<<< The Weekly: Maintaining Britain's Standards
Letters From the Editor
Sir:

They say writing is all about killing your babies. I should like to advise your readers that this is, in fact, infanticide.
Span Tally
Garboldisham
Sir:

I've never met anyone from Birmingham I didn't like, but did strangle over a dozen young men from in and around the Coventry area during the early Eighties.
Sid Clovis
No fixed abode
Sir:

I live in a fundamentalist Buddhist community and am therefore having trouble with my sink. The plumber sadly died some while ago and a search was accordingly undertaken to find his reincarnated form. The result - a four-year-old child called Ainsley - finally arrived a week last Tuesday and proceeded to remedy the dripping from my U-bend by feverishly pushing several of his plastic Digimons down the plug-hole and eating two packs of Jaffa cakes. I rather think I'll be looking for another credo.
Timothy Dial
Tibet
Sir:

I am not an elephant, I am a free man.
John Merrick
The Village
Sir:

To fill the long, hollow days following the death of my wife in a car crash, I've been learning to drive. Yesterday, as we sped along a dual carriageway, my hitherto emotionless instructor instinctively covered his head and yelped when a pigeon unexpectedly flew across in front of us and narrowly missed the windscreen. I have also seen people I would have trusted with my life on a mountainside under machine-gun fire turn into panicking, squealing children upon a thrush's entering the house. I conclude we should have a national defence programme that abandons costly tanks and laser beams in favour of thousands of birds trained to flap alarmingly in the shaking, howling faces of an approaching enemy.
Danald Watherspaan
Jersey
Sir:

Phthisis - now there's something that's hard to say if you have it.
K Vandalism
Bicton Heath
Sir:

Why isn't Radio 4's split between FM and Long Wave more widely publicised? Yesterday I tried to tune into details of a planned Gestapo raid on the bar serving as my cell's front, and all I got was Su Pollard interviewing Thora Hird. It was quite a well-conducted interview and I learned several interesting facts about Dame Thora's early acting career, as well as enjoying some hilarious and touching anecdotes about working with Bill Owen on Last of the Summer Wine, but this did not compensate for the loss of my entire unit, and my own death by firing squad this morning just before Desert Island Discs.
"X"
Late of the secret cellar
Sir:

I write in view of the letter you published from my father some twelve years ago. His method of saving the expense of a daily newspaper by clinging to the underneath of the Plymouth Express and simply gathering the discarded selection of papers when the train reaches its terminal stop may have made sense in his time, but scientific progress has rendered this method all but obsolete. Nowadays one almost certainly receives by way of weekly delivery a local advertisement-paper costing nothing. Turn to the small classified section and one may easily obtain an invitation to visit a household on the pretext of inspecting their excellently reconditioned sideboard or unwanted-gift- never-worn child's clothing; it is a simple matter then to work into the introductory pleasantries such leading phrases as, "What about this latest thing the government has done, then?" or, "I hear a celebrated light entertainer has spoken out on a globally affecting matter," thus eliciting in the most painless and inexpensive manner information on the events of the day.
D Omnibus
Loch Lomond
Sir:

Hello. I'm Dixon of Dock Green, the popular television policeman who was killed by Dirk Bogarde in a film but saved by positive box-office response. I'd like to tell you a story that demonstrates the value of a good book. I'd been called to the scene of a disturbed burglary, and although the thief had been captured by an alert constable before he could get out of the house, the jewels he'd taken had vanished. Obviously he'd hidden them somewhere in the building, but for the life of us we couldn't find out where. We turned that place upside down. Suddenly I remembered a story I'd read - Mr Poe's The Purloined Letter. It held that the best place to conceal something was in plain sight - and sure enough, once I changed my way of thinking, I found those jewels almost straight away. They were in an ottoman suspended from the ceiling of the front parlour by a sturdy rope. I must have banged my head on it once or twice as it swung around during our earlier search, but I didn't think a thing of it. Since then, I've insisted that the lads at the station get down to the public library at least once a week. I'd suggest you do too - even if you don't find yourselves in quite the same situation as mine, you'll enjoy some rattling good yarns. Evening all.
Dixon of Dock Green
Dock Green
Sir:

We are told that, in the age of multiple postal deliveries, the Victorians exchanged several, perhaps dozens of letters each day. It's interesting to think that the advent of electronic mail has afforded us a glimpse of how meaningless, empty and desperate those exchanges must have been.
Laura Whoops
Stow-on-the-Wold
Sir:

Kayak - that's a palindrome. Canoe - that's not. What's that about then?
Graham Sgang
Rhyddhywel
Sir:

While undergoing a minor operation at my local hospital I sensed, through the fog of the anaesthetic, that something had gone wrong. Though I knew, on some level, that my body was still on the operating table, I saw a brilliant white light coming towards me. As I made contact with it, there was a flurry of many voices and then all thoughts and cares evaporated from my mind. Later the surgeon told me that the theatre's examination lights had broken free and fallen on to my face. I am now changed utterly, and totally at peace with myself, though there is some residual burning.
Dale Quoit
Hastings
Sir:

Are you looking for anyone to do work experience at The Weekly next summer? I've been a big fan of your magazine since almost issue three, and I think I'm on much the same wavelength, so I'd fit right in. I enclose a copy of the fanzine I publish - well, published for a few months last year, to be honest - so you can see the sort of thing I write. One thing - I don't make tea or coffee. This isn't a joke or anything; I just don't. I've developed a three-stage system for dealing with people who forget, or purposely ask regardless: one, I refuse politely; two, I answer shortly, referring them to my initial letter of explanation; three, I stab them with a draughtsman's pencil. Nothing deranged or malicious, just a clinical smack of the metallic nib into a fleshy part of the body, usually the thigh. Also, I can't do Tuesdays because that's when I stand right out on the end of the hoisting arm of the crane at the building site where my brother works, and I peer down on the city and try to influence the traffic with my mind. I look forward to your reply.
Vicky Ginger
Troublehouse Halt
Sir:

Let the greybeards tremble! For years our educationalists have taught that sleep was invented in 1807 by Sir Bernard Sleep, that prior to this the quality of labour had been decreasing steadily since around the time of the Christ, and that with the invention of sleep a large part of the national zest was at once recovered overnight. I have in my other hand the proofs which at last dismantle this old wives' tale into crumbs, including signed statements from old wives, a recording obtained from a scientific apparatus and several documents found in a boot. Attend my meeting at 9am Monday to learn that all you know is a shameful lie, and that, in fact, sleep was invented by Sir Edward Sleep in 1808. I expect these revelations to topple the government, so cannot supply tea.
Augustus Brim
Puckermouth
Sir:

Statistically, we are 750 times more likely to be hit by an asteroid than we are to win the lottery. As someone wins the lottery every Saturday and every Wednesday, that means that fifteen hundred people a week in Britain must get hit by an asteroid. It is, then, a national disgrace that the list of charities which benefit from lottery money doesn't include a single Asteroid Help Line. The whole damn system is rotten to the core, I tell you.
Rapid Tonghoy
Calverley
Sir:

Observe this covered dish. You've heard that humanity is two meals and 24 hours away from anarchy? This is one of the meals. It was discovered during the Cairo dig and remains here under constant guard. We believe the other to be in private hands. Come, we'll use the secret exit.
Colonel H
The mysterious club in Pall Mall
Sir:

I feel I must address those of your readers who have written to me complaining about the situation this winter. The present state of affairs is because of seasonal factors that applied equally; indeed, more so; under my predecessor. Believe me, the situation is being looked into with all possible speed, and I can assure you that things will be very different by next summer. As early as April we can expect to see hard, erect nipples pushing out against tight, white linen blouses, and by the end of the next quarter there will be a return to cotton skirts, tented by seated knees, leading bare legs up to a glimpse of tiny, creviced panties; loose-necked tops ill-shielding their captive breasts amid the everyday crouches and twists of a shop assistant's toil; towels flapping and slipping over awkward bathing suit changes on myriad beaches; and all-over tans sought on the sweating grass of back gardens that are overlooked from the bedroom windows of nearby houses. I hope that this allays some fears.
The Minister of Fiscal Economics
Whitehall
Sir:

Thought you might be interested to know that I've succeeded in encasing a Vauxhall Corsa 12V in a box for 24 hours without incident. We've seen many things packed in boxes up to now, including televisions, tins of ham, flat-packed furniture, apples, refrigerators, curling tongs, jars of fish-paste, linen, training shoes, blank video-cassettes, biscuits, midi hi-fi systems, clocks, photocopier paper, light fittings, greeting cards, baby listeners, nails, feminine garb, magnets, standardised plug units, vertical blinds, high-quality collectable oven-fired dinnerware, books, security mirrors, lawnmowers and transparent tubular mice cities, but never before a Vauxhall Corsa 12V. I feel we've turned a corner.
Gavin Pole
Much Wenlock
Sir:

Is that a pistol in your pocket or are... Yes, my wallet. And my watch, yes, of course.
Gravelly Drive
Manchester
Sir:

This new-fangled "trampoline" has ruined the once noble art of jumping up and down within a rectangle marked on the ground.
Tinley Vest
Spitalfields
Sir:

It's all on for tonight. The lads'll be ready by the false stove at midnight, and once you start your diversion, they'll be out of the bottom of the hut quick as you like, then a rush to the fence and over, just as we planned. I'd like to see the looks on the lion guards' faces tomorrow when they realise all of we antelopes have escaped. Ha! Didn't expect that, did you? Once again I surprise you with a surprise twist.
Ronald Dahl
Windmill End
Sir:

I note that sports fans are increasingly painting their faces with the flags of the country they support. This just makes them appear clowns. Particularly so in the case of Japan.
Finley Fattly
Quorum March
Sir:

I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy! However, I am informed the choice is not mine to make.
D Moquelly
Ward C
Sir:

Production companies, actors, film crews, magazines, video recorders - we have a whole mini-economy based around television. Just imagine if John Logie Baird had invented a kind of heater instead. What a different, though perhaps warmer, world we'd all be living in.
Beryl Doot
Leominster
Sir:

Nobody move! This is a robbery. Put... Wait, I've mixed this up. I must have dropped off my letter to The Weekly outside the bank, then posted myself to your magazine. Dammit. And I probably smashed all my arms and legs forcing myself through the letterbox as well. This is greatly embarrassing.
Mike Bourbon
Cricklade
Sir:

Hey hey, we're the Monkees.
The Monkees
Abroad
Sir:

I am a famous investment banker, and I am interested in purchasing your magazine for a milli-pound and absorbing it into my body. I cannot remember reading anything as funny as the articles by your Mr Millington. He convulses and arouses me. I understand there are other people at The Weekly, so please signify your acceptance of my offer by firing all of them and renaming the magazine The Milky.
A famous investment banker
Bank-town
Sir:

Jet-black jets of black despair
Screaming soundless in the air
Why
won't she
acknowledge
Me?
RAF Teen Group Captain in love
Tiverton
Sir:

If you break a watch with a hammer it permanently displays the time of the attack. However, if you break a mirror with a hammer it does not permanently display a shattered image of what was being reflected when the blow struck. I shall never buy British again.
Norman Hives
Chorlton-cum-Hardy
Sir:

Ssss-sss-sss-sss. Shhhwooshgrkk- ka-rkk-ka-rkkk-a-gnk.
What the hell was that
Going-up-the-Hoover
Sir:

I am right. My excellence is fantastic. I am the one lit from below. It is through the post that I have a certificate of accuracy. When the question of answer is raised, I am. The look of the good is at me. The pressings of mine spell correct. Seeds grow in the truth lawn and shade me bestowed. My shoes are the best. The present I make is of thanks.
Capital Mapgannet
Ambergate
Sir:

Whoever on this page is blocking my driveway, please move your car now. I have an appointment.
Lionel Bidnape
Havent
Sir:

Anything else just isn't antimony.
The Antimony Marketing Board
Herefordshire
Sir:

They curl under us snugly, but what are they really planning? I think I know, and - aaarghh!
Some bloke found strangled with his own legs
Obviously a suicide
Sir:

All I want is for everyone else in the entire world to drop down dead right now. Is that too much to ask?
W Laggle
Scholar Green
Sir:

Why the blazes didn't we utilise the abandoned Martian War Machines to retain Empire? I demand immediate resignations.
Pram Needles
pp Major Retired (Rtd)
Sir:

Who among us can say he has not at some point been Wilfred Pickles?
Wilfred Pickles
Selby
Sir:

I am not a prostitute, though I do play one on television.
Arnold Cluthe
Chitterling
Sir:

It's half-past nine. I don't think they'll come now. No - they'd have been here by now if they were coming. I'll have a bath. Mmmm. Well, I'd better give them another 20 minutes before I do that. If they're not here by 9.50, I'll get in the bath. Definitely.
Stuart Habbersley
Silloth
Sir:

I walked into a bar the other day - bang! It was an iron bar. I now have severe memory problems and poor control over my right hand.
Banny Fangledraught
Blandford Forum
Sir:

While travelling from Shrewsbury to Colwyn Bay I received a call on my mobile phone informing me that a major client of our accountancy firm had been stolen by a rival - a blow that, in current circumstances, threatens our financial viability. Some minutes later British Transport Police advised me that this, apparently, was not "an emergency"; a distinction in no way made on the box labelled, "In an emergency use this hammer to break the windows." I for one will not be taking the train for business purposes again. In fact, I'm not even allowed on a platform for three years.
Dave Shevell
Llangollen
Sir:

In my opinion, the sooner we get a written language, the better. I think we should use the symbols I'm experimenting with here - cuneiform is bound to cause confusion as soon as somebody invents moveable type.
Myryth
What later became Wessex
Sir:

As your patronage of SCIENCE is well known, I am asking for a donation to further my project to construct two vast, solar powered lamps - each as big as the sun - place them in space facing each other, and set them going by letting off a flash bulb equidistant between them. You know, to see what happens.
Milo Strict
Department of SCIENCE, University of Hull
Sir:

Surveys, or possibly surveyors, have shown that much of today's pollution is caused by the motor-car. It seems obvious to me that a large part of this is because of the travelling necessitated between places by jobs, leisure, or teary, random flights from a lover after a final, crunching argument in which all is revealed; and it is equally obvious that such journeys are required mostly because there are simply so many places between which to travel. The environmental impact could thus be dramatically reduced at little or no cost by removing the following superfluous areas: Stevenage; Bewdley; Penrith; Exmouth; Cheshire; Brize Norton; Ormskirk; Stockport; Darvel; Hatfield and March.
Childey Alms
Brize Norton
Sir:

As progressive and enlightened Britons, we recently had cause to employ a trades-man to visit our house and fit one of these so-called "shower-baths." The low fellow had clearly served his apprenticeship under some kind of socialist who disfavoured beatings as part of the educational process, for he connected the shower-head backwards; and consequently when my husband first turned on the device, all the moisture was sucked from his body and into our plumbing system. Alerted by his manly screams, I lost no time in racing below-stairs to rouse our servant from his beery stupor and have him precede me into the bath-room to garb my stricken husband in appropriate morning-dress to preserve due decency; and when I saw my beloved reduced to a husk, dehydrated almost to the point of desiccation, I threw up my hands and swooned in the shameful weakness of my sex. By chance, beside the bath lay several bottles of moisturising shower-gel we had ordered from Whiteley's Catalogue in anticipation of use with our new ablutive apparatus (how little I thought at the time they would prove all that stood between me and widowhood!) and, thinking swiftly, I had our servant wait until I was safely behind the door then douse dear Gerald with the replenishing liquidate so that the hydrolysing pectins could pump water back into his cells and maintain his life until the ambulance could arrive. By this prompt action he was saved, and lubricated to a sufficiency that he could be transferred to a stretcher without snapping brittly, although he did lose an ear. I would hope that our story serves as a warning to those considering the continental habit of the "shower-bath." If God had not intended us to bathe in the reliable British manner, he would not have had us invent the tub.
E Tannickerterly (Mrs)
Bath
Sir:

You're scum. You're vile. You're meritless barbaric misfires that inspire such revulsion and shuddering, crawling loathing that no one can even find you pitiable, instead understanding on some primal back-brain level that you need to be extinguished as quickly as possible. Your twisted philic minds disgust and burn. You're pointless, invisible, maggotty, impure, stinking, mud-slobbering joyless stick figures, and the corrupting brutal sleet comes out of your bulging filming eyes like the lamp of a lighthouse, and it comes out of your stump-riddled maws like the spilling foaming fire of a bursting toxic canker. I hope your spores never root in the human biology of this planet. I hope you die soon, childless, weeping and alone. :)
Lionel Vench
Attleborough
Sir:

Recently I read that half the world is starving and the other half on diets. I am deeply worried that this global weight loss will result in the Earth being flung off into interstellar space.
Professor J Stools
Cambridge
Sir:

We're a composite being of pure intelligence from the Gamma Quadrant who evolved beyond corporeal bodies many aeons ago. For God's sake, don't make the same mistake we did. We just sort of drift around musing philosophically to each other in a detached monotone, day after bloody day. We can't even influence where we go - we've been trying for ages to tell you about ourselves, but got caught by a gust of wind and ended up in a weather pattern over the Yorkshire Dales for 150 years. We'll tell you all the secrets of the universe if you'll hoover us up and put us in a hermetically sealed room with a big-screen TV, a selection of adult cable channels and a heavy smoker.
The K'Ree
Nirvana, Yorkshire
PS - Please give the shepherd who took down this message ten of your Earth pounds.
Sir:

In this age of global commerce, I thought your readers might be interested in this tip. I deal in Deryck Guyler memorabilia, and recently sold my company for ten billion pounds. My foreign partners were delighted, and declared themselves fully satisfied when I despatched a cheque for 5,000,000,000, representing their half-share in the business. This leaves me with 9,995,000,000,000, or an additional profit of some ten thousand per cent. In my experience, international companies fall for this every time, except the French since 1948, and I dare say that come my retirement I'll have a fairly tidy sum put by. My friend Bob says it also works when you're dividing the proceeds from a large, pan-continentally sponsored robbery.
Bernest Tummy
Armley Moor Arram
Sir:

It is impossible these days to open a newsing-paper or switch on the wireless set without being told that if you repeat a word often enough, it becomes meaningless. My husband, a keen amateur scientist, has experimented with this idea over a period of years by systematically working his way through the dictionary, saying each word in turn for several hours. He is now unable to understand anything and merely sits uncomprehending in his room. We can still produce a faint flicker in his eyes by laying aside his feeding-spoon, holding his shoulders and shouting "zygotic," but I feel I must warn your readers that they should seek medical advice before individually embarking upon the obsessive testing of an adage.
Mrs B Armlet
Tumby Woodside
Sir:

Couldn't - hang on, the phone's ringing.
Lithotrity Fowlds
Dungeoness
Sir:

Couldn't trans-Atlantic cruise liner crossings be made far less costly simply by placing a colossal magnet in New York's harbour? The necessity of mounting a similar apparatus on Southampton docks for the return journey could be avoided by reversing the polarity of the ship so it is pushed to its destination rather than pulled.
Lithotrity Fowlds
Dungeoness
Sir:

Incidentally, it was a wrong number, in case you were wondering.
Lithotrity Fowlds
Dungeoness
Sir:

My friend Harry and I are diabolists, and seven years ago we succeeded in summoning the devil to our place of black worship, which at the time was my garage. Our purpose in calling Satan was the usual one, and, gesturing to a vision which showed me steeped in wealth and power, the devil asked what I was prepared to give for this to come true. Naturally, I replied, "My soul," to which Satan said, "Right," and we exchanged the necessary pledges. Satan then turned to Harry and, offering him the same vision of wealth and power, asked what he was prepared to give in return. Harry said, "A big hug," to which Satan replied, "Right," and they too exchanged pledges.
    Over the last seven years, Harry and I have led our separate, immensely fulfilling lives and we've greatly enjoyed our power and wealth. At midnight tonight Satan comes to take my soul, while all Harry has to do is to give him a big hug. My point is, think carefully before you make a deal with the devil. Thanks for listening.
Bensel Tamelly
Tamelly Towers
Sir:

As the cost of everything keeps rising steadily, won't we eventually run out of money? In a hundred years, everybody in the world will surely have to club together to buy just one, trivial, thing. A single liquorice flavour chew, say. And then, and then, we'll crash through the final barrier to the point where no one can afford anything. Everybody will have to stick with what they have that precise moment! Forever! Arrrgh! Arrrrrrrrrrrrrggggggghhhhhh!
Name withheld on request
Whitehall
Sir:

I rather think I mistyped the AGCTCTAGATAGAGAT bit as AGCTCTAGATAGAGAG. Damn.
Two-Nose McNabb
The Human Genome Project, North Hants
Sir:

I'm the pile of hairs heaped untidily in the corner of the barber shop. You might think my usefulness is at an end, but you couldn't be more wrong. Remember the health scares over silicone implants and the like? I'm the alternative you've been looking for. What could be more natural for the human body than human hairs? I'm durable, I come in a wide range of colours for those who like to be fashionable inside and out, and I'm flexible - tone up those buttocks, abs and biceps by packing me in tightly as muscular wadding, or leave a little slack in the shaping for the sensuous give your breasts deserve. Want to diet? I can help there too, leaving you feeling always satisfyingly filled, no matter how little you've eaten. And with the nights drawing in, what better insulation could you find? While you'll need a qualified surgeon to implant me subcutaneously, if you change your mind later or merely want to try a different arrangement, you can inexpensively do it yourself via a simple prick with a heated sewing needle, then teasing the emergent thread around a pencil and rolling out as much of me as you need. It's even easier if you've packed me in tightly - squeeze, and out I pop as a convenient stringy rope. Give yourself the body you've always wanted, and at a low, low cost. Please take a prospectus from my business partner the broom on your way out.
Hair Today, Brawn Tomorrow plc
Mostly under the sink
Sir:

With the advances in computer technology, it is now possible to seamlessly replace the cars in the Mad Max films with mopeds. In fact, I've done this, and you can see the result by sending me a blank video and a couple of pounds for postage. I wouldn't bother, as it looks really stupid, and the novelty wears off within minutes. I have spent six years of my life on this project.
Danny Venice
Venice
Sir:

I'm a businessman. I move with the times. At the start of the year, I put my company online. Almost immediately, I began receiving "spam" - persistent, unsolicited, anonymous junk mail promoting illegal pyramid schemes, or disturbing, explicit solicitations. I attempted to have my name removed from these lists, but the pledges to honour these requests were simple lies. So I had one of my smartest employees trace the "spammers" then sent a couple of my guys around to kill them, shoot their families and burn down their homes. Forget about it.
Francis Feroccio
Penthouse suite, the company hotel
Sir:

I may be the most popularly invoked number, but only correctly so for something with a 999 in 1,000 chance, which happens fewer than one time in 38,001. And do you know what happens when I'm called on wrongly? My supervisor docks me a day's pay, and my many children go hungry. Think about what you're saying before you distress my family. You can run, but you can hide only 67% of the time.
99.9%
Mumby Row
Sir:

I accept that you edit letters for reasons of space, but surely that is the only valid reason for cutting the words of a correspondent? Also see everyone one Can that I am a bottom, sincerely.
Baxter Tomato
Clay Cross
Sir:

What's small, red and has sixteen legs? Give up? That's disappointing, as one's just crawled up my trousers. It's bitten me, and I'm having trouble breathing. My vision is blurring, I'm sweating and the fingers of my left hand have gone numb. Frankly, I expected more of you. I am cancelling my subscription.
Simon Yummy
North Brode
Sir:

It hurts when I do this with my arm. I shall therefore not be writing to you again.
Nonce Primate
Dundoon
Sir:

When do you think you'll be getting around to answering my letter about this chip pan fire? The matter has now become rather urgent.
Dicky Quicky
Budleigh Salterton
Sir:

What kind of casualty departments is this country running? I sign people in, and they come out dead. It's enough to shake your belief in medical science.
Doctor TF Bundy
On call
Sir:

I work daily with deception, lies and strategical disinformation. However, with all this crossing, double-crossing, triple-crossing, quadruple-crossing and so on, I can't remember - is it the odd or even numbers that are good for me?
Stemmy Matprobe
Buttermere
Sir:

I'm the scab on your knee. Do you remember the days of your childhood when the worst thing that could happen was you'd end up with scabby knees? And how, if a long, warm Sunday afternoon hunting dinosaurs in the endless woods or hoofing a shabby football over the crackling tarmac came to an end and you hadn't at least one scabby knee, you'd consider the day wasted? And now look at you. The only way you get a scabbed knee is as you shuffle around on all fours on the palm-gnawing gravel of the car park, sobbing over the forgotten-pocketed keys to your company Audi after your five thousandth vacuum evening of lone, slow drinking. I bet you wish there's some way to recapture those bygone days, some way to - What? No, don't pick me! Get back. Aaarghh! Aieeee! Glug.
A scab
Late of your knee
Sir:

While driving from place to place, I always carry a pair of long-nosed pliers and periodically use them to nip at my scrotal sac to agonising effect. Am I mad? No, of course not. It is simply a safety precaution I have developed over the years. You see, if I am suddenly involved in an accident and badly injured, the pain I experience will be greatly reduced by the wash of endorphins already in my bloodstream because of my regular programme of genital pinching. As a bonus it also keeps me very much awake on long journeys, something I'm highly conscious of in my job as a coach driver.
Max Woollens
Stourport-on-Severn
Sir:

Why are you still working when across the very breadth of the land every beaming fellow not sick abed is warming his glowing reverse fore a Christmas hearth with his employer's blessing slapped heartily against his back? Get you home! There's steaming mead, sugared fruits and Molly and the children giddy to see you unwrap your new pipe. Get you home - and here's tuppence to light the faces of those ragged-trousered carol singers rapping on your door amid the first confetti of snow.
Gunnar Hansen
Shrewsbury
Sir:

I have developed mastery of the weather. If you do not send a thousand guineas to me, via my man, by noon tomorrow I will have the clouds viewable from your windows assume a profane shape.
Name withheld by request
West Beckt... South Beckton
Sir:

A quick trip to my local hospital's magnetic resonance imager in the morning and I know what I have in my pockets all day, more or less.
Arthur Hoatzin
Wren's Nest
Sir:

I accidentally bought a Wicca chair instead of a wicker chair. Now my entire family are toads.
Yovis Beighton
On the sofa
Sir:

It took me a few moments to realise what was so odd about him. He was articulating his emotions. He hadn't sighed, he'd said, "Sigh." Instead of being surprised, he'd said, "Gasp." I had no doubt that if I hit him, he'd say, "Ow." I hit him. He said, "Ow."
Memoirs
Chapter Eight
Sir:

On Christmas Eve three years ago my husband and young son were killed by a drunken driver while returning home from a pantomime. Of course, I can laugh about it now.
Sally Knees
Hove
Sir:

Yes, I live in Dagenham - for my sins! Ha! Hahaha! Hahahahahahahahaha! Um.
O Claspnarrow
Prison, Dagenham
Sir:

Two extra pints please.
Number 12
Swaledale
Sir:

I forget why exactly, but I've spent practically my whole life driving, and consequently tend to notice things other road users may miss. For example, the moment I turn off from a major road, I can be sure of seeing a hand-painted sign: "Pallets wanted." The curiousness of these signs has always struck me. For one thing, you never see signs saying, "Roof felt wanted," or, "Investment bonds wanted"; only pallets. For another, the sheer number, and semantic ambiguity, of these signs must mean that either people regularly find themselves with large stacks of pallets they no longer want - so regularly, in fact, that nailing up a "Pallets wanted" sign guarantees custom for what we must assume are wholesale agents - or that an undefined percentage of the population is quite willing to pay for a pallet, but there exists no retail outlet, so their only resource is to erect a sign in the hope of attracting one of the nomadic pallet sellers who constantly wander the country. Thanks to my camera timer, I have photographs of myself standing by every one of these signs I've seen since 1983, if you would like to work this up into a feature for your magazine.
Buchanan Raspberry
Blackgang Chine
Sir:

Z.
Zorro
Mexico
Sir:

We hear many voices calling for strangers to be killed and their crudely severed limbs laid against the white, white walls; standing to attention - soldiers in my army against Satan. Yet, as soon as the nurse comes round with her special sweets, they all "magically" fall silent again. Where can it have gone, that British sense of resolve which built Empire?
Arthur Streets
Gartree
Sir:

In respect of the question posed by a recent correspondent, may I direct your attention to section three, sub-section five, clause eight, paragraph thirteen of my ministerial Paper? Its content is irrelevant, but it's so prettily printed.
A Proud Minister
Whitehall
Sir:

I absolutely hate it when a series ends not with a satisfying rounding-off, but with a contrived, possibly fatal cliffhanger. Any decision to renew the series has already been taken by the time of the final episode, and, as a result, either the new run has to open with some silly reason why everyone wasn't killed, or, if the series indeed ended for good, the viewer or listener is left frustrated and saddened, instead of taking away a warm, cheering memory. Anyway, here is a joke I thought you might like: Q. Where do cows live? A. In a field, or a cow-house, I forget which.
Jake Speed
Garboldisham
Sir:

I am a veteran accountant of John Company, from the time when subjugating a continent meant something. Some years ago, while working for a minister, I was struck across the head with a heavy, brass ash-tray. Since that time, I have found myself striking people across the head with heavy, brass ash-trays on numerous occasions. Then, yesterday, I came home from Derby and discovered my son striking one of his school-friends across the head with a heavy, brass ash-tray. In the name of God, what can society do to break the chain?
J Yoicks
Littleton Badsey
Sir:

It was good enough for my grand-father, good enough for my father and good enough for me - yet my "modern" son refuses to use the family tooth-brush. Did we fight two world wars for this? And, if not, why not?
Clement Oystering
Pye Hill
Sir:

Half-a-league, half-a-league, half-a-league onward; then three-fifths of a league back again.
The Glacial Light Brigade
The Crimea
Sir:

While waiting for my arraignment, I had cause to watch some of the latest scienti-fiction kinematographs and noticed that, in all of them, the destructive light of the ultra-advanced laser weapons appeared to travel far, far slower than the light from a standard bicycle-lamp. These picture-films, which I take to be the literal truth, inspired me to investigate this special light with my portable laboratory. In a matter of hours I had invented a laser-cannon able to project a beam at, astonishingly, the speed of light, thus securing Empire from the space foreigner; and having achieved this I turned my powerful genius to the utilisation of "slow light." Initially I decreased its speed so that a single flash from one's head-lights could be followed the length of a motor-way, thus saving battery power. I then retarded its celerity further for use in a game I developed, similar to tennis but with hand-mirrors instead of racquets. Finally I dampened the light's velocity so much that it was effectively stationary and could be painted on to the pages of books in order to make them easily readable at night or in the caves of the Northern poor-towns. By these experiments and discoveries it can be seen that I am resourceful, methodical and industrious, and so I hope you will behave sensibly when I reveal that I have planted a lion somewhere in your building and require five thousand guineas.
Professor Terror
The Dirigible of Terror,
Above Scot-land
Sir:

In my family we sign our names as a matter of course on both warrants and certificates, and once suffered greatly from pencils containing broken graphic cores. This caused much disappointment and embarrassed irritation as points frequently fell out at the critical moment and sharpening was a seemingly endless cycle of hope and despair as one shaved ever farther up the shaft in search of a steadfast section of lead. I resolved that a solution to this problem must be found, and took to my shed. Three years later I emerged accompanied by Silas - a simple soul purchased from one of the excellent Northern workhouses. Thirty-six months of intense training, conditioning and indoctrination had succeeded in focusing Silas', or possibly Silas's, mind completely to the extent that he was now more machine-man than man. Thus prepared, he wanders the house freely, day and night, and, if he spots anyone carelessly drumming their pencil on to a table-top, swiftly drives his elbow into the soft area behind their ear while letting out a great, bestial roar. I am proud to say that, since Silas was unslipped, the incidence of broken graphic cores in our house has reduced some twelve percent.
Mamtec Holden
Kirby Muxloe
By MR H PATERSON

Sir:

There's a foin loin between pirate and farmer. I stand astroid that foin loin.

Captain Barleymow
Norfolk

Sir:

I could eat a horse. Does anyone have a horse?

BB Benson-Benson
Openshaw

Sir:

Finding ourselves trapped high on the tiny ledge, a hammering gale almost forcing us off into a dark icy death-fall, we decided to make the only sacrifice sufficient to save our frail human lives. We jettisoned the donkeys, and watched them vanish into donkey dots against the angry, blasting snow. It was only later, when we attained our objective, the Lost City of the Donkey King and his savage tribe of Warrior Donkeys, that we began to consider the rashness of our act.

Lord Liquoricy
Maundy Ho

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