Outside Edge: Olympic wait of expectation

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The Independent Online

Sadly they won't be doing "demonstration sports" at the London Olympics, but Coventry has picked up the baton at the start of the Cultural Olympiad leading up to the Games.

The theatre company Talking Birds created an outdoor event called The Q in which some 2,000 local people formed a long line – waiting for nothing in particular – because, as thespian Lou Lomas explained: "The British have been, and always will be, world-beaters when it comes to queuing".

One queue that was very short was at the hot dog stand of Brockton Rox baseball team in Massachusetts. For their Can-Am League match against Newark Bears on 23 July (National Hot Dog Day), they managed to flog two of the world's most expensive hot dogs, at $80 (£49) each. These were deep-fried, coated with porcini dust and white truffle shavings, and topped with crème fraiche and caviar, wrapped in a buckwheat blini roll. That's a hot dog with pedigree.


The length in metres of Colin Furze's motorbike as he attempts to break the record for the longest bike, which stands at 14m. The Grantham plumber can reach 35mph on the 25-seater but it isn't roadworthy because it needs six road-widths to turn a corner. At least it won't drive him round the bend.

Impressive feat in very high heels

Talk about social climbers. Helen Cowie of Worcester has completed the three-peak challenge – scaling Mount Snowdon, Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis, the three highest peaks in Britain – wearing three-inch high heels while her sister Maria went barefoot.

"It was very windy when we climbed Snowdon," said Helen, 21. "I managed to use my heels to dig into the ground, which helped. The bare feet definitely came off worse." Don't forget to pack a pair.

In China, postwoman Luo Xiying has worn through 60 pairs of shoes while delivering letters over the past 15 years, covering some 124,000 miles in the process. Mrs Luo took over two routes supplying eight isolated villages in Jaingxi province when the local postie was reassigned, and alternates between a 25-mile route one day and one of 43 miles the next.

She probably doesn't stamp her feet.

Good week

Jimmy Hill, 83, the former footballer and TV presenter, had a statue of himself unveiled at Coventry City's Ricoh Arena.

Gordon Roberts, an 82-year-old homeless man from Bournemouth, has 14,000 Facebook users supporting a campaign for him to carry the Olympic torch in the town.

Harry Parkin, called up to make up the numbers for a GPs' cricket team in Budleigh Salterton, Devon, was revived by a doctor who had a defibrillator in his car after collapsing with chest pains.

Bad week

St Ives Lakes in Cambridgeshire mourned the death of the Fat Lady, a 61lb 6oz carp registered as Britain's largest freshwater fish, at the age of 30 after being caught some 200 times in her life.

Martin Lind, a Danish cyclist, crashed at 40mph during the Brixia Tour race in Italy and broke a collarbone after hitting a couple of cows which had wandered into the road.

Daryl Peense, a South African racehorse owner, was found guilty of assault for spilling a glass of whisky on President Jacob Zuma from a balcony as he walked below at the Durban July meeting.

No kidding, all the Santas are in town

Worried about how to keep the kids entertained during the long summer holidays? Sadly you've just missed out on the World Santa Claus Congress in Copenhagen, although how were you to know that it would be held at this time of year?

Some 120 Santas (you mean there's more than one?) had fitness tests involving obstacle races and throwing sacks of presents, and they also competed at bumper cars and fired cannon balls – though we're not sure why.

Let's hope your children aren't as bored as Darren Peckitt's two little girls, Niamh and Annabel. He was so disillusioned by the facilities available for young people in Darlington, County Durham that he spent 20 months building a £1.5m leisure complex for them in his spare time. Planet Leisure includes an ice rink, 12-lane bowling alley, obstacle course and laser arena.

"I haven't had a day off in four months and I'm having to do 18-hour days," says the engineer. It sounds like he should relax more.