John Walsh: One slight hitch in dealing with this itch


Doncaster security officer Sean Murphy suffered for five years from a painfully itchy wart on the middle finger of his left hand. He'd tried ointment. He'd tried witch hazel. Nothing worked. So he tried his own solution. After self-medicating with several pints of Yorkshire bitter, he sat outside his caravan, aimed his Beretta 12-bore shotgun and fired at the unsightly blemish. The good news is, he removed it, along with most of his finger. The bad news is, he was given a suspended sentence for illegal possession of a firearm. It's a mercy the wart wasn't on his chin.

* Clad in mortarboard and gown, Granville "Leo" Plass of Oregon has been given a teaching degree by Eastern Oregon University, two weeks before his 100th birthday. He was three hours from finishing the course in 1932 when the Great Depression hit. His bank closed, wiping out his savings, and he had to get a job. Now, 79 years later, the university have accepted his long career as the equivalent of having taken finals. Oddly, Mr Plass's working life was in credit cards and petrol stations; he never taught. Perhaps now he'll buckle down to it. Bloody eternal students.

* First it was urban foxes; now it's urban seagulls. Tired of flying over unproductive oceans, pecking at sand and perching on chilly piers, gulls have started coming inland. Tens of thousands have set up homes as far inland as Birmingham (90 miles from the sea) and Milton Keynes (100 miles). Not only that, they've turned into thugs, attacking workers having lunch on a building site, and children in playgrounds. I don't like the sound of this. Soon they'll be ripping into your refuse sacks, stealing the morning milk and coming down your chimney demanding fish.

* According to Which?, 5 million people have grudges against their neighbours. The list is headed by loud music and arguing voices (both 38 per cent), then slammed doors (27 per cent), noisy pets (23 per cent), noisy parties (21 per cent), and people "stomping around" (20 per cent). Which? recommends that disputes should be resolved by Taking Notes, Speaking Calmly, Contacting the Freeholder and Using Your Local Authority. No mention, inexplicably, of playing the 1936 speeches of Adolf Hitler at blinding volume through the party wall at 3am.