The Third Leader: Tears of joy

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The Independent Online

Often, when studying events and announcements, it is possible to conceive that there are few surprises left. But then not only do England win well at football but there is also positive news of Naomi Campbell, who is organising a fashion show to raise money for victims of this summer's floods.

And more: would you have thought it possible to blow up a hot water bottle through your nose and make it explode in two minutes? That's what Mr Zhang Zhenghui, 52, has just done in southern China. Granted, he has been practising for three years, but it's still impressive.

Then there's the onion. You, no doubt, have often had cause to be grateful to this vegetable for pepping up a pasta or supporting a steak, but did you know it's also very good for the memory? If I did, I'd forgotten. Researchers in Japan have confirmed the onion's ability to stimulate our powers of recall and to slow their deterioration. It might also explain why, as you might remember, the ancient Egyptians venerated the tearful bulb.

By happy chance, a 20ft-high monument to the onion has just been unveiled in the village of Periceni, western Romania, to mark its economic importance there. At the Onion Fayre in Newent, Gloucestershire, this weekend, meanwhile, Mr Sean Wozencroft, 32, ate one in a minute, knocking 40 seconds off his own world record. We expect him on Mastermind shortly.

The tears? Experts advise swimming goggles. The breath? Jonathan Swift prescribed boiling, but that will reduce the aide memoire effect. Try fresh parsley, which is also good for gout, and head lice.

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