Happy News Stories

rynner2

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#1
A thread to turn to when you're sick of war, murder, torture, and all the other evil things that normally fill the news.

Just happy, fluffy little stories like this one:


Penguin helps p-p-p-pop question

A zookeeper's boyfriend roped in her penguins to help him propose to her during their daily parade.
Vicki Small, 23, said she was speechless when Kevin Venton, 27, went on bended knee and asked her to marry him at the Welsh Mountain Zoo.

Fluffy the penguin then walked on with a white gold and diamond ring in front of a big crowd at Colwyn Bay, Conwy.

She was so astonished she did not say yes straightaway - but she soon did and they will marry in June next year.

The marriage proposal came during the afternoon bird show at the zoo.

"We were in the middle of the penguin parade when my colleague said over the commentary for me to step forward," said Miss Small, from Colwyn Bay.

"Then Kevin went down on one knee in front of everyone and asked me to marry him.

"As he finished Fluffy - the penguin I helped to hand-rear - came on with the ring."

Miss Small said she had not accepted immediately because she was so taken aback.

"I just hugged him and he had to ask again."

"It was awesome and there must have been about 60 people watching the parade, and they all cheered, and people kept congratulating us during the afternoon," she added.

Mr Venton, who lives in Mochdre and works as a sales manager at a plumbing centre, met his bride-to-be at church.

He said the hardest part had been getting hold of telephone numbers for her colleagues to help him set it up, but he was happy with the end result.

"I got a yes, so I think it all went well," he said.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/north_west/6756219.stm

Wasn't that nice! :D
 

mindalai

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awwww!
Fire service to owl's rescue after farmer raises the alarm

THIS is one lucky owl who will be able to fly another day thanks to the big heart of farmer Richard Farrar and the men of Harrogate Fire Station's Green Watch.
The small owl was teetering on the brink of an unpleasant death in the slurry tank at Lower Banks Farm, Nat Lane, Stainburn, near Harrogate, until farmer Farrar spotted it in the nick of time.

Mr Farrar had gone up the ladder on the outside of the 20ft wide, 10ft deep tower to stir the contents when he spotted the small fluffy owl floating on the crust unable to fly free.

"I was just going to stir it when I saw the owl and I could not fashion to let it die and could not reach it myself. I could not get hold of the RSPCA quickly, so I decided to phone the fire brigade."

North Yorkshire Fire Service sent appliances from Harrogate fire station and a heavy rescue tender from Ripon station. But it was then they realised that the aerial platform from Harrogate Station would be needed and it was sent to aid in the successful rescue of the stranded owl.

"The firemen were marvellous. I felt a bit bad having all these men and machines called out, but I don't like to see anything die needlessly," said Mr Farrar.
 

mindalai

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#3
http://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/n ... id=2961584

Larvae-ly ending for girls' creepy crawlies

By Debbie Leigh
Most of us would be horrified at finding creepy-crawlies in our food, but not Amy and Holly Haskins who have given names to a tiny trio of caterpillars.

The twins were delighted when they opened up their sugar snap peas and discovered the three inside, who had hitched a ride all the way from Kenya to Moortown, Leeds.

The eight-year-olds were even more thrilled to discover their new pets could survive after Tropical World, in Roundhay, agreed to look after the caterpillars who could turn into the centre's first African butterflies.

Amy said: "Me and Holly were really excited.

"We keep begging mum to get more sugar snap peas just in case we get some more caterpillars."

Amy said Holly and mum Dee had been eating them straight from the packet when Holly found the first insect, which was around 1cm long.

Surprise

Fortunately, although the packaging advises eating them whole, the girls prefer to open them up and look inside.

Amy explained: "Holly said 'mum I've found a caterpillar'.

"I was really surprised and thought she was joking but there was a dark brown caterpillar and after that she found another one."

Dad Mark said: "Usually you would take them back to the supermarket but they actually said, 'can we keep them?'"

They named them Zoltan, Lucky and Sam, and Mark made a makeshift home from a plastic container.

Amy was still searching through the remaining peas and her patience was rewarded when she found a third.

Mark said he laughed when he read the label on the packet, saying: "Crisp, succulent, and stringless – eat the whole pod to experience its sweet and delicate flavour."

Dee, who bought the peas from Sainsbury's, Moortown, said she would never eat a whole pod again.

The girls, both pupils at Talbot
Primary, Roundhay, took their new pets to school for "show and tell" as they had been learning about animal habitats.

And to their delight, within days, two had turned into a chrysalis.

Their parents suggested moving them to Tropical World where it was warm.

The girls were already visiting the Leeds tourist attraction later this week on a school trip so are now keen to see whether the trio will have emerged as butterflies.

Amy said she would be able to tell which were theirs as all the others were from South America and large but the expert at the park said theirs would be very small.

A spokeswoman for Sainsbury's said finding insects in food was a rare occurrence and could be down to increasing use of more natural methods of pest control.

She said: "If they are pretty pleased with it that's fine. I hope they enjoyed the sugar snap peas as much as the caterpillars did."
 

rynner2

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#4
The happiness here is clearly under threat from circumstances, but is nevertheless genuine and highly unusual!

Pet hippo becomes a weighty problem
By Nigel Blundell
Last Updated: 1:01pm BST 19/06/2007

When a newborn baby hippo was washed up by a flood onto the lawn of his riverside home, the game ranger who found the dying animal lovingly nursed her back to health.

The weakened female survived, put on weight, and grew . . . and g-r-e-w . . . and GREW!

