Home Articles The Scots Lad Episode #9: The Scots Lad: Getting in a Paddy - Page 2
Episode #9: The Scots Lad: Getting in a Paddy - Page 2
Written by Gerry Hodes   
Tuesday, 26 May 2015 01:47
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Episode #9: The Scots Lad: Getting in a Paddy
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Actually, that had been one of his lesser expressions of disapproval, where I was concerned. He loudly objected, for instance, to the expression of distaste that I sent to a truly useless operative employed by the customs clearing agents Allen, Wack & Shepherd. Exasperated by yet another basic error in documentation, the statement ‘Get a grip of your SK’s’ would have been inappropriate enough for the Zambian Civil Service, but, dumbly I chose to spell it out as ‘get a grip of your sweaty knickers’.

This induced a howl of complaint from the boss of the plump female nitwit author, who was the subject of my comment and led to me standing bowed in front of Paddy’s much chewed desk. Unreasonably, he would have no truck with my defence that, being a complete porker, her lingerie probably WAS a bit perspirationally challenged, so my bottom left his lair thoroughly slapped, albeit figuratively. He was a bit of a sociopathic nightmare to work for, Paddy, but I don’t want to label him a pervert. After all, fair is fair, even for an explosive Irishman.

As a single incident, that might have passed as a youthful indiscretion, but our resident UNIP office sneak, Nkunika, was carefully recording any activity which did not conform to regulations, or, indeed, his UNIPean view of what was acceptable behaviour in white Europeans. I wasn’t the lone subject of his unbrotherly spying, but I was, it must be admitted, his most provocative and abusive colleague, in the wholly Glaswegian hope that it might induce him to plant one on me, giving me the excuse to beat him to a pulp.

Anyway, like most of my cunning plans, it didn’t work and a stream of vindictive reporting saw me as a frequent visitor to the rug in front of Paddy’s desk. For example, failure to customise the incoming Bulawayo flight on Sunday, March 21st 1966 (Guilty as charged: I fell asleep in the admin office, leaving the bewildered incoming passengers to mill helplessly in front of an equally nonplussed immigration guy).

Reported for ‘borrowing’ Paddy’s personal GRZ Rover 110 in a (failed) attempt to impress a staggeringly stacked secretary from an adjacent office block (hey, it worked for Browning), brought further recriminations from our very own Celtic Tiger. He also wasn't too fussy about my frequent absences caused by hitching lifts on Royal Canadian and RAF transports to exotic destinations like Zaire, Tanzania and Kenya. There was no pleasing Paddy and that’s a fact.

Luckily for me, my randy mate Roger managed to divert some of his explosive attention, more of which, later.

My working life, therefore, was filled with barely comprehensible, snarling managerial invective and threats, but, generally, I was enjoying myself in the Capital. Apart from the insatiable Holdsworths deflowerer, I had made a more than casual acquaintance of an athletic Scottish lass, Sheila Greig, on whom I was heart-stoppingly keen, but who extinguished any prospect of advancement to a higher level of intimacy, by declaring that she valued our friendship too much; that depressing language d’amour which approximates to being forced to imbibe a giant cup of bromidic sick.

Still, she was good fun, occasionally peripherally horny when tipsy and I hung in there, demonstrating, not for the first time, naive desire triumphing over bitter experience.

More encouragingly, however, she had lots of other expatriate girlfriends, who were much more relaxed about combining mateyness with uncommitted total intimacy. When I could prise my sexually abused Pogo from Browning’s determination to ruin, at the very least, the suspension, I was a very satisfied little mobile Caledonian bunny.

Just in case the casual reader infers that The Scots Lad had but one thing on his mind, I also developed my own constellation of platonic females, chief amongst these Gail Paterson, which is how I began to discover who really runs the universe. True, this knowledge was not of much use in the brainless Y chromosome world of the callow 20 year old male in a Customs Mess in Central Africa. My future business career in retail , however, turned out mainly to feature as a leader of women, precisely the opposite of what I hoped it would be, and it must have had some benefit for that. Admittedly, you would have to ask said women, for an accurate confirmation of that theory. Please don’t.