Page 2 September 2011
in the past month . . .
BY LARRY GARDNER
Greyfriars Bobby People Have Been ‘Pulling Our Leg-ends’
BOOKS, films and countless articles over theyears have recorded the undying devotion that a skye terrier had shown for its deadmaster, spending 14 years vigil on the graveof his former owner, a local policeman namedJohn Gray.However, the legend of the GreyfriarsBobby is just one gigantic hoax reckons Dr JanBondeson, who after five years research be-lieves that two unscrupulous men originated the story to bring in tourists and curiosityseekers for financial gain. The story of thelamenting dog, which stayed close to his deadmaster from 1858 to 1872, at an Edinburghcemetery, so caught the public’s attention that the council erected a statue of the terrier in 1873, that can still be seen today.
Greyfriars Bobby; The most faithful dog inthe World,
written by historian Dr Jan Bond-eson, reveals a deception and con-trick thateffectively brought business to a restaurantowned by John Traill and cemetery caretaker James Brown. Traill and Brown repeated thestory to anyone who would listen, and soon the whole City of Edinburgh became aware of the mythical, faithful dog on the policeman’sgrave. The story went nationwide, and beforelong visitors were arriving in droves to see thesmall canine. Donations were handed over to the curator of the cemetery, James Brown, to keep the dog well fed, and most peopledined at John Traill’s eating establishment. Itwas a tremendous deal for the pair of them,beside other shopkeepers in the area whoenjoyed the upsurge in business. Appar-ently, the dead policeman John Gray, never had a dog, and the reason the dog, (and itsreplacements from time to time) stayed close to the graveyard, was that was where JohnBrown, fed them.Dr Bondeson a senior lecturer at CardiffUniversity admitted, “The more I researchedit, the more I smelt a rat.”
Welsh Holidaymakers ‘Foot’ The Bill For Standing On Stinging Fish
HOLIDAYMAKERS enjoying the Welshbeaches along Pembrokeshire and Cre-digion, have been warned about paddlingbarefooted in the sand after reports of weever fish stinging in the shallows. Limping vaca- tioners from Tenby, Newgale, Llangrannogand New Quay have approached first aidstations and coastguard centres looking for assistance. The RNLI has recommended that bathers and paddlers wear some kindof footwear that will protect them from thefish’s poisonous spines.The Weever is a bonefish species thatgrows to around 15 inches and buries itselfin the sand, making it almost impossible tosee. The tips of its dorsal fins and gills arepoisonous and in Mediterranean countriesit is known as the viper fish. It was thefish used in the original French recipe for bouillabaisse.It feels like a scratch when first stung, butwithin minutes the area becomes inflamedand the pain will last some two hours and isregarded a lot more excruciating than a waspsting. It can take a whole week to recover.
The South Wales Evening Post,
in anarticle some years ago, wrote that some40 weever fish incidents a year occur in the Swansea area, and most local peoplesoaked their feet and took a pain-killer rather than seek medical help. The only recordeddeath from a weever was in 1927, when aDungeness fisherman was stung numerous times.
‘Hell’s Bells’ – MorrismenTold To Take Their ClogsTo Another Pub
PUBS owned by the Samuel Smith Breweryhave strict no music policies in their estab-lishments, though a troop of Morris Dancersfound it hard to believe that the little bellsattached to their feet infringed such regula- tions. After performing in the nearby marketsquare at Durham, Slubbing Billy’s MorrisDancers dropped into the Swan and ThreeCygnets, for a thirst quenching pint and werestunned when a barmaid roared “No bells,”and ordered them to leave the premises.“We were told in the strongest possible terms to leave,” said a flabbergasted DuggsCarre. “To ban us simply because some ofus were wearing bells on our clogs is simply too absurd to be true.”The manager did not want to commenton the incident. The Morrismen said theyhad imbibed at Sam Smiths pubs before,and there had never been a problem with thebells. The afternoon ended on a cheerful notehowever, when the troupe moved around thecorner to the Half-Moon tavern, who weremore than happy to supply refreshments–bells and all.
