Tuesday 23 July 2013

Booze, Lust and American Cars (Time for coffee, by the way)

My mate Henry, who makes all the cans for the beer and soft drinks companies in Angola had, a few days before, delivered the stainless steel barbecue grills he fabricated for me when Mike, the Swimming Pool King of Angola pitched up for a beer and a chat.  Mike is a very nice guy.  He is quiet, polite, reserved but he has that look about him that all experienced bar fighters recognize; if you fancy taking a swing at someone, pick someone else.  He built the two swimming pools over at Rico’s place so I had seen him around but I was on little more than nodding terms with him so I was a little surprised, but not upset, to see him sitting in my Jango (which, he tells me, is called a Lappa).  Clearly he had something on his mind.  If it’s about building the two swimming pools I need installing, I thought as I stepped towards the shop to get him a cold beer, he’s out of luck as with my cash flow problems the last thing on my list of priorities were swimming pools.  I just want to get the bloody restaurant open.

‘Is it alright if I pitch a tent on your land this weekend and have a braai over the weekend?’ he asked me as I poured his beer.

‘Sure’, I replied, ‘but better you erect it here in the Jango, I mean Lappa’, I told him, ‘Here you have cover and Henry has finished the braai so you can barbecue.’

Then he came to point of his visit, and this stretches coincidence. 

A few weeks ago, I thought I had pulled off a sweet deal with a surplus truck.  Roddie never came up with the two grand I wanted up front and I wasn’t going to let it go on a promise.  Then Henry and I were sinking a few in my Lappa (Jango is out now) when Henry asked me about my truck.  I told him I had completely overhauled it and showed him the invoice folder.  Like most beer fuelled conversations, no one was taking it really seriously but I could see he was impressed with the vehicle history folder.  Henry had a late 90’s model, fully loaded Jeep Grand Cherokee.

My Father once dismissed Japanese cars pointing out that they rusted so badly because they were made of recycled Pepsi-Cola cans.  Naturally, I respected my father’s opinion so restrained my juvenile yet enquiring mind and did not ask him what Alfa Romeos and Lancias were made of and why Japanese cars, unlike his Dagenham built Ford, could start on a cold day.  American cars, he went on to say, were only driven by pimps, wogs and pop stars.

Having seen the interiors of a few luxury American cars I have to confess, I tended to agree with him.  If you wear slip on shoes with tassles, trousers (pants) an inch or so too short with white socks, wear loud shirts in built up areas, tie your tie so that it hangs one inch above your belt and address everyone by their Christian names before confiding to a complete stranger the most intimate and often graphic details of personal health and family issues, I am sure you would enjoy quilted leather seats, shag pile carpets, genuine plastic wood trim machine cast from Formica trees and tolerate the incessant binging and bonging noises every time you got within three yards of your car to remind you that, yes, it is a car; that, yes, you have opened the door; yes, you’ve put the key in the ignition; and, yes, your flies are undone.

A couple of years ago, I had a top-of-the-range V8 Toyota Landcruiser fitted with every warning device possible.  It once shut down and refused to start.  I am sure it had detected high blood pressure and incorrectly diagnosed the imminent onset of road rage.  What was annoying me was that it was a Dubai sourced car.  The advantage was that it was well specced and, having been supplied by my employer, free.  The disadvantage was that as soon as I exceeded a very moderate, mundane, extraordinarily soporific 120 kph (74mph), the whole bloody dash lit up and the binging and bonging was manic.  Think about it. If I am passing a line of slow moving trucks over a crest on a blind bend while attempting to use the buttons on the steering wheel to skip the CD forward a few tracks to my favorite, undoing my seatbelt so I can retrieve the lit cigarette that just dropped into my lap and telling Marcia on the phone that I am nearly home and asking her if she wants anything special from the supermarket, I really do not need that kind of distraction.  Damn it, once I was so completely taken by surprise, I spilt my whisky.

Despite my father’s opinion of American cars, however, I always felt that cubic inches could not be beaten and yes, I have to confess, I admired Henry’s Jeep.  Its sodding great V8 American engine just purred when started.  The car was red.  In my younger days, red used to be my favorite colour.  Now that I am older, I prefer metallic silver but the red coachwork, and the growl of a ‘no shit’ motor rekindled that youthful lust so all my senses were suddenly alerted when Henry asked me about my truck.

