Dom Joly: The Mounties always get their phone call

 

Share
Related Topics

I've finished my expedition to the glorious Okanagan Valley in British Columbia (Canada's California, apparently) investigating Ogopogo, the monster that is supposed to inhabit Lake Okanagan. Don't worry, I haven't gone all David Icke (yet) – this is for my new book, Scary Monsters and Super Creeps, and the subject gives me an excuse to visit some pretty interesting parts of the world. Canada was probably a brave choice for a first destination as it is seen as literary Mogadon by publishers. Bill Bryson supposedly wanted to write a book about the country but his publishers recoiled in horror. I love the place – I have a Canadian wife and spend every summer there – and hope to convert as many Brits as possible to the land of the beaver.

The Okanagan valley is packed with wineries. I forgot just how bored I get being shown around them as they're like fireworks – seen one, seen them all. I escaped after lunch and an extended tasting session. Well oiled, I decided to get straight back to the main purpose of my visit, the search for Ogopogo.

The winery was just above some cliffs that overlooked the lake. It was a stunning day with the water flat calm – perfect conditions for a sighting (you quickly become an "expert" in these things). I wandered down until I got to the cliff's edge. There was a solitary man sitting in a chair, a flask of coffee by his side and a pair of binoculars in his hand, with which he was scanning the waters below.

Normally I wouldn't speak to strangers but I needed stories for my book and he looked like a fellow monster-hunter. "Looking for Ogopogo?" I tried to retract the statement as soon it came out of my mouth, suddenly realising that, if the gentleman was not aware of the legend then this might sound like an offer for some specialist type of gay sex. Sure enough, he was not a local, and took my innocent question entirely the wrong way. He nearly hit me and made it very clear that I would either be leaving the cliffs by my own steam and fast, or else he would throw me off them. I didn't bother to explain, and scuttled off trying to retain some modicum of dignity.

I wandered down a steep hill until I got to the lake shore. To my right was a little stone beach. It was a hot day and I felt that, as a monster hunter, I should submerge myself in the cold lake waters at least once. I looked around; there was nobody about. I didn't have any swimming trunks or towel but this wasn't going to stop me. I stripped off, made a neat little pile with my clothes and headed for the water. It was heart-stoppingly freezing and I nearly gave up.

Monster-hunters, however, are made of sterner stuff so I ploughed on. The bottom was, luckily, not sludgy, but it was peppered with stones. I'd got to about thigh height, covering my privates with my right hand and getting ready to take the plunge, when I stood on something very sharp. I don't know what it was, but it hurt bad. I screamed blue murder, effing and blinding and running around stark naked with my hands on my head, doing that compression thing that you hope might somehow decrease the pain.

I was making a lot of noise, and I could see blood pouring from a large cut between two toes. I looked up to the sky in despair. My gaze fell on the top of the cliffs that loomed over the beach. The man I'd just "cruised" was standing on the edge looking down at me in disgust. He was on his mobile phone, no doubt contacting the Mounties. Its not easy, this monster-hunting.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

Recruitment Genius: Support Worker

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A rewarding opportunity to work with an easy-...

Recruitment Genius: National Sales Account Executive

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company leads the market i...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Ice skating in George Square, Glasgow  

How many Christmas cards have you sent this year?

Simon Kelner
 

Al-Sweady Inquiry: An exercise in greed that blights the lives of brave soldiers

Richard Kemp
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum