The Third Leader: Reasons to be cheerful

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The Independent Online

Autumn, we notice, has turned to fog. Most news reports make unsunny reading too. One of the most worrying was that Dick Cheney had gone hunting. My customary search for balancing cheerfulness has not gone too well, either. Did you see that Genesis are to go back on the road?

A fish and chip shop in Wakefield, meanwhile, is being investigated after a complaint that it smells of fish and chips. And there is no news of Jill, a 60-year-old tortoise missing near Liphook. Nevertheless, undeterred, I have continued my quest. Hopes were raised when I read that the lost tapes of the moon landing had finally been located in Western Australia, but, sadly, they turned out to be the wrong ones.

Elsewhere, work by Dutch researchers into putting duct tape on warts has found, all too predictably, given the way things are going, that it has no effect. But there is Mr Dusan Zdimala, 61, of Brno, in the Czech Republic, who has survived a fall of four floors after confusing the doors to his lavatory and balcony. And Mr Jim Harvey, still happily cleaning windows in Cheltenham despite turning 80 last week.

I am also consoled by the groundbreaking efforts of Professor Costas Efthimiou, of the University of Central Florida, who has concluded that vampires don't exist, since, given that they need to drink the blood of one human a month, the world's population would have been wiped out 400 years ago. Excellent. Still no news of Jill, but the fog should clear later. And a spokeswoman for Wakefield Council has now confirmed that fish and chip shops can smell of fish and chips.