Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Homage to the Imperial Gut

Today I wish to address you on the subject of my bowels. No, don't turn away, this will be done in the best possible taste, as Kenny Everett used to say. Many years ago, I drank some untreated water when I was in Namibe City (Angola), and paid the price. For the next two years or so, something nasty was going on in my viscera, but Addenbrookes Hospital's finest were unable to say what was causing it. They finally tracked down an alien organism called Limicola nana cysts. The consultant confessed that he had never heard of it before, that is was benign, and that, if there was one foreigner in my tubes there were undoubtedly more, but they had lost interest in trying to find them. Eventually the condition faded away, and has recurred twice since, the latest being, like, here and now, man.
At the time after I came back from Angola, I was writing for Penguin publishers, whose editor was a great and wonderful man called Van Milne. He had been a fighter pilot in the Battle of Britain, was the ultimate Scottish gentleman, a great dinner companion and a wonderful editor. I knew that he had spent years in West Africa, so I steered the conversation round to a query about his intestines. No, he said, unlike most other white men on that foetid coast, he had never had any problems. And then he explained why.
"When I was a boy, my mother took me to a Temperance Meeting, where a fierce lady railed against the evils of the Demon Drink. To prove her point, she showed us a glass of water which she had taken from the local burn (stream). The water was alive with wriggly little things. She then poured a tot of whisky into the water, and every living thing in it died in seconds."
At this point, you, my brainy readers, know where this is going.
"So," said Van, "when I was posted to West Africa, I reasoned that all I had to do was to drink whisky every evening, and I would kill any nasty organisms that might get into my system. So I did, and I never got ill."

Listen, I wish I was clever enough to make up something like this. Now, where did I put that bottle of Glenfiddick....?

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