Monday, August 31, 2015


My staff's house descended into pandemonium this morning.  Now I always thought that a pandemonium was an old fashion musical instrument made from Pandas.  Apparently not.  I now understand that it is in fact a state of utter chaos, and it was this said state into which my staff's house descended when my male staff switched on his laptop to find out how many goals his beloved West Ham United Football Club had lost by this week.  They were playing Liverpool at Liverpool's home ground. where West Ham had not won since 1963.

 First there was a soft click as my male staff switched on his laptop, then a gentle hum as it warmed up, accompanied by the usual under the breath cursing.
 "Come on, come on! Hurry up you f#*@ing piece of s@#t."  Nothing unusual in that.  It's a kind of morning chorus in my staff's house.  Then "Hoo-bloody-ray, about time." as the thing connected.  Then tap tap tap "BUGGER!" tap tap tap tap "DAMN!" tap tap as he typed in his commands with the usual typing errors.  Then finally "GASP!" and crash!  This was my male staff passing out as he read the scoreline.  Liverpool 0 West Ham 3.  A few moments later he regained consciousness and stood up, banging his head on the desk as he did.  With blood running into his eyes he sat in front of the computer again.  The scoreline was still there, and still the same.  Liverpool 0  West Ham 3.  It had to be a mistake, he was sure.  This sort of thing never happens except in his wildest dreams, and some of his dreams can be very wild indeed.  Believe me, I know.  As a supernatural guinea pig I have access to all the dreams that are spinning around inside his head.  For example there was that one involving Amanda Holden, a hamster, a watermelon and the theme tune to East Enders.  I'll tell you about it now if you like.  You see my male staff was laying on deck chair in a mankini.  He was cuddling a pet hamster and feeding it chunks of watermelon.  Then suddenly the hamster turned into Amanda Holden and she started humming the East Enders theme tune, and my male staff knew, as you do in dreams, that the moment she stopped singing she would............................ Oh bugger!  My male staff has just come into the room. I'll have to continue this story another time.

Now where was I?  Oh yes, the computer still said Liverpool 0  West Ham 3.  My male staff blinked.  He didn't believe the website, it was the BBC after all, a broadcaster known for their unreliability.  So tap tap tap tap....s#@t tap tap tap....dammit!......tap tap again.  This time he found a more reliable source of news - The Sun newspaper website.  Everyone knows that Rupert Murdoch would never tell a fib.  He found the soccer results.  Liverpool 0  West Ham 3 it said.  It even listed the goal scorers and they were all West Ham players.  Finally reality sank in.  "Whooooo Hoooooo!" he yelled, stood up, pulled his shirt over his head and ran around the room with his arms stretched out like an inebriated pelican, sweeping ornaments from sideboards and vases from tables.  Eventually he ran into a wall, but even that didn't dampen his buoyant mood.  Paolo the budgie was given a large piece of millet and the Guinea pigs where each handed a fistful of the greenest, freshest basil leaves.  Even my female staff was kissed much to her disgust.

 "1963!" he ranted.  "The last time this happened was on 14th September 1963.  Do you realise how long ago that is?" he demanded of my female staff, who wisely remained silent.  "It was ore than half a century." he said.  "The second world war had only been over for eighteen years.  The Beatles were number one in the charts in the UK with "She Loves You."  John F Kennedy was the US President and was making plans with Jackie for a nice quiet trip to Texas in November.  "Come on dearest." Said JFK.  "Dallas is lovely in November.  It'll be a blast."  Poor old William Hartnell was Doctor Who - the very first one, and even back then he looked too old to be chasing daleks around the place."  By this time my female staff was starting to feel a little drowsy, so she made herself a cup of coffee and flopped down on the sofa.

