Navigation  >>  The Carbuncle Web Site  >>  Carbuncle Corner  >>  The Correspondence Column

Carbuncle Corner      Carbuncle Correspondence Column

This is where you can get to have your say published to the world, on anything that you've found in Carbuncle Corner, or within it; Nick Harvey's Comment, The Old Groaner, Places of Interest, Telecommunications Topics, Silicon Village Nostalgia or previous Carbuncle Correspondence.  Letters may be selected or edited for publication.   It will be assumed that your e-mail address should not be published, unless you state otherwise.  Updates will normally occur within 48 hours of receipt of mail.

Write to Carbuncle Corner Write to Carbuncle Corner 

Update 20th April 2023

Mr Harvey, 

Love the website. This last true bastion of the internet that I, a 26 year old millennial, finds vaguely familiar from my childhood. How does one keep this sanctuary of the 90s internet so...90s? 


It's easy, Mr Blubatt.

It's down to not updating it very often.

See the date of the last letters update below!.

Update 1st March 2009

"There's the TV licence people with brains like sebaceous cysts
And operators who to your demands of help resist

There's the psychics on the radio who buggered up and thus,
the rumour of their "powers" we have no need to discuss

And Tesco men who send their texts most probably whilst pissed,
they'd none of them be missed, they'd none of them be missed... "

All the best


Not Ronnie Gilbert by any strange chance?

I love it!

Update 1st June 2008

Mr. Harvey.

There was me thinking the whole world was now residing in the flats built halfway up Mr. Oliver's bottom, when all of a sudden someone actually remotely important is against his rampage of twatishness.

Good on you old sport, good to see you're still writing.

All the best.

Mr. Rowlands of Metropol.

Well, kind Sir, I do like the way you refer to me as someone actually remotely important.

It's nice to know you appreciate the finer writings of the world.  As from next month, please consider yourself promoted from the third row, next to the nice, beige cardigan lady, into the first.

As to your specific words about the specific gentleman to whom you specifically refer, my lawyers advise me to distance myself from them, just on the off chance that the flats concerned turn out to be called Ronan Point.

Update 3rd September 2007

Mr. Harvey.

My name is Othant Howell, and I am your newly-appointed quality controller pertaining to the position of checking the quality of the digressions in each month's Nick Harvey's Comment. I hope that we will work well together in bringing digressions to an amount that is entertaining but yet not such that it will cause drowsiness.

Any complaints about myself or my quality of quality should be sent, with a stamped addressed envelope, to my present boss, the Quality Controller of Quality Control of Nick Harvey's Comment, Portsmouth. However, I would advise against sending such a letter immediately, as when he is in a bad mood he seems to have as much humour as a glow-in-the-dark second-hand house brick.

Yours sincerely,

Orthant Jan Howell.

There you are, you see, folks.

I told you there were too many of the little blighters.  They're popping up everywhere now.

They ought to be kept in check, in my opinion.

Update 12th August 2007

Mr Harvey.

I wholeheartedly agree with your analysis of the government's health education policy.  The ever-encroaching "Nanny State" attitude seems to remove all enjoyable elements from our diet.

Rather than spend millions of pounds of tax-payers' money explaining what we shouldn't eat, perhaps the government should simply issue recipe leaflets informing us of the ingredients for the "healthy gruel" we are permitted eat without fear of instant death from previously unforeseen ailments.

Stuart (Metropol).

And another one joins the clan!  Yet more greetings!

Indeed, some days it seems gruel is about all they want us to eat.  Perhaps the plan is to get us all addicted to the stuff; then they can introduce a gruel tax to replace all the revenue they've just lost from the smokers?

Update 1st August 2007

Completely agree with you on the so-called health experts.  I also find that the weight watcher's stuff is more expensive and doesn't taste as nice as everything else.  My advice to lose weight would be:- "Don't eat much! Skip a lunch or something!".

Hey-ho.  Keep writing, Nick.

Best regards

Ronnie (Metropol).

It's seems to be all newcomers of late.  Welcome along to the mad house, Ronnie.

I'm glad you found your way through the new maze that is writing to Carbuncle.  Hopefully that will keep me slim by reducing my intake of pork luncheon meat.

I've never quite managed to work out why less fat always equals more cost, but you're spot on in what you say.

Update 7th July 2007

We have just come back from a trip to Switzerland through France and I couldn't agree more. On the way back we got lost in Dijon and wanted to get back to the A31 Autoroute but, after following numerous signs for Troyes we end up on the N71, except it's not called the N71 but N71? take your choice.  Eventually arriving at Troyes we tried to find the way to A26 Autoroute, and after asking a gendarme the way we were directed there with with many gesticulations and lots of eee aawws, eee aawws.

Oh how happy we are now, bombing up the Autoroute to the Eurotunnel, but then the rains came down.  But there's no blooming cats eyes, just faded white lane lines and dazzling signs in the headlights.

Arriving 4 hours early for our train we were informed that to catch an earlier train would cost an extra 172 euros.  Stuff that.  We went for a cup of tea and in walks another Frenchie shouting "anyone for Grand Bretagne".  Sticking our finger nervously in the air we were told "come now".  So we did get our earlier train for no extra cost.  So next year it's Scotland, where they don't speak English either.

Sandra and Tony.

And yet more newcomers, welcome to you two as well.

I see you've been reading the page on France in Places of Interest.  It was written a fair few years ago, now, but I'm pleased to hear it's still as true today.

Update 8th February 2007

Splendid stuff!

The reference to that American character who would not be out of place in a Gerry Anderson series is particularly splendid. Why is it that his half-brother Tony Bliar seems to think that we Brits could take the lead in being green and saving the ozone layer and hence the planet, when the yanks and chinks don't give one? Perhaps he can sleep better at night when he has put out his empties in the recycling box.

As for metricishness, if you are so keen on the old mint imperial system, how do you talk about those long insecty things with a hundred or even a thousand legs? Are they footipedes or onefootsixipedes?

And as for a pint being a pint, don't you think it sounds so much better and European to pop in the local pub and ask for half a litre. Whenever I'm out and my friends ask me what I'm drinking I say "Mine's half a litre of the landlord's best please". It'll come, just watch out. Give 'em an inch and they'll take a mile....sorry give 'em two and a half centimetres and they'll take a kilometre.......


Aha!  Another newcomer to welcome along.  We're having a busy month here.

I do like your logic with the insecty things, though most of the ones I tend to find seem to be out in my back yard.

You know, yard, yardipede, geddit?  Oh well, it was worth a try!

And I don't think we'll even visit the one I once found climbing up the device you use to flush the toilet.

Update 6th February 2007

Infamous, *sulks*.

Anyhoo, apparently there's more snow to come according to Sky news weather (or as it's affectionately known in my house 'Jackanory').  Just wondering if it's going to lay round my neck of the woods.  If so, it could hinder my trip to France for my booty at the weekend.  Seriously, an inch or 2 of snow round here and the transport networks seem to grind to a halt.  What with operation stack etc.  Don't tell me to let the train take the strain.  I just cannot do the channel tunnel.  The Dartford tunnel gives me the eeby jeebies.

Righto, I'm off now to dust off my sledge.

The infamous Miss H from Kent. *throws snowball @ you*

Ah, Miss H, welcome aboard the mad house which is Carbuncle Corner.

If you're off in the direction of booty, sur le continent, at the weekend, I trust there'll be a bottle of finest red under your arm on your return, for yours truly.

I'll send you the delivery instructions in a sealed envelope.

Update 11th November 2006

As ever, great stuff Nick!

I do recall in the eighties, you had the perfect boat race for radio, now you have the perfect face for internet blogging!



As I said to Mr Lane, below, your comments are most appreciated, I think!

I shall give the serious matter of retaliation my most urgent consideration before responding further!

It'll have to be just a half pint of that disgustingly exotic lager, I buy you the next time

Update 15th October 2006

What wit!

What repartee!

What comment!

Or should that be:

What wit?

What repartee?

What comment?

Exactly Mrs.

Actually, this rambling through misty fruit sherbets and Mellow Birds™ was a delightful hop around the autumnal landscape and whiled away a minute or two.  Quite one of the best yet.

And I can smell the wood smoke from here.  Or is that another premature firework being ejaculated through the letter box?

Anyway, chin chin me old mellow fruit...

M. Lane Esq

Ah, Mister Lane, or should I call you Maurice?

Your comments are most appreciated, I think!

It's definitely wood smoke, but I would recommend checking in what state that gas man left your rafters!

Update 9th July 2006

Hello Nick!

I see that 5˝ years have passed since I achieved the distinction of being first on your correspondence page.  Since then I have sold my house, and changed retirement flats twice.  It now totals 16 years since I retired, and present activities include a darts evening, a cards evening, coffee mornings, and erratic poetry meetings.

The latter may sound mundane, but we have had society outings, a theatre poetry show, and each month we have a pub 'do' with poetry and folk music.  Occasionally very young people are allowed in with their mums and dads for the first hour to read their short verses, and last time I reciprocated with my poems on The Mad Hatter's Tea Party and The Little Majorette for their benefit.  Where possible I like to get the audience to join in.

With regard to phone number formats, I find it is a losing battle.  Portsmouth and Southampton both have the area code 023 (Solent City?), but now that the BT engineers have been superseded by OFCOM managers, Portsmouth gets misquoted as 02392 xxxxxx and 023 (92) xxxxxx as well.  I believe that the intention is to make one dial all the digits, even locally, as you have to with a personal/mobile phone.

Your July comment about TV brings my own gripes.  Did John Logie intend it to be used to show layabouts sleeping it off (Big Brother) or for flimsily-clad females trying to lure us into ringing expensive phone numbers with answers to silly questions?  I remember when TV brought entertainment - Sunday Night at the Palladium - Palace of Varieties - Top Town - several sitcoms - and best of all, Trade Test Transmission with uninterrupted tuneful music and a nice test card.

However, you may care to do your own article on entertainment, and "where did it go?"


Cliff Blake

Good to hear from you again, Cliff; glad you're doing okay.

I too despair of the presentation of practically any telephone number which begins "02".  Nobody seems to understand where the codes end and the numbers begin, plus the fact that the numbers seem to get bunched into completely random sized groups when displayed.

There's a further problem with "Solent City West", however.  As a regular Comment reader, you'll know how I hate wrong numbers.  My home number happens to be 01380 xxx xxx.  The latest set of confused callers we keep getting are those who really want 023 80xx xxxx, where the last six digits are the same.  When I tell them they've mis-dialled, the usual response is that they only think London has numbers starting "02".

As to current television, I agree.  There's very little worth watching; and when there is, it's all on the same night and you need a stack of video recorders to catch it all.  If you've got satellite, a much maligned channel which I enjoy much of the output on is BBC 2W on channel 991.  It's worth checking out.

Update 3rd September 2005

Hello Nick,

Long time reader, first time e-mailer here.

With regards to your comment in September about the state of our roads, I'd like to tell you that inept county councils don't just exist in the home counties, oh no.

In a place known as Pembrokeshire, there lies a little village close to the sea.  In this village I used to live up until around two years ago, but alas I moved away to slightly more civilised surroundings in the big city around 100 miles to the east.

