Monday, February 13, 2006

How I became a celebrity (Part II)

Please read 'How I became a celebrity - part I' before reading this post.

Part II - The swamp.

Still jetlagged some four days later, I was put on a Quantas plane to Papua New Guinea along with the rest of the crew. I hadn't yet met the 'celebrities', and was told they were being prepared in Australia by spending some time with the producer in a rainforest camp near Cairns. We flew further inland on some very rickety planes and landed at Goroka, from where we were driven to a camp somewhere in the middle of a patch of forest. I didn't recognise the place, and was somewhat surprised by the choice of location for the camp. About two hundred meteres from where the tents were pitched was a swamp. Mosquitoes are very fond of swamp, and I immediately had the premonition that we might be their main source of food for the next few weeks. I checked my supply of insect-repellant and was relieved to see that Mrs Dr McCrumble had packed an extra cannister of my own pungent concoction. It was a matter of some small pride that I had never been bitten by a mossie anywhere whilst sporting my own repellant (the exact recipe I cannot reveal, but I can tell you that one key ingredient was the produce of the sweat glands of Denise, my faithful receptionist).

The swamp!

The crew were a sullen bunch, and I found it difficult to converse with them as they went about setting up the set. They had brought with them all sorts of equipment and props, none of which I could fathom as to their use. When I asked what this piece of plastic pipe, or that airgun, was for, they shrugged and told me it was the producer who told them to bring it. At nights, they would sit around drinking beer, swatting mossies and regailing each other with stories about women they had met in other parts of the world. I felt excluded, having given my heart to Mrs Dr McCrumble at such an early age and never having played away, so to speak. Their crudeness unsettled me so much that I tended to withdraw early to read through back issues of the Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medics, a journal edited by my eminent forefather, Prof Ebeneezer McCumbernauld (RIP). The green paste I slathered over my body each evening did the trick, but each morning I would see numerous new marks on the hands and faces of the crew. They asked each other if anyone had any repellent, but somehow they had all forgotten. Though I had no reason to distrust them, I locked my own repellent away each morning

After about five days of, well nothing much happening, the producer and celebrities arrived. I was relieved to see the jeeps pull into the compound, and as they disembarked I wondered out loud why it had taken them so long. I also pointed out that we were camped next to a large swamp and that mosquitoes were a well known risk factor for several nasty diseases. The producer ushered the celebrities towards their tents before telling me simply that there had been some 'technical difficulties' in Cairns. Some minutes later I was finally introduced to the celebrities as 'Dr McCrumble, the camp doctor'. This raised some titters amongst the crowd, for reasons I could not fathom, but I did have to correct them on one point - that I am not, in fact, medically qualified. On hearing this, the producer took a long drag on her cigarette and drew me to one side. She told me in a whispering but firm tone that I was contractually obliged to act as medical consultant, and that I should not alarm the contestants any more than necessary. Did we understand each other? Yes, I said, though I was a little perturbed by her sullen manner, and the sharp grip she was exercising on my arm....

********TO BE CONTINUED**********


Gorilla Bananas said...

Would you be so kind as to use larger fonts? It wouldn't take you long to re-configure your previous posts as well.

Have you presented your credentials to Dr Maroon yet? He may be round here soon and will seek to ascertain whether you are truly Scottish. You have been warned!

Dr Joseph McCrumble said...

Och Aye, I am truly Scottish by birth, though my grannie (on my mother's side) hails from Cumbria and so far as I know never left her village to venture outside for nigh on 75 years. I'm not sure where my mother was born, or where she is now come to think of it.

Binty McShae said...

Michty me! Another wee sweaty tae join uz! Hows aboot yer daddy, papa McCrumble? D'ye ken where he's bidin'? An' wuz he frae oor bonny hame 'n a'?

Dr Joseph McCrumble said...

Er, Binty, forgive me but my dialectical skills are not so great owing to an accident I suffered many years ago. My grannie (RIP) accidentally pushed me down the stairs and I landed on top of her pet dog, McDougal. Grannie was so mad at me she said that I must never speak again -for it was my quick tongue that made her angry in the first place. I was forced to spend the next two years in silence whenever at home, and the school I went to was full of children speaking Cumbrian. Nowadays, I am faced with a plethora of accents and dialects, but my own accent has all but disappeared. The only clue these days is that I am prone to say outwith.

My father is now a taxi driver working in the greater Manchester area.

And where do you hail from, my dialectical expert?

Gorilla Bananas said...

I am now certain that you believe you are Scottish. Anyone who was a hoaxer would have taken the elementary step of consulting an on-line phrase book to avoid being made to look like a humbug, a fate which you have suffered above at the hands of our friend Binty. 'Believing', however, is not the same thing as 'being'.

Dr Joseph McCrumble said...

Gorilla - If only all the apes in the world were as astute and intuitive as yourself. What we believe is all that we need. The fact that this is the first time in my life that I have ever conversed with a gorilla in English (rather than gorillese) makes me believe that there are no borders to communication, for example.

Presumably, as you are from the Congo, you are also fluent in French.

Gorilla Bananas said...

My dear fellow, I spent my formative years in an English-owned circus. A francophone ape would surely not be so at ease with the English idiom. Read and learn.

Binty McShae said...

Take a ramble through my previous postings and you may well see that I live in South East Asia but hail frae bonny Caledonia!

There are a few in our 'crew' who call Scotland home. And some who call it plenty of other things too!