Exploring the Past.

We are happy to present this extract from the much anticipated memoir by Kensington Longreach, soon to be published by Burga-Mot Press.

Exploring the Past.

Memoirs of a Gentleman Explorer,
Kensington Longreach, Esq.

I have always believed that a man should be judged by his actions, not by his words. It is to ensure that the correct version of my actions is made clear to the reading public that I have chosen to pen this memoir. I would beg your indulgence where sections of this tale may seem trite, overwrought or blatantly xenophobic; my life has been one lived at the extremes, both of the known world and of human endurance, and has not always allowed the luxuries of introspection or the paying of wages to those bound in service to me.

My childhood was a strange one. I was raised by wolves. Not, as is so often the case, because I became lost in the Jungle, but because of my father's unconventional views on education. At the age of three I was sent to board at the wolf-run Saint Gak's Boarding School in Yarmouth.

For me this was a magical time. Terms were spent running with the pack on the nearby moors, bringing down moose, yak and the occasional naturist. It was here that I learned my skills as a leader of both man and beast. I was greatly distressed when the school was closed because of accounting irregularities, leading to the arrests of several of the wolf-governors on fraud charges. From this point I returned home and was privately tutored by one of my father's minions.

My father, Major - General Dartanian Longreach, a naval surgeon, was a man well before his time. Years before the discovery of anesthetic, penicillin or the concept of patient consent, he was experimenting with invasive surgery techniques. He pioneered the Dorsal Lobotomy, the Liver Inversion and the Urinary Foxtrot, all years before these were even discredited by medical science. Rather than seek the limelight, he preferred to work alone in the basement of his mountaintop manor, rarely publishing, or even seeming to remember, the results of long nights spent in the basement laughing wildly with the sheer joy of discovery.

I recall my father as a sort of furry blob with legs. Obviously, my recollection is not complete. I believe he may have had a beard as well. He certainly had sideburns, and, when in a good mood, would entertain us children for days with his impersonation of a strategically shaved tennis ball.

Our peaceful world was shattered when my father began paddling in the occult. I was forced to become man of the house when an attempt to open the gates of hell went horribly wrong and he choked to death on a Popsicle stick.

For the next five years I dedicated myself relentlessly to continuing my father's research. I developed several novel techniques for the management of decapitation, although a cure escaped me, and was eventually able to prove a causal relationship between left-handedness and the pointy bits on pineapples. Finally, burned out with exhaustion and reeling from mercury fumes, I emerged from my studies to find myself, at the age of ten, a hunched and stinky wreck. Fortunately one of my lesser inventions had found some success in the novelty vaccination market, and I had sufficient moneys to maintain myself in relative comfort as I regained my strength and tried to reconnect with the outside world.

Further extracts to follow...


Further Correspondence from the KL Archives

Charlie you filthy, quasi-continental bounder,

How dare you refer to my expeditions as 'little jaunts'! Those are rich words indeed from a man who considers it an adventure to take extra Vinegar with his pommes-frites, and who to my knowledge got lost for four weeks in the stationery aisle at Tesco's in '84. If it weren't for the nutritional value of pencil shavings I dare say we would be down one posing, self promoting blaguard and all the happier for it. As for your supposed loyal service to the king of Belgium, I have always found this allegiance of yours baffling, coming as it does from a man who never set foot outside England before the age of forty and whose closest encounter with Belgium was when he slipped over on one of those little map things you get inside a packet of Guylian fine chocolates.

I suppose the attempt is pointless, nevertheless I shall endeavor once again to instil some understanding in your feeble consciousness of what it is to be a real explorer. I relate below a brief summary of perhaps my tenth most well known expedition, a gloriously unsuccessful attempt to circumnavigate the world in eight days.

It was that idyllic time in the early part of this century when, apart from two world wars, the resurgence of the black death on the continent and the almost titanic struggle between Joey and Trisha on 'who wants to be a Tory Headkicker', all was well with the world. I was casting about for something to occupy my time, having been dishonourably discharged from the service for hiccoughing too quietly. It happened that while I was reading a copy of Reader's Digest 'Worlds best Holidays' my eye was caught by an advertorial for Contiki-Tours of the Mediterranean. Like lightning it struck me, a collossal electric shock from my malfunctioning radio-alarm clock. Revovering in hospital several weeks later one of the nurses suggested I attempt to circumnavigate the world in eight days. It seemed like as good idea as any.

Seven and a half days later I was still waiting for my train at Sodor station. It was not until weeks later that I realised Sodor does not exist outside the fictional world of Thomas the Tank Engine.

I returned home disappointed, and had to console myself with a seven figure book-deal for the journals of my voyage.

Yours In Trousers,

Kensington Longreach, Esq.
Gentleman Explorer

PS. The rash is clearly Mexican Shrieking Thrush, apparently you have been getting too close to some ill Macaques. I recommend a strict course of French for Beginners.


Reply 1 from deepest Nevada

Correspondence from the pen of Marquis E.P.K.S. de Charborg au Chantilly.

Kensington my old sparring partner,

I am awfully sorry to hear about the loss of those badgers. Might be something in the air because I'm having a jolly difficult time securing a full compliment of stoats for my traveling stoat diplomatic mission to the State of Nevada. Did I mention I'm on UN posting these days? Perhaps you should let me put in a good word for you, get you out of those little jaunts you like to call expeditions. Or perhaps it's time for you to retire? Ha! I jest.

The fine fellows at the United Nations have provided me with all the stoats I can drink for the purpose of infiltrating the gaming industry in this godforsaken hell-hole. I remain committed to the true vision of this noble quest and all it signifies, but the stoats require a steady supply of chewing tobacco to keep them loyal. I have tried weening them onto ham and cheese croissants but they insist the conditions in the pig farming industry are unethical and refuse to touch them.

Six days in and I have yet to discover how to set the wake-up call on my room telephone. I have lost four of my best men on retrieval missions to the concierge. Of each one only a little pair of fluffy booties remains. I can't admit this to the men, of course, but morale is at a low point. If we can't work out how to order some more lobster thermadore to our suites soon, things will be pretty desperate. God only knows what will happen if we are forced to open the minibar, but I will be damned if I'll let it come to that. Still, I don't know where I will find the strength to continue.

In the meantime the stoats are singing the men to sleep at night to calm their spirits. It's a temporary measure (and the stoats, rescued from a Cockney stoat-smuggling ring only know old Music Hall tunes) but the nightly knees ups are a pleasant diversion as we contemplate our predicament.

I have developed a rash, and though one doesn't like to complain, I have attached a picture for your consideration. Diagnosis, old chap?

As always I work for the glory of His Illustrious Majesty King Bernard Schrift and the greater glory of the Belgian Empire.



Marquis E.P.K.S. de Charborg au Chantilly.


Correspondence from the Archive of K.L.

Dear Sir,

I thank you for your letter of the 24th instant, and for your desire to hear more of my ongoing explorative journeys. I cannot promise to these tales will engage the interest of any but the most diligent observer of cartographical expeditions, but at least I can strive to relate my ‘adventures’ (how I hate that word) honestly and with the immediacy that must necessarily arise as the journey unfolds.

I will begin, if I may, with a brief summary of the aims and objectives of this current expedition. You may be aware of the speculations that has gained some fervour within certain cartographical circles, that there exists a land-bridge connecting the southern end of the Hiberian Peninsula in Argentina to the Matron’s office at the Sisterhood of the Mercenary Virgin Ladies School in Trent. I need hardly stress the strategic importance of such a geological oddity should it be proven to exist.

As you noted in your correspondence, I have just recently returned from a perilous attempt to be the first white man to reach the North Pole from below. I am happy to report that the mission was a success, although not without terrible losses to my team of Novocastrian Tunnelling Geese. You can imagine, therefore, that my plans for the coming months were limited. I had hoped merely to rest at my country estate, and perhaps complete a short treatise on the significance of the Lobster motif in Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”. I was (I hope understandably) reluctant when initially approached to assemble an expeditionary force and claim the route for the Queen.

I was eventually swayed by the entreaties of the Queen herself, particularly her promise of unconditional funding for future expeditions and her corresponding threat of unconditional hanging should I refuse. For all the harsh words of her detractors, Queen Epstein Barr XIV the Fourth is a persuasive negotiator and a beautiful woman beneath her sweaty and pustulant exterior. We are all better off for her modern, sassy management style.

Once I had resolved to undertake this madcap escapade, I sought to equip the greatest expeditionary force yet seen in this or any other paragraph. With the patronage of the Crown I was able to purchase 70,000 yodelling badgers (for the inevitable mountain crossings) and 12 packets of scroggin.

