Essay 40 – Bull Shots!

July 28, 2015

by — Posted in Dubai

My God, who would have thought that a nice little social gathering to mark the very being of Dubai Country Club could have ended in such mayhem?

Essay 4O social gathering


That evening will be remembered for its very unexpected outcome, and before you all jump to the wrong conclusions, no it wasn’t that we were all possibly rolling in the aisles, nothing of the sort! It was because the very peaceful existence that we generally enjoyed in these parts had unexpectantly been shattered! My goodness, what- ever next!

Essay 4O peace2


Needless to say we were all eager to know what on earth was happening up in Sharjah but being in today’s parlance, back in the stone ages, we had no means of communication, let alone instant communication.

Essaay4O communications

Consequently, discovering just what had gone on or maybe was still going on, to render us all agog and most definitely all of a twitter, would have to wait until the morning. Then without a doubt the jungle drums would most definitely be beating all the way to downtown Dubai.

Essay 4O drums 2


Thank goodness though, we didn’t have to wait too long before news reached our twitching ears, which was that a force of l8 armed supporters of the former ruler of Sharjah, with him, no less leading the raiding party, besieged the palace, and in the process managed to kill the then ruler, causing considerable mayhem whilst they were about it.


Essay 4O Pow


Reinforcements arrived in the form of the Union Defense Force,  the renamed Trucial Oman Scouts who had been summoned to quell the fighting. but in so doing they, unfortunately, sustained numerous casualties.   One of whom was a young British Officer, naturally he became the hero of the whole escapade and the talk of the town. Oh, what a to do it all was, from our standpoint, though, it was all rather exciting, whatever next we asked ourselves!


Essay 4O hero




We were soon receiving blow by blow accounts, straight from the horse’s mouth, because the British Officer just happened to be a chum. As he needed rest and recuperation there was no better place to take tea together with something a little stronger than our abode? Incidentally, this was where the best afternoon tea and cocktails were served, this side of the Ritz!

Essay 4O tea at the ritz

Oh, what fun it was turning out to be! We were regaled with the story of just how the coup was dealt with, naturally, swiftly and efficiently and marveled at the bravery of our Officer chum. Actually, it was a little like a real live episode of Dan dare rides again!

ssay 4O dan dare 2

So in our way we had a little walk on part in this drama, something like being mentioned in dispatches if you know what I mean.  At least, it kept the story reverberating around for a little longer and at times turned our apartment into something akin to the Downtown Officer’s Mess, an exclusive club, if ever there was one!

E4O officers club

Talking about Officers, there seemed to be a gradual influx of various Military types appearing on the scene, a Military Advisory Team was deployed to Sharjah.   Then there was the gradual formation of the Dubai Defence Force which, in the first instance, was headed up by British Officers and if that wasn’t sufficient there were a few other Military and Navel Wallah’s wafting around and about, Dubai was being turned upside down.


Essay 4O military

These chaps soon made their mark one way and another and boy did they like to party.  We thought we knew a thing or two about raving it up, but we were in for a big surprise together with lots of fun. They nearly always had a trick or two up their sleeves, some more outrageous than others!

Essay 4O funny




I can recall two chums, one a Naval chap and the other, I think, was the Military Attaché, who delighted in giving lethal little drinks parties, where they served Bloody Mary’s and another great little number called Bull Shot, the latter, I think originated in the Navy.


Essay 4O drinks 2


This consisted of a mixture of Consume and Vodka, I would wager more Vodka than consume. Never having heard of this particular cocktail let along downed one we all thought they were fantastic and naturally the height of sophistication.Essay 4O sophistication 2




Actually, in our naivety we imagined that we were sipping cold soup, naturally very welcome on a very hot day, thinking to ourselves how very thoughtful our hosts were, needless to say being totally oblivious as to their potency.  Oh how we were hood winked!

Essay 4O soup


In turn these two delighted in watching us down, I don’t know how many in quick succession, in fact, we were downing them, or maybe drowning in them as fast as they could be made, having no idea of the consequences. Yes, you have guessed, we learned the hard way!

Essay 4O hangover

Good job these little parties weren’t held on board ship because I’m sure we would have all fallen overboard.  On reflection, maybe that’s why we never saw the pair in charge of a ship, too darn dangerous. They were lethal on dry land, goodness knows what they would have been like at sea, no doubt rocking and rolling all over the place.

Essay 4O ships captain 2





Their parties were such fun we forgave them anything and always hoped that we would be heading up their next guest list,  but not before we had acquired some hollow legs.

Essay 4O legs





At about this time, the Dubai Defense Force was gradually taking shape with British Officers being seconded to help the start up. We met one Officer and his wife, literally not long after they had landed at the Airport. They were a delightful couple, who hit town running and actually never stopped until they left many, many years later.

Essay 4O couple

They arrived out of the blue and were welcomed with open arms.   They must have landed on a Thursday evening and were immediately whisked by their greeter to the Sahara Nightclub, where we could usually be found boogying the night away.   Introductions were made and I can honestly say from that moment on none of us looked back and I don’t think our feet ever touched the ground again.

Essay 4O dancing 2

Why was that because every day was deemed to be a party day with these two around? We did not know it at the time, but we had just been introduced to our Team Leader and from then on we were going to be kept on our toes, in more ways than one. The catch phrase from that moment on was, ‘Golly Gosh’!


ssay 4O team leader

Am I beginning to give you the impression that Dubai was fast turning into the party capital of the World, well, that may have been correct, but we had to try and remember that we both had work to do and that we shouldn’t complain when it interfered with our ever burgeoning social life!


Essay 4O party

I also had another pressing problem, as the Golf Course was now operational the ladies, yes, I means those ladies who play golf and incidentally are usually a dab hand at that dreaded card game Bridge were gathering in the wings, or I should say sand dunes and I was expected to join them, oh dear!

Exssay 4O lady golfers

They were determined to give the Gentlemen a run for their money, their mantra being if you can’t beat them join them!  The chaps on occasions looked quietly bemused when this small but formidable army of very determined ladies descended on the first tee to b begin their game. The gantlet was thrown down – let battle commence was the cry!

Essay 4O gauntlet


Where did I fit in, well I knew the rudiments of golf having had many a lesson in my youth, so I too was expected to become a member of this glorious ‘barmy army’ of formidable golfing ladies!! They did slightly terrify me, though!

Essay 4O golf

To this end I needed some clubs and also a few lessons not only on perfecting my swing but on how to survive trudging around this giant sand pit, which was now lovingly called a golf course, without falling by the wayside with exhaustion. I was always puzzled, was it meant to be fun or an endurance test, actually.  I could never figure that one out!


Essay 4O endurance

After acquiring clubs, the next priority was to arm myself with a piece of Astro turf from which one was able to play the next ball after if it fell onto the marked fairway.  This was called a preferred lie or if wished you could make a little mound of sand just beside where the ball lay, place the ball on top, which  enabled you to strike it more cleanly.


Essay 4O astro

All very crafty really, the irony was that on paper the whole operation seemed a little crack pot but once one got the hang of things the course played almost like a dream. Even the browns, which were made by oiling the sand, after which they were rolled flat, played quite true. Quite astonishing, the ingenuity of man knows no bounds, or where there’s a will there’s a way.

ssay 4O smart



I got my act together and usually played once a week on ladies day, extremely badly, I might add! If I’m honest I found it hard work trudging round, it was usually very hot, and oh dear my lady golfing companions were all so competitive, it makes me feel exhausted thinking about it.

Essay 4O dexhausted



Frequently, I would think longingly of ‘Buttercup’ my sailing boat and wish I was pitting my wits against the elements, rather than limping around this very hot sandy desert, now referred to lovingly as a golf course, chasing a little red golf ball too boot.

Essay 4O medalOn reflection, I am very sad that my stoicism was never acknowledged and rewarded with the tiniest of medals, wouldn’t you agree?


I sincerely hope you have enjoyed this tale – Yesteryear in Dubai was always full of surprises!

Essay 4O holidays 4

Well, folks it’s now holiday time which means long lazy, hazy,, sunny days for me, what about you?

Catch up with you in September xx

Essay 4O happy summer


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5 thoughts on “Essay 40 – Bull Shots!

  1. Bull shots sound great! We had a similar introduction with unexpected results, also courtesy of the navy, to Dark and Stormies, a potent mixture of navy rum and ginger beer, which went down with the same speed and ease of straight ginger beer! Your cartoon of the person with an ice pack on his head reflects me exactly the next morning………

    1. David, Dark and Stormies sound even more lethal than Bull Shots!! but what fun it all was b eing introduced to those weird and wonderful concoctions!!

  2. Jan I used to dance at the Sahara Club, actually I cartwheeled across the floor forever making a spectacle of myself. I went to a BOAC reunion on saturday 25th and one pilot asked was I alright, as I wasnt the Hilary of yester year, was not the time to say just lost my partner of 17yrs, his kids want me out of the house, no probate yet after 7 months and had major surgery 6 wks ago and symptoms reappeared and feel very dizzy.
    Happy holiday xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    1. Hi Hilary, Lovely to know that you too danced the night away at the Sahara Nightclub in Dubai, all those years ago. Surely, evenings to remember, in more ways than one!

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