Wednesday, 9 January 2008

The Leaving Present

Rick, from Zimbabwe, had checked out of the halls of residence at Cirencester Agricultural College, and taken a room with a mate of Idle's, who had opted for mature student status at the college after leaving the army. The Idle mate had a wife and a mortgage and might even have had a child by that stage. Crucially, he had a spare bedroom, a fully-stocked larder, a big kitchen, TV and video, and laundry facilities. Having been raised on a farm in Kenya, he was sympathetic to an impoverished Zim 20 year-old.

Rick didn't pay his rent often, let alone a contribution to the Waitrose and Threshers' bills. It was put on the slate, in the expectation that the tobacco crop would come in at some stage and Rick's father would stump up the readies.

This went on, needless to say, until graduation. In the fog of celebrations, a drunken and morose Rick approached Idle's mate, fessed up that he didn't have a bean, and could he pay sometime in the future? Idle's mate, generous man that he was, said he'd call it quits if Rick could secure him a certain commodity available only in Africa. It was a deal.

Months later, the Idle mates were skiing. They returned to Cirencester after a fortnight and were approached by the shy old spinster from next door, who told them she had signed for a parcel for them during their absence, but "had to put it in the garage, because it was making a dreadful smell".

A soiled package was produced, opened at arms' length with clothes pegs on noses. There, untouched since the day it was sliced from the beast, was a Cape Buffalo scrotum.

"He might have cured it, at least" said Idle's mate. "Jesus!" said the wife "what the bloody hell are you going to do with THAT?"

"Turn it into a sporran", said our man. "It'll be the only one of it's type in the world."

And he did, and it is. A fine and splendid thing it is. My friend particularly likes being approached by aged Scots ladies at highland events who have an interest in this sort of thing. "Excuse me" they say, "but I couldn't help but notice your unusual sporran". To which he replies "How observant of you. I suppose you have already worked out that it is the scrotum of a Cape buffalo". They tend to scurry off after that.

Here it is:


45govt said...

I'm envious (only a little) - of the result, not the process! A chum brought me back a silver mounted (cured thank God) bull's scrotum from Argentina. The right words of thanks didn't come readily to the lips, and no shelf is high enough...

Trubes said...

Ha ha , that is so funny Idle made me laugh out loud !

Happy 2008, good to read your writings again !

idle said...

... and to you, trubes.

The Hitch said...

I'd rather have Mugabes ball bag, however, that would do.

idle said...

The word, Hitch, is that Comrade Bob has the most virulent strain of syphilis.

This is not a ballbag you would want to get your hands on. Leave it to Eve with the marigolds on.

Tuscan Tony said...

Excellent tale! I wonder if such items are available on eBay - cos I feel a burning need for one right now.

Lilith said...


O/T (Burning curiosity, please excuse) Were you at Slough Grammar or at the other end of the M4?

idle said...

Tuscan, all the evidence is that these are not readily available. There was a line in Blackadder II which went:

"Tell us about your inheritance, Blackadder"

" It is the size of an elephant's scrotum, and just as difficult to get your hands on"

Lil, there is one half way between Slough and Basingstoke (take the Bracknell turn off) which was set up for the "Sons of Heroes". That's enough clues for the gal who unlocked the Scroblene mystery.

Lilith said...

Ahha! Gotcha.

electro-kevin said...

His mate must have been a brave man indeed to get one of those.

I would certainly have wanted more than three years rent in payment !

I was once nearly drowned by an Canadian moose in the Algonquin and that was bad enough but that's another story for my blog.

Great tale, Idle - I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Scroblene said...

You've done it now Iders!

Look out of your window, and Lilith's entourage will just be turning the corner...

She only needs a map reference - like 'Russia', and you're spotted!

idle said...

Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to see Lil walking up Pall Mall towards my window, scrobs.

Particularly as my lunch has been cancelled because (my lunch date says) "a friend and colleague in the Singapore office dropped dead of a heart attack today".


Mermaid of Moorgate said...

That's a fine scrote-based sporran indeed. I can imagine ladies stroking it only to recoil in horror as they realise they're fingering buffalo sacs.

idle said...

I'm glad you can imagine ladies stroking sporrans, merms.

I've always imagined that ladies would form an orderly queue to stroke mine, but it never happens.

I wear a kilt less often nowadays than in the past, but perhaps my luck will change at Burns Night in a fortnight.

Perhaps I need a new sporran, one with more rewarding tactility. My children won't let me reward a faithful labrador by turning him into highland dress when his time comes, so it'll have to be a cat, preferably a multi-coloured one.

Lilith said...

Men in skirts,mmmmmmmn :-)

Mermaid of Moorgate said...

I usually avoid burns night events now. Used to get dragged off to them with Britannic - sorry, RESOLUTION - or Baillie Gifford every year. Aberdeen were too cheap to host one (or still Highland Reeling from the splits crisis).

The BG ones were good, as were the old Britannic but Resolution Asset Management is being hijacked by an overly large English ego who just makes me want to twat him hard and repeatedly in the face with a fine ripe steak.

Hence I avoid them. The merms cannot give way to violence.

If Monty gets hit by a truck, what's left can be donated to your new sporran - he's a lovely shade of red, ginger, white and umber.

idle said...

Thanks, merms, I always wanted an umber-coloured feline sporran.

What colour is this "umber" - muddy grey like the river, or off-white like the bridge?

Those Resolution people are hard-selling me an emerging market hedge fund at the moment, to little effect.

Those nice people at Baillie Gifford are busy losing some of my PEP money in their Japan fund, which was a foolish purchase towards the end of last year.

No Burns night invitations from them this year, but I spent a very pleasant evening in black tie at Covent Garden for la Traviata last night with a Swiss organisation, followed by dinner with the cast and then the tart shop formerly known as Annabel's.

idle said...
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