A Christmas Waiting Story: the Llama’s tale.

I am a llama, currently sat on a hillside, soaking up the warmth from what’s left of the setting winter sun. It’s not unpleasurable. In the neighbouring field a few ragged old sheep graze their days away, oblivious to their impending fate. It must be one of the benefits of being a sheep: you’re permanently oblivious to what’s around the next corner.

Being a llama however requires you to be in a permanent state of alertness. It’s why our necks are so long: we’re always looking for the next opportunity, the next big deal, the next time the farmer wanders in to the neighbouring field to herd together his oblivious sheep so that they can be carted off to the nearest abattoir. If sheep had longer necks and spent more time looking up into space rather than staring down at their feet, they might be a little less oblivious, a bit more alert and more likely to survive the next visit by the machete wielding farmer.

Today’s a case in point. I’m sat here, soaking up the warmth, stretching my neck and Lo and Behold what do we have drop down from the heavens? Only a host of bloody golden guardian angels blowing their trumpets, strumming their zithers and creating a God Almighty din. The sheep – naturally knowing nothing of what is happening – continue to graze amongst the heavenly host, three of whom are gathered around a satnav. They’re clearly lost; they scratch their heads, twizzle their beards and gesticulate at each other in a bit of a temper. One of them snaps his zither in two over the back of one of his compadres. There’s a bit of a guardian angel fracas.

The sheep remain oblivious to all the commotion apart from a couple of the brighter ones who look up and run off, startled at the sight of quarrelling guardian angels wielding acoustic instruments at each other.

Me, I’m sat here in the warmth of the setting winter sun, waiting for the noise to die down. Once they come to their collective angelic senses, I’ll tell them what they want to know.

Taxi wisdom: give a guy a Satnav and he thinks he’s Robert De Niro. Number 7 in the series: Knowledge, traffic and arts based research.

Whilst taxi drivers seem to losing their abilities to know where they are, where they’ve been and where they’re going, they have no shortage of knowledge about the state of the world we’re in and where we all should be.

What is it about taxi drivers that means that for better for worse, we feel obliged to engage in banter about celebrities, footballers, politicians and the dog across the road who is urinating into the nearest macdonalds burger wrapper? Do they have some mystical power, sat there in front of their cab, staring at you with one eye through the rear view mirror, which means they can hold forth on any subject under the sun whilst reducing you to a mumbling wreck who will agree with almost anything until the ride stops, you pays your money and insist on a receipt for the journey from hell and back?

There are some honorable exceptions though. A driver this morning, whilst opining on the terrible story that is unravelling around Jimmy Saville, offered the astute observation that the only thing he believed in the newspapers was the date at the top of the page. A breath of fresh air from the usual polluted atmosphere you find in the backs of cabs.

There must be a great business opportunity out there for someone to set up a cab firm who employed drivers who knew where they were going, how to get there in the shortest possible time and in a manner which was both civilised and civilising.

More travel knowledge here.