STAFF at a residential home for the elderly have got themselves into a right pickle...over a parrot.

The Daily Express reports that an African Grey called Rebel has learned how to mimic the alarms used by the residents to summon help.

The bird belongs to one of the residents, Roy Hagley, at Brooke House in Brooke, near Norwich.

Apparently there have already been a string of false alarms at the 35-resident home.

Deputy manager Hayley Hirst said: “Rebel does the call bell alarm and when I hear him I do think it's the bell because he's that good!”

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According to The Guardian, latest statistics show that women are far more likely to fail their driving tests than men despite the fact that male drivers are far more likely to go on to be involved in traffic accidents.

The figures reveal that a female 17-year-old driving test candidate was 7% less likely to be passed on her first attempt than a male candidate of the same age. This figure more than doubled to 15% for those taking their first test at the age of 20, and increased to 25% at 30, 41% at 35, and 50% at the age of 50.

A spokesman for the Automobile Association said: “If you were to say there was something wrong with the test that would probably be a sage observation. Young men tend to deal with the mechanics of driving extremely well but as soon as they have passed the test they are more likely to push the car. Women seem to have a better appreciation of risk than young men do.”

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When 63 year old Heather Watts, of Eaton Socon, near St Neots, Cambridgeshire, decided on a new ground floor extension little did she realise the bonus it would produce.

For, says the Daily Mirror, the work reunited Heather with her grandmother’s lost wedding ring which was discovered in a pile of rubble, moments before the dirt was taken away.

Mrs Watts, lost the irreplaceable heirloom five years ago while out in the garden.

“That day I lost the ring I was in the garden and had just returned from shopping - I’ll never forget it. I was devastated when I realised what I’d done because things like that are very precious and cannot be replaced,” she said.

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If you want to own an 'exceptionally' rare dinosaur skeleton, one might be going 'cheap.'

The Independent says that the skeleton was expected to fetch up to £500,000 at auction but failed to sell after bidding stopped short of its reserve price.

The near-complete juvenile Allosaurus, which took three years to excavate in America, was claimed to be the first predatory dinosaur skeleton to come up for public sale in Britain.

The auction house now says it will listen to “reasonable offers”.

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A man described as a 'Tintin expert' has been appointed as the UK’s first ever comics professor.

The Guardian says that Benoit Peeters, author of a biography of Tintin’s creator Hergé, will take up his three-year post as visiting professor in graphic fiction and comic art at Lancaster University next summer.

It seems that the unusually warm weather has tricked Britain's asparagus crop into thinking it's spring – and they are sprouting five months early.

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An article in the Daily Express reports that asparagus is first harvested during the annual eight-week long season which runs from April until June.

But because of the mild weather in October and November they have bloomed for a second time this year.

The crop is thought to be the earliest - or latest - asparagus ever to have been harvested in the UK.

Reference list:

The Express (www.express.co.uk)

The Guardian (www.guardian.co.uk)

The Independent (www.independent.co.uk)

Daily Mirror (www.mirror.co.uk)