Couple To Be Extradited From Scotland To US – Selling Illegal Chemicals
A SCOTTISH couple who claim they rana legitimate chemical business over theinternet were arrested some four years agofor supplying red phosphorous and iodine tomethamphetamine dealers in the US. Brianand Kerry Ann Howes of Bo’ness, near Falkirk, have not been arraigned in a Britishcourt, but an extradition application from theUnited States to the Scottish Governmentwas finally approved last month, when a three member appeals court sanctioned theextradition. Red phosphorous and iodine arelegal in Britain, but are vigorously regulated in the US. The appeals court was told that thecouple deliberately mislabeled the drugs inan attempt to thwart American customs.The case falls under the 2003 ExtraditionAct, that allows people to be extradited to the US, without the occurrence of an actualBritish trial that would or would not decideevidence of any criminal wrong doing. TheHowes had been apparently warned previ-ously, and police had raided their work-lab.Lawyers for the Howes, think it’s outra-geous that the couple can be extraditedwithout any kind of criminal conviction froma British court, and intend to put the casebefore the European Convention on HumanRights.
Christmas Is Coming And TheGoose ‘Could’ Be Getting Fat
NATURAL England wants the government tochange the status of the Canadian Goose,and allow farmers to commercially raise these large numbers of pests that are respon-sible for the disgusting layers of goose poop, that soil and pollute Britain’s park and poolareas. At the moment they are not a protectedspecies. If you wanted to take one home andput it in the oven you can, but they cannotbe sold. Restaurants can be fined £5,000 for putting Canada Geese on the menu.King Charles I introduced the goose toEngland at his waterfowl lake in St JamesPark. It is now thought the population isaround 100,000, and they have literally takenover Britain’s suburban lakes and pools.Many local authorities have taken to culling the birds as they foul up parks and recre-ational areas. They do not migrate like theCanadian Goose in north America, but stayall the year round. Natural England hopes the law will be changed before Christmas,and allow a new gourmet, but gamey meat to be available for Christmas dinner. ChefPrue Leith, suggests the legs should be slowcooked, and the breast meat grilled and servewith teryaki sauce.
Mom Of 14 To Be Supported By Grandpa And Grandmum, 29 And 30
A FOURTEEN year old girl from Bridgend,Wales, who recently gave birth to a babygirl Gracie, has probably made her Mom andDad the youngest grandparents in Britain.Grandfather Shem Davies is just 29-years-old and is estranged from the grandmother Kelly John who is 30. Granddad Daviessays he was not happy at first on hearing of the pregnancy but feels, “Now it’s all aboutbeing positive.”New mom Tia, admits she would notencourage Gracie to get pregnant so earlyin life, and says her boyfriend, 15-year-oldJordan Williams, will be involved in the rais-ing of the child. The tot was delivered bycaesarian and weighed just 2lb, before beingmoved to the special care unit. GrandmaKelly John was all smiles, and understands the comparisons as she gave birth to Tia,when she was just 15-years-old.Britain leads Europe in under 18-year-oldpregnancies, and in 2009, 38,259 girls cameunder that category. UK numbers are twiceas high as France and Spain, and five timeshigher than Holland.
All Eyes On £75,000 Battle At The Ritz Wine Auction
TIGHT SECURITY at the Ritz Hotel in London,was evident at a special wine auction wheresome treasured and old vintages went onsale. A bottle of Chateau d’Yquem set theworld record ever paid for a white wine whensommelier Christian Vanneque, paid £75,000for this 1811 vintage. Usually white winesdon’t last, but this is a dessert variety and thehigh levels of sugar serve as a preservative.Experts contend that the flavour matures year by year in these particular whites. Ms Van-neque plans to open his purchase at Paris’La Tour d’Argent restaurant in 2017, on theoccasion of his fiftieth birthday.The record price for a bottle of red was setat a Christie’s auction in Geneva last year,where a 1947 French Cheval-Blanc wentfor £192,000.
‘Oldest Tree In Europe’ Alive And Well In Scottish Village
VISITORS driving through Glen Lyon inPerthshire, will enjoy the picturesque land-scapes of the Scottish Highlands and admire the whitewashed walls and thatch roofedcottages of the small village of Fortinall.While this tranquil community boasts terrificviews, an old tree in the local churchyard willsometimes receive only a cursory glance.In fact, this particular Yew tree, is not only the oldest living tree in Britain, but reput-edly the oldest living tree in Europe. Expertsconsider it’s at least 2,000 years old whileother arborists think it maybe 9,000 yearsold. A plaque under the tree proclaims it as5,000 years old.There has been a church on the site since the seventh century and this ancient tree is thought to be part of Bronze Age religiousrituals, prior to Christianity. Tradition holds that Pontius Pilate was born at Fortinall, andplayed under the yew as a child. His father was reputedly a Roman ambassador from the Emperor’s court. Unfortunately, the timelines do not match, but the tale adds mysteryand colour to a very old tree.The girth of the trunk once stood at 52 feetin 1769, but as with most yews, as they getolder, the trunks split giving the impressionof many trees at the same location. The ringsin the trunk decide tree age, but because this trunk split some 250 years ago, a legitimateage determination is not possible. Today the tree is a fiesta of green leaves and healthinessand experts think it’ll live for many more cen- turies. Cuttings have been taken from the treeand successfully transplanted at the RoyalBotanical Gardens in Edinburgh. The YewConservation Hedge Project has preserved this primeval DNA, but visitors can still see the real thing at Fortinall.The tallest tree in Britain is a Grand Fir at Ardkinglas, Argyllshire, that’s stand 211feet. The tree with the largest proliferationof branches is an oriental plane tree atCorsham Court, Wiltshire, with a spread of210 square feet.
New Building Will Leave Nudists Seen To The Naked Eye
THE WHITE House Club in Warlingham, Sur-rey, is very unhappy that the local council hasgiven the go-ahead for a block of flats to bebuilt directly next door. You see, the WhiteHouse Club is a nudist club, and they feel that their privacy will be intruded upon, particu-larly from residents living in the higher floorsof the newly planned building block. The clubopened for business in 1933, and boasts avariety of sporting activities, both indoorsand out, that caters for some 300 memberswith ages ranging from two to 90. Many of those members have made their oppositionknown to the council, but the decision to buildhas been made. The club’s outdoor ameni- ties include tennis, basketball, badminton,bowls and a swimming pool, that will makeits naked participants available to prying eyesfrom the new tower block. Director of theclub David Mason, says members were verydisappointed about the council’s attitude, butfor now, activities will continue as normal-atleast, until the construction begins.
Archeologists Find Welsh Pirate’s Wreck Near Panama
UNDERWATER archeologists from TexasState University, have discovered thewreckage of Henry Morgan’s flagship,
off the coast of Panama near theLajas Reef in the Caribbean. The expeditionled by Fritz Hanselmann had already locatedsix 17
century cannons and suspected theywere close to an extraordinary find. The findincludes many unopened cargo boxes andcoral encrusted chests. Although Morgan,had a reputation for treasure and plunder,Hanselmann believes the relics of that by-gone century will provide the actual treasurefor this expedition.Henry Morgan (1635-1688) was a Welshpirate born in Monmouthshire, who plun-dered the Spanish outposts of the CaribbeanSea with impunity around the 1660-70s. Hebrought a collection of like-minded souls together who famously pillaged Porto Bello,Maracaibo, Cartegena and Panama City on the Pacific coast. He was finally arrestedand sent back to England, but was foundnot guilty, and ended his days as governor,Sir Henry Morgan of Jamaica.
was one of five ships thathe lost in a storm, during the raid on PanamaCity. All artifacts recovered will remain theproperty of the nation of Panama, and willbe shown in a special exhibition.
Banana Man Bill Rushes To Hospital – Scorpion In Hand
PRODUCE assistant Bill Clark, received anasty sting after he thrust his hand into abox of bananas that he was putting on dis-play at the Farmfoods store in Stonehaven,Aberdeenshire. He thought he may havepricked himself on a piece of broken glass,but when checking the bananas he spotteda strange, menacing pair of pincers. The48-year-old Farmfood employee had beenbitten by a scorpion. Bill captured the arach-nid in a glass jar and hurriedly made his way to the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary hospital. Hebrought the creature with him, because hesuspected that emergency room staff wouldnot believe him.“If I’d told them, I’d been stung by a scor-pion, they’d think I was daft,” he said.The nurses nicknamed the scorpionShakira, after the Colombian singer whooriginates from the same country as thebananas. The pincer-clawed creature washanded over to the SPCA, who found a homefor it at a nearby reptile rescue centre. After the swelling went down, and after a coupleof tests, he was released from hospital. He isstill stacking the bananas on a daily basis, butis keeping his eyes open for any unexpectedhitchhikers.
Dangerous Driver’s ExcuseOf Being ‘Sick As A Parrot’ Doesn’t Work
A MAN involved in a high-speed policepursuit through the streets of Portsmouth,failed to convince Portsmouth Crown Court that his irrational behaviour was due to therecent death of his pet parrot. John Williams,33, told the court that mourning the demiseof his feathered friend had unreasonably af-fected his logical way of thinking. Williamswas only stopped after his car crashed into afence. Judge Ian Pearson, was unconvinced that a dead parrot could cause such traumahowever, and after perusing Williams’ longlist of traffic violations, jailed him for four months and banned him from driving for three years.
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