Right now I'm in Queenstown, alpine capital of New Zealand's south island. Although it has the semblance of a rather fashionable ski resort that just happens to be on a beautiful lake, it's not the skiing that attracts most people here. Queenstown is the self-appointed home of extreme sports. It's where commercial bungee jumping started and the list of extraordinary activities available to the mildly bored backpacker is incredible. In the last six days I've been flung off bridges and canyons, rafted down rapids, shot through gorges on jet boats, been strapped to rockets and rolled down hills in enormous see-through spheres.
You can tell that the place is that way inclined just by lying in bed. Through my window, high above the town a veritable cavalcade of nutters constantly zoom past in various contraptions ranging from paragliders and parachutes to hot-air balloons and microlights. The screams emanating from their less-brave passengers can make it difficult to get some kip.
Things become even more difficult for someone who is known for carrying out various TV stunts and pranks. Imagine the acute trauma faced by a young British backpacker about to do his first bungee or canyon swing when he spots me hanging around. To say that he doesn't feel that relaxed is an understatement. I had one UK couple refuse to get on a white-water rafting trip with me, much to the bemusement of our Kiwi guide who only heard words like "trigger happy" and assumed I was some sort of al-Qa'ida member determined to strike at the Anzac adrenaline industry.
Just what people are prepared to spend their money on here for a thrill has started me thinking. Why should New Zealand be the only place where companies can charge vast amounts of cash to scare people witless in madcap pursuits? Surely the Cotswolds, my current home, is ripe for some sort of revamp to attract a different sort of tourist from the usual "ye olde tea shoppe" browsers that we get by the coachload?
I'm thinking of becoming a bit entrepreneurial on my return. I'm going to start a company called the Crazeee Cotswold Adrenaline Thrill Corporation, CCATC for short. I'm going to give the whole area a much-needed kick up the backside with my new venture. Crazeee Pig Hunt is going to be my first project. Eager participants, for a mere £500, will be able to dress up in a latex pig costume and be hunted through the Coln Valley by a crack team consisting of me and Huxley, my Labrador. Using Huxley's unswerving love of bacon and some of the many weapons I bought in a fit of excitement when I first moved there, we'll track and shoot said porker. If they manage to evade us then they will receive a piece of paper declaring that they were a "pig for a day" in the Cotswolds and lived to tell the tale. They'll come flocking to our door.
Alternatively, we could use some of the local celebrities so that I could arrange a fun game of "Cooool and Crazeee Knock-Down Ginger" at Liz Hurley's place. Thrill seekers could see how many times they could ring her doorbell and run away before being shot by her security team. Maybe it should be a bit more literal and they could sit in "wacky trucks" and wait for Anne Robinson to go shopping in Cirencester, then see if they can run her over.
Maybe this is all a bit too violent. Perhaps I should incorporate some of the heritage facilities in the area. How about having a bit of fun with the local planning people? Punters have one day to build the ugliest building that they can think of in one of the many "beauty spots" in the area. They then have to defend said structure from council officials and the police in a "fun" way. Unfortunately, some people might think, looking at Swindon, that this particular game has been going on for quite some time. I think I'm definitely on to a winner with this one and intend to approach Prince Charles, another "fun local", for some financial backing. Maybe I could get a royal charter or something?
I'm back topside in a couple of days. Just watch this space.Reuse content