From General Sir Nigel
Sir: Am I the only one who finds the spectacle of Tony Blair following in Bill Clinton's wake, rather like the little page boy following Good King Wenceslas, a bit nauseating? If we must try and settle Saddam's hash, surely we should not duck our responsibilities but have the courage to go in there and bomb the hell out of Baghdad without waiting for the Americans to join in? The sight of Tony Blair trotting along like Clinton's poodle is enough to make your blood boil.
From Mrs Noreen Dempster
Sir: As past president of the Poodle Society of Great Britain, I take great exception to the imputation of the preceding letter that a poodle is a weak-minded, copycat of a dog. The poodle is loyal, yes, but also independent, brave, intelligent and anything but a milksop. I do not know how the poodle ever got the reputation of being a lame duck, but I resent the way it has become a general Aunt Sally. Let us have an end to it - or at least make fun of some other dog for a while!
From Mrs Sally Wagstaff
Sir: Here we go again. I refer, of course, to the phrase used in the preceding letter, namely "Aunt Sally". I have gone through my life grinding my teeth with fury at the image of this name as some sort of sitting duck for general target practice. It is high time it ceased. I have had it up to here with people saying "Aunt Sally", which not only suggests that Sally is a silly name but also that all Sallys are aunty-ish. I am young and pretty so the phrase "Aunty Sally" makes me feel a bit schizophrenic sometimes.
From Mr Dick Norman
Sir: I cannot believe that someone who is so sensitive about her name can be so insensitive about the use of the word "schizophrenic". For heaven's sake, do people still think that "schizophrenic" means "having a split personality"? Schizophrenia is a complex mental state which takes various forms, but split personality is not one of them. Let me assure you that the old idea of schizophrenia is a dead duck.
From Dr Ben Salamander
Sir: I feel I cannot resist acting in my capacity as a keen ornithologist and pointing out that in every letter you have printed so far, there has been a calculated insult to my favourite bird, the duck. Duck responsibilities... lame duck... sitting duck...dead duck... All the old cliches have been trotted out - I am surprised that nobody has yet used "out for a duck" - and all at the expense of the good old duck. But why? The duck is a handsome creature. It is loyal, fiercely intelligent, faithful and obedient to its master, and also tastes jolly good in orange sauce. Let us have no more of this gubbins.
From Mr Solomon Gubbins
Sir: I have long ago given up trying to work out why the word "gubbins" is synonymous with "mess" or "dog's dinner". Nobody in this world has the surname Mess or Dog's-Dinner, but some of us are blessed with the name Gubbins and some of us are sick to death of this constant misuse of our monicker. Gubbins is a grand old Lincolnshire name meaning "gooseherd" or if it isn't, it jolly well should be, and if other Gubbinses are too lily-livered to stand up and defend their grand old name, then I am not.
From Mrs Lily Leadwell
Sir: I think you can probably guess why I am writing to you in white- hot fury. Yes, it's that word "lily-livered". Oh, Mr Gubbins may get hot under the collar when he hears the word "gubbins", and he is entitled, but for him then to utter the word "lily-livered" without qualms is beyond the pale. Why link the lily and cowardice? The lily is a not only a lovely flower but is also fiercely loyal, brave, intelligent and obedient. Let us have no more of this.
From Mrs Dora Williams
Sir, as my name suggests, I am Welsh, and one of the things I cannot abide is the use of the phrase "to welsh on someone". This phrase has not been used by anyone in any of these letters, but I thought I would write in and say this anyway. Call me over-sensitive if you like. Everyone else does.
Thanks for the letters. I am sorry I did not have space for more.Reuse content