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A Traveller's Tale - part 4

8th December 2008

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Run for the hills people, poo has been found in a local restaurant's chocolate ice cream. And guess who discovered it? Yup, the customer who ate it. Imagine how that must have tasted as they tongued it around their mouth and thought this isn't quite right. They would have spat it out, smelt it, then called over the waiter who would no doubt have been asked why there was a freshly whipped deposit from the chef's bottom in their ice cream bowl.

The restaurant's obviously been shut, people have been fired and tests have revealed that yes, it was human. A bum deal for the couple, but it could work out rather well if they win the $1m compensation they're demanding for their distress of it all. And Christ they deserve it.

Social humiliation, tetanus jabs, mouthwash and dental floss, it all costs. And apparently the poor lady can't even change her son's nappy without now bringing up her lunch. Truly unpleasant.

As are the recent comments from Rupert Murdoch. Despite being an Australian himself, the media tycoon has just accused the country and its people of being a bunch of lazy bludgers. That's gone down almost as well as the ice cream, but it's true. Look at Brett Stark from last month's instalment.

I contacted the floppy-haired ex-Neighbours star about a photo for the article. He agreed, set a time and then didn't show up. The next day he called with some flaky excuse about battery charges and his internet being down.

But right now I'm too busy patching things up with the Wrecking Ball to care about an absent ex-Neighbour.

You may remember we had a bit of a row - my fault of course - that led to me staying in a youth hostel while the steam stopped shooting from her ear-holes. Well good news, we've kissed and made up.

But bad news too, for we've finally realised we're two peas from very different pods. She wants to move back to Canada, buy a house and kit it out with groovy new sofas and a couple of kids to bounce all over it. Me, on the other hand, I just want to hop on a motorbike and ride across the world with her hanging off the back.

So we have a dilemma; do we pull the pin and call it a day, or do we operate like adults for once and a find a way to sort it all out, a compromise if you will. Today, with us back together and living under the same roof, I'd say it's a tough one and scratch my chin. But if you asked me last week, as I sat sulking in the youth hostel, I'd have decisively replied, 'sod this… if the relationship's not working then I'm going to buy that motorbike and start planning for that trip.' And that, rather rashly, is exactly what I did…

I found her on eBay, paid 700 quid and got the train three hours north to collect her. She's four-years old, slow, totally un-cool and called a 'postie bike' because every Postman Pat in Australia delivers his mail on one.

Okay, she's hardly something Steve McQueen would ride. But I'm still confident she'd take me around Australia, around the world at a very slow push... Australia, Indonesia, Thailand, India, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Europe and home. In fact, there's a couple - girlfriend and boyfriend - currently riding from Sydney to South Africa on the very same bike.

Without medics and mechanics, they're showing McGregor and Boorman just how it should be done. So you see, anything's possible on a 'postie'.

And that's what I'd try and prove if we do go our separate ways, just set off and head for the horizon, chase some backpackers up the east coast and smoke some peace pipe with the aborigines along the way. Sounds adventurous, a little exciting too. But if I'm honest, both with you and myself, I'm hoping me and the Wrecking Ball can work things out, because deep down I'm beginning to think Robbie Williams was right, and that quite possibly, she's the one…

And if that's the case I might have to skip the bike ride and take option two.

I had mentioned that I used to write about cars for a living in England. A motoring journalist, like Jeremy Clarkson, only not an ounce as good. Well, one of the car magazines in Australia has agreed to rescue me from Spiros the Greek's cafe where I'm still making sandwiches, and employ me as some sort of tea-making wheel-cleaning dogs body. I'd be bottom of the pile, but a job, stability, a career, and for once proud parents... Sounds kinda cool.

So there we go, crunch time; together or apart; her staying in Australia or home to Canada; me working for the car magazine or jumping aboard Dorris, my trusty red stead, and riding off in to the sunset… decisions, so many decisions. And if there's one thing I hate more than poo in my ice cream, it's decision making.

I'm just hopeless at them, and so is she. But whatever we do decide, I'm going to need some extra cash. And for that, dear Lord, I'm going back to the medical lab…

The trial is for a new antibiotic drug not yet tested on humans. I have to swallow it, stay in hospital for two days, and then, if I'm still alive, take the 500 quid they say they'll pay me. Easy money, but first I have to qualify, and that means I'm sat writing this update with a million wires strapped to my chest and a giant black box in my pocket measuring my heart rate for the next 24 hours. If I'm fine and my body healthy they'll welcome me aboard and give me the drug and then the cash.

But wait a minute. It's the medical lab on the telephone. "What's that doctor… bad news… something wrong with my liver… fluctuating levels of what sorry… not life threatening… well that's a relief… but I can't take part in the testing… Oh, that's okay… thanks, bye".

Fuck me… I know I'm not the fittest man alive, not when I have cellulite on my stomach and a fresh pair of man-cans, but come on, is my body really that hopeless it can't even be used for medical testing? Actually, don't answer that.

So there you go. Depending on what me and the Wrecking Ball decide to do, my tale will continue to be told from either a journalist's desk in Sydney, or from the driver's seat of Dorris, my trusty stead, as we trek through the arse-end of nowhere. Exciting times, that's for sure, but in the meantime I'm heading up the coast with Pube Head and an Irish mate to the place where they film Home and Away…

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