To-To-ner of Leek

His hairdresser went back to school, but never did learn,

It’s former Leinster hooker, Shane “Mega-Mullet” Byrne.

Hooker as in rugby. At least.

Hello fellow mellow fellows!

Since I have last bloggified my autobiograpical wares, I up and went to Africa. Ba-ba ba ba, ba ba bo BUUUUMMMM! As this was a work gig and no one strictly instructed me otherwise it was business class all the way. Indeed it still is. I’m writing this from Johannesburg airport, I’m all Africanised now. Everything’s Braais, Boks and Boko Haram. I’m Africanised like one of those bees everyone assumes is terrible. Has anyone ever tried talking to them? What’s their story? How many Africanised bees were in my graduating Masters class? Zero. Prejudice much? Just think we should give them the benefit of the doubt. Or the Bee-nefit.

Business class, it turns out is no guarantee of sufficent amounts of sleep. Feeling strange. Bee-ling strange. Can’t stop.

So after loading up in the luxury lounge in Heathrow (strict pre-flight diet of peanuts, red wine and as much chicken tikka as I could cram down my throat in 20 minutes) I boarded the lap of Luxury. Isn’t that such a creepy phrase? Sounds like I’m about to rub my keester on someone’s lap so they’ll gift me something shiny. Something luxurious no doubt. “Work it!” screams Luxury. I weep and keep wiggling my rump.

In my head, this is Luxury. He hasn’t showered to teach his Mom a lesson since she left town in the 90’s to become a potter like she always said she would. The bitch.

I had a recliney seat, even with some massage action in the cushions. Important to remember to turn these off before lying down otherwise it feels like the front of a small submarine slowly, but powerfully attacking ones man-ovals. Which given the right context might be fine (or even… much more than fine) but sleep on a plane is already my white whale so I didn’t need the distraction. After pretending to try to sleep I arrived at the end of leg 1 in Johannesburg the next morning, sweatily stomping out of the aircraft (heroically forgetting my iPhone charger) taking my first breaths of the wild forbidden air of Africa. Ba-ba ba ba, ba ba bo BUUUUMMMM!

After getting through the ramshackle customs desk (they didn’t know where one of their staff was, seemingly in more of a Taken way than an early lunch way) I tentatively proceeded into the shopping zone in order to purchase a replacement iPhone cable. Tentative becuase Joburg easily has the worst reputation for crime, drugs and general mayhem of any city in South Africa. And South Africa is not exactly known for its lack of mayhem.

I shit you not, an actual anti-car theft device in South Africa.

Maybe it looks worse than it… never mind.

Anyway with a strong awareness of my own impending death, I ventured onwards into Joburg airport. I had maybe 200 metres between me and the Business class lounge and a few reviving cups of terrible coffee. Would I make it? At least the crack team of highly trained profilers and martial arts experts at passport control were keeping the worst of things at bay behind me. I glanced over my shoulder at the poor sods still in the queue on the wrong side of the barrier. “It’s all over for you turkeys. You’re already dead. Well not me. I won’t let it happen TO ME!!!”

I sprinted across the concourse, terror-urine beginning to speckle my trousers from the inside as several friendly looking people from the Burberry shop quietly rearranged some purses. All convicted murderers probably. I made it to the lounge with not a scratch on me which I largely credit to me swinging my carry-on bag over my head the whole way and shrieking the word “Ebola” at the top of my voice.

Ebola is a serious business there, with seemingly every airport doing fever-scans to check if anyone might have early symptoms. They also spray some weird stink spray in the airplane cabins even though it was only in one small part… of Africa.

Ba-ba ba ba, ba ba bo BUUUUMMMM!

I then re-embarked for my final destination of Namibia. Chewing on my breakfast bacon we were informed over the intercom that we had just passed through Botswana and into Namibia. I immediately snapped the window cover up and looked out on the… flat dirt. For an hour over Namibia, all I saw were waterless riverbeds and not a single proper road. We were put-puttin along, still without a single feature to speak of below us when they up and decided we were there and started dropping out of the sky. You can often get the faintest hint of what’s going on in a country from the airport. From Namibias airport ads, there was some stuff on anti-corruption, off-shore diamond mining and plenty of people asking whether maybe you have a touch of the old Ebola. No shrieking this time.

Namibia, was officially a part of South Africa up until 1990 and even now has very strong connections to sweet SA. Similar racial breakdown, somewhat better on integration, crime and so on, but land-wise they really drew the short straw. Rather than vineyards and grassy pastures, Namibia is more in the Mad Max vein. Huge tracts of flat dirt, interspersed with rolling tumbleweeds, arid shrubbery and the very occasional baboon. Half the population of Ireland in a country the size of France. Namib desert? Kalahari desert? That’s Namibia.

How did I get on? Well you’ll have to wait for the next dispatch of the Toner of Leek from the proud continent of… Africa.

Ba-ba ba ba, ba ba bo BUUUUMMMM!

Was that four? I think that was four. <scrolls up> Yeah it was four. I can do it now.

If you don’t click, survey says you’re a joyless dink.

In other news, while I was away Meg made a new friend. She was woken from a deep sleep by shouting in the street. She staggered to the window and lifted the blinds to come eye to eye with an Elmbridge Town Council worker sitting in a cherry-picker afixing the Christmas lights, staring back at her. If this wasn’t disconcerting enough, it was an unusually warm night and Megs clothing quotient was lower than normal mainly (I suspect entirely) focused below the mid-secton. Poor Peeping Thomas didn’t know where to look I’m sure. Both barrels.

I fully expect him to be there tonight.

To-To-ner of Leek

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