Friday, April 29, 2005



We had half an hour to kill in Norwich Railway Station last week whilst waiting for a connecting train to Great Yarmouth. We spent most of that time flicking through a display of publicity fliers for various tourist traps. By and large, the fliers consisted of the usual fare; butterfly farms, living history museums, factory shops, the usual tat that desperate holidaying families are driven to visit out of sheer despair and boredom. But one of the fliers stood out from the crowd. Printed in tasteful yellow and purple it cried out to me…

Anglia Llama Trekking

So what? You might ask. Well, straight away, without even reading the flier the thought of llama trekking in Suffolk / Norfolk tickled me. The humour is derived from two key facts:

  1. Llamas come from Peru which is full of tall, crinkly mountains. Norfolk/ Suffolk are specifically renowned for not having any mountains, or hills, crinkly or otherwise, or any topography whatsoever
  2. Llamas are intrinsically funny

The flier did not disappoint.

‘With some small parties there can be one Llama per adult, but on busy days we often amalgamate groups and Llamas are sometimes shared. Be assured though, everyone gets plenty of ‘hands on’ llama walking experience on all treks.


Have Fun! Go Llama Trekking

The service on offer basically consists of walking along flat country paths in the company of llamas, with your picnic lunch strapped to their backs. Treks are available in various strengths, ranging from a short stroll with llamas through to physically demanding, expedition grade llama weekends. On special occasions, you also have to option of packing in some birthday candles with the llamas and eating a celebratory lunch in their company. Salvador Dali would have been favourably impressed

Now my initial reaction to all this was quite caustic. ‘Why a llama’ I asked? What’s the connection with this part of the World? Why not wander round with a crocodile? Or a potato?

Tracy put me straight and pointed out that it was a sweet idea, would probably be a very pleasant way to spend a few hours and a good way to encourage townies to get more involved with the natural world.

She’s right of course.

And this got me thinking. What works in Norwich could work equally well in South London…

Have Fun! Go Lager trekking

Only available from our home base and suitable for families with young children or those people not requiring too arduous a walk. After the single can of lager handling briefing you will go on a short trek along the Walworth Road with your can of lager, swearing at random people on the street, then stop for a lunch at Starburger at the Elephant and Castle. You will then pee in a pedestrian tunnel and trek back down to Kennington Park where you can meet everyone else with their cans of lager and have your photo taken with them.

Corporate Team Building Weekends also available.

Llamas are a winning ingredient and arguably preferable to a half finished can of Special Brew though.

Back in my secondary school days a bit of a llama craze swept through my class for a couple of years. The craze consisted of shouting or whispering the word ‘llama’ at carefully chosen moments in as silly or squeaky a voice as possible, with the view to putting teachers off their stroke. Hiding the word ‘llama’ in a fake cough was also popular.

By contemporary standards this is all very mundane. In comparison with kids today saying ‘You touched my nuts Sir I’m going to get you locked up’ merely saying ‘llama’ when a teacher’s back is turned seems, um, quite tame.

But we were happy with it. It was more subtle, more aesthetically pleasing.

What’s a teacher to do? He could a) ignore it and surrender control to the class that way, or b) stomp around the class saying things like ‘Who said that?! Who said llama?!’ which meant he had lost the game in an altogether more profound manner.

The thing is, I still found myself tempted to deliver a carefully targeted ‘llama’ well into my adult life. I still do. I could have livened up many a pointless and tedious business meeting by saying the magic word of power in a Peruvian accent whenever the chairman’s back was turned. I never did. Largely for fear that the other people would turn me in, in the hope of further advancement. The world of business is like that.

And think about the election coverage filling our media right now. How much more interesting would it be if the interviewers snuck in a quick ‘llama!’ or two whilst Tony Blair was talking and looking the other way?

Who said that?
Said what?
You know what I'm talking about
No I don't. Said what?
I know what you're playing at. I'm not going to say that word
What word?

etc etc

That would help ease the pain of it all so very, very much.

No comments: