I refer once more to my South African friend Stuart, who has fled these shores to return home for a couple of months. I’ll be mildly surprised if he makes it to the Fatherland, since he’s had to fly via Amsterdam, and that involves an 11 hour stopover. I’m half expecting the ‘Tourist found dead in redlight district’ headlines. Either that or he’ll get arrested for something. And heaven help him if he refuses to follow our advice and decides to eat spacecake. They’ll be dragging the canals for the body.

However, daffy as he is, as I pointed out previously, he’s no thicko, and has a very funny take on life. Once he was attempting to chat up a woman, and she asked him what he did for a living in South Africa.

‘I’m a penguin pickerupper.’


‘Yeah. I pick up penguins. We have them in South Africa. When they’re breeding they lay an egg, and parents take it in turns to protect it while the other goes to feed. They keep the egg on their feet, and sometimes when they’re walking around they lose their balance and fall over. They can’t get up again because they don’t want to risk losing the egg or breaking it. So people like me are employed by the state to go around the breeding grounds picking them up and standing them safely upright again.’

He’d then give a mime of exactly how he picked up penguins.

That’s a very very good piece if invention, don’t you think? He could have claimed to be a test pilot, as another friend was wont to do, or that he was a porn star (the other friend used to tell girls that one too), but a penguin pickerupper? That’s inspired.

By the way, Stuart compared it to picking up garden gnomes when they got kicked over by his brother. WTH?

There was another story that had us paralysed with laughter. The first time he ever got drunk.

Firstly, it was a real novice’s choice of drinks. AppleSourz and Sambuca will hurt a great deal the next day, and they did.

Secondly, the deal with his friends was that the first person to pass out would get their eyebrows shaved off. Things got out of hand and Stuart woke up with no eyebrows, and no hair on his head either, but with flesh wounds on his scalp.

Thirdly, he did this on a school night, and his mother insisted he go to school even in the state he was in: hungover and bald, with no eyebrows.

As he put it, ‘I looked like f****** Voldemort, and she made me go to school.’

How can you dislike somebody who can admit to looking like Voldemort?