My male staff continued.  "Martin Luther King had a dream." (I bet it was nothing like the one my male staff had about Amanda Holden.)  "Harold Macillan was British Prime Minister, but he was so ill that he was to resign in October and allow Alec Douglas-Home to take his place.  Here in Australia, Robert Menzies was the Prime Minister with his Liberal/Country Party coalition, but aboriginal people were still not able to become citizens of a country they had inhabited form tens of thousands of years.  That was not to be permitted for almost another fourteen years."  My female staff yawned, but my male staff continued unperturbed.  "Of course with Tony Abbott in charge it's still only 1953 in Australia, never mind 1963.  There was a race riot in Birmingham, Alabama. Nice to see that some things haven't changed in the USA.  Paul McCartney was fined seventeen pounds for speeding.  later that year he was fined again for the same offence - 31 pounds, and this time his licence was suspended for a year.  The biggest movie of the year was Cleopatra.  I was five years old and was given a toy James Bond gold Aston Martin for Christmas, which was actually the last white Christmas I ever remember having.  And listen to this. Here's the scariest thing of all.  The world population in 1963 was just over 3.2 billion.  Do you know what it is now?"  My female staff opened her mouth but didn't get chance to say anything.  "7.3 billion. Yes," he repeated. "7.3 billion!  No wonder I can never find a bloody parking space outside the post office."

My female staff sighed.  "Did West Ham win?" she asked.
 "Yes." replied my male staff.
 "Thank God it doesn't happen very often." said my female staff and took a long slurp of her coffee.


1963! That's like ten ginny pig lifethymes ago.  I wunda wot my annsesters were doing in them days.  I bet nun of them were alfa mails like wot I am and I bet nun of them were like as edjookayted like wot I am eetha, oar as suffistacated as me.  Yoo'd never beleeve that I am toadly self edjookayted wood yoo?

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Toilet Trouble

Have you ever noticed the eccentric toilet habits of humans?  I supposed that being one yourself you probably take it for granted.  But look at it from a guinea pig's perspective.  We just poo wherever we want and let someone else worry about cleaning it up.  Yes indeed, we just wander around making a noise that sounds a lot like a squeaky bicycle wheel. Guinea pig text books insist that this sound means we are just being inquisitive.  This is rubbish of course.  We're actually saying to ourselves "Now then, let me think. Where can I poo that makes it really hard for my staff to get at it.  Ah yes, I know. I'll just drop a little pile here and then kick it under the piano."  If, as is often the case we can't be bothered trudging all across the room to the piano we'll just deposit our load of magic beans in the middle of the room and hope that our staff don't notice them until the morning when they come down barefoot from the bedroom and tread in something cold and squishy.  You humans should try it.  It really wakes you up in the morning - gets you going, sets you up for the day.

Frankly I don't understand why you humans don't do the same; just poo wherever you like and wait for someone else to clean it up.  Having said that, my male staff tells me that there are some places in the world that actually do that.  Many years ago he took a very long walk (we're talking several days) along the eastern beaches of peninsular Malaysia.  It was a time of new found prosperity for the country and some people had skewed priorities when it came to the important things in life.  Wherever there was a little seafront kampong (village) the beach was a minefield of human poo.  The locals would just wander down to the water's edge, squat and do their business.  Some of them would even take a newspaper with them - seriously.  My male staff had to be very careful where he put his size twelve feet and was forced to make long detours around squatting locals.  And yet these same locals would have a new Mercedes Benz or Audi sitting in front of their tumbledown, tin-roofed, running water-free shack.  Who needs a flushing toilet when you can have a shiny new German car instead? There were always a lot of flies around the beach adjacent to the kampongs and my male staff really hated it when they would land on his lips.

The problem with pooing in or close to the sea (apart from the danger of sitting on a sea urchin), is the tide.  Yes the tide takes your poo away with it, but only temporarily.  In a few hours time it brings it back, and even if you have a nice little tidal sweep happening on your bit of beach, your kampong's poo might disappear a few miles down the coast, but it will be replaced by the poo from the next village along from yours, so in the end everyone's poo just gets mixed up and you have no idea who's poo you are stepping in as you stroll down to the surf, newspaper, under your arm, a mug of coffee in one hand and a toilet roll in the other to do your business.  The situation is not ideal as you can plainly see.

Anyway, never mind all that.  The fact is that my staff and all the humans I've ever seen visit them prefer to disappear into a small room containing a strange ceramic bowl to deposit their droppings.  I willingly throw up my furry little paws and admit that I have no idea why they do this.  It's very selfish for one thing, for it deprives others the pleasure of sniffing their friends' droppings and rolling them around the floor with their noses the way more highly evolved creatures, like guinea pigs for example do.

Apparently there's a plastic seat on the ceramic bowl to make it more comfortable for humans to park their ample butts on.  On my staff's ceramic bowl this seat had somehow worked its way loose (Something to do with one of the re-enforcing titanium bolts snapping under the constant strain I believe.) and this caused the seat to slip and slide alarmingly whenever anyone sat on it.  And so after much nagging from my female staff, my male staff went to the local hardware shop and purchased a brand new seat.  "Tool free installation" the packaging proudly proclaimed and this worried my male staff because he is the first to admit that he is a complete tool when it comes to installing things.  Nevertheless he took the thing home and without too much fuss dismantled the old broken one and tossed it into the dustbin.  Then he got distracted by a phone call  and forgot all about the new toilet seat.  A couple of hours later nature called and he hurried to the little room.  To his dismay he was confronted by a ceramic bowl and no seat.  The new seat was propped at a mockingly jaunty angle against the wall, still in its plastic wrapping.  "Shit!" Exclaimed my male staff appropriately.  Still, he'd have to make do.  There was no time to install the new seat.  For him, a job like that could take four or five hours and possibly two or three trips back to the hardware shop either for further instructions or a replacement seat, the original one having been hurled against the wall and smashed to pieces in a fit of pique.

So, he tentatively sat down on the ceramic bowl. (Having first pulled down his trousers and underpants you'll be relieved to hear.)  It was particularly cold and uncomfortable so he was pretty quick in doing what had to be done, and then he saw that there was no toilet paper on the holder, so he reached back to where the spare ones were kept in a basket.  This sudden movement (If you'll pardon the unfortunate expression.) caused my male staff's right buttock to lose its grip on the slippery ceramic and it, closely followed by the left buttock plunged deep into the depths of the bowl and there they stuck, wedged firmly.  Stunned, my male staff sat there for a moment trying to regain his somewhat elusive wits.  He wiggled his legs, but they could no longer reach the floor to gain any purchase.  He tried pushing himself up on the toilet roll holder but it snapped off the wall.  After five minutes he realised that he was going to need help if he wasn't to spend the rest of his life in the little room.  "Chook!" He called.  That's his pet name for my female staff.  "Chook! I need a little help here please."
 "Where are you?" My female staff called back.
 "In the toilet."
 "What are you doing in there?"  There was a moment's silence.
 "Building a bloody hang-glider, what do you think?"
My female staff opened the door to the little room.  "Are you stuck?" She enquired.
 "No, I'm washing my bum in the toilet 'cos we don't have a bidet.  Yes I'm bloody stuck."  He raised his arms.  "Pull me out will you?"  My female staff tugged his arms but nothing shifted.
 "This is hopeless." She said. "Shall I call the fire brigade?"  Regular readers will know that my female staff likes calling the fire brigade.  All those hunky young men in uniforms............
 "No! Don't call the fire brigade.  Just get some butter and smear it over my bum, then try pulling my arms again.  My female staff went to the kitchen and returned a moment later.
 "We haven't got any butter," she informed him. "We've only got this margarine.  It's the stuff that's supposed to lower your cholesterol, so it'll be better for you anyway."  She scooped a handful of the margarine from the tub.  "Wait a minute." She said. "If I smear this stuff on the part of your bum that's not in the toilet it won't do any good.  Unless I want to push you further down, and although that's certainly very tempting it won't get us out of this current situation."
 "Hmmm, you're right." Said my male staff stroking his chin and looking as wise and dignified as anyone can with their backside stuck in the toilet and their feet waving in the air wrapped in their trousers and underpants.  "You'll have to stick your hand between my legs into the toilet and plaster my bum with margarine that way."
 "Bugger off!" Said my female staff sympathetically. "You do it."
 "I would, but I can't reach can I?  I'm not double jointed."  My female staff sighed and scooped up an extra large helping of margarine, closed her eyes, held her nose with one hand and reached between my male staff's legs with the other and liberally plastered his bum with the stuff.
 "This should reduce your cholesterol levels by at least fifty percent." She said as she carefully withdrew her hand.
 "Yeah! Ha ha! Very funny." Said my male staff and raised his arms again for my female staff to pull.  "Okay, lets try again. Grab my arms and pull and the count of three."  My female staff grasped his arms. "Ready?  One, two three!"

