News Round Up

by Patrick O'Connor

IT always makes staggering reading to see what sort of crazy reasons people come up with for dialling the emergency services 999 number.

A story in The Guardian quoted examples such as a caller who rang police 23 times asking for a lift from Hartlepool to Stockton and a 17-year-old girl whose hoax call about a bomb in Middlesbrough town centre caused chaos as the whole area was evacuated.

A 33 minute 999 call to the ambulance service in Leeds, apparently from a terrified three-year-old girl turned out to be two 10 year girls.

Hampshire man Jason Garrad rang up to seven times a day at one point about his pet hamster.

In north Staffordshire 100 calls threatening to smash up police cars, made over six days, were traced to the home in of unemployed Yasmin Adams (21) who said she did it because she was bored.

An East Midlands man rang to ask for help with a pigeon suffering from breathing difficulties; another said he'd been bitten by a snake but turned out to be high on drugs.

Other examples included the caller who said he hadn't slept for two days, the man bleeding because he had squeezed a spot, and the incompetent person wanting help to change a battery in a remote control.

Britain is full of eccentrics always wanting to try out daredevil schemes. The Sun put the spotlight on engineer Chris Todd who planned to 'walk' across the Irish Sea inside a giant floating hamster wheel!

His attempt was abandoned after 12 miles after his home-made contraption sank.

HM Lifeguard watch officer Richard Jones said: “ The whole thing has sunk to the bottom of the sea. It won’t be a danger to navigation or shipping.”

Want to get an idea of the average British family? Well a study commissioned for the launch of Modern Family Season 2 on Blue-ray and DVD reports that the average modern family earns £39,000 a year, owns a blue Ford and goes to bed at 10.23pm.

Other facts to emerge from the research is that they enjoy five hours of television and three hours of quality time together each day. They also enjoy takeaways twice a month, but argue five times a day - usually over what to watch on television.

Another survey, this time by O2 Insurance, tells us that one in five young Britons would rather starve for 24 hours than go without their mobile phones.

Psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos told the Daily Mail: “Humans are a social species, so this is why the mobile phone has become a must-have.

“Although, it is important young people 'fit in' when growing up, they should not compromise on basic needs such as sleep and connecting face-to-face.”

High drama!

The BBC reports that an elderly couple unwittingly grew the 'biggest cannabis plant' police officers had seen after buying what they thought was an innocuous shrub from a car boot sale.

The couple, who live in Bedford, had planted the drug in their garden.

High flyer!

The former wife of composer Andrew Lloyd Webber is planning to go into space – after splashing out £30 million.

According to the Sun, singer Sarah Brightman, who had a 1978 UK hit with Starship Trooper, has booked a place on a two week trip to the International Space Station in the Soyuz rocket.

The Phantom of the Opera star will start training for the 2014 trip after a tour to promote her next album Dreamchaser.

Cheap at the price!

Amusing little tale in the Daily Mirror that drivers swamped a filling station in  Coventry after a fault pump starting giving out petrol at just 13.9 pence a litre.

The paper reported that queues formed as word spread that a computer glitch meant fuel was going for a tenth of the 139p a litre it should have been.

One driver said: “I got a text from a friend around 1am. When I arrived there was a queue of around 30 cars. It was unbelievable. Some came from as far as Birmingham before the mistake was spotted and put right.”

What a cock-up!

A Daily Express story reveals that a two year old boy celebrated his birthday by drinking a double whisky through a straw when it was served to him by mistake by restaurant staff.

Sonny Rees was at the Swansea branch of Frankie & Benny's when his mother Nina noticed him pulling faces as he drank the 40 per cent spirit which was served instead of the ordered lime juice and water
Nina said: “We’d finished our first course when we noticed he was pulling a face as he was drinking. I took it from him and took a sip. It was whisky, I would say a double.Sonny had taken about 10 sips – he was obviously intoxicated. I immediately went into a panic and a rage. I was crying my eyes out, and called NHS Direct, which told me to take him straight to A&E.”
A Frankie & Benny’s spokesman said: “The company is incredibly sorry for what happened. It was a human error. We’ re putting measures in place to ensure it never happens again.”

Nice to see that The Queen is doing her bit to keep costs down!

According to the Daily Mail, Buckingham Palace is advertising for a new gardener. The successful applicant for the 40 hour a week job which starts at 7.30am will be paid the grand sum of £14,950 for a position based in one of the most expensive areas in the UK capital city.