the boat – anchoring, helming, sampling, fishing – some enormous barracudas (according to Chris); Chris very sick and unwell, so digitum extractandum on my part. All but 2 fish came off securing line on way back. Chris to bed immediately on return, Ali leaving me to carry boxes. Spent evening reading T H White; tin of baked beans and sardines, then Ali brought fried fish and rice from Bedu woman! Managed to polish off both, and then bed at 9:30 pm.
Sunday 8th March
Up at 6:45 am, cooked breakfast, then Ali and I carted jerry cans down to islet, then I swam out to boat; 200 yards – I felt so ill, honestly thought would never make it. Spent ½ hour cranking engine, and then ½ hours vainly trying to contact Rodaim. Left at 10:00 am; Ali helmed all the way to Tarif, grounded 300 yards from shore. Ali to coolie camp while I to Brian Light's office for mail; given lift by his deputy round Tarif trying to locate echo-sounder. Then down to shore to see Indian in charge of week's supplies – met Harry, very browned-off. Waded out to boat, which was being left high and dry, to collect water jerry-cans, then waited 20 minutes for Ali to turn up. Collected fuel jerry-cans, then carried the lot to the water tap and started filling. Adrian appeared in Land Rover, so put water in back, and sent message to Chris via Adrian. Then to garage – lift from friendly Arab in Khansaheb yard – filled cans and Arab helped us carry them to boat. To IAL communications room – no news of echo-sounder, so to coolie camp for coffee and tea; read letter from MB which upset me a lot – very cold and harsh [redacted!]. Never mind – as Ali says, Hully wully [?] Bibi. To IAL at 5:45 pm; admired teleprinters, then Livingstone turned up, and we drove to look for echo-sounder – not yet repaired. To coolie camp for Bedu curry eaten with hands, then at 7:30 pm took blanket to boat and snuggled down for the night! Very upset and unhappy about MB [redacted!].
Monday 9th March
Very cold and damp night, but awoke remarkably OK at 6:15 am and took boat ashore. To coolie camp for breakfast of hubz [bread] and coffee, then hung around for Ali to arrive at 8:00 am. Off immediately; thick swirling fog descended, and unable to see for 1¾ hours; no contact with Rodaim. Arrived Mirfa 11:40 am, and "ministered unto Chris", very ghostlike under mosquito net. At 1:40 pm took boat further out, then to Mirfa to telegram Rodaim – nobody there and I declined to use radio! Back to tent to examine and pack samples – further anecdotes of Dublin days. Then to Mirfa discussing genetics, of which neither knew anything, and sent message via Adrian. Back to tent to cook supper while Chris, very weak after his walk, lay in bed. Retrieved mushy rice from jaws of disaster by washing. Read Conan Doyle article, then wrote up diary while Chris made plans for departure tomorrow.
Tuesday 10th March
Up at 5:45 am, sorted out equipment, and then carried them to promontory for loading onto the boat; I very weak and unable to carry anything heavy. Away by 9:00 am, to find radio had packed up, so back to Mirfa to see Adrian and send telegram to Rodaim saying we could not call them up. Then to Shipwreck Point, arriving late afternoon; very interesting things on way – coral reef some miles from Mirfa, teeming with enormous fish; enormous ugly crabs swimming on surface; turtle snatching 40 winks on surface; small fish gaffed by fishhook, which we used – unsuccessfully – as bait. Waded ashore on rocky sandbank off Shipwreck Point, and caught various different sorts of crabs. Then Chris brought enormous piece of coral on board, which we broke in pieces and extracted the large number of flora and fauna therein. Took numerous samples, then at 6:30 pm anchored for the night, making very snug tent over the mast and gaff. Spread out boxes on the floor to support the beds, and kipped down early.
Wednesday 11th March
Up at 5:55 am, in dense fog. Set off at 7:00 am in choppy seas and travelled by compass to Bazam al Gharbi. Went ashore to photograph mangroves; Chris found colour camera had packed up, much to his disgust. Then a tense time pushing boat off as tide had dropped – only just managed it. Went further round island, and waded ashore to look at a bigger mangrove clump. Very tricky getting through shoals and coral reef; spent some time examining and sampling reef. Tried in vain to catch some fish! Lunch at 12:10 pm, as I suddenly felt very tired and ill. Rest of afternoon sampling shallows, then along shore of Marawa and anchored at 5:00 pm; packed samples and then put up tent. Early supper, then I fell asleep on bed very early, feeling very ill; very strange dreams, intense and vivid, all night.
Thursday 12th March
Up at 6:15 am; I felt bitterly cold and unwell, and spent the next four hours crouched under canvas, wrapped in blanket. Wind quite strong, waves enormous, making sampling very difficult. At 10:30 am, beached the boat, transferred stores ashore and stretched canvas between dune and beach to make a tent. Went for reconnaissance for couple of hours, Chris very excited to find a fully-fledged mangrove swamp. On return, sat reading in deck chairs on beach. Commotion in water brought us running to find 2 sting-rays mating! At this point, Arab fisherman turned up, so we asked him names of various islands roundabouts, and then made coffee. He left at 8:00 pm, and we then started to prepare supper; worried in case chap punting by would come and "tafaddal"! Finished eating supper in tent due to flies, then read for some time. Chris to bed at 8:45 pm, and I to diary for past 3 days.
Friday 13th March
Up at 7:15 am, read until 8:15 am when loaded boat, and pushed boat out. Off to examine mouth of mangrove creek. Ran boat on sandbar, and in wrenching tiller, I broke tiller connection to rudder. Sat on stern guiding rudder with my foot, until at my suggestion Chris rigged up large screwdriver in place of broken connection. Very rough passage to island, then anchored in deep channel just off point. Meal and discussed phony 'Observer culture' [pretentiously highbrow self-righteousness] then Chris decided to check ashore for algal mat. Terrible time trying to pole ashore, then he made it, and I great trouble getting boat away from sandspit. So he [came] aboard, and in fiddling around with strong eddying current, strong wind and heave waves, I fell overboard! Waited until 3:00 pm, then made journey to Mirfa, rough at first. Dropped Chris at TOS to send telegram to Rodaim; I moored boat, and then Chris, Ali and I unloaded boat a little. Supper with Bedu, during which I developed splitting headache, so back to tent, Once and Future King, codeine and bed at 8:45 pm.
Saturday 14th March
Up at 6:25 am, loaded bedding onto boat, and Chris and I off by 7:00 am. Absolutely flat calm, and round outside of Abu al Abayad. Chris steered until 10:45 am when I took over just before picking up becalmed dhow bound for Abu Dhabi. Steered for ¾ hour, then felt so ghastly with continued headache, that went to sleep under canvas. Very slow progress, so at one point Chris threatened to pay off dhow. Great alarm by old naukhada, "Fulus, fulus … Abu Dhabi!" [? no money? go Abu Dhabi] so we relented. Offered to give him away as 'Abu Dhabian Navy', to American survey vessel anchored off Abu Dhabi. Then towed him bumpity-bump across coral reef. Much jumping up and down! Chris dropped me off at Willey's, and Chris to jetty. Looked for Godfrey, then Willeys who met in Land Rover outside, and gave me a lift to Suq, where taxi to new jetty and awaited Chris, vainly trying to tell story of naukhada to thick taxi-driver. Boat round jetty onto sand, where unloaded onto taxi, and to shed where met Joe and again unloaded. Then to Willey's for baths, and then large supper, which wasn't ready until 10:00 pm! As I felt rotten again, made my excuses, up to change back again, and back to shed – even so, being beaten to it by Chris and Godfrey for speed!
Sunday 15th March
Chris and Godfrey to Mirfa to pick up Ali and rest of stores. I to Grey Mac to see about boat, then took Arber's taxi to jerry to make sure boat aground.
Monday 16th March
Spent day packing away samples and equipment and tidying-up shed.
