Retirement to Portugal

In 1969 I travelled along the eastern coastline of Spain and into Algarve, the southern province of Portugal, exploring the possibilities of buying a property for retirement. I had hoped to be accompanied by a friend and colleague who had previously explored Algarve and had bought an old farm-house near Almancil which…….more about retirement in Portugal>>>

Return to Qatar

December 1975 in Qatar was relatively cool and as I descended from the airplane the warm smell of aviation fuel mingled with the balmy air and wafted with me during the short walk across the tarmac to the arrival gate. Nothing much had changed, some of the faces of the airport staff seemed younger, my passport…….more about the return to Qatar>>>

Johah (Abu Mansur)

December 1975. Today I went to meet Johah (Abu Mansur). I arrived at the gate of his garden at one minute to eight o’clock. Immediately up cruised Johah in his 380S and called for his servant to open the gates to the garden. The man had little…….more about Johah>>>

Another debacle avoided

On or about the 9th January 1977 the building was awash with visiting people from Bangladesh. Elderly men with intelligent expressions yet jabbering away in their own language. A younger man carrying a bulging brief case could have been a nephew but emerged as…….more about the debacle avoided>>>

Finally leaving Qatar

To have stayed on in Qatar would have been much of an anticlimax. During the twenty years spent in Qatar I felt more at home there than anywhere. One had many friends and acquaintances working in the company and more than several Arab friends of both sexes with whom one built up trusting……more about finally leaving Qatar>>>

Trip to Taprobane

An early start had been agreed for eight thirty but as Robert was still packing and had other domestic problems to attend to it was almost an hour later when the car was sent for. Jayanta and Ariyadasa had assembled the baggage at the bottom of the partly made up drive when…….more about the trip to Taprobane>>>

Saddam Hussein

Saddam Hussein was born on 28th April 1937 in the village of al-Ouja near Takrit one hundred miles north of Baghdad. The modern version of his birth is that his father died before he was born – he was known as “the bastard” in his early village life…….more about Saddam Hussein>>>

Christmas in Sri Lanka

I live in Hove. My son Richard and his family live in Bath. My daughter Julie and her family live in Devon. I have three bedrooms, Richard’s house has six and Bath is equidistant between Hove and Devon. It therefore made sense to hold my 80th birthday party in Bath with Richard and Margaret and my…….more about Christmas in Sri Lanka>>>

Unanwitiya – house building

It was good to see him again. He looked thinner and less well groomed than when we had last been together. Seven months ago Robert had boarded the Air Lanka plane at Gatwick looking every inch a successful moneyed businessman. He had flown away from England to Sri Lanka anxious to…….more about house building>>>

Shopping in Galle

As we progressed deeper into Galle the traffic became increasingly maddening. The driver coped fairly well; he added his bit to the chaos taking chances and cutting up other traffic. Our first call was on the Bank of Ceylon where I could cash traveller cheques. Situated within the walls of the old Dutch fort it…….more about Galle>>>

Looking back

Reading through my war diary on 11th November 1998 jut one hour before the two minutes silence for the 80th anniversary of the First World War and the subsequent remembrances of the ensuing conflicts – the Second World War (to which these notes allude) I am much aware…….more about looking back>>>