Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Well, it's still 19 August 2008 on this blog at about 11.00 am, UK time. Having already met Yvonne at her house after a nearly disastrous walkabout, I could finally settle down and get to work. Yvonne lives in a nice Cottage in this village and all the cottages and manors look so stately. Looking back, the documentaries and BBC programs have not failed to paint the right picture. I really am loving it here, in the UK. Cool weather with overcast clouds that keep on moving with the passing breeze, excellent scenery and imagery.

"I'm terribly sorry about the weather", Yvonne apologized.

"No, please don't be. Coming from the tropics, I must say, what lovely weather we are having!", I exclaimed.

And we laughed.

Really, even though Yvonne is now 95 years old, she was very active around the house and she even tended to her own garden, making compost and everything! We sat down on her dining table and began chatting about her father (Brig. Gen. Arthur Benison Hubback) and was supposed to discuss her uncle's history (Mr. Theodore Rathbone Hubback) tomorrow. However, as both of us were pretty excited about the whole event, everything got intertwined, unintentionally.

As it was about lunch time, Yvonne promised me a very typical English Lunch. We had Traditional Fish Pie (A combination of mashed potatoes, trout, haddock and herbs, covered with cheese and baked till brown) with Vegetables from her Garden. Oh My! That was utterly delicious. Any 5 Star Fine Dining Restaurant back home in Malaysia would have paled in comparison. As luck would have it, for dessert we had Fresh Strawberries and Clotted Cream .... simply heaven. I am now wishing for more helpings!

Later, Yvonne was showing me some of her family history, she handed me a tattered photo. Taiping Golf Club. Taiping? I wondered. Taiping, Perak, Malaysia? The place which is known to have the highest rain fall in Malaysia? Isn't this coincidental as to the weather in the UK at current?

Yvonne told me that the Taiping Golf Club was a small shack back then and the members decided to put in some money to build a new golf club. She also mentioned to me that she actually 'lent' the picture to the Club itself a few years ago, and she wrote to them to have it back. After a few months, they did return it to her. That's very nice and ethical. In actual fact, Yvonne has also contributed some of her family's personal belongings to various causes and museums in the region and I am indeed in awe of her generosity in a time and age when money seems to be at the crux of everything.


Prior to construction of The Kuala Lumpur Train Station, the Colonial Office had instructed A. B. Hubback that all materials especially the steel columns used for the actual station must conform to British Standards. This standard calls for the use of steel columns that were, technically, to be able to withstand the combined pressure of snow as deep as 6 feet. Yvonne tells me that her father at that time thought this was rather 'odd' as Malaya was in the tropics (I would too), but still went ahead in conforming with the requirements.

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