Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Grim Reaper

We've all done things we wish we hadn't.  For a start there are millions of people here in Australia who wish they hadn't voted for Tony Abbott.  In fact it's almost impossible to find someone who'll actually admit to doing so, apart from shock jock and utter prat Alan Jones and that so called journalist Andrew Bolt.  Someone must have though, because we now find that the plonker is our Prime Minister.  I'm sure George Dubya wishes he hadn't woken up one morning and said "I know, lets invade Iraq."  I myself have done one or two things that I don't really like to talk about, but since nobody reads this blog I think I can do so quite safely.  I once - ahem, I once ejaculated into my male staff's hand.  Yes I know, it was a disgusting and shameful act, but frankly it was his own fault and bad timing on his part.  He should never have put his hand between me and my old pal Badger's butt.  There I've said it.  I'm not proud of it, but we all make mistakes, yes even me.  Then of course just a couple of weeks ago Baci was caught red handed bonking a butternut pumpkin.  Don't try to tell me he doesn't regret that, at least the getting caught bit anyway.

Take my female staff for example, apart from that other huge error of judgement when she married my male staff, even she has made one or two faux pas.  There was the time when at university she got hammered, fell flat on her face and broke her nose.  That hardly counts though does it?  It seems that most humans do that a some stage or other, it's how they learn that while vodka may look like water, it has different properties entirely.  No, the occasion of which I write concerns a boring night at what was known in the nineteen seventies as a Shearing Shed Ball because the venue was one of the local sheep shearing shedsMy female staff comes from a big C and little c conservative farming family and her Father was a rather imposing figure, strict and with a very short fuse.  He also had a well deserved reputation for arriving very early for any appointment or dinner date.  The family had been known to turn up for a dinner party an hour before the appointed time while the hosts were still showering and getting dressed.  My female staff would have done well to remember this.

She was sixteen and on her summer break from boarding school with her frantic sister, who it seems was frantic even back in those days.  Anyway my female staff's Dad drove her to the venue and told her that he'd pick her up at eleven forty-five.  I think this must be because his Mercedes turned into a pumpkin at midnight or something like that.  In any case the ball turned out to be about as much fun as a visit to the vet for a thermometer up the old bottom passage, and by ten thirty my female staff was to be found sitting on one of many bales of hay in the shearing shed.  She was staring at the floor while a few drunk people danced lethargically to "You Picked a Fine Time To Leave Me Lucille".  She had just taken a drag on a cigarette, probably one of the last she ever smoked and returned her gaze to the floor.  Suddenly a pair of boots appeared before her.  "I know those boots." She thought.  She raised her eyes a little.  Above the boots were a pair of brown corduroy trousers.  "I know those trousers too." She thought.  At the top of the trousers was a leather belt.  " I recognise that belt as well."She mused.

 "Hello Dad," she said.  "You're early."
 "I hope that's just a cigarette you've got there."  He growled.  At that point my female staff's mouth overtook her brain at a blind corner and smashed head on into a truck as it tends to do in human teenagers.
 "Of course it is," she replied.  "I sold my entire stash of marijuana hours ago."
You know that horrible sinking feeling you get when you suddenly realise you've actually said something that you were planning only to think?  Well it was that feeling that jolted through my female staff's body at that moment.  Never a great one for humour at the best of times, let alone sarcastic humour at his expense my female staff's Dad's face started to to turn purple.  Not a good sign, I'm sure you'll agree.
 "I won't tell your Mother that you were smoking." He said. "But I'm very disappointed."  He smoked himself of course, as indeed did my female staff's Mum.  Anyway, it was at this point, as she stood to go and find her frantic sister that she accidentally dropped her lit cigarette onto the hay bale which started to smoulder briskly.  By the way, did I mention that her Dad was also the Captain of the local Rural Fire Brigade?  It was a very quiet ride home.