In this little village on one warm July afternoon in 2003, the local council came along and completely resurfaced the road and painted on new white lines all within the space of a couple of hours. I was most impressed.

Exactly one week later, I drove into the village to find the whole road covered with road cones and hairy men equipped with JCB's and spades.  They were digging up the whole lot. When they finished, they filled in the hole, and now there's a long black line on the road stretching right through the village and beyond.

Maybe it's the sea air!

Mr P.

Welcome aboard, Sir.  Glad you finally put fingers to keyboard.  You'll fit in perfectly; we're an odd crowd here, as I expect you've realised by now.

I'll take a pound to a pinch of doggy-doo that exactly the same will happen to the roads round this way in the next couple of weeks as well.

As far as I know, if a brand new road gets built, there are rules that it can't be dug up for a certain number of months.  Why on earth can't they have the same rules after a resurfacing, I wonder?

As for your last paragraph, which I didn't publish in case you couldn't afford that big a round, don't worry, I haven't forgotten!  Now, that'll have 'em confused, won't it?

Update 7th June 2005

Hello, me again.

Continuing the saga of my friend, the Austin A35 pick-up and The Cambridge Folk Festival.

This gentleman was in the habit of purchasing a 1 gallon bottle of Chianti as a suitable beverage to consume during the festival.  I'm sure your enlightened readers are aware of the type of vessel that contained said beverage?  I remember they used to appear in all those Bistro style Italian restaurant in the '70's and '80's, converted into lamp standards. (Though filled with sand and NOT Chianti!)

The problem with this type of bottle is the shape and weight.

When the level of beverage falls to about one bottle it is very difficult to pour it out. You see the weight is such that if you try to lift it by the neck, it breaks off, thus spilling the precious fluid inside.

The solution? Simple.

You lie down, rest the bulbous end of the bottle on your ankles and applying the open end to your mouth, you raise your legs, CAREFULLY!

Needless to say, if you are too vigorous in the leg lifting, you end up with a Chianti shower and are then pursued by dozens of thirsty Italians!

Needless to say, on the way back from the Cambridge Folk Festival, my friend became thirsty.

Pulling into a convenient lay-by, he opened both front doors of his A35, laid across the seats and proceeded to apply the approved Chianti drinking method!

"Hello, hello, hello, what's going on here then?"

I would have thought it was obvious!



Words fail me!

Update 3rd May 2005

Hi Mr Comment.

As always I enjoyed the May edition of Comment, especially as I use the buses in Swindon from time to time.  I must say they are fairly reliable here in the "big smoke,"  when the timetable says 15.30 the no 19 arrives around that time (give or take a few mins).  Pity the same can't be said for more rural transport.

I would love to give up my 2 jags for a bus pass but I wouldn't get far would I?  Perhaps the next government can sort that one out!  Here's to the monster raving no such party exists party!


Nice to see someone was on-time in reading the latest edition.

I was partaking of alcoholic beverages with him, from down below, who had to be reprimanded, yesterday evening and he hasn't even bothered yet this month.  Terrible chap!

Update 27th April 2005


Your ramblings about things past awoke a memory in me. (No not THAT one!)

I once shared a house with a gentleman who owned an Austin A35 pick-up.  You know, one of those saloon cars without the loon bit on the back, just an open space for placing objects, which then bounced around all over the place.

The said vehicle was equipped with a starting handle.

One dark and stormy night he took a wrong turn on his way back from the Cambridge Folk Festival.

While he was doing a seven point turn to re-trace his steps he was unfortunate enough to bury the exhaust pipe in a bed of compacted mud, thus blocking same.

A few hundred yards down the road the engine choked itself to death on exhaust fumes.

Having ascertained the problem, he decided that the best way to un-block the pipe was by using the starting handle, which happened to be exactly the right size for the job.

While he was furiously turning the handle at what was obviously the wrong end of the vehicle, a blue light appeared.

'Hello, hello, hello. Would you mind breathing into this bag please sir?'

So, as you see, starting handles can be used for many purposes. I won't tell you what he did next!



Love it!

A bit late in the month, though, if I may say so; there'll be another one along on Sunday; Comment, that is, not A35.

Update 22nd March 2005


It occurs to me that we haven't heard from Mr Gloom for some time.  Do you think that some of his palm trees have fallen on him? Or is he just ignoring us?

I was in the Battalion Town the other day and an event occurred which brought back memories of one of your earlier flights of fancy.

Do you recall a comment written about the Big Red Bus Company in Devon?

Well I saw one of their vehicles in said town, and I think we should be able to prosecute them under the Trades Description Act.

It wasn't big and it wasn't red, it was yellow! I would also like to know what it was doing in Wiltshire? Was it lost?

I know that with your enquiring mind we'll get to the bottom of this.



Ah, the absence of Mr Gloom could be for either of the reasons you've put forward above, or, of course, Her Majesty might still be getting some pleasure out of detaining him; we'll probably never know.

As for the colour of your bus, don't worry about it, you can't rely on anything to do with colours in that town.   This might generate a note or two from the ranks of the politically correct department, but why on earth did they station THAT particular regiment there?  Surely there aren't too many ethnic minority locals to keep an eye on?

Update 9th March 2005


'Tis I.

I think you'll find that a photograph of the winner of the junior noughts and crosses championship was used as a BBC test card for ages.

I think I will start a campaign to bring back the test card and the excruciating music that went with it.

Also, I am just old enough to remember the little white dot you used to get on the Idiot's Lantern when you switched it off!

I had positively wonderful minutes of fun watching that!

You don't get entertainment like this any more do you?

Bring back the real things in life that's what I say!



And wonderful value for money that test card was, was it not?  Three cheers for the BBC!  I'm sure it was the clown who won, however.

As you're into the real things in life, choke controls on motor cars, telephones with dials and the like, might I give advance warning that you'll be overjoyed at the content of the next edition of Comment, on April 1st.  I'll say no more now, for fear of spoiling the surprise.

Update 8th March 2005

Dear Sir.

Could there be any coincidence in you analysing regional variations of words and the current BBC campaign on dialects and accents?

If it is planned then I say "What great planning and will you be doing something on the lesser spotted beetle for the BBC's forthcoming Springwatch?"


Mark (I always pay the licence fee) Jones

No doubt about it, I'm definitely planning to do something for the lesser spotted beetle if I see it, stamp on it!  And I might just stamp on Mr Oddie if I see him, as well.

Bring back the decent programmes, I say.  When will we be seeing the rest of the final of the junior girls noughts and crosses championship, I want to know?

Update 22nd February 2005

What can I say?  In fact what can I say?  Oh yes, sorry memory failing again!

I totally loved this Comment, I haven't laughed so much in ages.  It takes me back to the halcyon days, when as a young whippersnapper, I would listen to Comment on what was then my favourite radio station.

Now I'm off to read the others.

Mark Jones

Mr Jones, Sir; nice to have you aboard and glad you enjoyed this month's epistle.

You've got a bit of catching up to do, I'm afraid, as the online versions stretch back to November 2000.  Gone are the days of this week's episode being lost for ever as next week's got recorded over the top of the same bit of tape!

Update 21st January 2005

Hello, it's me.

I would like to say that it is nice to see you back, but I won't.

'Tis of vouns and nerbs I speak.

The American disease is striking again.  In America, EVERY noun can be verbed.

Here is the latest, (from an Englishman no less!)

As you know I tend to spend my waking hours tying to inculcate a little knowledge into young minds. I received a missive from one of the examining bodies.  I will précis it for you.

In the particular course of which I speak, the students are awarded either a Distinction, a Merit, or a Pass. The particular missive, which arrived this week, refers to a Distinction level student as 'Distinctive'.

Does this therefore mean that a Merit level student is Meritive and a Pass level student is Passive?

Nothing much changes then!

Is it me or has the world gone mad?

Regards and happy New Year.


Indeed, Sir, you are totally correct.  Nothing much changes, especially the jokes.  I share the view expressed in your second paragraph and return it whence it came!

The world is, indeed going mad; I note that we now appear to even have the verb "to verb"; I'm afraid my only reaction is from the verb "to vomit"!

And (let's break ALL the rules and commence with a conjunction), a good New Year to your good self too.

Update 16th December 2004

It's no good, I can catnap no more.

I have awoken from me slumbering deep in the Land of Nod, (a situation I found myself in after ascending the wooden stairs to bed-fordshire) to ascertain that Nick Harvey is, indeed, still without Comment.

It's now December the 15th or something and I am on the periphery of my saddle waiting for that smiling, red-faced, bearded bloke of the north to convey to me a sackful of drollness and observation.

With much sincerity during these jolly times,


What was that sign that used to adorn the noticeboard in a place we both used to frequent, long, long ago?  Did it not have engraved upon it the text "Never let the truth get in the way of a good story"?  Not to mention the fact that I did use all the "allegedly" type words below; things like "planning to aim to consider" and "possibly".

In any case, albeit half a month late, your wish has been granted with much drollness and observation to propel you from your periphery, headlong into unbridled jollity.

Update 8th November 2004


When can we have a new comment from Mr Nick?  Surely he must have something witty up his trouser leg to entertain us.

You see, reading my own comments (at is beginning to depress me.  Also, they are strangely familiar.

Sincerely yours


My goodness, almost a year since the last letter!  Now, I wonder if I can remember how do do this answering lark?

What I need to know for a start is how you found out that people laugh at what's up my trouser leg.  You've been talking to 'er indoors again, haven't you?

I'm planning to aim to consider producing a new edition of Comment for 1st December; possibly even 1st December THIS year, if you're lucky.  You see, I've been so busy reading the words of wisdom at (just how many 13amp plugs can we manage in this piece, I wonder?) that I'd completely forgotten to restart my own words after their short hiatus.

I'll see what I can do for you, Sir.

Update 9th December 2003

Guess who!

Sorry not been around, but I have been in Russia trying to flog them Palm Trees.

Well if a Ruskie will buy Chelsea FC they will buy anything or so I thought.  In the end I had to swap um for some frozen potatoes (and when they say frozen they mean frozen).

So as soon as I can find a giant blow torch it will be chips all round.


Ah, merry December, Sir, I trust you've read below.

That Godot fellow seems to be looking for a Christmas Tree out of your lock-up!

Update 14th October 2003

Hello, me again!

A thought occurs to me.

I know that Mr Gloom is into palm trees in a big way. Does he have a line on Christmas trees?

If so, is he taking orders? Remember the season of slurping, stuffing and snow will soon be upon us.

Do you act as his agent?  If so, I would suggest that you hurry him up with the advertising otherwise your return will be a great deal smaller than usual!



No, I refuse to do the "hello you" joke again, it's looking as worn out as Gloom's palm trees.

If memory serves (and you obviously haven't read the Pantomime in the Nostalgia section), it was back in 1992 that Mr Gloom was last entrusted to produce a Christmas tree.

Given his total ineptitude on that occasion, I doubt we would see very much improvement eleven years on, so I think I'll pass on the "wonderful" opportunity of becoming his agent, if you don't mind.

Update 13th October 2003

Hello, it's me again!

I am confused.

I always thought that TOGS were seasoned devotees of a certain radio programme which appears on 88-91fm, and terminates at 09:30 hrs? (I don't know when it starts as I'm never up (or down) in time.)

Can you elucidate please?



Ah, hello confused; what an odd name!

