By Gareth Edwards

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Vince Cable and the Kaiser's poorly zebra

More answers to your questions on the subject of everything in the universe.

Who owns the gang of horses currently roaming free in the otherwise quiet cul-de-sacs of Ashford, Kent?
The Kaiser does. In 1860 Queen Victoria conferred on her infant grandson Wilhelm the title of Procurator-Royal of the Kentish Horse, which gave him a theoretical right of requisition over all hoofed mammals of the four ancient towns of Sandwich, Margate, Rochester and Ashford. At the outbreak of hostilities in 1914 the Kaiser duly put his claim to the 413 horses, 8 donkeys and a poorly zebra in writing to George V, but George in a bid to avoid having to snub his cousin pretended to be out, and continued to do so for the next four years. The Treaty of Versailles expressly demanded that the Kaiser withdraw his claims on the animals, but in the treaty Ashford was mistakenly recorded as Ashtead. Thus the claim was never legally rescinded, and the horses of Ashford are still technically at the disposal of the Kaiser.

When is Jeremy Paxman?
By day mild-mannered Jeremy works as assistant manager for an artisanal cheese-makers’ co-operative near Stroud. But should democracy be in danger, or students need to be snorted at derisively while trying to answer questions about Keats and the formation of Triphosphorous Heptachloride, then the BBC puts out a special coded signal. Only then does Jeremy become Paxman. The rest of the time he keeps his special sneering suit in the cold-store, and he has a secret Paxphone shaped like a truckle of Double Gloucester.

Why did God invent moths?
God loves all forms of holiness, and this even extends to homonyms. It’s that kind of thoroughness that got God where he is today, ie everywhere.

If it is true that many surnames originated as a result of one’s occupation what is the history of Vince Cable’s family?
Certainly some surnames have their origins in the occupations of our ancestors, hence names like Tim Smith, Daisy Mugger and Saffron Loss-Adjuster. Other names find their origins in personal traits: Dennis Brown, Liam Ottersmell and Samantha Horrible. And a third category of names denote the places our ancestors came from: The Outlaw Josie Wales; Olwen Chatanooga; and Xarglfax  Horsehead-Nebula. Vince Cable does indeed fall into that first category, having had an ancestor who was three thousand miles tall who spent some time submerged under the Atlantic passing on messages, then went on to have a successful career designing and knitting jumpers.

And following on from that, what are the origins of the surname Battery?
Most likely this refers to an ancestor who was a clumsy apprentice in a pancake factory.

Do keep the questions rolling in or we’ll never get the universe comprehensively explained before time itself shall cease, and so we won’t know whether any of it mattered or not, which would be a shame.


  1. Who's gonna clean up this mess?

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. why haven't I won the lottery? :-P

  4. If someone is "out of your league" does that mean football or cricket? This question is not about the insect (disambiguation).

  5. When should you swap your camel?

  6. What are the dimensions that pieces of gravel must reach in order to be classed as stones/pebbles in their own right?