It was August and I was walking with Marion and Ian around the Godstone lakes at the foot of the North Downs escarpment. We had become friends whilst working at a Christian camp many years earlier. I was paying them a very rare visit and they took me out into the countryside as a reward. At that time I was getting very interested in wild flowers. I enjoyed showing off my knowledge to my friends. Growing by the lake were patches of greater celandine, Himalayan and orange balsam. I hadn't seen orange balsam before and got quite excited. Unfortunately a singularly unpleasant fence of iron palings stood between me and the plant I wished to investigate more closely. The iron palings ended in those nasty vicious spikes meant to deter wild flower enthusiasts from climbing over a fence. I looked at the orange balsam and I looked at the fence. Then I said to Ian, "I reckon I can climb over that fence".

His wife quickly interjected, "Don't be so silly, Bonzo (my old camp name), you'll do yourself a mischief."

Strolling along with those friends of my youth had rekindled something of the recklessness of those carefree days. I hesitated.

My "friend" Ian said, "Go on Bonzo, you can do it."

His wife retorted, "Well I am not going to stand here and watch you make a fool of yourself." She hurried off - but didn't go far!

I said to Ian, "I'll wait a moment and let those two old ladies pass". The two old ladies had no intention of passing - they knew something was a foot. How right they were!

Ian said again, "Go on Bonzo, you can do it".

So I put my right foot between two of the spikes, grabbed hold of two more and heaved myself up. I was immediately in a very difficult situation. My shoe was wedged between two unyielding spikes and my straining thigh was quivering over another. I began to imagine what it must be like to lose your manhood on an iron spike. I decided discretion was the better part of valour and thrust myself away from the fence wrenching my foot violently from its uncomfortable position. Unfortunately a spike was sticking up my trouser leg. As I jumped away my trouser split up the seam from ankle to crotch. It certainly made the day of the two old ladies who couldn't take their eyes of my trouser leg flapping in the wind. At least, I hope that is what they found fascinating.

Ian had succeeded in his aim. He and his wife were vastly amused at my downfall. I wish I had not listened to him - I had to walk around with a semi nude leg all day. He played on my pride with spectacular results. He reminded me of the crafty old serpent whose whisper, "You can do it Evey - Ye shall not surely die ," resulted in our ruin.