On July 10th the Pingleswick branch of the Dowsetshire Crop Circle Group held its usual monthly meeting at the Olivers Arms Inn.
During the meeting the members were having a serious discussion on the question of whether Doug and Dave's autographed stomping boards and baseball cap should become public property and be kept in a proper London Museum. There were a variety of views being aired - Bob Wallerton felt that they should go to the Science Museum, them being almost scientific instruments ( living next door to the junior school headmaster, Bob knew about such things).
Fred Dorkings was of the opinion that the Natural History Museum was the right place for weren't they agricultural implements; while Willie Groggs reckoned that as hartifacts the British Museum had first claim.
However before the War Museum's claim could be pressed by Ernie Lugwash, there was a startled cry from Ted Harbottle, the final member of the group - " Ooo-er" he yelled jumping to his feet, "Ooo-er, I;ve just 'ad a funny feeling come over me". "Whotcher mean, a funny feeling?" said Bob looking a bit put out, as he had just thought up another good argument for the Science museum's claim to fame.
"I just felt like something strange is a'going to happen 'ere tonight" replied Ted. This was received with some apprehension by his fellow cerealogists for Ted had a reputation for being a bit on the psychic side. This had been put down to his channelling spirits all day long at Gluggs Distillery, where he worked on the whisky bottling conveyor belt.
Willie, gazing down at the ring of froth left in his empty beer glass, was the first to see the implications "A circle, I bet there's gonna be a circle round here tonight! Let's get out there and see if we can find somethin". No sooner were the words out of his mouth than the group were up and rushing out of the door, leaving a bemused landlord wondering why they had broken the habit of a lifetime in leaving before closing time.
Pausing at their respective homes, only long enough to pick up their investigation equipment, they made for Farmer Blackwashes' field which was reckoned to be the likeliest place for a happening, quite apart from it being the only field in Pingleswick other than the recreation ground. That was felt to be an unlikely spot for a giant fractal on account of it having the loos and the swings plumb in the middle. Bob was equipped with the bent coat-hanger dowsing rods that he claimed would pick up a spiderweb energy field straight from the earth grid, though his mates had only seen cobwebs on it where his wife had used it to poke the spiders out of the corners of the window frame. Fred's research tool was a pendulum made from a length of red binder twine with a knob from his brass bedstead hung on the end . "That bed's seen some rum things in its time an' I reckon some of it will have been rubbed off".
Willie made do with a rather original forked dowsing rod for his circle investigations, original in that it also served as the prop for his mother's washing line, and as she had forbidden him to cut the end off. he was probably the only possessor of a five foot long dowsing rod.
Ted for all his mystic powers with spirits didn't believe too much in "water defining" preferring instead to bury bottles of beer in circles, digging them up at a later date when he swore that the contents had changed from ordinary pale ale into something akin to Stella Artois lager (perhaps it is just as well that he didn't know the joke that some local lads played on him on one occasion when they had seen him do this!).
"I read somewhere that circles happen near ancient sites" someone whispered . "That's a'right then" muttered Fred as they entered the farmer's field "Old Martha Blackwater's the most ancient sight in Pingleswick aint she". By now darkness had fallen and the adventurers were creeping more or less quietly up the field when a triangle of lights appeared over a nearby hill, "Blimey, look at that, it's one of them bowl things that makes videos aint it?" shouted Willie tripping over the pole of his dowsing rod, but seemingly having a soft landing, something that was soon explained when he got up smelling of something rather nasty. "And it's signalling look -flash, flash, flash, flash, all the time, what's it mean " asked Fred. They stood there watching the sight in amazement until Bob spoke, words tumbling out in his excitement, "I know what it means, I know, it's saying Hi, Hi, Hi, Hi." "Ow on earth do you know" came out of the gloom from Willie's pungent direction. "Because I learned morse code when I was in the scouts" replied Bob , "dot, dot, dot, dot, that's "h" and dot, dot, that's "i" , I know there should be a gap between the letters but the aliens in that yufo probably wouldn't know that would they, not having the scouts where they come from.. "I heerd they come from the Pliers", offered Willie " and they come in a comic called after some beer, Bopp's Ale or sumfink.".
