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Happy haircut.

I just had a haircut. My head is now exposed to the wind and rain that typifies the Scottish summer.

I look like Private Pile from the Stanley Kubrick flick Full Metal Jacket.

It's just around the corner...

And it's not a song by Ingrid Chavez.

It's the G8 summit.

Edinburgh awaits with baited breath to see how much damage is going to be caused by those "Nasty anarchist people." But not me. I'm better prepared for the chaos and mayhem that is going to happen according to some sources. I have a Kevlar helmet and a cricket bat if the worst comes to the worst and Edinburgh spends three days under martial law due to Mcdonalds, GAP, Starbucks and the headquarters for the RBS being set alight by anticapitalists, anarchists and Edinburgh Neds.

If the dungheap does indeed hit the windmill I shall answer the call of duty, strap on my helmet, crab my cricket bat for personal protection and get right into the foray complete with camera and notebook & pen to document the goings on. I'm just stupid enough to do so as well. Why not? If some fool journo is not game enough to get his face mashed for the good of reporting then I'm game to give it a bash.

And besides, as a resident of Edinburgh I know what streets lead where, and how to get into those areas that may not be open to outsiders.

This picture.

Makes my heart beat faster.


How about yours?


A Whiter shade of...


As I sit here writing, King Curtis blows out a whiter shade of pale.
come to my mind to describe the emotion this tune carries along upon golden notes, like dewdrops hanging from a spiders web, each toot, poo-tee-woot and poo-tee-weet takes me further into my mind. Way down inside. Down to where the mad March hare runs and Alice lives.
...And I write them. Whether or not they are understood. Whether or not they are read. Just so long as they are there.
leap into my third eye, I sense the presence of the disembodied audience that I hear through the sweet simpatico of sound. I know these people, they are our friends, our lovers and our legacies. A voice in the crowd says "Yes," and in my mind I see Dean Moriarty pop into existence, he smiles at me and darts off into the crowd. Far away. A being of time and space now. A conglomerate of individuals different memories, created by God and kept alive by the words and the music.
...Close enough to touch.


I know it's shallow....

It's really sad that something as trivial as reaching 4000 hits on my blog should make me feel like I do at the moment.

I began posting on this blog about a year ago. In fact, it's only two days until this blog is a year old. I never thought I'd keep up with posting on it for longer than a week or two before I got sick of it and resigned it to being another good intention that I grew tired of. But, here I am, still posting.

And, not only am I still posting but I'm still enjoying doing it. I know this blog isn't widely read, hell I only have 9 returning readers, but that doesn't bother me. I'd enjoy doing this even if no-one read it during my lifetime and it only got read posthumously by beings far in the future on spaceships that can tap into our internet, time travel, fly faster than light speed and make a cup of instant coffee that actually tastes like freshly made ground coffee...

But I doubt that will ever happen. Instant coffee can't be made to taste like real coffee.


What is a guy to do?

When he has a day off from work.

I'm off today and I'm pondering what I should do. I have one thing I must do, go to the bank and deposit my wages cheque, apart from that the rest of the day is freetime. Perhaps I could have a dice day? Though, thinking about it maybe I'll have Wednesday as dice day. I can be better prepared to allow the dice control over my actions if I do this. My cheque will be cleared, I can get up early, rather than sleeping until midday as I did today and I can have the whole day dicing.

Having a full days dicing sounds infinitely more enjoyable compared to half a day. Plus, I'll be fully prepared to document my dice day in my notebook, it'll give me something to write about and also give you all something to read.

Now though, I'm going to jump into the shower, get dressed and go over to the bank to deposit my wages cheque.

Have a nice day.

Recent listening.

If I knew how to I'd put a list of music I'm listening to at the moment in the sidebar of my blog. But I don't know how to, so I'm posting it here.

Prime Circle. Hello Crazy World.
Jean Michel Jarre. Aero.
The Pogues.
Killers. Hot Fuss.
Live. Secret Samadhi.
Peter Gabriel. Shaking The Tree.
Jean Michel Jarre. Huston-Lyon Live concerts.
Eminem. Slim Shady LP.
Live. The Distance To Here.
Collective Soul. Blender.
Damien Rice.
Collective Soul, Hints, allegations and things left unsaid.
James Blunt. Beautiful.
Live. Mental jewelry.
Bob Marley & The Wailers. Legend.

I've not read any books this week. Though I did complete The Trials Of Lenny Bruce and I've just begun a re-read of Hunter S Thompson's classic Hells Angels.

I really should begin to read Jane Austin's Pride and Predjudice and Emma, Charles Dickens' Dombey and Son, and the Sir Walter Scott tome Ivanhoe, that have sat on my bookcase for the last couple of months but I'm not really in the mood to read in Ye Olde English. I'll get to them one day I'm sure. If it is what I should do. Kismet, Fate, Destiny and all that. Righty Ho?

Yes Ross. Righty Ho. We're with you, we know what you meant by that statement. We all realize that what you were doing was making the point that everything that is meant to be will be... Just finish the fucking story!

Fine then. Be like that.


I'm sorry to have to disappoint...

My legions of fans who sit anxiously and await these little snippets on the Good Ship Ross' Blog.

I'm not in the mood to write very much today. Sorry and all that. It's not that I have nothing to write about, I have a huge amount of stories to tell, I just can't be arsed.

I'll no doubt post something tonight after I get back from work to keep you all from sending me mail demanding that I either shit or get off the pot. Or some other equally crude way to tell me that if I'm going to claim some kind of magical gift for writing about my life I had bloody well better do it and stop fucking around.

Have a nice day.

Whoo hoo.

I don't often get asked out for a drink by an attractive woman. In fact I've never been asked out for a drink by any woman. Ever. Until tonight...

The dynamically good looking Kirsty told me tonight that I had to come out for a drink with her in December. "Why?" I asked.
"Because I want to see you drunk." She said in her sexy voice.
I tried to be aloof about it all and nearly succeeded up until the point where I crumbled like a biscuit being run over by a steamroller. "So why December? If you want to see me drunk then we can go out next week." I suggested.
"I won't be able to drink. I'm pregnant, remember." She remarked.

I regained my smile and agreed that we'd go out and get blasted after the baby was born.

I just hope my diary is clear so I can make the time to go out and get rip-roaringly wrecked with this beautiful woman. Yeah right, as if I have a social life. Clearing my Diary for any month is simpler than clearing a blank blackboard.

I wonder if this event will count against the challenge "cupid" has set for me?


Open House.

Following Steve's challenge for me to pay it forwards, to find someone halfway round the world and show them the best of Scottish culture and scenery, I have decided to open my door to anyone who feels like taking me up on the offer.

If you are halfway around the world and feel like spending some time in Scotland just drop me a line. You never know. It may just be fun. I know that on previous occasions that I've taken a tourist around and about Edinburgh on a whim I've had a great time. And so have they.

One such time was my brothers stag night. My friend Steff and I were tripping out our heads on acid and I had been knocking back double scotch and lemonade like there was no tomorrow, my brother and his friends were wrecked and my dad was complaining about the noise. I ended up befriending an American college girl. By throwing her boyfriend into a fountain.

The way it happened was this... Someone let loose with the idea of handcuffing Stuart to a lamppost, taking his clothes and then fucking off and leaving him, as is the usual tradition here in the UK.

I, in my acid dappled brain, thought it would be an even better hoot to throw him into the fountain of the Sheraton Hotel that was exactly opposite the pub we were residing in. So I spread the word around the group that it was time that Stuart went for a swim. The group, and some other people who had enquired what I was up to, decided to assist. I even had one of the doorman waiting in the middle of Lothian Road to stop traffic at the right time.

Stuart was duly grabbed and manhandled across to where the fountain sat waiting. He was stripped of his clothes even though he fought bravely. It was cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey but Stuart very bravely resigned himself to the idea of him going into the water, walked in and sat down.

I think some part of him realized that if he didn't go in he'd look like the party pooper to all his friends and to the crowd of drinkers from the pub that had accompanied us. And, to the crowd of late night drinkers who were gathering for the show of some poor bugger being thrown into a fountain.

One of the crowd of drinkers that had followed us across the road was laughing at my brother taking the plunge and as his girlfriend had been eyeing me up while we were in the pub I decided that he was also going for a plunge. I lunged at him and the pack descended. He was rapidly stripped by his friends and his girlfriend and I got a hold of his arm and heaved him into the cold water.

He smacked into the water and I heard him whimper as the shock of the cold. He jerked upright like a puppet with the strings suddenly tautened. "Looks like not everything is bigger in America." I said to his girlfriend and she laughed.

After everyone's interest in the spectacle waned, which is about a minute in the cold night of Lothian Road during the winter, we headed back over the road to the pub. Drinks were got and the cold was gotten out of our bones. Stuarts and the American college girls boyfriends especially.

The American guy was shivering and gasping and trying to get some heat while concerned people suggested a large whisky to take the chill off him. I took my chance and slid in beside the girl who had caught my eye. We chatted and I made my move. As I chatted her up she told me that she was with the guy who I had thrown into the water and was happy with him but would, in another time or place, have happily loved me for the duration of her stay. I cursed the timing of it all and resigned myself to being a friend to her and her friends while they were in town.

