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LET SLEEPING LIONS LIE - memoirs of a colonial boy - Chapter list

by BobCurby 

Posted: 31 October 2009
Word Count: 1875
Summary: Having completed the book I set here the chapter listing, revised and updated.The book is in the archives - ready to be processed to ebook/print

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Let Sleeping Lions Lie is a group of stories from my own past, I decided to write the memoirs after relating the experience of being thrown out of South Africa in 1968 to a bank manager in Newquay, Cornwall.
My job in the period 1997 - 2002 was in itself 'risky' and so I do build in some of the things that happened during that time (such as getting kidnapped in Istanbul) but predominantly the stories are of my childhood and young manhood. These stories, or at least the excursions into the past, are not chronological. The overall thread is, I wrote as I travelled about the country on business so the 'present day' is more or less chronological, but the amusing anecdotes are often spontaneously generated.
You can read the Chapters currently uploaded in the Memoirs archive. I would like to say that I had a very fast moving and dramatic childhood in Africa and from poignant moments basking in the warm sun amid sweet smelling wild lillies to thrashing through the jungle in the pitch dark in an unlit Landrover carrying 1500 litres of stolen petrol whilst being fired on by guerillas, my life had it all!
I have been shot at seven times, shot one person myself, survived a leopard charge, and faced the formidable Cape Buffalo, to name but a few events in the memoirs.
Here's how it's all laid out:
CHAPTER ONE -- Where are you now? - the chapter where I was expedited out of South Africa for helping someone who was about to get beaten by police.
CHAPTER TWO -- Fuel Run - where I went into Zaire, collected 1500 litres of petrol,and ran the gauntlet of robbers on the way home.
CHAPTER THREE -- Simba never gives any mercy - I describe my first sighting of a lion kill, then an incident in the Kruger National Park that got me fired by the tour agency I was driving for at the time.
CHAPTER FOUR -- Hide in the Long Grass Coming upon a General Dynamics F-111 USAF 'Aardvark' strategic bomber and tactical fighter in amongst the pine trees near Lockerbie, I went back to the incident of the downed Lockheed SR-71 'Blackbird', a stealth bomber that theoretically didn't exist then, but I saw it come down and went to where it was being repaired - there was a cover-up, and it was assumed I would forget about it - I didn't!.
Chapter Five -- Viva Las Vegas! - On a trip to Las Vegas, I relate some comical moments with a young woman who reminds me so much of someone we lived next door to in Makeni. In the hotel I had a sudden flashback and was prompted to write about the time when I was 6 years old and terrorists blew up our house. Back home in the present I came into contact with an old Ferguson tractor and this lead to the the comical events surrounding my first attempt to plough with a similar one back in the 60's.
Chapter Six -- LOST! - This was the most terrifying day of my life! I went pot-holing with some friends, we discovered 5 dead bodies in the lowest cave, panicked, and ran. I had no torch, banged my head, and lay dazed for several minutes. The resulting horror of being trapped/lost underground for nearly a whole day with five grizzly bodies and their possible murderer still around is described in detail.
Chapter Seven -- Down Came the Sky - 2001 9/11, I was in Swansea when the first aircraft hit the North Tower in New York, I drove to Cardiff and checked in just in time to see the second one hit - my eldest son was supposed to be on that flight - fortunately he wasn't. This is a traumatic chapter (no excursion to the past.)
Chapter Eight --- Jungle Drums Whilst on surveillance in Exeter, the sound of a two-bladed helicopter sounded similar to jungle drums in my ears and I relate an incident of hearing these when I was about 7 years old, and after rushing out to see where the drums were, got lost in the dark in the African 'bush' whilst being stalked by a leopard.
Chapter Nine -- Sold Out - I consider the repercussions of the British Government's departure from Zambia leaving my father to fend for himself.
Chapter Ten - - SIMBA COUNTRY - A scary incident at the Stanley Falls, situated on the equator; Ugandan terrorists nearly ended my life.
Chapter Eleven -- Mission Impossible? - this is an 'at the time' chapter - I wrote about a situation to do with my job - having to leave the hotel quickly to escape hit-men, I moved to a safe house and then had to contend with an over-attentive woman who was intent on getting me into bed. This made me recount my first sexual experience in South Africa (but not in great detail - only the events leading up to it.)
Chapter Twelve - - Mission Accomplished - I relate the terror of surviving a leopard charge in Livingstone in 1962. I then reflect back on the girl in Ch 12 and what she really was like and then on to the stupid idea of running down Table Mountain in Cape Town, which I survived, though I don't know how, with just a few scratches. Back to the present where a colleague and I then left the safe house to go on a mission in Istanbul (modern time, not in the past) and whilst there, got kidnapped by Turkish Mafia; only the swift intervention by Turkish police saved us - we continued and completed the mission. Back in England another attempt was made by the hit-men, but my colleagues used a safety-net tactic that allowed me to get away safe.
Chapter Thirteen - - HARBOUR NIGHTS I was on the Dorset coast with my wife, on a surveillance mission, it develops over the next two chapters so no further comment here.
Chapter Fourteen - - MOSI -OA- TUNYA - Still in Dorset - after a brief description of the surveillance while keeping my wife in the dark as to what was happening, the action then moves to the Hampshire coast opposite the Isle of Wight. Here the surveillance continues, and clandestine meetings with my boss, a woman, in the grounds of the hotel leads my wife to think I'm having an affair. In a spot of daydreaming my thoughts drifted back to the Zambezi and the huge Victoria Falls (called Mosi-Oa-Tunya, 'The Smoke That Thunders') and the longest Zip Line ever - down into the gorge along with the fright I had going down it.
Chapter Fifteen - - WHERE'S THE OTHER SHOE? - Still on the Dorset/Hampshire surveillance mission with my wife along, I relate a forensic situation in one of the 'sunken lakes' (sink holes filled with water) in Zambia's Northern Province - involving a body with only one shoe.
Chapter Sixteen - - THIS IS THE DAY WE DIE!.. As a teenager, whilst a junior warden, I was on fence patrol with a warden, in Livingstone Game Park (now called the Mosi-Oa-Tunya Reserve); we were checking the mesh fencing for holes. I recount our coming face to face with death in the shape of three Cape Buffalo, but we managed to escape thanks to some Japanese tourists.
Chapter Seventeen - - CROCODILES EAT TOO Fishing for Tiger Fish (similar to Piranha) in the Zambezi, I caught a crocodile instead - this is a scary but amusing anecdote.
Chapter Eighteen - - - ELEPHANT ANTICS On another occasion whilst fishing in the Zambezi, I got in between a young bull elephant, and the water, where he wanted to go, this story weaves around how my attempts to communicate with the elephant, local knowledge and cool head saved my life.
Chapter Nineteen - - A BOMBSHELL 2002, I was made redundant, enabling me to tell Sara what I did for a job - she thought I was a spy! I was a Commercial Insurance Fraud Investigator and the surveillance exercises were to uncover attempts to make fraudulent claims, often running into millions of pounds sterling in value. This explains why hit men get sent after us. I explain all about the Dorset/Hampshire case.
Chapter Twenty - - BAROTSE LAND SUMMER CAMP - Having mentioned Summer Camp earlier in the book I take a light excursion into some of my visits to the Kafue Game Reserve as a junior warden.
Chapter Twenty One - - LET SLEEPING LIONS LIE. . . I relate how I started to write this book, wrestling with many feelings and reliving the horrors of my past.
Chapter Twenty Two - - POACHING IS BAD FOR YOUR HEALTH. . . continuing the thread from Ch21, I relive the time when a poacher came to kill our Lechwe and take the horns. It ended up with me shooting the man. (It is this event that I refer to in chapter 2, The Fuel Run and may explain why I hesitated to take the rifle.)
Chapter Twenty Three - - PLAYING WITH BONGOS Redundant, with time on my hands and money in the bank, I went to do a season at a Safari Park, for the fun of it. Here is a collage of anecdotes, including a bit of fun with Bongos. BONGOS are not drums - they are a bovine wild animal also called Sitatunga.
Chapter Twenty Four - - Deep Down Feelings Still at the Safari Park, I recall the mining accident in Zambia that left me with a permanent cough after I was in a cave-in 4.5 miles down a copper mine.
Chapter Twenty Five - - AMERICAN ENGLISH Whilst in Nashville, Tennessee I take a light hearted excursion into the differences between US and UK English.
Chapter Twenty Six - - NORTHBOUND I decided to take Sara to Scotland to show her a US Air Force fighter jet parked in a pine forest only to find that it has gone.
Chapter Twenty Seven - - STUNT RIDER Still at the Safari Park, while chatting to a young motor cycling colleague I tell him about the horrific accident I had on my motorbike, crashing through the sides of an empty box van, and surviving (of course) with only a few broken bones. The 'bike wasn't so lucky!
Chapter Twenty Eight - - A MYSTERY REMAINS I sought in vain to solve the mystery of the US fighter plane in the pine forest.
Chapter Twenty Nine - - ONE SMALL MISTAKE - On my way to my younger son's garage I was punted in the rear by joy riders at traffic lights, straight into the path of a 40 ton juggernaut which hit my passenger side and took my car sixty metres down the road. In hospital it didn't look good, the family prepared for the worst. Thankfully I pulled through to finish this book! This chapter switches from my narrative to my wife's so she can tell how she felt and what I looked like etc. (I don't know, was 'out of it' for some time).

FAŠT Š BobCurby/ S Goodings 2007,8,9

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