HOME Special Features 4th Bear Forum Merchandise
Welcome to the 'Ask Ashley' section of this website, where the only serving alien police officer in the UK will attempt to answer YOUR questions.
PC Ashley (real name 10111001000100111-11) joined the Reading Police Department in 2001 as part of the Alien Equal Opportunities Programme, and after moving around the various departments has finally found a division that can make the most of his unique talents: The Nursery Crime Division, or NCD.
As part of the Wiltshire and Berkshire Constabularies ongoing commitment to engage the public fully in its work and methods, Constable Ashley has graciously agreed to take a break from nursery sleuthing and answer a few questions from you, the public we have a duty to protect.
We would also like to point out that Ashley is responsible for his own words, and we, the Wilts and Berks constabulary disavow any responsibility for his remarks or any loss or damage howsoever caused by anyone acting upon them.
Terri Asks 10101010010110000.. (more)13/8/06
Steve asks about the M25 motorway.13/8/06
Tiffany asks about American sitcoms.13/8/06
Beth-Marie asks about Anderson's Wood.
Ruth asks about Ronnie Barker's Clarence.
Carreg asks about cramp.
Roger asks 'Why?'
Timothy asks about intelligent life.
Tony asks about faster-than-light travel.
Sian asks about your favourite Arkwright in Bonanza.
Gerald asks about Ashley's weight in kilograms
Terri O'Leary asks:
01000110 01100001 01101110 01100011 01111001 00100000 01100001 00100000 01100100 01100001 01110100 01100101 00100000 01101111 01101110 00100000 01100110 01110010 01101001 01100100 01100001 01111001 00101100 00100000 01100011 01110101 01110100 01101001 01100101 00111111
Ashley: 01001000110 01100001 01101110 01100011 01111001 00100000 01100001 00100000 01100100 01100001 01110100 01100101 00100000 01101111 01101110 00100000 01100110 01110010 01101001 01100100 01100001 011110001000110 01100001 01101110 01100011 01111001 00100000 01100001 00100000 01100100 01100001 01110100 01100 101 00100000 01101111 01101110 00100000 01100110 01110010 01101001 01100100 01100001 01111001 00101100 00100000 01100011 01110101 01110100 01101001 01100101 0011111100101 0011111101000110 01100001 01101110 01100011 01111001 00100000 01100001 00100000 01100100 01100001 01110100 01100101 0010 0000 01101111 01101110 00100000 01100110 01110010 01101001 01100100 01100001 01111001 00101100 00100000 01100011 01110101 01110100 01101001 01100101 00111111.
....And that's about all I have to say on this matter. I think you're wrong, but I feel it's important for you to voice your opinions. By the way, I wouldn't suggest you say that sort of thing publicly near Rambosians 'of a certain age' or they may take offence. Thanks for the question, Terri, and I hope your thumb is better soon.
Steve Caddy asks:
Is it quicker to travel clockwise or anti-clockwise on the M25 motorway?
Ashley: If you left right now it is approximately 13.8 minutes quicker in a clockwise direction. Which is kind of counter-intuitive as you do, in fact, travel less far in an anticlockwise direction, as it is inside the arc of the circular motorway - nearly 93.9105 ft less, in fact, if you go in the fast lane, or about 698.003 feet in the slow lane. (You'd compare like-for-like, of course - the fast lanes are next to each other in the centre of the roadway, but the slow lanes are on the extreme outside and inside of the motorway.) BUT the reason I know it is slower to go less distance is because one of my hobbies is M25 roadworks (what form they take, the method of reconstruction, the particular type of contra-flow traffic systems, quantity and size of cones and so forth) and my database tells me that while the anticlockwise direction has two sections of surface reconstruction where there are potential delays, the clockwise direction has only one. It is still possible that a spontaneous 'traffic agglomeration' will slow your progress, and I'm trying to construct a model that will predict traffic flow problems, but its almost as hard as predicting the weather. Interestingly, I've always wanted to try a 'clear run' timing with two identical cars travelling in opposite directions at fixed speeds, but we can't seem to find a time when there are no roadworks. Thanks for the question, Steve, I'm very glad to hear we have similar interests.
