I share a house with an evil, carnivorous parrot called Ted.

I share a house with an evil, carnivorous parrot called Ted. Ted is grey on the outside and black on the inside. His tail feathers are blood red, mostly mine. Bad luck for me, he favors O Positive. Ted’s best thing in the evenings is hunting me down. When he’s not busy with that, mostly he sits on a perch outside his cage, crapping. To protect the parquet flooring, we put old newspaper down. When I was picking up the papers this morning, through the parrot crap, I saw a list of Presidential promises made not too long ago, including modern, affordable healthcare for all, free for cancer patients. In the real world outside, you can’t buy even the most basic of medicines, unless you’ve got a stash of US cash. In future maybe I’ll get Molly the Great Dane to also drop bombs on the old papers. That way, I won’t be able to read the crap.

Whilst on the subject of bombshells, yesterday Zimbabwe was told via a tatty Facebook post put up our new Minister of Finance’s new spokesperson that 4 top Reserve Bank officials had a billion Bond dollars printed elsewhere, shipped into Mozambique by the plane load, smuggled across the border and then used them to buy US cash to supplement their pensions. The 4 officials have been suspended, pending investigations. Not so long ago, I would have taken the actions against them as a positive. But spinning your head round looking for positives where there aren’t any, gives you pain in the neck. Alas. ( And in a Stop Press, apparently the bust is all part of ongoing turf wars amongst the chefs.)

Social media in Zimbabwe also gives me a pain in the neck. My fuel queue chat group is depressing, ditto my Medicines chat group, ditto my farming chat groups that now mostly center on fertilizer and chemical stock outs.

I shouted loudly for Zimbabwe against Bangladesh on Sunday but alas,we still came second. During the game I couldn’t but notice that the Zim cricket team is sponsored by a cooking oil company on the one sleeve and a cement company on the other. That neither product is freely available on the shelves, makes me somehow doubt that foreign investors are going to rush in and save us. So who will?
If the Chinese bail us out, all that’s happened is they’ve forward bought the gold and minerals yet to be mined by our children’s children.

The Brits would love to bail us out so they can have someone to trade with post Brexit, and because they like President Ed, especially now that their reporters have finally learnt how to pronounce his surname. Ditto to a lesser extent the Europeans.

But they can’t bail us out because of US sanctions. So the only man who can save us is Donald Trump. Who unfortunately seems to be a tad preoccupied fighting the Chinese, the Russians, the Germans, the Mexicans, the Canadians, Hilary and the Democrats, kneeling footballers and a porn star called Stormy. Who won last week’s Twitter war. Donald called her Horse face, she came back at him with ‘Game on, Tiny’.

So rather than wait for Donald to shift his attentions to a shithole not far from Namibia, better Zimbabweans fix their own mess.

Moving on, there are pairs of Old Legs in training all over the world for the ride to Mt Kilimanjaro. In Australia, Mark Johnson mostly worked on his sprint finish, courtesy of an attacking magpie who mistook Mark’s head for a shiny object. In Germany, Carol Joy racked up 100 km and 1500 m of climb last week before falling foul of a tummy bug. Meanwhile in Holland, Jaap found a hill to climb only 26 km from his house, and climbed it 4 times, getting overtaken by 75 year old on an electric bike in the process. On the Sunday, Jaap rode another 45 km and managed to get above sea level 4 times.
This week our man in Switzerland, Nik Bellwald racked up a 250 km in the week, bringing him to 12000 km for the year, including an incredible climb total of 135,000 meters.

Nik was born in 1954 and is married with 3 children, 2 grandchildren. A retired banker, Nik’s hobbies include family, travelling, reading and cycling, lots and lots of cycling. He has affinity to Zimbabwe and supports a local medical charity and is now riding for Zim pensioners. He’s looking forward to making new friends on the Tour. I fully expect Nik to get to Kilimanjaro before me.

Alan Rheeder is doing the hard yards on the bike daily in Joburg.
But things in Zimbabwe however were less productive. Bruce and Dave are both missing in action. Al Watermeyer had business in Bulawayo last week and conscientiously packed his bike, his helmet and 2 pairs of Lycra shorts so he could pound the Matopos hills on the weekend. Unfortunately he forgot to pack the wheels of his bike and arrived with a frame. As for myself, rather than ride, I borrowed Adam Selby’s flu for the week and languished on my death bed.
Free of the flu, Adam rode 40 km to laugh at me on said death bed and then went fishing on Kariba, catching 10 fish before breakfast. Adam can’t spell empathy but he can spell cruel.

But from this week on, I will start taking things seriously. Starting with the Round Table 23 Domboshawa ride on Saturday with all proceeds going to the Old Legs Tour. Pick your distance -15 km, 30 km or 45 km plus a 2 km ride for kiddies. Please join us.

And please also join us at Sorella’s at 18.30 on November 1st to hear us make stuff up about the Cape Town Tour and our forthcoming Mt Kilimanjaro adventure.

If you would like to donate to our worthy cause, use one of the following options-
Go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/oldlegstour and follow the prompts.
Or in Zimbabwe you can transfer to Bulawayo Help Network via their CABS Platinum Account number 1124733450. Or you can transfer to their Ecocash merchant number. Please note that Bulawayo Help Network are the receiving agency and donations received are directed country wide.
Follow us on Facebook or on www.oldlegstour.co.zw but pleased be warned, paint dries faster than we ride.

In closing, this week’s Swahili lessons.
I haja a hositali. I ni vujadamu. Parrot yangu kidogo mimi. –
I need a hospital. I’m bleeding. My parrot bit me.
Kuruka Ted mbali, wewe bure-
Fly away, foul bird, you’re free.
Mchezo juu Vidago-
Game on, Tiny

Until next week, stay sane, survive and pedal if you can.

Eric Chicken Legs de Jong

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