I have decided to take my annual leave
from the blog so I will see you good
peeps in the New Year.

Have a good 'un!



I've been trying to keep busy today
(despite having a rotten cold and a fever)
to stop myself from getting sad over Archie
so I put the xmas lights and a little tree in
the lounge window.

Xmas is open.


The house feels empty and
quiet this morning.

The lounge looks huge without his bed.
No more tapping of the tail when he sees
you coming down the stairs, no
more undulating sounds when
he wants attention.

No more rubbing of the belly, no more
telling him off when he's standing
in front of the telly.

One member of the family that will
propably miss him the most
is Fats the cat.

She's not a great fan of anybody but
she had a soft spot for Archie.

He gave her a daily bath by licking her
until she looked like she'd been thrown
in a lake. I'm giving Fats extra pats
today to make her feel loved, she's
looking around thinking
"something's missing".

The main thing is there is
no more pain, just joy.

I'm sure
Siouxsie was happy to see
Arch as well. Now they can play
together and run free.



Our beloved Irish Wolfhound Archie
passed away this morning.

He had been suffering from
Dilated Cardiomyopathy
for some time, and finally
his legs gave up.

He was a big softie, an intelligent
gentle giant and we will miss
him every day.

We love you Archie,





How cute?!


Northern Lights in Rovaniemi
in the Finnish Lapland.


Paddington Bear is to face his
most terrifying adventure yet;
a police interrogation over
his immigration status.

A new Paddington novel, released to
mark the 50th anniversary of his debut,
is to be published next June.

Famously, the young bear was a stowaway
on a ship from Peru; and, lacking the
appropriate identity papers, he is
arrested and interviewed by the police
about his right to stay in England.

Michael Bond's (above) Paddington books have sold
more than 30 million copies in 30 languages since
the marmalade-loving ursine first appeared
in A Bear Called Paddington, half a century
ago. However, this will be the first
new novel since Paddington
Takes The Test in 1979.

It is understood that Mr Bond, now 83,
was reluctant to write a new novel
without first settling on a storyline that
updated the Paddington oeuvre into
a strong contemporary setting.


Check out Toyah 's new
Lesser God.

The Minx is busy with all sorts of stuff
including two new albums (her
solo and
The Humans) next year,
second series of
Belle Du Jour and
loads of other TV projects.

She's a like a whirlwind,
I don't know how she does it!


This, ladies and gents, is a jerboa, an
"extraordinary" desert creature
has been caught on camera for what
scientists believe is the first time.

The long-eared tiny nocturnal mammal
is dwarfed by its enormous ears and
can be found in deserts in
Mongolia and China.

Until now, the creatures had proven extremely
difficult to study, thanks to their minuscule
size, nocturnal nature and the harsh
desert environment that they inhabit.



Today is the
90th Independence Day
of Finland.

Happy anniversary



He weighs a massive 3,000lb (1363 kg)
and measures more than 6ft 3in (1.92 m).
Now that's what you call a load of bull!

And prize Charolais Field Marshall is
going to get even bigger because he's
still got two years growing to do.

Owner Arthur Duckett reckons the great
white whopper will pile on another
650lb in the next 12 months alone.

That will make him Britain's biggest bull,
beating the record set by his former
stablemate The Colonel, who stood
6ft 5in and weighed 3,500lb.

Field Marshall is already heavier than
a Mini Cooper car, which weighs 2,458lb
and has nearly reached the weight of
a BMW 3 series at 3,053lb.

Arthur, 78, a farmer from
Alstone, Somerset,
said: "Field Marshall is still just a teenager
When he gets angry he can do
some real damage.
Luckily, he is
very good-tempered."



My favourite polar bear Knut celebrates
his first birthday today.

He got a fish salad and a
wooden candle to play with.

Happy Birthday Knut!




Christmas is hectic for all but particularly
for Santa, who must live in
in Central Asia and make his rounds
at lightning speed if he is to deliver
gifts to all the world's children on
time, Swedish consultancy
has concluded.

Between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day,
Santa Claus's route around the planet
includes stops at 2.5 billion homes,
assuming that children of all religions
receive a present from the
jolly man in the red suit.

"We estimated that there are 48 people per
square kilometer (120 per square mile) on
Earth, and 20 metres (66 feet) between each
home. So if Santa leaves from Kyrgyzstan
and travels against the Earth's rotation
he has 48 hours to deliver all the
presents," Anders Larsson from
the consultancy said.

Father Christmas has long been believed
to reside at the North Pole, although
a number of northern towns, including
Rovaniemi, claim
to be his true home.

But Sweco's report on Santa's most efficient
route - which takes into account factors like
geographic density and the fewest detours
- shows that he wouldn't be able to
make his round-the-world trip
from there in time.

"He has 34 microseconds at each stop"
to slide down the chimney, drop off the
presents, nibble on his cookies and milk
and hop back on his sleigh," Larsson said.

Santa's reindeer must travel at a speed
of 5,800 kilometers (3,604 miles)
per second to make the trip on time.

Another report circulating on the Internet
suggested however that Santa's sleigh,
weighed down with presents and travelling
at supersonic speed, would encounter
such massive air resistance that the entire
contraption would burst into flames
and be vaporised within 4.26
thousandths of a second.



Interesting article on
the BBC

Chimpanzees have an extraordinary
photographic memory that is far
superior to ours, research suggests.

Young chimps outperformed university
students in memory tests devised
by Japanese scientists.

The tasks involved remembering
the location of numbers on a screen,
and correctly recalling the sequence.

The findings, published in Current
Biology, suggest we may have under-
estimated the intelligence of our
closest living relatives.



A 26-year-old domestic cat from Shropshire
could be one of the oldest in the UK.

Pussywillow lives in Ratlinghope and
is still "sharp in her mind and her eyes",
according to owner Lin Brown.

The black cat, who now enjoys curling up
by the stove, lived off animals she caught
herself until she was 22, Ms Brown said.

Healthy cats can normally live to about 18,
with previous world record holders
only reaching their early 20s.

Pussywillow was near-feral when she was
first taken in by the family.
"When Willow
came my son was four. He is now 30," Ms
Brown said.
"I know from my local vet
that they've always been absolutely
astonished and said they have
never known a cat that old."

The family only started feeding the elderly
feline after she survived an attack by a fox
four years ago.
"Because of her wildness
when she came she was pretty much an
outdoor cat and had an organic diet
and I hardly fed her anything,"
Ms Brown said.

Marion Micklewright, from Shropshire
Cat Rescue, said she had not heard of any
other cats living for 26 years.
"Cats are
living longer, but I'd love to know what
they fed it on. It's a bit of a rarity."



It's like an online dating servicefor
long lost gloves. No, that's not a typo.

A Texas native who experienced her
first snowflakes in
Pittsburgh last
year was miffed by the lost gloves she
spotted all over the city last winter.
Whom did they belong to? Wouldn't
they want them back? Why were
people just walking past them?

So Jennifer Gooch, who is pursuing her
master of fine arts degree at
Mellon University, started a website
in an effort to reunite dropped gloves
with their mates — and in the
process spread some goodwill.

One of her first ones lambskin glove that
someone had propped up on a ledge on
campus. She was worried about taking
it at first. What if the owner
came back to claim it?

In its place, she left a small rectangular
sticker. A drawing of a black glove is
scrawled on it and says, "Missing
a glove?

Gooch displays the gloves on the wall in
her basement art studio at the university.
There are 21 so far, each tacked up with
push pins. Small yellow Post-it notes
and slips of scrap paper hang there, too,
chronicling where each was found.

One reads, "Found by Shaun Tuesday,
Nov. 20 Penn Ave. between 29th & 28th."
Below it, the finder drew two gloves —
one outlined in a solid line, its mate
outlined with a broken line.

Some appear to be expensive, others
not so much. On the wall hangs a beige,
left-handed woman's glove, with a
dangling, sparkling rhinestone charm.

"That's a great glove," Gooch, 29, beamed
Friday. "It's leather. It's got bling,
but it's so useless now."

Gooch, originally from Dallas, photographs
each glove and puts the picture and
information on her web site, where people
can report found gloves and request
stickers. She hasn't made any glove
connections in the two weeks the site
has been live, but it's OK if that
never happens, she said.

"It's kind of whimsical and bittersweet,"
Gooch said. "It makes you feel there's
this opportunity for benevolence."

Gooch would love to see One Cold Hand
projects sprout up in other cities.
She's working with two women in New
York to start a similar effort there. They
hope to have onecoldhand-nyc.com
up and running soon.

Gooch is even talking with local businesses
about creating glove dropboxes all
over the city where people can
leave their fabric finds.

Like socks that disappear in the dryer or
plastic grocery bags that fly away and get
in trees, Gooch believes there's something
about gloves that is universal.

"If I have one person find their glove,
then the entire thing is totally
worth it," she said.



