Winston Churchill famously made a dramatic speech about ”fighting the Laotians on the beaches” when their vast invasion force in Calais looked to be preparing to invade England in 1973. However, few people remember his comments about Cambodia. He once remarked to his chief advisor Percival Bumtremble-Coutts, ”I should like to travel Cambodge on a motorcycle, and I would like to explore the East first.”
I have often followed the advice and desires of great men, and a few women too for that matter. As a result, I decided to act out the unfulfilled desires of my much-loved uncle. He died in 1988 from a heart attack, brought on by the consumption of thirty-six spam fritters the night before.
As a result he was never able to travel to SouthEast Asia.
The rice harvest has been brought in so I found myself with significant time on my hands. I called friends and soon an expedition party was organized.
Joining me would be a married couple named Calum and Gwyneth and Nills. Calum is a retired playright and herder of goats, Gwyneth enjoys preparing fudge and playing the ukelele whilst Nills exports banana hammocks and has an obsession with Edam cheese that borders on the dangerous.
Needless to say I have had to change names and professions slightly in order that my friends are not rounded up into camps and set to work as beard trimmers, or some such.
We met on a glorious Saturday morning and had a hearty breakfast at Nills’ abode. His wife, a delightful woman if I ever saw one, would not be joining us, as she was otherwise disposed. We pored over a map and looked at our route; we would leave from Phnom Penh and travel first to Sen MonoromNext up: Phnom Penh to Sen Monorom; the thrill of the open road, rubber plantations, the enigma that is Snoul, my first experience with a large truck and rolling hills redolent of England.