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A man was fishing on Rodley Canal. He had all the kit – seat, net, rods, bait, flask, bags… the works. Not cheap, all that stuff, even I know that. And not far behind him were two piles of fresh dog mess.

The boys, who are encouraged to talk to strangers (AKA fellow members of their community) kindly pointed it out to him.

“Go and pick it up,” said the fisherman simply, staring at his float.

“With bare hands?”

“It’s fake,” he stated. (We were competing with the perch for his attention… and losing.)

So I picked the turds up. One bit was a bit Mr Whippy shape, too perfect to have come out of any normal dog’s backside, so I felt a right fool not seeing through THAT. The other had a shoe imprint in it: genius. I pretended to rub it in the boys’ hair as I waited for one of them to ask the next (inevitable) question.

“Why have you put joke poo on the path?”

The fisherman gestured towards one of his rods. “A cyclist rode right over the end of that once,” he said. “They sometimes ride too close to my rods. But they’ll always give dog mess a wide berth.”

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