It's been fun and games on the Isle this week. This fluffy li'l kitten is our endorsed mascot for the Youth Commonwealth Games (speaks volumes about us, don't ya' think?)
We're currently hosting the tournament over here, and out of sixty-five countries, there are only two absent. Zimbabwe's President, Robert Mugabe declined, on account of us not talking to him right now, (ha, yeah, like as if we were about to invite him over, anyways, huh? We've plenty enough on our plate as it is thanks, what with that Gadaffi bloke and his recent shenanigans) and it seems that Fiji is also kinda' indisposed, due to them having suffered a rather questionable coup over there recently (yup, t'was news to me, too).
Naturally, this sporting event is a huge big deal for us, why, with a population of less than 75,000 - I mean, it's sorta' like our equivalent to England hosting the 2012 Olympic Games, and it's exciting, y'know? Well, so I'm told. That's if you're into all these athletics and sports and such-like, which in truth, I'm not.
Well, not really.
(Unless Yoga counts?)
But Mr. Shrinky is well made up about it. A few months back the call went up for volunteers, and Mr. Shrinky, being of a more altruistic nature (and far sportier) than I, was first in line to sign up and book himself a week out from his day job. 'Course he had no idea what the required tasks might be, anything from manning the ticket gates, to looking after visiting teams, who knew?.
In due course he was called in for an interview. A week later someone phoned to ask if he was up for the one-on-one babysitting of a VIP for the duration.
So sure, I told him fine and go ahead, just so long as we're not expected to be putting them up over the week, I mean, who wants visiting VIP's examining the fluff under the bed, or to be counting our dead bugs on the sill?
He called them back and was assured they'd already booked him for The Sefton (our poshest hotel on the Isle). At that top dollar, we figured it surely must be one of their finest, super-star athletes, one of their elite they had in mind for him to hand-hold, eh?
It wasn't until last week they eventually had him in for the sit down and debrief, and finally announced the identity of this mystery Geezer.
Well, bloomin' heck, even I'm impressed. I don't always cut Mr. Shrinky enough credit - seems (contrary to me) he truly is a pretty well-respected citizen around these parts. Maybe it's all that recent work he's been doing for the Government (he's been a wee bit in the news as of late) that's raised his profile?
Now, I am aware there are a few Doubting Thomas' around these parts, those of you who may be casting a dollop of doubt over the truth and veracity of my recent postings.. and yes, much though it pains me, I do accept I may just occasionally be a wee bit prone to exaggeration, but I want it to be known right here and now, every single thing in this particular post is nothing but the total, unabridged and gospel truth.
Pin your ears back.
See that man below? (No, not the one dressed up like a pumpkin, that's Mr. Shrinky, I'm talking about the one standing next to him, His Royal Highness, Prince Tunku Imran of Malaysia, second in line to the throne, and the President of the Commonwealth Youth Games, himself.)
Yes, granted, he may not be dressed quite as Presidential or as Prince-like as you might be expecting of someone of his standing, but hey, be fair, this was taken on his day off. The games hadn't started yet.
You don't believe me? Go Google! Just don't forget to come back and apologise. Well, what you waiting for? Go on, scoot!
Right, you happy now? Sheesh, some of you really do have trust issues, don't you? Aye, and you can stuff your apology 'til the next time, I'm off my stride now.. where were we?
I'm so glad we traded the old Tardis up, you can hardly go collecting royalty driving that old clunker, certainly not on the first introduction. Impressions count, they do.
I told Mr. Shrinky, I said, "No, now you can't go meeting him, holding up that bit of cardboard with his name scrawled across it, I mean, he's used to being recognised, isn't he? I imagine he normally comes with servants and chauffeurs and such, you just can't go showing up for him looking like some sort of odd-job, clueless cabbie!"
So he took himself away on-line to bone up a bit better, and later on he took a trip down to the library for a book or two on Malaysia, and any of their customs we ought to be knowing about. (I love my dog, and I'd heard they eat them over there.)
As it turns out, Mr. Shrinky needn't have worried, he stood out like a beacon at the arrivals gate, sporting that
near fluorescent, cheap and nasty orange and black volunteer uniform they'd supplied him with. And the plastic name-tag around his neck served him well.
Plus there were only six folk on the flight.
Well, so far Mr. Shrinky is having a blast. Him and His Nibs are on first name terms now, and pure inseparable they are. Seriously, what a genuinely nice bloke this guy is, and he carries no airs or graces about him at all.
For the first two days, hubby served as his chauffeur/tour guide, driving him all over and about the place. He had to stop off now and then for the odd lunch and dinner with folk, but when he did, he always invited Mr. Shrinky along with him, too. Yes, Mr. Shrinky's been rubbing shoulders with the high and mighty all week, he has, and he's utterly chuffed to bits to be sitting in in the VIP box, watching all the games as he is.
You wouldn't catch any of our Royals popping over here without their full entourage of body guards in tow, I told hubby to be careful, you never know if he's likely to be kidnapped or not, do you? Mind, with him being Muslim an' all, I guess that does narrow the field down a bit, eh?
It's been quite a full week, all told. His charge has to give out the odd medal, and to make an ocassional speech or two here or there, but in between all that and the watching of the games, they've still found free time enough to go out sight-seeing, shopping, or to stop off for a small libation at an out of the way Pub.
Though I did cringe when he took him visiting there out to a junk shop, I ask you, is that really the sort of place for a Prince to be seen hanging about at?
Mind, that said, he did buy a set of six egg-cups from in there (egg cups are hard to come by in Malaysia).
Our friend is scheduled to have dinner this evening at a formal do with, amongst others,The Governor, and Prince Edward (UK Queen's youngest son), but I've reluctantly advised Mr. Shrinky to be leaving his tux at home for the occasion, I fear it rather doubtful he'll be receiving any free pass into there this evening (though, being ever hopeful, he's stuck it in the boot, just in case).
All things considered, there's a lot to be said for volunteering. I wish, I wish, I wish I could tell you more, especially of all the salacious, juicy tit-bit's I've had passed my way this week, but (sigh) as I'm under strict threat of divorce should I divulge any gossip in here, I'm having to bite my tongue hard, and to sadly take a pass on (what for me are) the bestest and most entertaining bits.
His Highness is due to jet away on Tuesday, but with the tail end of Hurricane Katrina hitting us today, all flights and ferries are closed from the Isle. I sure hope The Sefton can extend his stay on from tomorrow, should the need arise.
If not, push comes to shove, I s'pose I could make up a spare bed for the night.
(Running off to find my fluffy duster..)