A stuffed puffer fish, human skulls, a samurai sword
and a lawnmower are just a few of the items
that have turned up in London's Lost
Property Office.

The Transport for London's Lost Property Office (LPO)
is celebrating 75 years of reuniting people and
their belongings with a raft of statistics about which
items go missing the most on public transport.

The most commonly forgotten objects left on buses,
overground and underground trains, taxis and
in stations last year were books at 36,852
and items of clothing at 27,174.

The office is located on Baker Street and takes pride
in its link to famous fictional neighbour Sherlock
Holmes, even naming the computer system
staff use to log all lost items "Sherlock".

There have been a few sleuth-like occasions when
staff have had to take extra steps to return items
to their owners, managing to track down the next
of kin for two urns of ashes that had been in the
LPO for years, even though there were just a
few words written on the urns.

"It was an emotional moment for all of us. Having said
that, all items are important to their owners and
returning even the smallest of items can make a
big difference.
I have been here for five years and
love being reminded how honest Londoners are
when they hand in lost property," LPO

Manager Julie Haley said.

She said people often believe that if they leave
something on a train or bus it will be gone
forever, but it just may well be a phone
call away on a shelf in the LPO.

"You never know - we might just have it here,
and 'Sherlock' will help us find it," she said.


Oh bless, again!

A podgy skunk gorged itself so much on
bacon sarnies that it's been put on
a strict veggie diet.

Mr Bumble's love of pork resulted in him
ballooning to a dangerous 6.35 kg (one stone)
- double the ideal weight for a healthy skunk.

He was having a swell time, but his clueless
owners eventually handed their beloved pet over
to the RSPCA when they realised they
couldn't cope with his size.

At Tropiquaria animal park near Watchet, Somerset,
his waistline has been put under strict observation.
A regime of vegetables, bananas and melon and
two half-hour walks a day has resulted in Mr
Bumble shedding the flab.

Park owner Chris Noisier said: "We're now working on
dieting him down to what he should be and clearly
bacon butties are not a normal part of a skunk's diet
in the wild. He is getting to meet lots of new people
so there's lots going on in his life and
I suspect it's making up for the lack of
his old favourite food."

A skunk's natural diet in the wild mainly consists
of carrion, insects, mice and a range of greenery.
The animals are native to North America, but
have become popular as house pets in the UK.

EDIT 22.12.2009: Mr Bumble's diet worked,
he has already lost 4.4lb (2kg)


These are funny!

A company called Takkoda has produced
a calendar of pets made to
look like rock stars.

Real pets were photographed in their own homes to
capture their natural expressions and then they
were "dressed up" digitally to look like stars such
as Dolly Parton, Elvis and Sid Vicious.


Check out these mouth watering "flags!"

An advertising agency has come up with a campaign
to promote the Sydney International Food Festival:
flags made from food typical of each country.

Above Italy, Greece and Brazil. Wouldn't
mind tucking into those....or India!


Oh, bless!

She may only have limited vision but Lucy the owl's
disability hasn't stopped her from finding
the perfect perch in life.

The five-year-old Western Screech Owl can only see
a short distance following an attack when
she was just a fledgling.

The tiny bird, who stands six inches (15.2 cm)
high and weighs a bit over eight ounces
(227 g), was discovered under her nest
site in Santa Barbara, California.

Both her eyes had been punctured by a predator,
possibly a small hawk or a corvid.
Lucy is now an
invaluable 'staff' member at the
Ojai Raptor
Center in California where she helps to
raise other orphaned youngsters.

Kim Stroud, (below with Lucy) director of the
center, says: "She can see maybe 10 or 15 feet but
we don't think she can identify objects. She
wouldn't survive in the wild.
her size and disability she could
live for a further 15 years."

Kim, 46, both founded and runs the Ojai Raptor Center,
a non-profit rescue and rehabilitation centre for injured
birds in Ventura County, an area of Southern
California that boasts millions
of acres of national parks.

Lucy has proved to be a great help. "She's a wonderful
mother. She lays eggs every year, infertile of course,
but whenever screech owl eggs are brought in from
the wild we have switched them. The same
with foundling baby screeches. Lucy
has raised 15 of them so far".

Despite, or maybe because of, her excellent
maternal instincts the tiny predator can be
fierce and protective too. Kim says: "She
tolerates handling, but she's very vocal when
she's mad. She flies at me when she has
eggs or babies, or sometimes even
when I go into feed her."

You can adopt and
sponsor Lucy

ART 2009

Please click on the images
to view a larger version.




It's "ruska" time in Finland again (most vivid in Lapland)
and readers of a national newspaper have sent in
loads of wonderful images of the intense colours.

Here's some of them.