Miles Kington: Blood feuds, football and the laws of nature

'The age-old cat instinct to chase a mouse took over and I found myself chasing the mouse with intent to kill'
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The Independent Online

Forget Sudoku. Forget crosswords. Because it's time for my thrilling news test again!

Forget Sudoku. Forget crosswords. Because it's time for my thrilling news test again!

Remember how it works? It's quite simple. I bring you five unlikely stories from recent days. One is genuine. Four have been concocted hygienically in our secret laboratories. But can you tell which is the genuine story?

Ready? Let's go!

1. A couple who live in Shropshire are being taken to court because of the rookery in the trees in their garden. The local council says the rookery has never received planning permission, and it is a nuisance. But Mr and Mrs Truehill say that it was already there when they moved into the Old Rectory 20 years ago.

"The rooks are noisy and messy, it's true," says Mrs Truehill, "but we like having them there. Anyway, nature doesn't require planning permission, does it? Nature has its own laws, doesn't it?"

That's not the point, says the local council. The rookery really needs regulation, just as a cattery or a dog kennels or chicken run needs regulation, and hasn't got it.

"Anyway," says a council official, "it's not true that nature doesn't need planning permission. You often need permission to plant trees, or to remove them. Rooks are no different."

If the Truehills lose the case, they will have to pay to have the rookery taken down and the rooks rehoused.

2. James Sooy, from Texas, got so fed up with his glasses sliding down his nose that he had a one-inch metal bar inserted through the bridge of his nose. He then had magnets attached to his rimless lenses, so that they now stick to his nose and never fall off. He is thinking of marketing the device for other people with the same complaint.

3. It turns out that the massive funding behind Malcolm Glazer's take-over of Manchester United has come from the CIA.

The Americans were very worried that the English football champions Chelsea had fallen into the hands of the Russians in the shape of Roman Abramovich, and were desperate to counter this with an American-owned club which could beat Chelsea. They put Glazer up to his bid, and have promised to liquidate his debts if Manchester puts Chelsea to flight.

Meanwhile, the French government's plans to become overall owners of Arsenal are near completion.

4. A man wearing a cat-suit was arrested in Guildford on Saturday after giving chase to a woman in a mouse costume, and attacking her.

It all started because Percy Sudthorpe had donned a complete cat-suit to go out with a collecting tin for the local cat's home. He had been standing for nearly an hour, peaceably well-whiskered, when he suddenly caught sight of Edwina Pimm, dressed as Mickey Mouse, out publicising a local "country fayre".

"Something snapped in me," he said later. "The age-old cat instinct to chase a mouse took over, and much to my surprise I found myself chasing the mouse with intent to kill."

Luckily, before much damage was done, Graham Wiseman appeared on the scene. He was demonstrating against the ban on fox-hunting and was costumed as a dog. Mr Sudthorpe fled immediately in his cat costume, but Mr Wiseman gave chase and effected a citizen's arrest by biting him in the leg and holding on.

5. The Croatian town of Skloot is bitterly wishing it had never been twinned with the Italian town of Occipitano, in Sicily, ever since a series of unexplained murders broke out in Skloot.

"We think we have unwittingly offended the Occipitanians somehow," says the Skloot chief of police, "and must have got involved in a Sicilian vendetta. They are taking their revenge for the imaginary slight. The trouble is, we have no idea what we are meant to be apologising for. We desperately wish to get out of the twinning arrangement, but the Sicilians might take that as an insult too, and heaven knows what would happen to us then."

Did you spot that the Texan and his magnetic reading glasses was the true story? You did? Then I am obviously making it too easy. I shall try harder next time.

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