Thursday, November 25, 2010

A One Poo Post.


So here I am, back in London after my briefest trip so far to the motherland. It's Wednesday morning as I write this, I arrived back at around nine PM last night after landing over your way on Friday afternoon.

Truth be told I feel just that little bit dazed.

Of course there are lots of bits and pieces to tell you. Stories of colour, light, sound and smell. Theories on the body and heat, on the arrogance of SriLankan aircrew and how some friends left me to the wolves, well a wolf, well a wolfess actually. There's also an instructional story about the best way to steal a laptop from a Gypsy.

They're all noted in my new and swishy Barefoot notebook, one of those with lines drawn by a person with a crap ruler. Funny really that, a crap ruler could be a device to draw straight lines that doesn't work well or it could be person running a country badly. Or I guess it could be a fellow in charge of a crap table.

This is a bit of a poo post though, something that has been lacking around the Lankanosphere of late.

My itinerary was set as follows; land in CMB lateish on Friday afternoon, spend three days mooching around, doing that romantic thing that I'm so renowned for. This was with C, not just with random women that I encountered. Then leave on Tuesday morning, get back in London in the evening and go back to work on Wednesday morning.

By Saturday morning all was going well. All except one thing; I hadn't dropped a log since before I left London on Thursday. And neither had I done a poo. As you'll be aware this isn't wholly unusual for me. I can sometimes go for three or more days without opening the back gates and am often approached by camels seeking advice on how to do it.

But I began to wonder if it was at all possible that I could manage a whole sojourn to Sri Lanka, albeit a brief one, without the turtle poking its head out at all.

It was going to be a challenge. After some thought I decided that I was the man for the job and accepted it.

However, there was a condition and had to outline it to myself. It was to do with food, that all important aspect of any trip to Sri Lanka. It was all well and good trying to leave the country without pooing but it had to be done without cutting back on food, without existing on a diet of salad or bland food. Accepting and rising to the challenge would be useless if it dented my enjoyment of the trip. I explained the situation to myself and I accepted things. We both did actually.

Saturday was a breeze. I barely thought about things and ate like a British tourist at a Sri Lankan beach hotel buffet. One of those tourists with a yellow wristband, not just a blue one.

Sunday was a slightly different matter. C and me had some lunch and bumped into the Gypsy and another friend at Barefoot. I could feel a bit of a build up occurring, rather like a dam with a a steadily rising water level. My control was good, managing to talk to the Gypsy and tensing all my stomach muscles at the same time. It was hard work, that much I'll admit to you, though I'd be obliged if you don't tell the Gypsy about it.

I figured it would be smart to eat my way through the discomfort, so had a main course and a dessert. With hindsight that might have been a tad unwise. Thank God for belts with more than one hole and Diet Coke. By the evening things had got so uncomfortable that I could only eat a whole lamprais for dinner. And some of C's rice and curry too.

Monday morning saw C go off to work and me alone at the hotel. I was still a man on a mission but that mission meant that I also had to enjoy all that Serendib has to offer. I ate my breakfast of string hoppers, chicken curry, parippu and some pol sambol, with some seeni sambol too, with the zeal of a man eating his last meal before the electric chair.

As I sat on my very own special chair shortly afterwards, though this one wasn't electric, I feared for the plumbing and sewage systems of Colombo, more than normal I mean. As one man to another I can tell you that this poo was one of those eye watering types that leave a chap slightly breathless, admiring his own work and wondering about gay sex a bit. Michelangelo would have looked up and admired his work, I looked down.

I completed the paperwork, flushed and ran to the window of my room. I peered carefully over Beira Lake expecting to see it pop up at any moment, perhaps I'd see some guys in a rowing boat have to swerve to avoid it or a small crowd of onlookers pointing and screaming. Nothing happened. I was probably looking at the wrong place. It must have come out next to the Beach Wadiya into the sea there.

I'd been defeated by the challenge but that was okay. The rest of the day saw an RD with a lightness in his step and a large amount of air in his stomach, or semi colon or whatever it's called, the poo storage place.

Without even trying I lasted all the rest of the day with no further movements. I left the next morning, lasting the journey without going. I hate to poo in strange places but there's no place stranger than an aircraft toilet.

The first thing I did when I got home, after calling my Mum of course, was another satisfying log drop.

And, even though I failed the challenge, I do consider it to be a success. I went to Sri Lanka and only did one poo in my time there.

There's a prize for anyone who can beat that!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Who Wants To Live Forever?

