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18 Doldrums (August 82 to January 83)                                    

Reaching Paris from Malaysia, we found that the contract for the supply of project assistance personnel on the Korean Nuclear Power Plant had not yet been finalised, so we, Cubby, Benjamin and I, went on holiday. We flew to London and hiring a car drove through a startling land of light green shades (contrasting with the brooding dark green of Malaysia’s acres of palm oil plantations) to the new town of Milton Keynes.

In Oxford, England after returning from Malaysia via France. We picked up Andrea at Milton Keynes and visited Christopher who was studying in Oxford at a college for his A-Levels.

Andrea, tiring of French schooling and particularly mathematics, had opted for England and was staying with a family attending a local school – the family’s son was a South African friend from her time at Grove Primary School in Claremont. Our journey continued to Oxford where Christopher had just finished studying for his ‘A’ levels and was preparing to go to Manchester University. Benjamin, since his departure from Malaysia, had been suffering from a virus and would only eat Camembert cheese – a change from his preferred junk food hamburgers.

On the ferry from Harwich to Esbjerg in Denmark

We returned to London and stayed some nights in Mette’s Kensington apartment. On the way to Liverpool Street Station by taxi we heard on radio that an IRA bomb had just blown up Guardsmen in Hyde Park. We sailed with Andrea and Benjamin on the Danish ferry from Harwich to Denmark. Ben had tired of being moved from school to school and was keen to stay in one spot. He had enjoyed his earlier short spell of schooling in Lohals (when waiting to go to Iraq) and now wanted to go to school in Denmark permanently.

At Aage and Mercias Gartnervaenget home dining with Dorte and Ole and their children Tim and Sandie - both blonde. Andrea is between Mercia and Sandie and Ben is between Tim and Dorte.

We spent some time with Cubby’s parents in Lohals at their house on Gartnervægnet swimming in the barely warm Baltic Sea and lazing in the sun. Topless and nude bathing had now reached these colder northern climes. Some adjustment was necessary coming from conservative Islamic Malaysia.

Idyllic summer holiday in Lohals, on Langeland Island -

I returned to Paris to wait still longer for our departure to Korea and Andrea went back to School in England. Meanwhile Cubby, remaining in Denmark, arranged Benjamin’s entrance into boarding school at Bagsværd near Copenhagen. His great aunt Kisse lived close to the school and his aunt Bodil in Copenhagen available for visiting any time – long weekends and holidays could be taken with his grandparents in Lohals. He would have to learn Danish rapidly.

In picture on left Cubby with her aunt Kisse and Andrea. In picture on right Cubby with her sister Bodil on Langeline - the harbour quay in Copenhagen.

Cubby then joined me in Paris and we stayed frustratingly for some time in a hotel near the office in Velizy Villacoublay. When the delay of my assignment to Korea became official, we started looking for a short-term apartment. Fortunately an Engineer in the office, a Dane, heard of this and kindly lent us his unoccupied apartment at rue Torrecheli in the 17th arrondisment. We bought our fresh vegetables and fruit from street markets in the area and also shopped at the nearby supermarket Prix Unique where we bought ‘tete de fromage’ pork brawn and some of Frances 365 cheeses. We saw films, walked along Avenue Terne, turned up Avenue Wagram to Place Charles de Gaulle with the Arc de Triomph, I have yet to climb to its top, and window-shopped with thousands of others in the Champs-Elysees.

We spent a long weekend touring Brittany – St Malo and Monte St Michel. The flat sandy shore and the tide travelled in and out miles on each turn nostalgically reminded us of the similar scenery at Guernsey. We returned via the Loire valley intrigued by some houses recessed into cliff cave faces.

We spent Christmas 1982 at Lohals, being joined by Chippy and Andrea. Kobus and Helena also visited Lohals (he had worked at Koeberg). We argued when he put forward that the Afrikaners were genuinely well meaning and that the Nationalist parties apartheid policy was also intended to benefit blacks and not only to ensure white domination. I tactlessly declaimed that they must be incomprehensibly stupid.

On return to Paris I was interview by the Koreans from Kepco (Korean Electric Power Corporation) to ensure that my spoken English was satisfactory and the green light was then given to go to Korea.

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