Tiffany Hane asks:
Hi Ashley, I was wondering if you ever watched any American sitcoms. And which one was your favourite? I quite like Mork & Mindy personally.
Ashley: I've watched all the American sitcoms and although Mork and Mindy is funny in parts, we kind of find the idea of a human-looking alien playing an alien a little hard to swallow. Why couldn't they have got a real alien to play the alien? I know a lot of aliens who'd have a go and admittedly they might not be quite as funny as Robin Williams (or funny at all, in fact) it might have made the whole thing a lot more realistic. The same goes for 'Third Rock from The Sun'. These people are not aliens, and any Rambosian the age of 7611 could tell you that. And besides, the Earth is not the third rock from the sun, it's the 2,756,293,383 rock from the sun - more if you count interstellar dust. Other than that, I guess it's quite funny, but not as good as 'Happy Days' (which has, to its credit no-one even pretending to be an alien) or 'Dinosaurs' or 'I love Lucy' or 'Cheers' or 'M*A*S*H', although even we got a little tired with that one and much preferred the early series which featured Larry Linville as the weasely Frank Burns. Thanks for the question, Tif.
Beth-Marie McCully asks:
In the 4th Bear Anderson's Woods or Forest as the bears prefer. Is in reference to a fictionl woods or forest?
Ashley: Hmm. Not sure what you're meaning here. In case you are unfamiliar with Reading or its environs, 'Andersen's Wood' is indeed a very large forest to the South-West of the City. On the Hampshire/Berkshire border, it is very close to SommeWorld, the first World War Theme Park, although I'm still a bit confused over the human need to celebrate death and destruction. Thanks for the question, Beth-Marie.
Ruth Burrows asks:
Did you enjoy the series of Clarence as much as Open all hours and should the BBC repeat it instead of OAH which is on at the moment?
Ashley: Very good question, and one which is often the subject of huge debate back home on Rambosia. As everyone knows, the rarely televised 'Clarence' was His Barkerness' last series and featured him playing Clarence Sale, a removals man wooing his sweetheart Josephine Tewson, expertly played by Jane Travers.
Set in the year 10010100101011 (1937 - Ed) The 110-show (six-show) series aired in 1101010101110 (1988) is regarded by some as a 'lost masterpiece' and others as only mildly funny as Mr Barker once again used a physical infirmity - in this case poor eyesight - to gain laughs. Now, although we Rambosians generally find 'Open all Hours' a better constructed sitcom especially as that true stalwart of British comedy David Jason plays Granville, we do have issue with the stuttering gag, as stutterers in binary, where any fom of speech comes out as either all Os or all Is is totally nonsensical.
So I think the long answer is we'd prefer to see Clarence rather than Open all Hours for the abovementioned reasons, but the short answer is that since we have total recall, repeats are a bit pointless. But often, we'll erase parts of our memory and rewatch, say, The Frost Report and enjoy it as much as we did the first time. Thanks for the question, and you may be intersted to know that the BBC are bringing out a boxed set of all Barker's sitcoms on DVD.
I have been suffering with cramp recently and wondered if you had any intergallatic ways of treating it?
Ashley: Dear Carreg, thanks for the question and I'm sorry to hear you are suffering from this very human affliction of cramp which is a pain caused by inadequate oxygenation of muscle or alternatively by lack of water or salt.
Since my body is essentially a series of taut rubber bags filled with a gelatinous liquid, we don't actually have muscles but instead a method of pumping the liquid around through a series of valves which result in the tautening of various regions of our body, and in this manner, by making one side of my arm rigid and the other soft, induce a level of bending that is efficient and strong. So although we don't feel cramp we can have problems of depressurization which whilst not painful (we don't feel any 'pain' as it is not necessary to protect our bodies to the same degree as humans; I can't imagine how annoying it must be to say, lose a finger and not have one pop out again within a few minutes.) Still, I suggest you rub the offending muscle or try and exert it in some way such as walking upside down on the ceiling. Hope it gets better soon and thanks for the question.
Roger Ingott of Hampshire asks:
Where do you come from and why are you here?
