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Thursday, 23 December 2004

Happy Hiatus

LET THE GAMES COMMENCE!

Right, enough already. I'm off on holiday to Cape Town. Raaayy! Should return about 17th January. With Stories. Feel free to chat amongst yourselves in the meantime.

Wednesday, 22 December 2004

Wednesday Weekly


Wee

A Parcel For Me, Surely You Jest?

So when we went to the doctor in town last week, we also went to the post office, clutching a Little Green Slip, which indicated that there was a parcel for me awaiting collection. In fact, anything bigger than a DL envelope gets locked away in The Parcel Vault, so it’s best not to get too excited about the Little Green Slip.

There are two counters in the post office where you can collect your goods. The signs are not really helpful – after all, how can you know if you should be in the line for the ‘small packets’ or ‘registered parcels’ when the Little Green Slip doesn’t tell you? Generally though, if you pass your LGS over to one of these two counters, someone will fetch your parcel for you.

The first counter has a big ‘Closed’ sign on it. I queue up at the other one. For half an hour. I finally come face to face with Big Bertha and I know I am on to a losing streak. I can almost hear the clang of bars as Bertha slams shut her Friendly Face and opens up Screw-You Central. I push the LGS across the counter.

“Good afternoon, how are you, can I have this parcel please?”

Big Bertha pushes the LGS back across the counter at me. "This is for the gentleman at the next counter.”

“Yes, but it’s closed. Can you get it please?”

Menacingly “He is the only one with the key.” We lock eyes.

I have met many Big Berthas on my African travels. Giant ladies working in Public Service who sit Buddah-like on their petty thrones, their sole aim to move as little as possible throughout the day and piss off as many customers as they can. Actually, no, as few customers as possible. To say ‘many’ implies that there might be speed involved.

I look at Bertha. She looks at me. I know damn well she probably has a key but is too lazy to get off her ass and go to The Parcel Vault. But I know which battles to fight and when to withdraw. You don’t cross Bertha, you have to go round her.

“When will this other gentleman return?”

“He’s at lunch. Come back at 14.30.” It was now 14.00.

The Husband and I decided to go to the supermarket to pass the time. We like hell, we do.

We know that 14.30 is an African estimate so we return to the post office at 15.00. Counter 5 is still closed. Big Bertha is still ensconced at Counter 6. I am not going there. There is a weird prefab-style mini office plonked in the middle of the post office lobby. A hand-written sign declares ‘Customer Service Agent’. It looks promising. I knock and go in.

“Hello, how are you, is this Customer Services?”

MARIA hums and haws. “Not exactly.”

I press on, regardless. I ask her to find someone to fetch my parcel. Maria is very nice. She goes off to find someone.

A queue of men with briefcases line up outside Maria’s door.

“Has she gone to get you money?” one of them barks at me.

“Er…no.”

Maria returns, talking animatedly on her mobile phone. In one deft movement she snatches a bundle of papers from First Briefcase Man, motions for me to sit down, tells me that someone is getting my parcel, and proceeds towards a white machine in the corner. It dawns on me why Maria was reluctant to accept the tag of Customer Service Agent. She is The Photocopy Lady. Maria carries on an extremely lascivious conversation with a bloke on her mobile. I try to tune out as she discusses the things they can do to each other online later. The photocopier whirrs, but doesn’t interrupt her flow. Maria is polite and lovely, but as the minutes turn into half an hour I begin to doubt the loveliness of her colleagues, in particular the mystery man who is fetching my parcel. He wanders past.

“There he is!” yells Maria.

I thank her and rush out after a man who is wearing a woollen waistcoat in the searing heat. It is not a good omen. He runs away and hides behind the steel bars at Counter 4. I repeat my request to collect my parcel.

“The man at Counter 5 is at lunch.”

“Yes, well how long exactly does he get for lunch? He was missing over an hour ago.”

“Er…let me just check.”

At this point The Husband has decided it is too hot to wait in the vehicle and has wandered in to the post office. I bring him up to date. The Husband is the world’s biggest stirrer in situations like this, and delights in pointing out the absurd.

“Hold on, are you telling us that only one person in this building has the key to The Parcel Vault?”

“Er…”

“And he’s left the premises with it?”

“Er…”

“What happens if he gets run over?”

“Er…”

“Or runs away?”

“Er…”

“Or loses the key?”

“Er…”

“Or steals the parcels and then runs away?”

“Er…”

“Surely there is another set of keys?”