Finally after all these years I've got
the first three
Indiana Jones
films on DVD.

The first and the third were always my
favourites, the second one was a bit
ropey but I'll give it another go.

The Trilogy
boxset also comes with
a fourth disc full of extras.

Here's a couple of interesting facts:
the adventuring archeologist is named
George Lucas' malamute.

He called the character Indiana Smith
but Steven Spielberg preferred Jones.

The hissing sound in the first film when
Indy and Marion are in the temple full
of snakes was created by
Ben Burtt
by squishing his fingers in his
wife's cheese cassarole!

The new film Indiana Jones and
the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
comes out next May.


"Ufo" clouds near
Winnemucca, Nevada.



The Ship Of Fools has come up with
some great pressie ideas for the
The Twelve Days Of Kitschmas.

How about Christ On A Bike, Maria
USB Memory Stick, Hip Flask Bible
or Thongs of Praise?




Officials in northern Sweden have just
given the all-clear for the construction
of the
world's largest elk.

Perched on top of Vithatten mountain, the
45-metre (148 foot) elk will double as a
restaurant and concert hall with seating
for 350. From its antlers, more than
500 metres above sea level, visitors will
be able to enjoy the spectacular
view over the valleys below.

After years of uncertainty, the two county's
involved gave the green light to the project.
It came as something of a shock to
founder Thorbjörn Holmlund.

"This is such unbelievably good news.
My whole body is shaking
with joy," he said.

As the owner of the Svansele wilderness
centre, Holmlund has organized safaris for
visiting tourists hoping to catch a
glimpse of the king of the forest
in its natural habitat.

Though its future was in the balance, the
oversize elk has always had a name: Stoorn,
which translates as 'The Big One'
in the local dialect.

With its front legs in Norrbotten county and
hind quarters in
Västerbotten, Stoorn will be
be positioned to bite on an enormous pine
tree. A lift will transport visitors through
the tree to the creature's mouth.
The reception area will be between
the teeth and the tonsils.

The conference centre will bei
n the
belly of the beast and it will
also hold
up to 350 people. Vistors will be able
to move through the levels using
spiral staircases located
inside the elk's legs.

Construction will begin before the end of
the year and as befits an area in which
forestry is the main industry, the
elk will be built using local wood.

"We have so much to offer up here, with
all our cheeses, the gold of Lapland, and
so much more besides. I think Stoorn
will help us attract lots of international
tourism," said Holmlund.

The cost of building is expected to come in
at around 60 million kronor (£31 million)
and it will be financed entirely
through private investment.

"We have had contributions ranging from
one thousand to four million kronor.
People have really wanted to make
this happen.There have been plenty of
days when I have come close to crying
but today I can do nothing but laugh,"
aid Holmlund.

Watch a tour of the elk



Remember the Giant
microbes toys?

Well if you want to stay in same theme
(twisted and sick but funny) when
buying crimbo presents... how
about road kill toys ?

The first to be launched is Twitch,the
Roadkill Teddy, which comes complete with
opaque plastic body bag to keep the maggots
out and attached to its twitching toe
is an identity bag giving
details of its demise.

Apparently it was "run over over by a milk
float last Thursday, near the Hangar
Lane Giratory system in London."

The toy's innards and blood can
be stuffed in and out of his body.

The toys creators are Compost Communications,
self styled 'toy terrorists'. According to their
website they squash and burn and
bludgeon and maim but are toy
fanatics and love them.

Toy designer Adam Arber, 33, from London,
said: "I got the idea from looking at
my mother-in-law's dog which is quite
ugly and I thought it would make
a great toy. A friend of mine had taken
some pictures of road kill and the
two things gelled into one idea."

He said the toys, which cost £25,
would appeal to people with a sense
of humour and 'probably not
anyone easily upset'.

Other characters will include Grind
the rabbit, Splodge the hedgehog and
Pop the weasel and likely gruesome
scenarios would include death by
being run over by kebab
vans and golf buggies.




When I got this thing in the post
today I thought the bank had
sent me a calculator as
a Xmas present.

Turns out it's a new on-line banking
security measure that was actually
introduced in April but since I never
received the introduction letter
I didn't know anything about it.

At first glance I thought "oh no this is
going to be a nightmare" but having
used it once already it's actually
quite straight forward.

And if it makes banking
on-line safer then great!



Remember Andrex, the little
piggy found in a lorry?

Well I'm pleased to report that he is recovering
well and animal-lovers are queuing up to give
the piglet a home as he recovers from his
ordeal by scoffing bowls of Weetabix.

The three-week-old creature was rescued
by RSPCA workers after he was found in
a Tesco lorry packed full of toilet rolls.

RSPCA staff at Radcliffe-on-Trent
Animal Shelter have been flooded
with calls from people eager
to give him a home.

Supervisor Rowena Hammond said:
"He's eating very well. He's been drinking
milk but has now moved on to solids.

He got quite grumpy this morning
because I tried to feed him milk from
the bottle, but he thought he was grown
up and wanted to drink it from a bowl."

She added: "He really loves
Weetabix with his milk."

Andrex is currently being housed in his own
pen in the centre.
Ms Hammond added
that the winning applicant will have
to wait another three weeks before
taking Andrex home- because Defra's
foot and mouth regulations mean he
has to remain at the centre for 28 days.

Another staff member said: "We've had
lots of people ringing up to give him
a home but they are going to be vetted
It'll mean he won't be turned
into sausages and bacon."

Staff still do not know how he got into
the Tesco lorry and suspect it was a cruel
A Tesco spokesman said the
supermarket has launched an
investigation into the matter and
would take "appropriate steps".


If you've visited London in the past
eight years, you've probably heard

Emma Clarke's dulcet tones.

She's the voiceover artist who recorded
the public announcements for the
London Underground advising you
which station you're at and to "Mind
the gap between the train and the
platform" plus"Stand clear
of the closing doors".

But now the "voice of the Tube" has been
sacked for "slagging off" her employers.

Ms Clarke, 36, posted spoof announcements
on her website and said she did not use
it anymore because it was "dreadful".

Ms Clarke, of Altrincham, Cheshire,
said: "It was just a bit of a laugh."

LU said it would not be offering her
further work but Ms Clarke said she
had been “wildly misquoted”.

Dan Hodges, a spokesman for the Underground,
said yesterday that Ms. Clarke wasn't sacked
because of the spoofs. "Some of the
announcements are actually quite
amusing," he said.

"But specifically it's because she was
quoted as saying, 'I don't use the
Tube myself, it's dreadful.' "

She explained: “What I actually said
was that travelling in a Tube train would
be dreadful for me, listening to my own
voice and seeing the haunted faces of
commuters being subjected to me
telling them to ‘mind the gap’."

"I would find it quite an uncomfortable
experience in the same way that when
I call a company when I’m their on hold
voice and it’s me saying - please
press 2 for accounts - it’s a
creepy experience to be honest.”


A pig called Babe is living a charmed life
on a private island in the

The eight year old tame wild boar
spends his days strolling on the beach,
wimming in the sea, eating hot
dogs and drinking beer.

Babe lives on the remote island with its
only two inhabitants, videographer Luke
Abbott and his partner Mona Wiethuchter.

He spends his nights in the bush with his
fellow wild boar but leaves them each
morning for his laid back beach life.

Mr Abbott, 23, who has lived on the
island for nine years, said: "We were
curious to see if we could tame this boar
when he was just a day old. Ever
since he was hand fed, he has
been remarkably tame."

Miss Wiethuchter, 28, said: "We have to
keep an eye on his weight with the beer
and hot dogs. About two years ago he
was carrying too much weight so we
had to start jogging up and down the
beach with him so he would lose
weight; he now looks a lot trimmer."

"He loves his daily routine - and he
sticks to it rigidly. He comes down to
the beach in the morning and starts
off with a hot dog, then it's off to the sea
where he has a good long swim.
He likes that as it really
cools him down."

"Then he comes out of the water and
has a beer. We only allow him one
a day as if he has any more,
he can get a bit feisty."

"Then he goes and has a snooze on the
beach and we usually give his coat
a bit of a brush then too,
which he loves."




A British survey has found "nincompoop"
to be the nation's favorite word of
the 16,500 entries in the
Cambridge Dictionary.

The survey of more than 2,000 Britons
found 13 percent of respondents chose
"nincompoop" - which likely derived
from the Latin "non compos mentis,"
means someone not of a sound
mind - as their favorite
sounding English word.

The poll, commissioned by Ubisoft,
makers of the language computer game
"My Word Search," found "love" was
the second most popular word among
those polled and "mum" was third.

"The results demonstrate our passion
for language and the sentiment we
attach to words such as love and mum,"
Ubisoft spokesman Mike Masuku said.
"It also highlights how narrow most
people's vocabulary has become."