Soldiers were on parade and one group were doing an exercise Jilin City Vacations of throwing hand-grenades using wooden dummy hand grenades.
I got the feeling that we Jilin City Vacations shouldn’t be there, but no one shouted as we trotted through. And Victor assured me that he had asked in Dali for permission to visit this mountain, but he’d been told that permission was not necessary.
Though of course this may be so for him, being Chinese, but not for Hanneke and me. The day was still hot and sultry. From the top of a small range we looked at the valleys and hilly basins ahead”of Vis.
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There was no one in the extended family tree who had ever gone to sea. I became a family curiosity. Throughout my childhood we moved every three years or so, around the country or around the world whenever my father was posted to a new RAF squadron. I was 15 and we moved from Singapore to Berkshire – a long step. I had to go for an interview at the new school and I remember the headmaster asking me: Well then Simon, do you want to stay for sixth form and then go on to university? No. I’m leaving at 16 and going to sea I was matter-of-fact. My father looked at me, amused. My mother tried to rescue the situation: That’s what he’s thinking at the moment, but it’s a bit early yet, ha, ha The head and I looked at each other. We knew where we stood. And so it took shape.