“Well yes. But they’re not kept at this premises.”

“Well send for them.” Someone is despatched.

We wait. And wait. I lay my fevered malarial brow on the counter in front of Woolly Waistcoat and tap my passport loudly on the counter, hoping to drive him as insane as I feel.

Back at Big Bertha’s counter there is a twisted version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire going on. A well-spoken young man has come to collect some money via the SwiftCash system. He has dubbed it GoSlowMoney. He has been at the post office longer than we have. His name is listed as a recipient of wired cash. He has proper photo id, the amount due to him, and the post office that it’s coming from. But the sender’s name doesn’t tally. He argues the point that his aunt, the sender, may have sent someone else to do the transaction, but what does it matter as long as he is the genuine recipient? They refuse to give him the money.

“My aunt’s name is Gwendoline Kasunga.”

“No, wrong name.”

“Ok, maybe she used Gwen. Gwen Kasunga.”

“No, guess again.”

“Maybe she sent her secretary.”

“Sorry, try again.”

I have a sudden urge to leap across the counter and snatch the paper from Bertha. The argument goes on, back and forth like slow tennis.

There is no sign of either the second set of keys or The Man From Counter 5. I disturb Woolly Waistcoat who is very busy dusting his pens.

“Ok, there’s no sign of these other keys, seriously, when is this Man From Counter 5 due back from lunch?”

“Oh he’s not at lunch.”
Count. Calmly. Do not shout. “Where is he?”

“He’s in a meeting.”

“Where?”

“Upstairs.”

Breathe. No shouting. “Well, why don’t you go upstairs, knock on the door, go into the meeting, get the key, and then fetch my parcel?”

Woolly Waistcoat disappears.

Another half hour passes. The post office is now deserted, apart from the young man battling Big Bertha. The post office has long wide counters near the windows for customers to sort their post on. The malarial fever is bad at this point. I contemplate draping myself over one of the counters, in the manner of one of those ridiculous Vogue photoshoots where they go to a ‘Third World Country’. I don’t though. I am not a model. Nor do I want to see the inside of a Zambian insane asylum. Although, thinking about it, it’s probably not much different from the post office.

Two new customers arrive, clutching Little Green Slips. I vainly hope that extra numbers will increase the pressure. The Husband has had enough. He goes upstairs to see The Manager. He takes the GoSlowMoney boy with him. One of the new customers wails that he has been trying since 9.00 with his LGS. I daren’t ask him which day.

A sheepish looking man then appears behind Counter 5. The key, the key!! Both 9am Man and I shove our LGSs over the counter. Sheepish Man goes to The Vault. He comes back with a small padded envelope and a large box covered in my mother’s handwriting. He is in such a flap that he mixes up the LGSs and pushes MY box towards 9am Man. It is the last straw.

I clamp down on my box and run. As I left, 9am Man stretched for his envelope.

“Oh, I’m sorry sir. You can’t have this. It says ‘Mrs’ on the envelope and clearly you are a mister.”

The Husband reappears. I wave the box at him. The Manager has released the boy’s GoSlowMoney. We all beat a hasty retreat.

Congratulations! If you have read this far without slitting your wrists from tedium, then you have the stamina to survive in Zambia. Welcome! ZamPost welcomes you!

Tuesday, 21 December 2004

The Toe

I am afeard for The Toe. How can a digit be both numb and howlingly painful at the same time? Perhaps it is the physical toe which has departed, while the soulful toe lingers in agony. Either way, the bandage has got to be changed. And soon. Been avoiding it all day. Well actually Doctor Husband has been avoiding it. It has taken on the lovely coppery-red hue of the forest clay. Which is nice as a shade of hair, but not a great look on a bandage. I probably should check it out. It might be gone gangrenous. Slight concern about (a) ability to go clubbing in Cape Town due to malingering toe and (b) ability to drink many many cocktails due to malarial-damaged liver. Hmm.

Unseen rock attack
Big toe now howling redly
Dancing unlikely

Mosquito bite me
Now liver ravaged badly
Cocktails sit lonely

Monday, 20 December 2004

Hello, And Welcome To Animal Hospital

It really does indicate the fact that human kindness is alive and well when a whole group of people I have never met are sending me get-well wishes. Thank you all, you're lovely. However, I think I may have left the malarial bed too soon. Coming in to the office today I was attacked by a rock. So as well as brain fever I am now missing a large portion from the top of my right big toe. Bah!

