Outside Edge (13/12/2009)

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The Independent Online

Just remember, African pygmy hedgehogs are for life, not just for Christmas.

The spiky critters are the latest fashion accessory for WAGs to put in their handbags – chihuahuas, on the other hand, now account for a third of abandoned dogs in the US. The hedgehogs come in a range of colours: albino, apricot, chocolate, salt and pepper – and the RSPCA are up in arms with the Cheshire Waterlife Centre that sells them for £250. But why not go the whole hog and get a pig that flies, like Scarlet, owned by Gwen Howell of Shrewsbury, who has been entered in auditions for 'Britain's Got Talent' because she loves to jump up and down on a trampoline. The swine flew, but can she bring home the bacon?


The age of Paddy Jones, the British grandmother who won the Spanish version of 'Britain's Got Talent' by performing an acrobatic salsa with dance partner Nicko Espinosa, 35. 'It's crazy,' she said, 'life has turned upside down.' Literally.

Chequered mates of the week

There's no smoke without fire in the high-pressure world of chess. Two Chinese grand masters, Wang Yue and Li Chao, were disqualified from the World Chess Cup held in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, after they returned late from a smoking break. Edge is a fan of any sport that allows fag breaks but it's sad that Wang should drag Li down like this; he only took up the habit to keep Wang company. Top-class chess has returned to the UK for the first time in 25 years at the London Chess Classic, featuring the inappropriately monikered Hikaru 'H-Bomb' Nakamura, who beat Bobby Fischer's record as the youngest grand master at 15 years, 79 days. Let's hope he doesn't fall in with the wrong cloud.

Good week for

Mark Lane, England women's cricket coach named UK coach of the year after they won the World Cup and World Twenty20 and retained the Ashes... Mike Perham, the youngest person to sail solo around the world, passes his driving test... and Theo Walcott, signed up by publishers Random House to pen four books about TJ the schoolboy striker.

Bad week for

Chad Ochocinco, Cincinnati Bengals' wide receiver fined $30,000 for putting on a sombrero and poncho after touching down against Detroit... Fabrizio Corona, Italian paparazzo imprisoned for trying to blackmail footballers Adriano and Francesco Coco and motorcyclist Marco Melandri... and Hulk Hogan, the wrestler, is trying to retrieve a beloved antique toilet seat – and even the kitchen sink – taken away by his ex-wife Linda.

Presents of mind of the week

Some irresistible gift ideas for the sports fan: Japanese lingerie company Triumph have brought out "Nice Cup in a Bra", a brassiere that can be unfolded to form a practise putting green complete with a built-in speaker that says "Nice shot" when you sink the ball into the inverted cups. Then there's a remote-control bowling ball produced in the US by 900 Global which you guide towards the skittles. It seems rather against the spirit of the game but does make it a lot easier. Walldex can make a pillow that's an exact replica of the biggest fish you've ever caught. Or how about Blackpool FC's transvestite calendar, designed for charity by striker Stephen McPhee? There's one for the stockings.