Ashley: I'm from Rambosia which is the fifth planet around a star that you know as 101001101010-Y. It's about 10010 (18) light years away, give or take a few months. We've been receiving your Radio and TV signals for quite a time now, as have all the stars within the 101111 (80) year or so 'transmission sphere' emanating from your planet. Some far flung stars are just beginning to receive your first transmissions of the BBC light programme, whilst others that are closer are settling down to watch the third season of Friends. Anyway, I don't know who suggested it but someone said we should go to this 'Earth' place to find out why there was no third series of Fawlty Towers and to get an interview with His Funniness the Ronnie Barker - there are over 10100 (20) fanzines about Porridge alone, which is our favourite. The Cyclopideans over in the Gamma quadrant are bigger on Open All Hours, but I can't think why. So myself and 1111111 (127) others jumped on a Travelator and popped across the universe. Of course, once we arrived here and found out how much filing and bureaucratic data management there was on the planet, we all decided to stay. Especially as a magnetic disturbance 1111 (15) years ago that crossed the Rigelllian crossover had scrambled most of the final season of M*A*S*H, and we all wanted to know how it turned out. Thanks for the question, Rog!
Timothy Daniels of Inverness asks:
Is there much intelligent life out there?
Ashley: Not much, I'm afraid. The Universe is really pretty big, and even my cousin Daniel who is a travelling brush salesman and been on the road for most of his life has only seen a very small part of it, and he told me he couldn't expect to meet anything above a replicating slime once every million or so planets. Mind you, as far as my sister is concerned, not all extra-terrestial life actually is intelligent. (laughs). Thanks for the question, Tim.
Tony Wilks of Builth Wells asks:
How do you travel faster than light when our accepted version of relatively forbids it?
Ashley: I really don't know. I'm not that good on technology - can you tell me how the digital mobile network works? Right, it's masts and radio and stuff but all the rest is a bit complex. It's the same with us. There's space-time warping and plasma-drive in it somewhere, but I'm not too hot on the details. Sorry to disappoint, Tony!
Sian Pickles of Leamington Spa asks:
Which was your favourite Arkwright in Bonanza, and do you have a favourite episode?
Ashley: That's easy: It has to be Ben, played by Lorne Greene, long before his Battlestar Galactica days. Without his steadfast adherence to justice and sense of fair play, the series would never have been as popular as it was. I have lots of favourites, but the one that springs to mind is A Lawman's Lot Is Not A Happy One in which Hoss, as acting Sheriff of Virginia City, must deal with land swindlers and a reluctant bridegroom. Thanks for the question, Sian!
Gerald Phillips of Reading asks:
What is your weight in kilograms?
Ashley: It varies, Gerald. My body is composed of an external membrane filled with a gelatinous liquid closely resembling jellyfish, and pressurised at anything up to three atmospheres. Since my memory works on a binary encoding system within molecular gates that actually increase mass if switched on, we can gain weight by remembering too much,and the wrong sort of thing - for example, if we see and then remember too many green things or are subjected to a lot of obfusicating speech, the increased mass of our experiences can add as much as three or four kilos to our weight. Yes, I know it's easy to keep away from anything green or verbally confusing, but a walk in the forest or watching politicians explain why things aren't as good as they'd hoped is one of those guilty pleasures that we just enjoy. Luckily we Rambosians are able to migrate our memories to our extremities where it is easier to forget, or 'reformat' them, so a bit of a green binge can usually be negated by a spot of selective erasure. So I guess you could say that in the winter and without too much exposure to legislators, I can weigh as little as 68 kilos, but if I've been careless on my greens I might rise to as much as 73.6, although if I'm really honest I once visited Kew Gardens and then had to listen to someone talk about the EU's policy on jam imports, and swelled to a mighty 76.3. Thanks for the question, Gerald - but I shouldn't ask a Treen their weight or they may zap you with a cyclotron evaporator. I've heard this is something you should never ask a female human, either.
Do you have a question for Ashley?
Contact us on:
Sorry, Ashley is not taking any more questions at present.
Merchandise Fforde Grand Central Fforde Ffan Club Buy the book!