Over the next week I met up with her and her friends and we wandered around Edinburgh and had some good times. The time for her to leave Edinburgh came and I said goodbye to her with a breaking heart as I knew she was leaving. Never to return. Another random love in a lifetime of randomness.

So, If you are up for a visit to Edinburgh just get a flight, tell me what date you arrive and we'll have a ball.

Notes from Africa. Part 13. Mtwalume day 1.

I woke this morning to find the sun shining, the sky is blue and there are wispy clouds stretched out across Indian Ocean.

Mtwalume. View from the porch.

Steve is taking Tamlyn to visit her Grandparents and Reg and I are off to the pub for a few cold beers.

Reg drives us to the Mtwalume social club and as we park up outside I get to see Mtwalume in all its glory. It really is amazing. The clear blue waters of the sea and the golden light shining off the sand makes rainbows appear in the spray from the surf. I watch as the breakers roll towards the beach from far out at sea. They begin as a small swell on the surface, rise gently, turn into barrels and roll onto the beach. There is a small railroad that runs along the side of the beach and for a second my mind flashes to a place in Scotland that I know. If it wasn't for the fact that I am aware I'm in Africa I could mistake this place for there. Or at least that is what my memory causes me to think. Perhaps I am seeing things through rose colored glasses.

Mtwalume beach front.

Reg rings the bell to get access to the club and we walk up the stairs and into the bar. Reg is well known here and judging by the welcome he receives from the people in the bar he is also well loved. Reg introduces me to the people who are sitting at the bar. They are all very friendly and ask me various questions, how I'm enjoying Africa, if I like the weather, where in Scotland I'm from, how long I'm here for and other questions along the lines of general chit chat. My ear is captured by another question as Reg asks me what I want to drink. I tell Reg that the round is on me and I reach into my pocket for my wallet. Reg tells me that the drinks are on him and tells me to put my wallet away. I ask him for a rum and coke and thank him as it is placed in front of me.

I salute Reg with my glass as someone at the bar asks me if I have tried biltong. I turn to see that the person who asked the question is an attractive blonde who is roughly the same age as I am. I smile, pick up my glass and walk over to get a better conversation with her.

We chat for a while about Scotland and Africa and I make a comment that until just now I hadn't really seen the true beauty of Africa. She laughs and flicks her hair. I look into her eyes, smile and arch one of my eyebrows. She senses the meaning behind my statement and the accompanying look and her pupils widen for a split second. The Douglas charm has struck again.

She asks me if I have tried South African cider and I look to see that she has a bottle of it in front of her. I tell her I have been sticking to drinking rum and Coke but I'll try the cider if she recommends it. Just as I offer to buy her a bottle of cider Reg shouts me from the other end of the bar and she says that she'd love to have one but thinks Reg wants to play a game of pool. I ask her if she's sure she wouldn't like a drink but she refuses, thanks me and tells me that she has some things she needs to do but she'll maybe see me later. I grab my rum, smile at her and walk over to find Reg with a pool cue in his hand and a smile on his face.

I spot that Reg's beer is halfway down the glass and I ask the barmaid for another rum and Coke and another draft for Reg. "OK Ross." Says the barmaid. I like this place. It feels to me that I have found the "Cheers" bar of my dreams. The theme tune to "Cheers" begins to play on the jukebox in my head but I shake it off, hit A12 and it is replaced with a different tune. "That's better, now I don't have that playing in my head I can concentrate." I think to myself and pay for the drinks that are on the bar waiting for me.

I turn around and see Reg waiting with his cue in his hand. "Mugs away." He says. Just like my dad does. It's spooky. I'm struck by how much Reg is like my dad, not only in looks but in mannerisms, and I immediately know that this game is going to be fun. I figure my gameplan as I would if I was playing my dad and decide that I should lose the first two racks and then beat him senseless in the following games.

After the first two racks Reg is strutting about the club with his arms in the air. He's singing "Easy! Easy!" and making remarks along the lines of "Where's the challenge?" "Let me know if you want a handicap" and "I'll go easy on you this frame." There are others that would not be amiss coming from my dad if it was him I was playing in the lounge at my work and not Reg in a club in South Africa.

I rack the balls and chalk my cue. Reg reminds me that I am two racks down. I place the white ball and take aim at the group of balls at the other end of the table. My arm draws back and I give the cue ball the hardest whack I can muster. The pack scatters and bounces off of the rails, balls kiss and clash and three balls fall into pockets.

I look towards Reg and smile as I say "That's me on solids then Reg. Looks like this could be the comeback." Reg, just like my dad would, makes a joke and tells me that the game isn't over until the 8 ball goes down. I grin as I look up at him from the table, my cue lining up my next shot. I set up my shot, hit the cue ball and it careers onto the object ball and begins to spin backwards towards where I wanted it to be. The object ball drops into the pocket and I'm in a perfect position to clear the rest of the balls.

I pot the next three balls in succession and Reg asks sarcastically if he get to have a shot. I roll my object ball over the pocket, stand up and say "OK." Reg misses and I clear my last remaining ball and the 8 ball. 2-1. I win the next frame. 2-2. I blister through the final game and win it. 2-3. I savor the 8 as it drops into the pocket, leaving Reg with three balls still on the table, and shake hands with Reg.

He shakes my hand and says "beginners luck." Just like my dad would.

Chuck, Husband to Henley the barmaid, appears like a well built Hawkeye from M*A*S*H with a putter and a golf ball and announces that he is "Playing through." I laugh as he putts towards the pooltable. He tells me he wants to see the golfing skills of a Scotsman as he knows that we invented the game.

A game of doubles is suggested by Reg and we pair off. Reg and I versus Chuck and Henley. We play from one end of the bar to the other. The holes are a table leg and the leg of the pool table. Chuck is as a nice guy, always making jokes and laughing uproariously. At times he'd be laughing so hard at the joke he was attempting to tell he wouldn't finish it, leaving me to laugh at him laughing. We swapped jokes with each other and played on.

Eighteen "holes" later we are tied at nine each and a playoff hole is decided on to break the deadlock. I line up my ball and swing the club. Just as contact is made the bell for the door of the club goes off and I lose concentration and slice the ball underneath a table. Henley opens the door. Reg berates me for getting stuck behind a tree, as we have decided that tables and other hazards are immovable and should therefore be referred to as trees, just as Steve walks into the bar.

The game is abandoned as Chuck and Henley haven't seen Steve in a long time and we all retire to the 19th for another drink. Steve, Reg, Chuck, Henley and I are the only people left in the bar and we sit at the bar and chat for a couple of hours then we head back to the house for dinner.

We have a lovely dinner while sitting on the porch. Rums are had and stories are told. Later, after Reg and Eleanor have gone to bed, Steve and I sit on the porch drinking rum and talking. The milky way is laid out before my eyes and I stare in amazement as my entire field of vision is swamped by the twinkling lights above me. For a second I see Gods view of the Galaxy and I am lifted by a desire to leap into the stars and be a part of them.

Steve and I sit and we both tell small parts of each of our lives and our philosophy is shared. At about 3 or 4am it is decided that we should get some sleep. I take on more look at the stars and head for my bed.


Midnight at the ranch.

There are times when I can be funny and there are times when I can be really depressing. Occasionally, and I do mean occasionally, I can be insightful and verbose and use clever words.
And once in a blue moon I can tap into a lightning bolt and light up the page in front of me.

Which is what I think I did with my opinion on James Blunt's song "Beautiful."

But that's just my opinion on my opinion. Your opinion, on either my opinion on the song or on my opinion on my opinion of my writing, may vary. That's the thing with opinions. At this very moment you may be of the opinion that I'm using the word opinion way too much in this paragraph and by doing so am causing you to wonder if that is how you spell opinion, and in my opinion you would be right. I know I'm beginning to question if I've spelled the word opinion correctly.

(I just did a spell check and according to it I don't need to worry about the spelling of opinion. Or maybe that's just it's opinion.)

For those of you who didn't notice, this post was not one of those times when I light up the page. Selah. The essence is still the same, and the moral of the story is... Stay happy. Even if it doesn't make sense.


Between Shifts...

I'm on a double shift today at work.

Because of this I won't be posting very much today. Which is a shame as I have a lot I'd like to write about. There is the challenge from Jenny to write about my ideal woman, the challenge from Steve to Pay It forwards and also the challenge made by "Cupid" to ask someone out after I let loose with my opinion on speed-dating.

These challenges are well worth taking up. Which I intend on attempting in the next few days, weeks, months ahead.

Right now I'm going to grab an hours sleep.

It's beautiful.

And it deserves praise.

I was sitting in my friend Steff's house last night as he absent-mindedly flicked through the TV channels. Suddenly stopping on one of the music channels he made the proclamation that the song that was playing was, in his opinion, "Fucking brilliant."

He asked me what I thought about the song and I stated that I hadn't actually heard it. The song in question was "Beautiful" by James Blunt.

