Tom Is In The Hot Seat

Discussion in 'Personal Diaries' started by Terry Page, Mar 21, 2016.

  1. Terry Page

    Terry Page Veteran Member
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    What do you feel is your best personality trait, and what would you most like to change about yourself.....if anything?
     
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  2. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Very Well-Known Member
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    These are the two books I've had published. The first is factual and covers the two years I spent in Eritrea. The second is a humorous (I hope) novel set in Edinburgh.

    eri.jpg king.jpg
     
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  3. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Very Well-Known Member
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    I'm not sure this forum has enough space. Let's try one, though.

    I had been in Eritrea for two weeks. New volunteers had acclimatising in Asmara, the capital, before heading off to their postings. Obviously, a number were going to stay in the capital.

    My destination was Assab, right down in the south of the country, a place that is much more humid and hot than Asmara, which is about 8,000 feet above sea level. To get to Assab, one catches a plane for a flight of just over an hour.

    It's hard to describe the feeling when the plane doors open. Have you ever opened an oven rather absent-mindedly and taken the blast of hot air as you stand in front of it? It's a bit like that, except it's not going to get any cooler.

    So there I was, stumbling across the tarmac, weighed down by luggage. My own stuff was heavy enough and VSO had kindly loaded me up with a heap of other things, including a water filter that I soon discovered I wouldn't need (the water was a bit hot, but very pure) and two blankets that I was never going to use in a million years.

    I was so laden down that it was impossible to see much. All I could do was peer over the top of my load and head in the direction of the terminal building, roughly following the people in front of me. I don't know what the exact temperature was, but it was somewhere around 40C. Suddenly, I was no longer on Planet Earth. I seemed to have fallen into the pits of Dante's Inferno.

    What I was completely unaware of was the large hole in the tarmac. I had walked straight into it. You know those cartoons where, say, Wile E. Coyote is chasing Roadrunner and suddenly vanishes into a hole or over a cliff with a theatrical wave? It was a bit like that.

    I have to say that a number of people came to my rescue and they were very kind. Even so, it was impossible for them to keep straight faces as they helped to extract me from the earth's crust.

    This was just one of many embarrassing moments. I could confess to the time I tried, drunkenly, to get into what I thought was my house, only to discover that the front door was a different colour to when I'd left the house. The real owner was surprisingly understanding. I could mention the time I sent an email to the wrong Catherine (same first and second names, but the wrong woman) who was equally understanding about my suggestion that we meet at Edinburgh's Waverley station. But I won't.
     
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  4. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    Lol Tom, you are going to have to tell us some more funny and embarrassing stories, I really enjoyed these.

    I do know what it feels like when you open an oven door though, that's how I always describe Fresno in the summer. :)
     
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  5. Karen McKenzie

    Karen McKenzie Well-Known Member
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    Tom...describe your perfect day. :)
     
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  6. Ruby Begonia

    Ruby Begonia Veteran Member
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    Tom, what makes you laugh?
     
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  7. Bonnie Thomas

    Bonnie Thomas Very Well-Known Member
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    Thank you for your answer Tom.
    Our football came to be from the union rugby form of course, but changes from that style came along with time. It's so violent anymore that rule changes are always happening. ... but none seem to do with injuries to the 'hands'. :D
    Although NFL Football is king in the US, we very much love "soccer" too .. it's very popular over here.
     
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  8. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Very Well-Known Member
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    All sorts. Let's consider the comics that I find funny:

    British: Monty Python, Ronnie Barker, Paul Merton, Alexei Sayle.
    US: Marx Brothers, Buster Keaton, Bill Hicks.

    Among writers, Flann O'Brien is an absolute hero and if I could write something even a fiftieth as funny as The Third Policeman, I would never look at a keyboard again. Tom Sharpe produced some hilarious novels, my favourites being his two works set in apartheid South Africa which mocked the regime mercilessly and uproariously (Riotous Assembly and Indecent Exposure). The Wilt series is also very funny.

    Another English writer, Mervyn Peake, wrote the brilliant Titus Groan, the first part of what is known as the Gormenghast trilogy. That's another of my favourites.

    I like some of the novels of another Englishman, David Lodge. Also, my books are arranged in alphabetical order on the shelves and he has to put up with sitting next to me.

    As you might guess, I like surrealism and satire. I especially like the way the best humorists are able to turn ordinary, everyday situations into something hilarious. Over the years, the BBC have produced some brilliant sitcoms; Fawlty Towers (by John Cleese of Monty Python fame), Porridge and Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads (both by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, with the first featuring Ronnie Barker), along with Dad's Army, The Good Life, Only Fools and Horses and Yes, Minister (later Yes, Prime Minister). Of course, there were plenty of forgettable ones, too, but these are all classics.

    I can't leave this without a word for the lunatic genius that was Spike Milligan. The Goon Show was an inspiration for the Monty Python team among others and Milligan's books are typically mad. Even at the end, Milligan couldn't resist a joke. He wanted "I told you I was ill" put on his tombstone. The local diocese wouldn't allow it, so he had it written in Irish.
     
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  9. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Very Well-Known Member
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    I think I've had a few of those, but the best ones are while travelling. Let's imagine a city somewhere in eastern Europe. Up reasonably early, then down for some breakfast. Collect the travel book and map, then head off to a museum. I like museums that inform you about the history of a place, so perhaps a national, ethnographical or achaeological museum for the morning. We'll also have a break for a cup of coffee (I don't drink coffee very often at home, preferring tea).

    Time for a little wander around or a short journey on a metro train. A little, light lunch, maybe some garlic soup in the winter or something less hot if it's a warm day.

    For the afternoon, a trip to an art gallery. Again, the national gallery would be the first choice. Most such galleries have a collection of local art along with the international stuff. There may even be another cup of coffee fitted in.

    If there's a nice park, we might have a stroll there, particularly if there's a river handy. Ensure that a duck is photographed and if there is any other interesting birdlife, splendid!

    In the evening, the plan is somewhere that sells good beer. If there is dark beer available, even better. Sometimes you fancy a proper meal, sometimes just some snacks to go with your beer does just fine.

    I think of Riga, sitting in the evening sunshine in the beautiful old medieval town, with a glass (okay, several) of dark Latvian beer and vegetarian garlic tapas. Or sitting by the banks of Lake Balaton with beer in hand and the sun slowing setting over the lake. Or sitting outside a wonderful little pub in Ljubljana, where they brew their own beer at the back of the bar, snacking on garlic pizza bread and trying the different beers. Or of colder days, a perishing day in Berlin where we went to the German Historical Museum in the morning, took in Hertha Berlin v Borussia Dortmund in the afternoon and thawed out later in a bar serving wonderful schwarzbier.

    All of these things make me happy.
     
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  10. Karen McKenzie

    Karen McKenzie Well-Known Member
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    Awww..thanks for taking us along. I loved that evening sunshine and the tapas were divine. :)
     
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  11. Ruby Begonia

    Ruby Begonia Veteran Member
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    Tom, reading you is delightful. We do share a few loves; Fawlty Towers, The Marx Brothers and Garlic!!!
     
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  12. Holly Saunders

    Holly Saunders Veteran Member
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    You missed my question at the top of the page Tom ^^^^^^...so I'll ask again... :D
     
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  13. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    Tom, those would be perfect days for me also! Even the alcoholic part a few years ago....now I'd skip that part. Thanks, really enjoyed that.
     
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  14. Shirley Martin

    Shirley Martin Veteran Member
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    Tom, do you plan to write another book and, if you do, what will it be about? Perhaps a romance? :)
     
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  15. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Very Well-Known Member
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    Just a quick note to point out that I'm not avoiding any questions, but I've got a busy morning and I'll answer all of them later today. The questions I've not answered are the hard ones and I need to think a bit more.
     
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