Just after my sixteenth birthday, my parents thought the time would be right to move house, a mere three months ahead of my O-Levels.
Sixteen years of age is far too old to still be sharing a bedroom with your younger brother, and this arrangement was playing merry hell with my night manipulations.
I shan't – for once – go into the hideous details, suffice to say that even the slightest movement on the top of a bunk-bed would be magnified ten-fold on the poor bastard below, making life all the more difficult for any furtive bashing of the bishop.
So, we moved to a larger house where we all got our own rooms. I landed on my feet with the biggest of the lot, which I converted into a small music studio and darkroom, where I completely failed to make any meaningful music and churned out dozens of black-and-white photographs of the dog.
The best thing about moving a mile or two up the road was that our house backed on to open fields. These were the same fields that were planted with the local farmer's poo tomatoes that inspired my failed experiments in gastric vegetable planting not too long ago. One of these fields was laid to meadow, and it was used by the local traveller families to graze their horses.
There were about half a dozen in varying stages of decay. Every now and then you'd take the dog for a walk, turn the corner and find the old chap who owned the nags vigorously yanking away at one of his charge's monster appendage, in the hope that it would eventually get into a suitably aroused state to impregnate one of the mares.
That's the clean version.
The Scaryduck version: And bugger me rigid if I didn't turn up one day to see this manky old bloke wanking off a horse. Naturally, I declined his invitation to join in, made my excuses, and took pictures from a suitable distance.
This sort of thing occurred on a fairly regular basis, to the point that I was on nodding terms with the old bloke when he turned up in his battered old Ford Capri to feed his equines and to indulge in a touch of arm-wrestling with the purple-headed stormtrooper.
Slight Diversion:One winter evening, long after dark, I trudged up the dirt track with the dog dashing from bush to bush to stay out of the rain, when I espied the old chap of the horses coming toward me.
My lovely horse running through the field,
Where are you going with your fetlocks blowing in the wind?
I want to shower you with sugarlumps,
And ride you over fences,
Polish your hooves every single day,
And bring you to the horse dentist,
My lovely horse,
You're a pony no more,
Running around with a man on your back,
Like a train in the night (yeah),
Like a train in the night.
"Could ye help me out?" he asked.
Oh God. He's got a particularly difficult customer...
"I ...err... Is it the horses?"
"Aaaah, not really. It's me car."
It turned out that he'd done his normal tour of the field in the Capri Ghia, dropping off hay and feed to the horses, and found – not actually owning an off-road vehicle of any sort – that a fast, flash sports car is not ideally suited to soggy Thames-side meadows.
I followed him down the field in the pissing rain, and there was his yellow-and-black pride and joy, sunk right down to the wheel arches in the mire.
"If ye'd be kind enough to give me a bit of a push, I'll put some old sacking under the wheels to give a bit o' grip."
I hunkered down at the back of his car, and he revved like a madman to get the Capri free of its muddy prison.
The first thing that hit me in the face was the sacking. Wet, filthy sacking, flinging itself at me at an alarming rate of knots, whipping me around the arms, face and neck as it was expelled from under the mad, spinning wheels.
The dog fled.
Then came the mud. Huge dollops of wet, clinging mud, mixed with horse dung – and knowing my luck – horse jism. It wasn't just a little bit of mud. It was all the mud in the world, covering me from head-to-toe in great dustbin-lids of filth.
I gave one final, primordial roar, and shoved with all my might, as Horse Wanking Man sat lovely and warm in his driver's seat, foot to the floor, Hank Williams playing on the car stereo. The Capri Ghia shot from its hole and roared away into the night.
That was the sound of your humble narrator falling flat on his face, soaked to the bone, muddied like a Kirstie Allsopp at the World Pro-Celebrity Mud Wrestling Championships falling flat on his face in the middle of a field, somewhere in rural Berkshire.
The Ford Capri was nowhere to be seen. He had gone, like a duck in the night, without even a word of thanks.
Eventually, I peeled myself up from my sodden repose, made a half-hearted attempt to find the dog, but instead finding one of my trainers, almost completely full of mud, water and shit, and hobbled home, pausing only to be sick inna hedge.
The dog, naturally, failed to recognise me, giving me the full-force of his previously unknown guard-dogging skills, while actual blood relations threatened to call the police and/or the Fortean Times, on account of the hideous wraith trying to enter their house.
Faced with the indignity of stripping in the tool shed, my once-clothes even refused to burn and instead ended up on the compost heap.
Moral? Never shake hands with a man who masturbates horses. Or something.