Now the hippo that thinks it's a family pet has become a giant-sized problem.

For what started out as a cute, tubby 35lbs baby is now a boisterous seven-year-old - equivalent to a human 'teenager' -.weighing nearly three-quarters of a ton.

And like many modern teenagers, Jessica, as she has been named, finds family life too comfortable and just won't leave home.

Attempts to reintroduce her to the wild have all failed. And, being free to roam, the danger now is that she will be attacked and killed by other hippos - or shot by local farmers protecting their animals and crops.

As our pictures show, the reason Jessica prefers family life to that of a wallowing big hippopotamus are clear...

She eats, sleeps, swims and plays with retired game warden Tonie Joubert and wife Shirley at their home in South Africa.

She wanders round the house, drinks coffee on the verandah, hangs out with the pet dogs and enjoys Shirley's soothing massages that help her relax at the end of a happy hippo day.

The hippo greets Tonie, in particular, with special grunts and flicking ears whenever she sees him and follows him like a dog wherever he goes.

There is no strict daily routine, but certain crucial things must not be missed - such as the 10 litres of sweet warm coffee, which Tonie bottle-feeds her with every day, or the dog pellets which she expects as treats.

Most nights, Jessica totters off back to the river for a mudbath. But on other occasions she'll wander into the house, wet and dripping slime and plonk herself on the couple's bed.

It is becoming a problem because - unlike the famous hippo in the Silentnight bed adverts - she has broken the Jouberts' bed three times. :shock:

Even larger trouble looms because, being a big girl now, giant male hippos are beginning to turn up on the river's edge fronting Jessica's human home.

She became friendly with one of them, a 10-year-old bull nicknamed Charlie. But when he was shot by a neighbouring farmer, it also killed off hopes of finding Jessica a mate and sending her back into the wild.

"Jessica is so trusting," says Shirley. "Our constant fear now is that the same fate as Charlie's may befall our precious Jess, the gentlest creature on Earth."

Says Tonie: "Some people have told me I was wrong to save Jessica. They say you have to be cruel to be kind and that I should have left nature to go its own way.

"But that would have guaranteed she ended up in a crocodile's stomach.

"And look at the joy and companionship we would have missed out on."

[Can't argue with that! ]

http://tinyurl.com/2xqtju
 

rynner2

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Stardom beckons for pianist janitor
Last Updated: 1:45am BST 20/06/2007

A Polish janitor is on the way to a career as a concert pianist after being heard playing the chapel piano at Glasgow university when he thought no one was listening.

The talent of Aleksander Kudajczyk, who cleans the law department in the early morning, was discovered when the chaplaincy centre secretary, Joan Keenan, logged on to a webcam in the chapel and heard him.

Within minutes she had e-mailed dozens of friends and colleagues to do the same.

The 28-year-old Pole, who arrived in Scotland from Katowice six months ago, has been dubbed "a musical Good Will Hunting", after Matt Damon's film, and is now entertaining crowds at Glasgow's West End Festival.

Yesterday, Aleksander, a graduate of Katowice's Akademia Muzyczna, gave his second public performance in the University Memorial Chapel, playing a selection from Chopin.

Mrs Keenan said: "Aleksander is a lovely but shy lad. He works as a cleaner but nobody knew what a talent he had.

"He now spends six or seven hours a day practising in the chapel and elsewhere around the university. And his hands are far too precious to continue cleaning for long, as the chemicals affect them."

Aleksander, who has played piano since he was four, said: "In Poland I played jazz and classical piano in restaurants and I also played concerts on cruise lines in America.

"I came to Scotland because I want to settle down and the opportunities to make a living are better here than in Poland.

"I was terribly nervous playing my first concert of Chopin, but I'm getting used to it.

"I'm just trying to settle in this country, but I hope to teach piano, or perhaps become a concert pianist in this country."

http://tinyurl.com/2wtccj

(And not a cuddly animal insight! :D )
 

rynner2

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Stardom beckons for pianist janitor
Last Updated: 1:45am BST 20/06/2007

A Polish janitor is on the way to a career as a concert pianist after being heard playing the chapel piano at Glasgow university when he thought no one was listening.

The talent of Aleksander Kudajczyk, who cleans the law department in the early morning, was discovered when the chaplaincy centre secretary, Joan Keenan, logged on to a webcam in the chapel and heard him.

Within minutes she had e-mailed dozens of friends and colleagues to do the same.

The 28-year-old Pole, who arrived in Scotland from Katowice six months ago, has been dubbed "a musical Good Will Hunting", after Matt Damon's film, and is now entertaining crowds at Glasgow's West End Festival.

Yesterday, Aleksander, a graduate of Katowice's Akademia Muzyczna, gave his second public performance in the University Memorial Chapel, playing a selection from Chopin.

Mrs Keenan said: "Aleksander is a lovely but shy lad. He works as a cleaner but nobody knew what a talent he had.

"He now spends six or seven hours a day practising in the chapel and elsewhere around the university. And his hands are far too precious to continue cleaning for long, as the chemicals affect them."

Aleksander, who has played piano since he was four, said: "In Poland I played jazz and classical piano in restaurants and I also played concerts on cruise lines in America.

"I came to Scotland because I want to settle down and the opportunities to make a living are better here than in Poland.

"I was terribly nervous playing my first concert of Chopin, but I'm getting used to it.

