Welcome to this new look Issue 8 of this esteemed publication. The header photo has been changed to the group photo taken last year at Sherringham Station when we had our club 70th Anniversary Trip. As our Chairman says "You couldn’t ask for a better group of Anoraks than us!"
A great day out and it seems such a long time ago now.
Speaking of heritage lines, I notice that a few heritage lines are beginning to ease out of lockdown, I'm not too sure of the ramifications of doing this in regards to social distancing and cleaning and I'm sure they'll have got decent procedures in place. Judging from all the fundraising appeals on Facebook it looks as though the coffers of a great many lines are rapidly being depleted.
Once again I'm struggling in getting material for this newsletter. If you've not already contributed (or even if you already have) some blurb from you would be great. It needn't be a dissertation or thesis, just a light hearted article, which you feel would be enjoyed by the membership.
Thank you to all those who've contributed to this issue. It is very much appreciated.
In my final years at college I got very involved in athletics. I joined Shaftesbury Harriers and represented them in numerous competitions. After three years I broke the discus record for the youth and junior sections several times and also won the Middlesex Championship twice, also setting a new record.
But all of this had to stop after I started an apprenticeship in plumbing with a very large company in London. The first site they sent me to was the American Embassy in Grosvenor Square. I was there for about a year learning the trade through working with several plumbers, but it was not all work, as there were several apprentices we ( as you would expect ) got up to many a stunt. One of the most popular tricks was the putty gun, which was just a piece of copper tube about 3 feet long and a supply of hardish putty, it was just like a large pea shooter, but with greater accuracy!
One apprentice started drawing a small funny man, which he called “A NERLY “. This caught on and before long they were drawn everywhere. The site manager ordered them to be washed off the walls. The following weekend one appeared on a wall which was 6 feet high and the inscription over it said The Indestructible Nerly, all painted in black bitumen paint, so it could not be washed off. I won’t repeat what the site manager’s words were. There were many other larks we got up to so I had better finish as there are too many to record here.
After my apprenticeship I changed companies which allowed me more time to have weekends off. This worked out very well as I planned to get married in a couple of years and bought a cottage in Norton. Most weekends were spent modernising the cottage ready to move into. We married and moved in as planned, although there was still a lot more work to do -and after that I could get back into railways.
Life can take strange turns when you least expect it and so it was in 1986, when I was asked by the Foreign Office if I would be prepared to go to Pakistan to help in one of the sections in the British Embassy there. Since this was a so-called 'fire-fighting' mission I could not take my wife and family. Thus there were many important discussions to be had and arrangements to be explored to see if this would be practicable.
Well, having been 'leant-on' so to speak, by those above me and more importantly, with consent from my family, I left Heathrow one murky October evening on a BA flight and duly arrived at Islamabad Airport after 9 hours in the air, where on a sunny, warm morning, I was met by a colleague who drove me to his house for breakfast and a briefing.
Next day I went to The British Embassy (Pakistan was not in the Commonwealth at the time or it would have been a High Commission as it now is) to set things up. First impressions of the facade of the building were not favourable. It had been built out of concrete in typical 1960's austere style, but was set nicely in the leafy diplomatic enclave of the city.
After a hectic period of acclimatisation (in all senses of the word) I received an invitation to lunch with the Ambassador. There is/was a lot of protocol and etiquette attached to British Diplomatic life and you have to know what to do and adhere rigidly to it - if you want to get on. One of my colleagues incurred the displeasure of the Ambassador whilst at his lunch table and was made aware of it; to his detriment!
The Soviets were in nearby Afghanistan at this time and there were concerns among Western Embassies about the goings-on there. The Pakistani President of the day was General Zia-Ul-Haq who was doing much to galvanise the Afghan Mujahideen to oust the Soviets, which culminated in their withdrawal in 1989.
Islamabad was constructed in the 1960's as a new capital city and seat of government to replace that in Karachi. It sits in the foothills of the Himalayas in North Pakistan and is built on the grid system with most, but not all, roads being at 90 degrees to one another. This aerial photo with the Faisal Mosque at top, illustrates how that part of the city is laid out.*Photo 2
The city is something of a cultural 'oasis' in the midst of Pakistan in that it houses mainly government officials, bankers, representatives of overseas organisations and diplomats.
Architects from around the globe had been invited to design buildings of all kinds and as a result there are, in particular, some exotic villas there. Most are air-conditioned with all facilities, but it must be said that the power went off regularly and water was only available to be pumped into your tank overnight. This was my home for the duration.
The national Assembly building.
The imposing Faisal mosque, which was paid for by the then King of Saudi Arabia and bears his name.
In my spare time I took the opportunity to explore the hinterland of Islamabad and often took the Grand Trunk Road out of the city. This is a dual carriageway and speeds on it are quite high. However, you might suddenly and without warning, come upon a section that has yet to be metalled, or an oxcart coming the wrong way down the outside lane! Jungly buses are everywhere with people on the roof and hanging from the steps. Good old Bedford chassis! Here are some which include a photo of several being washed in a river; a scene which I imagine would have been repeated over the decades with elephants being washed instead of buses in earlier days.
