CanoeSpoken of in the same way as such mysterious groups as the Knights Templar, the Prince Hall Shriners, Opus Dei, the Bilderberg Group or the Hair Bear Bunch, so we have the Midnight Plumbers. Whispered in awe, murmured in jealous tones, held in equal measure of fear and respect, the Midnight Plumbers have a growing reputation of global proportions. Yet so little is known – and so much will never be known – about this enigmatic unit. That is, after all, part and parcel of being mysterious. Here is what can be told without disclosing core secrets or leaving the group open to ridicule. The Midnight Plumbers have no political, religious or musical affiliation. They are answerable to no man although they are at the bidding of a few women. They are here, there and nowhere in particular. They stand for truth, justice and the West Highland Way. Quite often they stand to let other people go to the toilet. They have their finger on the pulse, a finger in many pies, a foot in each camp and a leg up the ladder. They are very good at Twister.

A Baby PlumberHere are some facts. And some fiction. There are six permanent members of the MPSC (Midnight Plumbers Security Council). Their identities are shrouded in secrecy, mystery and embarrassment. Even their families are unaware of their true roles in the Plumbers’ network (in fact, particularly their families). The permanent members are known to the world as Fat Plumber, Techie Plumber, Bearded Plumber, Grumpy Plumber, Old Plumber and Bowler Plumber. In the interests of security and to complicate matters, all of these names are applicable to more than one member. Their full-time occupations are, non-respectively, IT professional (2), customs and excise official, journalist, librarian (2). The full range of special skills learned in such varied professions has been utilised in aid of the Plumbers’ cause. The Midnight Plumbers convene each Thursday in life in the table in the far corner of The Forester’s Arms, a charming hostelry in the quaint Scottish village of Cambusbarron, just outside the new, yet ancient, city of Stirling. They are believed to be the world’s first dedicated group of international race-going plumbers. Six years ago they declared war on the turf accountants of the world. They may be losing the global battle but remain determined to win the war.

Another Baby PlumberThe Plumbers’ mission has so far taken them to the five corners of the world. They have battled bookmakers in Scotland, England, Ireland, France and the Caribbean. Sadly, the conflict has not always been a fair one. In 1998, the Midnight Plumbers fell victim to the infamous Coole Abbey scam, a betting coup which has yet to be properly probed by the Jockey Club, Panorama or the National Criminal Investigation Service. They have also been accused of being canoeists. The other principal activities of the Midnight Plumbers include a mastery of pub quizzes and the consumption of Guinness, although an occasional yearning for bacardi has been noted. Their combined knowledge, intellectualism, wit and sheer sad, geeky, nerdism has emptied pubs from Torbrex to Cambusbarron and back again. What they don’t know about the operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan is not worth knowing. As is often the case in the nefarious world of pub quizzes, the all-conquering march of the Midnight Plumbers has bred jealousy among some of their more feeble-brained rivals. The Plumbers don’t care. Their rivals will stoop to any new low in a vain attempt to usurp the plumber supremacy. Indeed, the government of the former Yugoslavia went as far as ceding Trieste to Italy just to do the Midnight Plumbers out of a single point. The most frequently asked question of this mysterious organisation is, of course, why they are named The Midnight Plumbers. That information, however, cannot leave the confines of the inner council. It is strictly classified and is protected by the plumbers’ version of the Sicilian code of Omerta.

If we tell you, we’d have to kill you. The Midnight Plumbers are not plumbers.

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