After completing my first two books I decided to experiment with writing short stories. As I looked back from the conclusion of my second career, I realised that, through no effort or fault on my own part, interesting things seemed to happen to me or around me. I have been around the world several times, both by sea and by air, have visited over a hundred countries on the way, flown lots of different types of aircraft, sailed big ships and little yachts, and met a lot of interesting people and animals.
I decided to write three sets of short stories, one set in a London Club, one describing unusual or interesting events at sea and the third one describing a dozen unusual occurrences in all sorts of places. There were twenty-nine stories in all, with twenty-two of them directly involving me. I wrote about the larger than life characters found in London’s clubland, as well as royalty, politicians, big stars and other important people who came my way, not forgetting a steady stream of delusional imaginations, minor crooks, and others who were not grand, but incredibly funny.
I recounted Dramas at sea, life in an old rattletrap trawler, and some rescues on land and at sea, as well as the unique characters who seem to emerge somewhere in every ship or air squadron.
After these three slim volumes were published I began to think of all the other strange but interesting things which had occurred, for example several encounters with animals. I seemed to have developed a magnetic attraction for dolphins, met a variety of other sea creatures, such as the giant crabs in Port Fairy, or the stalking sharks of the Maldives Islands. On dry land, there were other encounters, such as the hyena who strolled out of the bush in South Africa, and sat staring at me and my wife while we were sitting on our own in an open jeep. I had always thought hyenas were quite small animals, but this one seemed petrifyingly enormous with canine teeth about three inches long – and worryingly only about eighteen inches from my face.
In Singapore, I learned that a cobra can move really fast through grass, but a little slower on concrete, at least while chasing me. Back in Africa I had a lot of close encounters with baboon’s, including a fascinating little cameo where I was learning ‘on the hoof’ so to speak, when I had to remove a large male baboon from the driving seat of my car. He too had big teeth – he showed them to me!
At sea I went through a hurricane as well as many other impressive storms, experienced a collision between a destroyer and a tanker, flew into all sorts of little problems but fortunately all of them survivable, and enjoyed the peculiar but varied lifestyle and camaraderie in all sorts of ships, squadrons and submarines.
I wonder, should I try to write a few more short stories.