No, this one happened a bit earlier the previous year, during the summer before I went up (to Rochester). Myself and a few friends, Jim, Polly, Dave (now the Very Rev Dean of Dover) and Dave's sister, Maria used attend all the Mighty Super Kent's home matches that were within reach of Ashford. This was our final summer together before we all went our separate ways (is this too Swallows and Amazons?) and we were now all young adults. Some of us had even just voted in our first general election. How exiting - we had a woman prime minister! This game was at Folkestone. If anyone is familiar with the Folkestone cricket ground at Cheriton, they'll remember it's overlooked by a couple of very large hills, one of which is called "Caesar's Camp". Now the channel tunnel railway terminal is the dominant feature between the hills and the town but back in 1979 it was a bit easier to drive about through the villages of Newington and Peene to get to the top of the hills for a cracking view and then back down into town for the game.
The previous day we'd been sitting in the stands (for the benefit of my colonial readership, the "bleachers") watching walkers on the top of the hill. I bet my friends that I would be able to stand up there and see them waving at me the next morning, without the benefit of binoculars. Yes, OK, if you insist, they enthused wildly. So, next morning I coaxed my aging and protesting Honda SS50 sports moped along the nearest thing Kent has to an alpine pass and found a reasonable point to gain access to the top of the hill. There was nowhere to park the bike and anyway, the prop stand was a bit dodgy so I leant it against a fence and hopped over the stile. It was a fine sunny morning, the view was magnificent and there was the cricket ground down there next to the football ground, behind Tesco's (now a Morrisons, I think). I started waving. I waved a bit more, a trifle more animatedly. I gave it a couple more minutes of waving. I couldn't really see anything in the ground so maybe it hadn't been all that wise. But anyway, it had been a nice little excursion and the view had been wonderful. I turned round to head back down the hill and immediately noticed a blue Escort van parked behind my steed.
As I got closer I saw the side panel bore some badly applied and peeling white plastic lettering spelling out "Police". There was someone in the driver's seat. Oh bugger. I hope he doesn't look too closely at the bike. There are bad bits on it, poorly repaired bad bits that don't work properly, like the brakes and stuff. I saw he was wearing aviator sunglasses, just like the still recently departed Elvis. And he was chewing. He was also looking resolutely straight ahead. Chewing. I stifled a laugh. The big new hit on the telly was Dukes of Hazzard and was that a Confederate flag I just caught a glimpse of? Cleatus muttered something, still without turning towards me: "Are you Richard S of X Farm, Y Road?" "Yes, I am. How did you know?" I replied, stupidly ignoring the proliferation of aerials sticking out from the roof. "I ask the questions." he slurred. And with that, he slowly turned, motioning his head towards the small blue nylon bumbag I was wearing around my waist containing my wallet and stuff, the sun glinting off the frames of his beetle eyes and asked the singular most ridiculous sounding question I think I've ever been asked by an adult. With hindsight, I could see where he was coming from, but even so.
"You got a ferret in there, boi?"