If you want me to elucidate in public, you'll have to promise to tidy up afterwards.

One is tempted to question whether, if your initial theory is correct, it follows that GOGS are seasoned devotees of a certain radio programme which appears on 106.8fm in central and north Wiltshire, and terminates at midnight?

That plug, being of the 13amp variety, will cost you a VERY large red wine at our next meeting!

Update 7th October 2003


I am looking for a duvet that has 12 tog on the left and 4 tog on the right - stitched together - so the wife can have her side and me mine.

So where do I get something like that then?

J L Andrews

Now there's an interesting question, Mr Andrews.  I take it one of you is hot stuff in the night, but the other is a bit frigid!

You seem to need a type of patchwork continental quilt, don't you?  Goodness knows where you might find one, though.

Do we have any other correspondents with any ideas?

Update 19th June 2003

Hello it's me.

Is the Dirk you mention any relation to Dirk Gently who used to run an Holistic Detective Agency (We solve the whole crime!)?

(Dirk was made famous by Douglas Adams.)



And hello you!

Must admit I've never heard of this particular Dirk chappie, but in view of where the thing gets shoved, I'd have thought "gently" was EXACTLY the right word for it.

Update 3rd June 2003

The little dagger thing is a Dirk but I daresay you knew that already!

You should have a word or two with Pat, he knows all about these things, and wears a skirt on the relevant high days and holidays.

Nick Southorn

Aha! Somebody's read this month's Comment already, excellent!

Now, Dirk, he was a famous film star wasn't he? A bit big to shove down inside your sock, methinks.

As for Pat, I'm totally confused.  That wouldn't be the well known Patty O'Door by any chance, would it?

Update 27th May 2003

Well, brings back old memories.

Tony Goodman

Well, Tone, welcome along to the land of Carbuncle Corner on the web.

Strangely, I've also had a private mail from FlippeR in the last few days, so the old Villagers are coming back in their droves.

Wonderful to hear from you.

Update 21st April 2003

Only me, seems about time I had another little chat.

If you are still having problems with your shoulder, perhaps I can help.  Do you know about the wonderful new range of drugs on the market, all from the new untapped source of (yep, you guessed it) Palm Trees?

The Gloom Labs have been working for over 5 seconds on this new range of drugs.  They can cure any known illness and strip up to 15 layers of paint off any surface.  What more can you ask for?

So, if your are interested in this new wonder product, just send 2 pence to Gloom's Wonder Labs, The Nut House, Trumpton.

P.S. hope you won't charge too much for this ad.  How about 10% of the profits?



My goodness, Mr Gloom, how nice to hear from you again, I think.

I might have known that if anything was going to be made out of Palm Trees, then you'd be our man.

Yes, your offer for the advert seems very fair to me; you have 10% of the profits and I'll have the other 90%. An excellent arrangement!

Update 10th December 2002

With reference to the July 4th posting about Welsh weather, I am originally from a village in North Wales, and local wisdom has it that from a particular hill overlooking the village, the weather can be predicted.  Quite simply, if one stands on top of the hill, and the Snowdonian hills are visible, then it is going to rain.  If they are not visible, then it is raining already.

Quite simple, and I find, perfectly reliable.

I hope this helps

Melody Crookes

There you are then John, now you can stop your waiting. The mysteries of Welsh weather are unveiled.

Diolch yn fawr, Melody.

Update 16th November 2002

I have just visited your website for select services, I could not see the code for "Anonymous Call Rejection".

The blurb states that if a caller withholds their number so that you can't tell what number they called from, they wont be able to get through to you, they'll only get through if they reveal their number.

I spoke to a customer service person who informed me that it is not a service they recommend, because it can, under certain circumstances, cause more problems than it solves.

Hope this might have been of some assistance.

Terry Green

Very many thanks for that information, Terry.

As you'll see I've summarised your letter here, but have updated the main section of the web site with the codes.

Update 5th November 2002

Hello, its me again.

I have just read the bin-bag Comment. I would have thought that Uncle Blink would be encouraging you to think green, (Oh sorry, that should be GREEN!), in this age of ecological friendliness, (especially at your great age).

I happen to know that quite near your castle is a rather ugly looking object with the words 'Clear', 'Brown' and 'Green' written on it. This is used for the smashing up of glass containers of the appropriate colour.

I have it on very good authority that these objects are NEVER FULL!!! This means that they will completely defeat the sensor in your Whisky bottle. I have yet to work out if this means that the bottle will never be empty, but that possibility seems logical. However one can but hope?



Goodness me, it IS you again, isn't it? You're becoming as regular as that Gloom chappie (and THAT'LL probably prompt another visit from HIM)! Well, you didn't expect me to be NICE, after that side-swipe about my great age, now did you?

It would, indeed, be a superb idea to promote "greenlyness", if only the local council, or their contractors, would actually join in. Having regularly watched the ceremonial emptying of the containers to which you refer, ALL into the SAME vehicle, TOGETHER, I have to doubt whether the glass is kept separate from the rest of the rubbish at the OTHER end of its journey, so I gave up on THAT particular idea.

Anyway, those bottle bank things are as bad as some of the other variety of banks. Not enough interest! I mean, you'd think they would slip you the odd half-bottle of scotch at Christmas, in exchange for your trouble, wouldn't you?

Update 26th September 2002

September's Rant:

I find myself mildly amused, when an acquaintance says "What's your name?" and I tell her/him. I am then patronised by a "That's Right!"

Rosemary Taylor

Oh yes, Rosemary.  One of those "Why on earth did you ask, then?" moments!

Update 4th July 2002


Me again.

On perusing your 'Places of Interest', I couldn't help but notice a glaring omission.

I know that you are au fait with matters Welsh, as I also know that you are of a somewhat Welsh persuasion. (I can tell from here, a Bristolian can spot one at 15 miles on a good day (not that we seem to have many of those!).) (I mean good days, not Bristolians.)

A rather comely Welsh lady once told me, in the throes of something or other, that the Welsh language was 'Very simple as each word is pronounced as it is spelled'. As I couldn't spell xenophobe at the time, I was forced to agree with her. (It was a cold night, and it was raining.) Which brings me to my point.

Whenever I go to Wales it rains.

Is there a reason for this? Is it because I hail from Bristol? Do any of the multitudes of your readers have similar experience of this phenomenon?

Perhaps you could write something on the subject of 'Staying dry in Wales'? (I do not mean the old Sunday drinking laws.)

I am sure with your vast experience of things Welsh you can come up with something. You know, one of those 4122 part epics that appear on the idiot's lantern on a daily basis. (For those un-used to the term, the idiot's lantern is the same as the haunted fish tank.)

I await with legs akimbo.



My goodness, only a maths teacher could manage to get brackets WITHIN brackets in, what started life as, a simple sentence!

Having followed the BODMAS rule, I THINK you're asking why on earth it rains so much in Wales, would that be right?

I'll have to go away and do about thirty years research on the subject, then eventually come up with some words of wisdom to entertain you.

How about that?

Update 2nd July 2002


Red Busses.

I seem to recall something of this nature appearing on a Hospital Radio Station not far from where I am sitting now. (Wiltshire).

Is this a case of Deja vu, or merely senility?



I'm sure it must be senility, John, as I have it on very good authority that you're FAR older than me.

However, many of my witty masterpieces DO get used in more than one branch of the media, so it is JUST possible you've caught the audio version.

Update 9th April 2002

I agree upon your great idea for a warehouse entertainment centre, however, you may wish to franchise and eventually go global on this concept, as all over the world there are headbangers willing to participate in such outings.

As a founder member of one of the daftest societies in the UK, known as "The British Gone Society", with I think a membership of 5, I have been working on my own inventions for years with some success. Here's one of them, unstealable bin lids.

A thief enters the environs of one of our clients properties with the intention of stealing a bin lid, an offence growing ever more common. The offender is not aware that the bin lid is fitted with "Paintpong 2" a new, second generation offender permanent marker, detectable at 5 miles by tracker dog and luminous from 8 miles altitude, day or night, by our special Binman Goalkeeper Satellite system, BGS for short. The bin lid immediately on being removed, photographs the assailant and transmits that via satellite to our mobile task force, discharges a 50 volt electric shock and begins to emit a siren noise of enough decibels to knock a fully grown adult senseless. The offender, who is not wearing BGS PP2 friend identifier, is automatically sprayed head to foot with PP2 Gunge Mix which does not come off, ever, smells like pigs and is luminous yellow, red and green, with the consistency of thick school custard.

That's just a taste of what is to come and I can e-mail photographs of the experimental phase and satellite tracking pictures using our day and night, all weather, all terrain, global scanner. It recently detected a rubber bin lid in north western Hawaii, from eight miles altitude, apparently pinched in Torquay.

Peter "Chud" Hudson

I have a feeling you might get a few more applications to join this British Gone Society, Chud. You could be up to a dozen members by the end of the week!

I love the unstealable bin lids. At least it'll stop that Gloom chappie nicking them and selling them on as his own satellite dishes. Now, that's the sort of project close to my heart, so why on earth didn't I think of it myself?

Update 3rd December 2001

Pay, pay for something? Wash your mouth out with soap young man, I have never been so insulted in my life!!!

(Yeah, I know, give you time and you will try to do better).

Of course if plan B don't work, I guess I could always use my old great, great, great, great uncle's method. A Mr S Todd of old London town.

People are always wanting to eat mince pies this time of year, and no one yet has got a better recipe then his!

Guess I'd better clean out the mincing machine.

Catch you later.


That settles it, no mince pies for me this Christmas. Even if they're to the traditional recipe, I'll be reminded of yours the moment I touch one!

Update 2nd December 2001

No good mate. I tried getting the family in the oven last year, told them I needed to check to see how big a turkey I could get in there, but would one of them play ball? No sir!

So looks like it may be getting them to check the bulbs on the Xmas lights, while I try pumping a million watts through the plug. Must remember to put the iron bar back in the fuse box again. I mean, don't want the fuse blowing just as they are warming up, do I?

It's a hard life looking after the family, all this planning has made me tired. Time for a quick nap, see you soon.


Your local ironmonger must be doing a roaring trade out of you. Apart from the iron bar, think of all those washers you'll need to shove in the meter.  I'm assuming you don't intend to PAY for the electricity.

Update 30th November 2001

O'er it's me again. Just thought I would say hi and don't forget it's almost the season to be jolly. Yep, it's almost Xmas hols time. Just a shame got to share it with the family. Anyone got any good tips of how to get rid of the family over Xmas?

Anyway must be off, time to go among the people and spread joy by making them a offer they can't refuse!


My goodness, and there was me thinking someone had glued up the letterbox.  It must be working though, as your missive's got through.

Getting rid of the family over Christmas eh?   Well, you could save on the cost of a turkey and shove them in the oven with the roast potatoes, I suppose. Knowing you, that'd be about your style!

Merry Christmas to you and all readers anyway.

Update 14th July 2001

Did I hear someone say big mac's? It just so happens I have a few in my lock up if anyone wants one. Got 'em for the England 2008 Olympic bid, so all the Pole Vaulters could do their run-ups with the poles safely under the macs, so they would not get too slippery in the lovely English summer. I see that once again our bid has lost. I understand the judges were not swayed by my offer of a free ride on the London Underground if they voted for us.

Anyway, back to more important things. Now that there is more than just me reading this exciting stuff, I would like to point out to anyone who has come to the idea that I might be up to no good, that I have never, and will never do anything that is dishonest. If you don't believe me, all I can say is join the rest of the world. I am innocent until proven guilty in this country, and even if they prove me guilty, I will be out in five years and suing for wrongful arrest!


Moi? Think you were up to no good? Never! Wouldn't dream of thinking such an unkind thing about such a fine fellow as yourself.

That is what the six-foot ten, twenty stone bloke you sent round told me to say, isn't it?

Update 9th July 2001

I'm afraid it takes a lot to make me interested in "un big mac". Perhaps when I was a student I consumed a few at the golden arch in Newcastle-u-Lyme, and on the way home from work very late, been into the drive through one at Gatwick Airport, but I have only once been drawn irrevocably to one.

Actually now I think about it, it was in France, a country which will have me searching for the trail of Bibendium's rosettes, but driving on a very hot summer Sunday when nowhere was open, and I was as thirsty as a lost legionnaire in the desert, I came across this oasis, the gently swaying arches, the 'c'est McD's cola', some over salted frites, just what was needed!

Tim Havenhand

Now, whenever I go into one of the places, they always forget to salt the frites until I ask. That'll give you the hint that I could happily live on (or in) MacDonalds, so I think we disagree slightly there.

I have to be careful here, however, as my father-in-law runs his own burger take-away, so I'm not supposed to plug the MacOpposition!

Update 8th July 2001

Perhaps I should pop over to Wimbledon and see if I can win the local church raffle to help out Gloom!

Back to the subject of French roads, have you ever noticed that if you decide to visit one of 'eet ess I Leclerc's son's emporiums (his son was E), or any of the similar hypermarches you find signs for miles around pointing at the place, and sure enough you will find it.  However, when you have filled up with whatever you are wanting, the exit will always direct you into a dead end in a French housing estate.

I have met more of these than you've had hot dinners. (However, not as many as Gloom has had Whoppers!)

Tim  Havenhand

I must say I hadn't noticed that with the hypermarches, probably because we didn't visit that many; but it was certainly true of Les Restaurants MacDonalds.

The taste buds were tingled about twenty kilometres away when the signs started; and the annoyance was tingled about twenty METRES away on leaving and getting lost.

Update 7th July 2001

Cooo, someone else is writing to you now, and I thought I was the only one who visited this place.  :)

Can't stay long today, got some "Tim's Won Wimbledon" tee shirts to get rid of very quick!

Just goes to show, when we need the weather to stay dry in London it hammers down, and when we want rain in Edgbaston, it stays dry.

Oh well, looks like I'm going to be left we a lot of "We Won The Ashes Back" tee shirts as well.

Looks like it's back to the drawing board again. Can I never earn a crust?

Chat soon.


There you are, you see, young Timothy has found this remote corner of the Web as well.

And, before you ask, I'm sure his excellent Wine Society does NOT need any of you're "second hand" lager! They're into the decent stuff; and in nice bottles, not slightly rusty cans.

I think you might have a small overstocking problem with all these tee shirts. You COULD sell the cricket ones to the Aussies of course. I could put you in touch with a chap who might let you stand at the bottom of his aircraft steps and sell them to the departing fans!

As for the "Tim" ones, there's a lad called Tim MacJohnston just round the corner from me. He's just turned one year old and is showing promise at tennis. Can you wait till about 2022 when he'll be good enough to win at Wimbledon?

Update 1st July 2001


This all looks terribly familiar, if only I had time I'd knock up a TVC, but unfortunately time isn't what I have plenty of!

An extra star/select service for you is *44* which is call diversion with remote control.

As for your very useful article on driving in France, you neglect to mention that along with Liberte, Egalete et Fraternite the Frenchman still thinks he has the unalienable right for 'Priorite a droite', which translates as the right for anyone in a tractor with fully laden trailer of hay to turn from his field onto a main road without pausing or signalling in front of any car doing 80mph.

I have also noted that on the Autoroutes they have designed some mechanical scarecrows, dressed up as workmen waving a flag, these seem to exist to hurry you through roadworks waving you through as if you were in a grand prix.

Finally, whilst they may have loads of traffic lights with the extra set (which I think are for kids in pedal cars) half way down, instead of mini-roundabouts, they do seem to have discovered the roundabout. I was driving through Champagne and after miles of flat open arable farmland was a roundabout, in the middle of these fields, on two straight minor roads. Not only was it a roundabout, it has streetlights all around, and was very well manicured. I've now passed it about 4 times and never seen a car anywhere else near it.

You then come to the roundabouts with things on them, they started off with a flower or two, but now you get grand pianos, or 15 foot high metal tulips. Some near Le Havre seems to be the places where all the old Jeux sans Frontieres giant rubber ogres now live. They must have a roundabout design school, no doubt with a national competition each year.

As for why I was driving through Champagne so much (the bubbles clean the tyres well) I see you have found out already, thanks for the link!

Tim  Havenhand

Hi there Tim, nice to hear from you.  As you've found out, there are a few of us old "Villagers" here on the web now, and YES I reckon you ought to find a bit of time, and re-introduce The Villagers' Club (TVC).

Many thanks for the Remote Call Diversion details, which I've now updated into the Telecommunications Topics section.

It's a while now since I was driving around France, but it sounds like it's about time I went back for another look around, especially at this ongoing "roundabout art" competition.

I thought it only right to give you a link. After all, anyone who can make a night out on the booze look THAT professional, deserves lots of readers!

Update 18th May 2001

Guess who? Well it's time for me to have another little plug for Gloom Inc (You name it, we got it, or can as soon as you tell us where it is!).