Steff informed me that it would, no doubt, be on again soon and went back to flicking through the channels. Within fifteen minutes of him making the statement, that the song would be played again, he was proven to be correct. The video started playing and I listened with an interested ear.

As the voice of James Blunt began singing I felt my heart break. On one side I was dying from hearing the heartache of the song and on the other I was happy that there was someone out there who wrote words about the real proclivities of love.

When the song finished I turned to steff and told him exactly why he liked the song so much and why it deserved to be heard by everyone alive...

"It's the song every man sings inside. The song that tells of the small snapshot in all our lives when we see The Light shining in a women's eye and realize at that minute that we love them more than anything that came before or after, but because of bad timing or circumstance we will never attain that wonderful dream. The dream that every man would tell his friends he has if we weren't too busy ribalding with each other in the pub. In an honest world that's the story we would tell each other while standing at the bar... Instead of us saying shit like, "I knew this bird, she was really dirty, she'd fuck you backwards and inside out then slurp up your jizz like a kitten with a bowl of milk" We'd let each other know the truest story of all... "I saw God in the eyes of a stranger and I loved her for a second that stretched into eternity. I never knew her name and I never held her in my arms but in that moment I knew, I understood... I saw everything in a flash of light and knew it would all work out in the end. Because of love."

And I stand by those words. The song is "Beautiful"

To visit James Blunt's homepage just click here.


Notes from Africa. Part 12. The journey to Mtwalume.

We set off early this morning as we have a long drive ahead of us.

Steve, Tamlyn and I are leaving for Mtwalume today and Steph is flying up a few days later as she has some studying to do for a work project. We'll see her in a few days time.

It's roughly 600km to our destination and as the speed limit is 100k's per hour we're looking at a six hour drive. Not to worry though, it gives us the chance to see some of the country. The drive to Mtwalume has me in a spell. I have never seen a country so beautiful. The veldt stretches as far as the eye can see and the sky above us is clear and blue.

There is the occasional diamond mine off to the side of the highway which puts a scar on an otherwise amazing landscape. It saddens me to see that mankind's desire for bright shiny objects has scarred not only this country but it's people also. I think for a while about how many people have fought, and died, for this land over the course of history and wonder to myself if there is still a hope of peace on our world. Maybe, Who knows.

We pass through small towns with names I cannot even begin to pronounce and across rivers with African names that conjure up images of Dutch settlers, African natives, the British army and battles fought amongst them all. We drive into the region of Kwazulu and pass through the Drakensberg mountains and my breath is taken away by the views.

Stopping for diesel at a gas station just as the sun begins to set we go into the shop and get some ice cream, juice and snacks. Who needs wholesome food when driving? Not us, that's for sure and why the hell would we want it when junk food will suffice. Then it's back into the car and back onto the road.

As we approach Durban I feel the heat of the day pass and the night air becomes humid to the point of being almost unbearable. It feels to me like I'm breathing through a warm, wet blanket and I'm sweating like a junkie gone cold turkey. I can feel my pores opening it's so humid.

As darkness descends we approach Durban. Steve tells me that we'll visit there when we go to the airport to pick up Steph. Firstly we have a few days of sitting on the beach fishing and drinking to do.

We arrive at Mtwalume in the darkness and I can hear the surf booming onto the shore as we are greeted by my uncle Reg and Auntie Eleanor. I haven't seen either of them since I was about five years old but they make me feel very welcome.

While I was in the airport in Edinburgh I bought a bottle of malt whisky for Reg and as I handed him it he told me that he didn't drink the stuff and that he hated it... "Oh the irony," I thought. "A Scotsman who doesn't drink scotch. If ever there was sucker for a preconceived stereotype I'm it." Fortunately for me Eleanor said she drank scotch so the gift was not entirely useless.

Within seconds of us sitting down on the porch Reg had produced a half liter of beer for me and I took a long drink to see if it would remedy the profuse sweating that was being caused by the humidity. No such luck. But it tasted great and I took another long drink. In what seemed like seconds Reg asked me if I had enough beer and was fully willing to get one for me. I thanked him and said I was fine.

Later on, after emptying the car out and putting our bags into our bedrooms we all sit on the porch and have a braii as the stars come out. I have a few Bacardi Gold and Coke, Steve and Tamlyn have Capt Morgans and Coke, Reg has beer and Eleanor has a scotch as we all tell each other a small part of our stories.

The sky is clear and the entirety of the milky way is laid out before my eyes. Once again my perception is altered and I realize that my body is a tiny piece of a larger thing which has a certain destiny to fulfill and an eternity to do it. A quote I have heard flashes into my mind "Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it." My heart pounds so loud in my ears it seems, and feels, like I am connected to all the life out in the universe.

And I was yet to sample the local Marijuana...

Take a deep breath...

And try not to lash out with the fist...

I'm a patient man and I'm not a violent man. But there are times when people just get so far up my nose that the little voice in my head gets loud enough to drown out all the other thoughts in there and it screams at me... "Punch this arsehole in the mouth! Do it now! Hit him, kick him, poke him in the eyes, anything... Just do something to shut this fucking retard up!"

I had an occasion like that today at work when one of the members complained that the Make Poverty History demonstration was nothing but "A bunch of leftie loonies attempting to relieve themselves of a little guilt at not having done enough recycling by snarling up the Edinburgh traffic for a day." I felt that I should set him straight so, in a cool and calm manner, I asked him if he thought it was correct that millions of kids were dying from easily cured diseases.

"They're still going to die, It'll just take a little longer." He said, in a feeble attempt at humor.

"And so are you unless you get the fuck out of my sight you moronic prick." I said with anger and rage perceptible in my voice and he did as I'd suggested.

Some people amaze me. Others, like the monkey I just told you about, make me want to hit them. Hard.

I feel like... Doctor Frankenstein.

What have I created?

It is with great pleasure that I announce the creation of a new blog.

It's called Divemaster Dad and is the Blog of my cousin Steve whom I had the pleasure of staying with while I was on my African journey. Steve is without a doubt one of the nicest people I have ever met and I highly recommend that you read his blog on a regular basis. If you don't I'll put a burning bag of dogshit on your doorstep, ring the bell and run away.

To visit DMDad just click here. You know it makes sense.


Notes from Africa. Part 11. Guinjata Bay. Day 9.

Today is the day we begin the long drive back to Johannesburg.

We pack up our stuff and Steve manages to fit all into the car. I grab my notebook and a pen and hurriedly scribble a note that is going to be placed into a bottle that Steve found on the beach. The note is placed into the bottle and the top is sealed with waterproof tape.

We take a drive down to the beach one last time and I attempt to throw the bottle far enough out into the water so that the incoming waves don't bring it straight back into the beach. It comes back into the shore about ten feet from where I'm standing. Steve looks at the waves and figures that the best place to launch it is slightly to the left of where my attempt took place. He hands me his sandals to hold, Rolls up his shorts slightly, walks as far out into the surf as he can manage without being swamped by the incoming waves and throws it into a trough between two waves.

After making sure that the bottle doesn't come straight back to shore we get back into the car and drive to reception so that Steve can settle the bill. I stand and look out over the bay all the while telling myself to remember this place and the view that stretches out in front of me. I stare out at the sea, in the distance I see a whale surface and spurt water into the air through its blowhole.

Steve returns to the car and I jump in the back of the cab. Steve says that he had been asked by the person in reception if we had had a nice stay. He tells us that he said that we had a great time but it was slightly spoiled by the generator being switched off in the middle of the football game the previous night and also by the fact that there were no mosquito nets in the hut to keep the mozzies off us while we slept. He informs us that the receptionist had said there were mosquito nets available but that we have to ask for them. I consider telling Steve to turn the car around so I can burn the resort to the ground because I have spent more than a week being a mobile buffet for those annoying little fuckers that sucked my blood quicker than the star of the Houston 500 sucked off her co-stars. But I decide that burning the place to the ground would only land me in trouble and I keep quiet.

We drive out of the resort and wallow our way back along the sand road. As we reach the harder sand road Steve stops the car and gets out to put some air into the tyres. They had been at 1 bar the whole week we had been in Guinjata Bay and the surrounding area. I get out and light a cigarette as the electric pump does it's job. A couple of locals ask me if I have a spare cigarette and I hand them one each. When they ask me for a light I make a joke about if they'll manage to smoke them on their own or do they want me to do that too. They don't get it. "Everyone's a critic" I say as they walk away with a puzzled look on their faces.

A couple of hundred yards down the road from where we are there stands a solitary traffic cone. Just behind it there is a local digging a hole. It makes me laugh to think that this is what qualifies as mozambiquan roadworks. One cone, one guy and a shovel.

I ask Steve to get a picture of me standing in the road as I attempt to look like Dr Livingston on drugs. I think I succeed.


After the pump finishes blowing air into the tyres we begin the long drive back towards Maputo and to our overnight stay at Casa Lisa, which we have given the nickname of Casa Fawlty due to the owner being so much like Basil Fawlty. As we drive through one of the small towns Steph says to me to get a picture of the truck up ahead. I stare through the windscreen to see something that causes me to laugh out loud at the bizarreness of it. The truck in front of us has a cargo of large logs, on top of which stands a dozen goats. I can barely believe what I'm seeing so I grab my camera and take a picture of it.

