Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Midsummer Miscellany for the Silly Season

The Voice of America informs us that a South Korean Soldier who recently ran amok, shooting several of his colleagues, ‘May have had psychological problems’.

Spinach and Beetroot are closely related plants. To help feed the USSR’s large population, Stalin decreed that biologists should produce a plant with the root system of beetroot and the leaf system of spinach. After much work, they produced a plant with the root system of spinach and the…

The authorities in the Greek island of Alonnisos have decreed that people may not sit in the shade of the mulberry tree in the centre of the Old Village’s main square.

The staff at Battersea Dogs Home were mystified by finding every morning that the dog-food store had been raided. All the dogs were sitting innocently in their overnight cages and there had been no sign of a break-in. This went on for some time, until they fitted a video camera to watch overnight, and discovered the culprit: a greyhound had discovered how to put a paw through the bars and lift the latch on her cage. What’s more she then went round every night lifting the latches on the cages of selected friends, and they all went to the food store and had a midnight feast. She then shepherded each dog back to its cage and relatched the doors before finally returning to her own, reaching out a paw and refitting the latch. ‘The odd thing is,’ staff said, ‘Greyhounds have the reputation of not being very bright.’ Needless to say this one soon found a new home.

When I had a collection of what are called ‘Post-Vintage Thoroughbred’ British motorcycles — Triumph, BSA, AJS, Royal Enfield, Matchless, and best of all the big black single-cylinder high-camshaft Velocettes — I asked my insurance company if, rather than insuring each one separately, I could have one policy covering them all, so that I could choose each day which one to ride. (I usually ‘chose’ the one that happened to be running properly.) After some humming and hahing they agreed — after all I had been riding motorbikes for many years, and didn’t often fall off or crash. Their one proviso was that I should refrain from riding more than one motorcycle at a time.

Some years ago my mother, who lived on a busy road just outside Canterbury city centre, was annoyed by people who parked on the double yellow lines (Where the Irish say you mustn’t park at all, at all) every morning, leaving their engines running while they popped over the road to buy their newspapers and cigarettes from the shop opposite. Eventually she complained to the police. ‘We’ll see what we can do madam’. She called at the police station a few days later. ‘Well madam we stationed a policeman outside your door all day yesterday and not a single person stopped there.’ ‘Was the policeman in uniform?’ ‘Oh, yes madam.’

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