Home Articles Tales of Zambia Life at ZAF Livingstone - Page 5
Life at ZAF Livingstone - Page 5
Monday, 23 November 2015 10:32
Article Index
Life at ZAF Livingstone
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4
Page 5
Page 6
Page 7
All Pages

As soon as I got back to Chandamali, Roger sought me out. „Mike“, he said. „You'd better have a look at what M---- has done to Julie's engine. It was upside down on a table, and I could see that everything inside the cylinder block was coated in a layer of iron filings. I then noticed that the big-end bolt heads on one side of the engine had been filed down. This accounted for the iron filings – at least. The next afternoon Roger and I paid a visit to M---- at his home in Livingstone. „Yes“, he said. „I re-assembled the engine, and when I tried to turn the crankshaft the big-end bolt heads fouled against the inside of the crankcase, so I modified them to suit“. I was stunned. It was obvious that he had re-assembled the engine with the big-end rods rotated 180 degrees out of position. Of course the engine wouldn't turn – it wasn't meant to rotate backwards! I gave him a piece of my mind, told he would not get a cent for his work, ordered (again) the necessary parts and cleaned up the engine. I was livid, but there was little more I could do. My girlfriend was rather disappointed, but it was out of my hands. The parts arrived, we put the engine together, filled the fluids and turned the key – purrrrrrrrrrrr. A sweet sound. I was releived.

Looking back I recall that driving discipline was generally quite poor locally. One day a new police inspector arrived from UK, and on his first morning in post set up a radar speed trap of the road from town to the airport. He managed to catch a dozen or more air force guys on their way to work, and issued all with speeding tickets. Word has it that, shortly after the incident, his boss (an Inspector) was heard to remark to him; „Ten out of ten for work efficiency, nought out of ten for diplomacy“. The traffic Inspector led a somewhat quieter life after this.

Life at Livingstone continued with the usual round of parties and weekend trips to Chobe, and the like. Access to Rhodesia was rather more difficult after UDI, although a number of loan service guys made the trip. One or two actually did a runner „south of the border“, and disappeared from the radar.

In April 1967 I married a local UK contract nurse. There were several choices available regarding our accomodation and we decided that we would move into the Chalets Hotel, near the airport. I had become good friends with the proprietress, Hilda Mann, and she not only gave us a favourable rate but also asked me to help out behind the bar from time to time - and paid me well for this.