# Saturday, 12 April 2008
Barney the parrot is not unique for the fact that he can talk; he is however unique in that he has taught two other birds to talk. Unfortunately the phrases he uses are rather rude. Barney’s favourite words include f*** off and b******* and he has told the local mayoress to f*** off during a civic visit. He also told two police officers and a vicar  "You can f*** off too, w******!" His new friends Sam and Charlie now also use these rather choice phrases and the three happily swear at each other for hours.

posted on Saturday, 12 April 2008 20:02:36 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, 11 April 2008
It sounds rather strange but the coffee is not actually made from animal dung. The beans however, have been collected from the dung of a civet cat. The Asian palm civet lives among the plantations of south east Asia and eats only the best coffee berries. Their digestive process breaks down the flesh of fruit and the beans are then collected from the dung before being washed and roasted. The resulting coffee sells for a rather expensive £50 a cup. I’m not sure whether I would fancy it.

posted on Friday, 11 April 2008 16:05:27 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
This is an interesting idea, a restaurant with no waiters. The idea comes from Germany and includes a touch screen TV for customers to browse the menu and choose what they want to order. Once you have placed the order you just wait for your food to come out of the kitchen along the rails that go around the restaurant. Perhaps the best bit is you don’t have to leave a tip.

posted on Friday, 11 April 2008 15:50:38 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
This article is interesting about a man named John Perry who suffers from an illness that means he can’t get fat. The condition called lipodystrophy means that his body rapidly burns fat because his body produces six times the normal level of insulin. Despite living on a diet of takeaways, chips, burgers and desserts his weight always remains the same and he cannot gain weight. It must be nice to able to eat whatever you want, however, the article doesn’t say whether John suffers any other symptoms as a result of his condition.

posted on Friday, 11 April 2008 15:24:40 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
This is quite interesting, it’s a way to keep food cool that doesn’t require electricity. It involves taking a small clay pot and putting it inside a larger one. The space between the two pots is then filled with wet sand the food is placed inside the smaller pot and the top is covered with a wet cloth. As the water evaporates it draws the heat out keeping the inside cold and the food fresh for up to three weeks. The system is now being used by farmers in northern Nigeria who previously has problems storing fruit and vegetables because they had no electricity in their villages. They can now store an eggplant for 27 days instead of it spoiling after 3 and spinach lasts 12 days rather than 1 meaning that farmers no longer have to sell their produce in a hurry. In addition the revival of the pot industry is helping to reduce unemployment in the region. It’s amazing how sometimes very simple ideas can make a real difference.

posted on Friday, 11 April 2008 11:21:10 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
This huge cat called Orazi has got be one of the biggest I have come across so far. Other fat cats include my own cat Oscar (pictured below with his friend Willow) who is small in comparison, Oscar (not my Oscar) and Sooty who also looks small compared to Orazi who weighs 16kg, that’s 13kg more than the average kitty.

posted on Friday, 11 April 2008 10:39:48 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [1] Trackback
# Thursday, 10 April 2008
This is an interesting initiative from Brazil. Faced with an Aids epidemic the country has come up with an idea to use rubber from trees in the Amazon rainforest to produce condoms. The health ministry says that the idea will not only help the fight against Aids but will also help to preserve the rainforest. It should also cut the country’s reliance on imported contraceptives which are currently given away free as part of a government programme to try and fight Aids. The scheme will produce 100 million “Natex” condoms every year and will generate income for at least 500 families. It will also create 150 in the small town of Xapuri. It seems like a really interesting idea although it has been condemned by Catholic bishops who say it will encourage promiscuity. Somehow I think they are missing the whole point of the exercise, condoms are an important measure in stopping the spread of Aids.

posted on Thursday, 10 April 2008 16:56:19 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
I was sent a link to this website the other day that offers a cashback reward scheme called WePromiseTo Cashback. It covers a number of retailers both on the high street and online and gives you a range of offers on which you can earn some money back. To use it you sign up for an account online and when you purchase anything from the links on the site you receive the cashback amount indicated. It works by the retailer paying WePromiseTo a commission for driving new customers to their services. They then pass that commission on to you in the form of a BACS payment or Amazon vouchers. Among the offers that caught my eye were 5% cashback from Majestic wine and 7% cashback from Drink Stuff. The only problem I think I would have is remembering to go to the WePromiseTo website to order things rather then the to the individual retailers website that are already saved in my favourites  list, still it seems like quite an interesting idea.

posted on Thursday, 10 April 2008 16:52:52 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
This is rather strange, an elephant in a bubble. Fan Yang who is the star of New York’s Gazzillion Bubble Show now holds the World Record of capturing the largest land mammal in a bubble after he created the giant bubble around Tai the elephant. Not something you see every day.

posted on Thursday, 10 April 2008 13:17:18 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
Heinz is launching a new version of their tomato ketchup to appeal to customers who want something a little more sophisticated. The product called The Special Blend Tomato Sauce will be available in shop from the middle of April. It contains a mix of twelve tomatoes, spices, sea salt, Demerara sugar, cayenne pepper and lemon juice. The product will be available in a glass bottle to give it a more luxurious feel and will be priced at £1.75 around three times the cost of standard tomato ketchup. Check back later for the review.

posted on Thursday, 10 April 2008 13:09:42 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

huge-lobster-2 This huge lobster was reportedly caught off the south coast of England. It is five times the size of a normal lobster and weighs over 4 kilograms. He certainly looks tasty.




