First Rule About Migraine Remission Club…




Feeling on top of the world was I? Had no migraines for 7 months had I? HOW DOES 2 IN A WEEK SOUND THEN LITTLE MISS ‘ON TOP OF THE WORLD’.

If ever someone calls me bitter or miserable again just recall this moment in time which is the moment just after the previous moments I spent hiding in the darkest, quietest place I could find while every nerve ending in my head tried to push it’s way out of my skull via my hair follicles whilst holding a zig zag light disco on the inside of my eyelids. The migraines are back and while the second one followed a rather stressful evening the first hit me in the middle of the night and was completely uncalled for.

Migraine contributing stress arrived on Wednesday night in form of a buyer for my truck. I’d put it on Ebay and of course being a 4×4 (akin to leprosy in this country) it didn’t flag a lot of interest. In the end I got fed up with waiting around and having to constantly check on progress so I put it up at a cut throat price that not even a Greenpeace member could pass up.

I got a phone call from a woman speaking broken English who passed her phone to another woman who passed the phone to another man and between them all they decided they were coming down to buy my truck ‘now’. This is how I ended up dragging Cameron out of bed at 10:25pm and having him and Wil follow me as I delivered my truck and all the associated paperwork to meet the people at Tescos car park.

I knew the people who’d called me were not from these parts but I couldn’t ascertain from their accent where they might be from originally although they told me they were driving from Tottenham (London) which is a 120 minute drive away from here. Either way they’d sounded firm about wanting the truck, I’d reiterated the price I was selling it for and that I had no intention of taking less and that they must pay me in cash. I had my Johnny Big Potato pants on. I was taking NO crap.

The four people who pulled up next to my truck in the car park were two men and two women. Upon exiting their small family saloon they immediately began strolling around the car with very little to say. Their very dark skin/features and the accent created an immediate assumption that they were Nigerian which according to many emails I have received over the years led me to believe I was about to get scammed. Big time.

My evening of worry, anticipation and adrenaline was about to reach a peak when after they’d perused the car for a few minutes and started it up I asked one of the men where they were originally from.

“DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO” he replied with a deep voice.

And that’s when I began singing a little repetitive tune in my head over and over and over again. It went something like this:

“Um Bongo, Um Bongo they drink it in the Congo”

If you were a child of the 80’s in this country you will remember the adverts for Um Bongo – a delicious tropical fruit drink in a small carton with a straw affixed to the side. One of those drinks your parents gave you on a road trip and then bollocked you when you simultaneously squeezed the box while inserting the straw causing the roof of the car to get coated by a jet of sweet sticky guava and mango juice.

Being primarily French speaking the language barrier was a little tricky but not quite as overwhelming as keeping our wits about us because from what I hear via the medium of the great British Press while you can delete emails from a scamming Nigerian who wants you to wire back the £5k overpayment he’s just sent you it’s a little more difficult to make your screams heard from a dark corner of a superstore car park when four Congolese are cutting your throat and depositing you in the glass recycling receptacle nearby.

“You have the paperwork?” the man questioned pointing at me

I said I did and asked if he was was ready to exchange, he said he was and then became quiet insistent that I get in the car to do the money transaction.

Now, call me untrusting but I’m not about to get in a car with 4 people I’ve never met to exchange a large amount of money and the title to my car on ANY DAY OF THE WEEK, regardless of where they are from so it was just as well that I needed the light from the streetlamp just above the bonnet of the car in order to complete the details on the paperwork and write out a receipt. It also gave me time to work out how, when they made the gruesome discovery, the trolly boys at Tescos would explain how they found my head stuffed inside a 2 litre diet coke bottle with a packet of Tescos ‘Value’ biscuits wedged in my mouth. “Yes sir, oddly someone left this in the trolly bay and we played footie with it for a good half hour before Trevor reakoned it looked like an angry ginger woman mouthing the words um bongo”

The exchange of car/money and title went fine with me stood at the car door but the fears I had of having my face cut off were then replaced by the wonder of whether I had just received a large amount of counterfeit bills.

When I returned home I went to bed with a tension headache from hell and I turned my mobile phone off because I thought I didn’t want to find out the conclusion of whatever scam I’d just fallen prey to in the middle of the night.

Sure enough in the morning when my phone was switched on it alerted me to a missed call from them at 00:13. My heart raced but I decided I’d call right back because at the end of the day I’d been an honest seller and there couldn’t be any problem with the truck that I couldn’t rectify.

There was no answer so I left a message on her voice mail.

I was disheartened to find another missed call from her later on Thursday evening but I called her back again. This time she answered.

I explained who I was again and reminded her that she’d been trying to contact me. “OH yes” she replied.

“I just wanted to say thank you”

I sat stunned for a few minutes after hanging up the phone and then realised the answer to a question many of my generation have been wondering for over 20 years. Do they really drink Um Bongo in the Congo? I think they must because sweetness like that can only come from high consumption of a sunny funny 9 fruit concoction made possible by a tango dancing hippo and a rhino.

Um Bongo



  1. Joker said

    Um Bongo is right… glad to see the results of your transaction was money for a truck rather than human skin for an adrenaline rush while claiming to have taken your soul. Just goes to show though, expect the worst and let your imagination take your by the hand, and you’ll be disappointed to fins out that normalcy and kindness comes from anywhere, even deep in the Congo.

  2. foxsden said

    Actually I’m always pleasantly surprised when my standardised thoughts about something or someone are proven otherwise. And what I usually find is that strangers in other countries are often much more welcoming than strangers in my own.

  3. Shefaly said

    Foxsden: Shows us what we know, no? What a forthright post this is too. Thank you for telling me about it.

    This is my point in that post too. When we effectively operate from that framework of ‘difference’, why is that ‘discussing it’ suddenly raises people’s heckles?

    I often conduct surprise ‘tests’ on friends. I ask them what they would do if their daughter came home with a person from another race or religion. The reactions I have heard deserve to be in a post. On second thoughts, I should keep them for my book – the book that will lose me all my ‘friends’ in one fell swoop although if it sold well, they would be clamouring to tell others how they are in the book 🙂

  4. foxsden said

    LOL.. You’re not wrong there Shefaly!.. That just made me think about what I would do if Cameron brought home a girlfriend (or boyfriend) from another race and I just confirmed to myself that as long as they were a good person with manners and ambition (and hopefully a cracking sense of humour) I’d be pleased.

  5. Awesome picture! Can I use it on my headache page?

  6. Russ said

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