Like most authors say at regular intervals, I started a new book the other day. The difference with me is that I'm not an author so I'm talking about the reading thing, not the writing part. It's called "Our Tragic Universe" by Scarlett Thomas and it captured me within the very first pages.

I think my reading, my appetite for all things literary and my sense of confidence in my own ability to appreciate books, has grown in recent times. So much that I find myself giving up on books that don't hold my attention. It feels like a reflection of my reader's maturity, gone are the days when I absolutely had to finish every book I began in order to judge whether I liked it.

It's kind of mad as well, the amount of time I, and you, must have wasted in reading books we didn't like. We spent those hours ploughing through only to get to the end and decide it was rubbish. If I could figure out a way of eliminating doing things in my life that I subsequently discover I don't like then I'll not only make some serious money but I'll also have total fun in spending it.

But would there be any joy without joylessness? Which came first, the chicken or the tree falling in the woods?

I digress, the thing is I had started another book a week ago. It was a book called "The Ask", in fact it still is a book called "The Ask", by a fellow called Sam Lipsyte. The reviews on Amazon led me to believe it's the funniest thing since The Inbetweeners or that story about no civilian casualties. I kid you not when I tell you that I wondered whether I'd feel uncomfortable reading it in public as I'd be laughing out loud so often. Sorry kids, laughing out loud means LOL, just so you know.

Halfway through this book I bailed. It just wasn't doing it for me. Yes, there were a few occasions when I'd lolled, albeit very quietly, but it seemed overcomplicated, as if the author wanted to come up with brilliantly wordy and sophisticated sentences the scholars would marvel at in years to come. The only snag being that old RD couldn't understand them.

I contemplated the abandonment for a few chapters, then did it when I was least expecting to. My sentiments, now at least, are that I might come back to the book at another time, one when I'm more intelligent and sophisticated, or I might just dip into it now and again to see if if grabs me. Such are some of the advantages of owning a Kindle.

Our Tragic Universe, which I've only just begun, isn't a ball grabbing tension filled fast paced page turner type. No, but it did get my attention, more in a gentle and sexy way, one that took a bit of effort then had me hooked.

The language is very British, the sense of self deprecating humour and understatement seems to be there and it's already flung several new and brilliant similes at me, ones I've forgotten straight away but may just be wallowing in my subconscious ready to spring out at a moment's notice. Like a thing, out of a whatsername.

I started this post because I wanted to share this one with you, it made me stop, gasp and think. It's really rather lovely and goes like this:

"Living forever would be like marrying yourself, with no possibility of divorce."

I'm off to the Motherland tonight.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A New Pregnancy Test?

I slightly introduced Marc to you here. Well he's still around at my work, the only difference since we last checked in with him was that he's since got married and has a young baby.

He's from the Ivory Coast is Marc and is one of life's gentle but mean looking mothers. He resembles a gangster, well a gangsta, wearing the style of clothing made popular by P Diddy and Snoopy Snoopy Dog Dog, those kind of chaps. His accent is a strange mix of African sounds with French, English and deep gruff noises. The technical term is "fucking hard to understand at the best of times".

He's also one of my best workers. Here's a little story that happened the other day.

It was about 7.45 AM and I was sat at my desk pretending to work. Marc, who starts at 8 AM, rang and I answered the phone, though I didn't know it was him until I'd done so. I listened very carefully in my attempt to decipher what he was saying. The gist of it was that his wife was vomiting and he was running a little bit late because of that but would be at work shortly.

I said that that was fine and asked him not to call me "shortly".

He arrived soon after that, came up to my office to explain again and I told him all was fine, that the main thing was that she was better now. Then, being the joking cad that I am, I asked him if she might be pregnant again, that this could be one of the signs. He went pale, quite an achievement for him, laughed in a slightly forced way and looked more nervous than a Qantas passenger who, casually gazing out of the window, spots some oil staining on the A380's engine, the one with the flames coming out of it.

And off he went, downstairs to his lair in the warehouse. I chuckled at my wit and good humour.

Some time later I went downstairs to the warehouse, because that's where it is. I saw Jay, my right hand man, and told him about my joke with Marc, adding that he might want to wind Marc up a bit about the situation. He burst out laughing and told me what had happened some minutes before after Marc had come to speak to me.

It turned out that I had misunderstood Marc from the very beginning of our conversation. It wasn't his wife that was being sick, it was actually his young baby. So, when I'd asked him if the wife was pregnant again, what with the sickness being a possible sign, Marc had thought that I'm the owner of some wisdom and knowledge and that it was a medical fact that a young baby being sick might be a sign of the mother being with child.

