M1 pressed into action by board man
Extreme ironing enthusiast takes advantage of motorway closure after scrapyard fire to iron his shirt in the middle lane
A man irons on the closed northbound carriageway of the M1. Photograph: ITV
Extreme ironing was born in the UK, so perhaps it should come as no surprise that one opportunistic enthusiast used the closure of the M1 motorway to indulge his passion for the sport.
Described as "the latest danger sport that combines the thrills of an extreme outdoor activity with the satisfaction of a well-pressed shirt", extreme ironing fittingly has its roots in Leicester, served by the M1.
Phil Shaw, who has written the definitive book on the sport, is oft credited with inventing it in 1997, and since then instances have sprung up across the globe.
Last year the travel website Gadling.com compiled the 10 best ironing stunts from around the world, featuring two separate instances of ironing on canoes and a particularly daring attempt to press a shirt while skydiving.
The dressing gown-clad individual who jogged onto the M1 to iron what appeared to be a single white shirt in reality had enough time to rattle through the rest of his wardrobe, with all southbound lanes between junctions one and four remaining closed until further notice because of fire damage.
The seven-mile section has been shut since Friday after a blaze at a scrapyard underneath an elevated section in the Mill Hill area of north London. The full width of the motorway will not reopen until the middle or end of next week.
The good news for extreme ironers is sadly unlikely to offset the misery suffered by motorists and holidaymakers.
By the: www.guardian.co.uk
Ask A Stupid Question Day comes to British schools
Ask A Stupid Question Day comes to Britain’s schools, encouraging pupils to ask teachers the daftest things they can think of.
Nature’s opposites: a camel (left) and a soapdish Photo: GETTY/CHRISTINE BOYD
Ask A Stupid Question Day has come to Britain’s schools.
The tradition dates back to the 1980s in America, and took place on 28 September or the last day of the school year. Pupils are encouraged to ask their teachers ridiculous questions.
Now British children are to get the same opportunity.
To mark the occasion, we have attempted to find some of the silliest questions ever posed in Britain to date, as asked by users of the Any Questions Answered (AQA) text service. Here are 10 of the best.
Q: What’s the opposite of a camel?
A: The opposite of a camel is a soap dish: it has dimples instead of humps and lives in a mostly moist area.
Q: How long would it take to roast a fully grown Indian elephant?
A: An Indian elephant, average weight 5000kg, would take 2916 hours and 40 minutes to roast to perfection (based on 35 minutes a kilogram). You would need an extremely large serving dish.
Q: In Mars Bars, how much taller is Jeremy Clarkson than Tom Cruise?
A: A Mars bar is four inches long. Jeremy Clarkson measures 19.25 Mars Bars (six feet five), while Tom Cruise is 16.75 Mars bars high (five feet seven). That’s a 2.5 Mars bar difference.
Q: How long would it take a snail to slide around the world?
A: 34,519 days at 0.7 miles a day or 0.03 miles per hour, the average speed for a garden snail.
Q: What’s the funniest word in the world?
A: The funniest word in the English language is fartlek (an athletic training regime); other funny words include furphy, pratfall, parp and firkin.
Q: What is the best type of biscuit to make a mattress from?
A: The best type of biscuits to make a mattress from would be fig rolls or strawberry Newtons. They would be soft, but still provide some back support.
Q: I want to write a film script which makes me millions: what should it be about?
A: Based on the top-grossing films, your script should be about a young wizard and a robot looking for a ring on a pirate ship which sinks. Good luck.
Q: In an average lifetime, how much gas will a human expel?
A: The average adult has 14 occurrences of flatulence per day. Total expulsion is about 538ml, making approximately 14,727 litres of gas expelled in a life time.
Q: How long is a piece of string?
A: A piece of string is twice as long as half its length. It is usually shorter than the amount you need to wrap a parcel, but always long enough to tangle.
Q: When will I die?
A: You will die in a freak parachuting accident aged 98. Your memorial service, attended by more than 1,000 of your closest friends, will be at Wembley.
Gorillas get drunk on bamboo sap.
Wildlife photographer Andy Rouse had a close encounter with a family of mountain gorillas – and discovered they were drunk.Gorillas eat bamboo all year and can tolerate a lot of it before getting intoxicated; usually they eat it with a handful of other greenery to water it down. Sometimes however they over-indulge, a habit they share with chimps and elephants.
“I had heard they sometimes get like this, but I had never actually seen it. It was just like any family party when one or two members have a little bit too much to drink”
“We came across a young male blackback who was feeling very sorry for himself. When we reached him the poor thing was laying flat on the ground with chewed bamboo all around and looked at us through very dopey eyes…”
“When I went back the next day,” says Andy, “it was all very quiet, as if they were nursing gorilla-sized hangovers”
- Mountain Gorilla Followup (bio230fall2010.wordpress.com)
- Rwanda: Scientists Report Rare Mountain Gorilla Twins (ecoworld.com)
- Rare gorilla twins born in wild (news.bbc.co.uk)
- Rare Mountain Gorilla Twins Born in Rwanda (treehugger.com)
- Humans Make Gorillas Sick (livescience.com)
- Climate change and evolution of Cross River gorillas (physorg.com)
Couple lose four-year battle over £500,000 home they hid inside this barn
A couple who disguised their £500,000 home as a hay barn yesterday lost a four-year legal battle to save it.
Property developer Alan Beesley and his wife Sarah had been granted permission to build a barn for agricultural use – but then fitted it out as a luxury two-storey home.
They tried to outwit council planners by disguising their house as a windowless barn and surrounding it with farmyard machinery.
Disguise: This building may appear to be a barn, but its interior contained three bedrooms and a gym
Alan and Sarah Beesley, with their daughter Ellen, inside therr converted barn that they may be forced to pull down
But instead of hay, it had three bedrooms, a study, a bathroom, lounge, reception area, utility space, storeroom and a gym.
In a landmark ruling yesterday, the Supreme Court ordered the couple to leave their house in Northaw Brook Meadow, near Potters Bar, Hertfordshire.
The seven judges ruled that Mr Beesley was dishonest and claimed he hatched a plan to ‘mislead and deceive’ council planning chiefs.
Mr Beesley, 40, yesterday revealed that his legal fight to remain in the house, which may be destroyed, has cost him tens of thousands. He said: ‘We are absolutely devastated. We are gutted. It’s been our home for nine years and now we are in limbo.
‘From what I understand we cannot live there. My wife is in pieces.’
The saga began in 2001, after Mr Beesley was granted planning permission from Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council for a building to be used as a barn on green belt off the M25
He claims that he had no intention to live there, but changed his mind after a spate of burglaries in the area. So he altered plans to relocate the large barn door and built extra doors and lighting, which were never approved by the council.
He and his 37-year-old wife moved into the house in August 2002 – without planning permission.
In 2007, the couple applied for a certificate of lawfulness, which would allow them to remain in the barn legally after four years.
Fraud: An aerial view of Northaw Brook Meadow offers no clues that it is actually a luxury, two-storey house worth £500,000
But planners objected and accused the couple of fraudulently building the home with the intention of living in it.
In April 2009, the High Court ordered their eviction, but the decision was overturned in January 2010. However, the Supreme Court judges reviewed the case and yesterday upheld the original judgment.
They ruled that Mr Beesley intended to deceive the council from the outset to exploit a legal loophole by secretly using the building as a residential home for four years.
Lord Brown said: ‘His was a deliberate, elaborate and sustained plan to deceive the council from first to last. His conduct throughout was calculated to mislead the council and to conceal his wrongdoing.’
Best-laid plans: The architect’s drawings for the barn built by Alan Beesley and his wife Sarah, that show no sign of their proposals for the interior
Please believe me when I say 99.9% of people who live in N Ireland both Protestant and Roman Catholic want and believe in Peace.
It is one of the most beautiful and yes peaceful places in the world.
People here believe in Peace and want Peace they want to live their lives together and to build a better future for everyone.
I think one of the most powerful sound bite to come from our government in N Ireland came from Martin McGuinness deputy first minister of Northern Ireland when he said they do not speak for the republican people here I do!"
These are people who are pledged to destroy the peace and destroy a peace process that many of us have invested much of our adult lives in trying to bring about."
Mr Ronan Kerr’s Mother has urged young Catholics not to be deterred from joining the PSNI.
Our best wishes and prayers go to the Kerr Family in this time of hurt and pain……he was a very brave man………
Face of the rookie police man killed by Omagh car bomb just weeks after graduating.
The attack comes nearly 13 years after 29 people were killed by a car bomb planted by the Real IRA.
Killed: Ronan Kerr, 25, died after a bomb exploded under his car in Omagh, Northern Ireland
Deadly terrorism returned to the scene of Northern Ireland’s worst atrocity yesterday after a young Catholic policeman was murdered by a car bomb in Omagh.
Ronan Kerr, 25, who was was killed in the booby-trap blast outside his home as he prepared to go to work, had only just completed his training.
No one has claimed responsibility for the 4pm explosion, which set what is thought to be PC Kerr’s private car ablaze.
But security experts believe the attack was carried out by dissident republicans trying to derail efforts to get more Catholics joining the Police Service of Northern Ireland.
The attack comes nearly 13 years after 29 people were killed by a car bomb planted by the Real IRA.
The 1998 bombing by the IRA dissidents, came just four months after the signing of the historic Good Friday agreement in which unionists and nationalists agreed a power-sharing deal.
Last night tributes from close family and international politicians were paid to PC Kerr, who represented a new generation of officers trying to repair the image of the province’s police among the Catholic community.
The largely Protestant Royal Ulster Constabulary, which became the PSNI in 2001, had been frequently accused by Catholics of siding with loyalists.
Police Service of Northern Ireland officers secure the area close to where police officer Ronan Kerr was killed in a under car bomb at his house in Omagh
Booby trap: Mr Kerr was killed after the device exploded outside his home as he went to work
His brother Cathair, who moved to Sydney because of the recession, indicated on Twitter he would be coming home to Ireland, and said in a message on the site: ‘Rest in Peace my beloved brother. The best brother anyone could wish for.
