The Birth of Africa

Aimlessly clicking through the documents saved on my hard drive, I found this little story slash poem. Apparently I have a thing about rainbows. Who knew.

African Rainbow by Pamela Schiermeyer
African Rainbow by Pamela Schiermeyer

When I was a small boy I sat at my father’s knee and he told me the tales of Africa came to be.

And I asked, “Baba, will you tell me of the rainbow and the colours in the air?”

And he told me this story as I sat by his chair


Sometimes as a child becomes a man

The rain washes the colour right out of the land

So it happened in the land that I call home

That the colours disappeared and I was left alone


So I prayed to Africa, the great mother of us all

To send to me all those who could hear my call

The mighty black eagle flew up to the sun in the sky

And brought back to the earth the red flame of her fire


The king of all lions roared deep in his breast

And gave as gift the ochre orange of his breath

The men tunnelled deep into the belly of the earth

To bring the yellow of the gold of Africa’s birth


The song travelled on the wings of the wind’s ebb and flow

And brought the seeds of green in my garden to grow

The fish in the rivers and the dolphins on the sea

Brought back the blue heart of the ocean to me


In the deep of the night the moon shone down

And gave a deep indigo jewel from her crown

The birds sang a harmony strong and true

And a pure violet flower grew and grew


Then right into my line of sight

A rainbow formed out of shimmering light

She appears in the sky right after the rain

Bringing us our hopes and dreams again


And that, my child, my father said to me

Is the magic of Africa alive in you and me

Imagine a land where stories are born

In the light of a fire bright and warm


As the tales are told they come to be

In place filled with beauty and rare mystery

Where there are birds so big they cannot fly

And giraffes so tall they touch the sky


Where gold lies hidden deep in the earth

And songs are more wealth than money is worth

Where oceans meet in a clash of thunder

And the rain is brought by a Queen of wonder


Where the city streets beat to a rhythm as old as time

Creating a future, a land in her prime

A land that lies waiting for you to fly

And join her in an endless African sky



The Rainbow who Lost her Colours Part 3: In Search of Orange

I took a break from the Rainbow story, but I am determined to get it down before Miss Diva loses interest and I forget it.

Copyright Priyanka Rastogi
Copyright Priyanka Rastogi

In search of orange

Later that night, Isabelle and Alastair sat looking up at the rainbow.

“How do we find her orange?” asked Isabelle.

“Well,” pondered Alastair, “Maybe we need to think about what orange means? If red was love, what is orange?”

“Orange is the sky in the morning,” said Isabelle, “When the sun just peeks over the edge of the world and warms the day.”

“That’s it!” said Alastair, “The sun. Orange is a new beginning, a new start.”

“Oh yes!” laughed Isabelle, “Orange is about the new day and all the potential it holds.”

Early in the morning the two children crept out of the house and climbed the tall hill outside the village. At the edge of the cliff they sat staring out towards the East across the sleeping sea.

Morning Sun by Arthur Dove
Morning Sun by Arthur Dove

When the first ray of sun appeared over the horizon, the children stood up and took a deep breath.

“Sun!” they shouted as loud as they could, “Please can you help our rainbow? She needs a new beginning. May we have a ray of  sun to take to her?”

The sun smiled at them and their hearts filled with joy as a ray of golden orange sun lay at their feet.

Alastair rolled it up tightly and put it in his bag.

“Come on,” he said to his sister, “Let’s go!”

Copyright Sushila Burgess
Copyright Sushila Burgess

Halfway down the hill they saw a young shepherd boy, his dirty cheeks stained with the lines of his tears.

“What has happened?” asked Isabelle.

“I have lost my sheep,” sniffed the little boy, “I didn’t mean to fall asleep, but I did and they have all gone. Now what will my family do?”

Alastair tore off a piece of the sun’s ray and put in gently in the shepherd boy’s hand.

“Open your eyes,” he said, “To find what is lost, you first have to look for it.”

The boy stared at the piece of sunshine and ran to the top of the rise. Looking down he saw his sheep peacefully grazing in the meadow.

“Thank you so much,” he said, “What can I do to repay you?”

Isabelle wiped his eyes and said gently, “All you have to do is make sure that next time you meet someone who needs a second chance that you pass on the sun to them.”

Further down the road they came across a man sitting slumped on a fence staring into an empty bottle.

“What are you looking for?” asked Isabelle.

He replied, “I lost my spirit somewhere in the bottom of a bottle and drink every one empty hoping to find it again.”

Isabelle gently took the bottle from his hands and said, “Let me see.”

She slipped in a piece of the sun’s ray and the bottle glowed with light.

“I can see it,” she said, “Take a look.”

He looked in the bottle and the light of the sun’s new dawn burst across his face.

Copyright Connie Tom
Copyright Connie Tom

In an instant he was transformed and filled with new life. Jumping up he hugged the two children tight.

“What can I do to thank you for this new start?” he asked.

“Share the sun with anyone who needs it,” they said.

It took them a long time to get back to the rainbow and now they only had a tiny piece of the sun’s ray left.

They stood before the rainbow hand-in-hand and offered it up.

The rainbow took the light into its brilliant orange arc and tiny rays of sun burst from the hearts of everyone they had shared it’s light with on their journey filling up the rainbow with light.

The rainbow glowed with its new colour and the sun shone down on the kingdom with the joy of a new beginning.

The Big Red Button


You know the ones of which I speak?

Those Big Red Buttons that say “Do Not Push”.

They should make them another colour.

French matador Sebastian Castella performs a backpass on a bull during a bullfight in the Maestranza bullring in SevilleBig Red Buttons are to most men what a red flag is to a bull.

They can’t help it.

They have to push them.

I think it is a testosterone thing.

ginger-cat-highest-positionOr like when my cat teases the dogs by running in circles across the lawn and then up a tree where it perches in feline laughter as the dogs crash into the tree trunk.

The cat can do this all day.

And the dogs never learn.

At the supermarket I try to hang back from the teller.

The teller has a Big Red Button.

swatThe husband likes to push it to see what will happen.

I think it is to announce a hold-up or some dire emergency.

Anyway pressing it makes alarm bells go off and every till in the supermarket to shut down.

Then the flying squad arrives.

I walk calmly to the exit denying all knowledge of the excited male trailing in my wake.

Speaking of wakes…

Great Aunt Mamie stepped on a cloud to join the choir invisible.

As the only representatives of my mother in the United Kingdom, we went to the funeral.

The entire day was surreal.

My mother’s relatives, whom I have never met, eyed me with some suspicion and kept referring to me as my mother’s son.

I quite understand why my mother does not keep tabs on them.

1936The coffin was arranged on a platform on the side with heavy drapes pulled open around it.

The husband and I took a pew far far away from them and about halfway back.

On the side of the pew was a Big Red Button.

As the sermon droned on, our attention wavered.

The Husband’s eye fell upon the Big Red Button.

He tried. He really did. But he had to.

It’s a primordial, biological impulse.

Coffin-crematoriumHe pressed it.

We watched in abject horror as the coffin began to sink into the depths of the crematoria.

He pressed it frantically in the hopes that it might reverse the process.

It didn’t.

No-one else seemed to notice that Aunty Mamie had departed the building.

What were they thinking, put a Big Red Button halfway up the chapel anyway?

For all those who need to push the Big Red Button I’ve included this link to the Big Red Button Appreciation Page.




I am lying in my bed drinking lemon and honey.

My doctor’s in his counting house counting out his money.

I swear he sees me coming and rubs his hands in ill-concealed glee.

I have a standing appointment for the remainder of winter. Everyday at 15:00. If no-one is sick then they’ll let it go, otherwise it’s my slot. And every second day for the last 2 weeks we’ve needed it.

Now it is my turn.

I sound like Jack Nicholson. A female version.

I look like the grim reaper on a particularly bad day.

I feel like a day old corpse mouldering in the grave.

Scratch that. A zombie. Brain-dead. Oozing.

Wheel turning, no hamster.

And the letters on the keyboard keep getting away from me and skittering all over the place.

Of course there is no rest for the wicked.

A third-party is arriving shortly to try to convey to me what my client feels is “missing” from her radio scripts. Apparently, she can’t find her words so she is sending someone else to try to use theirs to communicate this elusive missing link.

I don’t care anymore.

I’ll write anything she wants.

I just want to go to bed and periodically groan loudly and incomprehensibly in the hope someone in my family might find an iota of sympathy and make me a cup of tea.


How can I embarrass my child? Let me count the ways…

Copyright Derek Hardy
Copyright Derek Hardy

Way of the Warrior: Run flat-out into a wall at laser games and knock yourself out in front of all his friends.

Today I face planted.

I’ve never really understood that term until now.

Looking in the mirror I am mildly surprised my face is not flat.

It was not my proudest moment.


It was The Birthday Party today.

The party that has been freaking me out for weeks, months even.