‘Well,’ I said, taking a pull on my beer, ‘Roddie hasn’t come up with the deposit so I guess I’d be open to offers’

‘Would you be willing to deal?’ he asked me equally nonchalantly before pulling on his beer.

‘I like the kind of deal,’ I said lighting a cigarette, ‘where someone lays enough cash on the table to help me get over any emotional attachment.  I mean,’ I pointed out while taking a long drag on the fag, ‘Me and the truck go back, know what I am saying?  And now you want I should just sell him?’

‘Him?  HIM! It’s a bloody truck and it’s not doing anything!’ he protested.

‘Neither is my wife in bed but I’m still not going to divorce her.’  I replied.

I am sure he knew I knew he wanted my truck and I was sure that he knew I wanted his Jeep.  So we were playing poker with all but one of our cards face up.  The hidden card we each held indicated how badly I wanted his Jeep and how badly he wanted my truck.  Oh, how desperately I wanted to catch a glimpse of his card and I am sure he felt the same about mine.  On the other hand, it could have been a double bluff and a question of how badly he wanted to get rid of his Jeep and how badly I wanted to get rid of my truck.  Were we holding aces, or deuces?

Henry is a genuine Hard Bastard, I just pretend to be one but both of us came to the same conclusion.  Better to feign indifference.

Now, between two guys like Henry and I, such an impasse can last years. 

So instead we drank some more beers.

Henry knows that I am a reclusive beach bum and, therefore, not exactly in a hurry so he cracked first, but in an Oh so clever way.  Recognizing that money really doesn’t turn me on, he switched to friendship.

‘I’m not going to keep the truck’, he announced.

‘I know,’ I said, ‘you’re gonna flip it, you know someone who really wants it.’  I didn’t know at all, of course, but if you really want to get someone off their stride, get right up their nose, just let them think they aren’t telling you anything new.

Henry is such a nice bloke.  He has always been straight with me and bugger me if he hasn’t done me some favours.

If my truck was parked in the capital, Luanda, I’d have been inundated with offers for it.  Instead, I live in the bush.  It may be completely overhauled but it is still, considering the location in which it is, slowly rusting, a white elephant.  Henry lives in the city. 

‘I’ll do you a deal with my Jeep’, he said.

You see, this is the problem dealing amongst friends.  He knows I want a decent car again.  He knows I am getting a bit pissed off bouncing over potholes in a truck.  I can’t say it, it would be too cruel but I do wonder whether he had this meeting in mind when he lent me the car to go to the funeral.  He knows I will have been hurting for Marcia but I bet he was laying odds that on a four hour round trip, I might notice how nice the car was.

All I can advise when it comes to money is that if you shake hands with a Boer, count your fingers afterwards.  In fact, if you are one of those wussies who wears his watch on his right wrist, check that as well.

So I closed the deal with Henry.  In exchange for my truck I would receive a lovely Jeep.

Did I discuss this with Marcia?  Of course I didn’t.

I have lived in Angola for twenty years and have overcome many problems.  One has so far been insurmountable.  I do not have residency.  This means everything I own, I don’t.  Well, not legally at least.  The fact she has not stabbed me through the heart yet is, to me, clearly an indication of her undying love for if she did, she gets to keep everything.

And this brings us, in my usual roundabout way, back to Mike; his problem and the surprising coincidence.

The truck was bought and registered in Marcia’s name.  She holds the title and only she can sign the transfer documents.  It appeared that not only had Henry flipped the truck even before he had laid his hands on it, he had flipped it to Mike who now needed Marcia to sign the paperwork.

I burst out laughing.

‘You mean to tell me,’ I said, ‘that you have been passing by that truck every day since it arrived here and instead of making me an offer, you have bought it from Henry?’

‘I didn’t buy it,’ Mike corrected me, ‘I swapped an old Landcruiser for it’

Henry, the old Wheeler Dealer!  Obviously if Mike wanted to unload a 4x4, he clearly would not be interested in the Jeep.  So Henry had swapped his Jeep for something Mike would be interested in, my truck.  How’s that for living the Good Life in a cashless society?

Naturally I would be delighted for him to set up his tent in my Lappa, I reaffirmed, and christen Henry’s stainless steel barbecue grills (also obtained through barter).

In total, five tents appeared along with over twenty people of all ages, including Henry who was delivering the Jeep and would go home in the truck.  Then two Landcruisers turned up, a party of overlanders from South Africa in desperate need of somewhere to stay, a wash and scrub up and to do their dhobi.

‘Join the party!’ I invited them and showed them where to pitch their tents.

The driveway was now full of vehicles of every shape and size.  Among my visitors, apart from Mike and Henry, were a Cuban dissident, a diamond dealer, a charming couple who own a large vineyard and fruit orchard in the Ceres Valley, an engineer doing essentially the same thing I used to do, installing power stations, an absolutely stunningly beautiful, ever so petite young lady from Portugal (as a grumpy old recluse, I am not very good with superlatives but out of ten, I’d give her one), a couple who, in addition to touring Angola had also agreed to carry a parcel from the parents of an incarcerated drug smuggling son, currently residing in Viana Gaol, hordes of very well behaved children, fussing mothers and animated fathers.  As I have often reminded those endeavoring to intrude on my private space (about two hectares, I start to get irritated if anyone comes withing a hundred metres of me), I am a recluse but I could not have wished for a more eclectic and entertaining group.  Naturally, I had to watch my usually colourful language.  Boers are not only hard working, they are eerily God faring folk going to Church EVERY week, not just for funerals and weddings.  Imagine that.

The only downside to what turned out to be a most memorable evening was that Marcia and Alex were in town for the Missa.  Tradition dictates that a week or so after the funeral, the family must reconvene at the deceased’s house.  In an awful twist of fate worthy of a Greek tragedy, Marcia’s brother in law, on his way down to Luanda from Uige Province for the Missa, rolled his car and killed himself so the Missa turned into a wake and Marcia’s return was delayed.  Much as I felt sorry for Marcia, I felt really sorry for Alex.  He was missing out on a great party and two deaths in as many weeks would give any kid the heeby jeebies at night.

Henry launched his boat and took all the kids on trips up and down the river.  Since there were only a limited number of lifejackets, there was a queue which I kept occupied by teaching them to fish in my lake while Henry ran his tanks dry running repeat river excursions.  My new barbecue area proved perfect (it has a thatch roof and did not burn down) as did Henry’s grills.  The drinks flowed, the food seemed inexhaustible, I ran the overlanders up to my other place and filled all their freshwater tanks with sweet water from the well.  I engineered (much to the amusement of everyone else who all knew it was a set up) a lively discussion with the Cuban dissident who, when I discovered what he was, informed him I admired Castro and really wanted to meet him.  I was well ahead on points using the old, ‘do you really want Cuba to return to the old Batista and Yankee Mafia days’ ploy but then left myself open to a devastating right hook when I swung a crude haymaker suggesting that even Ernest Hemingway, my favorite author admired Castro.

‘Yes!’ exclaimed the Cuban with glee, ‘and he shot himself!’

I was down for the count.  I hate remarkably well informed opponents.

It was a heck of an evening and only ended around four in the morning.  At six, my bladder sent a message to brain saying, ‘Tell Tom to get out of bed and go for a slash or I’ll tell willie to ease springs right now’

Clearly, this was a Flash signal, UK Eyes Only, demanding an immediate response so I leapt naked out of bed, no time to fumble for glasses, and burst out of my room to release the whole of the previous evening into one superbly satisfying stream onto the palm tree adjacent to my door.

‘Jesus, that’s good!’ I gasped.

‘By Christ, I needed that!’ I exclaimed, leaning against the tree.

‘Fuck!  It’s never ending.  I’m pissing like a champion!  Bugger all wrong with MY prostrate’ I told the tree.

Giving the old tadger a good shake I was startled to hear a rather reserved cough.  Not quite as gentle as an ‘ahem’ but nowhere near anything as dramatic as someone hawking up a docker’s oyster on the sidewalk.

I did a smart right turn, tackle still in hand, and saw all the South Africans and other guests, presumably already having thanked the Lord for his bounty, enjoying breakfast in the lappa not ten yards distant.

I should start eating breakfast again, I thought.  Apparently, middle aged men who do not eat breakfast can increase their chances of a heart attack by twenty five percent.  I could see why.  By not joining them decently dressed I'd damn nearly died of one.

I could see by their faces that the kids thought this was way better than the breakfast cartoon channels they were used to while masticating Cocoa Pops and milk and, on the road in Angola, were evidently missing.

I was crushed.  Now I knew that by the irrefutable evidence of her own eyes, Miss Gorgeous from Portugal (I had really wanted to enjoy lurid dreams about her but given that it now takes me all night to do what I used to do all night, two hours sleep wasn’t enough) would know I wasn’t worth the effort.  All it needed was for some wit to say, ‘Do you know?  I honestly can’t see what Marcia sees in him’.

