November 12th 1974

Dear Folks,
  I’ll fill you in on what I’ve been up to lately in a minute. First, news—definite this time—of where I’m going next. On January 5th I leave here for Paris, then on January 7th I meet up with some other engineers in Brussels to build a futuristic new computer system, using something called magnetic bubble memory (don’t ask). Theoretically, assuming we can get the thing put together and working by then, I have 3 weeks’ definite leave in England at the end of January. Then to Somalia, probably for quite a while. I’ll have four crews to supervise in Somalia, plus the ComMand in Mogadishu, so still more work. Still, I’m told I’ve been recommended for a rise backdated to October, and another before I leave for Mog.

  I’m sure you’ve heard about all the bombs and shooting again out here, so, partly because of this, and partly because the exploration isn’t economic, as I said before, we’re now closing down completely by January 31st. This means I have to go down to supervise the winding up of our three crews here—they’ll all be moving to one place. It’s planned for the 19th to the 28th of December, so I’ll be spending the whole Christmas period in the field, working. However, a whole bunch of Christmas stuff is being sent down to them—booze, goodies, decorations, tapes of Christmas songs, so I don’t imagine there’ll be any work done Christmas day, and Christmas Eve should be quite a night.

  Things sound really bad in England, I’ll come and see for myself at the end of Jan, as I say. By the way, now that I know what I’m doing, you’d better not write any more to this address after the end of December. I’ll let you know my European address and my Somali one when I get them.

  I bought a camera (a Kodak Instamatic), and I took 40 shots on my last field trip. Shots of the camps from the air, lots of Princess and Leo, shots of the locals, the bush. Some by other people of me. I’ll send the best few to you with this letter, and bring the others, plus others I’ll be taking on my Christmas field trip and in Europe, when I get home. Last time was too short, but three or four weeks in London and Paignton will feel more like a holiday.

  I’ll finish here, and write the second instalment later, as I must write to other people to tell them to stop writing to this address, and so on. Also enclosed, a Christmas cheque, to be split equally four ways. Spend it on whatever you want. Have a good Christmas, and see you soon,

  Love David.