Tuesday 17th March
Chris and I off to see Joe Valachi about possibility of job [for me] and ended up by discovering how cheap it is to get to Beirut! I back to shed full of the good news to Godfrey, when Chris rushed in saying free lift to Dubai in ADMA Land Rover. To bank quickly to settle account, then speedy packing, lunch and off!!! Dubai quite impressive after Abu Dhabi, got very excited at tarmacadamed roads! Drove round looking for Mohammed Mahdi Tajin [?], Godfrey's contact – out – so then coffee and ice cream and to airport, where hung around phoning Tug and taxi to Sharjah. Great difficulty in finding officers' mess, but eventually did so, meeting Tug, funny little man rather like Laval [? French politician], then showed us our rooms where we quickly washed and changed for the party. On entering the party, I chatted up the Second-in-Command about NATO in Paris, and then the Education Officer about theory of education and existentialism, and quickly found he was a phoney. Rather ginned up by this time, and then dinner, very amusing time with Jeremy – lashings of vino. Everybody by now very tight, and piled into Land Rover to 'Fishing Club'. Whisky, whisky, whisky all the way; chatted up young Scots corporal, who was rather nice. Memory now very confused; sang the Wild West Show song,$ and then mind blacked out. Vaguely remember terrific punch-up, and I was shouting my head off about Sir Gawaine [as per The Once and Future King] and struggling on the ground. Can remember no more.
$ Or at least the following verses I'd learned from my father over the years; there are literally hundreds more (but note that a lot of them are in unacceptably poor taste).
- The OO OO AA AA bird; The Gee-raffe; The Fookawi tribe; The Rhinosoreass; The Kiree-Kiree bird; The WinkyWanky bird
Wednesday 18th March
Woke up in strange bed, feeling very smashed-up, and completely unconscious of what had happened, although I was obviously in a hospital! Felt very very scared as to what might be wrong with me; Chris and Godfrey arrived to tell me that I had been brought in last night fighting drunk, pacified by hypodermic, streaming with blood, caked in filth, battered-in face and broken nose. Seen by military doctor, who proceeded to deliver comforting (very nasal) lecture about "your nose as a nose, functionally speaking, is OK. Now don't worry, it won't ever look as though you've actually got a broken nose – just rather an interesting shape". All this scared hell out of me as to what sort of mess I looked like. On seeing a mirror, what a puffy blood caked swollen mess I was, I was almost violently sick. Spent rest of day asleep, or in horrible waking dreams, insane atmosphere being enhanced by 'pops' played at full volume. Felt very unhappy as to what devil got into me. In evening, went along to lavatory to clean myself up, and blacked-out on the floor; roaring noise in my ears, complete darkness in front of my open eyes. Couple of cigarettes, then went to sleep at 8:45 pm.
Thursday 19th March
Godfrey arrived at 7:50 am in great hurry to leave, so a few words with asinine RAF doctor again, then scrambled out into taxi. Swelling subsided a lot by this time. To Dubai airport, where transferred to ADMA Land Rover. To Dubai, where coffee with Tarish, then picked up Agency guard from Dubai hospital then drove along beach for some miles, picking up road again, and arriving in Abu Dhabi at 1:30 pm. Lunch, then to Willey's with clothes and ask about bath, but Gilly asleep. So to Khalifa's to book flight to Bahrain – no place available till Monday! To Gilly's for bath, and hint about charter, which she said would ask Chris Willey about. Supper in shed, then dashed to ADMA to see Lolita, where Chris Willey said had arranged for me to see Dr Macaulay at Agency on Friday morning. Film utter rubbish.
Friday 20th March
Lift from Godfrey to Agency, where I arrived at 8:55 am and examined by Macaulay who was very jolly, very large gentleman with grey moustache, who gave me letter to surgeon in Bahrain hospital. Walked back to shed via back road, felt exhausted on arrival. Then along to Chris Willey, very chilly, and asked for place on charter flight which he reluctantly granted. Spent half afternoon cleaning up shed, then Godfrey to sabhka, dropping Chris and me at Agency; offices closed. Walked back, seeing baboons, hawks and camels, via Bhojerat for cigarettes, Khalifa's to cancel booking, and IAL to send telegram. To shed, where hung around awaiting Godfrey's return, then changed for dinner with Colonel. Great trouble with shirt! Chatted to doctor and TOS Commander in Chief (tho' I didn't wit 'twas he) while Boustead did business with Sheikh Zaid. Talked about war during dinner, where I got in some shrewd remarks re Gallipoli campaign. After dinner, Colonel very friendly towards me and offered me a job at 150 rupees a month! TOS chap amused by "Froot, Froot, Baksheesh" which probably saved my bacon at the forthcoming enquiry in Sharja. Back to shed at 11:30 pm, and to bed. Thought of rather higher things than housemaid's knee.
