A mate was recently writing an article about eccentric British competitions: bog snorkelling, welly throwing, cheese rolling – all that sort of thing.
His report of the All-England Lying Championships had to be abandoned when, not surprisingly, there was no one at any of the venues he’d been directed to.
If he’d been here a couple of Fridays ago, though, he could have covered the Hampshire heat: the venue was the middle of Chalks field, on the open stubble.
The light was fading, and I was on my way to put the telegraph pole across the open gate on another field, having just sprayed it.
As I trundled down the hill, a dodgy red Renault caught my eye, parked in a gateway. Then I saw two burly lads, strolling across Chalks, heading back to the Renault.
“Lost your dogs, then?” I asked, having pulled over and stopped the tractor.
“Dogs? We ain’t got no dogs!” replied one of them. DING! (Lie no.1).
I explained that I knew what they were doing, and it would be nice if they made themselves scarce.
“But we’re just out for walk [DING!]. I only live over the hill [DING!], and my mate’s had a marriage break-up, and I was having a good chat with him [inventive, but probably DING!]. I always keep to the footpaths.” [DING!]
I explained that I didn’t believe a word, but if they’d like to be on their way, I’d be grateful.
“Don’t talk to me like a ****, or I’ll punch you in the face!” said the man in the grey top.
Was this a lie – was I the **** in this threat, or was he? I asked him that same question, which baffled him a bit.
It all got a bit chummier as they climbed into the Renault: “I’ll buy you a beer when I see you next,” he cried [DING!], and the car sped off.
This was a lie, because the red car reappeared five minutes later from a completely different direction, and by this time I was watching a lost black-and-white lurcher, standing forlornly in the middle of Chalks.
Was that their dog, I asked as they pulled up again.
“Er, yes, it’s my collie [DING!]. It ran off on our walk.” [DING!] And off they sped towards the dog. Five minutes later, they were back, with the panting dog on the back seat.
Funny-looking collie, I said.
“Have you called the police?” asked Grey Top Man.
I gave them one guess.
“If you have, I’ll punch you in the face, you ****!” [DING! – because they sped off again, but at least we’d established who the **** is in this scenario].
Just after this, a fat man emerged from the hedge in Chalks, trotted to the road, and headed off to Kilmeston rather sheepishly. I shadowed him for a bit, and then asked if he was looking for the red Renault.
Looking for the pub
“Nah, not me mate,” he puffed. “I’m looking for the pub.” The first bit was – shock – true, because five minutes later he was spirited away in a Transit. As for the pub story – we’ll never know.
Meanwhile, somewhere on the A272, the red Renault was being given the once over by some traffic cops.
Grey Top Man insisted the car was insured, but the police – and who can blame them – didn’t believe him. Eventually, disappointingly, it turned out that insurance had indeed been taken out that very morning. Grey Top Man was telling the truth.
So we won’t see him in the next round of the Lying Championships. Even if we do find out where it’s being held.