The Open Door

A Real Pussy Story (Air Despatchers at Play): George Prady

It was early one Saturday morning when Taff (Taff Bowen) arrived back at Changi Camp, red-eyed from a night in Bugis Street, holding in his arms a little ginger and white kitten. The kitten was quickly nicknamed ‘Pussy’ and made himself at home living among the Massey Ferguson tractors and trailers and eating scraps fed to him by Carfax Troop cat lovers.

I was sitting in the Malcolm Club one night having a sherbet or two with Graham Spring, when we made the acquaintance of two young WRAF girls and decided travel with them up into Malaya on an adventure of ‘unbeatable magnitude’. So eventually, with a hired car and an excited spirit, armed with sleeping bags and survival packs, off we went to Jason’s Bay, a white sanded beauty spot on the east coast of Malaya. Jason’s Bay on Google Earth.

On arrival, we drove the car too far onto the beach and buried it up to its axles in the sand — so much for being in the RCT! We cut some small branches with machetes and put them under the wheels, then using the back muscles of two well built young WRAFs the car was freed. We then had a meal which would make any jungle survival course student as proud as punch.

Looking at the setting sun, the surroundings were so pleasant that we decided to go for a long a romantic walk along the beach. By the time we had gone about 200 yards, the beach became alive with crabs, all heading for the sea. The instant response from our guests was; stop, skirt up, and go like the wind heading for the hire car. So much for romance!

When it was time to bed down, the two guests had the comfort of the car, and Graham and I went to sleeping bags some 5 metres apart. Looking up at the night sky, a beautiful sight to help you drift off to sleep, backed up by the sounds of crickets chirping, and the mosquitoes buzzing around your head.

A scream, a shout, and there were two faces looking out of the car window. There was a snorting sound which was accompanied by a strong smell of animals, and I found myself looking into the eyes of one of several white horses. Quite rapidly evacuating my sleeping bag, I sped to the far side of the vehicle well away from ‘the jaws of the beasts of the jungle’. Then Graham joined me and we chased off the ponies. That done, because of the time, we prepared breakfast. For the price of my set of ‘waffle beads’ I persuaded the local Malay to climb a coconut palm to get a couple of coconuts for us. These, and a hot brew made a lovely breakfast. A quick wash, shave and a dip in the sea, and it was time to head home.

George and Graham with snakeHeading back towards the Causeway connecting Malaya to Singapore, on a long straight road, we noticed a snake wriggling in the centre of the road. It looked as if a vehicle before us had run over it and broken its back. Two ‘White Hunters’ put the snake out of its misery. We decided to take it back with us to make a belt out of the skin, and use the head as the centrepiece for a necklace. The our two guests were not very happy about sharing the car with a five-foot snake. Once back at Changi, we dropped off the ladies at the WRAF Block, and returned to our own accommodation. There we posed for a photograph taken by Pete Stubbs. Having recorded our trophy for posterity, we then proceeded to skin the snake and put the skin on a clothes line to dry. The snake’s head was put on a metal hoop securing the line to the wall. Once that was done it was time for a few sherbets down at the Malcolm Club.

The next morning, Graham awoke to find that the snake skin had been put into the bin by Terry Ayres. Not only that, but Pussy had eaten the snake’s head. A somewhat irate Graham chased the cat into the trailer park were it ran under one of the trailers. There it lay licking its paws. Ginger Day then arrived on the scene with a tractor, hooked up to the trailer, and pulled it out running over Pussy and killing it. I came out of the Block to go on parade, unaware of the morning’s happenings. Taffy called out and told me what happened to Pussy and asked what happened on the trip. “It's a long story Taff, nothing much happened, and we ended up dropping them at the WRAF Block at teatime last night”.

So, at the end of our adventure, there it was — no snake meat dinner, no snake skin belt, no necklace, and we lost the pussy.

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