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24 The Chronicle, Thursday, 19th November, 2009. your views to

Involving people the main focus of Labour campaign

Dear Sir, — In a meeting with senior members of the Government, I recently explained the focus of the election campaign for the Congleton constituency.

Congleton has always been thought of as a safe seat for the Conservatives, but with a local Conservative MP who has ignored the needs of the people of Congleton and a local Conservative council, whose leader gives himself a 33% salary increase while planning to lay off 240 staff, the local constituents have the chance to vote for a different approach to local

olitics, by voting Labour.

There is a clear message that needs to be communicated and all our resources will now be focused on letting people know why they should vote Labour. It is exciting times for the Labour

arty in Congleton as we have a local candidate, more people campaigning, are better organised and have a great story to get across to the electorate. We will fi ght a strong positive campaign and show why a Labour MP can improve constituents’ lives locally.

I have pledged to work with all local people to focus on issues that are important to them.

I am local and have lived in the constituency for 11 years. I am standing because there is a democracy black hole in this constituency. People feel frustrated because they have no representation at Westminster and a local council that ignores the will of the people.

There is a great deal of local support that I can count on and we have many pledges of support already.

We will work with everyone, regardless of political persuasion, to let constituents know that

olitics can work for them and make a difference to their lives. In the fi rst instance, there has to

e an effective MP to stop the Conservative-led council ruining this constituency.

The main focus of the campaign will be to involve

eople in discussion and debate. Local town hall meetings will

e held so that people can ask questions directly to the candidate. The Labour party will drive public involvement by organising local debates and will invite all candidates to discuss their views.

It is important that candidates are accessible to the public and

eople vote for the candidate that will best represent them rather than the party they have always voted for. — Yours faithfully,

DAVID BRYANT PPC for the Labour Party

Your country needs you to break free from EU

Dear Sir, — Reading Coun Ian Lawson’s letter in last week’s “Chronicle” I had to agree with almost all of what he said. Over the centuries many servicemen have laid their lives down for our country and our sovereignty, the very sovereignty that Brown and Cameron are freely passing to Brussels on a deliberate and wilful basis.

Where I disagree with Coun Lawson is on what we can do about it and his comments regarding Lisbon and UKIP’s

olicy to leave the EU. Coun Lawson says of UKIP policy that it has “hit the dust” and he goes

on to state “we are in it like it or not, and there doesn’t seem to be a darn thing we can do to change it”.

Well councillor, if that’s how you feel, resign; you clearly appear to be frustrated and not in favour of an EU super state.

UKIP policy is now more important than ever. UKIP is the only moderate, centrist, onenation party in Britain today, and UKIP has a full range of policy covering all aspects of how Britain should be governed and not just about leaving the EU. UKIP will take back our sovereignty whether the EU likes it or not. It would have been easy to throw in the towel in 1940 after Dunkirk, but we did not, and this situation is no different.

Great Britain is a developed economy and democracy, we are a grown up nation state and we can take control of our own destiny. It is our weak ineffectual political leaders who have no vision of what Britain is or who we are. They are locked in to a paradigm of doom and a loss of confi dence in our country, our people and themselves. UKIP has no such fears about Britain’s future. Britain can once again be a player on the world stage and decide its own direction and destiny.

There are in effect many things we can do to change this situation. We can use our vote in 2010 to kick out this corrupt and morally bankrupt government, and poke the craven Tories in the eye by using our vote to send a clear message to the other established parties the Lib-Lab-Con, that UKIP is your only choice if you value your freedom, democracy, sovereignty and the future of your country.

It is no good knowing this is wrong and against British interests, but not saying or doing anything about it. It is time to stand up and be counted, so I say to Coun Lawson and everyone else out there, from all sides of the political divide who are concerned, angry and afraid and looking for a new option: join UKIP and be part of the solution, do not carry on as before and remain part of the problem.

As General Kitchener once said: Your country needs you. —Yours faithfully,

LEE W SLAUGHTER UK Independence Party, Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Congleton.

Nuclear sell-off has left country facing an energy crisis

Dear Sir, — We listen to the energy secretary, baby Milliband, or should that be Ed and we get a lecture on the great planning of the Government over nuclear energy!

Well the last time I looked the Labour government was busy selling off the British nuclear industry giant Westinghouse to the French for a few billion to prop up Brown’s crumbling regime.

Having closed some coal-fi red power stations and, under the instruction of Brussels, planning to phase out many others between now and 2017, Britain stares an energy generating crisis in the face.

The Government plans a nuclear power building project by driving through plans without public consultation and in a rush because it has not planned for energy security nor have they any coherent policy.

Labour has botched the economy, botched energy policy and are driven by Brussels dictat. They react and promise to keep

the lights on by building with alarming haste a new generation of nuclear power stations. There is nothing wrong with nuclear power, nor with building new power stations, whether they are nuclear or clean-coal.

What is wrong here is that Brown and Labour where so confused and so badly out of touch with the economic needs of Great Britain that they did not realise they where staring a power crisis in the face.

They sold off Britain’s nuclear engineering capability to France and then 18 months later realise they need to build nuclear power generating capacity. The impact of this catastrophic thinking is that now billions more of British taxpayers’ money will be spent and the profi ts and wages will go to France and French companies.

The only British jobs from this major infrastructure programme will be the digging of holes and the pouring of concrete.

Important as these jobs are, the economics of the situation are that all of the highly skilled and highly technically advanced wages will go to France and the British taxpayer will once again be subsidising our European neighbours.

Just as privatisation has left our airports, utilities, telecoms and power companies in foreign EU ownership, so has Brown sold off our engineering excellence in nuclear technology to a state owned, foreign EU company for a few pennies in relation to the vast sums about to be committed.

Brown should hang his head in shame for selling off the family silver for an electoral trick.

UKIP has been warning of an energy crisis for several years and was for years alone, the only party prepared to discuss energy independence and security in championing nuclear as the only alternative Britain’s looming energy crisis.

Wind was never going to cut it and wave power is too far out and costly as an emerging technology.

UKIP has a balanced approach to Britain’s needs including energy and an open agenda for the public to contribute and provide us your input.

UKIP is dedicated to running the country properly and for the benefi t and in the interests of the British people and the British national interest. — Yours faithfully,

LEE W SLAUGHTER Prospective Parliamentary

Candidate, Congleton Constituency, United Kingdom

Independence Party.

Others ‘in need’

Dear Sir, — It’s that time of the year when we are bombarded by the BBC with “Children in Need”. Terry Wogan has been emphasising it on his Radio 2 breakfast programme since June. The BBC has allowed such high publicity because the appeal is “close to his heart”. Many of the television and radio celebrities taking part no doubt love to give of their time and talent to raise funds. Most would deny any motive of raising their own personal profi le with the public. Spare a thought and time and money for all the other hundreds of charities, probably equally deserving, that don’t get a fraction of the publicity. — Yours faithfully,

R BEECH Woodhouse Lane


Disgraceful market toilets left me fl ushed with rage

Dear Sir, — This is the third letter I have written about the revolting, vulgar and disgraceful public toilets at Congleton Market.

May I be so bold as to ask Cheshire East Council to actually send someone to visit these fi lthy toilets and assess the level of clean up and maintenance needed?

This is a basic amenity, which, I would expect my council tax could be stretched to support. Using these facilities is a vile, repellent, ghastly, putrid, evil, horrifying, haunting, depraved, worrying experience for anyone brave or stupid enough to visit them. I fall into the latter category.

The toilet fl oor was fl ooded. The liquid was a foul dirty brown colour. Draw your own conclusions.

The toilets were absolutely revolting, and looked like they had not been cleaned in months. The sink was covered in, a growth, matter, type substance, clearly cultivating a new life form. If not new life, it certainly had something, other worldly about it, perhaps a case for the X-fi les. Despicable.

The repugnant smell was something like a mixture of cat urine, sick, stale beer, body odour, off milk, fox and human excrement, and I don’t know what else. It was a heady, repulsive, cocktail, enough to completely overcome the senses. I think this wretched, loathsome experience all in, aged me some 30 years.

Simply put, it is totally and utterly unacceptable. The council should be ashamed of themselves. Absolutely appalling.

Please, for the love of humanity, I would rather there not be a cholera outbreak in Congleton, this is after all, nearly 2010. — Yours faithfully,



A games arcade will cause trouble

Dear Sir, — I trust that Cheshire East Council will reject the application from Highline Amusements for a gaming licence for premises in our High Street. What possible benefi t could a games arcade bring to our town?

It would be more likely to be a source of trouble.

Gambling is notoriously addictive and a rapidly growing social problem across the nation. Studies seem to show that the majority of people who frequent these games arcades are the very people who can least afford to do so. Personal debt in the UK is already at worryingly high levels.

It is hardly reassuring to know that children will not be admitted to the proposed arcade. Young adults of 18 will be very welcome. The sooner you get them gambling the longer you have to take their money.

If this licence is granted the only winners will be the owners of the business. No wonder they are keen to comply with the law; they are hoping to be given a licence to print money.

We expect our councillors to protect the vulnerable. Here’s an opportunity for them to do just that. — Yours faithfully,



Centre’s opening is a dream come true

Dear Sir, — Firstly, I must mention what a wonderful realisation of the dreams of the many parishioners of St John’s Church, Knypersley. After so many years of struggling against diversity their Bateman Centre was fi nally offi cially opened last Wednesday evening. To see so much pleasure on so many faces was truly inspirational. The opening ceremony was carried out by the Rev Andrew Dawswell and the ribbon cutting by Bethany Ellis and Matthew Dawswell. The event was very well attended and my wife and I were happy to have been included. As I have said previously, it is times like these that make my life as county councillor so enjoyable and we can all learn from the endeavours of the vicar, parishioners and all the people involved, that if we are determined enough we can eventually succeed. I would just add that the facilities available at the new centre are excellent and no doubt they will be well used by local groups and residents, again well done to all.

I also attended last week the Brown Lees residents’ meeting where the question of their playground was discussed. It was agreed that this is to be redeveloped to not only include swings and roundabouts for the younger children, but also facilities for the older children who really do need to be taken into account. This will be a well thought out project and funds are in place.

An update of the recreational facilities for the town: Thanks to the members of the old bowling club, I now have at least six possible sites for the new club and clubhouse. These will be discussed in Leek this week and some decision made in the near future.

Regarding the proposed new sports village — I have been asked whether a boxing club could be incorporated and other suggestions would be welcome at this stage, as once the village is operational it would be very diffi cult to include new ideas, so please do bear in mind now is the time. Once a suitable site has been decided I will give you a programme to deliver the sports village.

I know that many residents are concerned at the continuing traffi c problems in Tunstall Road and Newpool Road. These are predominantly at the school drop off and pick up times and with two schools in close proximity this is understandable. I am aware that the Highways Offi ce is again looking into the matter and will be liaising with other agencies to clarify what action could be taken to alleviate the situation. However, parents do feel that they should drop off and collect their children and further restrictions outside the schools would simply result in more parking in nearby roads. I have previously mentioned the “walking buses” which could help to reduce parents’ reliance on car usage and it will be interesting to learn of parents’ thoughts on this.

Lastly, I am pleased to say that my monthly meetings with residents continue to give the opportunity of expressing their concerns and hopes for our town and do remember, all are welcome. — Yours faithfully,


LAWSON Biddulph Moor.

An invitation to the ball from the Ladies In Red

Dear Sir, — We are three Congleton women who are concerned as regards our local charities and the funding of them. Our concern at the present time is

the fact that “Children in Need” and other nationwide charities are “hogging” not only the national attention, but the local one too.

Our group has the wonderful title which we hope will inspire you we are The Ladies In Red and our focus is at present time ou upcoming event “The splash of red ball” which will take place at the historic Congleton Town Hall on Friday, 4th December at 7.30pm and our charity is the essential Congleton Youth Project.

It will be an exciting and different event and will include a live band a delicious three course meal with dazzling surprise prizes — in short an evening to not to be missed.

We are both surprised and shocked that although we have received fabulous support and encouragement from the Cheshire Council East and the local retailers we have received less than an enthusiastic response from the local press. We have contacted the “Chronicle” but as yet we have not received any interest whatsoeve other than a charge for a standard advertisement which we cannot afford as our thoughts are to donate as much profi t as possible to ou chosen charity. We did drop off a fl yer to the “Chronicle” for them to put in their window as we had noticed that they where doing this for other events, but as yet nothing has appeared.

Get with it Congleton media. We are happy to do work for local needy charities, but you have to support us. People of Congleton, either buy a ticket or two or donate what you can, or buy a raffl e ticket — the prize is for two sets of ball tickets.

Our concentration will not always be the Congleton Youth Project, but let’s face it, how many of you mutter about the youth o today no matter what they do? Let’s give them a leg up and support the wonderful work of the Congleton Youth Project and have a fantastic evening at the same time. Interested? Call The Ladies In Red, Lesley 01260 281460, Gillian 01260 27102 or Ruth 01260 298981.

Come see us at the Christmas extravaganza — we have a wonderful stall. Stay local and enjoy your town. To be continued... — Yours faithfully,


“The Ladies In Red”.

Grumpy’s stag weekend log was a bit overboard

Dear Sir, — As an ancient mariner, I know only too well the meaning of the word “bilge” and Mr Grumpy’s saga of the stag party was nothing but that.

You seemed to have spent three days vomiting over Dorset and annoying the locals. Why he should demean himself and his pals, by relating the sorry episode reveals his attitude to the taste of you readers.

It’s a great pity that while on the fi shing trip he didn’t follow his vomit over the side.

Pity that they’ve abolished fl ogging before the mast and keel hauling. If you’d have served unde me you’d have the lot. From someone who’s vomited all ove the world. — Yours faithfully,



Avast there shipmate! Apologies for any offence caused! Mr Grumpy exaggerated more than considerably the annoyance caused by the stag party referred to; in fact most Dorset fol commented what a nice bunch of lads they were. It was true that most of the party suffered from seasickness, however. An albatross is in the post. Editor. I paid the parking fi ne but I didn’t see the tatty signs

Dear Sir, — I have always een given to understand that local councils are in place to serve us, and that as a result we (the taxpayer) should be able to expect a certain level of service and indeed expect a fair hearing.

I have now been forced to the conclusion that this is patently not the case.

I was served with a penalty notice recently for parking on a “closed” car park in Biddulph.

I was actually able to drive on to the car park (no barriers), buy a ticket (machine still working) and walk away without seeing any signage at all.

When I returned and found a ticket on the vehicle, I looked around and eventually found the so-called “signs”: two tatty pieces of A4 paper, neither of which were anywhere near the ticket machine.

Incidentally, the car park was supposed to be closed for geological survey work involving drilling, and should (in my opinion) have been fenced off fully from a health and safety


I protested the fi ne and, despite having taken photographs at the time, and pointing out that the

enalty notice was also incorrectly fi lled-out, I have been told I still have to pay and that I should have looked for and read the signs.

Today I paid the fi ne. What I would have liked to do is challenge it in court as the lack of correct signage and barriers would have seen the council in the wrong in this case.

Predictably, there is little or no ossibility of me being able to do this.

The process of confronting or seriously challenging the local authority is made so diffi cult as to be nigh on impossible for an ordinary mortal to achieve.

Furthermore, I am not sure that I actually wish to subject myself to the stress that the process would involve.

Sadly, it is actually easier to allow oneself to be wronged, accept it and pay up.

The point I am making? Don’t expect that your local council will help you, serve you or listen to you.

They are in a position of impregnability and will ensure that they are never seen to be “wrong” despite the fact that they can, and do frequently make mistakes.

Three cheers for the “faceless ones” who just couldn’t care less.

Public service? Don’t make me laugh. — Yours faithfully,


Flood warning

Dear Sir, — It was nice to see the fi rst serious fl oods of winter

locking the A527 (Biddulph Road) last week; always a reliable spot for causing maximum chaos opposite the cricket ground with about two lorries, 20 cones and traffi c lights. It will soon be 50 years since I observed the strange drainage

atterns that wind down to the Mersey in the south-west and the Trent in the south; the exchange unction being what now concerns

s is the Meadows nature reserve. This morning we had collected an expanse of water fi lling the drive.

It is obvious that the whole of the new “village green” is

art of the southern system but I advise the new committee not to get too excited as already the

ndertakings given by at least 10 offi cers of Seven Trent water have

een ignored; concrete has quietly een poured and little sheds have covered the protection strip. We are waiting for the next load of raw sewage before a vigilante group steps in (no pun intended). Yours faithfully,


Association hopes he’ll see the light

Dear Sir, — We, the Biddulph Twinning Association, hereafter abbreviated to BTA, would like to respond to the letter from Alan Forrister of Herbies in Biddulph (“Chronicle” letters 12th November). It is full of inaccuracies, and needs correcting.

So, you have looked at those same Christmas lights now decorating the High Street for — it seems — the last 12 years. That’s most impressive, given that this is only the third year Biddulph has used the new LED lights.

You mention the BTA several times, although we can see no reason why you have singled out this hard-working local association as a target for your angst, and talk of Biddulph town councillors going off on “jollies” to our twin town of Fusignano, Italy. We can say quite categorically that in all our 22 years in existence no one has ever gone on a “jolly”.

All BTA members, whether we be members of the public, the business sector, councillors, or the town crier, pay our own air fares, travelling expenses, and all other costs applicable. We do help to pay for organised parties to go to Fusignano, be they schoolchildren, Scouts, Guides, etc, and we have lost track of the amount of pleasure such twinning visits have brought to the people of both towns.

Our members organise the hugely successful Venetian masked ball each July as part of the Biddulph Festival, and hold other events throughout the year to raise funds.

Money given to the BTA by Biddulph Town Council is strictly monitored, via the grants scheme. There are no free hand-outs here. We have to apply for a grant each year following the strict guidelines laid down, and take our chances along with all the other groups who apply.

Incidentally, although we were successful in receiving grant aid in 2008 and 2009, we did not receive the full amount asked for, the reason being that the pot is only so big, and needs to be shared around.

We fully understand and accept this, and always register our grateful thanks to Biddulph Town Council for any money received. We must also point out that both grants were spent wisely, for details read on:

● Helping to fund a party of Guides on their visit to Fusignano in April 2009.

● Grant applied for in May 2008, £1,000. Actual grant received, £800. BTA gave the Guides £1,000 towards their costs.

● Playing host to a party of nine Fusignano schoolchildren and two teachers in July 2009.

● Grant applied for in May 2009, £1,000. Actual grant received, £900. Total funds spent by BTA, £2,041 including the grant money.

● Money spent on “jollies” for anyone interested in going to Fusignano? Zero. Nothing. Nil.

So, Mr. Forrister, you will see that the monies paid out in grant aid by Biddulph Town Council to BTA is money well spent. Not a single penny is used on “jollies”, nor do the members allow any of this money to go towards their own costs.

As for your sarcastic remark about what good has the BTA done for Biddulph, you only have to ask those Guides and children who have taken part in visits to and from each of the towns this year alone, to fi nd out. It’s not all about trade, and how much money we bring to Biddulph, Biddulph Twinning Association works hard to forge cultural, educational, and commercial ties with our Italian friends.

Those ties are now stronger than ever, and we hope to continue building on the success we now enjoy. You may not yet know this, but one of Biddulph’s middle schools is very keen indeed to send a party of children to Fusignano for a week in 2010, and the local

Scout movement expresses a keen desire to forge close links with their Fusignano counterparts. Rest assured that BTA will play its part in making both events a success.

May we respectfully ask that in future you check your facts before you go around slinging mud in all directions, or, more specifi cally, at the Biddulph Twinning Association. We would never condone jollies, or play any part in councillors, or anyone else for that matter, “swanning off”.

In closing, we wish it to be known that we welcome members of the Biddulph community and the Biddulph business sector to any of our meetings, held on the third Monday of each month. Our next is on 18th January, 7pm at Biddulph Town Hall. Come along, we guarantee you a warm welcome. Even you, Mr. Forrister. — Yours faithfully, “BIDDULPH TWINNING


Thank you for our footpath grant

Dear Sir, — The Friends of Newpool Meadows would like to thank County Coun Ian Lawson and Staffordshire County Council for the grant of £1,500 from the Staffordshire Local Community Fund.

We hope to use the grant towards the improvement of footpaths at Newpool Meadows Village Green, Knypersley.

We will be holding a meeting on Monday (23rd November) at the Bateman Centre St, John’s Church Knypersley at 7pm.

Anyone who would like to join the group is invited to attend. — Yours faithfully,

ELLEN FAULKNER Chairman of The Friends of

Newpool Meadows

Change the green belt boundary?

Dear Sir, — It is hoped that Staffordshire Moorlands District Council does not waste time and money seeking to reverse the decision not to permit the building of houses on the site known as Newpool Meadows fronting Tunstall Road opposite the junction with Conway Road.

The physical and fi nancial reasons for the refusal of planning permission were clearly set out in my letter published in the “Chronicle” on 7th May this year and should make good sense to any prospective developer.

Obviously however, with the lack of any further suitable land in the possession of the council and the continuing demand for rented accommodation, it should be a subject of formal and urgent consideration at SMDC level. It may be that the present residential/ green belt boundary as defi ned 50 (?) years ago should be reconsidered and amended. — Yours faithfully,



Thanks to all who attended service of Remembrance

Dear Sir, — May I use the letters pages of the “Chronicle” to thank all those who attended the Congleton St Mary’s Ex-Services Association Remembrance service on Saturday, 7th November?

Veterans from all three services and members of their families once again joined in the annual church service.

The service, celebrated by Fr William Kilkenny in the presence of the Queen’s representative, the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire, Margaret Williamson MBE, was attended by veterans from all services and their family members, and by those who value the sacrifi ce and service of members of the Armed Forces in past and present confl icts.

The Chronicle, Thursday, 19th November, 2009. 25

This year, as always, the hymns and music composed and played by Prof Albert Barker and Mrs Barker were wonderful. Soloist Leslie Davies sang a beautiful aria. The “Last post” and “Reveille” played by Michael Whitehurst set the tone for the solemn rendition of the Act of Remembrance by Harold Porter and Frank Worrall, Fred Cooke read the lesson and Lady Ann Winterton, our MP, spoke eloquently of Remembrance and service.

Among those present in the congregation were Town Mayor Coun Ernest Clarke and wife Joyce, the Town Mayor’s Cadet, Flt Sgt Rhiannon Horn, Cheshire East Mayor Coun Margaret Simon and Mr Simon, representatives of Cheshire Police, Insp Mat Welsted, the St John Ambulance service, John Knot MBE and Mrs Knott, and Margaret Dolman, the Royal British Legion, Coun Gordon Baxendale and Mrs Baxendale, the Rotary Club of Congleton, Rtn Ken Young, Congleton Inclosure Trust, David Daniel MBE, 230 Squadron ATC Flt Lt Colin Hingley, the local youth organisations, Scouts and Guides and many others were represented, as were many other groups and societies. — Yours faithfully,



Very good display for Remembrance

Dear Sir, — I would like to say many thanks to those who put on a very good display in our church, Trinity Methodist, Wagg Street.

We enjoyed looking at what wartime meant to everyone. Even the photographs brought back really good memories, showing how we lived in those dark days of war, when our fathers and grandfathers did their best to make a save haven for us to enjoy.

The Remembrance service was very well put together and also the evening service at St Mary’s, Astbury. It was nice to see a few members of the Armed Forces, British Legion standard bearer, Air Training Corps members and one Army offi cer in his battle dress and medals.

The choir, choir mistress and organist were very good.

Mr Grumpy writes . . .

So — what’s the big news this week, guys? What’s moved civilization forward over the past seven days? Peace in the Middle East? No.

A cure for cancer? No. The end of the economic recession? No.

Go on have a guess: I’ll give you a clue. It’s not tiny brain / big breasts Jordan going back into the jungle — not even she would be that stupid (would she?)! It’s not lard-pants Brown being mauled by the press for leaving a note for the milkman and his bad writing and it’s not James and Edward standing as the next comedy duo for election as Conservative MP’s for Congleton. We all know there are more important things going on in the world than that.

No, ladies and gentlemen, the scientifi c community of the world is in a state of permanent arousal because it has . . . (drum roll) . . . discovered water on the moon!

Yes, the real-ale drinkers over at NASA have cancelled their repeat prescriptions of Viagra and replaced it with some photographs of a big crater on the moon, caused by them crashing a space rocket into it. Fantastic. Joy to the world. God bless America for this fantastic investment of time and money in such a worthwhile cause.

Let me get this right. They build a rocket, costing several squillions of dollars, pounds, monkey-nuts or cheeseburgers — whatever currency the American idiots use these days. They blast it into space, with some moron saying “Houston — we have cleared the tower!” and it uses several billion gallons of fuel to get to the moon. It then goes round in circles for a few days, before they shove the accelerator to the fl oor (pity Barry bloody Manilow wasn’t piloting it) and drive it into the surface — bang! Well, wow. That must have taken months of planning, boys, keeping dozens of university graduates busy for ages.

the JCB that stood where there had once been a hedge. “We had to gain access through the fi eld,” he said, before fl eeing to his white van — possibly the same one that tries to kill me everytime I go on the motorway by forcing me into the central reservation as he overtakes.

And another thing — last week, when the investigation team was here (to decide which bits of the garden NOT to dig up — which mustn’t have taken very long), the chumps left the gate open at the back of the house, and at 10.30 that night, while Mrs G was out checking stock levels at the Trafford Centre with some chums, I let Bader the DogBeast and Watson the Incontinent Dog-Beast out for their evening slash and dump while I had a bath, in hopeful preparation for her return. When I went to let them back in, I found Bader (the intelligent one) on the wrong side of the fence, I feared the worst for old-boy Watson. He’s prone to escape missions (that’s how we got him) and as he’s now too old to leap over the fence on a motor-bike, Steve McQueen-style. He now takes his chances and goes walkabout, exploring Cheshire, only when the escape gate is left open.

Naturally, we wouldn’t have such a thing as a working torch in the house — that would be far too much to ask — so within moments, the one-man rescue mission was launched with me (in my pyjama shorts and t-shirt, and wellies) in the front garden, looking for a black, blind and deaf dog armed with just the tiny light on the end of my keyring. Thunderbirds it wasn’t.

Guess what — the impact threw tons of crap into the air, including traces of frozen water from under the surface. Thrilling stuff, eh?

So how much water was there? Enough to build yet another American theme park, with performing dolphins? Disneyland Sea of Tranquility? Not quite.

Enough to send by a long pipe to help Bob Geldof’s starving Biafrans? Not quite. No — this monstrously expensive experiment, which had Houston control whooping for joy like they’d just won the lottery — revealed about 12 bucket-fulls of water. Just enough to clean my car. Sensational.

As I began to freeze, I started to panic — Watson is an old boy, and certainly wouldn’t survive the night outside (neither would I). Of course, a panic call to Mrs G was unanswered (her phone was probably fl at, in her handbag, in the car, which would be unlocked, in the car park in Manchester) so, locking the kids in the house (they were asleep — don’t tell social services) I set off in Thunderbird1 to fi nd him, returning every few minutes in case she’d come back and thought I’d run off with one of my female fans, and to check the house hadn’t burned down, with the kids and my big telly locked inside.

Thanks go to Town Mayor Coun Ernie Clarke and his wife; Gordon Becinsdale and also the vicar, the Rev Jonathan Sharples, who did a magnifi cent service. It was his very fi rst one after taking up his appointment of Canon at our wonderful church.

Next year the Remembrance do is at the town hall. I think all the monies collected and donations should be sent to the wives, widows and children who have lost so much in this sad and lonely year in Afghanistan.

The Romanian collection has done so much, what a change it would make to people in Congleton. — Yours faithfully, “BUGLAWTON


If bobbies are in danger on bikes, should they drive?

Dear Sir — What an embarrassed police force, who have been given a 93-page guide on riding a bike, a peril on two wheels, should they fall off.

There was a time, not too long ago, when English bobbies were famous for being “marvellous”. They could deal with it all and most rode bikes.

I am 77 years old and I have never heard of a bobby falling off a bike and the early ones were big and heavy with a double bars.

If bobbies cannot ride a bike should they be allowed to drive a car? They do have a lot of accidents with cars. — Yours faithfully,


CW11 3NA.

So what have we learned? Well, to save you reading all 1,234 pages of the initial fi ndings in press release to “the scientifi c community of the world”, I can tell you this. The moon is full of rocks. Big ones, and little ones. And dust. And sand. And now a bit of water. So what is the moon good for?

Cement. I rest my case. I could have saved these idiots a pile of money and time by suggesting they blow up Blue John Mines in Buxton (do us all a favour) — that’s full of underground water. Job done. Saved them millions that could have been spent on helicopters and helmets for the soldiers in Afghanistan. Or sending them copies of “Playboy” and some nice cakes.

Give me strength, O Lord. Mind, I could have saved even more time by inviting everyone round to my place to fi nd water underground. I mentioned a while ago that we’d had a quarterly water bill for £6,000 and then, after complaining, another for £8,000. After more calls to United Utilities than I care to remember (to be fair, Mrs G did it all, to save my blood pressure catapulting my heart to the moon along with Apollo 69) and most of my garden being dug up by blind men driving diggers, I arrived home tonight to fi nd an enormous hole in the middle of my beautiful (and expensive) patio, so huge that for a moment, I thought NASA had sent Challenger crashing into that, too. A bloke who looked like he’d just come up from a week in a coal mine was stood by this mess, drinking from my beloved “Maggie Thatcher — winner, general election 1987” mug and as I looked astonished, proclaimed: “I think we’ve found the problem, matey!”

If I tell you I drove to Scholar Green twice. Around the graveyard nearby three times (he’s been there before) and up and down the A34 several times, I’d not be exaggerating. And yes, I did have my headlights on full blast — this was a mercy mission for heavens sake, with a life at risk! In desperation, I confess I drove through a farmer’s fi eld nearby, and even in my 4-wheel-drive Grumpymobile, feared I’d get stuck. I could trudge home down the A34, in my pyjamas and wellies, covered in mud, or call for help and be accused of dogging in a fi eld.

After an hour of pure panic and stress I came back again to fi nd Mrs G just parking up, unloading half of Selfridges from the boot. As I stepped out of the car and thought “How am I going to explain this one?”, out of the darkness appeared Watson, who bounded towards her, like she was the bloody Pied Piper, the chosen one, tail wagging (the dog, not Mrs G).

And all because of water. If 70% of the world’s surface is covered by it, think of all the earache that must cause men everywhere.

For a moment, I searched the quarry that was once my garden and — spotting what remained of my garden furniture poking up from the edge of another crater — considered removing the umbrella and impaling him, like Dracula, to the side of

Mr Grumpy sent us this image to illustrate the topic of “Water”.