June 15th 1974.

Dear Folks,
  Just a note. Thanks for the letter you passed on, it was from Helena, who seems to be fairly well. She’s working, and fed up with it as usual.

  I’m now properly settled back in my old flat. It’s the same one (even the two big glass ashtrays I bought before are still here)—which gives me a sense of having a base.

  Thanks for the tapes, too. They are fine, I’ve played them almost constantly, especially the Elton John one, which I’m listening to now. It’s midnight, I’ve just got in, after doing the clubs and bars with a mate from the office. There are loads of U.N. people here in Addis now, doing relief work. All nationalities, but they all speak either English or French, and I’ve started to get to know them. By the way, my Ethiopian girlfriend, Guenet, is no longer anywhere to be found. I’m told by friends of hers that she’s moved in with an Italian. Just as well, because I think she was rather more serious than I was, and Addis must be the best city in the world for women. I have no steady girlfriend now, though I have a couple simmering.

  Had a nice week off this week. I’m now again settled properly in Addis. I’ve had time to write letters and read, even though I’ve had to spend half my time in the office. The present arrangement, town-based with frequent but not too prolonged visits to the field suits me fine.

  I read a great book this week, ‘The Magus’, by John Fowles. Very long and complex, but one of the best books I’ve read for ages.

  There are lots of cheap typewriters available here, and as soon as I’ve got myself organised, I hope to spend my spare time—if I ever get any—writing. And maybe I’ll take a year or so off to write, when I’ve got enough money in the bank.

  Well anyway, I think that’s about it, I’m going to write to Helli now. Thanks for sending on the headband I brought back from the States. She told me she got it. And she’s fine, in fact, although out of things. Just keeping her head down for a while.

  Another thought. Send me Katerina’s address, and we’ll become pen-pals. Then maybe I’ll go see her. I fancy a holiday in Scandinavia next year. Well, anyway, send me her address.

  Sounds like Yvonne did well for her birthday. Nice of Charlie to buy her a good present. When are they getting engaged? Did Yvonne get my card? Thanks Rosie for the letter, I haven’t got Dad’s. Or Yvonne’s, which is no doubt still in the process of composition from May. Well, so long for now,

   Love David.

Postscript: Pome for my sister, Yvonne, on the occasion of her 21st birthday.

They say that when you’re twenty one
You’ve got the key of the door.
But now they’ve made the age eighteen,
You can’t say that anymore.

Nevertheless I send a note
To mark this special day.
I would have sent a message by drums,
But it’s a bit too far away.

I’m sure you’ll have a splendid day—
Start off with cakes and tea.
And finally get pissed out of your mind
And fall into the sea.

Still it’s a pretty good age to be,
You could say you were in your prime.
And think—you’ll only be forty-two
In twenty one years’ time!