Chris Schuler: btw

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The Independent Online

We haven't had such excitement round our way since, ooh, Tessa Jowell came to open the bring-and-buy. Driving home to Herne Hill on Sunday, I noticed a street taped off, with three police cars nearby. What was going on? Then I heard that two Fathers4Justice protesters had scaled the roof of Harriet Harman's house. One gave himself up immediately but the other was still there when I passed by the next day. A nearby church did its bit by putting up a sign saying its car park was for the use of the congregation only. Regulars at the Half Moon pub climbed on to the roof for a glimpse of the action. My own (admittedly unscientific) vox pop, conducted in the local delicatessen and newsagent, revealed remarkable unanimity that the whole kerfuffle was a waste of police time, though opinion was evenly split as to whether Ms Harman or the protesters were to blame for this misuse of public resources.

* Talking of public resources, just up the road from Harman Hall, firefighters were called out to rescue a kitten that had lodged itself on the engine of a parked car. The six-week-old ginger tabby had just been to the vet for its jabs when it made a break for freedom, and hid under the bonnet of a VW Golf. The firefighters were flummoxed at first but then hit on a bright idea: they burst a bottle of compressed air. The bang scared the kitten from its hiding place, and it was reunited with its grateful owners. All together now: aah ...

* In this hot weather," says a recorded voice through a loudspeaker at Liverpool Street station, "it is advisable to carry a bottle of water." Well, blow me. What next? "Please ensure your shoelaces are securely tied before using the escalator." Or maybe, "Remember to wash behind your ears." Not to mention "Eat your greens." Oh, sorry, I forgot. The Government has already spent £52m of our money trying to persuade us to do just that.

* Now we're all well-behaved children, it's reassuring to see some are still willing to take a walk on the wild side. A couple have been caught having sex in a confessional box at the cathedral in Cesena in northern Italy – during morning Mass. They were cautioned by police and have since apologised to the bishop. According to their lawyer, they had been drinking all night and had "gone too far". A case for Boris Johnson, and his one-man crusade against public inebriation? On second thoughts, maybe not.

* If you think you've got problems with urban foxes, squirrels, or a cat under the bonnet, spare a thought for the inhabitants of the Grisons region of Switzerland, whose wheelie bins are regularly ransacked by bears. Although the creatures were hunted to extinction in Switzerland by 1905, they have recently taken to sneaking back across the border from a national park in the neighbouring Trentino region of Italy. According to the WWF, Swiss towns have been testing new bear-proof bins, which they hope to, um, wheel out over the next few weeks.

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