Houseago returns

He denied that unscrupulous individuals were stockpiling notional penguins.

After a long silence, the School of Penguins, Chess and Road Surfacing at the University of East Anglia announced yesterday that it was replacing Professor Ian “Sam” Aufmerksam, its long-serving head.

Prof Aufmerksam had resigned following an embarrassing e-mail leak and the loss of key data.

New head of school Prof Sam “Ian” Aufmerksam said any resemblance between his name and that of his predecessor was coincidental, and he was quite happy for anyone to look for the data, though he did not think they would find it.

Though he admitted that some of the data had been wrong anyway, he stood by the conclusions reached and said there was no doubt that there would be penguins in East Anglia by 2020, or an hour or two later. He was supported in this by the government, many large businesses, banks and international organisations.

He also backed the controversial “penguin credit” scheme, whereby companies and individuals could pay large sums of money to adopt a penguin and place it “notionally” in Norfolk. He denied that unscrupulous individuals were stockpiling notional penguins.

He praised the government for subsidising the construction of icebergs at strategic points in East Anglia and elsewhere, and said these were absolutely essential: anyone who opposed them should be regarded as morally suspect.

Asked about reports that the icebergs would melt and leave ugly superstructure scarring the countryside, he attacked the selfishness of  “iceberg deniers”.

Meanwhile local hero Henry (Fred) “Shrimp” Houseago, who has been missing for some years, has been found alive in the Autonomous Republic of Hingham, near Norfolk.

Asked to explain his absence, he said he had been taking part in an experiment run by Professor V A R Scheinlich, an expert in wormholes and time-space distortion. As a result of this he was reassessing his age to “something more realistic”.

Mr Houseago, 90, has been reunited with his fiancée, Dorothea Goodchild, who refused to give her age but said she had been “seeing someone”. This was now all in the past, and she was drawing a line under it, but she would not be available on Wednesdays and Fridays.

Mr Houseago is launching a campaign against poor headline-writing. He said headlines on articles frequently had nothing to do with the main point of the story. He blamed the “insidious influence of great crested newts”.


I was delighted to find this speed limit sign beside a road on the island of Captiva, in the Gulf of Mexico.

Most speed limits are set at unrealistic levels, so why not make it obviously ridiculous? This may be the first example of a satirical speed limit.

Not before time. The whole road safety industry has been overrun by fanatics with no relevant expertise. Unless of course it’s a conspiracy to grind us all into the ground.