I can normally hold a gaze without any problem but I found hers, Miss Absolutely Perfect from Portugal, and her Mona Lisa smile cast across the table while we were having lunch, quite disconcerting.  I briefly wondered why she chose to sit exactly opposite me and had personally plated and served my food but was too hung over to tax my brain further than ensuring my fork hit my mouth.  Having, to my undying shame, urinated copiously and horribly naked in her lovely presence, I was disinclined to add to my ever increasing woe by dribbling food down my shirt.  She had reduced me to little more than a timorous school boy.

Then her husband turned up. 

I think everyone round the table knew I harbored ill-disguised and now, suddenly, illicit desires for this girl.  I didn’t know she was married.  Just because she has two delightful children in tow doesn’t in today’s society imply she is in any sort of permanent relationship.  Apparently, she lives in Portugal and he, her husband of whom I had no inkling, lives in Angola.  She had come to Angola to see him and after nearly two weeks, had not yet managed to hook up with her errant husband.  Yet as soon as he, on the grapevine, had picked up that she was to spend a whole weekend in the company of various expatriate strangers at my place, he had bust his gut to get here.  To be honest, I am being necessarily modest here.  I think he heard his wife was going to spend a night with a Hippo so bent the pedal to the metal.

He turned up in a shiny new Tundra, a mammoth 4x4 pick up usually driven by pimps, wogs and pop stars.  I have never before encountered anyone who met the criteria for all three.  His handshake, when I was introduced to him, was unnecessarily firm.  He was a monster.  Honestly, only a DNA test could separate, or confirm as I suspected, his connection to the missing link between us humans and the carnivorous homicidal maniacs that roamed the earth so many millions of years ago.  I could so easily imagine him using mammoth tusks as toothpicks.

They say that realizing you are about to die, your whole life flashes before you.  Either I am extremely odd or this is all bollocks because as he advanced towards me, I had a vision not of the unremarkable years of my existence but of Man’s discovery of fire.  I saw the coincidence, financially opportune for all future restaurateurs, of a man in a cave chipping at a flint axe and striking off a spark just as this guy let one rip in a confined space.

Marcia arrived bringing little Alex with her.  Honestly, a decent producer could turn this into a profitable television soap.  Apart from indecently exposing myself in front of children, I had done nothing wrong but I would be deluding myself if I expected it to escape Marcia’s attention that I was being stalked by Tyrannosaurus Rex in a smart suit while everyone else openly discussed (as people do at parties) at what point during the evening I had cuckolded him.  Old T-Rex didn’t really bother me; I have taken plenty of beatings in my time.  What really scared me was the idea Marcia would buy into the idea that what provoked a guy to drive hundreds of miles through the night to get here was true.  In that case I’d be mincemeat.  Jesus, I may once, or possibly twice, in my cups, have admitted a fancy to the girl but I always kept at least a dining table between us.  For goodness’ sake, I can’t see what all the fuss was about.  After all, it doesn’t matter where you get your appetite, so long as you eat at home.

Wouldn’t it be lovely if Marcia bashed me on the shoulder and said, ‘You old scallywag! I can’t leave you alone for five minutes, can I?’

I honestly didn’t expect Marcia to see it that way. 

If I left Marcia alone with all the gossiping girlies in the group, I was dead meat.

So I showed Marcia her new car. 

I plipped the plipper, opening and closing the doors.  I showed her how to electrikerytronically move her seat in three million directions.  Then I twisted the ignition and prayed to the over forty Presidents of the United States, Lee Iacocca, Caroll Shelby, Jay Leno’s garage mechanic, the Founding Fathers, all the reporters of NBC and the players, coaches, managers, owners and fans of the Chicago Cubs that the bloody thing would start first touch of the key.  And, of course, it did.  American engines are born to live and die hard.  And it purred, all eight cylinders.  I could have kissed its burbling exhaust.  You can’t beat cubic inches.

Marcia went for a quick spin.

She came back, tossed me the keys and told me to nip to the next town, buy a few crates of soft drinks and whatever.  It was the first time I had driven the car and I was enjoying the experience.  I had enough money to buy everything Marcia wanted plus a bottle of whisky and a couple of hundred cigarettes.  As I relaxed in its sumptuous interior, I realized two things.  Americans do know how to make cars for use on dirt roads and, secondly, I had got this restaurant thing all back to front.  I had filled my restaurant for the first time ever but instead of the clients coming in and paying me to feed them, they were feeding me so that they could use my restaurant.  Still, it had been a hell of a night.