When my male staff was ten years old he was deemed just about responsible enough to stay at home while his Mum and Dad went shopping with his two year old mad sister.  On this particular day he mooched about the house, watched some television, ate some cookies, played with the dog and then grew bored.  In the kitchen on one of the benches he found a small glass filled with golden liquid.  He sniffed it.  It smelled okay.  He was cautious because he'd been caught out before a few weeks earlier.  He'd been foraging through the fridge to something nice to eat and found what he thought was a nice refreshing glass of orange juice.  He grabbed it and took a big slurp only to discover that it was in fact beaten egg yolks.

On this occasion he was taking no chances.  He dipped a finger into the golden liquid and tentatively sucked it.  It was sweet, rather pleasant actually, so he drained the lot and wished it had been a bigger glass.  He put the empty glass in the sink and went upstairs to read his comics.

Half an hour later he heard his parents and mad sister arrive home and went downstairs to see if they'd bought him anything interesting.  They hadn't, but his Mum was asking his Dad in a loud voice if he's seen "That rat poison we left on the kitchen bench."  His Dad said no, he hadn't seen it.
 "Are you sure?" Said his Mum.  "It was in a glass on the bench."
Suddenly my male staff was burning up inside.  Panic stricken, he admitted to drinking the rat poison and asked what would happen to him.
 "Oh." Said his Mum casually, "You'll probably die."
 "Shouldn't we go to the doctor?" Asked my male staff, astounded by the callous disregard of his plight by his parents.
 "Nah. "Answered his Dad. "It's too late now anyway.  The doctor won't be able to do anything.  Rat poison is really deadly.  I'm afraid you've had it."
 "Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!" My male staff burst into tears. "What can I do?" He sobbed, wondering when the crippling stomach pains would kick in."
 "Well for a start," suggested his Mum. "You can go up to your room and keep quiet.  I'll come up in an hour or so to see if you're still alive." My male staff raced up to his room and buried his head in his pillow, sobbed nad wailed "I don't wanna die!" occasionally and waited for the Grim Reaper.  An hour and a half later his bedroom door opened.  It wasn't the Grim Reaper, but his Mum.  She sat on his bed and told him to stop crying.
 "I hope you enjoyed the cooking sherry." She said.  "Now don't do that again."

Ackchooly I don't regret having that affare with the butternut pumpkin at all. It was beeootiful wile it larsted.  So wat if I never see her again, she'll always stay in my hart coz she was my furst luv.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

You Will Not Catch Ebola

Have I missed something?  Is an Ebola epidemic sweeping the world, killing millions?  Just this morning I was sitting on my cloud here in Piggy Paradise, just quietly nibbling on a lovely fresh dutch carrot (With the green bits still attached.) and browsing through my favourite newspaper,
For the concerned (deceased) cavy.
when I glanced down to see that the entire human race seems to have it's knickers in a knot.

Last time I looked, yesterday in fact, Ebola had caused fewer than five thousand deaths and all but a handful of those in just three nations, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea and yet you humans are terrified, so terrified that you are cancelling travel arrangements in your thousands.  Look, there are more than seven billion humans on planet earth, far too many actually and only five thousand have died of Ebola since the current outbreak began in February this year.  That's five thousand in eight months. Since February seventy times that many - yes that's three hundred and fifty thousand Africans have died from malaria according to the WHO (No, nothing to do with Roger Daltry.) without so much as a two line sentence in the Western media.  Why? Because most Western media "consumers" don't give a damn what happens to Africans,  yet a couple of white nurses die from Ebola and suddenly civilisation as we know it is coming to an end.  Yes Ebola it's a horrible disease, any guinea pig can tell you that, but lets put things in perspective.  If you are not living with or treating an Ebola victim you are not going to catch Ebola, so don't cancel your travel plans you daft buggers, unless your travel plans involve going to one of the three above mentioned countries to kiss or lick complete strangers and frankly I wouldn't recommend that in any country. Anyway let's face it, nobody goes to Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea on holiday.  Read my piggy lips.  YOU WILL NOT CATCH EBOLA. 

