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News In Brief from around the regions

Regional press news – this story updated 15.6.2000

News In Brief from around the regions
by HoldTheFrontPage staff

FUN FOOD: Crab ice cream, tobacco-flavoured liqueurs and inside-out baked Alaska – they’re all on the menu at Bristol University, where scientists have been cooking up some unusual treats.

The Bristol Evening Post carried the story of how boffins are widening the range of food on offer by messing with the molecules. They have also solved the long-standing problem of how to make jellies from figs and pineapples, which is normally impossible because enzymes halt the process.

COLOUR BAR: A publican is refusing to call time on a Rastafarian figure in the corner of his bar – despite protests that it could be reinforcing racism.

Some punters have suggested he could be reported to the Council for Racial Equality for having the near-life-sized model, complete with dreadlocks, on display.

But Peter Thorogood told the East Anglian Daily Times that everyone was always treated with courtesy and respect in the George and Dragon, Long Melford, whatever their colour or creed. “I don’t understand it,” he said, “My children from my first marriage are of mixed blood because my wife was coloured. And the dealer who sold me ‘Winston’ was black.”

SECRET’S OUT: A pensioner is feeling needled after finding out why her 79-year-old husband has been covering up all these years.

He always made sure the light was off when he got into bed – and then started wearing long-sleeved shirts and jumpers. The secret of the Oldham toolmaker finally emerged when his wife discovered that he was covered in tattoos.

His fascination started when he accepted a tattoo in payment for a piece of equipment he’d made a tattoo artist. His wife told the Oldham Evening Chronicle: “I knew there was something going on when he started doing strange things, but I couldn’t believe it when I saw what he had done.”

DAY TO REMEMBER: Newlyweds Simon and Pam Jeffery waited a little longer than most for their wedding reception – four years to be precise.

They were married in 1996 but decided they did not want a reception straight away and would hold it soon after, but they never quite got around to organising it.

The Exeter Express and Echo told how the couple, who now live in Hertfordshire, finally returned to Exeter to complete their big day. The event went ahead with top hats and tails, speeches and all the other trimmings – everything except the ceremony itself.

DOWN ON THE FARM: Soap star Chris Chittell will be able to draw on his wide experience of the countryside this weekend.

The Emmerdale TV star has been invited to judge a scarecrow competition. The Lincolnshire Echo reported that the actor would be heading a panel of experienced judges in the annual Lincolnshire Scarecrow Exhibition, picking the best in a range of categories.

SOLE MATE: A woman who has to buy two pairs of shoes each time her old ones wear out has finally found her match.

Sara Butler takes a size seven on one foot and a five on the other…and ends up with a lot of spare shoes. She’s now been put in touch with an organisation called Sole Mate, after her plight was reported in The Citizen. It acts as an agency to help people like Sara, and ensures their spare shoes get put to good use.

WRONG HARGREAVES: Historians are up in arms after a pub was adorned with a tribute to the wrong man.

The Hargreaves Arms, in Accrington, reopened after a major refurbishment but the pub sign relates to James Hargreaves, of Oswaldtwistle, who invented the Spinning Jenny, and not John Hargreaves, who built the place, the Lancashire Evening Telegraph revealed.

Josie Green, of the local history society, told the paper: “What a clanger. They have rewritten history.”

TAIL WITH SOME SPIN: Curiosity almost killed the cat when a moggy calleed Covie wandered into the tumble drier while her Gloucester owner had her back turned.

The animal ended up spinning around at 50 revolutions a minute with the temperature rising to 100C, the Citizen reported.

Despite emerging as a ball of fluff and covered in blood, Covie has recovered to sport just a drooping tail and a missing tooth.

HAPPY ACCIDENT: Astonished mum Carol Gerrard is tasting motherhood a second time around – 25 years after giving birth to her first child.

The Evening Express, Aberdeen, said that when she began developing pregnancy symptoms, the 41-year-old thought she was going through the menopause.

The birth of her second daughter stemmed from a bittersweet romance. Carol married the father when she was 16, they split when their first child was a toddler, divorced in 1979, got back together a year later and married again three years ago.

VIEW AT YOUR COVENIENCE: A “for sale” sign has gone up over public toilets in the middle of Spalding.

The Lincolnshire Echo said it might not be the largest property on the market, but it was certainly the most convenient.

Peter Brown, who pens the Gossiper diary column, wrote: “Prospective buyers could find themselves part of a chain, or two.”

He recalled that one old toilet block at Ingoldmells, on the coast, became an amusement arcade, while another, at nearby Chapel St Leonards, was converted into an attractive pub.

FOR YOUR EYES ONLY: A 15-year-old Devon schoolgirl has been on the receiving end of attention from the Pentagon and defence ministry officials from as far afield as Australia and New Zealand.

Claire has been getting e-mails destined for a Royal Navy officer after a computer security bungle.

The Express and Echo said she had been sent about 250 sensitive documents, some marked as security restricted. Some files were so big that they overloaded the computer she uses for homework. An investigation is under way into how her Internet address was mixed up with that of Royal Navy Commander Jamie Hay.

HOME-MADE SPEED TRAP: A retired engineer has launched a one-man campaign against speeding drivers by setting up a secret speed camera linked to a computer in his Cambridgeshire home.

Richard King, who fears that someone will be kiled on Lode Way, Haddenham, recorded all vehicle movements from 7am-7pm for seven days and found that more than a fifth were speeding. He published the results, along with pictures, on a “hall of shame website”, the Cambridge Evening News reported.

Mr King also sent his findings to neighbours, the police and the local parish council, whose chairman told the paper: “It is having the desired effect. One woman speeds down here about four times a day. Since the letter went round, I’ve seen her creeping past at 20mph.”

KNICKERS TO HISTORY: The remains of underpants worn by people in Hull 600 years ago have been unearthed by archaeologists.

The Hull Daily Mail reported that fragments of under garments were found on some of the 266 bodies dating from the 14th century which were found during a dig at the site of a former Augustinian friary. Project manager John Burglass said the black woollen garments would have been under canvas clothes to stop thighs being chaffed.

TECHNOPHOBIA: Village postmaster Frank Church is shutting up shop a year early after being told he’d have to learn how to use a computer.

Frank and wife Elizabeth have run their small shop by the village green in Landscove, near Torquay, for 31 years and had planned to retire next year, when he will be 65. But they’ve decided to call it a day because all the computer training would go to waste when they retired.

Frank told the Torquay Herald Express: “It seemed pointless as we would only be there a few months more.”

NOT FOR THE CHILDREN: A worried mum has called for tighter restrictions on the sale of an energy drink which, she says, made her nine-year-old son hyperactive.

Ashley Dixon returned to their Plymouth home several times during the school holidays with a can of Red Bull, which contains as much caffeine as a cup of filter coffee. Mum Karen told the Evening Herald: “He has been jumping all over the
floor and talking non-stop. He is usually quite active but not to this extent.”

Trading Standards officers said there was no law to stop Red Bull being sold to youngsters, despite advice on the can warning that it was not suitable for children, diabetics and people sensitive to caffeine.

DOUBLE TROUBLE: Two sisters are celebrating a double bundle of joy after giving birth to sons on the same day in the same maternity unit.

Both were born by Caesarean section and were looked after on the same ward at Princess Margaret Hospital, the Swindon Evening Advertiser reported.

Samantha Gorman and Jacquelyn Wells were as surprised as anyone else to learn that they had become mums again together. Everyone thought Jacquelyne’s baby was going to be a few days late but, while Samantha was in for her pre-booked birth, her sister arrived for an emergency delivery.

BUOY OH BUOY: Safety equipment set to be painted the wrong colour has sparked a row in Bewdley.

The Wolverhampton Express and Star told how Wye Forest District Council planners feared that red and white life buoys along the River Severn would look too gaudy in their picturesque setting. They recommended black and white instead.

But the district council is to reconsider after Bewdley town councillors said it would be putting lives at risk because people simply wouldn’t see the black and white buoys. The town council looks set to win the vote, according to the Express and Star.

FLYING PLATE: The Worcester Evening News reported an Evesham security guard’s claims to have watched a UFO scour an area of land in Worcestershire for up to an hour while he was on night duty.

Shocked Jim Brace said he watched the “ginormous” object cover precise circles of ground. The object looked like a plate with small domes on it and took five minutes to complete each circle

The paper said Jim did not believe in UFOs before the sighting but was now convinced the flying object was not of earthly origin.

NAKED TRUTH: Readers of the Torquay Herald Express saw a naked couple on the front cover – but it was all done in the best possible taste!

The picture was used to illustrate how south Devon teacher Andrea Hooper and her partner, Tony Carr, were planning to travel around the world on a motorbike.

They were hoping to persuade clothing firms to sponsor them in the two-wheel quest. The picture was taken by their flatmate outside their Totnes home at 7am one morning and showed them astride the bike, with nothing but mirrors and handlebars to cover their modesty.

FOOLS’ GOLD: Bungling thieves thought they had escaped with a fortune when they snatched rings from a jewellery shop.

But the tray of 18 rings – supposedly worth £5,000 – was later valued at next to nothing, as police revealed they were fakes worth just £1 each. The rings were stolen from a shop in Durham City and the Newcastle Evening Chronicle told how they were really only brass.

ON THE OCHE: Beer bellies, warm pints and sweaty men?

That’s not the real world of darts, according to Patricia Webber, featured in the Express and Echo, Exeter.

She began playing 20 years ago and has won more than 80 trophies and certificates. Patricia has represented her county in a national competition and captains one of the most successful women’s teams around.

SLIPPER SLIP: Artist David Hockney turned up in red slippers to collect an honorary degree in Leeds.

The Bradford Telegraph and Argus reported that the famous local lad snubbed tradition for the photocall, which included Lord (Melvyn) Bragg, who was installed as Leeds University’s new chancellor. Hockney told the paper: “I wasn’t expecting to do much walking.”

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