"I'm just trying to settle in this country, but I hope to teach piano, or perhaps become a concert pianist in this country."

http://tinyurl.com/2wtccj

(And not a cuddly animal in sight! :D )
 

JamesWhitehead

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#8
"We keep begging mum to get more sugar snap peas just in case we get some more caterpillars."

Bah! What a pair of middle-class, sugar-snap milk-sops! Off to Macdonalds with ye and shovel down that offal till you've raised twin tape-worms like normal kids!

:monster:
 
A

Anonymous

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#9
Breathing apparatus saves snake

Firefighters used breathing apparatus to revive a snake rescued from a flat fire in the West Midlands.
Iguanas, tortoises and other snakes were also pulled from the burning flat in Tipton shortly after 0300 BST on Sunday.

Fire crews used resuscitation equipment usually used on people to revive the corn snake.

The occupant of the flat in Rushmere Road had already managed to get out before crews arrived.

He was taken to Sandwell Hospital but is not believed to have been seriously injured.

The fire is thought to have been started by a cooking appliance which had been left on.

The animals have now been put in the care of the RSPCA, said a West Midlands Fire Service spokesman.

He added: "We gave the snake oxygen and it recovered. It's unusual, but all part of the service."
Link
 
A

Anonymous

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#10


A baby hippo, rescued from the sea in Kenya after losing its parents, has adopted a giant tortoise as its 'mother'.
The animals share a compound in a sanctuary and have formed a close bond.
Video
 

rynner2

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#11
Pupil, 15, joins Nasa for work experience
By James Fielding
Last Updated: 3:29am BST 30/06/2007

While his friends choose to do their work experience in the local supermarket or an office, Ethen Carlin set his sights a little higher by helping to construct satellites at United States space agency Nasa.

Ethen, 15, flew to Washington DC with his family to spend a week with scientists at the Goddard Space Flight Centre.

During his time at the Nasa base in Maryland this month, he helped to solder wires and attach labels to a satellite which is due to be sent into space in August.

He also assisted in monitoring hurricane patterns, programming data from Nasa's Mars probe.

Ethan, a pupil at Polesworth High School, Warwicks, wrote to Nasa asking to spend a week with them following a family holiday in Florida where he visited the Kennedy Space Centre and discovered that Nasa were looking for eager recruits.

He followed it up with a series of letters, emails and faxes proving he was a student and that he wanted to do work experience.

Ethen, of Newton Regis, Warwicks, said: "It was a dream come true. It certainly beat working in a stuffy office or on a crowded shop floor."

Andy Clarke, the school's head teacher, said: "They really pulled out all the stops for Ethen, but he deserved it for all the hard work and persistence he put in to actually secure the placement."

http://tinyurl.com/2l5mae
 

rynner2

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#12
THANKS A LOT: RESIDENTS HOLD PARTY FOR TREATMENT WORKS TEAM
09:00 - 28 June 2007

Any work on sewerage is likely to cause disruption, and the plan for a £1.3 million treatment works at Helford was never going to be an exception.The difference between this community and possibly dozens of others, though, is that the folk of Helford have been very impressed and appreciative of the work done.

So much so, in fact, they have organised a special party both to say 'thank you' to South West Water's (SWW) contractors, May Gurney, and to mark the end of the work.

The party is being held at the Shipwrights Arms tomorrow evening. Residents of Helford had a whip-round to pay for the party.

As one property owner in the village said: "Everyone has pulled together, the village, SWW, contractors May Gurney and the council. During construction the disruption has been horrendous but there have been no major complaints, everyone has put up with it."

Reg Wood, who took the photograph on this page and lives in the village, added: "The party is being organised by the village at the Shipwrights Arms in appreciation of the excellent work carried out by the contractors, May Gurney."

http://tinyurl.com/2dnqbv

The article in today's WMN adds that the workmen stopped work to let pedestrians by, and even carried furniture to a house where the road had been closed by the roadworks! :D
 

escargot

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#13
Tragedy averted in the Irish Sea

Press Association
Friday July 6, 2007 7:18 AM

More than 100 children are recovering after being rescued from the Irish Sea during a junior regatta off the coast of Co Dublin.

At least 16 people are being treated in several hospitals after a sudden squall capsized 91 small boats and sparked a massive emergency at Dun Laoghaire harbour.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) confirmed no-one was seriously injured while those taken to hospital were being treated for suspected hypothermia. "No life-threatening conditions have been reported," an HSE spokesman said.

Another 195 people were given medical attention at the scene as hospitals across the capital city were put on high alert.

The Irish Coast Guard, Dun Laoghaire and Howth lifeboats, Naval ship LE Aoife, local boats and a Coast Guard helicopter were all involved in the rescue operation after strong winds and gusts overturned the dinghies as they were being blown out to sea.

Youngsters pulled to safety described how gales whipped up in less than a minute turning the calm waters into treacherous conditions.

Irish President Mary McAleese praised the emergency services involved in the huge co-ordinated response.

"Thankfully a potential major tragedy has been averted," she said. "The immense efforts of the medical services who provided such wonderful support in response to this rescue must also be recognised."

About 110 children - all under the age of 16 and members of four yachting clubs based in Dublin - were wearing life-jackets when they were tossed into the water at around 2pm on Thursday.

The HSE activated its Major Emergency Plan and urged the public only to attend hospital emergency departments if absolutely necessary.
 

rynner2

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#14
Vermont town voted Simpsons home

The US town of Springfield, Vermont, has beaten 13 rivals and will host the premiere of the film about the animated family The Simpsons.
The show is set in a fictional Springfield because its creator, Matt Groening, spotted that it is one of the most common place-names in the US.

