At the annual World Egg Throwing Championships in Lincolnshire, no edible eggs are used, so no food is wasted. Sort of.
There are long-distance egg throwing and catching contests. There is the Trebuchet competition where contestants use home-made giant catapults (based on medieval siege engines) to throw eggs. And, of course, there is Russian Egg Roulette.
In 2012, I was runner-up in the Russian Egg Roulette Championship. I had high hopes of doing even better last year but, beneath my hard-boiled exterior lies a wobbly centre. I cracked under the pressure of high eggpectations and was beaten in the first round. For months afterwards, my mind was scrambled and I was merely a shell of the man I had once been.
This year – the year of the Scottish Independence vote, when my country of birth may at last free itself from the yolk of English oppression – I had hopes I could show the heathen English what true Scotch eggs competitors are made of.
World Egg Throwing Federation President Andy Dunlop tells me that 64 people started the Russian Egg Roulette Championships yesterday. He may be over-egging it. I think there might have been 32. But there were certainly a lot.
To remind you, Russian Egg Roulette is the sport in which two contestants face each other across a table on which there stands a box of six eggs: five hard-boiled, one raw. Contestants take turns to smash an egg on their forehead. The one who discovers the raw egg loses. It is a knockout competition. Sometimes literally.
Yesterday, I triumphed in the early rounds, beating my 2012 nemesis Jerry Cullen – who was wearing an England football shirt, I think, just to rile me.
I triumphed in the Quarter Finals, but then I was shamed by Fate in the Semi-Finals. I suspected fowl play.
When we chatted for my blog last year at the World Egg Throwing Championships, he was a human target dressed as a boxer and as a Samurai Warrior. This year, he was the anarchist hero of V For Vendetta.
“You been doing anything interesting this week?” I asked him.
“Obstacle Race magazine?” I asked. “Has that got a big circulation?”
“Tough Mudder?” I asked.
“Tough Mudder,” Joel confirmed.
“Do you get paid for any of these events?” I asked. “It’s all for charity?”
“It’s all part of the Always With a Smile Foundation, which is what I do in my spare time to try and keep people smiling. It’s tiring stuff sometimes, though not as painful as today.”
“Painful?” I asked.
“Yeah. You wanna stand here and have eggs hurled at you by grown men at 100mph who have no thought for how it feels when it hits.”
“Do you wear a cricket box over your genitals?” I asked.
“No. Every year, I think I should have some protection but I kinda feel it’s cheating.”
This coming Saturday, Joel is taking part in The Color Run in Manchester.
“It’s a race franchise,” he told me, “where you run 5k and start in white but every kilometre they throw coloured powder over you. Then, on Sunday, it’s a trip to Wales for The Naked Run, which is 5k, usually in good weather. The weather affects some men more than others.
“The weekend after that, on Saturday I’ll be down on the South Coast for the Worthing Birdman competition where they build flying machines and jump off the pier. And then back up to Wolverhampton on Sunday for the Tough Guy event called Nettle Warrior, which is their summer obstacle course race.”
“Nettle Warrior,” I said, “sounds painful.”
“It IS very painful,” replied Joel. “A 10-12 mile cross-country run followed by a 2-mile, purpose-built, multi-million pound assault course.”
“An assault course of nettles?” I asked.
“No no,” said Joel, “all sorts of contraptions. The nettles come in, really, in the 10-12 mile cross-country run.”
“Have they put the nettles in for you?” I asked.
“They grow naturally,” said Joel. “Six or seven feet high all on their own. They design the course to the features on the ground. Ah! There’s some nettles! We’ll make then run through that bit!”
“I’m busy all through the year. Fifty-odd events every year.”
“Very odd,” I said.
“Every weekend and sometimes twice,” said Joel.
“Out of the frying pan…” I said.
In August, World Egg Throwing Federation President Andy Dunlop will be supervising the Scottish National Russian Egg Roulette Championships during the Edinburgh Fringe as part of the Increasingly prestigious Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards Show. He may or may not be accompanied by his trusty l’oeuftenant John Deptford.
In a few days, Andy is off to Holland for their Egg Throwing Championships. He will be back.
But John Deptford is going to Siberia on Friday and has no idea when he will be back, if at all. The insects may kill him. He is going to Mirny where, he tells me, “the mosquitos have been known to carry babies away and the best mosquito repellent is a shotgun.”
Yesterday, as I left the Championship Field in Lincolnshire, Andy Dunlop was being pelted with the remaining eggs. I hope this will become an annual tradition. Andy does not. This morning, he told me he had a serious lip injury.
For more on Eggmen, I refer you to The Beatles’ I Am The Walrus…