The Pakistani Government is very nervous of pictures being taken of anything strategic, be it an airfield, railway station, bridge, dam or whatever. But as in other countries on the Indian sub-continent, a 'chitty' is a pre-requisite to achieving anything and being a railway buff, I produced my Diplomatic ID-card so that I could take a few photos at Rawalpindi station.
And of the 'Tonga' taxi-rank outside.
Understanding Engineers #1
Two engineering students were biking across a university campus when one said, "Where did you get such a great bike?"
The second engineer replied, "Well, I was walking along yesterday, minding my own business, when a beautiful woman rode up on this bike, threw it to the ground, took off all her clothes and said, "Take what you want."
The first engineer nodded approvingly and said, "Good choice: The clothes probably wouldn't have fitted you anyway."
Understanding Engineers #2
To the optimist, the glass is half-full. To the pessimist, the glass is half-empty. To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.
Understanding Engineers #3
A priest, a doctor, and an engineer were waiting one morning for a particularly slow group of golfers.
The engineer fumed, "What's with those guys? We must have been waiting for fifteen minutes!"
The doctor chimed in, "I don't know, but I've never seen such inept golf!"
The priest said, "Here comes the greens-keeper. Let's have a word with him." He said, "Hello George, what's wrong with that group ahead of us? They're rather slow, aren't they?"
The greens-keeper replied, "Oh, yes. That's a group of blind firemen. They lost their sight saving our clubhouse from a fire last year, so we always let them play for free anytime!"
The group fell silent for a moment. The priest said, "That's so sad. I think I will say a special prayer for them tonight."
The doctor said, "Good idea. I'm going to contact my ophthalmologist colleague and see if here's anything she can do for them."
The engineer said, "Why can't they play at night?"
Understanding Engineers #4
What is the difference between mechanical engineers and civil engineers? Mechanical engineers build weapons. Civil engineers build targets.
Understanding Engineers #5
The graduate with a science degree asks, "Why does it work?"
The graduate with an engineering degree asks, "How does it work?"
The graduate with an accounting degree asks, "How much will it cost?"
The graduate with an arts degree asks, "Do you want fries with that?”
Understanding Engineers #6
Three engineering students were gathered together discussing who must have designed the human body.
One said, "It was a mechanical engineer. Just look at all the joints."
Another said, "No, it was an electrical engineer. The nervous system has many thousands of electrical connections."
The last one said, "No, actually it had to have been a civil engineer. Who else would run a toxic waste pipeline through a recreational area?"
Understanding Engineers #7
Normal people believe that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Engineers believe that if it ain't broke, it doesn't have enough features yet.
Understanding Engineers #8
An engineer was crossing a road one day, when a frog called out to him and said, "If you kiss me, I'll turn into a beautiful princess."
He bent over, picked up the frog, and put it in his pocket.
The frog spoke up again and said, "If you kiss me, I'll turn back into a beautiful princess and stay with you for one week."
The engineer took the frog out of his pocket, smiled at it and returned it to the pocket.
The frog then cried out, "If you kiss me and turn me back into a princess, I'll stay with you for one week and do anything you want."
Again, the engineer took the frog out, smiled at it and put it back into his pocket.
Finally, the frog asked, "What is the matter? I've told you I'm a beautiful princess and that I'll stay with you for one week and do anything you want. Why won't you kiss me?"
The engineer said, "Look, I'm an engineer. I don't have time for a girlfriend, but a talking frog - now that's cool."
Two builders were standing at the base of a flagpole, looking at its top.
A blonde walked by and asked what they were doing.
"We're supposed to find the height of this flagpole," said George, "but we don't have a ladder."
The woman took a wrench from her purse, loosened a couple of bolts, and laid the pole down on the ground. Then she took a tape measure from her pocketbook, took a measurement, announced, "Twenty one feet, six inches," and walked away.
One builder shook his head and laughed, "A lot of good that does us. We ask for the height and she gives us the length!"
Both builders have since quit their jobs and are currently serving as building inspectors in the Tunbridge Wells council.
Medical experts were asked if it is time to ease the lockdown.
Allergists were in favour of scratching it, but Dermatologists advised not to make any rash moves.
Gastroenterologists had sort of a gut feeling about it, but Neurologists thought the government had a lot of nerve.
Obstetricians felt certain everyone was labouring under a misconception, while Ophthalmologists considered the idea shortsighted.
Many Pathologists yelled, "Over my dead body!" while Paediatricians said, "Oh, grow up!"
Psychiatrists thought the whole idea was madness, while Radiologists could see right through it.
Surgeons decided to wash their hands of the whole thing and pharmacists claimed it would be a bitter pill to swallow.
Plastic Surgeons opined that this proposal would "put a whole new face on the matter."
Podiatrists thought it was a step forward, but Urologists were pissed off at the whole idea.
Anaesthesiologists thought the whole idea was a gas, and those lofty Cardiologists didn’t have the heart to say no.
In the end, the Proctologists won out, leaving the entire decision up to the assholes.... 😁
And that I think wraps up Issue 8 of The Anorak. I hope you enjoyed the read?
Any comments, articles, hints and tips etc. would be much appreciated as I have now once more totally run out of material again to do another issue.
Please email me at email@example.com
In the meantime keep well and keep safe.
Cheers for now,Mike