Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Good To Be Back ...

I've just returned home from a few days in the countryside. The nearest neighbour was around ½ a kilometre away and wildlife is all around. All was wonderful, except I pulled a muscle in my lower back whilst wielding an axe chopping wood. Now it hurts when I lie down, bend over, turn to my right and, you would believe, sneeze. I was forced into buying an 'appliance' - a lumber support. Oh goody. Aches and pains and medical jiggery-pokery.

Less lager-lout, more Saga-lout ...

Spending time away means that you loose all track of time and world events. I didn’t even think of listening to the BBC World Service until it was almost time to return home. But, once back in the swirling bosom of the French metropolis, I soon discovered what had been going on in my absence.

You can't make up stories like these;

23,000 Reasons ...

According to bird lovers in the low-lands, those hilarious Dutch have been up to no good.

Endemol, the company who saved us all with 'Big Brother', had organised a new world record attempt for toppling dominoes in the northern city of Leeuwarden. Event staff had spent weeks setting up four million dominoes in the local exhibition centre. Just before the big push, a sparrow had flown into the centre and, in it's panic on finding itself trapped, knocked over 23,000 carefully positioned dominoes. A man with a gun was called in.

He shot and killed the sparrow.

The record attempt went ahead and the Dutch entered the books with a total of 4,155,476 dominies. Hurrah.

After the record attempt, the news got out about the sparrow and 'a special webiste' received thousands of complaints. Many people said that "the bird did not do itself any favours by knocking over 23,000 dominoes". How was it to know, for heaven's sake?

Endemol said it felt "terrible" about the killing and the head of a bird protection agency (get this) "appealed for calm". Appealed for calm? What's this, the Dutch version of the French riots?

Shouldn’t have left the bloody door open in the first place then, should you …?


A Pie And A Pint …

The UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has asked all ferry firms to carry out stability checks.

Which sounds fine, until you learn exactly how they conduct their checks.

Apparently, it is feared that Britain's growing weight problem may be causing these frail and ancient boats too much strain. So, take sixty volunteers, assemble them at the Prince of Wales Pier in Falmouth and seduce them with the offer of a free Cornish pasty and a pint. Once weighed, passengers were labelled with a figure in kilograms on their front and the total compared with the maximum passenger payload of each ferry.

Say the experts, "individuals' weight has risen to an average of 11st 8lb (73.48kg) and the combined weight increase on a passenger ferry of 100 customers could cause stability problems."

Needless to say, the boat was tethered to the dockside throughout but had it been taken out into the choppy waters of Southern England, wouldn't the 'test' have been more conclusive? Like, err, what a ferry is designed for?


High As A Kite …

A French woman has admitted attempting to open an aeroplane door mid-flight so that she could smoke a cigarette. Sandrine Helene Sellies, 34, who has a fear of flying, had downed a few 'alcoholic tipples' along with a number of sleeping tablets ahead of the flight from Hong Kong to Brisbane.

Once airborne, the effects of the concoction took a-hold. Sellies was seen on the Cathay Pacific plane walking towards a door with an unlit cigarette and a lighter. She then began tampering with the emergency exit until she was abruptly stopped by a flight attendant.

Mrs Sellies' defence lawyer said her client had "no memory of what had happened on the flight on Saturday, and that she had a history of sleepwalking". Quite rightly, Mrs Sellies pleaded guilty to endangering the safety of an aircraft at Brisbane Magistrates Court and was given a 12-month A$1,000 (£429) good behaviour bond. The French tourist was at the start of a three-week holiday in Australia with her husband.


Ringing The Changes ...

British Actor Richard Griffith (Uncle Vernon in the Harry Potter non-stop cash machine) ordered a woman out of his West End play, after her mobile phone rang for the third time. The production of 'Heroes' at the Wyndham's theatre was nearing the end when Griffiths asked her "Is that it, or will it be ringing some more?" The audience clapped as he asked her to leave the Saturday matinee performance.

This is not the first time Griffiths has ejected someone for being a nuisance. Last year, Griffiths gave another 'outing performance' at London’s National Theatre to a man in audience who’s phone went off for the sixth time during a production of 'The History Boys'.

This latest phone-rage was during the penultimate scene that Griffiths, 58, addressed the woman directly from the stage. "Could the person whose mobile phone it is please leave? The 750 people here would be fully justified in suing you for ruining their afternoon".

Dial M for Manners.


Work That Body, Until You Rust …

A keep-fit enthusiast has been told not to wear vests at a council gym because the sight of "big hairy armpits" would upset other users. Anthony Ward, 41, said he was told by an instructor to wear T-shirts instead of a vest while using gym equipment at the Horfield Leisure Centre in Bristol, UK.

Mr Ward, a gym member for two years, has vowed to continue wearing vests but a Bristol City Council spokeswoman said vests were not banned but gym users are being advised not to wear them. At the start of the session the female instructor said that men should wear T-shirts rather than vests as sweat could cause the equipment to rust.

There are a lot of men who wear vests in the gym … but isn’t a gym one of the only places where it is actually required that you sweat?

I need a lie down … no, it still hurts …

Stu

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