There are no letters for this period. The ones I've transcribed so far were rescued by my sister from my mother's effects, after she died, and it's fortunate that these exist. I wrote extensively, to about 7 or 8 different people throughout my service overseas (I have no idea how I found the time; but I was young and immortal then). Anyway, these are all we currently possess. So I'll briefly fill in the gap from memory, as best I can.

Around the first week of December 1974, I went out to wrap up everything to do with the field crews. This was mainly a managerial or administrative job; technically, I just had to supervise the dismantling, packing and shipment of the exploration equipment. In fact, I got it all finished by about Dec 20th, and came back to Addis. I spent Christmas Day with a couple of remaining colleagues (many had gone by then) sitting by the pool at the Hilton, eating and drinking richly and expensively, in stark but not oblivious contrast to the lives of the Ethiopian people. Although I didn't write about it, the famine and disease were terrible. I regularly stepped over corpses in the street on my way to the office. In the field, whole villages died, slowly and pitifully. We did what we could for them, but it was a band-aid on a severed artery. I buried babies in the bush.

Politically, it was chaotic; the army had formed a military council, but they were split into rival political and tribal factions, and were busier fighting each other than trying to do anything about the state of the people. Nobody knows how many millions died, and the outside world didn't know or didn't care. It was worse than the 1984 famine, first reported by Michael Buerk, and which led of course, to Saint Bob and Band Aid. Meanwhile, a governing militia called the Derg, headed by General Haile Mengistu was supposedly in charge after about September 1974, but they did nothing, apart from continue the infighting. The city was pretty dangerous, though marginally less so if you were white. In November, about 50 political prisoners were executed. The Derg was a "socialist" government. Like the socialist governments of China, or even North Korea. There were lots of rumours that Selaissie had died or been executed, but I never discovered what happened to him.

In January, I met up with colleagues from all over the world in Belgium, to build the new system, as planned. A bunch of hardened oilmen descending on such a quiet, peaceful place was an event like the Russians going into Berlin. Despite a few adventures (one morning I woke up in Holland; no idea how), we actually got the thing up and running. However it never performed as it was supposed to, and was abandoned some time in 1975.

I spent about a month on leave in England, and then got posted to Somalia. Ethiopia under the Derg was bad, Somalia was a hell-hole. Fortunately, I was posted to Pakistan after a couple of weeks or so, which was great. I loved Pakistan. However, it didn't last, as you'll see. Now read on.....