NOW here's an explosive electoral exchange.

The man who came close to destroying Parliament has been corresponding with the man who hopes to return there.

Guy Fawkes and Hugh Bayley have been in touch via email, the Diary has learned.

Guy, also known as Damian Fleck of York Dungeon, represents the Dungeons Death And Taxes Party, and he hopes to detonate Hugh's majority come May 5.

So the email to Labour's Holgate Road office came as a surprise.

Could the two candidates meet up for a chat, asked Guy's people?

The gunpowder plotter was apparently keen to pick up some tips from Labour's experienced Parliamentarian.

"Thank you for your request that Hugh Bayley should give Guy Fawkes advice on his election campaign," came the succinct reply from York Labour HQ.

"I regret that Mr Bayley is unable to do this before November 5."

Their ambush wittily sidestepped, the Fawkes' camp had a final response: "Guy will just have to keep his powder dry until then... then."

THIS rebuff was the second blow to the Guy Fawkes campaign, after he recently lost the claim to the most notorious weapons of mass destruction in British political history.

ANYONE notice that we relocated Barnsley from South to West Yorkshire yesterday?

Well done.

We shall be sprinkling more deliberate mistakes in future editions to ensure you're really paying attention.

AT the Diary we have long recognised that the most powerful organisation in Britain is the Women's Institute.

All that jam and Jerusalem is a front.

Behind the scenes the WI is secretly running the country.

That belief was confirmed by an item in the North Yorkshire East Federation of Women's Institutes Newsletter this month.

"Earthquake Engineering," it begins. "Tuesday July 19 at Long Marston Village Hall. An afternoon workshop with Dr Wendy Daniells giving an illustrated talk on the effects of earthquakes worldwide, including this country, followed by a hands-on session called 'shaking spaghetti structures'."

Knowing that the WI is training its operatives to survive an earthquake gives you hope for our country's future.

A REQUEST reaches us from the other side of the world.

After 36 years in Australia, Frank Johnson is researching his childhood years in New Earswick.

But there's a problem.

"After trawling many websites and hundreds of links, including specialists in old maps, there is one thing I cannot find: a map of the village as it was then," Mr Johnson confesses.

"I could get a modern one and try to obliterate the things which were not there in my childhood days but 'tis not the same."

He has received great help from York Archives and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, but no response from the post office and library.

And this is where you come in.

"I would be most grateful if the Evening Press or any of its readers could find a map of the village as it was then."

Mr Johnson reveals how he tracked us down: "As an 80-plus 'nerd-in-training' I was fossicking and found the This Is York website."

Unfortunately we haven't an appropriate map of Rowntree's model village here.

If anyone else can fossick one up, please get in touch.

Updated: 09:47 Wednesday, April 27, 2005