Libya: sinister developments
ITALIAN prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has announced that his air force is to join the Nato operations in Libya.
It could be most sinister. Berlusconi is already accused of sleeping with an under-age Morroccan prostitute. He is accused of running a web of procurement of young women to participate in "bunga-bunga" sessions at his residence.
Morrocco, like Libya, is part of the North African Maghreb region. Could it be that the pilotless drones currently deployed over Libya will be equipped with cameras to zoom in on what could be promising bunga-bunga material in Tripoli and other places?
With anyone but Berlusconi, the idea would be fantastical.
Romance and squelch
READER response to this week's piece on romance/squelch rhyming couplets has been fairly brisk. The idea first floated in the Washington Post - is to produce a couplet with the first line quintessentially romantic and the second the exact opposite.
Here's the contribution of Gary Gower:
You were my Princess and I was your Frog,
But who made the wish that turned you into a dog?
I met you at Lovers' Gate,
Only to realise it was a disaster date.
You are my heart's desire,
But a lady of the night I would rather hire.
Two of these seem to be at the expense of the ladies. That's not fair, romance/squelch is a two-way street. Let me try to balance matters, put myself in the place of the fair damsel:
Your rugged maleness has me all a-quiver.
Where did they find you? Did they drag the river?
Let's have some more!
Attila the Hen
A HANDBAG has been donated to a charity auction by Baroness Margaret Thatcher, former prime minister of Britain known during her term of office as the "Iron Lady" and "Attila the Hen" and is expected to fetch £100 000.
The handbag was part of Thatcher's power dressing formula and accompanied her to most meetings, including with President Ronald Reagan and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
All the same, it's astonishing that humdrum items should achieve such a rarity value from the status of their owner.
A half-smoked cigar left by Winston Churchill in a wartime cabinet meeting fetched £4 500 in a similar auction last year and a set of his false teeth raised £16 000.
Why the huge discrepancy? You could at least light up and smoke the rest of Churchill's cigar. I can't imagine anyone using his false teeth.
"FROM Ixopo the toy train climbs up into other hills, the green rolling hills of Lufafa, Eastwolds, Donnybrook ..."
Alan Paton's evocative lines from Cry, the Beloved Country are recalled every time a train pulls out from Ixopo, drawn by a Garrat narrow-gauge locomotive, to steam through some of the most beautiful countryside this province has to offer.
It is a faithful reconstruction of Paton's "toy train", put together by a group of steam enthusiasts who call their operation the Paton Country Narrow-Gauge Railway. The train leaves from an authentic colonial era wood-and-iron station and travels past landmarks mentioned in the book.
The narrow-gauge railway has attracted steam enthusiasts from all over the world Britain especially and the aim is to also attract people with a feeling for literature and history. It is seen as a driver of tourism in the southern districts of KwaZulu-Natal, in conjunction with a broad-gauge steam train that runs between Creighton and Underberg.
The Paton toy train departs from Ixopo on another excursion this Sunday at 10.30am. Tickets are R150 (children R100), including a free pizza lunch which the railroad folk proclaim to be the best you will ever taste. Bookings can be made by telephoning 082-3741417 or 039-8342963.
I've been several times, since the railway was in its infancy several years ago. I can recommend it.
A MAN walks into a Welsh pub and orders a drink. The bar goes silent as everyone stares at him.
"Where are you from?" somebody asks. "You sound English."
"I'm from across the Severn," he replies a little nervously.
"And what do you do, just across the Severn?"
"I'm a taxidermist."
"And what on earth is one of those?"
"I mount animals."
"It's alright, boyos!" roars the barman. "He's one of us!"
Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead.