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Research on a new project took me to idyllic Oxfordshire to talk to a family whose ancestors came over with William the Conqueror.

But as I made my way up the narrow track to their farm, I came face to face with a large bull who refused to budge…

I edged closer. He didn’t move.

I edged closer still. He glared back angrily.

No problem, I’ve read Death in the Afternoon, I know how to handle this: lock eyes with the bull, refuse to look away, break his will.

He started to scrape the ground with his hoof.

Oops… how much damage can an English bull do to a Honda?

I thought about sounding the horn, then remembered the buffalo stampede in Dances with Wolves. I might inadvertently trigger a charge and flatten an entire Oxfordshire hamlet.

Not a good way to make a first impression.

Should I phone for help?

And immediately make myself a laughing stock?

Then a moment of divine intervention: a bird shat on the windscreen. I squirted the water jets and hit the wipers… and suddenly the bull freaked out!

He hated those windscreen wipers. Eyebrows raised fearfully, he backed away and legged it to the far side of the field.

Who needs Hemingway when you can call on Mr Bean for a solution?

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