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Today's quote:

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Old age is a great equaliser

Notice the POLAROID 330 Des Hudson is holding in his hand? Go down to the postscript


This photo was taken in 1971 on Bougainville Island when the Royal Yacht Britannia sailed into Kieta Harbour. You can see her between yours truly on the left and Des Hudson on the right. What you can't see is that we're standing just outside the entrance to the District Commissioner's residence.

That was more than fifty years ago! We wouldn't have dared getting any closer to the District Commissioner's residence, and he wouldn't even have noticed such lowlife as ourselves had our paths ever crossed on the rare occasions when we got a chance to briefly get away from our ten-hours-a-day-six-days-a-week jobs on the Bougainville Copper Project.

As I wrote, that was more than fifty years ago! Today, Des Hudson is retired in Connecticut, USA; I am retired at "Riverbend"; and the then District Commissioner, Bill Brown, and I are in regular email contact.

What a difference fifty years make! Without wanting to sound too morbid, all we're waiting for now is the final equaliser, but before that happens I'd like to know who, in those days long before we could take our own selfies, took that memorable photo. Can you remember, Des?

Googlemap Riverbend


P.S. Fifty years on, Des Hudson seems to have kept it all: his knobbly knees, his tennis elbow, his sheepish grin, and the then very latest but now very vintage POLAROID 330 he was holding in his hand, of which he's just sent me these photos all the way from Fairfield, Connecticut, together with the explanation "Good question. It may have been someone we may have hitched a ride with. Have found the Polaroid 330. Still in good condition but doubtful if you can still buy any film."

No, Des, there must've been a "third man" who took the photo - I can almost hear the "The Harry Lime Theme" - because we never hitched a ride; we always had our trusty Bechtel-WKE P 1-109 TOYOTA Landcruiser.

(He also sent me photos of his equally vintage Asahi PENTAX Spotmatic which not only confirms he has kept everything he has ever bought, but also that he can open a camera museum if he ever falls on hard times!)