Finally we were ready, and our team left London on the 30th of February (another ultra-leap year!). It was a breathtaking sight; the 70,000 badgers in their Lycra body suits, the remaining 7 packets of scroggin (I had become peckish in the long wait for departure) glinting in the weak morning sunlight.

The good times did not last, however. We were only seventeen minutes south of London when the badgers unionised, demanding better working conditions. The Federated Badgers Union (FBU) successfully negotiated joint custody of the remaining two packets of scroggin and a third share of any merchandising or film deals arising from the journey and any associated shipwrecks and/or cannibalism.

The negotiations complete, we pushed south for several hours through the oppressive mildness of the English spring. It was a Sunday, and no cafes were open. Fortunately, thanks to a loophole in their contract, I was able to eat the yodelling badgers and did not have to go without tea.

Sated and dripping with badger fat we continued south. The remaining packet of scroggin and I took shifts at the helm of our badger-skin canoe as we crossed the channel into unoccupied France. From here my recollection of the voyage is hazy. I was taking a lot of Laudanum to manage the unbearable lightness of being and spent several days unconscious as our stinking raft of death drifted down the Spanish coast. I recall that during these dark days the scroggin tended to me as one would a child that had grown up, become an explorer, embarked on a mission such as that related thus far and gotten wacked off its tits on habit forming opiates.

I must end this section of my tale here. I can hear the whooping of the local chimp militia calling us to afternoon prayer. I pray that I am able to leave Scotland as soon as possible, the food here is terrible.

Thank you again for your interest, I will write soon with further details of the expedition that thus far has taken me further and harder than I could ever have imagined.

Yours Postally

Kensington Longreach Esq.
Gentleman Explorer


Day 423, Somewhere in Peru

It was foolish to come this far. These mountains send men mad. Today Jenkins came to me with a theory for an overhaul of the public school system that failed to take into account regional differences in income distribution. I was shocked to see how severe his deterioration had become. I recall the first signs we has had of something affecting the mental state of the group, when Jenkins (not the same Jenkins, another Jenkins with the same name) took three lumps of sugar instead of his normal four with his morning cup of Earl Grey. I should have turned back then, and saved us all from this slow, shameful descent into insanity.

And yet here we are, pushing onwards, deeper into the interior of this godless, sleeveless country. As the jungles have grown denser and the canopy has slowly strangled the light from the sky I have felt doubt clouding my mind, and I have even begun to doubt the existence of the fabled lost city of Nougat for which we have searched so long. Were it not for my faith in our Lord and my almost fanatical obsession with seeing an entire freaking city made out of nougat I fear I would not be able to go on.

Today I had the men make camp in a clearing at the base of a mighty hillock. We were a sorry lot indeed. Of our original team of thirty only half that number remained. I recall with regret the day I gave the missing 15 men an out of date train timetable at King’s Cross station. They were never seen again.

I sent two men to water the mules at a stream we had passed an hour before reaching the clearing, and sat with Jenkins (First Lieutenant Jenkins, not to be confused with the other two Jenkinses. I must confess that during my weaker moments I have been tempted to refer to the many Jenkinses by their first names. God help us all if I ever succumb to that urge) to discuss our plans for the coming weeks. We were forced to confront the morale of the men, which was low after repeated disappointments. The false prizes of the Marzipan Village and the Toffee Municipality, both discovered early in the expedition, had left the men disgruntled (although in some cases I doubt they had been gruntled in the first place) and will appalling dental problems.

We resolved to stay where we were for at least three days to allow the men to recouperate and the the mules to rest. Two parties were sent out to hunt some of the less weird fauna for supplement our meagre supplies after months of Marzipan Casserole and Peking Toffee (French Style).

The fantastical creatures encountered on this journey would make many a credulous observer hang up his doubting stick. In the second months of the trek we crossed a vast plain, unbroken save for the fences of farmers and the occasional motorway. Across these verdant fields ran strange creatures, in enormous flocks of sometimes more than twelve at a time. At first glance they appeared to be sheep, but as we drew nearer it became clear that they were in fact goats. But such goats! They were unlike anything we had encountered before or since. Jenkins managed to catch one when he shot it in the head and we estimated that it was up to ten percent larger than most of the domestic goats in England. We were dazzled by the rich off-whiteness of its coat, and the strikingly goaty expression on its face.

The tales we will tell on our return!