You’re going to think me such a fool. I should have realised. I can’t think of a decent excuse, so I will just have to tell the truth.
I was rummaging around in my loft this afternoon, looking for the bat with which Chris Tavare scored his memorable 5 not out in just over two days against the New South Wales Invitation Eleven, when I decided to sort through some of the odds and sods that were in a trunk that I last remembered opening in 1995. Amongst all the strange equipment were several jars containing sub-atomic particles. I have no recollection of why I had accumulated them. There was a Kilner jar full of assorted quarks, and some jam jars (previously used to store Mrs Pondicherry’s organic gooseberry conserve) which were labelled “Neutrinos”. When I moved these, I was surprised to find that one of them was significantly heavier than the rest, even though it was no fuller than any of the others. “Funny”, I thought.
I emptied the contents into a bowl, and on sorting through the particles (elusive little buggers, neutrinos), I found the culprit. “Funny”, I thought again. Yes, I had in my hand nothing other than a bloody Higgs Boson.
I must confess that, knowing what a fuss it would cause, I was tempted to put it back and try to forget all about it, but you will know that I am driven by my scruples (have you ever been driven by your scruples missus?), and felt compelled to call my old pal Jerry Grysbok, who is chief honcho at CERN.
After the initial pleasantries, where we recalled old times, with unnecessary emphasis on his part, I felt, on that incident in Budapest, I got to the point.
“I’ve found a Higgs boson, Jez”.
“You’re kidding!” he exclaimed.
“Alas no, God knows what else is lurking in the loft, I daren’t open any more boxes.”
“Well, that’s a bit of an embarrassment, isn’t it?” he enquired – I could detect the sound of a head being scratched at several thousand kilometres. “I mean we’re due to tee off next Wednesday teatime, and all these beardy types have been working their gonads off to make sure everything is ready. Now, if what you tell me is right, we’ve got no reason to go ahead.”
“Well, I wish I didn’t feel obliged to tell you, old carrot” I said. “Do you want me to put it back and forget about it?”
He paused – old Jerry was never one to rush into a decision. “No, that won’t work. Could you let our chaps have a look before you sell it to the Daily Express?”
“No worries, old boy, I’ll make sure it goes recorded delivery first thing Monday morning”.
“Thanks, pal. I must say you’ve left me in a bit of a pickle. All of this bloody equipment and now no need for it. Oh dear. We spent more than 38,000 euros on thumbtacks alone. I better see if anyone wants a Large Hadron Collider on ebay.”
“I would play down the ‘large’ aspect, if I were you”, I counselled, “you’d be better off if prospective purchasers didn’t know how big it was. I mean, there aren’t many gardens, even in north east Hampshire that could accommodate it”.
“Hmmm, I could let you have it for a few thousand – do you still need somewhere to exercise your whippets?”
“No, that wasn’t me, you daft sod,” I reminded him, “that was Barry, and he had to get rid of them after they mistook his brother in law for a reindeer”.
“Well, if the worst comes to the worst, we can always try to flog the bits off at the car boot sale in Lugano. Bit of a shame, really. I dare say some of the chaps will be a bit miffed.”
I made my excuses and put the telephone down. All in all, it went quite well. I think I will leave it until next week before I phone old Ratty in the Vatty and tell him that I am pretty sure that the vase Mrs S has been using to display freesias is actually the Holy Grail.