Here in Australia we have had two or three nurses return from West Africa with "flu like symptoms".  Rightly they were quarantined as a precaution, but as soon as the media got to hear of it the E word appeared in capital letters in every newspaper and was shouted on every radio station and TV channel.  The press could smell a great human tragedy story.  One that may even effect the West.  Imagine how disappointed these journalists were when the nurses' "flu like symptoms" turned out to be flu.

It was the same during the SARS outbreak. The media screamed of how dangerous traveling had become and that the moment you stepped off a plane in a foreign land you would almost certainly contract the disease and die horribly before you even managed to get as far as the immigration desk and have your passport stamped.  In the end the media were disappointed with that too, and bird flu - remember that?  All these diseases are incredibly hard to catch and statistically you are almost twice as likely to be struck by lightening as you are to catch Ebola, so come on humans, when are you going to realise that these days the media are not there to inform responsibly, they are there to make as much money as they possibly can by scaring the bush chocolate out of you.  Still, I supposed in the end humans and guinea pigs are not so different.  When we see a shadow gliding past we both run for cover without checking to see if it's a eagle or a sparrow.

In a few days time my male staff will be traveling to Perth in Western Australia to meet up with his Dad, his mad sister and her long suffering husband, who are staying there to visit long suffering husband's sister.  Then after a week my male staff and his Dad will fly back to Brisbane together so that his Dad can spend some time with my staff, thus allowing mad sister and long suffering husband to get up to all sorts of shenanigans - wild sex orgies, drug taking and serious alcohol consumption, or they might just go out for a cup of coffee and a sticky bun now and again.

The problem that now confronts my staff is was to do with male staff's Dad for ten days.  He's eighty five years old and has dicky knee that makes him slower than an asthmatic, arthritic sloth carrying a heavy bag of shopping.  They had thought of taking him to a four day cricket match in Brisbane but discounted that idea due to the high probability that the game would be over by the time they got to their seats in the grandstand.  He's stayed at my staff's house on several occasions and therefore has seen all the big local attractions.  There's "The Big Cow" for example.  You can climb up the steps into it's bum and admire the view of the nearby highway through one of it's nostrils.  Yes I know it sounds tacky, but by Australian standards it's very tastefully done.  Then at the small town of Bli Bli there's a genuine medieval castle built in 1972.  I think the creationist movement might have had something to do with it because there is a large tyrannosaurus rex standing on one of the turrets giving kids the impression that dinosaurs roamed the earth at the same time as Henry Tudor.  Not that Henry Tudor ever visited Australia as far as I'm aware.  Anyway my male staff's Dad has been there too. 

So it looks as though my male staff and his Dad will be spending a lot of time either inside the house watching Tom, Alfie, Baci and Toby or on the deck drinking endless cups of tea and having deep, meaningful Father and Son bonding discussions, which are always interesting due to male staff's dad's hearing problem.

Male Staff: (Sipping tea.)  Nice isn't it?
Dad: What is?
Male Staff:  The weather.  Nice isn't it?
Dad:  Eh?  
Male Staff: The weather.  I said it's nice weather isn't it?  
Dad:  Yes, so colourful.
Male Staff:  What is?
Dad: Those feathers.
Male Staff: What feathers?
Dad:  The one's you were talking about.
Male Staff:  I wasn't talking about feathers.
Dad:  Yes you were.  The feathers on that parrot there on the bird feeder.  You said they were nice.
Male Staff:  I was talking about the WEATHER. I didn't mention a parrot.
Dad:  No thanks, you know I don't like carrots.  I've never liked them, you should know that.
Male Staff:  I think I'll go in and watch the guinea pigs.


I'm looking forwood to meeting Uncal Billy's male staff's Dad.  I think we'll get on like a howse on fire and if he duzzent like karrits then maybe he'll give them to me.  I'm always happy to reeseeve karrits. In facked I'm thinking ov starting a werld-wide karrit apeel for unwanted karrits.  Ennywun hoo has an unwanted karrit kan send it to me - Baci, Kweensland, Orstraylia.


Sunday, October 12, 2014


Before I crossed the Rainbow Bridge I loved going to the local supermarket with my staff.  While they went of searching for human food they'd leave me in charge of the fruit and vegetable department.  Here I did the supermarket a favour by sampling as much of the produce as I could to ensure that it was fit for consumption before my staff came back to collect me.  I'd browse happily amongst the lettuce, carrots and cucumbers, taking great pleasure in frightening the bush chocolate out of customers who, without looking properly delved a hand into a pile of green beans only to feel something warm and furry brush against their fingers.  On good days I could make  three of four elderly ladies pass out from shock and collapse to the floor where they would be ignored by other customers and sometimes even run over by several shopping trollies before a member of staff could arrive to help them to their feet.  If I spied a green grocery department attendant heading in my direction I'd just burrow out of sight in amongst whatever pile of vegetables I happened to be in at the time and continue munching.  The attendants tended not to be very bright anyway.  Usually they were pimply youths who looked as though they couldn't tell a grape from a watermelon and whose hair was so greasy that it appeared as though another member of staff had just tipped bottle of olive oil over their head.

Sooner or later my staff would return.  They'd call my name and I'd stick my head out so that they could locate me, pick me up and put me into the trolly. You wouldn't believe some of the disgusting stuff they'd buy and presumably eat and drink. There always seemed to be bottles of that weird white stuff that comes out of cow's boobs and cartons of those funny oval things that pop out of birds bums in their shopping trolly.  Once when they called me I stuck my head out of a pile mangoes and got grabbed by a short sighted little old lady who squeezed me an declared me to be ripe.  Naturally I bit her finger and jumped back into the mangoes.
 "Young lady! .......... I say, young lady!" She called to a long haired spotty lad in a supermarket uniform.  "There appears to be some sort of animal in your mango display."  The boy gave her his best gormless expression and squeezed one of his pimples.
 "Well young lady. What are you going to do about it?"  The lad scratched his testostricles and sniffed his fingers.  "Well...........?" The older lady repeated before sucking her bitten finger which had started dripping blood onto the floor.
 "I dunno missus." Mumbled the lad.  "Maybe I'd better get the butcher to catch it and put it back in the meat department."  By this time I'd escaped the mango display and made my way to the apples via a short (very tasty) detour through the herb section.  Here my staff were able to grab me and stuff me into my female staff's handbag whereupon I set about chewing her personal alarm.  It's a small metal cylinder a bit bigger than my female staff's lipstick,which I had already chewed and found to be utterly disgusting and not my colour at all. My male staff had bought the alarm for her in case she was accosted in a dark side street by junkie, a parking attendant, a charity collector or some other undesirable.  All she had to do was to press the big button at the end of the cylinder and it would emit a high pitched screech that would immediately render her assailant unable to hear her swearing at them.

We had just about reached the front of the checkout queue when my female staff suddenly realised that she'd forgotten something. "Stay there." She ordered my male staff.  "I'll be right back." I could tell she was running because I was getting quite a rough ride inside her handbag.  I stopped chewing the alarm which wasn't that tasty anyway and stuck my head out to see what was going on.  We swerved abruptly into the bakery aisle and my female staff started scanning the shelves, becoming more and more agitated as she evidently failed to find whatever it was she was looking for.  Nearby, another youth with spiky orange hair was replenishing the shelves.
 "Excuse me."  Said my female staff.  The youth turned to look at her.  He had enough stainless steel attached to his face to make my male staff another Hyundai Getz.  A variety of rings and studs adhered to his nose, ears, eyebrows and lips.  "Face furniture" my male staff's mad sister calls it.
 "Good morning madam" he said with surprising politeness, though the large stud in his tongue made him rather difficult to understand. "What can I do to help?"  His voice was at that peculiar stage when it is almost broken but not quite, alternating between a deep adult gruffness and a childish, high pitched piping.
 "Have you got crushed nuts?" inquired my female staff.
 "No," said the boy in his hybrid voice. "I always talk like this."
At this point I slipped and fell back into my female staff's handbag, landing on and setting off the personal alarm.  My God it was loud!  My ears were ringing for weeks afterwards.  I heard someone shout "FIRE!"  Everybody ran for the exit including my female staff who had no intention of hanging around to be blamed for the false alarm.  Anyway she wanted to get outside so that she could witness the arrival of the fire brigade and all those hunky firemen.  Of course not all my staff's shopping expeditions go this smoothly, some are a real adventure, especially now that they take all four of their guinea pig herd along with them.