We cross the Limpopo river and continue our drive towards Casa Fawlty. The afternoon sun is beating down on me through the window of the car and I sit and watch the world go by. We pass through small towns and villages where the locals go about their day and I find myself wondering what each of their stories are. These people who I will never know and will never see again. I find myself beginning to wish I could have the time to get to know them all. Just to hear their stories and to live a little with them in this beautiful country.


A few hours later we arrive at Casa Fawlty and Bruce/Basil greets us and shows us to our huts. The one Tamlyn and I are sharing has a single bed and a double bed. I ask Tamlyn if she wants the double bed but she says that I can have it and I drop my bag at the side of it and go outside for a cigarette.

Steve is sitting outside on the porch of his hut and I am smoking my cigarette and watching the ants on the ground scurry back and forth. In the grass I spot what appears to be a small black plastic beetle. I pick it up and show it to Steve. He tells me it's a Tock Tock beetle that has been eaten by the ants. There is nothing left of it's innards and all that remains is its shell. I ask Steve if all the small holes in the ground are ant nests and he informs me that they are. I think to myself that there must be billions of ants living in nests just below my feet.

Steve shows me small funnel like holes in the ground and tells me that each small indentation in the sand is home to a lion ant. I listen in amazement as he explains to me how a lion ant eats ants and uses its funnel shaped trap to catch them. Steve picks up an ant and drops it into the funnel of the trap. Within seconds a lion ant begins to flick sand onto the ant causing it to become trapped. When the lion ant gets a hold of the ant it pulls the ant under the sand and the fight is over.

We spend a few minutes attempting to feed the husk of the Tock Tock beetle to the bats that are flying above our heads and then it's off to the bar for a drink. Basil/Bruce serves us and Tamlyn arrives just in time for the second round of drinks that night.

We have dinner and another couple of drinks and then it's off to bed for the first night of undisturbed sleep in more than a week. At least Casa Fawlty has mozzie nets.

The next morning we leave early so that we can make it to the border before the majority of travelers make the place too busy. I get my camera out and tell Basil/Bruce to smile for the birdie and quickly grab a Picture of him for my blog.

We thank Basil/Bruce for the lovely stay and the wonderful service and then we're off. Back on the road.

STROH. The rum of maniacs.

When I came back from Africa my cousin Steve very kindly bought me a bottle of Stroh 80 Rum.

It's made in Austria and it certainly eliminates the preconceived notion that the only thing that Austria ever produced worth wasting time on was Mozart, Wittgenstein and other assorted lunatics.

Austria's most famous son, Arnold Schwarzenegger, is known for his strength but this rum kicks sand in his face and calls him a pussy. It's called Stroh 80 because it is 80 percent proof. It packs a whack like a pissed off fisherman and kicks like a mule would if you were to insert a read hot poker in it's rectal passage.

Buy some by clicking here. And feel the burn.

Notes from Africa. Part 10. Guinjata Bay. Day 8.

I spent most of the day at the beach.

Steve suggested that I give snorkeling a try. Why not, I thought, I've been almost drowned once already while on this holiday why not try for twice? Steve explained the basics of snorkeling to me and I promptly forgot them. There was something about a mask, flippers and a one way valve in there somewhere but I'm not quite sure. All I knew was that I was about to breathe while my head was submerged. A whole new and quite disturbingly scary thing as I was soon to find out.

I was helped into the flippers, I can't remember the technical term for them, by Steve and was told by him to walk backwards into the sea. This, I grasped, would make it easier for me to lift my feet and not have to worry about the incoming waves catching the flippers and tripping me up.

I walked backwards into the surf, waded out until I was waist deep in the sea, turned around and swam. I saw clear blue water stretching away from me. It looked as though the sea was turning from clear blue to dark blue and then off into the purple and black that was further out.

My breathing was coming to me in short and distinctly panic filled gasps. I thought to myself that panic and trepidation at the thought of inhaling a load of seawater and drowning was causing me to breathe in this abnormal fashion so I told myself to calm down and relax. It seemed to work well enough and my breathing returned to something akin to normal. The only sounds I could hear was the distant Shoosh of the waves hitting the beach behind me, the sound of my heart beating and the wheeze of my lungs from too many years of smoking.

I watched in amazement as beautiful silver colored fish flashed and swam beneath me and darted out of my field of vision. I turned over onto my back to see how far out I was from the beach and was rather surprised to see that I was further out than I thought I was. I decided not to worry about it as I knew I wasn't far enough out to have cause for concern so I rolled back onto my stomach, took a few deep breaths, shoved my bum up and my head down and swam down towards the seabed.

As I swam along the bottom of the sea an image flashed into my head. It was an image of myself as a dolphin cutting through the water with little to no resistance upon my skin and for a few seconds I allowed myself to be overrun by what I can only describe as Dolphin Consciousness. Or whatever my mind thought was what a dolphins mind would be like. Then again, maybe I'd just overdone it with the Durban Poison at Mtwalume and I was suffering a flashback of some kind. Whatever it was it felt real enough to me.

As I surfaced my mind cleared and my own thoughts and feelings returned. My soul, spirit and mind had been shown a different way of life through the interaction of me and the Indian Ocean and I knew I'd remember this place for a long time after I had left it. I swam back in towards the shore and played for a while in the breakers. I had a great time bodysurfing at the front of the waves as they made their way towards the beach.

Then it was back to the hut to grab a shower, a pair of jeans and a shirt and head to the pub to watch the Uefa cup final between Liverpool and AC Milan.

Tamlyn decided that she was not coming to the pub to watch the match so Steve, Steph and I walked to the pub, got a drink each and sat down to watch the game. At the end of the first half Liverpool were three goals down and it looked, to everyone, like the game was all done and dusted.

Then came the second half. Liverpool came out strong, pushed hard and scored thanks to a header by Stephen Gerrard. 3-1. The game may not be over quite as quickly as we had expected it to be but I was to be proved wrong on that. As I sat glued to the TV one of the resort employees leaned over and said to the three of us that the generators were being switched off in five minutes. What the fuck, I thought, and just as I did Liverpool scored again. 3-2.

The resort employee told us that if we wanted to take our drinks with us he could give us some plastic cups. Steve asked why it was that the generators had stayed on until 11pm the previous night, "Was it because there was a rugby match on?" he enquired. The resort gimp said that it was but only because there were nine people watching the game and they were drinking at a rate high enough to justify the $40 per hour it cost in fuel to keep the generator running. I poured my drink into the plastic cup and stood up to leave the bar. Liverpool were attacking and were certainly looking like they were going to score. But we wouldn't know if they did or not as as soon as we stepped out of the bar the lights snapped off.

We walked back to the hut, Steve grabbed his car keys and we both piled into it to see if we could get commentary on one of the radio stations. Scanning through the wavelengths Steve managed to pick up the BBC World Service, who were giving a running commentary on the game. We sat listening to the game through the crackling static and bleedover of other stations whose signals were bouncing off the low cloud cover.

As I sat in my seat I struggled to hear the game it was drowned out by the sounds of African music, Indian bhangra house and the sounds of Steve snoring. Ahh well, I thought, it's not as if I'm a Liverpool fan anyway. I'm sure I'll survive not knowing what the final score was until the next morning.

Steve woke up and I informed him that most of the rest of the second half had been difficult to hear because of all the other channels bleeding over the top of the BBC signal. He said that we'd no doubt be able to watch the highlights of the game on one of the sports highlights channels when we got back to Johannesburg.

We got out the car, made our way into the hut, wished each other a good night and wandered into our rooms to get some sleep as the following day we were to begin the long drive back to Johannesburg.


F1 Fiasco.

The US F1 GP almost took place this weekend. I say almost because of the fact that due to there being issues with Michelin tyres breaking up due to the high speeds as they went through turn 13 at the Indianapolis race track a grand total of 6 (Six) cars took to the start line and proceeded to have a battle amongst themselves.

Ho ho. And how would that have been for race fans who paid a couple of hundred Dollars to see what is billed as the fastest show on earth? Shite. That's what.

My advice to any F1 fan is to do yourself a favor and get yourself a ticket for the nearest round of Moto GP and watch some real racing.

Skooshy skooshy the big bad celeb.

I was shocked and stunned today when I switched on the TV at work this morning to find out that Tom Cruise was embroiled in a squirting scandal.

I was then deeply annoyed that he hadn't, as I thought, been the latest celebrity to have had a home made porn movie stolen and put onto the internet. Damn shame, I'm sure there are millions of women around the world that would pay a few bucks to witness Tom Cruise popping one off onto the face of Katie Holmes. Shit, I'd watch it. Just to see Katie Holmes flinching as Tom's cannon lets loose a volley of his man muck into her eye.

Not only was I disappointed when I heard that it was merely a practical joke being played on him by a British TV company but I was even more disappointed to see that Sky News were billing it as their top story. I'm pretty sure that Tom Cruise getting a small amount of water in his face pales into insignificance when you know that there are thousands of people a day dying from a lack of clean water.

Fuck Tom Cruise.
Fuck Sky News.

And if you think I'm being overly harsh by saying that then Fuck you too.

Have a nice day.

Off and on.

Today should have been my day off but due to my manager, Bobo, being ill I had to work this morning. Ahh well. So it goes. I don't mind doing some extra hours for Bobo as he done more than a few when I was on holiday for a month to go to Africa.

And this afternoon I'm going to finish reading The Trials Of Lenny Bruce. I may even post a few more nuggets of wisdom on here to keep you amused. Isn't that nice of me? I thought so.

At the stroke of 1am...

I log on and try desperately to think of something to write about on here. And guess what? Nothing comes to mind. Selah, so it goes.

I could fill you all in on my day at work but that'd only bore both you and I. Trust me on that. There's more excitement in a bowl of Rice Crispies than there is at my work. But that's not what I'm going to write about tonight so this paragraph now comes to an end.

Today's time away from work has been spent reading The Trials of Lenny Bruce and I have to say that if it weren't for Lenny Bruce a lot of American comedians would still be doing "Take my wife, please take my wife" jokes. How much Lenny Bruce went through and how much it affected, and changed, the freedom of speech laws in America is beyond belief. Should you so desire you can read more about Lenny Bruce's trial by clicking here. I know I'll be plunging my way through the transcripts of the trial when I have the time. I recommend you do too.

And now as I'm working tomorrow I'm off to bed. Stay happy.


Fathers day.

It's fathers day today.

And what have I got for my Dad? Same as last year. Nothing.

It's not that I don't like my Dad, I do, in fact I'd go so far as to say I love him. Just don't let him know I said that, he'd think I've been told I have six months to live.

The main problem is this. How can I be expected to go out and buy a card with a tacky verse in it and expect it to convey everything that my dad is to me? It's fucking impossible. He knows I respect him and love him but I aint about to let hallmark do the talking for me. They write shit cards and I aint buying into all that guff that your father needs reminding that you care for him. If he's so senile that he can't remember that then he's too old and should be left to wander out of the house one night in his dressing gown and forgotten about...

Seriously though, happy Fathers day Dad. Your present is in the shop. Go buy it.

Notes From Africa. Part 9. Guinjata Bay. Day 7.

Today has certainly been a day to remember. I fell in love with a town and got to visit a jail cell.

Steph and Tamlyn were spending the day down on the beach and Steve and I decided to drive into Inhambane to take a wander around the town. And very nice it was too.

Driving into Inhambane is an experience in itself. Before we get onto the blacktop part of the road we drive the 20k's or so of the dirt road leading out of Guinjata bay and we stop to pick up a local kid who is walking to school and a local adult who is off into Inhambane for some reason.

Shanty type stalls line the road next to derelict buildings and cargo containers being used as shelter. I spot one of the containers has something written on the door. "To dress like a king is to work like a slave." Someone in this town is ahead of his time.

We drop off our hitch hikers and continue into Inhambane itself.

As we drive around the town I am blown away at how beautiful it is. Palm trees line the roads and the buildings wouldn't look out of place in a Sergio Leone film. I keep expecting to see a Mexican guy in a large sombrero sitting on a porch sleeping away the heat of the day.

inhambane waterfront

The first place we pay a visit to is the pier. There are Dhows sitting in the water and people are going about their daily commute using the water taxis that sit in the water.

Inhambane pier

The locals are fishing off the side of it with hand lines and are pulling up fish after fish from the slightly oil covered water at the side. There are three locals standing in the water at the side of the pier fishing. One of them hooks a cuttlefish and as he struggles to hit it hard enough to knock its brains in so he can put it into his catchbag it squirts water into his face. The two other guys who are waist deep in the water next to him break out in laughter at the sight of their friend being pissed on by a fish. As do Steve and I.


We watch in amazement as a dhow is unloaded. A fridge freezer is lifted onto the head of a local porter and he effortlessly walks into the side of the beach.

Pier at Inhambane

Then we head towards the bank so Steve can withdraw some of the local currency. I sit in the car with the air conditioning on to keep me cool as Steve pops to the ATM. When he returns to the car he laughs and makes the comment that he never thought he'd be able to walk to an ATM and withdraw a couple of million. He shows me the receipt from the ATM and I laugh at seeing that he has withdrawn two million Metacais.

Following a nice cool rum and Coke in the bar across the road from the bank we decide to walk to the market to get a better look than we did the previous day while driving around town.

We stroll around the market and take in the sights and smells of the place and buy some veg that Steph had asked us to get while we were in town. I try my best not to look too much like a tourist but fail miserably as I'm one of only two white people there.

"My friend. How are you? Look here, I give good prices." Is said by almost every stall-holder I pass and I smile and say in a strong Scots accent, "Nah man, Yer cool, Ah'm just huvin a deek." This seems to make them think I don't speak either English or Portuguese, a very good ploy in my opinion, and they leave me alone. For a while anyway.

Steve buys some veg from a stall and we wander back towards the car. We stop outside the local radio station and have a nice cold drink while sitting on a bench. Then we head back to the car. Only to find a policeman standing next to it.

Steve walks towards the car and gets his keys out his pocket and hit's the remote control for the locks and the policeman lifts his hand in the universal stop gesture and says to Steve "Your car?"
"Yes" Steve answers.
"Is parked in wrong place." Says the cop as I dig into my pocket for my pack of cigarettes.
I light up and inhale once only to have the cigarette pulled from my mouth by the cop. "What the Fu..." I say and Steve hushes me into silence. This may be wise so I keep my mouth shut. I watch as the cop takes a drag from my cigarette and crushes it under the sole of a well polished boot.

The cop tells Steve that we are parked in a dangerous area. Steve replies that as we're just leaving then everything is OK and he'll remember not to park here in the future.
"Is no good" Says the cop. "Is too late. You come now"
"Say again?" Steve inquires.
"You come now. We go. This way." Says the cop and turns around to point at a building behind us. We see that we are parked almost directly opposite the cop shop.

We walk across the road to the police station and walk into the cool building. The cop who accompanies us smiles to his compatriot and says something in Portuguese. Steve and I look at each other in puzzlement still unsure of what is happening. We were soon to find out.

The cop motions for us to follow him through a large wooden door. We do so, hoping that we are not in any kind of trouble and are merely about to get a lecture on how dangerous it is for two white guys to be walking around without knowing where we are. Not so.

As soon as the door opens we see a small corridor running along the side of the building. Directly opposite the wall that faces out onto the street outside there are bars. And cells. I say to Steve "Holy Fuck... It's a jail."
"Don't worry we're probably just walking through here to get to somewhere else." Steve says as he points to a door at the far end of the corridor. I hope he's right.

He isn't.

We arrive at the last cell and the cop opens the door in the bars and points inside with his thumb. "You go." he says. We do as we are told.

We walk into the cell and see that we have an old blind woman and a cast iron piss pot for company. Steve and I begin to talk about why we're in jail and Steve puts forward the suggestion that we are here while they check on who we are. "There's a lot of tension in the African states at the moment what with the thing in Guinea with Maggie Thatcher's son. They'll no doubt be checking that we aren't wanted on any charges by Interpol."
"Fuck me." I say. "Do you think they'll find out I'm wanted in London?"
"You're what!" Steve asks with panic in his voice.
"There's an arrest warrant out on me in London." I reply.
"What the hell for?" Steve enquires.
"I parked illegally and never paid the fine." I say.
"I doubt Interpol will waste their time and money on chasing that up. Jesus Christ, I thought you were about to tell me you were on the UK most wanted list."
"Not yet." I say, and take a look around at where we are. "But the day aint over yet."

We sit on the concrete bench that is against one wall and wait. About fifteen minutes later the door at the far end of the corridor opens and we hear the sounds of footsteps approaching.

I pull my sunglasses from my pocket and slip them on. Thinking as I was that fear is only easily seen in the eyes I don't want the cops to see the fear in mine. The cop pulls level with the cell door, opens it, and tells us to come with him.

We are lead back along the corridor and are taken into a room where a large bellied man sits behind a desk. He doesn't look very friendly. He looks at me with my sunglasses on and tells the other cop to take them from me. The cop duly does as he is told and hands them to his, I assume, superior. The cop behind the desk takes them from his subordinate and slips them on. "Thank you for the gift my friend." He says to me and I think about telling him to give me my sunglasses back. But I decide not to push the limit of this guy's patience. He looks the type to burst faces first and blame a fall down the stairs later.

Steve asks why we have been placed in jail. The guy behind the desk says in broken English that it is because they do not know who we are. Steve tells them that we are on holiday and are staying at Guinjata Bay and only came into town to see the town and to do some shopping. The desk cop smiles and says "You lie." Steve tells him that we are tourists and that our passports are in the car if they want to check them. They refuse.

The desk cop begins to rant and rave that he thinks we are mercenaries who are here to help overthrow the government and kill the president. He smashes his fist into his desk and begins to shout that Tony Blair is evil and he and George W Bush want to control the worlds oil supplies and keep the Black, Asian and Middle East people in chains and bondage for the rest of time. Normally I would have agreed but I keep my mouth shut.

After a few more minutes of listening to the desk cop rant about every coup attempt in every part of the world he stops as Steve asks him if we get to make a phone call. I used to think that was a cliche but the cop caves in and asks who Steve intends on calling,
"You are going to call your commander and tell them that you have been captured by the Police?" He says sarcastically.
"Actually I was about to call the South African Embassy to get the diplomatic liaison down here to chew you a new arsehole for illegally holding a South African citizen." Steve says, "And he's going to call the British Embassy and get them to come down on you like a ton of bricks."

The desk cop looks at his partner and says something in Portuguese. We look at each other and wonder what the hell is about to happen. Are we going back to the cells or are we being taken to a small soundproof room to be beaten with rubber hoses and electrocuted while we are strapped to the frame of an old bed? God only knows.

We are lead out of the room by the fist cop and are lead out into the street. He tells us to park better next time and walks back into the Police station and leaves us standing outside in the blazing sun with extremely puzzled looks on our faces.

As we walk across the road towards the car I ask Steve what in Gods name just happened. "Don't talk, just walk." He says. "Lets get the fuck out of this place." In the car on the way back to Guinjata Bay we sit in silence and wonder to ourselves what happened and how did it all end so abruptly.

We arrive back at Guinjata Bay to find Steph and Tamlyn back at the hut. They can't believe what happened to us and pour us a nice big drink. Steve and I look at each other and laugh out loud at the strangeness of it all. It all seems like some kind of hidden camera gag but without the reveal being presented to us.

Even after the day I've had I still say I'd live in Inhambane. Easily. As long as I don't have to visit the cop shop again. It's nice on the outside but inside.... Trust me, you don't want to see that.

It's about time...

That I got myself a girlfriend.

Most of my friends, my mum, my sister and my sister in law have at some point suggested that I put an ad in the local newspapers to meet people. I may be single but I'm not about to sell myself as though I was a beige Ford Cortina. Maybe it's just me but I think that I'm better off staying single unless I meet someone who lights up my soul and makes me feel truly alive.

Another thing that has been suggested is speed dating. I'm not about to lower myself to that though. How in gods name can you get to know someone in the space of a minute? I pride myself on being a reasonable judge of character but I'm pretty sure even the craziest loon could act normal for a minute. I know I can. If I concentrate.

Another shift finishes.

As does another day.

Tonight was mayhem at work. The temperature behind the bar hit 100 degrees early on and didn't drop in the slightest. The sweat that was pouring down my back made the crack of my arse feel like it contained a river.

I did have a little fun at the end of the night when I managed to get a hold of some helium balloons inhaled the contents and began shouting for the people in the bar to begin drinking up. That always makes me laugh. Apparently it's like being told to drink up by one of the smurfs.

There was also the news that Kirsty is pregnant. And guess what? The Father of the baby to be has decided he doesn't need the inconvenience in his life and is going to Australia. How fucked up is that? This guy gets a very nice woman pregnant and has the audacity to leave her to bring up his child on her own. It makes me ashamed that I'm the same sex as this fucktard.

Don't get me wrong now, I'm not saying that this guy is a total fuckwit. Perhaps he's not. But going by how easily he can walk away from his child I'd definitely file him under Fuckwit in my book. I hope he gets eaten by a dingo.


Ready for another fun filled night.

Well, I'm off to work again. Lucky me.

I'll post something tonight for all of you to get your teeth into. If you have teeth that is. You may be some new hybrid alien/human beast who slurps its food rather than chewing. A bit like a pensioner who can only have steak if they whack it into a blender and hit the button normally used to make smoothies. And speaking of pensioners who need to eat through a straw...

I'm off to work.

Stay happy.

Midday. Saturday.

It's just past midday and I've been out my bed for less than an hour. Does that make me a lazy swine? Not really, I think.

I have work tonight and it's gonna be busy. We've got a function on in the upstairs lounge and the Saturday Social is on for the old buggers to dance themselves into a fainting fit and drink lemonade until they fall into a sugar induced coma. I'll be working upstairs at the function so at least I'll have some women to flirt with. Damn my job is hard. Yeah sure.

I'll be working with Kirsty as well so there will also be another opportunity for me to work the Douglas magic on her. Ho ho. Now that's a laugh. I have no chance. And I'm not being self defeatist either, she's too far out my league. She's a racing yacht cutting through the swell of the Adriatic proudly while dolphins breach the water at her bow and whales surface on the horizon, and I'm a remote controlled speed boat on the surface of the local municipal park pond avoiding half sunk Coke cans and used condoms.

And now I'm off to read my latest book The Trials Of Lenny Bruce.

Have a nice day.

Quardraplegics stand and be counted.

I did intend on writing more from my Notes From Africa series tonight but instead I've decided to leave that for a couple of days to get my inspirational juices flowing.

And speaking of getting my inspirational juices flowing I really think it's about time I made the effort to take to the stage. I've warbled on for the last year or so that I'd like to do stand up as a career and if I don't do it soon I have the feeling it may just pass as another flight of fancy in the flight of fantasy that my life is.

The time has come to change. Monday nights from now on I will try my best to be at The Stand Comedy Club. If I'm to be a stand up I need to be in an environment suited to being one. I'll make a conscious effort to do this. Tempus fugit, Carpe Diem and all that jazz.


Between shifts. Again.

It's not that long since I posted my last little snippet from planet Ross. Just a few hours really. A mere drip in the ocean on the cosmic scale of things.

Once again I'm between shifts at work. I begin a whole new glorious day at the club in less than 9 hours. How much fun have I had today? Don't attempt to answer that. It was a rhetorical question, with just a hint of sarcasm.

Not to worry though, I have Friday night off and am not back on shift until Saturday night at 5pm. During which time I feel I should be drinking heavily. Jolly good plan huh? What says you?
"Yes" you cry out, in unison. "You don't dedicate nearly enough time to drinking heavily..."

So Right at this moment I'm off to my bed to sleep. Stay happy.


Between shifts.

I'm only home for a couple of hours between shifts at the club so I've decided I'd use the time wisely and let you all know a little bit about me.

I am, as you may have noticed from my picture, a man. I'm currently running at 33 earth years in age. I may make 40, I may not. I smoke, drink and take drugs. I like good music and people who make me laugh.

Things that get on my nerves; (In varying degrees.) Reality TV shows. Politicians. Organized religion. Ignorance and being ignorant. Political correctness. Closed mindedness. Uninformed opinion. Racism.

Things that make me laugh: (In varying degrees.) Monty Python. Spike Milligna. Bill Hicks. George Carlin. Robin Williams. Jeff Foxworthy.

Things that make me sad; (In varying degrees.) Poverty. Suffering. Heartache. Loss.

Things I do to make it a better world: (In varying degrees.) Give to charity. Treat people with respect. Make people laugh. Keep an open mind. Love life.

Seven people, living or dead, I'd like to spend a day with; Bill Hicks, Jesus, Hunter S Thompson, Timothy Leary, Jimi Hendrix, Einstein and George W Bush.

(Who wants to bet G. W. Bush wouldn't have a very good night?)

This list of things I feel I should document will, if I bother, be updated at a later date. Maybe. Right now I'm going to have a quick wank and a nap before my second shift of the day begins in two and a half hours time.

Have a nice day one and all.


Another day endeth.

And what have I done with it? Nothing. Nada. Zero.

I did however go into Gorgie to the Koffee Pot for a big breakfast while I read my copy of MCN. Then it was off round to my mate Steffs. He's just bought Moto GP for the X-Box and wanted me to crack open the riders for him. I'm good at that. It's one of my favorite pastimes. Playing Moto GP, or watching it, or reading about it.

And as I can't be bothered to write much more I'm off to bed.

My Notes From Africa series will be continued possibly on Friday night. You'll like it. It's the one with the wide eyes of a Scottish tourist, the wild eyes of a Mozambiquan Jailer, the pained scream of a fellow guest, bribery, corruption and bad parking choice... Stay tuned.


Notes from Africa. Part 8. Guinjata Bay. Day 6.

We're off into Inhambane today to do the touristy bit. See the town, stop for lunch, do a little shopping, harass the locals. That kind of thing.

Little did we know that today was the day that the president of the country was planning on paying a visit to the town and the shops were closing early so that the staff could go out into the streets with the rest of the town and spend the day driving up and down the main drag in the back of dilapidated old Iveco trucks while waving flags, singing and generally making lots of noise to celebrate his arrival.

I think to myself that this is the beginning of the end for some of these people. Little do they know that democracy is just another way for the people in charge to fuck you from the day you are born. Then? The shit will hit the fan. Hard. On the outside these people look as though they measure themselves on two things; Fear and farming. Or that is the impression I get from the emblem of the country of Mozambique which is prominently displayed on the local money and a town monument. It bears the picture of an AK47 and a plough. If the common man is tread upon by the new government I get the idea that the local freedom fighters will certainly step up to defend their idea of freedom. Many young men will fight and die. But I hope that is not the case. The people in Mozambique have suffered enough in the past.

We drive around town and take in the sights of political banners clumsily nailed to palm trees in a display of hope that the new president will be good for the country and it's people.

Young people of around 16 to 30 are prominent in the party. I have no idea if they voted or not but they were certainly the lifeblood of the constant parade down the main street. I'd like to have had the chance to get out and go with the flow of the thing but Steph isn't keen on the idea. And to be honest I could see why. It's not that it looked like trouble was very far away but having been in South Africa and seeing the hate and anger in the eyes of the black people there, I was slightly wary.

I'm pretty sure if the shit hit the fan and trouble did start that I'd have been alright in a tight corner and I'm sure Steve is the kind of person who could hold his own in a scrape, but I wouldn't like to get into that same situation with Steph and Tamlyn to worry about.

We stop in at a restaurant that had been recommended by Basil/Bruce from the Casa Lisa and we have a light lunch. I have hamburger with peri peri sauce that's hot enough to start fires if you were to pour it onto dry wood. I knock back a double rum and coke in one gulp to try to kill the heat in my mouth but it fails and I have to ride the hot flushes out for the next ten minutes while my mouth recovers from the scorching it just received.

Driving back to Guinjata Bay later on I feel a bit disappointed that we didn't get to take a walk around the town.

We all hit the beach when we get back to Guinjata Bay and Steve and I get right into the heart of the 10-15 Ft swell that is crashing onto the shore. I stay within standing height and let the waves come in and lift me up. I treat the surf like a rollercoaster and play around on the dips and swells of each wave as it makes its way towards the beach.

Steve has flippers on and spends about a half an hour body surfing on the waves about 20 yards behind me. When he catches the wave at the right moment I can watch him skimming along on the curve of it as though he was a dolphin. I give it a try and get nowhere as close to Steve's amazing distances but I do manage to look along the barrel of a wave a few times. Seriously good fun.

We head back to the hut and have dinner while sitting out on the porch drinking double Paradise Rum and Cokes.

After dinner we all head down to the beach for a moonlight walk. I decide that it is necessary that I take a swim in the moonlight tide. I whip my jersey and my jeans off and sprint for the water yelling "Last one in is a coward!" I swim out about 10 yards and float on my back staring at the moon. The water is warm and pleasant. I swim back into the beach to find Steve laughing at the fact that I went in.


I run along the beach to find my clothes and it helps to dry me off. I pull my jeans and jumper on and ignore the sand as it grinds into my crotch, along my neck and up the back of my legs. Tamlyn says something about me being nuts for going into the water and I tell her that she's the next one in as I grab her arm and begin to pull her towards the tideline. She begins to yell for Steve to help her and he decides that I've got the right idea. He grabs Tamlyns other arm and helps me to drag her into the surf.

Tamlyn says she can't go in because she has her mobile phone in her pocket. Steve takes the phone out of her pocket and Tamlyn resigns herself to walking into the surf up to her knees. I decide she's not wet enough and shove her lengthwise into an approaching wave. I go under the surface of the water with my arm wrapped around Tamlyn and I laugh out loud. We surface and Tamlyn makes a swipe at me with a very wet arm. She misses due to the weight of her wet clothes. I keep laughing.

After Tamlyn and I make our way out of the surf I make a lunge in Steve's direction and he takes off like a bat out of hell. I chase him for a short distance but then give up as I'm an overweight asthmatic smoker and he's fitter than I'll ever be. The only thing I'm fit for is the scrapyard. Or the glue factory.

We head back to the hut and I go to bed still laughing.

Notes From Africa. Part 7. Guinjata Bay. Day 5.

I awoke at 8am after having good nights sleep. Perhaps this was caused by my late nights and early mornings catching up on me. I've had two great lucid dreams.

I went for a walk on the beach to collect shells. There are lots of Conch shells washed up on the beach by the tide as it retreats.

I spent a few hours staring out to sea.

Read The Hiram Key by Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas.

Went to the pub with Steve to watch the Monaco F1 Grand Prix. Fun race in the latter stages. I still think F1 is boring compared to Moto Gp. But racing is racing so I watch as the ultra fast whizz past the ultra rich. A few double Paradise Rum and Spa Letta are had.

A blonde honeymooner with amazing tits sits behind me. I can see her reflection in the mirror on the wall just at the side of the TV screen. Ho ho. Should I watch the early stages of an F1 race where nothing ever happens or should I surreptitiously sneak a nice long look at this girls tits?

Later on things begin to hot up. The girls boyfriend has arrived and they are pawing at each other. And the race gets quite exciting too. As the last few laps take place I stop staring at this girl get felt up by her boyfriend and watch the closing stages of the race.

Back to the hut for a double rum and coke and dinner of chicken flattie in peri peri marinade, vegetables and mashed potato. More rum and coke.

Steve, Steph and I drive down onto the beach and take a nice long walk. The moon is up and the skies are slightly cloudy. The sunset is amazing. As you can see.

Sunset over Mozambique

Notes from Africa. Part 6. Guinjata Bay. Day 4.

This day has been reported here. I'm fucked if I'm typing it all out again.

Notes from Africa. Part 5. Guinjata Bay. Day 3.

I awoke early this morning. 2:17 to be precise.

My early awakening is mainly due to the fact that the mosquitoes here have made me dish of the week and also the thunder and lightning storm that is lighting up the sky and making the beach hut shake. I slip out of bed, pull on my jeans and make my way out onto the porch to watch the storm.

I've never seen a storm like this. The rain is bouncing off the sand in front of the hut as though the raindrops themselves contain an explosive charge. The sand is launched into the air as the giant drops slam into the ground and the air around me is filled with the smell of the sky being fried by the fork lightning that is flashing through the clouds like the Norse God Thor has decided to announce his arrival.

The sound of the rain smashing into the surrounding foliage and beach huts is like white noise. The constant hiss is reassuring. I feel as though I am inside the womb again. The only noises that filter through the hiss of falling rain is the faint beat of my heart, the steady smash of the waves on the beach and the giant BOOMs of the thunder breaking in the clouds above my head.

I think about waking Steve, Tamlyn and Steph just so they can witness the light and noise show that is being played out in the skies above, but I let them get some sleep. I sit and watch the storm slowly pass overhead and disappear into the distance taking the rain to another part of the coastline then I go back to bed.

Later in the morning I awake and stroll out of my room and find that Steve, Steph and Tamlyn have went for a walk on the beach. Or I presume they have. All I know is that they are not in the close vicinity of the hut. I pick up King Of Torts by John Grisham and sit on the porch and begin to read.

Steve, Steph and Tamlyn return from their walk and we have breakfast as the maid wanders around making the beds and cleaning up. I feel as though I should give her a hand but the language barrier gets in the way. I make a cup of coffee and I go sit on the porch with my book.

I spend the rest of the morning finishing the King Of Torts. Steve makes the comment that he can't believe I have read an entire book in the space of a few hours.

Later on we went to the restaurant and have a meal. The menu is brought to our table and I stare in amazement at the prices. It makes me laugh to see prices seem so high but actually be cheap compared to the prices I'd pay in Scotland.

Guinjata bay menu.

I have pizza. With everything.

We go into the bar and have a few drinks and Steve and I have a few games of darts. It ends in a victory for me. 3-2. An hour or two is spent thinking of things to make out of a toy poodle. Not for no good reason, there's a woman that works in the resort who has a small black toy poodle and it's sitting on the bar on top of a lace shawl. It's got a bow in it's hair. Steve and I create some humor by thinking up ways to end it's suffering. Suggestions range from, using it as shark bait, a rugby ball, using it to clear land mines, making it a soft toy for a rabid rottweiler to firing it from a cannon. By far the funniest suggestion is using it as a tampon for a horse.

After a few drinks we all head back to the hut and have another couple of drinks on the porch while the stars come out.

I'm in the mood...

For nothing. I don't want to write, TV sucks and if I have another wank today I'll probably wither away like the head Vampire when he gets staked in the heart in some old Hammer Horror movie...

Nice image to begin a post with huh? I liked it. It's the kind of thing that'll get your attention and make you go "Eeeewww" like you're a valley girl, Paris Hilton or some other kind of retarded mall rat.

I'm so bored. Kinda. Bored would mean some kind of lethargy has come over me but it aint. I'm not not in the mood to do something, I'm just enjoying doing nothing. Does that make sense? Fucked if I know. I have some time off from writing and I forget how to construct a sentence. Just my luck.

I'm off to bed.


Cut off at the neck...

My phone line has been "offline" for the last few days so I've not been able to reply to any of my mails or post on here. Perhaps I should have paid the bill sooner... Selah.

It's been a dull week this week. Nothing much very exiting has happened. Nada. Nix. Zero.

I've just finished reading Digital Fortress by Dan Brown and have spent the last day going through the Da Vinci Code with a highlighting pen so I can take a look at the bigger story that is hidden within. I particularly want to read up Leonardo Da Vinci as he seemed like an amazing human being. A bit nuts perhaps, but crazy people are always more colorful. Fuck beige.

