This year's traditional Lower Brampton Steam Rally looks set to be a little different from previous years as organisers attempt to arrange a flypast of some twenty or so working traction engines.
"Getting them into the air is going to be a little tricky," admitted senior piston wrangler Kenny Spanner when we asked him if he expected any difficulties. "By and large, when these machines were first built it was not envisaged that they would need to leave the ground for any length of time, so their airworthiness has thus far not been put to the test. In many cases it is unclear whether the designs will generate lift, and attaining the speeds necessary to become airborne is likely to push many of the components beyond their engineering tolerances."
At this point, Mr Spanner rubbed his chin thoughtfully, gazed at the ground and muttered, "Some kind of ramp might be required."
Promptly emerging from this brief reverie, he suddenly appeared to be more optimistic. "On the other hand," he added brightly, "the sight of a hundred tons of iron and steel careering wildly through the skies in loose formation is one that I for one will find it difficult to forget in a hurry, and for that reason, if for no other, I for one am going to have a thumping good go at making it happen."
Persistent shoplifter Darren Marlboro of East Sussex has been handed down an unusual sentence after having been found guilty of attempting to dishonestly acquire an oven-ready chicken and a packet of firelighters from a supermarket in his home town. Presiding Judge, Mr Marcus Crumble (QC), has ordered that Mr Marlboro should complete a 'trolley dash', in which he will be given ten minutes to load up his shopping trolley with as many free items as he can lay his hands on.
Supermarket bosses are, understandably, less than satisfied with this sentence, particularly since they will be footing the bill, but Judge Crumble is adamant that the punishment will stand. "When I was a young nipper, my father caught me behind the stable block smoking a cigarette," explained the deluded old fart. "As a punishment he made me smoke the whole packet until I was sick. A strange penalty, you might think - but, do you know, I have never smoked another cigarette from that day to this."
It is Judge Crumble's belief that the same deterrent that worked for him as a small boy all those years ago will have a similar effect on a thirty-two year old habitual thief today. "Mr Marlboro will be forced to help himself to other people's property until he is sick, after which I am entirely confident that he will never feel the urge to steal again."
Villagers in Nottinghamshire are celebrating after raising over £4000 to help fund vital research into locating a set of keys lost over ten years ago. The East Bridgford Find My Keys Project was set up in 2003 after semi-professional jelly mould designer Keith Mortice mislaid his keys following an evening at a local nightclub.
Initially funding the search from his own savings, Keith spent three days turning his house upside down, during which time he undertook a thorough investigation of the gap behind the fridge and a systematic analysis of the cupboard under the sink. These efforts having proven fruitless, he subsequently widened his area of activity by retracing his steps back to the club. However, the money soon ran out, bringing Keith's efforts to a halt, and it was only after receiving donations from concerned locals that he was able to resume.
To date the East Bridgford Find My Keys Project has raised enough capital for Keith to conduct extensive searches of five counties, has paid for the services of a private detective, facilitated the commissioning of a spectrographic analysis of Keith's garage and finally provided the means for him to replace the carpet in his front room.
So far no trace of the missing keys has been uncovered.
Despite the lack of success, Keith remains hopeful that his keys will eventually be found, and is delighted that the influx of cash from this latest fundraising effort will allow him to extend the search still further.
"I'm flying out to the Seychelles tonight," he told us when we found him at home, trying on the new beachwear that he'd just bought. "I've had information that my keys were spotted lying in a rock pool on Assumption Island and I want to check it out before the tide has chance to wash them out to sea."
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Stuffed with new material and old favourites, Recalled to Life is 280 pages of plumptiousness and very probably exactly what you need to prop up that wonky old table in the kitchen.
Find out more here.
Relax with chickens
Stealing horses to order
Across the Atlantic by land
Courtesy of the ladies of Melton Mowbray
Rise of the machines
"A seething cauldron of violence..."
"Actual evidence that they were into hang-gliding..."
As part of their new 'Safety at the Seaside' campaign, Blackpool Town Council are to issue paddling certificates. The popular English resort will make these certificates available to everyone who completes a Paddling Proficiency Course, and no one who does not have the requisite qualification will be allowed in the sea. There will be three levels of proficiency - a Bronze Certificate will allow the bearer to paddle in the sea up to his or her knees. To go in up to the waist will require the Silver Certificate. And anyone lucky enough to achieve the Gold award will be able to go in dressed in their pyjamas and harvest rubber bricks from the seabed.
The council are also offering a City & Guilds in building sandcastles.
"You're a miserable old sourpuss..."
"...landing a man on the moon, shaving it, and returning him safely to Earth......"
"The police haven't always taken such a proactive approach to enlistment..."
"What do you do when you find that your parrot's got jet lag..."more...
of the Bleeding Obvious
All material Copyright © Paul Farnsworth 2000-2014, and may not be reproduced without the express permission of the author. All characters, companies and organisations are fictitious, and any similarity to persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.