Money Down the Toilet?

A public toilet in Sheringham, Norfolk sold for £104,000 today, doubling the auction estimate.

This is Mr Sooty, let's face it, cuter than any picture of a toilet we could find...

With property prices on the decline a loo with a view is clearly the thing to invest in. The Victorian convenience was overlooking the

sea.  The auctioneer clearly undervalued the demand for something interesting to look at when you’re in for the long haul.   The savvy council are using the money from the sale to invest in more public toilets, clearly in anticipation of a toilet boom.

Graham, our man in the cubicle had these thoughts on the subject:

“I must admit that when I heard there was a wee house for sale that’s not exactly what I expected. I’m not privy to all the information, and to be honest I wouldn’t want to get bogged down in it, however, seems to me like it might just be a sale of convenience…”

Read the original story here:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-norfolk-13561613

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Quit Horsing Around!

In today’s local news there were two seemingly unrelated horse stories.  In Derbyshire Macdonald’s refused to serve a horse

One of these horses is obese, can you tell which? Photograph Copyright Graham Holden 2011 (photos@gholden.co.uk)

drawn carriage; claiming health and safety concerns.  In other news in Liverpool a funeral was disrupted when a horse drawn hearse

went out of control, injuring the horses’ handlers and damaging two vehicles.

Although on their own both reports seem minor and unrelated we believe that there is no such thing as coincidence.  What are the chances of two horse related stories on the same day?  Well to test this theory we put the word “horse” into the BBC News search archive.  All that came up were the two from today.

Of course it is possible that most horse related stories do not make it onto the BBC’s radar, so we also checked the news section of hookedonhorses.co.uk.   The “Horses in the Headlines This Week” section had not been updated since February.  It must be a slow year for horses.

We suspect that it is possible that horses are reacting against such discrimination as shown by Macdonald’s by these minor acts of vandalism, drawing attention to their plight.

We asked Graham, our man in the field to investigate further.  He had this to tell us:

“McDonald’s have allegedly served a horse on many occasions… along with dog, badger, cat, rat and on the very rare occasion, beef!”

When asked for his view on the retaliation he added:

“It’s not the first time I’ve seen horses go nuts and bolt. Sometimes, they latch onto something, get unhinged, and can’t handle it. Then they hammer off down the road and the driver is screwed…”

“I asked a pony to comment but he was unable to as he was just a little hoarse.  The Shire Horse said he was fed up with dragging up the same old stuff But the steeple chaser jumped at the chance.”

Sometimes we wonder if Graham takes his job seriously.  That being said this was still less disturbing than Jeff.

There is some good news though.  The carriage was served later that day at a KFC drive thru.

You can find all the original reports here.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-derbyshire-13548984

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-13545547

http://www.hookedonhorses.co.uk/2011/horses-in-the-headlines-this-week/

http://www.metro.co.uk/weird/864368-kfc-oks-horse-drive-thru-after-mcdonalds-turn-rider-away

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Apocalypse: Last Saturday…

Or it could be in six months.  Despite being a cutting edge news reporting organisation no-one told us that the world was due to

This Apocalypse Mushroom Cloud on a Pacific Island was interpreted for us by Graham Holden and is copyright 2011 (photos@gholden.co.uk)

come crashing to an end at 18:00 on Saturday.  In point of fact the first we heard about it at 18:07 when we read the SaturdayGuardian.  By then it was clear that something was amiss.

According to eighty-nine-year-old Californian Harold Camping the world was due to end across every time zone at their respective 6pms.  The righteous would be saved and the non-believers destroyed in a well timed world consuming earthquake.

By the time we were eating our slightly burnt pizza it was becoming clear that the apocalypse simply was not going to happen.  Had we reported on it in advance we certainly would have egg on our face now.

There is, however a glimmer of hope for those of you who had heard whispers of the apocalypse and given away all your worldly possessions and blown your savings in the hopes of going out with a bang.  It was a simple miscalculation.  According to Camping:

“I can tell you when 21 May came and went it was a very difficult time for me – a very difficult time. I was truly wondering what is going on. In my mind, I went back through all the promises God had made. What in the world was happening. I really was praying and praying: ‘Lord, what happened?’”

Despite his initial distress that the world was still spinning, it soon became clear what had happened.  The world will in fact end on the 21st of October.  That gives us five months to really enjoy ourselves, or find religion and become super pious in the hope of being saved.  So, we at newsnibbles will be keeping you updated with any minor tremors that could mark the end of the world.  You heard it here first.  Well, apart from all the other newspapers who seemed to know all about it.  Then, of course there were the listeners to Camping’s radio show, who also knew about it before anyone else… so perhaps we should more accurately say “you heard it here eventually.”

