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 track suit trousers suitable for going shopping.

Arnold Flugelhorn, name & address withheld


Dear Arnold,

All sports and leisurewear items are in great demand. According to the latest government advice, should jogging bottoms become scarce, it is perfectly acceptable to sew face masks together for local trips to the store. This may be a manufacturing opportunity too good to miss. You will need between 75 and 150 masks per pair, depending on the customer's arse size.



Dear Mr.Guano,

you’ve always given sound advice on how to listen to Radio 4 (see below-ed), who could forget your marvellous instructions about exactly when to turn off the Archers theme tune?* Would you care to comment on the correct etiquette regarding the number of bars one should allow to play prior to switching off a Cat Stevens record, chosen presumably mistakenly, on Desert Island Discs? Asking for my cleaner.


Dear Mr.Rankle,
First of all, congratulations on finding a cleaner who hates Cat Stevens - let's face it, domestic staffing problems can hardly be said to have improved under the current circumstances!
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. The heartfelt vocal then begins, and here's 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!

I received this enquiry (on scented notepaper) from Mrs Caroline Spatchcock of Mildew-on-the-Hoof:

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 sufficient to determine that your husband’s example contains 29 letters, whereas yours contains only 28. However, you are both wrong vis-a-vis the English language’s most protracted word. That honour belongs, at a stunning 45 letters, to (takes deep, ironic breath): Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilico-volcanoconiosis, a respiratory disease, affectionately dubbed blacklung, which affected coal miners. In many cases unfortunately, by the time the doctor had finished telling them what they had, they were dead.



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


Lena Morova of Inner Thyghe writes, with an all too common query.

Dear Mr. Guano
(or may I call you Bird?)

when, if ever, is it permissible to wear a hat in a sauna?


Dear Ms Morova (or may I call you poppet?),

wearing a hat in a sauna is perfectly acceptable, assuming that the sauna’s rear tappet washers are fully charged, and the spring-link connecting the westinghouse collar to the no.3 tappet valves are able to generate enough pressure (250 psu or greater), otherwise the low hat-steam ratio will almost always result in wilting. There are, however, no circumstances when it is ever ok to wear a French beret, a fireman’s helmet, or a Coldstream Guardsman’s busby in a sauna.



Roger Lilliput of Beyondenden writes;

Dear Bird,

I take plenty of vigorous exercise, sleep under a horse and have consumed a litre of whale sperm every morning for over forty years. Whilst up to now my strict dietary regime has kept me in rude health, I have recently begun to suffer from scurvy, and wondered; might there be a connection?


Dear Roger,

scurvy is more commonly associated with pre-18th century sailors who were deprived of vitamin C, (ironically, at sea). Although whale sperm is an excellent source of vitamin E, it will not, unlike lemon juice or rhesus monkey spleen, provide the vital vitamin you lack. Lying under a horse may temporarily deprive you of sunlight and vitamin D, but is unlikely to diminish your vitamin C levels. Look at it this way, Hastings Pirate Day is coming soon, and with a genuine case of scurvy you will tower above the competition.



Many people have written asking my advice concerning the precise time to switch off "The Archers" theme tune when it  pops up unexpectedly on your kitchen radio. So here it is:


Dumdy dumdy dumdy dum

dumdy dumdy doo-dah

dumdy dumdy dumdy dum

dum de diddledy (OFF)

I hope this has cleared things up.