It was a rainy, stormy, (corny but true) last hundred metres between Scotland and heaven as "The Spoof Tour de Brittania" approached the border.
All participants had their passports at the ready as the local customs officer, dressed in a shabby green and blue tartan kilt from 1830 bearing war wounds from Culloden and a shreaded set of bagpipes last used way back when when Scotland last won a football game of any importance, confronted the peloton.
George Orwell, alias Mark our esteemed editor, who refused to enter a foreign country without being assured of the hygienic standards of the place, was waiting for the peloton to arrive and could foresee a slight altercation happening between the past and the present, he intervened:
"Look old chap, here is a thousand pounds in real money, English pounds, go and blow your bagpipes in that castle ruin, act as if nothing or nobody crossed today and everybody can get on their jolly way."
The ginger-bearded, red, but very bald-headed customs officer asked Queen Mudder, the tour's PR manager, to translate what George, alias Mark, had said; she proceeded in a perfect Berwickshire accent, and he accepted the bribe (which Scot wouldn't?).
He then opened the border gates, a sheeps gate actually. The Spoof peloton entered heaven and it stopped raining(?)
Speeding southwards through Northumberland and leaving it behind them as quick as possible because several rain showers had obviously followed them from Scotland (Scots always bear a grudge) they rapidly approached another border crossing.
The customs guards, were dressed like penguins, armed with kalashnikovs, smoked stubbed, dog ended, castaway Cuban gigar butts and were swilling down gallons of Newcastle Brown.
Speaking a strange tongue, QM and George, alias Mark, on his brand, spanking new Cannondale and showing off as usual, approached the massive beer-bellied guards and asked them, "what the fuck do you think you are doing?"
One of them spotting JO in a Man United replica shirt cocked his kalaschnikov and yelled in best Geordie, "that Manc bastard aint coming through here, no way!"
QM, diplomatic as ever, took the heat of the situation and gently asked JO to remove his sad shirt; replace it with his Lance Armstrong, personally autographed, Tour de France shirt, slightly stained with a strange chemical substance and a distraught JO discertingly agreed.
Several other Man U fans amongst the peloton, realising the danger, also removed any possible trinkets, souveniers or possible connections to the enemy across the Pennines. George sighed an enormous sigh of relief because any more delays and he would not be able to hit his deadlines.
After several huge barrels of Newcastle Brown and black pudding, donated by Mark our tremendous leader and cremé de la cremé diplomat, the very peculiarly dressed Border guards raised the barrier and the peloton flew by.
JO, being an obstinate bastard, rebel rouser (Fall classic, but slightly different) and general nutter spat on the black and white striped uniform of the guards as everybody was safely out of distance, he then trod in his pedals and sprinted away like Ben Johnson on a racing bike, doped out of his brains.
The guards, pissed out their brains by now, it's normal there, knew it was futile to chase the peloton or JO because they were born to be losers anyway. But they did enjoy the beer.
Passing Newcastle, Durham and Middlesborough as rapidly as possible, QM and George, alias, you know who by now, knew there would be a problem further down the road as they approached Tyke (Yorkshire for our US colleagues) territory.
Mark, as sharp as the bell on his handlebars, knew of a solution; ring up Monkey Woods, fly him in from his Bangkok hell so he can circumnavigate the peloton through one of the most dangerous areas in the UK or even the planet especially if there are Man U supporters in your midst or mist.
QM agreed and Monkey was promptly flown in on Mark's private jet just in time before the Tour de Spoof de Brittania hit the Tyke border.........
The rest must follow (hopefully)