Well, it might have worked had my female staff washed the margarine from her hands, but sadly in the excitement and the adrenaline rush of the moment she'd forgotten and as she pulled with all her strength her grip slipped and she fell back against the door, banging her head hard.
 "Right! That's it. I'm calling the fire brigade." She cried.  "Jeez it stinks in here! Have you flushed the toilet?"
 "No, I can't reach it can I?"
My female staff reached behind him and lowered the flush lever. 
 "Yiiiiiiiiii!" Yelped my male staff as the cold water splashed his nether regions and he shot into the air with a champagne cork like pop!  He was free.
 "Dammit!" Said my female staff.  "Does this mean I don't need to call the fire brigade?"


Yoo humans don't no wot yor missing by dropping yor poopies into a toylutt.  Frigzample yoo miss owt on playing my fayvritt sport - poopsoccer.  Wen I'm like on the flaw afta wun of the otha piggies have been there furst I like to find wun of there poopies and like dribble it arownd obstackles with my nose and then shute it unda a chair with my feet.  Uncal Billy's staff enjoi watching me do this and they like cheer and klap witch makes me very happy, ecksept this wun thyme wen they sed I was like offside, but I never woz.

Sunday, August 16, 2015


Have you ever noticed that many humans with aspirations to lead often confuse leadership with I-know-better-than-anyone-else arrogance?  There are more examples of this than I can name in a short blog post, but most of them are male - wannabe alpha males obviously, though not all.  Margaret Thatcher led us all to believe that she was female by wielding a handbag, having big hair and wearing a skirt, but then I have seen many Scotsmen with at least two out of three of these so this has yet to be officially confirmed.

A prime example of this is a chap called Campbell Newman.  Mr Newman was the Premier of the Australian state of Queensland.  I guess Americans might call him the State Governor while people in the north of England might call him a "fooking twat".  Anyway, Mr Newman began his political career as Mayor of the city of Brisbane and in that role he did a pretty reasonable job.  When the city was hit by a disastrous flood in 2011 his military background came in really handy and there was no doubting his logistical prowess as he swiftly organised aid and clean ups in cooperation with the state Labor government of the time.

The trouble is that his military background became a definite disadvantage once he was elected Premier of the state in 2012.  His Liberal National Party won by a massive landslide, decimating the Labor Party to such an extent that after the election they were able to hold full party meetings in the public toilet at Parliament House - in just one cubicle.  Everyone thought that the Liberal National party would be in power for more than a decade, such was their majority.  However, nobody was taking into account Mr Newman's staggering capacity for arrogance and pig-headedness.  Assuming that due to the overwhelming nature of his victory in the polls he had a mandate from the public to do whatever he liked, he embarked on a programme of highly unpopular and often draconian, not to say barely legal policies.  These he implemented without consultation, and very often they were the very same things he's whinged about the Labor government doing when he was in opposition.  Too often his policies fell foul of the judiciary who warned him that they were either non-constitutional or else sailing too close to the wind.  Mr Newman knew best though and pooh-poohed all the warnings and pushed on anyway.

