Sunday, October 28, 2007


Bad news, Legion of Fans. I know how closely all four of you follow the ups and downs of Tonka the plucky, slightly-battered Series III Land Rover's life in Africa so it is with a heavy heart that I have to report he is now clutchless - again.

Mr Sibanda's second-hand clutch plate (which dedicated readers will recall was salvaged from a pile of chicken pooh and snakeskins in a disused brewery in Zimbabwe) has given up the ghost.

Fortunately, the latest break down occurred in the very civilised Kruger National Park and Aunty and Uncle Blog were on hand (not 50 metres in front of us) to save the day with their natty rented Nissan X-Trail.

Mr Blog will no doubt soon be appearing in one or more South African newspapers and travel magazines that feature people breaking the rules in the national park. I got out of Tonka to attach a tow strap (getting out of one's vehicles in non-designated areas is a big no-no in a park full of lions, but, what can I say LOF, I am tough) and was standing next to Uncle Blog's vehicle, briefing him on the route back to camp, when a pair of elderly self-righteous South Africans drove past and snapped my picture.

Did they stop to ask what the problem was, or to gently remind me of the park rules? No, LOF, they were members of a particularly xeonophobic group of vigilantes who delight in sending pictures of law-breakers (cursed foreigners, it is usually alleged) and their number plates to columns with nifty names such as: "Krazies in Kruger"; "Claim to Shame"; and "Shame File".

Anyway, Uncle Blog towed the hapless Tonka back to Lower Sabie and insisted on giving me several beers in quick succession.

I was, however, pretty relaxed (even before the first beer) about the whole situation. I knew the clutch plate would not last and I have come to terms, at the age of 43, that sh*t does, indeed, happen, particularly with vehicles.

I know that we will be back on the road in a few days, and there is nowhere else in the world I would rather be stuck with a broken down vehicle than on the sunny banks of the Sabie River in one of the most beautiful national parks in the world.

There is ice, beer, red wine, red meat and good woman close at hand, and a Land Rover spare parts place in Johannesburg that can deliver a clutch plate overnight via express post.

What more could a man ask for?


becandcall said...

Ummm - how about a nice long series of therapy sessions to get over the intense masochism that characterises your attachment to this vehicle?

ali g said...

It's a boy thing Bec..takes the place of all that chest thumping and dragging you girls around by the hair. Now we can drive you around in comfort...well... until the clutch blows anyway

Herr Doktor said...

As you say there are worse places to be stuck! Sorry about Tonka, am finalising a house in BYO!
Take care
Herr Dok

meggie said...

Glad no lions were on hand, when you alighted your vehicle.
Sorry about Tonka...