One person who was very disappointed when the world did not end was Jeff, from Wolverhampton.  He told us:  “I wanted the world to end because I was caught urinating on foxes.   It was something I had always wanted to do. But now the world didn’t end people think I am kinda strange.”  This is what happens when we interview people we find in chat rooms.  Where is Graham when you need him?

To avoid confusion like this in the future we would like to suggest that prophecies of doom be kept considerably more vague.  For example, Nostradamus was very vague indeed, thus avoiding embarrassment:

“The young lion will overcome the older one,
On the field of combat in a single battle;
He will pierce his eyes through a golden cage,
Two wounds made one, then he dies a cruel death.”

According to http://www.nostradamus101.com:

“In June 1559, Henry II ignored all warnings that Nostradamus gave him and participated in a jousting tournament against the Comte de Montgomery. Both men used shields embossed with lions. Montgomery was six years younger than Henry.

During the final bout of fighting in the tournament, Montgomery failed to lower his lance in time. It shattered, sending a large splinter through the king’s gilded visor (golden cage). The result was two moral wounds (two wounds made one and then he will die a cruel death.) One splinter spliced eye; the other impaled his temple just behind the eye. Both splinters from the lance penetrated his brain. Henry lived for ten days in agony, thus fulfilling the Nostradamus prophecy that he would die a cruel death.”

Had this not happened Nostradamus could simply have said, “I meant actual lions in Africa, and it so did happen.”  You see, keep it vague; avoid embarrassment.

That said, should the world end in October we will of course retract this last suggestion.

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Graham’s Tricky Maze

This week Graham has once again demonstrated his diversity as a puzzle designer by creating us this “Tricky Maze.”  He estimates it will take the average reader no more than an hour to complete.  Unfortunately last week’s crossword proved to challenging for readers, even with the mid week clue, so the prize of a blank word doc will be carried over to this week.*  Good luck puzzlers.

 

Here is the answer to last week’s crossword.  We just know you’ll be kicking yourselves.

 

*As always terms and conditions apply, but they are very boring so if you are interested then ask us and we’ll think some up for you.  Good luck.

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DVD Review: Kick-Ass, Collector’s Edition

After the success of last week’s book review we have decided to hit the ground running with a DVD review.  We wanted to review a recentrelease that we thought would be of interest to readers so we scoured the “DVD chart” section of the supermarket.  The one that really stood out to us was Kick-Ass, Collector’s Edition.

On first glance the DVD box is very shiny and drew our attention immediately.  The cardboard sleeve that encases the more traditional plastic box has embossed holographic character on the front.  The title “Kick-Ass” is also embossed and holographic, with extra shine in the form of a reflective coating.  There is also a shiny embossed character on the back underneath the traditional description of the DVD content.  On the front of the box is a quote from Empire saying “Brilliant… Thrilling… Deliriously entertaining.”  Whilst we don’t know if we would go quite that far, it certainly is shiny.

Once the shiny cardboard sleeve is removed the plastic box inside is a tad disappointing.  It is identical to the shiny bit, only without any shininess.  We won’t dwell on that.  Opening the box things begin to look up.  Our fears that is was all shine and no content are allayed.  There is a free comic!  This is for the hardcore collectors.  Although there is not a full story there are lots of arty pictures, which is nice.

The disc itself is round, as expected, with the character and the title of the film on the front.  The back is reflective which can be shocking if you are not expecting to see yourself when you turn it over.

All in all this is a very decorative addition of the film and one for the collectors.

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Claude has Crowed his Last!

On the 11thof May 2011 the Daily Mail reported the brutal murder of Claude the Cockerel in the small North Yorkshire Village of Bishop Monkton.

According to the Mail the brutal slaughter was preceded by a number of poison pen letters about the noise of Claude’s dawn chorus, and

This is the chicken that Graham spoke to. She does look a bit suspect...

a hennapping.  Claude was returned as secretly as he was kidnapped but before he had time to recover from the ordeal his neck was snapped. Unfortunately the events occurred so suddenly that the police had no time to interview him.

According to the Mail the brutal nature of the killing can rule out a fox attack as they do not have opposable thumbs.  Despite certain parties trying to throw the blame on the dissident badger group BAG, we have an informant who tells us that badgers do not have opposable thumbs either and therefore cannot be to blame.  Since the Giant Panda is not native to North Yorkshire and we are certain residents would have reported one roaming the countryside we are forced to the conclusion that this crime is all too human.

