Returned to Johannesburg I bid farewell to Frank and the Jolly Roger and headed back to the U.K., paused for a day or so, before donning my desert combats and catching a flight with the RAF back to Iraq for the rest of the tour.
After the show that Frank had put on, well, I had to go back to S.A. before too long, that much was clear to me.
I returned in August 2008, and was quickly ushered by Frank back to the Jolly Roger to acclimatize.
And Frank had an plan all set. We took the Jeep out again and headed into the mountains to explore, camped out under the stars, before heading along S.A.’s Garden Route to Plettenberg Bay–affectionately known as Plett–in the Western Cape Province.
Fortunately, Frank’s family had a holiday home there and after gaining entry, having found where the keys to the front door were hidden, Frank rummaged around the shelves and cupboards, located a bottle of Amarula, followed by us drinking and smoking cigarillos out in the balmy air on a veranda made by the roof of one of the ground floor rooms, contemplating our futures, the mysteries of womankind, the usual stuff.
From there we motored to Durban and the East Coast, where we ended our road trip pulling into the parking lot outside the city’s stadium, jumping out and rushing to catch the rugby match between South Africa and Australia. Frank had got us seats in a box. What can I say, the guy knew how to work miracles.
I’ve not returned to S.A. since 2008. Occasionally the odd message comes through from Frank and I’m taken back to heady adventures, as happens when I pass a bottle of Amarula in the liquor store.
I tend to always have a pack of cigarillos in a draw somewhere in the house nowadays, also, for when I feel the need to have a think about the future, the mysteries of womankind and what Frank might say about it all.