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'Dear Sir - about your alarm...'

Sir, Well, there I was at three o’clock last Sunday with the house and estate staff lined up on the south terrace, armed to the teeth with pitchforks, croquet mallets and assorted cutlery waiting for the new government alarm to warn us of incoming Russian paratroopers.

My field-telephone was resting in my pocket in the ‘on’ position and guess what? Well I’ll tell you, nothing, that’s what. Not a sausage. We stood there at attention until four o’clock feeling increasingly ridiculous and then repaired to the Three Ferrets to make the best of a ruined Sunday afternoon. No Russian parachutists landed, maybe it was the sight of our pitchforks that put them off (They don’t like it up ‘em, don’t you know?).

Now wouldn’t the government be better off using the old air raid sirens or deploying Town Crier giving it the old, “Oye, oye, oye. It’s three O’clock and all is not well. God save the King!” They could even make this a commercial venture by having the Town Criers interspersing their proclamations with advertisements such as, “MacDonald’s are doing hambuger and chips for £1.99” and “Corals are now taking bets on how many parachutists will land on the village green.”

Meanwhile, I’ll remain in the Three Ferrets.


Sir Mortimer Spillbeans-Smith

Cool Runnings,

Station Road,

West Moors,


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