The other thing from the Da Vinci Code I want to look into more is the number PHI. I'm not very good at math but I'll sure as hell try to get a laymans grasp of what this number is all about.

Now I'm off to lie down for a bit.


Drinky time.

Steve arrived yesterday for a few days in Edinburgh after having flown out from south Africa on the same day as Tamlyn and I. He went over to Ireland to surprise his sister Angie for her 40th birthday.

My Dad is taking us out to see Roslyn chapel as Steve wanted to go and see it. I'm also very interested at the thought of it since reading the Da Vinci Code and also two books by Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas called The Hiram Key and The Second Messiah.

After seeing Roslyn Chapel we drive back into town to meet up with my cousin Brian as he has arranged a meal at the Veranda restaurant Beer is drunk and a nice curry is had. After the meal my Dad, Brian, Steve and I walk across the road to Ryries to have a drink while we wait for Tamlyn to arrive from Fife by train. The plan is to meet up with Tamlyn and her boyfriend Scott and then head along to the open mic night at the comedy club. The plan doesn't quite go as it should.

Tamlyn arrives and more drinks are bought. Steve and I get straight onto the double dark rums while Scott and Brian have drink pints of Stella Artois, my Dad has beer and Tamlyn has double long vodka's. All topics are discussed and argued about. Music, Films, Comedy, Authors and Politics are all dissected and stripped down. My Dad claims Dwayne Eddie is the best guitarist that ever lived. We all turn as one and say "Jimi Hendrix." He tries in vain for a second to defend his position but is shouted out by everyone else naming guitarists that make Dwayne Eddie look bad. Stevie Vai, Ry Cooder, Joe Sattriani. Jimmy Page, Pete Townsend, Angus Young etc etc etc... Dad gives up and the rest of us try to outdo each other on musical knowledge.

My Dad heads home leaving us all in Ryries.

Tamlyn decides we should all do shots and gets half a dozen Aftershocks. Steve attempts to fit the shot glass in his mouth and swig it over in one, and almost does. If it wasn't for some of it drooling down the front of his shirt. He slurps and slavers with aftershock dripping out his mouth and drinks another normally. I whack back two in the space of ten seconds and Tamlyn drinks one. Brian surfaces, drinks an aftershock and mumbles incoherent shit. Scott sits with a look of shock on his face that we're putting alcohol away so fast.

Scott makes an innocuous comment that we are drinking "hardcore" and Brian tells Scott he looks like a gangster. Scott takes offense to this and begins to try to state his umbrage at Brians comment. I sit laughing as Steve and Tamlyn try to tell Scott to ignore Brian as he's just pissed out his mind.

Ten minutes later Brian is bundled into a taxi because he's out his head. He's had three pints, 3/4's of a bottle of wine, four straight double vodka's and a blue Aftershock.

Later the four of us left walk across the road to get something to eat before Tamlyn and Scott have to get the train back to fife. After taking a piss against the DSS building we stagger across to the train station and wait for the train to arrive. Scott struggles to get through the barrier and stands in frustration as the machine will not accept his ticket. I spot that there is a wheelchair access that is opened and walk through and ask Scott if he has a problem. He looks shocked that I've managed to walk through a row of metal barriers. He's so drunk I don't think he worked out how I did it.

Goodbyes are said and Scott is lead away by Tamlyn down the corridor to get to the platform.

Steve and I go into the Caledonian Ale House for another drink. We have a double rum and a semi-drunk philosophical conversation.

Steve tells me that he sees life as a set of waves. All you have to do is get picked up by a wave and let it take you where it needs to, then you paddle back out and do it again. I agree. Not because I feel I should but because it is the same as I feel.


Notes from Africa. Part 4. Guinjata Bay. Day 2.

I think I may be slightly hungover. I don't know if it was the six packs Steve and I drank last night or the rum and cokes I sat drinking until 4am while chatting to Tamlyn or it's due to the fact that I've not smoked as many cigarettes as I normally do. Whatever it is I'm coughing my lungs up and have a pounding headache.

The second day in Guinjata bay has been spent at the beach splashing about in the surf, snorkeling and sunbathing. The beach here is awesome. There is nothing to look at but the golden sand and the waves as they lap the shore.

The sand under my feet squeaks. I've never known sand to do this. It's bizarre.

After a few hours on the beach we go back to the hut and get ready to go to the pub for a couple of drinks and a few games of darts. Steve digs his GPS gadget out and informs me exactly where I am in the world. I'm sitting at South 24 degrees 4 minutes .437 seconds East 35 degrees 29 minutes .783 seconds. I joke that in a thousand years time my followers will be making pilgrimages to the very spot where I sat. I don't think that's very likely but it costs nothing to dream.

G8 in Edinburgh. The sensible thing to do.

There is a lot of hooha in the news this week about Bob geldof's call for a million people to descend on Edinburgh to make their voices heard in the fight to clear the debts of the poorer countries around the world.

The Police force (Who are voting on whether to take strike action) and the Edinburgh Council have said that calling for a million people to drop into Edinburgh to show their support for this cause is irresponsible. Council Leaders and Senior Police officers have voiced their concerns about the safety of those involved in the march and also of residents of Edinburgh.

As an Edinburgh resident I would like to add my opinion to this debate. So, here goes...

To all of those people out there who are thinking of coming to Edinburgh to show your support for the Make Poverty History campaign...
Feel free to come along. The more people we have here marching peacefully the better. If you find yourself caught short and cannot take a piss behind a tree or find a nearby public toilet then politely ask a resident if you can use their toilet. Edinburgh people are generally a warm friendly bunch of folks and will more than likely be willing to let you do so. Just as long as you put the seat down after you've finished and don't make the loo smell like an Australian sheep shearers armpit.
To those protesters who think that sticking a chair through the window of the McDonalds is a great laugh and will bring down capitalism...
Keep out. You will not help this cause in any way. You have your beliefs and I respect you for that but remember that if you kick a dog and it bites you back you only have yourself to blame. Causing mayhem on the streets and smashing the windows of Dorothy Perkins and overturning police vans will only give the government more reason to remove your, and everyone else's, freedoms. Please remember that the government have the power to make protesting illegal and will do so if you insist on attempting to cause riots in the streets of Edinburgh. And not only that but I'll be the first person to kick your arsehole if you do so in my home city.
To the leaders of the city council...
Quit scaremongering the residents of this city into thinking that Geldof has just told 1million anarchists to come to Edinburgh to rob, loot and pillage like a modern day Viking horde. This is more than irresponsible, it's fucking nuts. You should know better. If you do not stop this at once I'll send you to your room with no dinner.
To the Lothian and Borders Police force...
Please remember that the people on the streets are exactly the same as you and only want to show their support for a very good cause. I know the temptation to crack some skulls open and pretend Edinburgh has become a live and interactive version of the LA Riots will be high but please try to resist the urge. We, the peaceful protesters, only want to help others. As, I'm sure, is the reason why you joined the police force in the first place.
To Edinburgh residents...
Calm down. The seventh level of Hell has not been opened and fire and brimstone will not fall from the sky. You and your family will be safe. There are no bogeymen in your wardrobe and the nasty Anarchists will not rape your pets and set fire to your Ikea sofa. The people who will be coming to show their support for this noble cause should, for most, cause only a little disruption in your life. Your bus may be late but you will not be savaged by long haired freaks who have dried in crusty semen on their trousers and a menacing look in their eyes.
And that is my views and suggestions for how we can all work together to help the children of the world from dying needlessly from diseases that we can cure easily.

Remember, that if it wasn't for the serendipity of you being born in the developed world...

It could have been you.
Or your Father
Or your Mother.
Or your child...

All new and improved...

Work tonight was brightened considerably with the arrival of a new barmaid. Kirsty. Damn she's hot. "Smokin Hot" would be the more apt phrase to use here but she has this web address and I'd hate for her to think I'm blowing smoke up her arse if she reads this.

Normally good looking women aren't very gifted in the depth department but from our small conversations and my HST test questions I'd say she has more depth than the normal run of the mill looks-like-she-could-be-a-model type. Surprising really. She's also written a song so she's not afraid of creating something from the heart. Always a good sign if you ask me.

Work was quiet and the more hours I spend there the more my memories of Africa fade into the fog of the past. So it goes. That's life. But on a positive note I do always have my notes on Africa to read through and I can use them as an aid to memory.

The wicked witch of the west (Shirley) was her usual self. Bitter and twisted. But that's her through to the bone so no change there.

I spent most of the night regaling the members of the club with humorous stories of my African trip and they all seemed to be glad that I'd went there and came back a better person. And I'd agree with them. I do seem to be more affable towards people since my return. That's gotta be a good thing. Personal growth is always a commendable thing in my opinion. As is the ability to recognize that you have grown into a better person because of one small moment in the long history of human life.

Note: HST test is my way of finding out about someone through random questions. It's the Human Suitability Test. Feel free to use this as a judgment scale for your future interactions with new people.


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