Vermont was chosen in an online vote after 14 towns submitted videos to argue why their town should win.

The premiere is on 21 July, ahead of national US release on 27 July.

Vermont's Springfield beat rivals ranging from Oregon on the west coast to Massachusetts on the Atlantic.

The town of just over 9,000 residents got 15,367 votes, beating the Illinois entry by 733, according to USA Today, which conducted the poll.

The other contenders were in the states of Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, Ohio and Tennessee.

Video parodies

"We're so excited," said Patricia Chaffee, vice-president of the Springfield Regional Chamber of Commerce in Vermont.

"We came in at the last minute, and for us to win, we feel like the underdogs, which makes this so big and so great for us," she told USA Today.

The video entry from Illinois featured the general manager of the local power plant, Todd Renfrow, whose appearance is similar to that of Montgomery Burns, the villain and power plant owner in the show. 8)


A mock protest was held for the video from Springfield, Missouri
Over in Kentucky, a scene was filmed portraying creator Groening in a courtroom, hearing how the cartoon was based on their town.

And Senator Edward Kennedy was recruited for the recording by Springfield, Massachusetts, even though he is regularly mocked in the series.

Before the vote, Tim Farley, executive director at the Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau in Illinois, said: "We always really did think we were the one.

"The similarities between the cartoon and Springfield are really uncanny," he told Reuters.

But he said that whatever the outcome, all of the towns were "winners".

"It's made a lot of Springfields more popular than they may have been before," he said.
:D

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/6287064.stm
 

Jerry_B

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#15
Friends restore Lotus in secret

A sports car enthusiast who suffered a mini stroke while restoring a Lotus Espirit was amazed when online friends finished the work for him in secret.

Simon Pritchard, 36, from Abergavenny, had been in the process of rebuilding the 25-year-old car when he fell ill.

When members of the Lotus Espirit online forum website heard, they donated money and time to fix it.

The original 18-month project costing £25,000 actually took his friends just five weeks to complete for free.

Mr Pritchard had several mini strokes after developing Reiter's Syndrome - a form of arthritis which develops as a reaction to infections in the body.

He also suffers from a lung complaint.

But despite his illness, he was determined to lead as full a life as possible and wanted to restore the classic.

As part of his research, he logged onto a website which allowed people to get help and advice in the restoration of such cars.

Andy Betts, from Bexley, Greater London, who runs the website said: "He was trying to do up the car even though he was quite unwell.

"One day I phoned him up and his wife said he was in hospital and I thought that there had to be something we could do to help him."

So while Mr Pritchard recovered in hospital, Mr Betts set up an area on the website which Mr Pritchard was denied access to and went about recruiting help from the 3,800 members.

Offers of money, car parts and time soon came flooding in and so with the help of Mr Pritchard's wife Kelly, the group organised to have the car taken to a garage in nearby Caerphilly for restoration.

BBC Source
 

mindalai

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#16
Online people can be lovely. After an unpleasant experience I had, some of my kind and thoughtful online friends clubbed together and bought me a very unexpected and generous present. I was very touched.

(thank you - you know who you are ;))
 

rynner2

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#17
It's a fine line between Happy and Bonkers, but this made me smile
- and it even gives Terry Thomas a mention!
:D

The rise and rise of the Chap Olympics
By Adam Lusher, Sunday Telegraph
Last Updated: 1:34am BST 15/07/2007

The racers take their marks. I crouch low, every sinew coiled, hope in my heart, wings on my heels - and the pipe between my teeth. Plus of course a solid pair of brogues on my feet, a trilby on my head and a tweed suit in between.

You see, old chap, this is it: the pipe smokers' relay, the Chap Olympics, sport's ultimate trial of Chappism.

You are, one trusts, reading this at your leisure after rising some time after noon. Which means that just 24 hours ago, Fruity Metcalfe, last year's victor ludorum, lit the sacred Olympic Pipe - a jolly impressive 18in corncob - and the games began, in that hallowed sporting arena, Bedford Square Gardens, Bloomsbury, London.

About 100 chaps (and chappettes) competed, partly for the gold, silver and bronze cravats, mainly for the glory of the Chap Olympic ideal: not so much swifter, higher, stronger, as slower, lower, go easy on the tonic. Until the final "saunter of honour", to the last man and popsie, they honoured The Chap, not just a gentleman, but a movement, seeking, in its founders' words "to reinstate such outmoded but indispensable gestures as hat doffing and regularly using a trouser press".

Here, at last, were 100 competitors and 800 spectators brave enough to confront the truth "that a society without courteous behaviour and proper headwear is on the brink of moral and sartorial collapse".

If only I hadn't made the most dreadful howler. I did keep my pipe lit throughout my leg of the relay (tamping with one's pipe tamper being allowed). But I showed overt signs of effort, and came alarmingly close to running. Still more horrifying, as far as the judges were concerned, I let my trouser creases fall out of alignment. There can be no dissent (even if a chap could contemplate such a thing).

My two judges are founders of the Chap Olympic movement: Gustav Temple, the editor of The Chap magazine, and Torquil Arbuthnot, a former bronze cravattist, and the author of a seminal paper identifying 73 different ways to doff one's hat ("The Chamberlain", lifted above the head as if returning from Munich, "The Delayed Chamberlain, lifted and held, as if seeing a chap off on the Indies steamer").

