The Next Jaunt - 6th Dec 2013 to 10th Jan 2014
The next place on my agenda is Zambia ( ex-Northern Rhodesia ) and the region known as 'ZimZamBo' ( Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana ). We have been invited to stay with a friend who runs a banana plantation in the Copper Belt ( or maybe it's a copper plantation in the Banana Belt ), up in the north of the country near the town of Ndola, and expect to do a bit of travelling from there.
I mention 'we' because this time I will have a travelling companion in the shape of the redoubtable Garry Daintry, so christened because he was conceived on a bank of the river Garry, Perthshire, during one of his parents' more productive fishing trips. Garry D, or GD or more irreverently known as Gazza has an interesting history. Commissioned into the Irish Guards ( The Micks ) he served gallantly in the Aden conflict in the 1960s, and then qualified as an army helicopter pilot. He flew with the 'Blue Eagles' helicopter display team ( involving some very hairy 'occurrences' during the infancy of this spectacular display team ) and became a Qualified Helicopter Instructor ( QFI ), also serving in Hong Kong. After leaving the army as a Captain he flew civilian helicopters in such places as Indonesia and, during the Tamil Tigers civil war, in Sri Lanka. He was an indefatigable and successful marathon runner which he combined with a tireless hedonistic lifestyle involving much partying and was always in popular demand with the 'laydees'. Something of a Deb's Delight I suspect and, dare one say it, a 'Boulevadier Superieur'.
He rode the Cresta with great panache for many years and was latterly an assistant secretary of the St Moritz Tobagganing Club where he gained the soubriquet 'The Gallant Captain', a venue where his laid-back charm, social graces and enthusiasm were highly appreciated.
Twice married ( and twice most amicably divorced ) he now lives in rather splendid gentility in Kensington. Unfortunately due, as he will freely admit, to burning the candle at both ends as well as in the middle in his somewhat dissolute youth, he has endured a heart bypass operation ( the Daintry Bypass ) and suffered a few minor strokes which have seriously impaired his sight. He is now the proud wielder of a white stick and a quack's chitty to prove its not a bluff.
Regardless, he is still mobile and most entertaining company. He shares with me an ambition to avoid the YouKay during the so-called 'Festive Season', hence our eager acceptance of the invitation to stay on a banana plantation in Zambia until the war is over.
An amusing book could be written about Gazza's extraordinary life, and probably will be ( much to the embarrassment of his many friends no doubt ).
Anyway he, armed with his white stick, and I shall sally forth on this African adventure, flying from Heathrow on 6th December.
This trip should provide some good 'copy' for an ongoing blog; so stay tuned.........