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Wednesday 13 April 2011

Engineering as it used to be.–Part 3

Following on from Engineering as it used to be  - Part2, here is the next in the Saga. (Bloody hard work to remember that far back, believe you me). Anyhow, here goes.

The stage is set in the year of our Lord 1967, and the venue is Heathrow. I’d been driven there by my parents,  in their motorcar, (that’s what they were called in those days) and deposited at the terminal complete with two suitcases and hand luggage. My parents bid me a swift goodbye and departed in a cloud of smoke from the tyres on their motorcar. I always had the feeling that they’d been trying to get rid of me for many years. After all they had sent me to a prison camp boarding school, for three years.

Any way must get on.

In those days there were no wheels on suitcases and no trolleys in racks for the use of the fare paying passengers, so I lugged my bags to the check desk by sheer brute force and threw myself  at the mercy of the stewardess at the check in desk. A quick check of my passport and the issue of a boarding pass, (There was no “Did you pack your own cases in those days”. Mind you would you say, “My luggage was packed for me by a man in a dress sporting a bushy beard”, No.). Anyhoo, straight off to the departure lounge to await my aeroplane. After a short while we boarded the mighty bird of the skies. A Vickers vanguard turboprop.

To jump ahead after 26 hours of flight and stopovers we finally reached our destination. Singapore. After passing through immigration, cursory at best, as we still had significant influence on the island, we emerged into the heat and oh Fuck me, it was hot. Not only hot, it had a humidity that you could barely cut with a bread knife. I luckily was met by a crown agent who  informed me that the ship I was supposed to join had not actually arrived and he was going to put me up in a hotel for the next couple of nights.

My apologies for the lack of engineering so far. This bit just sets the tone of what it was like back in the dim and distant past.

Now comes the fun part, expenses were regulated, like a troughing MP would die for. The agent hands me 80 singapore dollars and tells me that it is to cover my hotel bill and expenses. Well in those days there were 8 dollars to the pound which equates to £5 per day. I was used to subsistence in the UK of less than £5 per week. Even better when I found that my hotel was only 5 dollars per night, and Tiger beer was  only 50 cents per pint. I’d truly found a job made in heaven. Or so I thought.

To be continued………………….Hell begins.

Russian air bag testing

They really must keep off that Vodka.