"No panache," concludes Temple. "Our referees are trained to look for perspiration." "Rash exuberance of youth," murmurs Arbuthnot, 44, after confirming the crushing trouser crease verdict with the help of his Malacca cane. "Try some of this," he counsels, producing a hip flask from the pocket of his cream linen suit. "Calm you down." It is filled with the Chap's sports energy drink of choice: whisky.

Temple, 42, a Hampstead-born poetry lover, founded the Chap movement in 1999. "It was a stand against the horrible culture at the time: lads' magazines, wearing too much sportswear, the Spice Girls. They were out there: chaps wearing tweed, smoking pipes, lamenting England's lost charm. We gave them a voice."

Indeed they did. Courtesy of "Johnny Interweb", a manifesto was broadcast to the world: "Pleasantness and civility are being discarded as worthless ephemera of a bygone age, an age when small children could be counted upon to mind one's Jack Russell while one took a mild and bitter in the local hostelry. The local hostelry has been taken over by a chain and serves chemically laced lager. Needless to say, the Jack Russell is no longer there upon one's return."

The attempt to bring tweed to the nation's hoodie-wearing youth was less successful, although they did eventually recover their car (if not all their mobile phones).

The Chap Olympics, however, has grown unstoppably since its inception in 2004. They have even had to adapt to such caddish 21st century customs as cheating by introducing random moustache testing. "If you can't be genuine in your facial accoutrements," explains Temple, "how can you possibly wear cufflinks with conviction?"

"Drug and alcohol testing?" he adds, somewhat bemused. "We are sponsored by Hendrick's Gin. The more the merrier."

The Chaps' sports "injuries" are similarly novel. "Raconteur's wrist," says Arbuthnot, waving his hand theatrically. "Dreadful business." 8)

Only the elite few, of course, can ascend to the ranks of the Chap Olympians. Temple ignores vulgarities like athletic ability. "There is the tie, the trouser creases, so many factors."

"Trainers?!" he splutters. "I can't even begin to express how - on every level - they are wrong. If you must engage in sporting activity, and I can't really see why that would be necessary, old-fashioned white canvas plimsolls are perfectly adequate. Or brogues with a strong sole."

I am dispatched to David Saxby, gentlemen's outfitter of the Old Hat and Bertie Wooster shops in Fulham, and the maker of those Olympic gold silk cravats.

He eyes my grey suit warily: "It does smack of paid employment slightly." He offers the definitive conclusion to the debate raging since last week, when The Sunday Telegraph revealed that Jeremy Paxman, the BBC Newsnight presenter, had declared the tie "an utterly useless part of the male wardrobe".

"For a gentleman to show his naked neck in public, covered by neither tie nor cravat, is," Mr Saxby declares, "definitely a bottom-smacking offence."

For the avoidance of doubt, Mr Saxby means this is a bad thing. Although he does observe that "some chaps are repeat offenders". My modesty covered by a silk cravat, Arbuthnot and Temple agree to assist at a training session. For the sake of both chaps' reputations, it should be stressed that they are decidedly queasy about such an unnatural practice as "training".

All events are, of course, based on a chap's everyday life. So I bungle through the Martini relay (where a chap makes his drink without the aid of his butler.)

"Less vermouth!" warns Temple. "Churchill used to say that just a beam of sunlight should be allowed through the bottle into the glass - have a taste."

Then there is the hop, skip and G & T, the idea being not to spill one's drink while performing the requisite bounds. "The fact that you now have gin on your trilby," declares Temple, "shows a certain verve. Could count in your favour. Fancy another one, old boy?"

I fortify myself for bounders, an event owing nothing to rounders and everything to the late, great Terry-Thomas. :D The Olympic rulebook decrees: "Six Cads approach six ladies. The winner is the cad who receives the loudest slap, but maintains the wryest smile."

I think bounders could be my event. But perhaps that is just because of the inexplicable enthusiasm of Ms Kerry Stalonas, 35. "That's for all the men in my life," she cries gleefully, landing an Olympic-class belter on my cheek before returning to her course at the nearby London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

There is, however, a growing danger that a chap might break into a sweat with too much "training". We retire to a nearby bar. As the moustache-twitchingly lovely Agnieszka brings cooling G & Ts, Temple and Arbuthnot - an art college administrator who occasionally goes by the name of Stephen Holden - insist they are anything but bewildered by the modern world.

"Our rebellion," says Temple, "is based on an understanding of how easy it is to convert people. The Chap started with 100 readers and now has 15,000. People like a cravat on a man. They just don't see it often enough to know.

"A young gentleman drinking a can of beer approached me recently," he adds, "and said: 'You look rude.' Which I presume was a compliment."

"Similar thing happened to me," agrees Arbuthnot, "Got told I looked 'machine'."

Temple is dangerously close to seriousness. "Under the humour, there is a point: why does everything have to be so unpleasant? Why can't people be courteous?" He pauses. "The English might even win gold in a 2012 pipe smokers' relay. Wouldn't it be wonderful if some chap still almost young enough to wear short trousers could be there?"

I agree it is a bally good idea. Of course I do. I've smoked a pipe in public, made lewd remarks to a lady, had a whisky, a martini and a lot more G & T than I spilt, it's not even lunchtime, and I'm starting to like tweed. If I had known Olympic training was this marvellous, I would have started years ago. But that would have instantly disqualified me.

http://tinyurl.com/2ozbel

And extra smiles for reminding me of a certain Monty Python sketch...!
http://www.jumpstation.ca/recroom/comed ... /twit.html
 

rynner2

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#19
From The TimesJuly 16, 2007

‘Nessie’ bobs up in Welsh river
Home Staff

Coastguards issued an alert after a creature like the Loch Ness monster was spotted in a river.

