Teaching at a primary school as I do every so often something really special comes up – something so wondrous that it inspires the children beyond the norm and brings a tear to my eye. Take half term just gone for example. You see an anonymous local entrepreneur (thank you Sir Richard) kindly arranged and funded a trip to the Congo (that’s in Africa you know) in order that my class of 9 year olds could see live and up close all the wildlife in the jungle including – and this was the bit that got them all excited – the gorillas in their natural environment.
And thus it was – with parental consent – the kids and I took the plane out of Heathrow and Congo bound. No sooner as we had arrived local tribesmen whisked us off to the edge of the jungle where we set up camp for what was to be our home for the next six nights. The food was to die for what with all the brown rice, mangoes and deep fried cockroaches (a bit of a delicacy I can tell you) and the children woofed it down save for that little Fatty Cunningham who cried endlessly for turkey twizzlers ‘Like what me mum gives me.’ His composure was restored somewhat when I told him that his new jungle diet might just cause him to drop a few pounds and then his peer group might call him just plain Cunningham as opposed to their present preferred handle of Fatty Cunningham! Even though the child told me to ‘Fuck off’ I thought it a magical thing that I had got a reaction instead of just tears.
The real fun commenced the next morning. Our guides took us deep into the jungle and lo and behold there we spotted a ginormous gorilla. The kids screamed with absolute delight. We were told that this particular gorilla was a male of a sub species of the Eastern Lowland gorillas – a very rare and endangered animal indeed by all accounts this one being the only surviving male on the planet. It was fascinating for the class to learn that the very next day qualified vets would be, with the help of a specialist marksman out firing a tranquilizing dart into the beast (little Victoria had already named him Cuddly Jimbo by the way) in order that he could be sedated and flown to the UK where he would spend the rest of his days at Regents Park Zoo in the company of the last remaining three females of his kind. Golly and gosh I thought to myself Cuddly Jimbo will be shagging himself senseless in that breeding program. My how my husband Hugh would like to be Cuddly Jimbo, but that’s another story!
Then disaster! Just as the adorable child Amy Perkins was petting the animal it picked her up and made to run off with her. Luckily for Amy one of the tribesmen had his rifle at the ready and shot it dead in an instant. Save for a couple of bruises as she fell to the jungle floor Amy was none the worse for her experience thankfully. Sadly though Cuddly Jimbo is as his species will shortly be, no more. Still on the positive side he won’t be pestering the gals back in the zoo and, as I explained to the children another positive is that poor old David Attenborough who is getting on in years won’t have to drag himself out of bed to make the planned documentary about the breeding program for the BBC. At his age it is most likely the very last thing he wanted to do anyway. You see some good can come out of bad things.
Well then, the first thing I did when we returned home was to write a poem about our unique gorilla experience.
THE DEMISE OF CUDDLY JIMBO
Poor old Cuddly Jimbo
Has been shot right through the heart
For making off with Amy
With a view to tearing her apart
Not that Jimbo knew it
Because he was just a thick beast
His would be harem back in London zoo
Will be glad he is now deceased
The prospect of being shagged rotten
Each and every day
Just with a view to procreate
Would be no fun for them anyway
NB – My husband Hugh has read this and takes the opposite view that the gal gorillas would, in his considered opinion be gagging for it and thus somewhat disappointed as to how events have turned out – but then that’s just Hugh and what does he know he’s a man.
Whatever, I shall give a signed framed copy of this poem to Amy when I pop around to her parental home later. My how I will treasure the moment she, her mum and her dad feast their eyes upon it and express their gratitude.
Still I have to be off now – jolly hockey sticks and all that!