Miles Kington: The girl with a tree in her navel (and other tales)

The fashion for exposed midriffs means that Karen gets a chance to flaunt her arboreal accessory
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The Independent Online

Yes, it's time to test your knowledge of the news again!

Yes, it's time to test your knowledge of the news again!

I bring you four unlikely news stories from recent times, of which only one is genuine. You have to spot which one it is. It's as simple as that. So, let's go!

1. Slovenian TV has found itself in a rather embarrassing situation. It was making a programme about how all fashion models are brainless bimbos, and to this effect had put a bevy of lovely ladies through a few IQ and aptitude tests to prove how stupid they were. But one of the gorgeous girls, by the name of Iris Mulej, turned out to have a near-genius intelligence level. Indeed, she scored higher on all the tests than most of the scientists working on the production. The programme has now been scrapped. Instead, they are making another programme, a profile of Iris Mulej, the cleverest model in the world.

2. Eighteen-year-old Karen Woodley has, it is believed, become the first person to grow a tree on her body.

"It all started as a joke, really," she says. "My parents were always going on at me for not taking enough baths and things, and my dad said one day: 'Honestly, there's so much dirt in your navel, you could grow something in there!' Well, the next day I happened to spot a tiny sycamore seedling on the lawn, so just for fun and to pull his leg I dug it up and put it in my navel, and much to everyone's surprise it survived."

In most seasons it would be covered up and invisible, but this year's fashion for exposed midriffs means that Karen gets a chance to flaunt her arboreal accessory most days.

"People do tend to stop me in the street," she says, "and say, 'You do know you've got something stuck in your navel, don't you?', and I'm, like, 'Oh, I hadn't noticed that TREE in my navel, thanks for drawing it to my attention'..."

She thinks the main snag is going to be travelling by air. "I can't see airport security letting me through with a tree in my navel. They're bound to say it's potentially an offensive weapon."

3. A marriage has been declared invalid because of the romantic way it took place. Sabine Durand and Louis Dufoyer got married last year on the Franco-Belgian border. She is Belgian, he is French, and they both wanted to be married in their home country, but they compromised romantically by getting married on the border. Literally, because they found a place on the frontier where, during the ceremony, she could stand in Belgium and he could stand in France, so that they joined hands across the border.

When completing the documentation, the official naturally recorded that the wedding took place in two different countries. But regulations say that a wedding can take place at one address only. Because they were in two different countries simultaneously, the wedding is deemed to be impossible and cannot be recognised.

"It is bureaucracy gone mad," says Sabine.

4. Rich New York couple, Remo and Diana Klughalter, went on holiday for a month, leaving their valuable Manhattan apartment in the hands of house-sitter James Borley. When they came back, everything seemed the same as when they had left, down to the two Burmese cats and the grey Sri Lankan parrot in the Art Deco cage. They paid Borley off and settled down for their first evening in.

To their amazement, the parrot suddenly said "This is one short step for man," and cackled with laughter, which he had never done before. (As far as they knew, he only had one phrase, "Mind the Gap!")

Borley confessed under questioning that he had let the parrot out of the cage by accident and it had flown away into Central Park. Panicking at the idea of not finding it again, he had bought another one, apparently identical, never dreaming that its different vocabulary would give the game away.

So, which is it? Parrot? Tree-in-the-navel? Cross-border wedding? No - it was, of course, the super-bright model from Slovenia. Too easy? Then I'll try to make it harder next time.