As they watched the lights disappear in the direction of Dowsetshire's airport they became aware of a humming sound "I knew it" muttered Ted "I knew in the pub I was being contacted by strange forces, didn't I just say so" . The group stood and listened, the hairs standing up on their necks, almost afraid to move, until the sound faded away after several minutes. Up at the top of the field they saw a light from the farmhouse and could make out a familiar lumpy silhouette against the glow from the window . "Let's ask Martha if she heard it too" suggested Bob, and they dashed up the field without argument, as if the sight of another human being was needed to restore their composure.
"Hey Martha, did you 'ear that noise just then?" yelled Ernie who reached the farm gate before the others, his role as fast bowler for the Olivers Arms cricket and darts team standing him in good stead. "Noise? What sorta noise" Martha asked.him "Like some unearthly humming sounds, fair turned me cold all over when I 'eard it" panted Ernie. "No can't say as I did, but then I can't hear anything much while me old spin drier's agoing" and I just been finishing the wash. Lor, you've no idea of the state me 'usband Bert gets his clothes in when he mucks out them pigs" Martha answered him, "Well must get inside, I've another load waiting to be dried, 'night all, remember me to your Mum, Willie, and I reckon you need to change your after shave stuff "
As she went back indoors the witnesses to the nights fateful happenings held a brief discussion as to whether they should continue their cropwatch or pay a visit to the Olivers Arms to get in a last half to steady their nerves before time was called. As the vote was being taken on the course of action to be followed the air was filled once again with the humming sound which it was observed seemed to be coming from the direction of the farmhouse. "Oh mi Gord , p'raps Martha's being abducticated" volunteered Fred but, before he could expand on the idea, they were horribly aware of a huge pair of yellow eyes watching them closely. "It's one o them Greys...." cried Willie. his voice rising to a shriek as he realised that his friends were already halfway down the field, leaving him alone with the alien being, Willie took to his heels, breaking several speed records on his way to catch the others up. Having watched this scene the alien slowly turned and ambled off to rejoin the rest of the herd, giving a plaintive "moo" to the stars on the way. Unfortunately the intrepid crop circle investigators were by then rather too far away to have heard it.
Over a welcome pint in the Olivers Arms the group decided that the field should be visited again by daylight, when, with luck, they might find a formation important enough to report to the crop circle magazine that Joe Cutts the barber always kept in his shop. "I don't read it but it's just the right size to swat them damn flies" he used to say.
Next morning being a Saturday the five impatient would-be researchers met at Bert Blackwashes field again and gazed over the fence at the scene of the previous nights phenomena. All seemed quite normal with the cows chomping the grass and Martha up at the farm hanging out her washing. It seemed as though the Pingleswick branch of the Dowsetshire CCCS would not be getting any headline publicity, when Bob, shading his eyes against the sun, pointed to something in the middle of the field "Doesn't that look like something over there?". "Chancetimes you're right" said Ernie and without a further word the croppies were through the gate and across to where Bob had spotted the anomaly in the field.
The sight that they saw left them dumbstruck for a moment . Ted was the first to speak "Well if that don't beat all" then Ernie added "I sure as anything that I never seen such a thing before". Willie just stood there with his mouth hanging open, speechless. Fred and Bob both being practical men were already unwinding the measuring tape that with some presence of mind Fred had borrowed from his wife's needlework basket.
An hour or so later the Olivers Arms saw the flushed and triumphant team of croppies, for that was how they felt they could now regard themselves without fear of contradiction, going over the events of that morning and the previous night. "Don't fergit to put in our report about the message from the yufo" said Fred, "or that terrible humming noise just after" added Ernie. "and 'ow I was almost captured by a Grey aylien" from Willie. "Remember to put in as how it was me as got the Psychik message, now won't yer Bob" put in Ted.
"Don't worry I've got it all down properly like". Bob reassured them, "I bet there won't be any more like this anywhere else this year, even in Sussex,
One big ring in grass, made up of 50 smaller brown-coloured circles about a foot wide and with a tree plumb in the middle". " I reckon they're that colour b'cos of meatoric iron stuff from the Persils or sumfink, like it says in that book what Joe Cutts got" piped up Willie, now smelling rather sweeter than on the previous night.
"Well, I'll be sending this report off as soon as I get a photo of Pingleswick's own circle, thanks to us" said Bob, "I'm off there now with my camera to take it, anyone else coming?".
"I dunno, some folks is funny " Bert Blackwash was saying to his wife Martha, later in the day, "I just carn't make out why old Bob Wallerton and his mates should want to be photographing them cow pats as Daisybell left when she was tied to the old oak tree last week. There's no accounting fer some be there?"
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