Addis, July 13th 1974

Dear Folks,

  I shan’t by any means complete this letter tonight (this morning in fact, it’s 12:30 a.m.), but it’ll do for starters. I’ve just got in—alone—after a reasonable party. The place hasn’t changed a great deal, despite the army takeover. There’s a curfew from 11 p.m. till 5 a.m. (which I busted tonight, for the second time this week), which has closed down all the night-clubs. Which is a drag.

  I’m now listening to Rod Stewart on my cassette recorder, I think that was a good buy, I can get cassettes here, I bought one yesterday—Cat Stevens, pretty good. However, there isn’t the same choice here as in England, of course, so soon I’ll be asking you to get me various different cassettes and posting them to me. I’ll send a cheque. I’d like Dvorak’s New World Symphony, and Elton John’s Yellow Brick Road, or Caribou.

  I see bloody old Germany won the World Cup. We’ll never hear the last of it now. Today football—tomorrow ze world! Still, at least we can still play cricket, I see we won the third test by an innings and 78 runs, making it 3-0 in the series. In fact, we really won by 18 wickets and 78 runs, since we declared at 459 for 2. Be interesting to see how we do against Pakistan, who are coming over next month.

  Anyway, I’ve been pretty busy since I got back. Today—Sunday—I slept till 3 p.m. Just got up in fact. Tonight I’m going out with Michel—of whom more shortly, and some other people. Today is Bastille Day, a public holiday in France, so since Michel is French, we’re going to celebrate that.

  Now, I’d better fill you in on what I’m going to be doing. I’m in fact going to be taking over here while Michel is on leave. Michel is the Instrument Supervisor for Ethiopia and Somalia, which means he’s responsible for the ComMand in Addis, and the one in Mogadishu, and for all the recording instruments in the field. If you look back to one of my earlier letters, I explained about the methods we use, and the equipment in the field, so I’m not going to go over it all again.

  Anyway, the point is, I’m supposed to be taking over from him for three months—while he’s on long leave, starting August 11th. So I think I’ll be lucky to get Christmas in England, though you never know. Well, this is all very well, but I don’t actually know much about the equipment we use in the field. I’m a ComMand engineer, or I thought I was. Twassul, my boss, knows this, so it’s an honour, he obviously believes I can cope anyway. Being groomed for stardom you might say. But it does mean I’m going to be enormously busy. I’m going out to the Ogaden next week—Tuesday or Thursday—and I’m probably going to be spending half my time in the field and half in Addis. I don’t see me getting any spare time in the next few months. I suppose I will do, I always seem to make time somehow, but it’s a lot of work all of a sudden. It means I’m responsible for the whole East African operation, in effect, from the point of view of data acquisition and processing, and equipment serviceability. The paperwork alone is a full-time job. I’ll manage, of course, one always does, but everyone else in my position has 10-12 years’ field experience. So, I have it all to do. But by this time next year, on the other hand, I’ll feel able to handle just about anything—I hope. Anyway, if letters are a bit sparse over the next few months, you’ll know why. Letters from you should still be sent to our office address here, they’ll get to me.

  This is the first letter I’ve had time to write since I got back, I must try to get the next batch out before I go back to the field. The ear-drops, by the way, which I didn’t get time to get in Paignton, I bought here in a Pharmacy, over the counter. You can buy just about any drug over the counter here, which saves on doctor’s fees, if you know what to buy.

  I think that will about do for now, write soon. Don’t forget the cassettes, and while I think about it, John Lennon’s Mind Games would be nice, too. Cheque enclosed, to cover costs and postage, and a bit over for luck.

  I presume you’re all well, and Paignton is packed. Anyway, let me know how you’re doing, so long for now.

  Love David.