Well, I've just returned from deepest, darkest Africa. Once again I was stuffed into my male staff's suitcase, only this time it wasn't nearly as cosy because I was surrounded by dirty socks and underwear. At least I didn't have put up with the appalling service and inedible food meted out by the airline. I had a good supply of lettuce and a lot more legroom than my staff, who's complaining could be heard even above the noise of the engines.
As promised by my staff we went bush once he's finished his business (Guzzling wine and stuffing his face with biltong.) in Durban. We stayed in something called a lodge which was in something called a game reserve, though I didn't see any games. Here I wasn't confined to our room and was able to go on "game drives" with my staff. (Still didn't see any games.) I did see lots of strange animals though including a large, lumpy faced thing with tusks that looked like a guinea pig from hell. We were told it was a warthog. There was something called a lion who looked very friendly and cuddly, but my staff refused my invitation to stoke it. Then there was a big, grey wrinkled thing with ears the size of a bed sheet and an enormous floppy nose - no not my male staff. Best of all was the rhino which I had been looking forward to seeing ever since we arrived. I was disappointed not to be met by one at Durban airport and even more disappointed not find one in town. Nevertheless, it was worth the wait. We were told he was a black rhino, though he wasn't, he was grey. I think the guide might have been a little colour blind. Maybe the name simply refers to the animal's wonderful sense of rhythm.
On the way back to Durban airport we passed a cluster of round buildings that were supposed to represent a traditional zulu village of bygone times. I was surprised because I had no idea that the zulus of previous centuries were so sophisticated. There was a traditional zulu casino with traditional neon lights, a traditional zulu petrol station and a traditional zulu car park full of traditional zulu cars. Funny, I don't remember Wilbur Smith mentioning any of these things.
So now I'm back home and suffering from what my staff calls jetlag. I keep wanting to sleep in the middle of the day and I wake up in the middle of the night and start yelling for my breakfast only to be told that it's two in the morning and that I should go back to sleep unless I want to be deported back to Africa and fed to a warthog - charming! Nothing much has changed while I've been away. Badger is fatter and has been perfecting his psycho stare, which I must say is coming along nicely. The budgies still chirp all day and disturb my beauty sleep, which I have to confess I don't really need and my female staff still goes out to work in a health field even though the weather is getting quite cool now and all the recent rain must be making the field very muddy.
My male staff has to go to London next week to see his Mother who is very sick in horsepiddle. He's promised to take me, and I have mixed feelings about that because while I'd like to see the Queen and Kate and Wills and the rest of the Royal gang I'm not so sure about entering a horsepiddle. It seems as though anyone who goes into one of these places gets sick. Look at my female staff's Dad for example. He went in about three weeks ago and got so sick he still hasn't come out. Wish me luck.