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"There's a bloke called Farrage who wants you to ring him back..."


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I'D BEEN down to the Lugg Meadows car boot. There weren't a lot of bargains to be had as half the site was under water, but I managed to pick up a near-new copy of 'Call Of Duty 27'. If you're not familiar with it, that's the one where you join an elite squad of killers, which includes Barack Obama and George Osborne. Your mission is to assassinate Angela Merkyl, who's spending the weekend in her schloss, locked in a lesbian triste with Paris Hilton. After despatching Frau Merkyl, you elope to the Cayman Islands with the delightful Paris (and her equally delightful bank balance) to spend the rest of your days consuming Class A substances, swilled down with Bollinger Grande Crux.

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Unfortunately, I'd only got to Level 1 when Gideon went and split his thumb nail trying to get the pin out of the grenade, and the old tart insisted on us finding him a manicurist. I ask you, where are you going to find a manicurist in the middle of the night in the Bavarian Alps?


That was when the missus gave me the phone message. "There's a bloke called Farrage who wants you to ring him back this afternoon. Here's the number."


I rang a London number, to be greeted by a voice that sounded like a corncrake on Diazapan. "UKIPHQSHARONSPEAKINGHOWMAYIHELPYOU?"


"Could you say that again slowly? And in English?"


"You're through to the headquarters of the United Kingdom Independence Party. My name is Sharon and this call is being recorded for safety, security, compliance and sustainability purposes."


"Could you please connect me with Mr Farrage, Sharon?"


"Who shall I say is calling?"


"My name's Grid Knocker."


"Are you spelling that with one 'k' or two?"


"One at the beginning and one towards the end. But it's an alias."


"Mr Alias Grid-Knocker. Please hold the line."


After three rings the phone was answered by a deep gravely voice. "Farrage."


"Good afternoon Mr Farrage. I believe you left a message this afternoon for me to call you back?"


"And your name is?"


"Grid Knocker."


"Hang on while I fire up my i-Pad. Yes, here we are: Grid Knocker; Parliamentary Consituency: Hereford & South Herefordshire?"


"Correct. How can I help?"


"Your name has been brought to our attention as a local political activist. I believe you were once described by the Editor of the Hereford Times as a 'mendacious oddity'?"


"That's correct."


"UKIP likes odd balls. How would you feel about standing as our Parliamentary candidate in next May's General Election?"


"Against Jesse Norman? I'd get slaughtered!"


"I'm not so sure, Grid - don't mind if I call you Grid, do you? Call me Nige. Our canvassing returns show that by the New Year, Hereford & South Herefordshire will be a Tory marginal."


"You're kidding!"


"Nope. Wiggin will be toast and we reckon with a charasmatic candidate we could bring down The Big Jesse himself."


"What would I have to do as the UKIP candidate?"


"Not a lot; we'll do it all for you. We'll pay your deposit and print your literature and posters. Your Agent will be Miss Whiplash (I gather she's very popular with the male over-60s down there) and we've hired Ken Dodd to write your Manifesto. You'll be expected to canvas in High Town every Saturday, wearing a purple shell suit, and for the big hustings events, we'll send down Mark Reckless, Dominic Feckless and Tracey Topless to suppport you. Betty Boothroyd's agreed to do a burlesque fund-raiser at The Courtyard, with vocal backing by Chas and Dave. Just think of it Grid - in six months time you could be on the Westminster gravy train!"


"And my policies?"


"Ken's come up with a couple of corkers: Border controls at Hay and Ledbury and only UK passport holders allowed into Hereford pound shops. Otherwise do what I do: make it up as you go along."


While Nigel had been chuntering on, I'd switched 'Call Of Duty 27' back on and had idly hit one or two radom keys. Level 9, Level 11, Level 17!  The screen suddenly said: 'You have just disembarked from your private Lear jet at Georgetown Airport, to be driven in your white stretched limo to your jungle hideout with Miss Hilton. A magnum of Bolli is on ice.'


"I'm very flattered, Mr Farrage, but unfortunately I have a prior commitment in the Cayman Islands and I may be gone some time."

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