On our last shopping xpedish  eckspidit expadishi owting Uncal Billy's staff left us all at the froot and veg sekshun and went off to do their shopping. Tom, Alf and Toby decided to stay and eet sum lettiss, but being an adventurous sort ov piggy I deesided to go exploring.  Ennyway, I'm like mooching abowt in the karrits wen I see this beeyootiful girl piggy's butt.  I'm like Whoa!  So I went over and snift it.  The girl piggy dint move so I snift a bit moor.  Then I thort to myself, "Baci, here's your big chance. This here chicky babe obviously fancies yoo."  So I like mownts her and start no........ like........ the bizness.  A minnit or too later I'm still there reelly enjoying myself and I'm thinking the chicky babe must be too coz she hasn't moved and then Toby appears necks to me and says
 "Baci, what are you doing to that butternut pumpkin?"

Well, can yoo tell the diffrunce? I think it's a very eezy mistake to make.  Butternut pumpkins shood karry sum sort ov warning so that other piggies don't get court like I did.



Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Romance Of Foreign Travel

Did I ever tell you how my staff met? No? Well I've told everyone else so I suppose I might as well inflict the tale on you as well. If you're all sitting comfortably and promise not to fidget or interject I'll begin.

For a start you must be wondering how a gargoyle like my male staff ended up with someone as beautiful as my female staff.  I know she's beautiful (at least for a human) because before I crossed the Rainbow Bridge she would tell me every morning. She'd say -

 "Piggy piggy under the hay
See how gorgeous I am today."

And I must admit she did look pretty amazing as she approached my pen carrying my breakfast.  Mind you, a bowl of fresh vegetables that you know is heading your way will improve the looks of most humans.  Anyway, I digress.  It was love at first sight for my staff.  My male staff was shambling along the street, trying unsuccessfully not to scrape his knuckles on the pavement and my female staff was just coming out of a mobility shop with her Labrador dog having just purchased a pair of dark glasses and a brand new white stick.  Just kidding, though you may remember a little while ago she was waiting for my male staff in the recovery room of an eye surgery having had cataracts removed. When he showed up and she saw him clearly for the first time in a few months she immediately asked the surgeon if it was possible to have the cataracts reinserted.

Actually their first meeting was much less mundane than that.  They met for the first time on a beach in Togo. "Where?" I hear you ask.  Look I won't tell you again.  I did ask you not to interject.  Togo is a tiny sliver of a nation in West Africa, wedged between Ghana and Benin, and if you don't know where they are I suggest you purchase an atlas.  It was May 1985 - before I was even a faint cheeky glimmer in my great great great great great great grandfather's eye.  My male staff had signed up for an overland expedition from Togo's capital city Lome across the Sahara desert to Tunis.  He'd been inoculated against every conceivable disease under the sun and had grown to really dislike the nurse who administered them because before every jab she liked to say "You'll just feel a bit of a prick. But then I expect you're used to that."  The KLM flight from Amsterdam landed at Lome airport shortly after the steamy tropical night had closed in.  The expedition leader met my male staff once he'd cleared the primitive customs and immigration area and led him through a chaotic car park to the four ton Bedford truck that was to be his home for the next month or so.

Half an hour later they reached the beach where the rest of the group were camped.  Dinner was being cooked over a fire of driftwood and soon a plate of vegetable curry was placed in my male staff's hands.  It was a hot, humid, airless night of low cloud and the soft shushing of the Atlantic Ocean caressed the shore.  In the flickering light of the campfire my male staff saw a vision of unexpected beauty. He stopped eating for a moment, so it must have been pretty bloody special.  It was a bar, no more than a hundred metres away.  Like a man in a trance he was drawn towards the neon lights and the illuminated sign that read "Le Bar de la Plage".  A few minutes later the hand that wasn't clutching the plate of vegetable curry was wrapped around a disappointingly warm bottle of Awooyo Special Beer.  He wandered back to the camp wishing he had a third hand with which to slap at the mosquitoes that were now whining around his ears.