Then I realized why Marcia had let me loose in her car.  The binging noise I could not at first identify was trying desperately to let me know the car was about to run out of fuel.  So as soon as I hit the main road, I pulled into the gas station and told them to fill it up.

‘You have pulled up to the diesel pump’, said the smugly helpful attendant, ‘this car runs on petrol’

Of course, silly me, force of habit and all that.  I realigned the car to everyone’s satisfaction and it started to take a drink.  After about five minutes or so, I checked underneath the car in case the fuel tank had a massive hole in it.  Then I checked the boot (trunk) and footwells to see if they were filling up.  Ten minutes later my brain was racing the pump counter which was inexorably racking up my bill, and comparing it with the cash I had on board.

‘Stop!’ I yelled.

Petrol is twice the price of diesel here, I know that, but I can fill either of my trucks with fifty bucks worth of diesel and it’ll last me a week and theyl haul three tonnes.  I had just dropped fifty bucks into the tank of the Jeep and as I pulled away, the needle of the petrol gauge barely registered a quarter full, such is the cost of relative luxury.

Naturally, the things at the top of Marcia’s shopping list are Starred Items (I get them or die).  The things on the bottom, my stuff, are optional.  Marcia’s car got it’s glug of fuel so whisky and fags were off the list for me.

On the highway, this car is smooth.  As I crested the mountain, I was in range of 96.5 FM from Luanda.  I haven’t a clue what radio station it is, what it is called, it’s just a number on the dial, but it is the best in Angola and I hadn’t heard it in two years.  When I peeled off the highway toward the Comuna and on to dirt road again, I was listening to ‘Gimme Shelter’ by the Rolling Stones.  For me, Gimme Shelter is the archetype soldier’s song.  It is redolent of sweaty jungle, of Marlboro packs secured in the rolled up arms of T-shirts, festering tropical ulcers, malaria, hunger, fatigue and not enough ammunition.  Back in the early nineties I was in NE Angola looking after some diamond buyers when the Army and the Police decided they had a score to settle.  The house being used as a diamond buying office was half way along the street along which, from opposite ends, the two groups were spraying evidently limitless amounts of ammunition at each other.  I didn’t have to encourage the buyers into their safe room and told the security team not to return any fire (any rounds hitting the villa were accidental, none of these bastards could shoot straight) and if any of them came over the wall surrounding the villa to just usher them out the back gate at the point of an Uzi.  In the meantime, I sat on the verandah out front, leant my chair back against the wall so only my eyes were peering over the low ornamental balustrade and cradled my Z-84 while listening to the Rolling Stones playing at full blast on the boogie box next to me.  The loud music and the fact I left the external security lights on were all an indication to them that they could fight to their heart’s content amongst themselves but leave us the fuck alone otherwise they would quickly grasp the military advantage of ‘careful, aimed shots’.  With the tracer flashing backwards and forwards only twenty yards in front of me and Gimme Shelter blasting out was one of those surreal moments the memory of which is etched indelibly on my mind.

The gear box on the Jeep has something called ‘Quadra Trak Shift On The Fly’.  Apparently, you can climb walls with it.  I left it in two wheel drive and as I came off the tarmac and onto the dirt, I gave it a boot full of right foot and entered the Comuna sideways on opposite lock kicking up rooster tails in one long power slide.  Gosh, I was enjoying this car.  First time I have driven a car in ages.  Alex thought it was brilliant.  I thought it was brilliant.  Everyone else dived for cover.

I was in an exceptionally good mood when I returned.  I was chirpy.  I’d forgotten all about the fact that Marcia can be exceedingly jealous, a condition which, as far as it concerned me, should carry the direst of health warnings.

Then I saw Marcia and Miss Universe of Portugal engaging in animated conversation.  Christ, when it came to beating me up, there’d be a queue.  I only hoped T-Rex would be first, he would be stupid enough to knock me out first punch.  Marcia would take her time torturing me.

‘Andy!’ Marcia called out.  She calls me Andy, by the way, ‘Come and say hello!’

Considering I had spent the whole of the previous evening wanting to say ‘hello’ to this girl and then do the ‘coming’ afterwards, I was a tadge bemused.

‘Can you get a piece of paper and a pen?  We want to swap telephone numbers and email addresses!’ Marcia exclaimed.