We suspect someone with farming experience, as this is the preferred method of slaughter before roasting for a Sunday lunch.  Armed with this information and determined to assist the police in their investigations we sent Graham, our man on the ground to North Yorkshire to speak to the local poultry.  He had this to report:

“The chicken said “Cluck, cluck, cluck…” followed by “I’ve always been a bit wary of that Bernard Matthews chap…”, and then asked if I wanted to buy some cheep eggs on the quiet…”  Apparently the chickens of North Yorkshire are not very reputable.

We asked resident songbird Catherine Sykes what she made of the brutal events in the small North Yorkshire village.  She offered us this by way of a comment:

“Look, just because I’m from Yorkshire doesn’t mean I know anything about chickens, OK?  First penguins, now chickens!  I’m a singer, not an ornithologist.  Why can’t you people just leave me alone?”  After unclenching her fists and taking a breath she added “Did I mention that I’ve got an album out at the moment?  You can get your copy at catherinesykes.com.”  Once again we would like to thank Catherine for acknowledging us.  Most people just slam the phone down.

She does make an interesting point too: first penguins, now chickens and all in Yorkshire.  Is it possible that here at newsnibbles we have uncovered some sort of organised bird tormenting ring in Yorkshire?  Since our budget did not stretch to keeping Graham in Yorkshire for more time than the day it took him to find a chicken prepared to squawk we will have to organise a car wash and continue the investigation at a later date.

We are able to reveal at this point however that Bernard Matthews was in fact based in Norfolk, and is, as of 2010 dead.  Never mind Graham, keep plugging.

You can read the Mail’s original report here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1385601/Who-killed-Claude-cockerel-Bishop-Monkton.html

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Best Get Ill Now Whilst it’s Still Free!

On Saturday May 14ththe Guardian reported that “David Cameron’s adviser says health reform is a chance to make big profits”.  The

report asserts that one of the prime minister’s senior advisers suggests that the NHS could be significantly improved by charging

We couldn't find an interesting picture for this story so decided to use this one! How cute!

patients for healthcare, in a kind of “state insurance” scheme.  This would see us following in the footsteps of America, where citizens pay into a health insurance policy.

The report goes on to inform us that Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats will not support any motion that allows the “profit motive to drive a coach and horses through the NHS”.  Well that is a relief.  Thank goodness we are in a coalition government.  As long as Nick is not distracted by something shiny or some chocolate from Dave’s lunchbox then the whole thing is a mute point.  The Guardian clearly does not have any actual news to report on.

That being said, since we have taken the time to look into this story we felt it only fair to actually do our own research, so found ourselves a transcript of the Prime Minister’s speech on NHS reforms.  From what we can gather our fearless leader is passionate about the NHS and to keep it alive, change is essential.  He is less clear as to what this change will actually entail.  Not to be deterred we sent Graham, our man on the ground to look into the proposed Health and Social Care Bill.  This is what he came up with:

“I think it’s like ‘Postman’ Pat, ‘Fireman’ Sam, etc: ‘Health and Social Care’ Bill.”  Bless his little cottons.

By this point we’re regretting looking into this story.  There are no stressed penguins or cheesy dogs, there is certainly no fun picture to include.  Not to be deterred we contacted a healthcare professional.  It is amazing who will talk to you if you fain illness.  She told us:

“There’s always been talk of giving GPs more power to prevent hospitalisation and promote primary care (preventive) rather than secondary care (treating).  With a growing elderly population it’s not going to be as easy, medications and services are more expensive to GPs rather than in hospitals and would GPs specialise in certain areas to prevent them missing out on key diagnosis?  If we privatise would we get the same benefits and job security?”

It all seems to be getting very complicated. Ah well, form your own conclusions.

The Guardian’s original article is here:http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/may/14/david-cameron-adviser-health-reform

The transcript of the PMs speech is here: http://www.newstatesman.com/2011/04/status-quo-nhs-money-change

And finally the Health and Social Care Bill is Here: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmbills/177/11177.i-vii.html yeah, good luck with this last one.

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Graham’s Crossword

This week Graham has produced a crossword for our puzzle section.  He informs us that he has pitched it somewhere between the Times and the Sunday Telegraph, and estimates it will take the average reader no more than an hour to complete.  As an extra incentive this week he has provided the prize* himself.  A blank word document which you can customise with messages for your friends and family and either print off or email.  Good luck.

