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Safari flight


The girls, before boarding our air taxi, Masai Mara, Kenya safariWe arrived at the airfield, tired and hung-over from a late night and a 4.30am start. Under normal circumstances I'd have felt lousy, but I was brimming with excitement. We were on safari!

Our air-taxi was a 16-seater paper aeroplane that looked like it might just have an engine but sure as hell won't have a loo. It was a 2-hr flight, so (with teachers' voices of past ringing in my ears "why didn't you go at playtime?" "'coz I didn't f***ing need to then") we attempted to empty our already empty bladders before we boarded the plane.

Visit The Africa Guide for an Air Safari

To my surprise, as I ducked through the door of the aircraft, I saw a 'toilet' sign. (Before you cast your aspersions, I'm neither incontinent nor obsessive about toilets or bodily functions. I simply like to think I'm practical and pre-emptive - always wise to pre-empt before a flight;). Anyway, less than an hour later, I needed to go - even though I went at 'playtime'! I held off for as long as possible because on a plane so small there's only two possible reasons you might be getting out of your seat: to jump or to urinate - neither of which I cared to broadcast. Fortunately, I'd left my tripod in a small compartment between the door and the toilet so I could pretend to do something technical to it, if anyone looked.

The door to the toilet was 3ft high and opened outwards (imagine a very small cupboard under the stairs) with just enough space for a bucket and a contortionist. The bucket, complete with flip-top lid, was lined with an unused (praise the Lord for small mercies) bin-liner. I looked around for Jeremy Beadle. There have been a few moments in my life when I've wished I was a man but never more so than then. Surely I'd got it wrong; this was the broom cupboard! I shut the door again and looked at the 'toilet' sign in disbelief. I was desperate but there was no way I was going in a bucket!

I developed motor neurone disease on the way back to my seat. Perched on the edge of it, I imagined all things dry. Suddenly, my arid desert blossomed into an oasis with gushing waterfalls. I held my breath, bit my lip, dug my nails into the arm-rest; I crossed and uncrossed my legs more times than Kenny Everett - in the best possible taste, of course! I grabbed Emma and hobbled, twine-toed, back to the 'toilet', as if my legs were tied at the knees. We did a trial run. It was impossible to keep the lid up while my knees were bent at 90 degrees: "Emma, put your foot on the pedal." I pleaded in a whisper.
"How can I do that if I'm holding the curtain?" she said, too loudly. She was right though. I chickened out again and we returned to our seats.

Ten minutes later, I was dragging Marianne down the aisle. Though I knew Emma better than Marianne, I trusted her more not to try to flash me to all the passengers (that'll teach me for sticking my fake snake in Emma's bed the first night). Marianne pinned down the curtain. With a flick of one foot and a 180 degree John Travolta spin on the other, I caught and held up the lid with my backside, whipped down my trousers, backed into position and prayed to God my aim was better than an American stealth fighter. I couldn't have chosen a better moment: the pilot had just announced we were flying over Mount Kilimanjaro; passengers peered out of tiny windows and I pee-ed blissfully into a bucket at 30,000 ft to a chorus of 'oohs' and 'aahs'.
Read on.....


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