The Inyathi Police must have known that He Who Must Be Obeyed is an ardent bourgeoisie capitalist and a bloated plutocrat to boot.
There we were, we had just crossed the Sengwa basin on the sensational Catalina, when Lake Navigation found us on the ship to shore radio.
"He Who Must" had a pilsener firmly clenched in his left hand, and I was reaching out for my very first G and T, and the wretched Inyathi police were insisting that we return home immediately or they would manacle our farm manager and throw him into leg irons. !!
Now where else in the world would one find this sort of situation I ask you ?
I mean, how many jailbirds does the average law abiding citizen rub shoulders with in the civilised world ? Let me tell you now that most of our friends have been in jail at one time or another, our lawyer was in jail in the eighties for aiding and abetting the Father Of the Matabeles, one of our friends was in jail for murder when he was the least likely suspect in the whole country, and now every one of our farming buddies have earned their Noddy badges. !!
And on the Catalina we were not alone, the young gilly had also 'done his time" with the CCJP and He Who Must be Obeyed had time to compare notes with the youngster about the appalling conditions in the Binga cells, before we decided that sanity (and the "LAW") must eventually prevail. So with a last look at my G and T, sad farewells to our incredible hosts Jeannie and JP, we set off back to Bulawayo, which we had only just left that very morning, to face the music.
It took us some hard traveling to cross the raging lake, drive back to Bulawayo, head off to Inyathi to make a "confession" as to our wicked wicked ways, back to Inyathi the next day to appear in court, and then on the spur of the moment, once we realised that prison was not to be ours this time, we decided not to cowtow to all the headbashing and to head back to Binga to catch that fish after all !!
Now four times in one week along that Vic Falls, Kamativi, Binga Road is no joke let me tell you, especially when you see the poverty and misery that is surrounding that part of the country.
The saddest sight in all the world is to see thousands of folk sitting patiently day after day on the side of the road at appointed places, waiting for the government trucks to come and bring them donor food (not for free by the way). And yet we knew that the government trucks would probably not be coming that day as there was no diesel or petrol available along the road.
Driving at night is especially hard on the nerves with the plethora of cattle, goats and heavy duty trucks. But we farming sorts are not to be daunted and despite a serious tyre blowout at 140 kph, (naughty, now that is more like a crime than anything else )and even though we will have done close on 2500kms to get at least part our week on the fabled Catalina, it was all worth it in the end.
Such luxury one does not associate with Kariba, four spacious cabins, each en suite with two giant double beds in each cabin. Air conditioning throughout, a splash pool, a luxurious bar with mukwa panelling and a kitchen second to none.
Mind you Jeannie is definitely the Hostess of the Year, gracious, organised, well prepared, always stunning, she took us through several days of gastronomic delight.
Can you imagine roast leg of lamb with mint sauce, ramekin garlic potatoes, an assortment of vegetables in season al dente to perfection, followed by Lemon meringue Pie and fresh cream? On the Lake, in the wilds of the Zambesi Valley?
Well it does happen on the Catalina......
And the assorted guests were delightful, no one more clued up on tax matters than Blair, no one better at fixing carburetors than Pim, the wives of course were the better fishermen and both highly vivacious and amusing - Ruth and Wendy, and as for JP......... well, if Jeannie is the Hostess of the Year, JP is undoubtedly the Host of The Century.
On the many and varied fishing sorties, the tender boat to be avoided at all costs however was the Nursery Boat, most carefully tended by He Who Must Be Obeyed.
Children flock to him like bees to the honey, and while we all sat just out of earshot and nursed our hangovers carefully on the pontoon, allowing Boat Captain Kennedy to put our worms on frequently, (and very occasionally to take our fish off,) hand us a reichmarker, and, most importantly, stop the boat from rocking too loudly, the Nursery Boat was always in full swing with Nursery Rhymes blaring forth and dozens of tangled lines and tangled pony tails for the Nursery Boat Captain to deal with.
Excursions to be remembered included a nighttime foray back from the Senkwe without a spotlight,( thank goodness for the moon and for young eyes), night fishing with a submerged capenta light, wonderful bream snacks every day with freshly sliced lemon slices, and tiger fish cakes for breakfast .
There were elephant, hippo, waterbuck and crocs vieing for our attention on the river banks, there were Goliath heron, fish eagle, black eagle and marabou stork lining the shore. and in the midst of all this sanity and serenity there was of course the unreal memory of our little sortie half way through the trip, to visit the Inyathi Police Station to confess to being an errant farmer.
Life is like that.....in Zimbabwe !!!