The Cold War may be all but over, yet the local authorities must still provide an attack notification facility. The region's five-minute warning alarms are situated on the roof of the Town Hall building, but the man responsible for activating the device may not actually be able to carry out his duties should the 'balloon go up'.
Until recently, Chief Warning Officer Stan Downing, 68, lived in the nearby library, fulfilling his role as part-time caretaker. However, a series of financial cut-backs has meant Downing, formerly a municipal cleaner, has had to relocate to a residential home in nearby Saltford. Speaking to Could 'Dis Be Cane Shum
, Stan told us: "It were easy when I lived in with the books. If we 'ad a drill, I'd nip upstairs, pull the lever and hey presto, the good folk of this town would be scratching their 'eads a-wondering what the bloody hell was going on."
He continued: "Now though, they put I in that home. Problem is, I ain't got no car see, so the quickest I can pedal me bike to the Town Hall is seven minutes. If you ask me, I reckons weem gonners. I just 'ope they Ruskies takes pity." We spoke to a BANES councillor who confirmed the story, commenting: "We are looking into ways to fund the aquisition of a moped or similar, in order to transport Mr Downing into Keynsham much faster in the unfortunate instance of an imminent attack."
Recent figures indicate the average warning would be minus two minutes - that is, the hooter would sound a full two minutes after impact. We broke the news to shoppers in the town's High Street, who expressed shock at the gloomy report. One un-named woman told us: "Everyone always goes on about who they'd shag if the end was nigh. I feels cheated. I mean, 'ow the 'ell is I gonna bonk that Brad Pitt if we only gets minus two minutes? It's a disgrace. Horrible."
We spoke to the Russians who assured us they have no immediate plans to bomb Keynsham. The line went dead when we asked if Compton Dando was also safe. Since the news broke, copies of the 80's self-helpless manual 'Protect & Survive' have sold out in the town's bookshops. The Handymans' Shop has also reported a rush on doors and lead paint. Nuclear weapons last hit the news when three 'Tridented' missiles fell from the back of a milk float in Burnett during 'routine operations'. A small Pacific island was removed from the map.