An African elephant is proving a league champion for her ability to keep her keepers on their toes.
Fifteen-year-old Latabe is so adept at dribbling a football she is more than a match for her keeper at West Midland Safari Park in Worcestershire and has surprised everyone with her rather unladylike pastime.
Keeper Lewis Hodson (above with Latabe), 23, is passionate about football and the pair first started to kick a ball around during playtime four weeks ago.
A park spokesman said: "There is little doubt that Latabe is honing her footy skills to perfection and seems to enjoy every minute that she is on the pitch.
"But while Latabe has added a few noughts to her transfer fee, she is staying where she is - at West Midland Safari Park."
The park is home to three elephants,which were all rescued from an elephant orphanage in 1998. 'Five' is the artistic talent among the trio, while 'Jack' likes to help with heavy duties such as pulling vehicles.
Being a huge fan of English history, and particularly the 17th to mid 18th century I will be spending hours on here!
Thousands of Britons, Americans and a fair few Australians began searching an online archive yesterday for news of the nefarious dealings of their distant ancestors in Victorian London.
Records of trials at the Old Bailey throughout the 1800s and early 1900s have been placed online, from infamous murders to bungled bicycle frauds, all catalogued into a searchable archive.
Accounts of The Proceedings of the Old Bailey were originally collated and circulated from 1674 in what became a popular London publication.
By the early 20th century the readership had declined and the authorities were no longer willing to bear the expense. The last edition rolled off the presses in April 1913; thereafter the complete record was contained in a handful of rare leather-bound collections.
The new records include the indictment for “acts of gross indecency” of Oscar Wilde and Alfred Taylor in May 1895.
There is also the case of Dr Hawley Crippen, who murdered his wife, a Camden music- hall singer, and was arrested while fleeing to America with his mistress.
But for all the affairs of the great and good, the real value of the record for social historians lies in the countless details of London life and proof of emerging and declining social trends.
Families of Autistic Children of Tidewater (F.A.C.T.) sponsored the fundraising event, where 28,000 puzzle pieces were put together over a space the size of two-and-a-half football fields in an attempt to break a world record.
Never saw Nirvana when Kurt was alive? Secret desire to see Gun'n'Roses live? Or T-Rex? Or how about Freddie Mercury?
Don't want to fork out hundreds of pounds to see your favourite acts who are still alive?
Well, Glastonbudget at Turnpost Farm in Wymeswold, Leicestershire is the answer to your prayers. The three days of "mockstars" strutting their stuff starts on May 23th and you can join the fun for a mere £47.50.
The festival is Europe's largest tribute & new music festival with 22 bands, including Ded Hot Chili's, Crowded Out and Kaider Thiefs, on the tribute stage alone.
No, not the band but something a load of people on this island seem to have. And I totally agree, the manners have gone totally down the toilet.
Britons are ruder than they were a decade ago, according to a survey that showed almost three-quarters of people think manners should be taught at school.
A third believe bad manners are the catalyst for much of the anti-social behaviour in Britain, the ITV poll found.
Experts interviewed by the network blamed a lack of respect for authority. More than 90 percent of respondents believe parents are failing to ensure their children learn proper manners and that bad behaviour of celebrities and footballers are setting a poor example for impressionable youngsters.
Spitting and swearing were the most offensive behaviours, it found, while queue-jumping and not saying "please" or "thank you" were other main gripes.
Almost 75 percent of the 3,000 people surveyed believed manners should be taught at school.
"I think my generation has a lot answer for because I think the youth culture in the 60s and early 70s threw out every rule book and thought it was really clever to use four letter words," she told the programme, which airs later on today."
"But I think things should go back, not to the old deference, not to grovelling, not to any of that but just to feeling respect, because I think that would make everyone's life more pleasant."
In honour of Her Madgesty's new album release tomorrow and the fact that I watched a 3 and a half hour Madge video marathon today (whilst reading the Sunday papers!) on TMF, I decided to dig out some old photos.
As it happens me and KB once won first price at a fancy dress party with me dressed as Madge (below) circa the "Papa Don't Preach" period.
The actual record was released in 1986 but I dressed up for a NY's party at our local pub The Edinburgh in Brighton in 1991.
Sadly The Edinburgh on Buckingham Street is no more but we are left with fond memories of the friendly and funny landlord and lady, Vic and Joy. It was their dream to retire under the Spanish sun so I hope they got their wish.
And talking of old photos I just had to put this in here as well: my first car in 1984.
The hair, the jeans, the shades, the belt. Oh my days. Obviously I didn't own a mirror back then! Hehe!
A tree in central London has been valued at £750,000 under a new system that puts a "price" on trees. How?
Apparently by considering its size, unit value, number of people living nearby, its benefits and problems and its life expectancy.
Size is the biggest factor, followed by population density of the surrounding area (how many people enjoy the tree), the size of the canopy, its life expectancy, its impact (does it flower or drop annoying honeydew) and any special factors, such as Queen Victoria planting it.
"Ultimately the purpose (of pricinf) is that more trees are saved, because you can say 'this tree has a relative value to this community'," says Mr Jon Stokes of the Tree Council.
If weather conditions do not improve this summer some British butterflies could become extinct, experts have warned.
The persistent rain last year meant that butterflies were unable to move, feed or mate. Some species had their lowest ever recorded numbers, according to the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme in East Lulworth, Dorset.
Eight butterflies were the worst affected, with the population of the Lulworth Skipper down by 81 % and the common blue butterfly (below) population decreasing by 78 %. Experts hope that there will be more settled conditions in the crucial coming months.
Many species are also suffering because their natural habitat is being lost. Sir David Attenborough, the president of the Butterfly Conservation Trust, which helps to run the monitoring scheme, is promoting a Stop Extinction Appeal to restore their habitat.
This is just silly. But unfortunately in this PC world it's just going to get worse...
Misplaced fears about terror, privacy and child protection are preventing amateur photographers from enjoying their hobby, say campaigners.
The last time I encoutered overzealous security guards was in Lisbon: the supermarket we frequented had a really nice Easter egg display and I wanted to take a shot but as soon as I got my camera out the guard rushed over to tell me off.
Same in a shopping mall when I was trying to take a picture of KB . Yeah, I'm sure Al-Qaeda could've used both of those pics to make a bomb. Please!
No no no no! I'm not surprised animal behaviour experts worry that shunting a dog between multiple owners will cause it distress.
"There will almost certainly be an emotional impact for the dogs as they are moved from owner to owner, from home to home, and then back again until someone decides they want them again," says veterinary adviser David McDowell.
"Most dogs need the security of a proper routine with one owner and without this they could become stressed and unhappy." Instead of renting a pet, he advises that anyone desperate to spend time with a dog could volunteer or their local RSPCA branch or animal centre.
My message to true animal lovers is do not do this.
I don't care what anyone says, hedhehogs are not pets and they should not be kept cooped up inside like hamsters!
People have been buying hedgehogs, whose nocturnal habits make them appealing to the modern worker because they wake in the evening when their owners arrive home after a day in the office.
Although Britain has its own wild breed of hedgehogs, the latest pet craze focuses on African pygmy hedgehogs (above) - a cross between Algerian and white-bellied hedgehogs.
Initial costs for the animal and accompanying equipment can run to £300 pounds. But hedgehogs, who can survive on cat food, are cheaper to feed because they eat a third of the household cat's daily diet.
Animal conservationists said the trend poses a serious threat to the declining population of Britain's native wild hedgehogs, which last year made the government's species protection list.
The impact from poaching on the wild hedgehog population could be greater in the next month if mothers are removed from their litters during the Spring breeding season, Bullen said. "The babies will die without their mum," she said. "They're completely dependent for four weeks."
Bullen also said that the introduction of a foreign species could cause secondary wildlife problem if pet owners who tire of their hedgehogs attempt to release them into the wild. "People will probably think they can exist in our country, but I don't know if they can."