Friday, 11 November 2005

Safari

So there I was deep in the forest, Caruthers to the left of me, Ginger to the right up ahead a native tracker was scouting for spore. The tension was palpable; the clink of glasses as we silently toasted the success of this most deadly mission was the only sound of human activity. Caruthers has eyes like a hawk and noticed a slight change in the demeanour of the tracker and indicated to us that the game was on. Sure enough the scout let out the unmistakeable call of a pregnant Dragonfly to signal that he had found a track. At last the long months of preparation, planning and waiting were over, the tension that had been with us for the last week dissolved at last to be replaced with pure adrenalin; the chase was on!

Gently we made our way up to the scout acutely aware of our surroundings as we proceeded in single file, each man standing in the footprints of the man ahead to lessen the chance of alerting our quarry with a carelessly broken twig. The tracker crouched triumphantly by a damp patch of earth a huge smile beaming from his face. With an expansive gesture he indicated with his right hand to the patch of darker ground, inviting us to check his find. Could it be? After all this time could it really be? I could not bring myself to look for fear of disappointment; Caruthers and Ginger are made of sterner stuff and crowded in to check the find. The silence of the moment was broken by the sound of a sharp intake of breath being sucked in over Ginger’s teeth ‘jingers!’ he whispered obviously unable to control his excitement. This was enough for me, we had found it! I jostled with the other two wanting now to confirm for myself what they had seen. And there it was, the cloven hoof print perfectly captured in the earth right here in front of us.

Islington seemed so far away, both in time and distance. This was a different world, a world that was but a dream a year ago when I had first come up with the plan. The others had laughed it down at first, but the seed of adventure was planted in our collective consciousness and over the next six months we would revisit the idea time and again, usually over a bottle of Port. Slowly it occurred to us that such a mission might be possible, perhaps we could walk in the footsteps of the greats; Hillary, Polo and Armstrong all men unperturbed by the impossible. It is to them that we owe a debt of gratitude for brining us closer to our goal, our very own impossible goal; to see a sheep. We have heard tell of such creature and even seem small parts of them on polystyrene trays, wrapped in Clingfilm and placed in fridges. But to see the creature in it’s home environment, a fantastic idea.

Ginger had always claimed to have been to the country once as a child but we had not believed him, it seems we had underestimated dear Ginger. He had contacts, and came through with a phone number for Jethrow our tracker. At first the number was dismissed as a ruse, surely they did not have phones in the country, I had seen a documentary once and was convinced it to be all cider and loin clothes. Ginger assured me that the telephone was no long treated with fear just suspicion and that we could indeed talk with Jethrow in the heart of the Countryside!

At first Jethrow thought us mad to want to leave the city in search of the legendary sheep and treated us with as much suspicion as we did him. Eventually we struck an accord, he would take us to see a sheep but only if we agreed to do exactly as he said. He did not want a repeat of the last time, when one of the party had snuck off on his own and had been savaged to death by a pair of lambs. Sheep, he informed us, are highly dangerous nocturnal creatures that will bite a man’s throat out and then fly off as soon as look at you. He could get us to see a sheep and get us safely away but only if we obeyed his every command, who could refuse such an offer? It was to be the adventure of a lifetime.

Once Jethrow had confirmed the receipt of £15,000 in his Swiss bank account as down payment on the safari he sent us details of our training program. I must admit I felt silly at first crawling around the flat with a big fluffy rug taped to my back singing baa baa black sheep but I had been told that this could save my life should things turn bad; little did I know then how bad things could get on a big sheep safari.


To be continued…

9 comments:

SameOld said...

by the way, DM, didn't anyone tell you to avoid eating those little mushrooms with brown caps on? :-)

Pandiotic said...

Did all this happen whilst I was cooking with Garlic and Saffron?

This sheep thing is very suspicious.

Has it been a while since you took a girl back to your pad? Or more appropriately to your pud.

Please don't become any more dubious.

ODM (Original Ditch Monkey) said...

Pandiotic what on earth are you gibbering about?

Pandiotic said...

A pud is the hand of a cat.

I figure you are the Beast of Bodminton as you live in the woods, people spy you from afar and take pictures of you, you are a creature of myth, and there is a high chance you don't exist (in my solipsistic retreat).

Why wasn't that obvious from my blognote?

ODM (Original Ditch Monkey) said...

Well yes that was very obvious, so obvious in fact that I thought that you had meant this as a metaphore. A metaphore for what was my confusion, it seemed as well hidden as an enigma wrapped in a blanket. I should have realised that there was no hidden meaning as you have not the capacity to think on any but the mundane level.

DaveM said...

Shepp safaris in Wales are always overbooked

Ken said...

:-) You're very brave...

Coppicer said...

ODM loses it big time. The strain is taking its toll, friends.

Dan

SameOld said...

What is it with everybody? Are you all smoking crack?