The forum where readers express their  views.

The editors hereby reserve the right to intefere with content in order to get cheap laughs at your expense


Dear Bird Guano,

To cope with clothing shortages during this pandemic, I decided to get the sewing machine out of the loft and have a crack at garment manufacture. I started off making gloves for key workers, but couldn’t seem to get the number of fingers right. Since most joggers have two legs, an easy number to remember, I took the decision to branch out into lower body leisurewear. I would appreciate  any tips you could give me for manufacturing pants-based leisure wear at home. I am particularly referring to the type of tracksuit trousers suitable for going shopping.

Arnold Flugelhorn, name & address withheld


Dear Arnold,

All sports and leisurewear items are currently in great demand. According to the latest government advice, it is perfectly acceptable, should jogging bottoms become scarce, to sew face masks together for essential trips. You may have stumbled on a manufacturing opportunity too good to miss here. You will need between 75 and 150 face masks per pair of leisure slacks, depending on the customer's arse size. All you need is a decent business plan.



Dear Mr.Guano,

you’ve always given sound advice on how to listen to Radio 4. Who could forget your marvellous instructions about exactly when to turn off the Archers theme tune?* I was wondering, would you care to advise me on the correct etiquette regarding the number of bars one should allow to play prior to switching off a Cat Stevens record?  Asking for my cleaner.


Dear Mr.Rankle,
Let's face it, domestic staffing problems can hardly be said to have improved under the current circumstances, so first of all congratulations on finding a cleaner who hates Cat Stevens.
Viz-a-viz your enquiry, the best advice I can give would be to offer an example. Let us take Cat's famous syrupy dirge Father & Son which begins with four bars of deceptively innocent guitar strumming. Directly after the heartfelt vocal begins, here is how you should proceed:
"It's not..." (OFF).
If we include the intro that would be four and a half bars. Power users however may well recognise what is coming and initiate termination during the first bar. Practice makes perfect!


Dear sir,
I think I can add something to the ongoing debate regarding red and grey squirrels. During the war, with many of our brave lads fighting at the front, there was a shortage of featherweight boxers, and red squirrels were often used instead. Owing to their short stature, they usually died during round one, either by being trodden on by the referee, or torn to pieces by the angry crowd, who had paid their 30 shillings (£7,000 in today's decimal rubbish), in the mistaken belief that they were about to witness slightly-built men kicking lumps out of each other. I believe this to be the true reason for the red squirrel's demise, and not, as some have suggested, alien abduction.

Paul "Battler" Hastings
Cranium House,




Dear Sargasso Life (sic),
Re the recent red vs grey squirrel controversy (I thought I said no more squirrels-ed), your recent correspondent who suggested dyeing all the grey squirrels red, is barking (up the wrong tree). The undyed and dyed greys would simply wipe each other out, leaving no squirrels at all. A far better idea would be to dye the remaining red ones grey.
The Rev Matahari Musselini
The Church of Religious Intolerence
Trickledown, Indiana

I received this enquiry (on scented notepaper) from Mrs Caroline Spatchcock of Cockmarlin


Dear Dr Guano,

please settle an argument. My husband says that the longest English word is floccinaucinihilipilification, whereas I maintain it is antidisestablishmentarianism, who is right?

Dear Mrs Spatchcock,

a simple character count would have been sufficient to determine that your husband’s example contains 29 letters, whereas yours contains only 28. However, vis-a-vis the English language’s most protracted word, you are both wrong. That honour belongs, (at a stunning 45 letters), to Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilico-volcanoconiosis, a respiratory disease colloquially dubbed blacklung, which affected coal miners.

Ironically, in most cases by the time the doctor had finished telling them what they had, they were dead









 The precise moment to switch off when the thing pops up, inevitably, on your kitchen radio:


Dumdy dumdy dumdy dum

dumdy dumdy doo-dah

dumdy dumdy dumdy dum

dum de diddledy (OFF)


hope this has cleared things up.