Monday, 22 February 2010

Back From Ghana (a couple of weeks ago)

Crivens, you must be thinking, it’s been a while. About a month, in fact, since I last sat down at my sturdy laptop and pondered the latest events to strike my life – that’s longer than some people have been alive. When others like Varwell and even The Swish Fish update with a degree of regularity, what excuse do I have for my sudden silence? The answer: alcohol. I have been drinking lots of alcohol.

To catch up on all the wild dramas of the first sixth of ZOLO, I am going to employ an old favourite: headings on bold. So grab hold of your chair, or the nearest person, or whatever, and cling on tight – we’re on for a rough ride.


I ended up spending three weeks in Ghana, and overall it was a very pleasing experience. Work was done, make no mistake, but it never heavily interfered with the more important activities of eating, drinking, swimming in the pool, or lying around in my pleasant hotel room watching football. Among the viper’s nest that is West Africa, Ghana is a benign grass snake, that is, it’s non-poisonous and could even be kept as a lovely pet. The country is poor, no doubt, but also safe and friendly, and untroubled by the civil war/civil strife/totalitarianism/kidnappings that preoccupy its neighbours. As a result, going out at night was not a gamble with one’s life, and was actually fun. Myself and my colleague, Bigboy, frequented a number of establishments of varying reputes, and spent many a Saturday and Sunday daytime in a state of physical distress as a result.

The entire three weeks was spent onshore, in a state of mild readiness to have to go offshore for what would likely have been a dinky little straightforward job, but the job continued to be delayed and pushed more and more into the future. Thus it was finally realised by the oil company in charge – who seemed to barely care that they were paying for two guys to have a Ghanaian holiday – that it was foolish to keep us in country any longer, and back home we were sent.


Back home, to Edinburgh, where I have been for the last two weeks, enjoying the fine quality of ale, the fine quantity of ale, and the enchanting company of friends and family. The snow having lifted during my African jaunt, Edinburgh is now enjoying a bright and crisp late winter, and I am enjoying its charming streets and historic buildings, packed with charm and variety, and lots of tourists of course. It’s still a novelty to me, after so many years in Aberdeen, to live in a city that isn’t so utterly dominated by a vast shadow of grey from some overbearing and otherworldly and very grey North Sea entity that has its wings ominously spread across the city. The difference is a little like going the cinema and seeing a colour film for the same time. Or waking one morning to a beautiful lady after being married to the same dour and dowdy wife for thirty years.


Still lurking in my Edinburgh residence, like a tick on a dog’s back or, more flatteringly, a beautiful orchid where I thought only tulips grew, is Mike. Or film director Day, as he should be correctly titled. Just as doctors can be called Dr and farmers called Farmer (Fr?) and judges called Judy, we both agree that all people should have career titles. Thus I would be Engineer (Er) Christie and Mike would be BBCFD Day. He is putting the final touches to a documentary that has already been bought by the BBC and the trailer (I think) can be seen at I’ve not yet seen it, as I don’t have particular interest in the film world and especially the unfinished film world, but Mike is giving me a nearly-finished copy to view either later today or tomorrow, to get a layman’s opinion. Having seen the trailer, and little bits and pieces that he’s shown me, I expect it should be quite good. But don’t tell him I said that, his ego’s vast enough.


To continue the trend of creative bohemian friends, my good friend Varwell, still blushing from his recent marriage, has a book out. Most readers here will know about it I’m sure, but for those unacquainted it is about the first part of his quest to visit every single place in the world with the name “mullet” in it. The book was released in the last few weeks, and I of course have bought a copy, and even read it. Most excitingly, the first five chapters feature me quite a lot, so you may have no doubt that I enjoyed this terribly. It’s a great novelty to walk into a major bookstore, buy a book by a friend, and then start reading about yourself. But even after chapter five, when I start to get mentioned a lot less, the book continued to be enjoyable. Having known Simon for some time, and reading his blog regularly, I knew the book would be very readable, enjoyable, splattered with Varwellian jokes and with some healthy reflection upon the absurdity of his quest. And so I’m happy to say it did not disappoint. Simon’s writing style is light without ever being flimsy, clear and without ego. Although his quest has an air of the whimsical, the story has its share of very sober moments, especially in the country-that-Europe-forgot, Albania, where the quest begins.

Overall, the book is as much travel book as it is mullet book, and so I invite all dear readers to invest £7 in a copy. “Up The Creek Without A Mullet” by Simon Varwell, available in all good bookstores near you (depending where you live) or a mere mouse shuffle away on Amazon. Alternatively, I’ll sell you my copy for £6.


Despite my mattress being lumpy and my bed barely long enough for me to lie down straight in, I am sleeping inordinately well. Truly, each morning I am so comfy I can barely find the powers to arise, and when I do so it’s considered an early start to be alive by 10.30am. Life is a pleasant beast when each morning is greeted with such warmth and toastiness, and thus I blame my inexplicably comfortable bed as much as my rampant alcoholism for my lack of constructive discourse of late.


Scurrilous rumour has it that I’ve been seen interacting socially with a girl. I hope she doesn’t ruin my reputation.

Bathroom Shelves

I really don’t want to talk about these.

Other stuff

I’ve done other stuff too, but it probably wasn’t very interesting.


Eileen said...

A real girl?

I will purchase Simon's book only if you are an important character and the plot revolves around you.


Nev 360 said...

Eileen, I am indeed an important character and feature heavily in the first five chapters (although I am called "Niall" unfortunately).

It can be bought from Amazon in Canada at It's very good, even the bits without me.