Well, I've read some great books while ill, all about Afghanistan. For something that will break your heart and take your breath away read the novel The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. And a non-fiction which is both shocking and fascinating in equal measure is The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad.

Ok, I'm retiring now, hobbling offstage...

Friday, 17 December 2004

Anyone Would Think This Was A Medical Blog

It is a truth universally acknowledged that just when you think you have beaten off malaria it will return to bite you on the ass, kidneys, liver, brain etc. Meh! In the words of Homer Simpson - 'Ooooooh, liver hurts.'

Wednesday, 15 December 2004

Wednesday Weekly


Chocolate

Presents For Everyone

Blogging today will be limited to an avant-garde cartoon strip, the humour of which is only evident to the enlightened.

For anyone would think it was Christmas, such is the mountain of gifts I am surrounded by. Yes, The Husband is back. With booty. I love that man. Over 4kilos of the finest chocolate, lovely smelly things from Lush, Booooooks, so many boooks, CDs, parmesan, risotto rice, caper berries...and the list goes on.

But also, presents for everyone else. What a nice way to finish up the year. Over £500 for the kids in the creche - that's a lot of toys and educational materials and will be a fun spending spree, many thousands of pounds for an ambulance, more fundraisers going on right now, and a mountain of mobile phones. As I think I've probably mentioned before, there is no phone line here. But if you go deep in the forest and stand on a certain termite mound, you can get mobile reception (Seriously. Supervised by a guy known as Anthill Man). Of course mobile phones are expensive here, and although they are as prolific as buttons in town, tis not the case out here in the bush. So a big thank you to all those in the UK who sent us their old mobis, it will make things easier to run out here.

Well, I'm off for a chocolate-covered breakfast!

Tuesday, 14 December 2004

Scary Spanish Subterfuge

This is just as freaky as the US Army in Iraq preventing doctors from communiciating with the oustide world, because they don't want the truth about civilian deaths and injuries getting out.

Monday, 13 December 2004

Shroom!

Ok, for y'all who thought I was exaggerating about the mushroom:


Shroom!

That is a regular sized bean tin, just to give you some perspective. Milly presented me with this specimen this morning. I can't bear to tell her I don't like mushrooms.

A Most Extraordinary Thing

Yesterday I saw
A most extraordinary
Thing

I was sitting in the cool shade of the mbalasa, reading. Actually I had only half an eye on my book, and the rest on the washing line, watching out for thieves attempting to steal my lovely John Rocha bedlinen.

A long thin black flying beetle thing landed in the dirt near my foot. I stared at it, for it was a peculiar shape, with a longer, fatter green tube on its underbelly. Then I realised, FlyBeetle was carrying a Green Caterpillar. FlyBeetle unceremoniously dumped Green Caterpillar out of his pin-thin legs/arms/antennae things. FlyBeetle then began digging a hole in the dirt, obviously intended for Green Caterpillar.

FlyBeetle’s pin-thin legs worked like fury. He dug so fast you couldn’t see the dirt flying out. Every so often he extracted a ‘rock’ of dirt the size of a thimble and carried it away. In the space of about a minute FlyBeetle had dug a hole about 2cm wide and 10cm deep. He did a better, faster job than most UK builders. I began to wonder, why was FlyBeetle going to bury Green Caterpillar? Was Green Caterpillar dinner, to be recovered later? Was Green Caterpillar FlyBeetle’s dead friend, who deserved a respectful burial? And then, something disturbing happened.

Green Caterpillar waved his tail in a rather pathetic way. He was not dead. So FlyBeetle was going to bury Green Caterpillar alive, in the hope that his deep deep hole would suffocate him and render him a late lunch. FlyBeetle dragged and hauled that Green Caterpillar over to the hole. He stuffed him in, neatly. Then those little legs began to speed once more as he whipped all the dirt and 'rocks' back in on top of Green Caterpillar. FlyBeetle smoothed the dirt over the top, patting and tapping it all down. Then he flew away.

Saturday, 11 December 2004

AIDS, Again.

Article about AIDS orphans in Mozambique, accompanied by photos.

Friday, 10 December 2004

Grover and Mubs - Cake


Cake

AIDS Again. Because It Won't Go Away.

What a Friday. I have just come out of a very depressing AIDS meeting, to read this in the Guardian.

Ok here is your AIDS pop quiz for the weekend. It is based on Zambia, and on rural areas in particular, which are most affected. Which of the following statements do you find most upsetting?

