I-Tales

My Stories – and yours too!

Frankie

Writing my stories is something I planned on doing for a long time. It was an idea that wouldn’t go away.  Stories often came off my tongue, but never got recorded. They were gone…

I-Tales now comes in response to those who have been urging me to write a book – a formidable undertaking. But I need to acknowledge that my memory begins to fade with time. Taking on a whole book is an enormous mountain to climb – but getting started is th emost difficult part.

By writing this in a blog it takes writing one step at a time. And I don’t want to keep it all to myself. My life has intersected with some of yours. You have also experienced many of the same things – and places – so you are invited too to share your experiences and versions of the same events. Click on the You Too? tab above…

The richness of our lives is contained in our stories. Memories are full of them – but let’s get them down in writing so that they can be shared…

As for the picture, it is one that I like very much – perhaps because of its clean lines, its symmetry and simplicity. But it has more than that because in some ways it illustrates an Englishman’s view of the world : it is all “over seas” and out there… When I went to Rame Head, near Plymouth, most of the places described here have happened out there – somewhere!

I need your help!  Thank you.

Making Life Difficult

My walk across town began down in one of the sois off Sukhumvit Road. In those days Bangkok was badly affected by flooding at high tide. The khlongs had been filled in so there was little place for the water to go when it rained. It backed up into the streets. I took my shoes and socks off, rolled up my trousers and started wading through the water to get to the main road

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Bristol Freighter? No problem!

My boss, however, was thinking outside the box and in the course of his socialising in Vientiane he encountered the skipper of a New Zealand Air Force training squad that were temporarily in town. Their plane – a Bristol Freighter – would be ideal for the job in hand. With a little persuasion (I did hear mention of a crate of whiskey) they agreed to fly to Luang Prabang – and take the 2-ton generator set with them.

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Angkor Wat : When Cambodia was Great

It was a photographers’ paradise. Just to stand where many of those iconic images had been captured was a thrill in its own right. But the Wat’s more hidden secrets can only be discovered by pushing deeper. And that was not for the faint-hearted. I especially recall the broad steps that led up to the inner sanctum of the temple – challenging steps, steep, and with nothing to hold on to…

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Springs in the Desert

The day came when the drilling rig arrived. The rigger came with his divining rods poised to find a suitable spot that indicated water. “Put those away!” Rodney told him. “This is God’s land; you don’t use them here.” The man protested “OK, then, but I won’t start any drilling unless you tell me where!” It was a deal.

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Immigration Anguish

This was going to be a game…. The real fun began when I had to open up my suitcase. The customs inspector took great delight in going through all my purchases – even opening up the unexposed photographic paper, despite my protestations! It was a field day.

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Myanmar Back in Time

Yangon for many years has been in a time warp. The Burmese people are refreshingly gracious and display courtesy and respect that has long since disappeared in the west. They were still using typewriters a few years ago. One secretary showed off to me her IBM Selectric with great pride.

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Sniffing Snuff

He warmly invited the two of us inside his cosy ger and motioned us to the seats reserved for guests. He passed me a bottle. It was a small flat, leather-covered bottle with the cap removed. What to do?

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Bowling to Brag About…

It was a very special late-night ten-pin bowling session that I can brag about. It was when I was still single and a colleague and I wanted to let off steam after sitting for a few hours in a meeting. So Norm and I went down to the AMF bowling alley along the Thadeua Road in Vientiane in faraway Laos. That was back in 1973.

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The Hoomii Throat Singer

There was no musician in sight – apart from a fellow coming down the path behind us. It looked as though he had been exercising.
I then discovered that he was the source of this strange, haunting music. My friend stopped him and we talked.

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The Infamous Hanoi Hilton

I paused outside the gates of the Maison Centrale trying to take in what my friends had suffered. I also said a prayer for them that they might be healed of those horrendous memories that still haunted them.

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