Marc, being concerned, had immediately phoned his wife to ask if she was expecting, as his boss had told him it was likely. She'd told him to stop being an arse, that there is no such old wives' tale, or words to that effect. I don't know the ins and outs of his love life and I don't have any plans to find out, but there seemed no doubt that the good lady knew her stuff.

We all found this mightily amusing, so much so that I might even write to Readers Digest about it.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Panic Post

So I've never done this before but it's 3.56 PM here on Monday afternoon and I've given myself exactly one hour to come up with a post, one that you'll read in the morning. That is if I churn out anything even half worthwhile.

My currently active journal has a list of potential blog posts. There are twenty items on the list, though four or five of them are crossed through because the post has been written and published. None of them grab me at the moment, none are screaming out to be written.

Ah, here's something though; I'm not eating very well at the moment. Truth be told I'm a bit fucked off with food. This living on my own and cooking for one business has got me a bit pissed off. It's a lot of effort to cook when the only person eating is moi. Cooking when the girls are with or when C is with me is cool and fun. But they're not with me most of the time.

There's practically the same amount of time and effort involved in cooking for one as there is in doing it for three or four, it's only when one deals with the dinner party occasions that things get more serious. And a party of one is getting boring. You know, I can sit there and give myself compliments about the food. I can write a blog post telling you how lovely my chicken curry was the previous night. I can tell C or the kids about it.

But the thing is I might as well make up my reports. Whether it's you reading a post or anyone I tell personally there are no witnesses. I could be living on pot noodles every night and regaling the world with glamorous stories of sweetcorn and creme caramel with trifle.

So I've been eating lots of rubbish takeaways recently, rubbish in a tasty and unhealthy way. But I've even started to get bored of them. Take last night as an example. I was hungry, I was tired and it was a bit cold and miserable outside. I decided, after a discussion, perhaps more of an argument with myself, to make my own dinner. Only the contents of my fridge and cupboards would have made the average university student wince with pity.

There was French bread, some tins of Green Giant sweetcorn, some chocolate biscuits, a creme caramel thing and a one person trifle. I had been watching some Jamie Oliver earlier that day and was feeling inspired. What the hell I figured. I can make a meal out of these things, it can't be that hard if I set my mind to it.

I thought, I pondered, I browsed through the various smells in my spice cupboard and peered hard into the dark recesses of the other cupboard, in case I'd missed anything good lurking there. I hadn't. Stocks were that low and the situation was that desperate.

I started with the French bread. It was fresh and I had some nice French butter to go with it. I spread the butter on the bread, then ate it. Mmmm.... I thought.

Next I opened the Green Giant sweetcorn. It's important to get the "Green Giant" bit in there, for that branding somehow really does make sweetcorn taste that extra bit delicious. I poured it into a bowl and ate the stuff, being careful to eat those last few pieces. Revenge is a dish best served cold, which is how I'd opted to serve the sweetcorn, quite a coincidence I thought.

My French sojourn continued and I went for the creme caramel. They're clever these Frenchies and this one was the sort I could turn out onto a plate perfectly, with it's darker caramelly section on the top and that mouthwatering sugary juice floating around the plate. At first, when I upturned the container, the dessert stayed stuck fast but a quick snap of the little plastic tab attached to it and the contents get released as if by magic. I continue to be marvelled by the ingenuity of our Gallic cousins.

And then I ate it.

There is no better dessert than trifle. Ever. In the world. And I mean proper British trifle, not one of your Sri Lankan hotel buffet ones with everything tasting that bit too sweet. Definitely not one of those American ones that have mincemeat in them either. I realised recently that my problem with a trifle is that I like not only each individual ingredient, the fruit, the jelly, the cream, custard and spongey bits, but I also like every possible combination of each of the ingredients.

A mouthful of jelly with some custard is lovely. One of fruit and cream is delish, one of jelly, sponge and fruit is, well you get the picture.

So I wolfed down a trifle (individual portion) too.

That was it, that was dinner. And frankly I felt shallow and cheap and used, rather like a chap must feel after being seduced by Britney Spears and Lady Gaga. At least it was healthy, though Lady Gaga's average costume contains more meat.

For some time I contemplated nipping out and getting a takeaway. No, I was stronger than that. I mooched around a bit feeling sorry for myself then skulked off to bed with a good book, about thirty of them actually because it was my Kindle that I took with me.

Tonight I'll get a takeaway.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I Don't Do I Don't Do

I like the English language. I like the Singlish language too, maybe because that's one way in which my cultures come together and mix with all the ease of oil and water.

