Of Malayan Emergencies And Apple Diets

I arrived a little bit earlier than usual at the Docs’ last night so Dr. M. Sr. and I entertained ourselves with some cheerful chat about warfare, particularly a somewhat doctored version, if I may put it like that, of what my late pater had been up to during the Malayan Emergency in the mid ’50s. In two words, building airstrips, or, in a few more, overseeing the admin involved in building airstrips (for the typewriter is mightier than the Sten gun).

I seem to recall tales of how one benighted pioneer was persuaded that you really could bounce Land Rovers off rubber trees and that the best way to start a cement mixer was to bump start it; of the squadron short-arse being dropped into a firing trench and left stranded; of perimeter guards fearlessly repelling a nocturnal assault by wild boar, and… I could go on recalling tales from the long room of my childhood, but Dr. M. Jr. has just come rushing in so let the game commence.

The first game was quite a swift affair and won by Dr. M. Jr. True to my recent form, I came in fourth, but happily for a game that involves the Batsu/Maru penalty and rewards system, the senior parties were also losers.

The second game was a more extended affair with the players being very cagey and several hands went without result. There were also a few games where two or even three players declared Riichi but the game played out without a winner. What did result from that, however, was that the Junior Doc was Oya during a Ryanshi round, which I went out on when Mrs M gave away the tile in attempting to go Riichi.

At the end of the second game, I had managed to get myself into second place for the evening, with Dr. M. Jr in top spot. By now it was twenty to eleven, which is usually early enough for us to play a third game, but I was keen to call it a night, and catch the tram home – while I was ahead!

The doctors then asked me if I liked apples! Yet another of their satisfied patients had presented them with two boxes of huge apples, far more than they can cope with, so they loaded me up with as many as I could carry – 21 in all – and sent me on my way, so the painful memories of recent losses at the 3-Player game have been somewhat… somewhat… dissipated. This morning I went on an “Asa-ringo Dietto”!

David Hurley