posted on Thursday, 10 April 2008 12:48:53 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, 09 April 2008
It never fails to amaze me the amount of spam I get in my inbox. The latest thing seems to be these Google Adwords phishing emails. I’m currently getting between 20 and 50 of these a week and they do look remarkably similar to genuine emails from Google. The emails ask you to either reactivate your account or change your credit details. The site you are redirected to looks genuine and could easily fool people. The purpose of the exercise is obviously to collect your account details so that unscrupulous people can steal your credit card details. Don’t be fooled.

posted on Wednesday, 09 April 2008 15:39:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
This article suggests that around 75,000 households could face negative equity. Areas of Manchester, Glasgow, South East London and Birmingham appear to be most at risk because the value of an average home in these areas is only a small amount over the mortgage on the property. This useful map shows the areas that are considered to be most at risk from a fall in home prices and at a risk of people having their homes repossessed. The figures are based on analysis from Experian one of the largest credit reference agencies. The research also shows that 78,394 households have less than 20% equity in their homes and that if house prices were to fall by 20% as some experts predict that these people would face negative equity.

posted on Wednesday, 09 April 2008 15:21:42 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
It appears Bagpuss has been voted the favourite children’s TV animal of all time in an online poll. The lovely fat candy striped cat beat other creatures such as Tom and Jerry, Winnie the Pooh and the magic Roundabout. Bagpuss has always been my favourite despite being just “an old saggy cloth cat and a bit loose at the seams.” Only 13 episodes of Bagpuss were ever made with each episode beginning with Emily saying the words:

Bagpuss, dear Bagpuss
Old Fat Furry Catpuss
Wake up and look at this thing that I bring
Wake up, be bright, be golden and light
Bagpuss, oh hear what I sing

to the old stuffed toy in the window who would awake when she left the shop and investigate the broken object Emily had left him. Bagpuss, Madeline, Professor Yaffle and the mice would then proceed to fix the object and tell a story about it, with much high pitched singing by the mice.

I love Bagpuss.

posted on Wednesday, 09 April 2008 15:19:49 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, 08 April 2008
This is quite cool, a man called Jeremy Reid built a rollercoaster in his back yard. Firstly you obviously need a very large garden so I guess it helps to live in Oklahoma and secondly quite a lot of wood. Apparently it has a top speed of 20 mph and stands 17 feet high. I need a bigger garden.

posted on Tuesday, 08 April 2008 16:14:57 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
If you fancy something a little a different you might be interested in this beach hut. It is built out of reclaimed timber and the roof of a grocery van and sits on top of a raft. The hut which is called The Ark has stood on the mudflats near King’s Lynn in Norfolk for over 50 years and has recently been put up for sale. With a guide price of £60,000 it doesn’t come cheap but it is fairly distinctive.

posted on Tuesday, 08 April 2008 16:00:39 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
Surprisingly it appears that colonies of seahorses are living in the Thames, that’s according to this article. The seahorses which normally live around the Canary Islands have been found in Dagenham in East London and Tibury and Southend in Essex. The seahorses are usually found in shallow muddy water and estuaries and their presence in the Thames is a good sign that the water quality is improving.

posted on Tuesday, 08 April 2008 10:36:59 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, 07 April 2008
Sheep are being used to cut the grass in Turin. The sheep are kept in fenced off areas and moved around in order to keep the grass trim in the cities municipal parks. Not only does this idea save around £24,000 in gardeners fees, it also saves the shepherd money because it means he does not have to rent fields to graze his sheep. What a good idea.

posted on Monday, 07 April 2008 18:55:52 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
A man is likely to face five years in jail after he attacked a boy by throwing a hedgehog at him. William Singalargh is accused of throwing the hedgehog from 15ft to hit the boy. It hit his victim in the leg and caused a large welt and puncture wounds. The hedgehog was dead when police arrived at the scene. 

posted on Monday, 07 April 2008 14:45:42 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
An environmental study has found that some bottles of wine from France are contaminated with pesticides. The survey analysed 40 bottles of wine and found that 34 bottles contained pesticides, some of which are classified by the EU as health threatening. Among the affected wines were three Bordeaux cru classé wines and a Burgundy Santenay. On average the bottles tested contained more than four different pesticides but they were found to exceed EU pesticide limits.

posted on Monday, 07 April 2008 14:07:26 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
If you have a bit of spare cash you might want to put it into a cash Isa so you don’t have to pay tax on it. This article from This is Money highlights what they say are the 10 best cash Isa’s around at the moment. It’s also worth remembering that this year you can put a bit extra into a cash Isa, £3,600 as opposed to the previous limit of £3,000.

posted on Monday, 07 April 2008 12:37:31 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, 06 April 2008

I woke up this morning to find that it had snowed during the night. Although there is not a great a deal of snow it was still enough to create some entertainment for the cats, well for Willow anyway. Oscar and Oliver pictured to the left went out to investigate before coming straight back inside and sitting on their bean bags refusing to leave the house again. Lucy pictured on the right simply sat under the bench looking miserable before also retreating inside.

Willow, however, invented a fun new game which involved digging a hole in the snow and then pouncing on it. After a while she had dug several holes and proceeded to pounce from hole to hole. This game kept her amused for about an hour before her paws got cold and she too came inside to get warm. Generally cats seem to hate snow but as these pictures of Willow show, it can be fun for a short time at least.
posted on Sunday, 06 April 2008 11:48:24 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, 05 April 2008
A man has advertised for a drinking companion for his father because he is worried he might be lonely. The successful applicant will be paid £7 an hour. The job involves accompanying 88 year old Jack Hammond to the pub and drinking. Any one interested should be interested in talking about engineering and golf. This looks like a great job.

posted on Saturday, 05 April 2008 11:48:13 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback