Sitting down for dinner in Syabru, with neither friends nor family for thousands of miles around, I resigned myself to the fact that I was on my own. Yet it's surprising how conversations can take off with complete strangers, as I began chatting to the son of the family who owned the guesthouse in which I was staying.
By Nepalese standards, the guesthouse was opulent. The comfy bed mirrored the welcoming vibes in the dining room, which was actually part of the family's home. As a guest, I couldn't have felt more welcome. The family's son harboured simple desires in life. He wanted to go to University in Kathmandu, to study English of all universally essential languages. I taught him, as best I could, a few choice words, but it was clear that the poor young man genuinely struggled to understand my thick Yorkshire accent… that accent that for so many years I personally despised. Still, such an accent is a part of me. There's no point a born-and-bred Yorkshireman trying to imitate Cockney slang for the sheer hell of it, is there?
The majority of people who live in the Third World wouldn't even consider pretending to be something or
someone that they clearly are not. Priding themselves on being magnificently humble, modest
and non-materialistic, their selfless attitudes to life cannot be faulted.
As I talked long into the starry night with Yogesh, the son, I came to admire him more with every revelation that he delivered. Brimming with wisdom at the young age of twenty, his question-asking intelligence deserved to be stimulated by University, and as his mother - much later on in the night - asked me if I might like to 'sponsor' Yogesh to go there to pursue his Higher Education-based dream, I almost said that I'd help him. And her. Right then and there. The next morning I did leave behind a generous tip in respect of their jovial hospitality, hoping such a gesture would do, though they seemed to take offence. What can I say? I said I was tight.
Trekking further north from Syabru, and heading for the breathtakingly mountain-surrounded Langtang Valley, the next few days flew by on a wing and a multitude of prayers. I found it difficult to cope with the country's obsession with religion. An all-consuming obsession that ruled everybody's every waking minute. Obviously if you are a devout believer in the after-life, you do everything you can in this one to ensure that your next one is going to be something to look forward to. Christians abide by the Ten Commandments. Hindus and Buddhists take things even more seriously
If only all they wished for was granted. If only the lonely met somebody with whom they felt they belonged. If only, if only, if only.
If only Maoist rebels weren't lurking behind the shadows of death up in the mountains, then nobody would have got hurt.
Fiction - Welcome To Hellville - Part 2 By Rich Mills
The filter system in Panal(The aging-should-know-better-arty-farty-toss cafe bar that
should have been closed down 30 years ago.) must have been faulty. I'm still feeling really crap
this morning, two days on now. Either that or I'm coming down with a wet season cold.
Which is a major pain in the arse
Fiction - Kat Out of the Bag Chapter Three By Steve Rudd
The first time I saw her she was working the streets, and working them well. I was sat, as I recall, in a cafe situated in
the tourist-overrun Thamel area of the city.. a cafe that could have been anywhere in the world.
Fiction - Welcome To Hellville - Part 1 By Rich Mills
After recent heavy rains I'm now trapped in the flat. The Wet Season is fully upon us now, it seems to arrive earlier each year. Not that I'd mind tropical storms if we got the tropical summer to go with it. Instead this summer was cold and grim, as it has been since as long as I can remember.
My Dad does talk
Fiction - Firm but Fair By Mark Pollard
Cry-Baby Jim Breaks. He pioneered it, they say.
And the hushed, almost ecclesiastical tones of Ken Walton had heralded it's
entry into Saturday afternoon folklore: the bright lights of
Blackpool and Great Yarmouth, down to the lesser reputes of Ilfracombe and
Skegness had all borne witness
Fiction - Puzzles By Denis Price
I've got a really nice room, when the door's closed I feel ever so safe and warm. It's quiet as well,
just the swish of the wind in the trees outside. I like the trees; they hide the big tall fence.
My watchers say the fence is there to keep me safe, and that's their job too, they're always there
Fiction - Kat Out of the Bag Chapter Two By Steve Rudd
What's a man to do in Kathmandu? Pretty much anything he wants is the steadfast answer.
Sick of dull caravan-anchored holidays in Britain that plagued my ill-charmed childhood, adventure called and I responded.
Still, I would be
Fiction - COLD WAR TALES- THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS By Denis Price
The piercing insistent wail of the siren woke him. `For Christ`s sake now what!` Over the tannoy the
smooth expensive voice intoned languidly that this was only a drill and that all personnel
should continue with their normal duties.
He groaned and thought, this is my normal
Fiction - Kat Out of the Bag Chapter One By Steve Rudd
Above all else it was ignorance and arrogance that helped me pack my bags.
The ignorance and arrogance of myself, that was, and everyone else.
I was only interested in people and past-times that furthered humanity. And what was wrong with that?
Fiction - Scrawls Of The Unexpected By Mark Pollard
Professor Colin Pillinger, lead scientist on the Beagle II programme, was calm but well pissed off
inside. He had been clinging to the idea that his £35 million Mars Probe was stuck in a crater,
waiting for some narrow rays of sunlight to banish the shade for a few precious hours each day
in order that
Fiction - A Short Story - The Beaver Stalker By The J.E.M. Cult
I stepped out into the cold frosty air.
I pulled my muffler tighter round my hands and crunched across the frozen grass. Today was the first day of the beaver season- and by golly, I was sure gonna get me one.
I love beavers. I can't help it. There's just something about stroking that damp fur that sends me
Fiction - The Art Of Being Alone In A Crowded Bar By Rich Mills
What music are you into, man? The American exchange student who had earlier introduced himself, without any regard for Jean-Paul's need to be alone, suddenly threw a curve-ball of a question in his direction.
Well I listen to... What followed was a definitive list of bands from Jean-Paul's wide ranging rare vinyl