'Reuters' James Bond' - and a variant of the kangaroo story
Wednesday 30 August 2017
I remember Terry so fondly from my days on World Desk in the early 1980s.
A tremendously efficient journalist of course, but also I remember the slightly unlikely but deep friendship between him and John Organ, so often sitting side by side at the centre of things - Terry as copy taster and John as filing editor.
John used to call Terry “Reuters’ James Bond” because - and perhaps others may know more about this - when he was working for Regional News Service which acted for Reuters in the Middle East in the late 1950s and early 1960s, it seems that journalists used to “share” information with the British government.
I gather this practice was stopped by Gerald Long.
Sometimes, when things were quiet, Terry would tell hilarious stories about his travels and a couple have stuck in my mind.
Once, when he was in Aden, he and friends became intrigued about how the cone of meat on a doner kebab roaster in a corner shop always seemed to change colour as they drove past. So one day they stationed someone to watch beside it, while others drove past.
The colour change was because as the car went by all the thick coating of flies flew off - only to return of course when the car was out of earshot.
My other one is a variant on Barry’s kangaroo story.
As he told it to me, Terry and Eileen were out in the bush, many many miles from any civilisation, when they came across a lavatory block, and Eileen decided to avail herself of it. But the women’s loo was locked, so she went into the men’s one. Inside, sitting on the seat, was a very large (dead) kangaroo.
After driving back through the bush they met a ranger, and reported this. His first reaction was, accusingly, “Why was she going into the men’s dunny anyway?” ■