Home Articles The Scots Lad Episode #9: The Scots Lad: Getting in a Paddy - Page 5
Episode #9: The Scots Lad: Getting in a Paddy - Page 5
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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It became increasingly clear that their preference would be for the pristine packs of 200 coffin nails to be redistributed amongst the deserving masses i.e. themselves.

Even more crystal, was the likelihood that a single, prickly Scots Lad official and his shivering whippet of an assistant would present no obstacle to preventing this obeisance to the proletariat. Then a giant shadow hove into sight and, shortly afterwards, the enormous Oliver himself. I had forgotten that he worked at the PWD.

Taking in the situation at a glance, he parted the sea of agitators like an ebony Moses, growling ‘Thees biwana eesi mi frien'. ‘Eefi you weesh to haam him, you fust must deal wiv me’.

Muttering dark, but, sensibly, barely audible threats, the would-be assassins melted away and The Scots Lad lived another day. A (never repaid, but I retain the IOU) five bob ‘loan’ well spent, methinks. Plus the sophisticatedly oval, 400 aromatic Wills Passing Clouds that the Dept. of Customs and Excise donated to my gigantic saviour and not the oven, was a bargain too, especially as Paddy never found out.

Until now, that is.

And so, I was well settled in to life in Lusaka. I knew my way around, Browning generously left me a few mis-shapen females on which to practice for adulthood and the RAF and their Canadian compadres were flying me for free around a great wodge of Africa, as long as I was happy to sit seatbeltless on a dangerously flammable barrel of petroleum product in both directions. More kittens for Mama.

Occasional weekends with the Customs crew in Chirundu at the border post were a feature too. To describe these lunatics as having gone native would be to insult crazy, machete-wielding forest-dwellers throughout the Dark Continent. To an extent, their descent into neanderthalism was understandable. Forced to live their entire existence in huts alongside the bridge that crossed the Zambezi, about 80 miles south of Lusaka, they had developed a culture of their own.

Chirundu was a permanently and excruciatingly, blisteringly hot locale and, although the Federation had supplied them with air conditioning, (which their opposite numbers on the Rhodesia side did not possess, to their chagrin), it meant that the only entertainment was homemade; indoors and heavily alcoholic. No TV, lurking crocodiles and Zambezi sharks for neighbours and, worst of all, living permanently in a female-free zone. Who could deny them the odd rampage?

So they went nuts. Slowly, but certainly, emphatically kerrazy. And because they then became known to be, at the very least, a bunch of deranged sociopaths, they mostly were left alone to develop their own psychotic society. I believe that they fell within the administrative ambit of Paddy’s domain, but I never heard of him or his managers going down there. Shame, he may never have returned and that could have materially improved my own daily grind.

Naturally, I fitted in comfortably with their little gang of loonies, joining them for the odd fishing trip in their home made dugout canoe and joining their excursions by government Land Rovers down to Kariba, where weekending secretaries from the Capital could often be found camping. I sort of lost the taste for the angling experience, however, when four of us found ourselves physically unable to paddle the dugout back to the bridge, having ventured a little too far downstream.