I must be one of the spawniest bastards alive.

‘Sure,’ I said walking on air towards the room.

On the way the couple carrying the parcel for the incarcerated drug smuggler intercepted me, thanked me for my hospitality explaining they had to leave and then asked me how to get to Viana Prison.

Hmmn. How to get to Viana Prison? I thought.

I was on a high and bouncing gaily down insanity beach with a gutful of booze, only two hours sleep under my belt and loins full of unpunished lust.

‘I don’t know,’ I said, ‘murder someone?’


  1. Your blog is always an enjoyable read! Enjoy the Jeep. Hope it runs as well as mine does. It's a 1942 Willys MB still going strong. Daily driver here on the farm.

    1. I'd love a Willy's. The trouble is the willie I have just gets me into trouble...

    2. Mine was made before they were covered with plastic like your (new) one, and when they still called them Willys. :-)

  2. American eh? Word to your mother, yo baby, never leave the engine ticking over while you try to fill the tank - you'll never keep pace...

    Splendid beastie. There is indeed nothing to beat the sound of a lovely lumpy V8. My first straight-six XJ's engine sounded nice when wound up, but in truth it still sounded like just a very expensive sewing machine and I wished it was a V8. Ten, twelve and sixteen cylinder Ferraris? Nope, no thanks, they just sound as though they're in pain, please give me a V8. Burble burble burble...

    Burble burble burble woofle burble. Burble. Nice one!

    1. It's only the wonderful engine that enables me to put up with the cheap plastic and formica interior that every visitor to an American starred hotel has to endure. It is utterly tasteless but so wonderfully brutal.

      Thanks for the tip to switch off while filling, by the way! This thing is thirstier than I am!

  3. You lied. That was definitely a two cups of coffee story, not one.
    A great story AND you came out smelling of roses. Well done old chap.
    Maybe you should consider spending a few bob and get your eyes done and thus avoid any future situations involving beautiful ladies and potential hospital visits. :)

    A young lad at school gets asked by a young girl, "What is a penis?" So that evening, he asks his dad what a penis is. Dad drops his pants, points to the old fella and says, "Son. That is a perfect penis" The next day at school he sees the young girl. He drops his pants and says to her, "That is a penis and if it was 6 inches shorter it would be perfect"

  4. I'm late with my comment because I had to go and lie down for a while. I'm not really a car person, as long as it doesn't break down, and starts when asked, I'm reasonably happy. But I did recently own a bloody great 3.5 litre Rover SDi that drank more than I do and sounded like a Spitfire. I changed the beast for a Renault 4; it just wasn't right in the French countryside. I'm exhausted again.

    1. Cro Magnon,I am not surprised you are exhausted: An R4 - at your age? Mine was black.

      Once upon a time I had a love affair with a Deux Chevaux. And whatever Hippo's father may have had to say about rust, Citroens make my heart sing. Drove one (a Turbo Diesel Estate - white) for about seventeen years and many miles all over Europe, till some bastard decided to go for a joy ride. Write off. Am still heartbroken. Why am I telling you this? Must be the Roquefort in you.


    2. By coincidence, I also once owned a V8 Rover SDI and an R4 with a walking stick gear lever sticking out the dash. I used to take the R4 onto military training áreas when I was conducting recces for excercises, it could go places even a landrover couldn't.

      I always liked Citroens, especially the orginal DS.

    3. My first car in France was a blue 2CV. I loved it.

  5. Replies
    1. Sorry it was a long one but I have been unable to sleep lately so have plenty of time on my hands. Glad you enjoyed it though.

  6. Your wheeling and dealing is so voluminous I will begin confusing you for a money market trader. Initially I thought this deal was related to the Roddie deal, but obviously I wasn't paying attention, and I can't say that my scepticism was warranted, (he wrote convincingly), second hand car dealers an' all.

    I too am concerned to hear that a jango should actually be referred to as a lappa. I had wonderous visions of something related to Tarrantino, especially when the Django had heavy ashtrays being utilised and buckets of blood followed. Ah well, my illusion is shattered, and all I can hope is that the new veHicle as our across-the-pond friends say, does not suffer the same fate.

  7. A friend who was 'Our man in Malawi' always referred to his terrace as a 'Condi' (sp?). This may have been a Swahili word, and we still occasionally call ours the Condi.

    Peter Mayle aint got nothing on you

    1. Know any publishers who would take my kind of shit on?


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