Saturday 21st March
Up at 7:55 am to find Chris cooking breakfast and Godfrey out. Sat around writing up diary while Chris dashed hither and thither – Grey Mac, IAL, etc. Joe turned up determined for conversation, so talked about employment situation, then washed and changed to see Stan of ADMA at 11:15 am. Walked there with Joe, then learnt I was to leave this evening, so thru' Suq, where bumped into Joe where he bought me a fruit juice. To Agency to renew Abu Dhabi visa and ask about Syrian and Iraqi visas. Back to shed where hung around for some time, then washed jersey, tie and socks. Then to ADMA to ask Stan for return charter – successfully! Back to shed where Chris suggested champagne for Chris Willey, to which he treated me, dashing out to Gray Mac. Wrote note to Chris Willey then across to Willey's taking bottle. Chatted to Gilly – grapefruit juice – and Lucy, as repulsive as ever. Back to shed where packed, then letter to MB; Chris and Godfrey to Club for books. Joe arrived at 6:05 pm and we left for airport, to find deserted. Back via ADMA where saw Stan, then to shed for supper. To fireworks, which started late; watched for a while then given lift by very pleasant bank fellow to airport where hung around some time for takeoff at 8:45 pm. Spent journey writing up diary and reading Thurber. Met at airport and whisked off to BP guesthouse, where chatted to ginger-whiskered tug man from Das, and then bed at 10:15 pm.
Sunday 22nd March
Up at 7:15 am for tea, bacon and eggs, then chauffeured to hospital. Waited first in Bell's room, then outside. Asked me to see Dr Murphy. After further waiting, saw Murphy, very pleasant, who advised operation that afternoon. Whisked into bed, was reading Perry Mason when Indian gentleman nipped up and inject Nembutal into my shoulder. Wheeled into theatre, where 3 more injections. Next thing I knew 'twas 5:30 pm and back in bed, Murphy sitting at my side. After checking me OK, he disappeared, and I struggled into my clothes, and hailed taxi, who was unwilling to admit he hadn't faintest idea where guesthouse was! Palmed him off with 5 rupees, and to room where I spent ¼ hour blowing blood into handkerchief. To lounge for beer and Sleepwalkers, surprising in surroundings. Solitary dinner, joined at end by horribly vulgar group. To room with book, fell asleep at 9:55 pm.
Monday 23rd March
Very depressed with appearance on awakening. To hospital for eye test, then walked around and sat in café until noon where back for more waiting outside Murphy's room. He pronounced swelling OK, so rang up car and to guesthouse for late lunch. Read and thought all afternoon. Hour's walk cheered me up, then dinner. Got talking to 2 fellows from Das – very admiring [?] – drinks with them afterwards. Bed at 10:15 pm. Read Thurber till 11:00 pm.
Tuesday 24th March
Up at 6:45 am after wakeful night feeling pretty zestful. Bacon and eggs, Sunday Express, then Bedford vanful to airport. Stopped on Das – very worried as to whether on right plane. Pondered law of addition of velocities [relativistically] to Abu Dhabi. 10 rupees taxi fare to ADMA shed! Chris and Godfrey returned for lunch, then kipped while I read. To beach with Chris – met Suleiman and picked fleas off Suki Lobo. Back to wrapping core tubes. Abortive sallies to Chris Willie's then squeezing of samples until delicious fry-up for supper. Started Our Man in Havana, very good. Diary then bed at 9:15 pm to read.
Wednesday 25th March
Up at 5:15 am; squeezed samples all morning; Chris and Godfrey to sabkha. Joe took over after a while, I reading. Read all afternoon, Chris and Godfrey working out accounts. Then letters, then off to IAL for radio, getting stuck in sand on way. To Club for books, and then reading until 10:00 pm. (Status Seekers)
Thursday 26th March
Up at 7:00 am, quick breakfast and off to sabkha diggin' 'oles with Godfrey. Flies biting. Back at 12:15 pm via Agency for mail. Spent rest of afternoon reading, then to boat to bring equipment back to shed. To Suq with Godfrey and Joe to get potatoes and shirt repaired.