 

And a big congratulations to last week’s winner, Julianne Kerton from Bristol, who managed to spot all four differences.  A fantastic prize will be winging its way to you some time within the next eight years.  If you are still puzzling over the Spot the difference then answers are published below.

 

Well done if you managed to get them all.

*As always terms and conditions apply to this week’s quiz.  Closing date for entries is 16/05/2011, 17:00 GMT.  We reserve the right to withhold the prize for any reason including we don’t like the way you’re looking at us.  Good luck.

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Book Review: The Come-Back Girl, by Katie Price x

Since Katie Price, aka Jordan has been number one on the Sunday Times Bestseller list we thought we would review her latest offering “The Come-Back Girl,” due for release in July of this year. 

Graham informs us that if we ever want to be taken seriously as a newspaper we need to diversify.  Whilst our cutting edge news stories and taxing weekly quizzes make up the bare bones of a hardcore news eagle, fun additions such as a Sunday book review will just add an extra layer to a publication that is already reaching double figures on some days.

The book itself is hardcover, meaning it is useful to lean on whilst writing your shopping list, memos etc.  It has a dust jacket which means you can rest your cup of tea on it, avoiding unsightly rings on your table.  It is only 304 pages which means it will be nice and lightweight for your handbag to give it a steady base.  The downside of this is if you were hoping to conceal a weapon within the pages you are unlikely to manage much more than a butter knife.  That being said only a small minority of people actually conceal weaponry in books these days, as it has been overdone.

The cover holds a picture of a woman, being held up by crowds.  She is in silhouette despite having what appear to be spotlights shining on her.  At the very top is written in smallish letters “She’s Heading Back to the Big Time.”  Underneath this in considerably larger letters, in what we presume is the author’s own handwriting the name “Katie Price” followed by an X.  This is how we assume she finishes all her text messages, and is clearly the book’s biggest selling point as it is in the largest font.  At the very bottom is the title, in case you were interested enough to look that hard.

If you are interested in some statistics about Jordan they are available here: http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/jordan_statistics.html

If you have your own opinion about this book then we would love to hear from you.  You can pre-order your copy here:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Come-back-Girl-Katie-Price/dp/1846054885/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1305483746&sr=1-1

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Skating Towards an ASBO

Anti-Social Behaviour Orders are not just reserved for teenagers and old people who have their televisions too loud.  In January

This can be what happens if your dog doesn't wear the proper safety gear when skateboarding...

this year Charlie the cockerel from Shropshire was issued with an ASBO when his early morning calls disrupted neighbours’ sleep.

The latest member of the animal kingdom to be threatened with an ASBO is Bodhi, a skateboarding Lakeland Terrier from Brighton.

Brighten Council issued Bodhi’s owner Jonathon Fell with an £80 fine for not having his pet on a lead after the freewheeling mutt knocked over a pedestrian, injuring her.  The Mail Onlinedescribed the council as “kill joy”.*  Apparently leaving scattered pedestrians in his wake is all light-hearted fun and games if it is a small dog causing the issue and not a teenage boy.

Mr Fell told the Mail’s totally unbiased reporter:

“Bodhi is always under control. He loves skateboarding and is not a criminal.  It’s something that makes people laugh. I never trained him to skateboard it’s just what he loves to do.”

The comment is situated directly below the photograph of a woman face down in the middle of the road having been hit by the amusing scoundrel.

In a frightening coincidence Graham, our man on the ground is actually based in Brighton.  He had a number of deep and meaningful insights on the subject.

“Dogs have more legs than skateboards and less wheels…” He then scratched his head thoughtfully and added.

Animal Welfare page on the Brighton & Hove website contain the following relating to Dogs:

The Dogs on Leads (Brighton and Hove) Order 2009

3.(1) A person in charge of a dog shall be guilty of an offence if at any time on any land to which this Order applies he does not keep the dog on a lead, unless— (a) he has a reasonable excuse for failing to do so;

Animal Welfare Act 2006

It makes owners and keepers responsible for ensuring that the welfare needs of their animals are met.

Including

5. To be protected from pain, injury, suffering and disease

“Now I think that putting a dog on a lead and pushing it off down the road on a skateboard would very likely cause pain, injury and suffering (probably not disease unless it was a very dirty collar). Therefore this would be in contravention to the Animal Welfare Act 2006, and would be regarded as a reasonable excuse for not having it on a lead!”

*You can read the Mail’s full report here:   http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1385958/Wheels-come-skateboarding-terriers-antics-owner-fined-having-lead.html#ixzz1M9k7BSFs

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