Charles Nevin: News from Elsewhere

It takes two hours to boil an ostrich egg. That's a lot of sand and a very big timer
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The Independent Online

Ah, there you are. Monday, I seem to remember, was the day when Winnie The Pooh wondered to himself a lot. And that, in a way, is what I like to do here, too, also on a Monday, as I present yet another quasi-exclusive digest of interesting news from around the world that you might, for some reason, have missed.

How are you with A A Milne? This was the great J B Morton, "Beachcomber": "Hush, hush, nobody cares, Christopher Robin has fallen downstairs." It appeared under the heading, Now We Are Sick. Quite. But at least it's not B Potter, or that pair from the riverbank, Ratty and Mole, although I get on with them with much better now it's been pointed out how deliciously camp they are.

Anyway, Worthing. They grow palms in Worthing, you know. Haile Selassie visited once, too. And last week, the police ordered girls wearing hotpants and basques on a carnival float to cover themselves up. "This," said Sergeant Andy Westwood, "is Worthing". Quite. I haven't been so shocked since there were reports of running in Frinton. Ah, yes, Frinton. I wanted to stay there once. "Have you tried Clacton?" they said. Other seaside news: a woman in her fifties had an attack of vertigo in a deckchair at Newquay on Bank Holiday Monday. Lifeguards described it as "unusual".

And, I must say, they were rather more sympathetic than the doctor in Shiga, Japan, who was operating on a woman when she began shouting and thrashing around on the operating table. After trying to persuade her to stop, the doctor yelled at her to shut up and hit her on the forehead, further hospitalising her for five days. Marvellous. Would you mind terribly if I used it as an excuse to tell a doctor joke? Doctor, doctor, I keep thinking I'm a CD. Don't worry, it's just something going round. All right, all right, but I did make it up myself.

And now, for some reason, to Germany, where ten Germans in Hoevelhof are attempting to break the record for the world's longest shower. And you thought that kept happening in your house? Listen, these people are trying for 101 hours. The record, you will be amazed to learn, is held by some other Germans. The detail that puzzled me is that they are allowed hourly toilet breaks. There's posh. It's not even as if Hoevelhof is in the south (although I can tell you it's also the home of the world's most travelled man, Heinz Stuecke, although he's not often there, obviously).

All in good taste

Rejoicing in Blackburn: Dowson's of Clayton-le-Dale have come up with black pudding ice cream. Those who like to sneer at Northern culinary expertise should also consider that Pontefract this year saw the introduction of the first ever liquorice pork pie. Marvellous, and time for another old friend. Man walks into pie shop: "Steak and kiddly pie, please!" "Don't you mean steak and kidney pie?" "That's what I said, diddle I?" Oi!

Mourning in Preston: Britney's not going to call her son after the town after all. It's going to be London Spears now, the flibbertygibbet. Why doesn't she just go for Gus and have done with it? Sorry? Come on. Asparagus Spears. Next!

And it's yet more excitement in Germany: a kangaroo on the loose in Erlangen. But not quite as good as the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco: escaped ostrich, rush hour. Did you know that it takes two hours to boil an ostrich egg? That's a lot of sand and a very big timer. While we're here, I should also mention that kangaroos can't walk backwards, elephants can't jump, giraffes can't cough and an ant always falls over on its right side when intoxicated. Funnily enough, I've got a friend like that.

On the lame

Interesting crime section: In Des Moines, a man buying a £10,000 false leg walked out of the shop to test it and hasn't been seen since. Police won't confirm if he's on the run. Ironic crime section: In Cornwall, Ontario, Donald Johnson, a lawyer, discovered the burglar in his home was a man he was representing on a burglary charge, while in Thame, Oxon, Inspector Jason Purnell, who advises on security precautions, has been burgled because he didn't take enough security precautions.

More? In Peterborough, a statue of St Anthony, patron saint of lost and stolen items, has been stolen. In Liverpool, meanwhile, the last time I checked, there was still no news of the whereabouts of a fine but missing piece of public statuary entitled "Virtue Thrusting Evil From The Path of Youth". Still, at least the bloke who robbed the CCTV camera shop in Manchester has been identified from the CCTV cameras.

Next, one of my occasional notes on modern etiquette prompted by a recent event: today, the lap dancing club, and, in particular, the Dream Girls Cabaret, San Diego, where an angry topless dancer stabbed a customer last week when he refused a lap dance. Very bad form. Verb Sap: always do as a lady asks, especially when she's carrying a knife, which in these circumstances should be fairly apparent.

Finally, any more Germans at a loose end might care to ponder on the recent world beating performance by Japan's Takeru Kobayashi, who managed to down 100 dim sum in 12 minutes. How about 125 in 10 minutes, upside down in the shower?

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