Letters: In Brief

Sir: I have a laptop computer, which I use for word processing and spreadsheets. In December 1999 I will reset the internal clock to December 1983, so the year 2000 will appear as 1984 (also a leap year). New documents will appear in the file register as having been created in 1984 onwards, but as I did not buy the computer until 1990 this will cause minimal confusion. Finally, I will amend the date format so that the year is not displayed in my documents. This solution is unlikely to solve the worldwide millennium bug problem, but it will keep me going for at least ten years.

GRAEME STEPHENS

Newark,

Nottinghamshire

Sir: As a cyclist born well after the war, I can tell Ani Harris (letter, 18 August) that the word "bonk" is still in active use among cyclists although, since the tabloids hijacked it, I have noticed a caution in using the word, especially when new cyclists are present. The word is used in such phrases as "to get the bonk"/"to be bonked" (run out of energy/"hit the wall"); "bonk rations" (food carried to stave off the bonk); and "bonk bag" (flat bag carried over the shoulder containing bonk rations, tools, etc).

In hope that the cyclists' language will outlast that of the tabloids.

JUDY ALLFREY

Barnet,

Hertfordshire

Sir: David Lister, in his review of Robert Redford's film The Horse Whisperer (20 August) writes, "Redford has completely changed the ending. In the book ..." and he goes on to sum up the film's outcome. Neither my wife nor I is familiar with the book, but we were intending to go and see the film. Mr Lister has spared us from having to drag ourselves down to the cinema and saved us the price of the tickets. Please pass on our grateful thanks.

DAVID EAGLE

Edinburgh

Sir: I am middle-class and fairly ordinary, but I don't mind John Walsh talking about fleas ("Striptease, verse and fleas", 24 August). I also don't mind telling him he hasn't a hope of squashing them with a rolled- up copy of Homes and Gardens, or any other blunt instrument for that matter - at least if his dog's fleas are anything like our cats'. The little blighters (the fleas, that is, not the cats) have a hard carapace which has to be squashed between two fingernails or something equally hard and pointed.

HENRY WICKENS

Waldbillig, Luxembourg

Sir: On the subject of "phwoah" (letter, 24 August), who on earth plumped for the ending "oah"? Offhand, I can only think of two other words with that ending - Noah and Shenandoah. Doesn't "phworrh" catch the sound better?

KEITH LONG

Kingston-upon-Thames,

Surrey

Sir: On the occasions that I have had to write it, I have always spelt it thus: "Whooor!"

MICHAEL T HYDE

London N5

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