Back at the camp he was introduced to my female staff who had just crossed the Sahara on a southbound expedition that had taken a more easterly route through Niger across the Sahara from Tunis.  This northbound trip was to cross Mali, visiting the fabled Timbuktu and Djenne. So, my staff shook hands and that was it; their first meeting.  The only sparks were from the camp fire which drifted off into the night until they were extinguished by the warm, moist sea breeze.  The expedition leader handed my male staff a tent and a mosquito net.  It was way too hot to sleep under canvas so my male staff rigged up the mosquito net, stripped down to his underpants, (Sorry if that mental image is making you nauseous.) crawled under it and finally went to sleep with one bare knee touching the net.  He swears that when he awoke on that clammy, grey dawn he found that his knee had been eaten away to the bone by the mosquitoes during the night but he is prone to the occasional exaggeration.  Suffice to say that it itched for about six weeks after and that he whinged about it long after that.

So, the next day the expedition commenced. Seventeen humans in a Bedford truck heading north towards the Mediterranean Sea. British, Australians, Canadians, Americans, Japanese and Germans.
By the end of the first day my future staff had hardly spoken a word to each other. So to cut a very long story very short indeed here's a brief rundown of what happened on the trip.

There was an uneventful drive through Togo followed by a border crossing into Burkina Faso (Many of you will need an atlas for that one too.) where the truck was stripped right down by the border guards who went through everyone's belongings looking for contraband.  They were so disappointed not to find any that the expedition leader had to give them a few bottles of Johnny Walker Red Label to persuade them not to detain the group indefinitely.  Burkina Faso was hot, dusty and grindingly poor with a life expectancy of just twenty eight years at the time. It was a sad place of vultures, skeletal cattle, ragged children and UN aid trucks.  At the capital Ouagadougou my staff's truck stopped for a couple of hours at the best hotel in town and while my female staff and some of the others frolicked in the swimming pool my male staff sat and watched them with a warm beer and a plate of kidneys and rice in front of him.  Please don't ask why he chose to order offal in a place like Burkina Faso where the temperature was one hundred degrees Fahrenheit and any refrigeration that there was probably didn't work for more than half the time.  He doesn't even like offal.  Let's be charitable and put it down to sunstroke.  In any case he soon wished that he had joined the others in the pool because six or seven hours later as they set up camp in the bush his bowels started to complain about the kidneys.  Then two hours later in pitch darkness he woke up under his mosquito net double up in pain.  Fighting his way out of the net he ran to the truck, grabbed one of the "toilet trowels" and staggered behind a thorn tree a decent distance from the camp.  Two hours later with cramped legs and Johnny Cash's "Burning Ring of Fire" he returned to his mosquito net where he lay awake until dawn listening to the eerie "whooooo - up" of a distant hyena.

The next day his bowels forced several roadside stops as the group headed north towards the Mali border and the Bandiagara Escarpment. My male staff would grab the trowel and dash towards the nearest bush.  The first time he was very careful to select a secluded spot to stop in before he squatted to relieve himself, only to find that a large crowd of ragged locals had materialsed to spectate as he pulled up his trousers. He'd played soccer in front of smaller crowds, but at least this bunch didn't chant "'Ere we go, 'ere we go, 'ere we go!" At length after three such stops he gave up trying to be discrete and instead bowed to the crowd when he'd finished and then gave an encore performance a few miles down the road.  Always though he was touched by the patience and sympathetic words of my female staff.

As the trip progressed my staff found it interesting to watch their fellow travelers and observed how in some of them their attitudes and states of minds altered as the going got tougher.  The married Japanese couple started huddling together in the corner of the truck as it bumped along through increasing heat.  They didn't talk to each other much and the woman started to emerge from her tent with bruises some mornings.  The two young Australian lads proved to be lazy and good for nothing, claiming to have sprained ankles that precluded them from helping my male staff with the early morning fire making.  Fortunately the two Japanese men were always up early and ready and willing to lend a hand.  Towards the end of the expedition in Algeria we discovered that the middle aged Czech-Canadian man had been filling his water bottle with duty free vodka rather than water, so you might be able to imagine how dehydrated he had become after a month of temperatures of well over one hundred degrees.  One night he asked a nomadic tribesman who'd been passing our camp if he could try riding his camel.  The tribesman happily agreed and the group watched as the permanently inebriated  Czech-Canadian tried three times to mount the camel, each time crashing sickeningly to the rocky earth before giving up and retiring to his tent for another swig of vodka.  Eventually he passed out and was suffering from an extraordinarily fast heart beat.  Luckily for him when this occurred the group was passing through a town with a hospital.  My female staff led him in and he was immediately hooked up to various drips.  To everyone's alarm he was released the next day to continue the trip.  Unfortunately his disgustingly filthy, poo encrusted trousers came with him.  This at least made the rest of the journey more comfortable for him as he now had more than half the vehicle to himself while the others were crammed at one end in an attempt to distance themselves from his trousers.  Oh the romance of foreign travel.

And so it went on.  The expedition followed the Niger River for some time, visiting the legendary town of Djenne with it's incredible mud mosque top with ostrich eggs.  Then there was Timbuktu - the place that my male staffs mother had always threatened to send him to when he was naughty as a boy.  It was a furnace hot desolate place with the desert sand lapping at its walls.  The tall Tuareg tribesman in indigo robes and blue-black skin who the expedition leader hired to guard the truck entertained the group at night by squeezing a goat's neck until it passed out.  Moments later the animal stood up, shook itself and trotted away unharmed.  This not only impressed my staff but also the dozens of ragamuffin kids who were no doubt hoping to raid the truck for goodies when everyone was asleep.  Wisely, having witnessed the Tuareg's demonstration they decided against it.

 Djenne's amazing mud mosque.

My staff went through all this together and still showed little interest in each other beyond being friends.  Upon reaching Tunis they said goodbye to the rest of the group and boarded a KLM flight to Heathrow via Amsterdam.  Before parting they swapped addresses and suggested that they get together some time.  My female staff foolishly invited my male staff to visit her in Australia if he ever traveled Down Under.  Big mistake!  He did, and now she can't get rid of him.  She should have known better even after what I suppose you would call their first real date.  It was a romantic dinner cruise on Sydney Harbour.  There was dancing with a live band and the glittering lights of the city skyline with its famous bridge and opera house.  It was the perfect night my staff thought until my male staff found he was five dollars short when it came to paying the bill at the end.
  "Errrrrmm. Can I borrow five dollars?" He asked, embarrassed.  My female staff should have said "No, certainly not." at that point, walked off and let my male staff explain the situation to the waiter, and later probably the police.  But no, foolishly she happily stumped up the money and then drove my male staff to Central Station for the train back to the western suburbs where he was staying with a friend.

Guess what.  Yes, he'd missed the last train and in any case he had no money for a ticket so he had to walk the twenty kilometres to his friend's house.  Still, by my male staff's standards it had been a successful date.  That is to say nobody was badly injured and it didn't end with a glass of red wine being tipped over his head.  He was happy.

Four years later, after a true long distance relationship and much to-ing and fro-ing between England and Australia the two of them were married and eventually produced a family of handsome cavies.

I want to no wye I can't get a gurlfrend or a wife.  Wye do I haf to like sit in my cage all day looking at other boy ginny pigs' fat furry butts.  Goodness me if a big ugly chump like Uncal Billy's mail staff can get a wife shorely a hansum piggy like me deeserves a beootiful gurly pig hoose butt doesn't like smell of boy piggy musk.  It's not too mutch to arsk is it?