Classic Confession: The Goat And The Mine Shaft

Twenty years ago, when Simon was a whippersnapper presenter on BBC Radio 1, he received thousands of letters from listeners confessing their darkest secrets and worst misdemeanours, begging for his forgiveness. Every day, Father Mayo read out a confession - and then he'd decide whether to grant forgiveness or not.

Read a classic Confession below, then Send Simon Your Confession


Dear Simon,

This confession is aimed at an unknown Cornish farmer (we didn't stay long enough to find out his name) who lets a field out to campers.

Four of us, Brett, Russell, Steve and I, pitched our tent in his field one Friday, shortly before opening time.

Well, at about eleven o'clock, they poured us out of the village inn, and we were wobbling back up the moonlit lane, when Steve thought he'd sussed out a short cut across the fields. Walking anywhere wasn't easy by then, but we climbed over the gate and set across the grass.

Cornwall has got loads of abandoned tin mines and we'd only gone a little way when we stumbled into a flimsy fence around a very big black hole. The fields were dotted with open shafts and this one was a particularly large one.

Then someone had the bright idea of seeing how deep it was. So we tossed a stone in and listened for the sound. Nothing. So then a rock gets lobbed in. Again, not a sound. So then Steve and I levered a boulder out of the ground and manhandled it over the edge. Again, not a peep.

We were determined to find out how deep it was, but there isn't a lot lying around in your average field that's going to make a lot of noise. Then Brett and Russell discovered a railway sleeper and tossed that into the void. So we're all craning forward around the edge for some sound when suddenly this chain comes snaking through the grass between us, and a goat with a clump of grass in its mouth goes flying straight past us into the hole!!

Obviously the farmer tethered the goat to the sleeper to stop it wandering down one of the shafts, but he hadn't banked on the sleeper going in first. The goat didn't even get a chance to bleat.

That sobered us right up and we left early the next day – for Devon. No mines there!

Yours guiltily,


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