  1. Even where there are basic clinics there is no HIV testing facility available to people, thus leaving them to live in fear and unable to deal with the possibility that they might be infected.
  2. Even if there were testing facilities at clinics most people live too far from a clinic to get treatment. They cannot even afford a bicycle to take them there.
  3. ARVs and other drugs have not been a possibility. You know why? Because restrictive trade ‘agreements’ (enforcements) have forbidden countries like Zambia from locally manufacturing drugs, thus making them unaffordable to those that need them. In July this year Zambia was finally ‘allowed’ to begin manufacturing. Too little too late?
  4. Isolation and lack of information amongst rural communities leads to complete social breakdown. ‘Traditional’ customs say that a sick person must not ever be left unattended. So if the house is full of people with AIDS and their carers, who is farming and providing food for the household? No-one. They starve.
  5. ‘Traditional’ beliefs include the one that a man who has sex with a new-born baby is cured of AIDS.
  6. ‘Traditional’ beliefs encourage the start of sexual initiation rites in girls as young as 9.
  7. ‘Traditional’ beliefs would have it that a young girl who is raped and left with the HIV virus is to blame and thus shunned from her household.
  8. One in Five people is HIV+
  9. Zambia has the world’s second-highest population of orphans due to parents and guardians dying from AIDS. Child-headed households are unable to provide enough food for themselves. They do not attend school and have no access to medical care. They suffer from malnutrition. They die of hunger. They are completely vulnerable to abuse and thus the possibility that they too will end up with AIDS.
  10. Most of these problems should be solved by a country’s own government. But how can that government even begin to address these issues if it is crippled by debt repayments to Western countries. Isn’t it time to Drop the Debt and Make Trade Fair?

Thursday, 9 December 2004

Hold Those Theatre Tickets...

“Tennessee Williams and Alice Walker have got to go”

The US – world’s biggest abuser of human rights? What exactly are they so afraid of? Seems to me like you can’t exactly feel comfortable in yourself and your beliefs if your sole aim is to wipe out anyone who’s different…

Wednesday, 8 December 2004

Why?

This is just not acceptable.

An Open Invitation To Mr Gordon Brown

Gordon Brown urges aid agencies to hold ministers to account for progress made in writing off African debt. Would this be similar to holding ministers to account for going to war in Iraq? Because that’s proved really effective.

I’d like to extend an open invitation here to any government ministers wishing to witness poverty for themselves. Talk is cheap, come live it. You are more than welcome to visit our project.

We will set you up in a thatched hut. You will have no electricity so you’d better get used to being in darkness a lot and cooking over some coals. You can break a little sweat digging a pit latrine, but you’d better do a good job, cos when the rains come you don’t want sewage running in to your house.

You can walk several kilometres every day to fetch dirty water that will make you sick. You can live on a diet of maize porridge and the occasional bit of spinach and beans.

You can single-handedly look after a household of about ten people, including several orphans and a couple of people dying of AIDS. Oh, that’s without medication by the way. You can take charge of burying your babies that have died from malaria straight in a hole in the ground. Who can afford a funeral?

Of course you’ll have a lot of kids to help you with all this, because there’s no school nearby for them to go to. Don't worry about clothing these kids, you've got no way of ever getting to a town to buy new kit, so they can just wear rags. Maybe you can beat the depression by becoming an alcoholic?

When you’ve finished with that, maybe you’d like to visit some of the villages we have been able to help so far, just to show you that life doesn’t have to be like this. It can change. But you have to start giving a shit. Welcome, Mr Gordon Brown, any old time you like.

Your Daily Dose

The UK government has been called upon to hold an inquiry into Iraqi civilian deaths. I’d like to see their reply, if any. They have rejected a study on figures done by the Lancet. Jack Straw is quoted as saying that true figures are closer to 3,853 civilians killed and 15,517 injured between April and October 2004. What, and that makes it ok????

The US is still rejecting the Kyoto Treaty. Wonder how long it will be before they come running back, when they realise how much money is to be made from Carbon Trading?

African Paradise

This is what I woke up to this morning -


African Paradise Flycatcher

Beats a cold rainy commute on a squashed train any day.

Tuesday, 7 December 2004

The Cookbook

Milly has just presented me with a gift. It is a mushroom the size of my head. Suggestions please?

Monday, 6 December 2004

I Had A Dream

A friend of mine is getting married in April. Last night I dreamt that another friend of mine was getting married on the same day, to Jude Law. Man, that would have involved some complicated to-ing and fro-ing.

There were at least two moments of hilarity yesterday:
1. Watching an episode of Six Feet Under in which the mother runs through the forest off her head on E. Damn I’d like to see my ma do that.

2. An ‘excerpt’ from the film Alexander on the BBC World Service. It took me a few seconds to work out what was wrong, and then I realised. Colin Farrell was delivering his lines in his finest Dublinese. I don’t know why a British or American accent would have been better, given that Alexander was Macedonian, but Dublinese is just wrong. Example: “Don’t youse worry. We will fi-yet for ower freeeeedum, and no messin.” My brother says the only good thing about the film is that it ends. I can never understand those women who find Colin Farrell attractive. Personally I think he looks as though he ought to be soaked overnight in a scalding hot bath, and possibly have his nicotine-stained hands plunged into a bowl of Harpic, but I guess it takes all sorts.

You know what my new fear is? ‘Katie Mehlua, coming soon to a chicken bus near you’. It’s bound to happen. She also popped up in my dream last night, I don’t know why. I thought I’d put her firmly behind me when I left the UK. Was it some sort of sick joke that an ad for that ONE SONG was on every ten seconds on tv? Who buys that shit? You’d be a bit put out to buy the album and find it has that same song on it 20 times. Just like being on a Chicken Bus of Torture. Which is where I began I think…

Sunday, 5 December 2004

How Hard Can It Be?

Seeing as I'm heading to civilisation in a few short weeks now - Cape Town, yaaay! - I thought I would do a little pre-shopping on the ol' interwebbery. *Not Impressed* I've been looking at some interesting stuff in the South African fashion magazines, so I thought I would check their websites to see where their stores are located. Except none of the blighters list them! It's all swank, la di da, look at our lovely merchandise, but if you don't already know where we are, we're not going to tell you. So there. Hah! One site didn't even have email. It was 'Fax us for details.' Yeah right. So I gave up on fashion and looked for practical stuff. Like this torch that a lot of outdoor people rave about. They had an online order form but no price list.... And finally I decided I wanted one of these:


I wish...

But as usual I have champagne tastes and lemonade pockets. It costs R3895. That's a lot of earth money.

Dawn Raid on Congo Pt 2

There's a rumour out that Chief is 'going in'. Watch this space.

The Critter Parade

Here is a short list of critters that are ok. Just because I only ever bitch about the ones that are not. Like Ratty. Grrr.

1.Squirrels. Yes, I know they are rodents. But they stay outside. In the trees. Where they belong. They do not attempt to gain entry to my house. And besides, they spend most of their time kissing, what's not to love?

2.Fireflies. How can you not adore something that's got a giant green lightbulb up its ass? Sometimes these get into my room and I lie in the dark and watch the twinkling lights. It's cool.

3.Birds. They are the most amazing colours. We seem to have had an even bigger influx since the rains started. Yellow, orange, turquoise, red, green. Awesome. Why are European birds so brown?

4.Moths. As long as they don't flap in my face, these are great. Actually, dead ones are better, cos you can photograph them too. Even more beautiful than the butterflies, there are some real technicolour wondermoths here.

Bushtucker

One of the security guards came over this morning. He insisted on setting me up with some hot coals for this brazier thing, bless. I guess word got out about the crisp-eating frenzy. I wish he hadn't bothered though, because clearly these things are only suitable for making a pot of stew, and only then if you put it on in the morning and are prepared to wait all day for it to cook. They just don't seem to get hot enough. Not even when I thought I'd speed things up a bit with my circus act and throw some paraffin on there. It took three hours just to fry up what potatoes Ratty hadn't gotten to. Now where did I put those Doritos...

Thievery update: Someone has nicked The Dog's water bowl. What is up with that?

It's very cloudy today. This is bad, no solar power. I am in the office trying to charge up the laptop. I was watching the BEST episode of Six Feet Under last night when the battery died. Who writes that show? They have the sickest deaths. Well the funniest too, but I have a warped sense of humour. Last night some lady died cos she stuck her head out the sunroof of a car and got smacked in the face by a traffic light. Her whole head was like a pancake. Nyuk nyuk.

Saturday, 4 December 2004

Testing, Testing..

Hello, hello, am I on? Oh well, I guess it's an African kind of internet maintenance, it will begin six months after it's scheduled to. I am feeling fed up. But Guy Browning expresses it much better than I could, so have a read here.