Doctor Who Tardis Cake and DalekI spent yesterday afternoon making The Cake.

Of all the cakes each child requires I try to make one special cake.

For J it was Doctor Who’s TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimension in Space). A big blue police box.

The reason I do not outsource the cake is pretty simple.

Someone once told me that in Japan there is a saying that equates to, “You can tell the depth of a mother’s love by the content of her child’s lunchbox”.

I may not make award-winning cakes, but they are definitely made with love.

Robyn from Kadies
Robyn from Kadies

The girls at work sent me to Kadies in Fourways for supplies. I am no super baker. I don’t craft masterpieces of cakedom like Cake Boss’s flushing toilet cake.

John and Robyn Brukman from Kadies did not make me feel like an amateur on professional heavyweight fight night.

They went out of their way to help me earn the look of wonder on J’s face when he saw The Cake.

Kadies Heidi and John
Heidi and John from Kadies

They coloured my icing for me, cut out my numbers and waited with utmost patience while the bank and I had a small altercation about my right to access my money.

Without them I would have been certifiably insane by this morning and would have spent the day in lockdown in a mental institute being feed little coloured pills.

In retrospect, perhaps that might have been less painful than what actually transpired.

I am a lazy party parent. I do not like having people invade my home and I do not like cleaning up before and after them.

As a result I seek venues.

This is what I wanted to look like.
This is what I wanted to look like.

We decamped to LaserMaxx for three adrenaline-fraught Daleks versus The Doctors games to the death. In some cases more brutal than others.

The odds were stacked against my team.

Along with the tweens were The Father, a target shooting champion, and three ex-army infantrymen.

On my team I had one of them and thank God for him.  We managed one decent win.

This is what the kids looked like
This is what the kids looked like

In Game 2, I was determined to take out the sniper that was hell-bent on killing me.

I stormed his base.

I hit the base.


Flat out.


This what I ended up feeling like
This what I ended up feeling like

And my lights went out and Tweetie Birds sang a sweet serenade only slightly marred by the warm flow of my life’s blood streaming Nigeria Falls like down the lower half of my face.

The physical pain was nothing in comparison to the body blow my pride tried and failed to bear.

I lay down in the foetal position against the wall and begged the earth to stop spinning.

Whereupon I was shot by my child.

Who was actually on my team.

The Husband came to my rescue.

“Are you alright?”


“Well, just lie there, there’s a few minutes left of the game.”


I made the Walk of Shame past the twenty-somethings with pity shining in their eyes.

This would have been a better look
This would have been a better look

I got some ice from the bar.

I went and hid in the ladies loo.

Then my phone rang.

A colleague asked me to attend a client meeting with the potential to take my career into the stars.

I explained that my nose felt broken, I had a black eye and my lips look like Angelina Jolie after a silicon injection.

His response?

“Dude! Ask them if they have a video. That’s a YouTube moment.”

I hung up.

I stalked over to the chaps behind the counter.

“Is. There. A. Video?”

“Um… Well you know we’ve had way worse,” said A.

“Yup,” said B, “We’ve had like 6 foot guys knock down entire walls and stuff.”

“Is. There. A. Video?”

“Well, everything is recorded.”

“You. Will. Not. Put. That. On. YouTube.”

“No, ma’am,” came a chorus.

Better men than I. I would have that video up there faster than I ran into that wall.

After that the cake paled in comparison. I didn’t even blink an eye as my masterpiece was decimated.

My concussion had caused a massive headache and my ego required some downtime and a call to my mother who was very supportive and tried hard not to laugh at me.

The Father was invited to join the LaserMaxx league.

I was not.


Find LaserMaxx

Stoneridge Shopping Center, Shop M4 – Undercover Parking Level, Greenstone Hill,


Find Kadies

Kingfisher Shopping Centre, Kingfisher Drive, Fourways

Teach a man to fish…


My beloved father is a fisher – of trout not of men.

My beloved mother is not a fisher.

Neither am I.

hooked7One day, lost in annals of time, my father arrived home jubilant carrying a long tube.

My mother was ensconced in the bath.

She was getting herself ready for a blissful weekend at a very exclusive trout fishing resort.


Her plans included looking beautiful, making small talk and sipping very expensive glasses of French champagne.

Her plans did not include fishing.

In any way.

At all.

moses1Realising that this development of the long tubular item could be problematic, I hastened to my mother’s bathroom door.

“Mom,” I whispered, “Daddy’s bought a fishing rod.”

There was a splash and silence while she digested this.