The 25ft-long monster was seen floating in Wales. But the “Nessie” was a giant raft built for a river festival that was dashed from its mooring by a felled tree during heavy rain. A search team finally found the raft, which has a 6ft tall Loch Ness Monster head and a tail, five miles downstream in the River Towy near Carmarthen, West Wales. Ian McCue, chairman of the Carmarthen River Festival, said: “It was quite embarrassing . . . In fact, the coastguard I spoke to was in hysterics for about 10 minutes when I told him.”

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/u ... 080544.ece

:D :D :D
 
A

Anonymous

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#20
Seagull becomes crisp shoplifter





A seagull has turned shoplifter by wandering into a shop and helping itself to crisps.
The bird walks into the RS McColl newsagents in Aberdeen when the door is open and makes off with cheese Doritos.

The seagull, nicknamed Sam, has now become so popular that locals have started paying for his crisps.

Shop assistant Sriaram Nagarajan said: "Everyone is amazed by the seagull. For some reason he only takes that one particular kind of crisps."

The bird first swooped in Aberdeen's Castlegate earlier this month and made off with the 55p crisps, and is now a regular.

Once outside, the crisps are ripped open and the seagull is joined by other birds.

'Fine art'

Mr Nagarajan said: "He's got it down to a fine art. He waits until there are no customers around and I'm standing behind the till, then he raids the place.

"At first I didn't believe a seagull was capable of stealing crisps. But I saw it with my own eyes and I was surprised. He's very good at it.

"He's becoming a bit of a celebrity. Seagulls are usually not that popular but Sam is a star because he's so funny."

A spokesman for RSPB Scotland said: "I've never heard of anything like this before.

"Perhaps it tried some crisps in a shiny packet in the street, and was just opportunistic one day at the shop when it saw what was inside.

"As everyone knows, gulls can be very quick and fearless, and clearly this one is no exception."

He added: "We'd discourage people from feeding gulls though, as gulls in towns generate lots of complaints every year, and the availability of food is the only reason they live in urban settings."
Link
 

OneWingedBird

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#21
survival kitty! :D

New home for 'stowaway' cat Ziggy

A cat who turned up in a Lancashire warehouse after a 2,000-mile sea voyage has been given a new home.

Warehouse workers named the cat Ziggy after David Bowie's fictional alter-ego Ziggy Stardust, as he has one blue eye and one green eye.

He was transported in a crate from Afula in Israel and ended up in Whitworth, Lancashire, last November.

Ziggy spent six months in quarantine but is now living with Sheila and Joseph Bujak, of Over Wyre.

The cat survived the 10-day journey in the crate by licking the moisture from the walls.

He was rescued by the RSPCA and Lancashire County Council and the costs of his quarantine were paid for by Cats Protection.

The feline charity's St Helen's adoption centre found him his new home near Blackpool.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/lanc ... 907560.stm
 

jefflovestone

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#23
rynner said:
It's a fine line between Happy and Bonkers, but this made me smile
- and it even gives Terry Thomas a mention!
:D

The rise and rise of the Chap Olympics
By Adam Lusher, Sunday Telegraph
Last Updated: 1:34am BST 15/07/2007

The racers take their marks. I crouch low, every sinew coiled, hope in my heart, wings on my heels - and the pipe between my teeth. Plus of course a solid pair of brogues on my feet, a trilby on my head and a tweed suit in between...
I'm always undecided about The Chap. I've got a couple of the books and a couple of the little booklets but they never seem to live up to the idea or promise somehow.
 

rynner2

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#24
Blind pilot's 600mph jet flight

A blind pilot has fulfilled a personal dream by flying a fighter jet over Gloucestershire.
Miles Hilton Barber, 58, of Duffield in Derbyshire, performed aerobatics at more than 600 mph in the Hawker Hunter jet.

After touching down at Kemble airfield he said: "It's been the amazing fulfilment of a dream."

His co-pilot Andy Cubin said: "It was one of the most humbling experiences of my life."

The adventurer already holds a record for flying a microlight from London to Sydney, and has trekked 150 miles across the Sahara in the Marathon des Sables as well as climbing to 17,500 feet in the Himalayas.

Mr Hilton-Barber, who has been blind for more than 25 years, is hoping to raise money for the charity Seeing is Believing.

Raising funds

"When I was 18 I joined the Rhodesian air force, failed on my sight then started going blind and now I'm blind as a bat," he said.

"I've been doing aerobatics in this amazing Delta fighter jet and I'm one of the happiest people in Britain right now and feeling absolutely that even though I'm blind all of us can still live our dreams."

Despite not being able to see the horizon, Mr Hilton-Barber was able to fly by taking cues from his co-pilot.

"I rely on Andy from Delta jets to talk me through the manoeuvres, getting me level again - I'm pulling five or six g's ( acceleration due to gravity - the Earth's gravity is known as 1g) and doing loops and rolls so it's very exciting," Mr Hilton-Barber said.

"I never thought I could do it. I'm hoping to raise awareness and funds for blind people in the developing world," he added.

