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    Young by gnome standards, but very old as a human, i.e. more than three score and ten, our editor, Jean Brand, is a retired schoolmarm and hence autocratic, egocentric and in constant need of the spell checker. In her working days she refused to learn about computing. “Bring back the quill pen!” was her cry, which may account for her lack of promotion. However, she was introduced to Solitaire, Minesweeper and finally clipart. From then on her whole life became computerised.                  Computer Active is now her favourite magazine, she has spreadsheets for every simple household task and all her friends and relations have to endure home made greetings cards, covered in faked photos of themselves. She also computerises her family tree and an assortment of unpublished novels. No gnome, by choice, would work for her!



This long suffering human, Norman Brand by name, is married to the editor. Most of his working life was spent in the Press Gallery of the House of Commons, so he is faintly qualified to sub edit his wife’s copy. It is a dangerous process, of course. His suggestions are made tentatively in soft pencil and he smiles ingratiatingly when summoned by her stentorian demands to explain his marginal squiggles.

 He is a very obliging member of staff, always ready to ride out on his bike when she cries:

 “I need more copy. Go out and make something happen!”



A brilliant creator of crosswords and puzzles who also writes fine poems under the title ‘Bard of Sarnia’ and occasionally very angry letters as ‘Disgusted of Guernsey’.  He has known the teaboy since their college days.


The editor & Ken Fletcher on the office steps


A Finchley neighbour and good friend of the Brands. He is often confused with that fine actor Jestyn Phillips since they do look identical. He is Lord of the Dollis Parva manor which he rules from the heights of Dollis Towers. As his ancestors of old would cheerfully ride out with their gamekeepers so he is often prepared to take the teaboy cycling about the shires of England.




    Formerly known as “Totally Distraught of Oxford” she is now living happily ever after  in Headington with husband Howie Watkins and daughter, Amy.                

     Alison is the Brands’ elder daughter.