A wry view of life for the world-weary

Category Archives: News

Sign Of The Week (6)

Existentialist sign of the week from the Travancore Heritage hotel in Chowara, India


Sign Of The Week (5)

Out here in India public toilets seem to fall into two categories – Slumdog Millionaire or American with very little in between. It is all a world away from the electronic carsey wizardry that the intrepid traveller can encounter in Japan.

For the convenience of those unfamiliar with Kanji script, the Japanese Sanitary Equipment Industry Association have devised a set of six pictograms, illustrating some of the most basic functions, like strong or light flush, raise or lower the lid, water spray and bidet. Some look quite alarming and others could be misinterpreted by the unwary – I don’t think it is advisable to wash one’s breasts in one.

Be that as it may, there has been a spot of good news – these pictograms have now been given the seal of approval by the International Organisation of Standardisation and are set to be rolled out globally, opening the door for the sale of these electric bogs worldwide. The Association is flushed with success.

Every little helps but in the case of doubt, leave it to the next person to figure out has always been my motto.

Cow Of The Week

Here’s a tale of derring-moo I came across this week which had a rather sad ending.

A cow in southern Poland was destined for the local abattoir but had other ideas. It made a dramatic escape, ramming a metal fence and diving into the nearby Lake Nyskie, injuring a farm worker in the process.

She then made her way to an island in the middle of the lake, where she spent three weeks on the loose, eating food thoughtfully provided by the very farmer who had tried to have her slaughtered.

But her idyllic life was not to last.

A team of five people, including a local vet, invaded the island and got close enough to the cow to give her three shots of sedative and bundled her in to a van.

Alas, she died on the way to the abattoir – the cause is thought to have been stress.

I wonder if her meat will be put up for sale.

On a brighter note a Dutch runaway cow, called Hermien, had more success in January when she fled the local abattoir and made for the forest near Lettele. Locals used crowdfunding to raise enough cash to buy her a peaceful retirement at a cow sanctuary.

And Queen of the South fans may notice that reserve goalkeeper, Sam Henderson, didn’t take up his position on the bench this weekend. Yes, you’ve guessed it – he was injured by a runaway cow on his father’s farm.

Sporting Event Of The Week (10)

A cold snap and Britain reels.

News reached me this week that one of our most eagerly awaited sporting contests, the First International Snail Grand National, which was to be held at the Dartmouth Union pub in Holbeton in Devon last Saturday, had fallen victim to the inclement weather.

The problem, as pub manager Donna Aziz found out when she arranged to collect the highly honed racing molluscs from the local pet shop, was that the cold had induced them into a state of sluggishness – surely that should be snailishness – which meant that they were next to useless for racing.

The event, organised to raise funds for the Devon Air Ambulance, had to be postponed and will be held again when the weather is more conducive.

I shall be on its trail.

Sign Of The Week (4)

Seen outside the Four Crosses Inn in Bicton, Shropshire.

Brexiteers, I suppose.

The Suf Fix menu was even cheaper!

Air Travel Tip Of The Week

It may be because I am going on holiday – South India, since you’ve asked – that I have been particularly fixated on air travel this week.

One of the problems the air traveller faces is the sheer boredom of the flight. In-flight entertainment systems will only fill up so much time before you despair of the human race. The cramped conditions make it difficult to do anything remotely energetic but here is something I came across this week which might just help you while away those long hours.

How about drying your washing mid-flight? After all, there are some handy air blowers above your head.

Well, this is what a woman was filmed doing aboard a Ural Airlines flight from Antalya in southern Turkey to Moscow. It took her about twenty minutes or so to dry a rather natty pair of white knickers with black trimming – they look like a child’s pair to my untrained eye – by holding them up to the air vent and moving them about, to the astonishment of her fellow passengers.

Seems to have worked and a tip worth knowing if you spill your wine en route.

Fart Of The Week (3)

Air travel can be pretty stressful these days, what with the hassle of getting through security and then the worry of who you will be sitting next to. So I have some sympathy for a couple of Dutch men on Transavia Airlines flight HV6902 from Dubai to Schipol.

They found themselves sitting next to a chap who was following Benjamin Franklin’s advice to fart proudly a little too enthusiastically. His bout of noisy flatulence caused a bit of atmosphere in the aircraft cabin and despite requests from the aggrieved duo that he desist, he wouldn’t stop.

They then called upon the cabin crew for assistance. The pilot got involved, asking the man to bottle it but the serial farter refused. So the Dutch men took matters in their own hands, sparking a fight, serious enough to cause the plane to be diverted to Vienna.

The Austrian police boarded the plane and removed the two Dutch men together with a couple of women who happened to be sitting in the same row. All four have since been banned from Transavia flights but were not charged as they had not broken any Austrian laws.

It is not clear whether any action was taken against the farting provocateur. Perhaps he should content himself with fizzling next time.

Dish Of The Week

Have the Scots found something to rival the deep-fried Mars bar?

Well, according to Stephen Mann, owner of the Pearl River takeaway in Erskine, his salt and chilli pizza crunch is flying off the shelves. The concoction, which boasts more calories than 22 bags of crisps and more salt content than the daily recommended allowance, consists of a deep-fried pizza coated in spices, topped with onions, peppers and fresh chillies.

At least with the chilli and pepper topping, you are getting one of your five a day.

This ultimate in fusion cuisine, blending an Italian staple with Chinese flavours and Scottish frying, will set you back £7 for a full ten inch pizza, while a half pizza retails at £4.

The only problem is that after eating it, it leaves your mouth as dry as a wallaby’s pouch.

Mann says he gets a lot of repeat customers. You don’t say?

For those for whom a ten inch pizza is not enough, perhaps the enterprising Mann could serve them on a plate made by the Polish firm, Biotrem. Made from natural wheat bran and small amounts of water, compressed together under high temperature and pressure into a plate shape, they are microwavable and totally edible. What’s more, they are environmentally friendly, being compostable, and a tonne of the bran can make 10,000 plates.

With the bowel evacuation that the pizza is bound to guarantee, the plate once ingested will be out of your system in a jiffy.

Just a thought.

Job Of The Week (3)

For some this will be the equivalent of the golden ticket to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. Mondelez International, the company that owns Cadbury’s, has just put an advert on-line, I read this week, for three chocolate tasters.

No experience is necessary and full training will provided to “develop your taste buds”, according to the advert. As part of the interview process the short-listed candidates will be invited to an assessment day where they will sample up to ten different samples and be invited to discuss their findings.

The pay is a paltry £9 per hour and the role is on what is termed a permanent part-time basis but I’m sure there are other compensations.

If you have any food allergies or dietary restrictions, then this is not the job for you but there is a vacancy for a chocolate and cocoa beverage tester.

You’d better get your skates on as the company expect a phenomenal response.

Of course, you may pile on the avoirdupois in the role and so could be tempted to do a spot of jogging. This pursuit has its own perils as reports from the Tsawwassen Police in British Columbia reveal. There has been a spate of incidents where owls have swooped down from the skies and attacked joggers and bikers.

The birds have been mistaking ponytails and flashy headgear as prey and so do what comes naturally to them. The problem has become so severe that residents have been urged to avoid the area.

The Donald had better give it a swerve.

Shot Of The Week

I love stories around the theme of biter bit and here’s a great one I came across this week.

Robert Meilhammer was in a group of hunters in Easton, Maryland. A flock of Canadian geese flew over ahead and the group, not wishing to miss out on a bit of sport, blasted away and downed several of the unfortunate birds.

However, one of the geese, which weigh between 12 and 14 lbs, had the last laugh, plummeting to the ground and striking our Robert. So severe was the impact that Meilhammer was knocked unconscious and suffered what was described as a “severe head injury.

He had to be airlifted to a hospital in Baltimore where he is said to be in a stable condition.

The goose, alas, is dead.

In a statement of the bleedin’ obvious, spokesperson for the Maryland Natural Resources Police, Candy Thomson, revealed that geese can cause “severe damage” falling from height due to their weight and size. But, hey, not as much damage as a bloke with a loaded shotgun aimed at a passing goose.