"Miles Hilton-Barber's brave flight today is a fantastic achievement, however my records don?t indicate there being a new Guinness World Record," said Matthew Wignall of Guinness World Records.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/glou ... 956954.stm

Miserable cynic that I am, I almost posted this story elsewhere, before I finally saw the light..... 8)
 

GNC

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#25
Didn't Ray Charles like to fly his personal jet while on heroin? I don't think he performed aerobatics, mind you. Not intentionally, that is.
 

rynner2

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#26
Here's an unusual one:

Englishman is top French plumber

A 26-year-old plumber from Merseyside has been nominated as the best apprentice plumber in France.
Oliver Watson, from Southport, will receive the prestigious Meilleur Apprenti de France award at the French Senate in Paris in September.

He said that the judges would be surprised to realise that he is English - a competitor's work is just given a number to avoid any bias.

Mr Watson will accept his prize from French president Nicolas Sarkozy. :D

Speaking about the presentation, Mr Watson said: "I'll speak to him with my broken French and let him know that I'm English.

"When you do the competition you don't give your name, you just have a number so it eliminates bias with the judges. I think they'll be a bit surprised."

Traditional methods

Mr Watson said he had quit a college design course in Manchester three years ago and went to visit his parents who had moved to France.

While there he was given an opportunity to train as a plumber, which led to him entering the competition.

The task was to use traditional plumbing methods to make a complicated pipe work to specific measurements.

"I was working on it after my day job and every weekend. It took about 150 hours to complete," he said.

"I knew myself that it was very, very accurate and I was confident it would go far."

Mr Watson now works for a Manchester plumbing firm.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/mers ... 959277.stm
 

rynner2

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#27
Pair stump up for tree sculpture

A Cornish couple are urging people to consider having sculptures made out of damaged trees rather than have them completely felled and removed.
When a 60ft-high pine tree in George and Margaret Hesketh's Torpoint garden was damaged in May they decided to have a sculpture made from the stump.

They asked a tree surgeon to retain 16ft (30.5m) of the 100-year-old tree.

"We really love our trees," said Mr Hesketh. "It is wondrous to think this will now be here a lot longer than us."

The couple enlisted the help of wood carver David Cox, who has spent about eight weeks turning the tree stump into a work of art.

The stump is decorated with a range of creatures including a bear, a fox, an eagle and a carved set of stairs leading to a door with a window.

The couple now hope that other people will consider the same option if their trees are damaged.

"Instead of cutting down the entire tree, why not leave a section of the trunk and carve something that will serve as a tribute to the tree as well as a feature for future generations," said Mr Hesketh, 63.

"We have certainly found great solace and satisfaction in it."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/cornwall/6998857.stm
 

rynner2

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#28
Teacher saves girl's life with new first aid skills
ADAM MORRIS

A TEACHER who saved the life of a young German girl revealed she had learned the vital first-aid skills just days before.

Lesley Roberts saw the girl choking on a boiled sweet on a railway platform in the town of Cochem, Germany, where she was on holiday visiting friends.

By chance, the business education teacher at Beeslack Community High in Penicuik had recently attended a first-aid course with her pupils.

And she said the children's questions to the tutor were ringing in her ears as she performed lifesaving procedures on the little girl.

The 44-year-old, who lives in Bonnyrigg, Midlothian, said: "I was sitting in a station when I saw a big melee.

"It seemed 15 to 20 people had crowded round this young girl who was choking, but I didn't want to do anything because I imagined they would have the situation under control.

"But it went on for well over a minute and both the girl and her mother were getting very distressed, and I intervened when I saw the mum trying to put her fingers down the girl's throat.

"Then I had to say that this was the wrong thing to do, because I remembered being told that at the course I'd been to just before the holiday. Then everyone just looked at me and probably expected I knew what to do - I'd never done anything like it before."

It was at this point that Mrs Roberts, who was with her husband Andrew, put into practice all that she had learned at the British Heart Foundation-backed Heartstart course.

She said: "I just started the procedures we had learned, thumping her on the back five times and then performing the abdominal thrust from behind.

"I did this for what seemed like forever and nothing seemed to be happening, but I remembered a pupil asking the trainer how long you were supposed to do this for if someone was choking, and they said to just keep doing it for as long as possible.

"If it hadn't been for that question, I would probably have given up.

"But eventually, minutes later on one of the abdominal thrusts, a boiled sweet shot out of her mouth.

"My husband had been away at that point and came back midway through, not really sure what was happening. He must have just seen me thumping some girl."

But instead of staying to find out more about the girl she had just saved, or even be congratulated by her mother and the crowd of onlookers, Mrs Roberts had to rush off and catch a waiting train.

She added: "It wasn't really until I got on the train that I just became overwhelmed about what had just happened.

"A few people on the train who had seen it nodded at me and muttered thanks, but I think the girl and her family were more relieved than anything else."

Following her life-saving performance in July, Mrs Roberts has been awarded a Heartstart UK certificate in recognition of her actions.

She said: "I was quite surprised to get this, but anything that promotes Heartstart is worth it, because if it hadn't been for that class, I would not have been able to do what I did."

http://news.scotsman.com/scotland.cfm?id=1638882007

Most teachers will agree that their knowledge or understanding of some topic has increased because of a pupil's question, but rarely, I'd guess, to such dramatic effect!
 

rynner2

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#29
428 murders so far this year may not seem like 'Happy' news, but...

New York murder rate at record low
By Tom Leonard in New York
Last Updated: 3:05am GMT 24/11/2007

New York's murder rate has dropped to its lowest level since police records first became available more than 40 years ago.

Its lingering image as a city plagued by armed robbers and trigger-happy gangs is further undermined by the fact that of the 428 murders recorded so far this year, only a small proportion - 35 of 212 so far analysed - were committed by strangers.