Obviously with his military background he was used to giving orders, which is fine in the army which lets face it is not supposed to be a democracy.
 "Right men.  We need to make a frontal assault on that heavy machine gun post if we're going to be able to advance across the river.  All those in favour say "aye".  All those against say "no".  Errrrm...... righto.  I'll.......errrr....... just go ahead and attack the thing myself than shall I?" 
Not only that, but the parade ground would be a proper kerfuffle if everyone just marched whichever way they wanted.  It would be like having an entire battalion of soldiers with no sense of direction. Or what if the sergeant major had to hold a vote every time he wanted to give the order to present arms.  No, it just wouldn't work would it?  And so Mr Newman should have stuck to what he knows best - that is telling people who are paid to do what they're told, what to do, if you understand my meaning.

In any case, if I'd been equipped with opposable thumbs I'd have written to him and warned him that he was heading for trouble.  Sadly though my thumbs remained stubbornly un-opposable and so I was unable to tell Mr Newman that if he ever wanted to be a truly great leader he would have to respect those people whom he purports to lead and must never under any circumstances take them for granted.  I would have intimated to him that the reason he came to power in the first place was that the Labor government was perceived by the voters as being arrogant and pig-headed.  He'd even said as much himself.  So in the end his tenure as the Premier of Queensland was brought to a grinding halt when Queenslanders sacked him after just one three year term.  It was a landslide to equal the one that brought him to power.  Obviously he hadn't heard of the Santayana's quote - “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it”.  Yes, that's Santayana the philosopher, essayist, poet, and novelist.  Not to be confused with Santana who once said.

                                            "Yes, don't turn your back on me baby
                                            Stop messin' 'round with your tricks
                                            Don't turn your back on me baby
                                            You just might pick up my magic sticks".

Personally I wouldn't touch his magic stick with a bargepole, but each to his own I suppose.

I think our young Baci must have learned all he knows about leadership from Mr Newman.  Like Mr Newman he's very small and uppity, though he certainly has more hair than Mr Newman did.  In fact here on the Sunshine Coast there is a suburb called Bald Knob and whenever I heard it mentioned I was never sure whether the speaker was referring to the suburb or Campbell Newman.  Anyway, Baci is definitely under the impression that he is the alpha guinea pig of his herd of four.  When all four boys are in their own separate cage he likes to sit on top of his house so that he can keep an eye on what the other three are doing.  In fact often he'd rather sit there and glare at the others than eat his food.  If as is happening more and more regularly as they get older, my staff are too slow to grab him when he and either Tom or Alfie are out having "floor time" he'll fluff himself up to appear as big as possible (Though he's still only the size of a small rat.), chatter his teeth and charge at the other guinea pig, often tearing a chunk of fur from their butt and then strutting off with it still in his mouth.  Both Tom and Alfie are terrified of him even though they are about twice his size and weight.  This fear may be due less to the threat of violence than the threat of being rogered to within an inch of their lives, which is what Baci does to them when he doesn't feel like biting.

However, Toby, the oldest and slowest of the boys shows no fear at all.  Baci will fluff himself up, chatter his teeth and charge at Toby who just looks up casually from whatever he's eating, waits until Baci is close enough and then sits on his head.  It's a bit like watching the scene from the Indiana Jones movie when "Indie" is confronted by the Arab dude with the huge sword who spins and twirls it and does all sorts of intimidating tricks until "Indie" just pulls out his pistol and shoots him.  If only Mr Newman had an adviser like Toby to sit on his head when he got too big for his little boots he might still be the Premier of Queensland now.


I don't think I like wot Uncal Billy is incinerating.  There's absolootlie no way I'm ennything like Camel Nooman and I resemble enny sirjestyon that I mite be.  I never give ennywun enny ordas and I demand that yoo all forget evrything wot Uncal Billy sed abowt me immeejutly.  In facked if you don't I'll like cum round to yoor howse and pull bits of fur from your bum. Rite?

