Essay 33 – What a Duffer!

April 14, 2015

by — Posted in Dubai

For once I’m actually doing a job that I enjoy and  I really can’t think why it has taken so long to discover that I was never cut out to be a Secretary, in fact, it couldn’t have been a worse choice of  occupation for me. OK, it was my fault entirely because I didn’t pay too much attention at school, found it all somewhat stifling and dare I say a little boring, a daily grind that had to be endured!

E33 daily grind


Consequently, when it came to the next step in my life ‘what to do with Jan, or more importantly what on earth could Jan do!  Secretarial college seemed to be the only answer.   Oh dear, what a daft idea that was!

E33 sec college

My Mother seemed to be under the impression that any fool could master shorthand so presumably it wouldn’t be too difficult for her duffer of a daughter to get to grips with the situation.    Actually, with all due deference, she had no idea what she was talking about and couldn’t understand why I thought it all rather beastly and so very difficult.   Oh, I was so awkward and not a little insubordinate!   What a surprise, it went without saying that I could never read my shorthand back, in fact, it was a total disaster.

E33 shorthand notebook

My year studying to be the perfect secretary at times resembled a Greek tragedy and unfortunately, I had been bequeathed the star part and that included  how to master shorthand.   I am convinced that this task must have been equally as difficult as mastering Greek! Maybe though Greek would have been an easier option!

E33 greek tragedy 2

Those days are now behind me and I am happily charging around in my BOAC uniform having the time of my life and to think I could possibly have been doing this for years because we only lived a few miles from Heathrow Airport, obviously slow on the up take!   It’s necessitated embarking on a hair rising posting to Dubai to realize my potential, well that’s how I see it – My new found work colleagues might beg to differ.

E33 beg to differ

As previously mentioned Dubai Airport was brand new and almost futuristic in design but very pleasing to the eye – Everything about it was light and airy but naturally it was always cool.   The departure lounge was enormous especially, when one was reminded that BOAC only had three passenger flights a week in those far off days and may be only a handful of passengers boarding or disembarking at any one time.  It really would have made an ideal play area of some description, or maybe a ball room during its empty moments and there were many – What fun that would have been!

E33 dance 2

Because of the intimate nature of the place it did not take too long to get to know everyone, the ground staff at the Airport all worked for DNATA, Dubai National Air Travel Agency , and were mainly from India or Pakistan.  There were some glorious characters in their midst and would you believe they were all besotted with Cricket, now there’s a surprise!!

E33 cricket

To complete this caste of amazing characters were the Sales Representatives from the various Airlines, an economic necessity.   BOAC, had a super chap working for them who was Lebanese, he was always wheeling and dealing, doing his level best to put bums on seats, out witting his rivals into the bargain!

E33 wheeler deeler

On getting to know him though it soon became obvious that he was my man if I needed to get my sticky paws on a couple of freebies.  Somehow he always  managed to spirit these up’, like a rabbit out of a hat’!   Miraculous!

E33 rabbit 2

By now the Golf Course was a reality, albeit a little wobbly on its feet, instead of being that almost unimaginable dream that had been nursed by the golfing fraternity for so long.


E33 dream

This monumental achievement could surely be classified as one of the seventh wonders of the World, particularly when one recalls just what an enormous undertaking it had been.  What do they say everything comes to those who wait?

E33 good things 2

Obviously, when one thinks of golf courses normally the colour green springs to mind, now please close your eyes and what do you recall when thinking of your dream course.   Yes  I know, billiard board greens, lush fairways and just a hint of sand in the various bunkers, blue skies, sun shining and birds twittering around and about, heaven!

E33 green golf


Sadly, in this instance you would be oh so wrong, open those eyes and stop daydreaming.   In fact,  all you would see as far as for ever would be sand, sand glorious sand and no doubt you would say to yourself, who is off their rockers me or them!!

E33 DCC 3


Them being the boys, including Mike, my husband, who reveled in the amazing challenge that this little piece of golfing heaven, afforded them, whilst making sure they didn’t accidently hit a passing camel, after all, it was only being curious!

E33 passing camel 4

Obviously, improvisation was the name of the game and the traditional ‘greens’ were  morphed into  ‘browns’, this was achieved by oiling sand after which it  was rolled flat to create a flat putting  surface.  The greens of Wentworth they were not but remarkably they played very true.   Naturally they were the pride and joy of the golf course committee, so ingenious.

E33 pride 3

It transpired that this technique had been honed to perfection in East Africa and the idea brought to Dubai by the Golf mad chaps who had been posted to Dubai from there.  Yes, yet another seventh wonder of the World– An amazing tale of where there’s a will there’s a way, even although the way might be a little sandy and inundated with curious camels on occasions – Nobody  really cared

E33 amazing

I recall, that the first ‘Club House’ such a grand name,  was a Portacabin which  morphed into a wonderful l9th hole,  where the boys could quench their thirst and swopp their marvelous golfing stories.   Surely one of those stories had to be ‘how a little bit of desert’ had been tamed by so few for so many!

E33 l9th hole 2

The Portacabin didn’t last too long and once sufficient funds had been acquired work started on a permanent building.  The Dubai Golf and Country Club, was now definitely taking on a life of it’s own.   Unbeknown to us founder members it  was to become a very welcoming and happy refuge for many, many hundreds of Ex-Pats over the course of time – Yes, like Topsy it was to grow and grow.

E33 DCC4

There obviously had to be a ‘golf’ committee which would also mull over the idea of what other sports could possibly be introduced in the fullness of time.   With the best will in the world, other than building sand castles, no body had any idea what to do or how to do it, other than nurture the obvious next best sport on the agenda ‘happy hour’ at the l9th Hole.

E33 happy hour 5

It was soon realized that a Social Committee had to be formed as a matter of great urgency, and yes, guess who was elected on to the committee, yes little old me!!   Between us ‘girls’ we had bright ideas but exactly how they were going to be implemented was any bodies guess, as for any function food normally plays a big part and the kitchen was just being installed.   Ah, ha we were resolute wouldn’t let the lack of a kitchen dampen our resolve to put on the greatest soiree this side of the next sand dune!   Well, that was the general idea!

E33 committee

We obviously  needed an abundance of  wit, help and guile to achieve our aim, yes, would you believe another nightmare was about to unfold and it wasn’t all of our own making!


E33 good by


Until we meet again!  Essay 34 will be posted on 28th April, 2014 – I hope you will have a moment to take a peek.   xx

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4 thoughts on “Essay 33 – What a Duffer!

  1. Loved it, Jan. We lived just down the road from a giant sugar estate, so our “Browns” mixed molasses with the sand, rather than oil, but they worked very well!

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