And they have the nerve to accuse me of lowering the tone of the village

Click to follow
The Independent Online

I knew almost nothing about Newfoundland before I went there. To me it was simply the island prison that one of my best friends was sentenced to life on after marrying a native.

I knew almost nothing about Newfoundland before I went there. To me it was simply the island prison that one of my best friends was sentenced to life on after marrying a native.

Now that I've been there I'm not much the wiser, but here's what I know. It is an island the size of Britain with a population of about half a million, mostly of Irish descent. That's about it. Oh and they've named a town Dildo, and it's unbelievably cold.

My one night out was spent at a karaoke evening in a fishing hut that passed for a bar. Having entertained the regulars with my rendition of the Rolling Stones's "Fool to Cry", complete with cod-black falsetto, I thought I might be left in peace to drink myself into a coma.

It was not to be. Newfoundland tradition dictates that any stranger has to be "screeched in". A kind of pagan welcoming ceremony that allows you to become an honorary Newfoundlander. It was clearly an attempt to boost their population, and I had no choice but to comply. I had to read two lines of gibberish, kiss a cod, down a shot of something lethal and dance an Irish jig in front of a hundred drunk fishermen. Just you wait till I meet a Newfoundland tourist in London.

Just like in the movies, this sort of evening could only end badly. I can't quite remember the details, but I think I took a photo of a drunken fisherman leaning precariously against wall as he sang "I Will Survive". He objected because he was claiming some form of disability benefit and thought I was a federal spy. To me he'd managed to prove his disability in music, speech and posture to my complete satisfaction, but he was having none of it. I eventually managed to slip outside into the relative safety of the 20 or so degrees below zero.

I started trying to explain to my friend Richard how difficult it was to understand a man who sounded like Babar the Elephant refusing to use consonants. Suddenly, another inebriated fisherman staggered out of the hell-hut carrying a man who seemed to be near death and was projectile vomiting. He challenged me with the predictable "you're not from round here are you?" before accusing me of comparing Newfoundland women-folk to elephants. He punched me in the face, and his friend followed up with a pin-point barf all over me as I lay unconscious in a snowdrift. It was one of those nights.

Returning home to the Cotswolds, I just wanted to sleep. Unfortunately, I was met at the gates by Arthur, our head gardener, in some distress. Silently, he led me behind a big box hedge in the courtyard and pointed to a large pile of human excrement. I must admit that, at first, I got the wrong end of the stick and thought he might have been responsible for it and was proudly showing me his handiwork. I soon realised it was not Arthur's work but that of an intruder. It seems someone has been regularly using our garden as an outdoor lavvy. It could be some traditional Cotswold greeting, but Arthur didn't seem to think that was the case.

My first thought was that it must be Liz Hurley who, regular readers of my column will know, has been stalking me for some time now. The thing is, she doesn't look like she eats much, and this particular miscreant clearly has quite an appetite. I decided to put up a notice, which I illustrated myself, that politely asked people not to defecate in my garden. Within 24 hours someone from some official body turned up deeming my sign to be offensive. It was lowering the tone of the village.

I tried to argue that someone crapping in my bushes was lowering the tone of my home, but he was having none of it. I am now considering setting up a video camera to catch the offender, but will probably be prosecuted for not respecting his privacy and arrested for making some sort of specialist porn film. I'm not stupid, I know what this all about. It's because I saw the 50ft chickens in the barn when I turned down that track. Well, you won't get rid of me. You don't scare me. Must sleep now...

Comments