                                                           Toby aka "The Tobinator"


Sunday, August 9, 2015

Pull Ups

The trouble with Facebook is not that there are people on there who think we are all interested in what they had for lunch, or that they have broken up with their girlfriend because she turned out to be the scrum half for the London Irish rugby union team.  Or for that matter even that they think they are the first to call Tony Abbott a dickhead.  No not at all, and in fact my staff and I rather enjoy all the funny cat videos.  The real problem is that Facebook is inhabited by some very strange people with very extreme views, views that they think everyone should share, and I must say that I have a sneaking feeling that if everyone did suddenly decide to agree with these views, these peculiar folk would then take the opposite view just to be contrary and to provoke an online argument.

A few years ago my male staff happened to mention that perhaps a more tolerant approached towards asylum seekers from the Australian government might be a good thing.  He pointed out that it is not actually illegal to seek asylum and that modern Australia has been largely built by immigrants - British and Irish (Who of course disposed the original Australians, but that's another argument.), Greeks, Italians, Vietnamese, Lebanese and a dozen other ethnicities, all of whom have made their own valuable contributions to Australia's mostly peaceful multi-cultural society.  Almost immediately Facebook exploded with racist rants, name calling and naughty words that I hadn't heard since I accidentally bit male staff's dangly part through his trousers while sitting on his lap. (It tasted of chicken by the way.)

Most of these types of "Status Updates" came from young, attractive women, or at least their Facebook profile photo was that of a young attractive woman.  It is of course entirely possible that the person typing this vitriol was in actual fact a disgusting snaggle-toothed old hag.  I guess I'll never know, and that's a risk you take with Facebook and Twitter.  You're never quite sure, unless you know them personally, that the human you are corresponding with actually bears the slightest resemblance to their photo.  I guess it's a bit like phone sex.  You run your finger down the list of young lingerie clad sex kittens in the personal ads (or so I'm told), pick one, dial the number, give her your American Express card number and she'll tell you what she's wearing (Which if the pictures are anything to go by won't take very long.) and what she'd like you to do to her if only you were there.

Well, as a guinea pig of the world I'm guessing that it's just as well that you're not there, because if you were you'd probably find that your busty, husky voiced chicky babe is actually a seventy two year old grandmother of six with a colostomy bag and dentures which are sitting next to her in a glass of water on the coffee table beside a packet of corn plasters and her toenail clippers complete with a neat little pile of clippings which she'd forgotten to put in the bin last Monday.  Oh yes, the eftpos machine would be there too, along with a stopwatch to make sure that her clients don't get a second more excitement than they've paid for.  That sexy, husky voice of hers is probably the result of her sixty ciggies a day habit and she's only doing the whole phone sex thing because she spends all her pension on poker machines.

Anyway, where was I before this little fantasy broke into my train of thought?  Oh yes - Facebook.  So along with all these hateful replies that my male staff received from young women were an equal number of supportive "updates" also from seemingly young women, and pretty soon an online cat fight had broken out between the racist women and the non-racist women.  It was getting really nasty, so being the utter coward that he is my male staff turned his computer off and let them get on with it; the online equivalent of starting a fight and then skulking off before you get hurt.

It just goes to show you that as far as social media goes you never really know who you are talking to or what you are taking on when you plunge into it.  But then I guess that applies to life generally.  Take the case of my male staff's mad sister for example.  She agreed to look after her friend's two year old boy for an afternoon while her friend and her husband went to a matinee show at a local theatre. 
 "He'll be no trouble." said mad sister. "I'm taking my granddaughter to the church fete so we can all go together."  So off they went to the fete and a great old time was had by all, the children petted the lambs, held the bunny rabbits, ate lots of sugary treats and drank gallons of pop.  At the end of a lovely afternoon as they were leaving, the vicar's wife approached mad sister to thank her for coming and to say that the event had been a great success.  She crouched down to the children's level and said to the little boy who was clutching mad sister's hand "My, you're a big boy aren't you?" The little boy shuffled his feet shyly and inspected his free grubby, sticky little hand before proudly pronouncing "Yes, and I've got bollocks" in a loud voice.
 "I'm sorry darling, what did you say? asked the vicar's wife, apparently not quite believing what she'd heard.
 "I said I've got bollocks!" repeated the little chap, louder this time.  In fact loud enough for people twenty metres away to turn and look to see who was bragging about their genitals.

My male staff's mad sister made hurried excuses and whisked the children away from the scene as quickly as she could.  Later, when the little boy's mum came to collect him mad sister told her what had happened, how embarrassed she'd been and how he couldn't have chosen a worse person to tell that he had bollocks. 

The little boy's mum laughed.  "Oh!" she said.  "He's always doing that.  He's so proud, but he's not saying bollocks, he's saying "pull-ups". I've just started him on lined pull-up pants instead of nappies so he likes to tell everyone what a big boy he is now because he's got pull-ups.  It's just that he hasn't really learned to pronounce it properly yet."


Hah! Kidz eh?  Uncal Billy sez that his male staff wunce told him that his mum's bestest frend came for aftanoon tee wun day wen he was littul and then wen she was like leeving she sed goodbuy and Uncal Billy's male staff sed britely "Goodbuy and good riddunts."  I don't think that she was Uncal Billys male staff's mum's bestest frend ennymoor afta that.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Comedy Class

Right! You'd all better start behaving yourselves again because I'm back from deepest, darkest Africa and I've got my beady little eyes on you.  Of course I travelled in spirit with my staff and I must say it's certainly much easier to travel in spirit than in person.  There are no customs to worry about for a start and no security people wanting to pat down your fur to make sure you're don't have a pair of nail clippers in your your musk gland, not that any security guy with any sense would go within thirty feet of my male staff's musk gland.  Yep, gone are the days when I used to have suffer the indignity of being shoved down the front of my male staff's trousers or up my female staff's blouse to be smuggled through airports.  I can now go wherever I like, whenever I like and I don't even have to travel in comedy class with my staff.  Being a deceased piggy definitely has its advantages.  Seriously, I don't know why more people don't try it.

Incredibly there were very few life threatening incidents for my staff on this particular trip although one of the flights definitely had that potential thanks to a typical schoolboy error by my male staff.  The last of the internal flights within South Africa was on a small jet which had a row of two seats on one side and a row of just one seat on the other.  My staff opted to ask for seat in the row of one so that they could both have a window.  My male staff had the front seat and my female staff had the seat behind him.  It was only a forty five minute flight, but that gave my male staff amble time to consume at least four glasses of chardonnay and a dozen bags of peanuts, much to the chagrin of the single flight attendant who had to keep them coming, not to mention the other passengers, most of whom she didn't have time to serve due to the demands of my male staff.

Anyway, just before the pilot commenced his descent into Johannesburg my male staff decided that it might be nice to tickle my female staff's leg, so he pushed his left arm through the gap between his seat and the aircraft wall and groped around a bit until he found my female staff's leg, then while continuing to read his in-flight magazine (There was a fascinating and highly controversial article on the various types of carrot grown in South Africa.) he rolled up the leg of her jeans a few inches and began gently kneading her calf.  He continued to do this until the plane had landed and come to a halt in its parking bay.  The fasten seat belt sign blinked off and he let go of my female staff's leg, stood up, grabbed his bag from the overhead locker, then grabbed my female staff's bag.  Turning to hand it to her he noticed that she was standing in the aisle a couple of rows back, while sitting on the seat behind him was a large, grinning African gentleman in a white fedora hat.
 "Pretty good flight wasn't it." He said to my male staff, who suddenly turned first very pale and then a rather fetching shade of pink.

As soon as my staff were inside the terminal they had a fairly animated discussion on the importance of telling each other if they are going to swap seats with another passenger.
 "How was I to know you were going to sexually assault a total stranger?"  Asked my female staff.     "The poor man asked if I'd mind swapping seats because he had very long legs and the seat behind you had a bit more legroom.  I said "No problem" and we swapped.  Had I been aware that you were going to start fondling him I would have warned him."  And so it went on.........and on.  Still at least it helped to pass the time on the twelve hour flight back to Australia.

Now then if you don't mind I'd like to say my threepence worth on the subject of Cecil the lion.  While my staff were in Africa a certain Dr Walter Palmer - a dentist from Eden Prairie, Minnesota was busing shooting his bow and arrow at a large male lion which he and his white Zimbabwean guides had lured from the relative safety of Hwange National Park onto an adjacent hunting concession.  His arrow wounded poor Cecil and enabled Dr Palmer and his pals to track him for a couple of days before they finally caught up with him and finished him of with a firearm.

Apart from the obvious barbarity of killing any animal in this way it was illegal to kill Cecil who was a collared research animal.  He may not have known that, but his guides - the professional hunters certainly did, but apparently their greed got the better of them.  Dr Palmer has apologised for killing Cecil, saying that had he known that the animal was a local favourite he wouldn't have shot him.  Sadly the (not so) good doctor is missing the point.  It may well be legal to shoot some animals, indeed many African nations welcome hunting concessions, (Botswana being the shining example of a country that does not allow hunting at all.) but that does not make it right, moral or humane.

If Dr Palmer is such a hunting enthusiast then he would certainly have known that lions are endangered.  Across Africa their numbers have declined by about forty percent over the last two decades due to loss of habitat, conflict with human settlement and hunting.  Despite the furore Cecil's disgraceful killing has caused I just can't see hunting being banned in other African nations, there is too  much official corruption, two much money at stake, too much greed and too many mindless humans with a huge blood lust and tiny egos that need boosting at the expense of innocent creatures.

The saddest thing is that Dr Palmer has not only killed Cecil he has almost certainly slaughtered Cecil's cubs who will now be killed when one of Cecil's rivals takes over his old pride.  The best we can hope for is that some people will take note of the outrage and anger aimed at Dr Palmer and be dissuaded from hunting themselves.  Because lets face it, if you are killing animals for fun, not food you are without doubt an utter LOSER.  And by the way, there are worse things than Dr Palmer's favoured form of hunting.  "Canned hunting" for example.  This involves paying a shipload of money to someone who breeds animals for the sole purpose of being killed for trophies or whatever such sickos want.  Your chosen animal is then placed in a small enclosure so that escape is impossible and then you get to kill your animal with whatever weapon you choose - Rifle, bow and arrow, crossbow, uzi machine gun, hand gun, spear, rocket propelled grenade launcher, surface to air missile..........whatever.  I guess if you really want value for money you could opt to use a pea shooter.  I have just one question.  How on earth does any human being involved in this industry sleep at night?


Jeepers! Uncal Billy is reelly on his high horse today isunt he.  I'd like stay well owt of his way for a wile if I were yoo.  Anyway, I just wanted to let yoo no that Uncal Billy's staff are okay after there trip to Afrikka.  They had like the bestest thyme eva and wen they came back they went to this Krissmuss in July party at Uncal Geoff and Arnty Cath's howse witch is in sum littal outback villidge called Brisbane.  Here in Orstraylya we have Krissmuss partys in July cos it's like two hot at real Krissmus and Santa won't come due to all the elf and safety regyoolayshuns.  I eckspect yoo all remember Uncal Geoff from a nerlier blog wen I like peed on his lap and he like got the blame cos Arnty Cath thort Uncal Geoff was like two old to be kontinunt.

So anyway Uncal Mike and Arnty Robyn were at the party too and all the men drank kwite a lot of whine.  Nobuddy seems kwite shore eggzackly how it happunnd but my male staff woak up the next mourning in the chikkin coop wearing nothing but a lyme green mankini.  Uncal Mike wuz their too, but at leest he wuz fully drest.  He wuz wearing a mullet wig tho, but the chikkens dint mind cos it looked better than wot wuz left of his reel hare.

Uncal Geoff dint seam to be uffected mutch at all.  In facked he evun brought My male staff and Uncal Mike a cup of tee in the mourning wile they lay there among the fethas and chikkin poo.  He was very cheerful ackchooly, shouting "Rise and shine evrywun."  I thort it was very rood of my male staff and Uncal Mike to tell him to like "Go away and let us dye in piece."