BAKED BEANS ON TOAST IN THE IRANIAN DESERT – bus stalls at Camp C, 1976

[Camp C in the desert in South East Iran was one of the more surreal and unscheduled stops on the route to Kathmandu – more Auf Wiedersehen Pet than Hippy Trail.  We were there because the bus’s half-shaft had broken on the rough desert tracks and needed mending before we headed into the even remoter deserts of Sistan va Baluchestan and Pakistan’s Baluchistan.  So we made the most of hot water and sliced white bread]

MONDAY 15TH NOVEMBER, 1976
“Got up and had loads of tea and coffee in mess room while others still asleep.  Geordie Dougie came in – one of a few who were late getting to the job that morning.  Excuse was stopped watch!  Had great breakfast of toast, ham and poached eggs!  Had easy morning while waited to see if we were staying or not – half shaft had to be mended.  Did some washing; beat Jan and Rob at table tennis (Chris beat me with sneaky spins); beat Mark at skittles – balls kept flying off side into pool, had to paddle to get them back!)
Baluchies watched us all day instead of building!  Saw one roll his turban.  Dominoes in sun with Di, Chris and Shirley …
had coffee in mess and played Mick the Irish miner at draughts – beat him 2 games to 1 …(word got up to mine that Mick was chatting up girl from Durham and had been beaten at draughts).  He was supposed to be on night duty but stayed up all day talking and drinking with us and was determined not to go on night duty while we were still here.  As it was he crashed out for most of the evening!
Had meal at mess – steak, chips, carrots, soup, jelly, biscuits and cheese, coffee!  Dirty miners came swaggering in during meal.  Another session of beer and vodka – chatted with engineer called Dave – out for nearly a year and enjoying it.  Geordies in good form again!  Geordie Keith a real rough diamond but great fun – home trouble, obviously rather upset about wife etc.  Both he and Mick warned me that travelling would ruin me and make me restless – Mick says never leave mark anywhere.  Keith said mustn’t get cynical from seeing so much (the old advice to the bairn again!)
Some dancing – only the strong few who could keep up the pace left!  Even Dougie gone after raiding the fridge.  Eventually we raided the kitchen – made baked beans and toast which Neva succeeeded in burning!  Jelly too.  Then Scotty Jim brought out bottle of Glen Livet!  Geordie John (comes from Blaydon) had bought me a blanket (which I forgot to take) – wanted to keep my denim hat.  He sang “Sixteen Tons” and fell about while trying to sing standing on sofa.  Swapped addresses – ordered to send p.c from Kathmandu and meet in Dun Cow at Christmas!  About 3 hours sleep.”

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