Read with interest your views on these lovely vanners. Many a summer holiday I remember being stuck behind them on our way down for a break in Devon (before the M5 was finished and we had the joys of the A roads). So all I can say is, if people feel the need to tow a lump of plastic on the back of the car, we've got this big tunnel between us and Europe, so why don't we just let them all drive in from our end and then fill the hole in. Let the French deal with them. Bet there would be a nice little fire going before sunset!

Of course if the French need something to start the fire going. I know where I can put me hand on some nice firelighters. Some people have the strange idea that they are, in fact, Palm Trees, but I can promise they are the best firelighters that money can buy!

Anyway, I must be off, I'm sure I can hear some size 12 boots coming up behind me.



Oh yes, the joys of the A roads. I think the worst stretch for following vanners used to be the old A361, now called the B something-or-other, between Taunton and Bampton. I use that road nowadays, and it's a pleasure, with both the M5 and the new A361, north Devon link road, open.

Now, this idea of sending all the vanners sur-le-continent sounds like a good one. Trouble is, all the drivers will feel sick in the tunnel, as I'm sure the train does more than twenty miles an hour, and they can't cope with that!

Are you sure these firelighters are okay? They look a tad wet, from being used as swimming floats.

Update 27th April 2001

Sorry I've not written for a while, been having to keep a low profile since the coppers reopened the Palm Tree file. They're claiming to have fresh evidence from a new source!

I hope it's not from anyone who may have read this and got the wrong idea.

Anyway, just a little note to say I'm back, and have some new ideas for you. So watch this space!


I hate to think what these new ideas might be. Bound to be a tad dubious, knowing you Gloom.

Update 8th April 2001

Palm trees! Shhh, the Old Bill have forgot about them, I hope. (Gulp).

Nope, I'm offering a new line now, second hand Internet shares, I got all these shares from a mate of mine. Got 50 million shares for a quid. Not bad, and the ink's almost dry on um as well. My mate swore I would be able to offload them to these damn Yanks. But they're on about something called a Bull Run in the market. Damn silly place to let a bull run about, I mean I always let mine run about the fields but that's these Yanks for you.

Anyway better be off. I heard from another mate (yep, I have got two) that the police can read peoples e-mails now (I mean how can a man make a honest living, coff). So better keep it short and be on my way.

P.S. did people know that palm trees make very good float aids, I mean strap a few around your house and when the floods come, the house just floats along with the water and none gets in your house. Wonder if people in the midlands might be interested.

Time to go, I can see the blue flashing light outside this Internet Cafe



Had a feeling the mention of palm trees would  have you quaking in your boots.

For those of you who've just joined this story, I'm afraid it's been going, on and off, for the best part of ten years, and is FAR too complicated to bring you up-to-date with at the moment. Suffice to say that this Gloom chap's well known around the west of England for the odd "dodgy deal" now and again.

I like the idea of the palm trees as floats. You'll have to start flogging them off outside the local baths on swimming lesson nights!

Update 7th April 2001

Well hello!

If it's not me old mate from the Village. Glad to see you found your way off the B road's onto the Superhighway!. Just
watch out for the traffic jams! It's nice to see that even the glory of the Internet still suffers from slowdowns. Who said us Brit's have not given anything to the Internet?

Anyway enough of the chat, just read this months Comment and have to agree old chap. It was bad enough me having to try to
learn proper English at school (ok so I'm still learning), but having to try to understand what these Yank's are on about is a bloody
mystery guv!

Here am I trying to offload my wears and can't understand a thing they are saying, I mean what is a "greenback"?

Anyway must be off, here comes the Old Bill. Time to move on.

Catch you soon.


My goodness, another refugee from the old place. Nice to hear from you.

Personally, I blame the people of Bristol for the slowdowns on the Internet.  First they gave us the crawling Avon Bridge on the M5, now they've exported their problems to the Net!

Harking back to the old days, it wouldn't be second hand palm trees you're trying to shift to the unsuspecting Yanks by any chance, would it?

Update 17th December 2000

Hello there!

It's nearly 4 years since I resided at "Phil Ossifer's Orchard". However, I am still recycling some of the material. I believe it was you who used to keep us aware of changes in the phone system. I picked up on this and used to pass the advice and news to others. Now I constantly preach about published phone number formats.

Have just taken a look at Silicon Village which seems to be a bit neglected. Can't help thinking that it really needs to become fully Web-based now. See you have also found a cure for your "Carbuncle".

It's over 10 years since I retired, and about 4 since I started my own Website. It is ex-RAF based, and has brought in quite a number of interesting queries.

I couldn't find your page for reading letters, so maybe this is a first. The main purpose of this e-mail is to say:-

GREETINGS for CHRISTMAS and the NEW YEAR, and the THIRD MILLENNIUM which starts in January!

Cliff Blake

Nice to hear from another old Silicon Villager, Cliff. Yes, I remember Phil Ossifer's Orchard well; and it WAS me (should I be admitting to this, I wonder?) who used to take a turn at the telephone information back in those days. The old place is, indeed, looking very much the worse for wear now; the main reason why Carbuncle Corner has spread its wings from its old home in the Village.

This site is a bit newer than yours, just a couple of months now; which is why yours IS the first letter, many thanks. Let's hope you've started the ball rolling.

All the best for the festive season to you, and I agree with your definition of the start of the new millennium.

Back to the Top of Page

Write for Publication Write to Carbuncle Corner


The Carbuncle Collection

Carbuncle Corner Nick Harvey's Comment The Old Groaner Places of Interest Communications Topics
The Correspondence Column Silicon Village Nostalgia Current Guest Links Legal and Copyright Notice The Site Map