15 October 2010


Never having received a postcard or indeed any other form of communication from Turkmenistan, I was most intrigued this morning to discover on our doormat a picture of the gigantic golden statue of Saparmurat Niyazov. It was erected in Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan, during Niyazov's sixteen years as first President of this former Soviet territory. It was not the only statue he commissioned of himself before his death in 2006.

Famously, during his years in office, the esteemed leader banned ballet claiming it was indecent and required all schoolchildren to be examined upon a book of folk tales and moralistic fables that he had written himself. Anyway, excuse me for rambling on. I doubt that any readers of this blog will be planning holidays in Turkmenistan in the near future.

So I flipped over the picture of King Midas - I mean Saparmurat Niyazov - to discover these words* neatly printed in green ballpoint:-

Dear Yorkie,
Got pulled over by the police just after we left Ashgabat. They climbed in the back with a sniffer pig and found the parking officers. Then they marched them off in handcuffs to be questioned at security headquarters. They were returned in the early hours - battered and bruised, minus wristwatches, money and jewellery. I'm writing this as we queue with other trucks to cross over into Afghanistan.
*a few technical errors have been corrected.
Sniffer pig watching in Turkmenistan


  1. Being mauled by sniffer pigs is still better than a month in your cellar.

  2. Whatever in the world is a piglet doing in an 89% Muslim country? Owned by one of the religious minorities? IMWTK

  3. Are you sure that isn't a statue of you? Golden saviour of the parking bays? There is a likeness.

  4. RHYMES Oh it is not so bad in the underhouse. Come over to England and you can try it out for a week or two.
    PAT ARKANSAS Here's a quote from the Koran which I understand is top of the best-sellers list in Arkansas:-
    " Forbidden to you for (food) are: dead meat,
    blood and the flesh of the swine and that which hath been invoked in a name other than Allah. "
    Hence if you're going to be a piglet, it's advisable to be one in a Muslim country.
    MR SHOOTING BUDGIES Funny you should say that. Last night I had a dream of a golden statue of me standing high on The Snake Pass. "Golden Saviour of The Parking Bays"... yes! It has a nice ring to it.

  5. YP You're a regular Nebuchadnezzar.

  6. RHYMES WITH... In comparing me with Nebuchadnezzar, I hope you do not have William Blake's watercolour in mind!

  7. I agree with SP - the likeness is uncanny...;)


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