Thursday, 25 February 2010

More photos from Sandycroft Leave Centre in Penang, 1965

Here's some more photos taken at the Sandycroft Leave Centre in Penang in 1965. The first photo shows me in my pants - the uniform of all
kids in Singapore and Malaya at the time. I would have been 4 years old then. Behind me, are the chalets that we stayed in. It's funny, even after all this time, I remember what they were like inside. Alan and me had mosquito nets over our beds. They must have all come out at night because I don't look too bothered about getting bitten in this photo. I remember that we played football on this grass with an inflatable beach ball and I recall having a collection of ice cream tubs, which I wanted to keep because they had characters like Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck on them. Mum must have chucked them all away when I wasn't looking! I think there were three levels of chalets and we were on the second. Below us was the arcade - plenty of fruit machines and shoot-em-up games, also there was the cinema, cafe, a bar for our dads, a small shop and a restaurant.
The second photo comes from the football match that my parents played where the men played dressed as women and vice versa. In the photo is my mum, Les Sharpe, Bette Sharpe, Fred and also Debbie Sharpe. It's funny that I was only 4 but I remember that this is the day that Alan and me bought a Man From Uncle car from the shop there. They were the thing to have back then. I'm sure that we probably ran around pretending to be Napoleon Solo and Ilya Kuryakan! If you've followed my blog, you'll know that the women won the match.
The next photo was taken by Alan one morning when he went out for a walk on his own. He used to like taking photos with my parents old Kodak Brownie camera which I think became his when they got a new one. In the photo is the swimming pool and the sea can be seen in the background. On the water's edge is where we saw dolphins while having breakfast and everyone ran out of the sea quickly when someone shouted, 'shark!'. It was just like the scene from Jaws. Then the dolphins started jumping in and out of the water and everyone realised what they were and started laughing. I don't remember anyone ever seeing a shark, or hearing of anyone being attacked by one, the whole time we were in Singapore and Malaya.
The final photo shows me on the swing nearby to the chalets, There's a see-saw nearby and I remember Alan and me playing on there. He always gave me the bumps and we would get other kids to sit on the other end and bump them too. It seemed a great laugh at the time. When we weren't pretending to be characters from the Man from Uncle, watching dolphins, going to the cinema, playing in the pool, in the arcade or playing football, we'd be out exploring the island visiting places like the Snake Temple, Iyer Itam and going on the Penang Hill railway. There were also boat trips and banyans, landing at beaches covered in starfish where we'd have barbeques, play cricket and other games or go swimming. I was happy just playing in the sand at the time. Writing about it now, it seems very idyllic and such a long time ago.

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