There is not a huge amount of sport to do down here in the Cotswolds. There's a badminton club in the nearby town, I think lawn bowls is on offer in Cirencester and I occasionally see a jogger looking thoroughly depressed with life as I drive through a huge puddle and soak them to the Lycraed bone. I always wonder what they're running from. How bad does your home life have to be before you put on a pair of too-tight shorts and start randomly running along a road?
Whatever the answer, it's not my bag. I have started to look towards more traditional country pursuits like fox-hunting. The thing is that I'm a bit confused with the whole affair. As far as I know, fox-hunting was banned by Tony Blair, who used the issue as a piece of meat (tofu) to throw to his left-wing backbenchers. And yet pretty regularly, the local hunt meets on the village green looking resplendent in their red finery.
They all down a couple of glasses of something fortifying and then set off in pursuit ... of what? From what I can make out, they are not allowed to chase foxes. There is some weird loophole that accepts that occasionally the hounds (who are bred to hunt foxes) might get the scent of a fox and then rip it apart. This is unfortunate, especially for the fox who had presumably celebrated the banning of the hunt with a huge chicken bender that lasted longer than Robin the Rooster's legendary hen party.
In the interests of journalism and the filling of this column, I visited my local pub and drank copiously with locals in an attempt to find out what the hunt officially hunted now. My wife Stacey was not impressed when I staggered back through the front door at two in the morning, but I had to ask her to respect my journalistic integrity and not hit me with a rolling pin. I had the scoop. Apparently, the hunt is now chasing transvestites across the countryside.
They call it a "drag hunt" and it is seemingly completely legal. As far as I can make out, the transvestite is released while the hunt is drinking on the green. The transvestite runs as fast as his nine-inch heels can carry him up river and down dale. According to "Chalky", one of my local sources whom I had to ply with industrial amounts of strong cider in exchange for this information, the transvestite will leave a strong scent (Paco Rabanne or Kouros) that the dogs pick up and pursue. Nobody seemed keen to tell me what happened to the transvestite when the hounds caught up with him, but it didn't look good. I cannot believe that this is going on in modern Britain and nobody is kicking up a fuss.
They hunt very regularly and will doubtless run out of transvestites soon; then what? I reckon it'll be vegetarians next, then townies, then left-handers ... and when they come for me who will be there to speak out? I am already terrified about writing this exposé. I expect a couple of dead badgers to be outside my house on poles once this is published. I had a chat with a local farmer about all of this. He said that he hated the hunt coming on his land. If he wanted to get rid of a fox, he'd shoot it himself. The problem, he said, was that if you refused permission for the hunt then you made some powerful enemies.
A lot of the hunters are in charge of things like planning permission and local councils and they can cause a farmer a lot of hassle. I asked him if he had a big problem with transvestites and he looked at me in a funny way. I gave him a wink to show that I understood that he wished to use his right to "Omerta." You've got to tread very carefully if you want to be accepted in the country. So anyway, the long and short of it is that I have managed to borrow a horse and I am off hunting next week. Rumour has it that we're after Danny La Rue. I smell a Pulitzer Prize; watch this space...
Daly is sure to snap when the cameras capture his flashy descent
John Daly, the 737th best golfer in the world, grabbed a spectator's camera in Australia last week and hurled it at a tree. The spectator, a Mr Clegg, had got too close to Mr Daly for his liking – "My eyes are still burning from the flash".
Mr Clegg retorted that he "was bold but not unreasonable". Mr Daly has been in trouble with cameras before. He sustained a torn stomach muscle at the Honda Classic last year after stopping mid-swing when he heard the click of a camera. I reckon that fellow golfers have realised that the way to take him out of any competition is just to get someone to follow him round taking snaps. Hence his rapid descent to No 737 in the world (I am No 782). Daly has suffered from drinking and gambling problems. If you spot him in a casino, take a picture and send it to me.
Go on, you know you want to...
Put the car on snooze control, Jonny's on air
Last thing on Jonny Wilkinson, I promise. I was driving back home last week while he was talking on Five Live. I very nearly fell asleep at the wheel and crashed. He is a serious danger to road users and there should be a side-effects warning whenever he is on air: "Will cause serious drowsiness, do not operate machinery when listening to this man."