Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

A Stranger's London

Elephant wrecks Safari park car

A family's brand new £16,000 Mercedes was wrecked when it was charged by a four-ton African elephant.

It happened when businessman Ali Mohammed, on holiday from Oman, took his family to Lord Bath's Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire.

Wamba the elephant wrenched off a door with its trunk and crushed the side panels while the family cowered inside the car. Safari park manager Roger Cawley said the family ignored warning notices, possibly because they could not read English.

Loud mouths

A plan to open a dental surgery in a Bristol suburb has been rejected after neighbours complained that the drills and "cries of patients" would be a noise nuisance.

Schoolboy with AIDS who can't go back to class

A boy of 13 who contracted AIDS during treatment for haemophilia had been barred from school because of fears that he may pass on the deadly disease.

Ryan White has been ordered not to attend his middle school even though there is no scientific evidence that the disease can be transmitted by casual contact.

State health chiefs say youngsters with AIDS should be allowed to attend class if they feel well enough. But Ryan was banned after worried parents threatened to keep their children at home if he continued at school.

His mother Jean is suing the makers of the blood-clotting agent from which her son caught AIDS for £1.5 million.

Dave's car is in very good nick!

Bridegroom David Wears was heartbroken when thieves nicked his old banger. Sadly, he scrapped plans for a honeymoon tour next month with his pretty fiancee, Carol Harrison.

But last Thursday David couldn't believe his eyes when police returned his 12 year-old-Cortina. For the gang had RESPRAYED and RETUNED it. FITTED a new suspension system and REPAINTED the wheels.

David, 34 of Percy Main, Tyne and Wear said: "It's gleaming and going like a bomb". He added: "It seems the thieves have given us an extra and unexpected wedding present".

Free beer for faithful customer

Ex-major Oscar Mayers, 92, is to get free beer for the rest of his life after 50 years drinking at the Stag's Head, Great Doddington, Northants.

And what a way to lose a fortune

An Arab gambled away £25 million at London casinos. He now has debts of £5,670,000... and assets of just £140, a bankruptcy court heard.

Mr Homayoun Beklik, 53, told the hearing that the remaining £212 million of the fortune that he inherited from his parents was seized after he left Iran in 1978.

He said his home in Highgate, London, was held in trust for his children, and his Porsche car had been sold to his wife. He told the court he continued to go to one casino for dinner every day, but denied he was still putting on stakes of £300,000.

He told the London court: "They provide dinner. It is one of the gimmicks. But if I gamble, it is only with other people's money".

Milkie sacked for wearing shorts!

Milkman Richard Goreham has been sacked for wearing shorts on his round. Richard, 30, was sent packing after a customer complained.

Now wives are threatening to boycott the Co-op dairy at Dovercourt, Essex, unless he gets his £100-a-week job back. Sylvia Danes, who organised a petition, said: "Richard is the best milkman we've ever had and he looks super in his short pants".

Nearly 400 of Richard's 580 customers in the villages of Lawford and Manningtree near Colchester have signed the petition.

He said later: "It seems they will give me my job back if I agree to wear trousers. But I'm going to carry on wearing my shorts".

A Co-op spokesman said "Our milkmen are given a uniform and we expect them to wear it".

Gulp! What a hero

Faced with two hold-up men, petrol station attendant Andrew Hills locked the till, popped the key in his mouth and swallowed it.

Andrew, 19, was attacked at knife point at Tram Road filling station, Folkestone. The would-be robbers broke Andrew's arm but he still managed to chase them off with a baseball bat.

Andrew took the day off the next day to let nature take its course so his boss can open the till.

Women grew beards

Two women began growing beards after taking a course in slimming pills. The drugs were prescribed by weight control expert Dr Barry Peatfield who was struck off the medical register after being found guilty of serious professional misconduct.

The General Medical Council's professional conduct committee heard the 47-year-old doctor failed to examine patients, inform their GPs of treatment or check medical histories. Twelve doctors complained of prescriptions he issued from his private slimming clinics in Croydon and Purley, Surrey.

Poets' Corner


If colour be the mainstay
Of essence in Nature;
If it defines the crossroads
Of values in our estimates;
Then I weep
For them that refuse to see
In Nature the beauty
Transcending colour.

Their hearts are mice-ridden;
Their beds are bugs-loving;
In 'pride and prejudice'.
Lacking compassionate love,
Inept in judgment,
Unfair in fairness,
In the restoration of sanity;
This they do;
Trade, in the arbitration
Of colours.

Written 5/29/77 rewritten 12/29/84.

Akeh-Ugah Ufumaka.

talking drums 1985-08-12 Ghana's former vice-president speaks from exile