But I can't claim to be a fan of the things the Americans have done to English. They change things for no apparent reason, they simplify things that never needed simplifying and complicate things that were nice and simple in the first place.

What was so wrong about a lift that it became the four syllable mouthful of "elevator"? Why did our good sturdy pavements change into sidewalks and, the most troubling of the examples for sure, why did an arse trade places with an ass and confuse the hell out of donkey fans and arse kickers everywhere? Can you imagine the confusion if you lived in the US and wanted to hold an arse kicking party?

My most recent gripe is the continued unnecessary use of the phrase "I don't do...".

I was listening to a radio programme, or should that be program, the other day. There was a jokey feature in which the roving reporter had to go on a rollercoaster and sing a song, for the listeners to guess the song and win prizes galore.

The presenter introduced the feature, sensationalising it as they always do, and added that it was extra hard for the reporter to have done because "you don't do rollercoasters do you?"

I hate this fucking phrase, really I do. It's grammatically incorrect, it's overly dramatic, it's almost always factually incorrect and I believe it's jumping on that very American obsession about being obsessive. Everyone these days has to be "a little OCD" about something.

In my day it was perfectly acceptable to decide not to like rollercoasters much. We felt no compulsion to make all our dislikes into major psychological disorders, ones that Miley Cyrus and the cast of Glee all have.

I was at home with K the other day and making dinner. I asked her to chop some onions. Her response?

"Oh Dad, do I have to? Only I don't really do knives"

"You what?" I said, while screwing up my face in that confused, puzzled and disbelieving Dad look.

"You don't do knives?" I asked.

"No I just don''t like them" she replied.

I shook my head with exasperation, then I chopped the onions, that's how annoyed I was.

I was chatting to David Blacker the other day and the subject of pants came up. That's pants in the proper British way of underwear, not the American trouser thing. I told DB about the recent tremendous pants I've bought, the extra strong ones in Odel. His response?

"I don't do pants"

I frowned and then listened to his rather sad and poignant explanation.

Apparently when he was a young lad he was assaulted in the pants section of House Of Fashions by a gang of middle aged Muslim women. They stole his packet of cigarettes and his membership card for The Library, that nightclub in the Cinnamon Lakeside, though it was of course called the Transasia in those days. He's never fully recovered and so, to this day, never wears pants. If you see him just have a quick grope if you doubt me.

Keep all that to yourself though won't you.

Bloody Americans.

That's why I don't do I don't do.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Search Me

Once in a while I like to peruse the statistics, or stats if you're American, for my blog. It's interesting to look at the words and phrases people have typed into their search engines that have led them to these parts, it often throws up some surprises and never ceases to makes me laugh.

One of my biggest claims to fame, in life in general, is that I'm the number one match if you search for "Elephant House Cream Soda". Well, I am on the UK Google site but have been relegated to third on the Sri Lankan one. And curiously, like many bloggers whom I've seen comment on the phenomenom, I get a good few hits from people searching for sex related phrases that I'm not aware I've ever written about.

Here's the recent top five, finishing off with a number one that I think you'll agree is quite possibly the funniest search term ever:

5. "Condoms in Colombo" - Well it's not funny per se, but it gives me a feeling of pride to know that my blog might be giving advice to hapless fellows looking for raincoats in Serendib.

4. "Sri Lankan big boob young girl" - No, I don't know why. Puzzling, slightly strange.

3. "Why do hairdressers wear black?" - What sort of a person needs to search for the answer to this question? In fact what sort of a person needs to ask it in the first place. Just to clear things up it's so the hair doesn't show up all over the hairdresser's clothing. Fuckwit.

2. "Peeing in urinal for long time" - This is a chin scratcher of the highest order. So some bloke goes into a public urinal, pees for a long time then googles the matter to see why? Or is it another chap who witnesses the event and wonders why it's happened? Perhaps it's a curious woman, trying to find out the secrets of men, the things we do in a urinal. Which is just to pee really, unless of course you're name is George and you used to be in Wham.

1. "Rearranged furniture and dog crapped everywhere" - I don't need to patronise you with narrative about this and why it's so funny. But I will. Imagine what I think can be the only explanation for this. Some random bloke decides to move some of his furniture around a bit. No way was this a woman, I don't know why, that's just the way it is. He puts his settee over there, the chair over here and turns the coffee table ninety, perhaps eighty five degrees.

Then, on his return from a hard day's work, probably at a furniture shop, perhaps a pet store, he discovers that his dog has taken a dislike to the new arrangement and crapped everywhere. So, he googles the situation and ends up reading about Sri Lanka, some drummer bloke and his mad daughters.

Brilliant. Totally.