The day the gas pipeline started going through his land, the story goes, the farmer got an idea. He began by saluting the men who were working on the line, then he began talking to them and buying them drinks in the local pub. His wife brought them out tea. But it took him a while to raise the subject.
He wanted to know if the workers would connect him to the pipeline some day when no one was looking. No one would notice the small bit of gas he would use; it wouldn't do anyone any harm. Come on lads, said the farmer. The workers told the farmer that they would do it, but they wouldn't do it for nothing. The farmer told them that it was alright with him. How much?
The following day he gave them 400 crisp pound notes and they agreed to set to work. Within a week the gas flowed into the farmer's house. Free gas for life. The farmer and his wife were delighted.
Weeks went by and the workers moved on. The gas flowed freely. Until one day it stopped, that is. The farmer nearly died. He decided to investigate. He followed the pipe out from the house and along a field until it went down into the ground. He got a spade, and he dug. It wasn't long before he came on something hard. He couldn't think what it was. After a while he saw that it was yellow. It was an hour before he realised that the workers had put a gas cylinder into the ground. So much for free gas for life. The farmer joined the IFA.