Instead, the vast majority of victims died in arguments with friends or acquaintances, with rival drug gang members or, more rarely, with a romantic partner, spouse or close relative.

Criminologists believe that the New York Police Department will have difficulty lowering the murder rate any more as most killings now occur in people's homes or between people who know each other.

New York's murder rate has been sliding since 1990, when it reached a record high of 2,245, making it America's murder capital.

At the time, the city's crack cocaine epidemic fuelled a murderous crimewave as gangs sprayed bullets at each other even in school yards.

This year, the city has enjoyed a fall in six of the seven major crime categories, including rape, robbery and burglary.

New York's falling crime levels have popularly been attributed to the "zero tolerance" and crime-tracking strategies introduced by the former mayor, Rudy Giuliani, and his police chief, William Bratton, in the 1990s.

While London still has a much lower murder rate - 168 in the 12 months to October - the proportion of those committed by strangers is much higher.

While New York currently has a shrinking force of almost 38,000 police officers compared to the expanding force of just over 31,000 in London, the American city's population is more than 700,000 greater.

http://tinyurl.com/ytgxmy

So, the dollar is low, and NY is much safer - Xmas shopping, anyone? :D
 

rynner2

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#30
And a happy outcome for what might have been a maritime disaster:

Iceberg blamed as passengers flee holed ship in icy waters
Will Pavia, Hannah Strange and James Bone

The growth of 'adventure cruising'

They had paid more than £4,000 each for an adventure in the Antarctic Ocean. Last night the 24 Britons who had kept their spirits up by telling Titanic jokes as they drifted for hours in icy waters must have felt that they had got their money’s worth. 8)

The ship on which they were awoken by a loud bang soon after midnight became the focus of a huge rescue operation off King George Island involving the Chilean Navy and coastguards from Argentina, Britain and America.

With 67 fellow passengers, nine “expedition staff” and the 54 crew on board the stricken MV Explorer, they had been hustled into lifeboats at the crack of the polar dawn to float on a freezing sea beside the iceberg that crippled their vessel. Hours later, the abandoned cruise liner sank.

The passengers and crew were picked up by a Norwegian cruise liner five hours later. A minor international wrangle followed over whose base on King George Island should have the honour of receiving them. King George Island, the largest of the South Shetland Islands, is disputed territory. The Chilean Navy wanted them to be transferred to Chile and the Argentine contingent thought that they should go to Argentina, where the cruise began on November 11.

Safe and snug in the gym of the Chilean base on the island, Bob Flood, a British member of the expedition team on board the Explorer, recalled the ordeal. “After midnight we were going through a lot of ice,” Mr Flood, from the Isles of Scilly, told The Times. “There was a lot of crunching. It did not seem to be anything out of the ordinary, but there was one big bang. A passenger shortly after reported water on the lower decks.”

As the ship began listing, passengers were called to the muster station at about 1am. “Then the electricity cut out and we lost the engine,” Mr Flood went on. “At that time a large iceberg came and lodged itself on the starboard side of the boat. That would have prevented us launching the life boats. At 3 o’clock an order was given to abandon ship. A general Mayday went out.”

No one panicked, and the passengers were in high spirits. “We knew there were ships not too far off,” Mr Flood said. “There was a lot of joke-telling. It’s the most bizarre thing that people tell Titanic jokes.”

Andrea Salas, 38, a crew member, told a radio station in Argentina: “I was in the bar after midnight, with my colleagues and some passengers, when I saw people from the lower cabins, wet and shouting, ‘There’s water’.”

There was a hole “about the size of a fist” and a crack in the hull, GAP Adventures, the tour operator, said yesterday. Ms Salas escaped in a lifeboat. She said: “There was wind and it was very cold, and we were wet because of the waves.”

They were expected to spend the weekend in corrugated-iron cabins at the Chilean Eduardo Frei Montalva airforce base and the neighbouring Professor Julio Escudero Research Station. The 91 passengers had begun their “adventure travel experience” from Ushuaia on the southern tip of Argentina. Fourteen had booked a Spirit of Shackleton tour through the British travel company Explore; the remainder were customers of the Canadian company GAP Adventures. The 2,398-tonne Explorer, the “little red ship” famed as the first cruise ship designed for the fledgeling Antarctic tourist industry, was built in 1969 in a Finnish shipyard by the pioneering tour operator Lars-Eric Lindblad. Equipped with an ice-resistant double hull, she was the first passenger ship to travel unescorted through the Northwest Passage and was billed by GAP Adventures as “the go-anywhere ship for the go-anywhere traveller”. The Explorer had headed south for the Antarctic Peninsula to explore the Southern Shetland Islands and cruise through fields of floating ice.

Graham Hockley, of the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology, said: “The ship is relatively small compared with the potential size of an iceberg. The top of the iceberg may be 50 metres away but it may have a second false summit under the water. If the ship strikes a point on the iceberg at a right angle, the force can be concentrated into a small area and puncture the hull.”

The Explorer’s search and rescue co-operation plans were held by British coastguards at Falmouth. At 5.30am the nightwatch officer in Cornwall received a phone call from coastguards in Norfolk, Virginia. A large Norwegian cruise liner, the Nordnorge, was deemed the most suitable to go to the cruise ship’s aid. Captain Arnvid Hanson said that it took five hours to reach the stricken cruiser, by which time she was listing at 23 to 25 degrees. He said that all the passengers were fit and well.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/w ... 928759.ece

PS: The Explorer subsequently sank.
 
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