Rob McCaffrey talks sport

Paul Scally's turtles and a chance to chat with Gary Pallister Discuss this article

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I think it’s fair to say, Gillingham chairman and Dubai resident Paul Scally has had mixed fortunes when it comes to his domestic pet arrangements. Not so long ago, Paul befriended and tamed a magnificent cockatoo. However, just after spending a fortune on a huge cage and naming it Houdini... it escaped, never to be seen again.

And now he’s moved on to turtles, after a friend gave him two magnificent 60-year-old scaly creatures for the back garden. Unfortunately, it takes two to tango in the turtle world, just as it does in any other – he’s now expecting little turtles. Unfortunately again, opinions vary as to how many the new ‘batch’ may include. Guesses range from five to 50, so he’s already built a mega Turtle House. In fairness, the house is impressive, with a ranch-style effort for the parents and a smaller house for the babies, decorated tastefully in green and blue.

His wife has already begun frantically trying to find homes for the little turtles. A local primary school has taken on a couple, while other kids are all booking their own ‘turtle babies’ in advance. Meanwhile, the parents, Blake and Amy (as in Winehouse), are going about preparing for the births. Amy’s buried the eggs in the sand and sits protectively on top of the scuffled mound.

Quite rightly, Paul’s very proud of the new members of the Scally household, and is already on the lookout for a couple of camels. I think he now sees himself as the Doctor Doolittle of Dubai.

All jokes that the speed of the turtles reflects the speed of his football team have been dismissed, as the Gills are in play-off contention in league two, and are the division’s top scorers and entertainers.

The turtle births are imminent and, rather like that evocative scene in Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s brilliant River Cottage programme (when he gets up in the middle of the night to watch the birth of a lamb), Paul has promised to be on hand, day or night, to video the dramatic moments. I’ll keep you posted.

You just couldn’t make it up.

Hear Rob’s radio shows on Coast 103.2FM every Friday 11am-2pm, and every Saturday 6pm-9pm live from the Habtoor Grand Beach Resort & Spa, Dubai Marina (04 399 5000).

And another thing…
Come down and quiz former Manchester United and England star Gary Pallister when the big man performs an ‘Evening With’ at the Mövenpick JBR on Tuesday March 27. The last night with Sam Allardyce proved a massive hit, and we’ve already signed up the hilarious Neil ‘Razor’ Ruddock, for April. The great thing is that you have the chance to ask any question you want in a chilled-out atmosphere. It’s also free to get in. Mövenpick Jumeirah Beach, The Walk at JBR (04 449 8888).

By Rob McCaffrey
Time Out Dubai,

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