“But your father already has a fishing rod.”

“I know,” I said, “I think this one is for you.”

There was a bigger splash and a crash of a tea-cup hitting the floor and shattering into a million pieces.

“Good God!”she exclaimed, “Do you think he expects me to… to… to… FISH?”

“Um, well,” I replied, “I think that might be the plan.”

“What am I going to DO?”she moaned, “I can’t gut a fish. I’ll die!”

“It’s okay,” I tried to soothe her; “Chances are you won’t catch anything anyway.”

Although she managed to convey a suitable level of gratitude and excitement, her joie de vivre for the experience was quite seriously dented.

Fishing castsMy father is a brilliant trout fisherman.

Flies soar through the air like little deadly homing pigeons.

They hover and flit and flirt along the surface of the water bringing home delicious fat pink trout.

Once a year my father’s fishing troupe (what is the collective noun for a group of fishermen? Google informs me it is an exaggeration or a cast of fishermen,) disappear into the countryside of beautiful South Africa in search of plump fish and a little solitude.

This year my father arrived at my home with a gorgeous offering the size of which could have easily been mistaken for a kraken. It has been in the freezer malevolently catching my eye with its glassy glaze each time I open the door.

My children had had enough of having to negotiate it each time they wanted an ice-cream and yesterday I was implored to cook it.

I am fine with cooking fish.

Not a problem.

trout 1I am not okay with my food looking at me while I cook it.

After a brief discussion with my spouse I realised that neither of us particularly wanted to behead our dinner.

Close to starvation I girded my loins, selected the scariest blade I could find and laid out the fish like some pagan offering.

I stood there, knife poised, breathing deeply while my children gathered in silence to witness the sacrifice. The silence didn’t last very long as my eldest decided to instruct me on the best way to decapitate.

“Go away!”I screeched, “I’m already freaked out without your commentary.”

knifeThey vacated the kitchen and hid behind the counter with wide eyes watching their mother wield the closest thing to a broadsword I could find.

I closed my eyes and hacked and sawed and sawed and wept.

I have new respect for professional axe men – it is not a nice task.

Left with the severed head I realised that doing this on the day after the garbage was collected was perhaps not the best idea I have ever had. I know I could have fed it to my cats, but quite frankly I couldn’t bear to meet its gaze for a moment longer. I triple wrapped it and quietly slipped it into the neighbour’s bin.

Malloch Trophy 007Nonetheless, Nigella and I managed to poach it quite beautifully in Marsala Wine, butter and lemon juice.

It was utterly delicious.

Even my children devoured it and they are even scarier than Gordon Ramsay.

What I learned was that I can be a great cook, that my father is the consummate fisherman and that I would be an appalling surgeon, butcher or executioner.

Most importantly I learned that for great food, great sacrifices must be made.


The Rainbow Who Lost Her Colours Part Two: The Quest for Red


That night Isabelle and Alastair’s mother tucked them into bed. As she hugged them good night they were enveloped in her love.

And they knew just what to do to help the rainbow.

As the sun rose over the horizon the two children made their way to their Grandmother’s house.

She always seemed to know just when they were coming, for as they came over the rise there she was at the gate of her little cottage.

Her wild white hair curled down her back and her sunny smile welcomed them in to a garden filled with a riot of roses.

Every year lovers came to beg a red rose from their Granny. They said she grew magic roses that could lead them to true love.

“Why have you come to brighten up my day today?” she asked the children smiling.

Isabelle laughed and said, “We love you Granny!”

“I love you too,” she said, “And I think I know what you are here for. Come with me.”

The old lady danced along the winding paths leading to the centre of her garden. In the middle grew a magnificent rose-bush and on it a perfect red rose.

“You can only find your way to true love if your heart is pure,” she said. “That is why I let those who come here wander free through the garden. If they can find their way here, they can find love too.”

She reached up and carefully cut the rose from the tree and handed it to Isabelle.

“Look after it carefully, my dear. Love should always be freely given and expect nothing in return.”

Holding the rose Isabelle and Alastair started the long walk back home to the rainbow.

On their way they heard a couple shouting.

“Why are you fighting with each other?” asked Alastair.

“She doesn’t trust me!” shouted the young man.

“He doesn’t care about me!” shouted the woman.

Alastair looked at Isabelle and she nodded.

She picked a single petal of the rose and passed to the couple.

They breathed in the scent of the rose and immediately they stopped fighting.

“I love you,” they said to one another.

“You see,” said Alastair, “Granny was right, you can only give love, you can’t demand it.”

Not long after they passed a man about to give a small boy a hiding.

“What did he do?” asked Isabelle.

“What did he do? Ha!” said the man, “He disrespects his mother. He disobeys me, his father.”

Isabelle reached down to the rose and gave the man a petal. As soon as touched it, his face changed and all the anger drained out of him.

“I love you my child,” he said to the boy.

The boy looked up all tears forgotten and threw his arms around his father, “I love you too, Daddy” he said.

Then they came across a woman in tears staring at her reflection in the still water of a pond.

“Why are you crying?” they asked.

“I am so ugly,” she said. “No-one will ever love me.”

Isabelle gave her a rose petal.

The young lady wiped her eyes with it and when she looked into the water again she gasped, “Is that me? In the water?”

“Yes,” said the children.

“Am I that beautiful?” she asked.

Isabelle said, “Yes, the magic of the rose has let you love yourself.”

On their way they met many people each who needed love in one way or another. Each time they gave away a petal from the rose.

When they came back to the rainbow they only had one petal left.

“Oh rainbow,” they cried, “We are so sorry, we bought you the rose of love, but we gave away all the petals!”

Suddenly they heard a noise behind them. Turning around they saw all the people they had met that day. Each one carried a petal from the rose. One by one they laid them at the foot of the rainbow.

Isabelle and Alastair told everyone to hold hands and as loud as they could they all shouted together, “We love you Rainbow!”

All at once it began to glow and the rose petals flowed into the arch of red bringing the love of the rainbow back to life.

The Rainbow Who Lost Her Colours: Part 1


Once upon a time, a long long time ago, my favourite storybook was called “How the rainbow lost her colours”.

My mother remembers the book with considerably less fondness because she had to read it two or three times a day for years and years.

I can’t remember how the story went, only that I loved it.

Each night my daughter insists on my reading a story from my head.

So, I chose to base it on my old rainbow book  and largely make it up as I go along.

It takes us a full week to get to all the colours and Miss Diva has very definite ideas on where the colours should be found and why.

I thought it was perhaps time I wrote it down. Only that turned out harder than I thought. Saying it out loud is much easier. Writing it down makes me edit and think and ponder and worry. As a result I didn’t log into my blog once over the weekend.

Now it is Monday and I have nothing to lose, so here is the start of the story and hopefully if the start of the school term doesn’t drive me to an early grave I will add a chapter every day until the blessed thing is done.

If I can bribe the designer sitting across from me, he may concede to illustrate it for me.

Copyright: Stanley Chow
Copyright: Stanley Chow

The Rainbow 

Not so far away, in a world just a hop, skip and a jump away lies the Land of the Rainbow.

The beautiful rainbow stretched from one side of the world to the other and under her gaze the land flourished.

Sadly as time passed people forgot to look up into the sky. They took for granted the rainbow would always shine down upon them. Without their faith the rainbow’s colours began to fade until one day they were no more.

Without the colours of the rainbow all hope, love and happiness began to fade from the kingdom.

The king of the land called his bravest knights and sent them forth to seek the rainbow’s colours, but they returned heavy of heart and empty-handed.

The king called all the artists and painters of the land and bade them paint all night and all day until the rainbow’s colours were restored. As fast as they painted, the colours ran off like water.

The king called all the magic makers together and ordered them to restore the rainbow. But all their spells did nothing.

The king called the wise men, the teachers and the learned and locked them in his library to find an answer, but they found none.

The king managed to call on nearly everyone in the kingdom, but he forgot the most important people of all.

He forgot that rainbows live in the hearts of children and only they could save the rainbow.

Isabelle and Alastair lived on the edge of a small village.

Hand in hand they looked up at the rainbow and promised to do whatever they could to bring her back to life.

It never occurred to them that they couldn’t.

And that is why they could.

To my Son on his 11th Birthday


For every birthday my mother takes her grandchild shopping.

Usually she can’t wait to tell me what they’ve chosen. This year I got a phone call.

Mother: “Um, well we had an interesting shopping trip.”

Me: “So, what did he get?”

Mother: “Um… <long pause> it might not be quite what you were expecting.”

My heart fell.

Was my son going to go swag on me?

Was I going to face the public while my son tripped over his trousers while his bottom flashed at passersby?

Oh, the horror.

Doc who 1Me: “What. Did. He. Buy?”

Mother: “A bow tie.”

Me: “Well, bow ties are cool.”

Mother: “I think he has been watching too much Doctor Who.”

To which I say there is no such thing.

He is now wearing a conglomerate of Matt Smith and David Tennant.

It looks pretty cool.

Eleven years ago my neighbours in our flat conversion in Blackheath, south of the Thames, were complaining of my using power tools at an ungodly hour of the morning.

the-fat-cowTo which my husband replied: “No she wasn’t. She was giving birth.”

Apparently I sounded like a constipated cow, which was exactly how I felt.


Now that tiny little baby boy is a tween.

In South Africa I am often complimented on my “Firstborn”.

He really has grown up into an amazing little man.

397616_10151145131256116_1141865247_nHe is funny, clever and the best brother his siblings could have wished for.

I am very proud and humbled to be his mother.

Each day he teaches me something new or asks a question that makes me think.

James Leo Alexander, you are the best James in the whole world.

Thank you for choosing me to be your Mum.

I promise I’ll do my very best not to embarrass you.


X is for XYZ

Poor Robert Downey Jr.
Poor Robert Downey Jr.

A long time ago when the world as I knew it was young, XYZ was the polite way to inform a gentleman that his zipper was heading southwards.

This is always awkward.

Just as it is awkward to get home and find your zipper has succumbed to the power of gravity and wonder just how long your Tweetie Bird boxers have been on display.

woman with skirt caughtThis is not a guy thing. It happens to girls too.

She trips out of the ladies where she has redone her lipstick and taken care of nature, thinking she is the bee’s knees and completely unaware her skirt is tucked in her Bridget Joneses.

I think friends (and people in general) have a moral responsibility to quietly draw the attention of the unintentional flasher that is all is not well in the nether regions.

diane wrap dressA few years ago I was going through a Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress phase. I liked that you could adjust them after a particularly good lunch with comfort.

I removed my team of creative genii to the garden where we were to tackle the plans of whatever grand scheme to take over the world was on the schedule for the day.

I thought the boys were a bit more inattentive than usual.

It turned out that for thirty minutes or so my wrap dressed had unwrapped. I had on nice hot pink undies that day so at least no embarrassment there.

When I confronted the silent parties in great vengeance and furious anger, I was told sheepishly that first of they were boobs even if they were mine and secondly they were

worried if they told me I’d think they were staring at my boobs.

You know what. If I have a public wardrobe malfunction just tell me. I promise I won’t accuse you of sexism. My dignity comes first.

Shortly after the birth of my daughter I was filled with glee when I could fit into a [air of favourite old corduroys. (There were trés stylish. I bought them Paris, so no corduroy jokes.)

Off I went to meet the husband for lunch with baby in tow. I parked at the far opposite end of the mall to where we were to meet.

As I alighted from the car, my pants pocket caught on something and I yanked it free. Then I proceeded to walk the long length of the shopping mall.

It was worse than Lady Gaga

When I arrived, the husband gallantly stood up to pull out my chair.

He gasped and told me to sit back down right away.

Turns out half my bottom was on display and had been the entire length of the shopping mall.

I wanted to die.

“You have to help me!” I whispered fiercely.

“What on earth do you expect me to do?” he whispered back equally fiercely.

I explained he needed to go to Benetton opposite and purchase jeans in my size post-haste. He went.

The waitress stopped to ask him if everything was okay as his wife was weeping into her cappuccino and he looked panicked.

ben1“Oh yes,” he placated her, “Her pants just split in half.”

Actually, I have no idea what he said to her except that within nanoseconds the entire restaurant knew including the kitchen staff who all trooped out for a good look-see.

Then he came back with entire staff of Benetton and a wrap.

I mustered whatever dignity I had left and swung the wrap around my waist and proceeded to buy the world’s most expensive pair of jeans.

Now, if the first person to notice has just told me, it would have been a small sting to my pride as opposed to open heart surgery without an anaesthetic.

Then a little while ago it happened to someone else. I was having a chat with two chaps I knew from another office in the same building when their boss walked up to join in.

His fly was down. I softly mentioned this to my friend who said he couldn’t tell the man, because then his boss would think he was looking where he wasn’t supposed to and think that he could be… you know.

“But you are you know,” I said.

“Yes,” he explained, “But not you know about him.”

Basically there are hundred of men and women walking about on a daily basis with loo paper on their shoes, the skirts hiked up and their flies down and no-one is saying a damn thing because they are terrified of making some sexual innuendo and being hauled up in court on harassment charges.

It is a travesty.

Not that you want it broadcast over the speaker system or anything, but still I maintain that Somebody should do Something.