Thursday, 4 February 2021

Would I lie to you? My most embarrassing experience

These are gloomy times, made more gloomy by the BBC's evening news bulletins, detailing daily Covid deaths, interviews with bereaved families etc. But a 30 minute ray of sunshine is the BBC's panel game Would I Lie to You? where two teams of celebrities reveal embarrassing stories about themselves, some of which are true, and the opposing team have to determine what is true and what is made up.

We have all had embarrassing experiences, so I thought, as a little light relief from the serious stuff, that we might indulge ourselves by revealing our own embarrassing stories.

My most embarrassing experience was on a bus in Helsinki, but I won't describe that as it is probably not suitable for persons with a sensitive disposition.

So I will opt for a story involving the genteel game of cricket. The photo below is of the Camborne School of Mines cricket team in its debut season in the West Cornwall Cricket League in 1980. You may recognise a few people: first on the back row is student Nick Wilshaw, now Managing Director of Grinding Solutions Ltd, a sponsor of Comminution '21. Third left is the late Del Codd, a well known Cornish mineral processor and 4th left is student Pete Ledingham, now Managing Director and Founding Member of Geoscience Ltd. I am front row centre, and 5th left on the back row is CSM Registrar, the late Howard Hoy, who shared the embarrassing experience.

Anyway, now to my story, which in the game show the panelists would have to decide Truth or Lie:

At the end of our first season in the league, Howard and I, as team secretary and captain respectively, were invited to the Holman's Sports Club in Camborne for the Annual General Meeting. En route we stopped off at a very nice pub for a couple of pints, and arrived at the AGM a few minutes late.

Being new to cricket in Cornwall, we were surprised by its popularity, as the huge room was packed with representatives from East and West Cornwall, many of whom we knew well. As we entered, the Chairman was just bringing the meeting to order by asking if there were any more names, so Howard and I rushed to the front to register our attendance. Noting that no seats were now available, we stood by the side of the stage facing the huge audience.

The meeting then commenced with the chairman announcing "I have three names". 

"I think we may have volunteered for something Howard!" I whispered anxiously.

He continued "John Briggs from Redruth, and Barry Wills and Howard Hoy from Camborne School of Mines."

"Brace yourself Howard, brace yourself."

Facing the audience, many of whom were giving us strange glances, others knowing smirks, the chairman then concluded "Could we please stand for one minute's silence for these members who have passed away during the year?"

All very true I'm afraid, but if you have any embarrassing stories that you wouldn't mind sharing, I'm sure we would all love to hear them. They will brighten up our days.



  1. Just call me Lazurus!
    Millard Lowe, NSW, Australia

    1. Exactly! The following season I was regularly greeted by remarks such as "you are looking well, Barry- considering!"

  2. Barry,
    I read fully and understood what prompted you to put this Blog--rest is interesting.
    You idea of talking about other things are the best antidote to divert our attention and to keep our marale high till we :get out of this terrible pandemic spread across he world for such a long time with no light at the end of this tunnel
    My point is why the Title " would I lie to you? My most embarrassing experience'. ----may be subtle BRITISH humour.I am relieved after reading the full text.
    Keep it up Barry.

    1. I've always thought that humour is a universal thing, TC, but maybe self-deprecating humour might be a British trait?

      It's a good story though isn't it, and I do invite others to share their embarrassing moments- if they dare!

  3. Rumours of your death were evidently greatly exaggerated Barry, and your story is delightful! In the same spirit, I searched my memory banks, but cannot come up with anything to quite match that one, although I do have my share of foolishness. The silliest was during a field assignment: being held up at gunpoint while traveling down a narrow laneway in a minibus, and standing up to take a good look at the perpetrator (thus making myself a prime target) when all other passengers dropped to the floor. We were saved by the presence of mind of the driver who put his foot down on the accelerator, thus making the culprit jump out of the way or otherwise be run down. I won’t name the country; it could happen anywhere.

    1. Wow Franklin! Not so much embarrassing as very scary

    2. It was a bit embarrassing at the time, as a fellow traveler reached up and pulled me to the floor, my mouth still agape! At the time I was obviously not savvy about local conditions and appropriate preventive behavior. I was then given a polite lecture by my colleague. Yes, scary at the time, but amusing now - 25 years on! Besides, I did not want to see you being the only voice to tell a self-deprecating tale. Anyone else?


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