I am fed up with people stealing things. Ridiculous things, but infuriating. Like the soap out of the bath-house. And clothes off the washing line. And my snake-stick!

Today I am going to place a bucket of disinfectant in the long drop and use that for washing my hands, instead of soap, which will be stolen. Now I have got a shiny new red bucket for this purpose. The kind of bucket that someone is likely to steal. Now, it seems a little (but not much) OTT to try and chain this bucket into the long drop shelter somehow, so I have devised another plan. Thanks in no small part to Google Images. It may be overly hopeful, but I am hoping that the skull and crossbones universal poison symbol is recognised here. I have printed off several of these images which I shall plaster on to the bucket. In the hope that these petty thieves will just sod off and leave my shiny red plastic bucket alone. I'm only trying to wash my hands! Enough already!

And while we are on the subject of thieves it is now WAR with Ratty. He has gnawed his way in to the dark cupboard and eaten my potatoes. This was an extremely stupid move on his part. You must NEVER, repeat NEVER touch an Irishwoman's potatoes without permission. He. Will. Die.

I might also die. From starvation. For woman cannot live on Doritos and Red Wine alone, however hard she may try, and however much money she may have spent on them in Spar, Lusaka. No gas yet. Allegedly they will get me some on Monday.

Friday, 3 December 2004

The Universe Conspires

Ok I give up. Now we have had notice from our internet suppliers that they will shortly be 'carrying out maintenance'. I'm of the 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' school of thought myself, and I haven't noticed anything wrong. The phone company was to 'carry out maintenance' in July. We have been without phones for close to six months now. So, if you don't hear from me for a while, it's because I CAN'T CONNECT. Why now, while The Husband is away? No real person to talk to, no virtual people to talk to...Perhaps now is the time to handwrite my novel by candlelight and try to bump it up a little from the somewhat stagnant 20k words. I think I will go look for Ratty and try to murder him with a blow from a shovel. I saw my Dad do that once when I was little, it was quite impressive. And besides, the instructions on the rat poison packet say that the thing might take 12 days to die. No doubt up in the inaccessible rafters, and stinking the place out...

Wednesday, 1 December 2004

Something Wicked This Way Grows

I like my fingernails short. Real short. I am a slapdash stompy kind of person and long nails just don't work for me. However I am really struggling to keep up with the nail growth here - I seem to be chopping them off every second day. Must be something to do with all that fresh air and lack of pollution, the general lack of all things nice, I mean, toxic, in the digestive system etc. Anyway, it must be a while since I attended to them. I have just noticed to my horror that my nails are getting long and starting to curl outwards in the manner of some old Manchurian guy with a beard as seen on the interweb. I could be famous. In the Guinness Book of Records even. But I think I'll just get the scissors...

Ok, posting overload for today. It will have to keep you going for now as I'm off to dump The Husband at the airport in Lusaka this afternoon and will not return until Friday. Or until I have procured enough wine and crisps to last me a while. The gas for the cooker has now run out and until it is replaced I am expected to cook in one pot over some coals. I can't even light a fire, where will I find hot coals? *runs away looking for Milly*

Gordon 'Scarymonster' Brown

Is it just me or does anyone else think The Guardian have it in for GB? Why else the pic that makes him look like an extra from Harry Potter?

The Animals Are Taking Over

A rat has moved in. My home is a veritable zoo. Why do all the rabies-carriers live in my house?

Good things about Ratty:
(1) He has scared all the regular mice away.
(2) Er...that's it.

Bad things about Ratty:
(1) He has frightened the squirelly-mice-things. Not so much that they've moved out, just enough to make them shit even more. Anyone need some manure?
(2) Well, it's a RAT.

We didn't get back from town yesterday until after dark. The last part of the journey was positively Hitchcockian (ooh, what a great word!). After some late afternoon rain the flying worm-things were out in full force, we drove through clouds and clouds and clouds of them. We were desperately hoping to see the Pterodactyl again but it didn't make an appearance. We did however see a large owl and some large bats, thus making us even surer that we are in fact The Chosen Ones - Dinosaur Witnesses.

The Morals Of Advertising - Discuss

Flyposter in Ndola:

"AIDS is a reality.
Do not share your razer (sic) blades with your loved ones.
Use 'Smooth Skin' hair remover cream to take the hair off your body.
Buy it now at your local chemist."