‘I hope dad is there to meet you at heavens gates :(‘
A cousin, Michelle Kerr, wrote on Facebook, according to The Times: ‘There is sick b*****ds out there they Will rot in hell for what they done my cousin…Ronan didn’t deserve to be taken away. Ur with ur dad now rest in peace cuz xx Ronan u will be forever missed and never forgotten.’
Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland Matt Baggott described PC Kerr as a ‘modern-day hero’.
He said: ‘We have lost one of our brave and courageous police recruits, someone who joined this fine service simply to do good, joined to serve the community impartially.
‘Tonight is one of the most sombre and saddest evenings of my service, tonight tragedy has returned to Omagh.
‘A mother has lost her brave son, made all the more horrific that it is Mothers’ Day today.
‘I can’t imagine what they are going through, but I saw their grief at first hand last night.’
Tributes: Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness (left) said those behind the attack had ‘betrayed’ Northern Ireland while Chief Constable of the PSNI Matt Baggott (right) expressed his anger and sadness at the bombing
Guard: A police officer stands near the scene of the fatal bomb blast in Omagh, Northern Ireland
PC Kerr’s murder was roundly condemned by the British, American and Irish Governments, Stormont, church leaders and cross-party representatives.
Last night Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin Guinness is understood to have visited Mr Kerr’s family.
British Prime Minister David Cameron said: ‘Those who carried out this wicked and cowardly crime will never succeed in dragging Northern Ireland back to a dark and bloody past,’ he warned.
‘Their actions are rejected by the overwhelming majority of people from all parts of the community.’
Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny described the bomb attack as a heinous and pointless act of terror.
‘Those who carried it out want to drag us back to the misery and pain of the past’" he said.
‘They are acting in defiance of the Irish people.’
Search: Forensic officers examine the area around the bomb blast. Mr Kerr’s murder has been condemned by political figures in Northern Ireland
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whose husband, former president Bill Clinton, played a major role in the peace process, said her government strongly condemned the murder in Omagh.
‘The perpetrators of this cowardly act represent the failures of the past and their actions run counter to the achievements, aspirations, and collective will of the people of Northern Ireland,’ she said.
‘We echo the unequivocal condemnations by Northern Ireland’s politicians and call on anyone with information to cooperate fully and expediently with the Police Service of Northern Ireland.’
The explosion happened as the officer got into his car in the residential Highfield Close development, which is off the main Gortin Road, just before 4pm.
It is understood the victim, a former pupil of the Christian Brothers Grammar School in Omagh, was leaving to start a shift at Enniskillen police station.
About 2,000 people taking part in the Omagh Half Marathon had earlier passed the nearby entrance to the estate.
First Minister Peter Robinson said the murder was shocking and deplorable.
‘This attack is intended to deter young Catholics from joining the police and I urge them not to be deterred by those who have nothing to offer our society,’ he said.
Tragedy: Chief Constable Matt Baggot slammed the killing and described it as a ‘waste of a modern-day hero’
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said: ‘Whoever carried out this act offer nothing to the community and have no role to play in our future.
‘They have betrayed the community and set themselves against the will of the people of Ireland. No cause is served by this act and let no excuse be acknowledged.’
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams said the people are ‘seething with anger’ over the murder and appealed for anyone with information on the attack to come forward: ‘This isn’t just something which unionists or others will be concerned about.
‘The people who I know, and who I have known all my life, the people I have been in touch with overnight, are seething with anger.
‘They just see this as a futile action. And some of those are very, very hard-boiled republicans who have been through the hardest part of this struggle over the past 30 or 40 years, who have suffered themselves grievously.
‘They just feel outright anger at what has occurred.’
Dissidents have carried out a string of similar attacks on Catholic PSNI officers in recent years.
PC Stephen Carroll, 48, was gunned down in March 2009, just two days after the Real IRA shot two British soldiers dead at the Massereene Army base in Antrim.
And PC Peadar Heffron was seriously injured when a device exploded under the driver’s seat of his car in west Belfast in January 2010.
Irish President Mary McAleese said she was deeply shocked and saddened by the most recent callous murder.
‘This heinous crime will not succeed in its evil intent of destroying the peaceful and democratic future to which the people of Northern Ireland are so clearly committed,’ Mrs McAleese, who comes from Belfast, added.
On alert: A police officer stops a car near the scene of the bombing
Investigation: Mr Kerr was part of a policy to recruit at least 30 per cent of new officers from the Catholic community
Secretary of State Owen Paterson described the killing as a cruel and evil act.
‘The people in all parts of Ireland and beyond want peace and those who carried out this atrocity are in the grip of an obscene delusion if they think that by murder they can defy their will,’ he said.
‘They must know that they can never succeed in defeating the democratic will of the people.’
The head of the Catholic Church in Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady, said the deliberate taking of innocent human life is always wrong.
He said: ‘I implore the perpetrators of this shameful killing to realise the futility of their actions and to call off this senseless campaign.’
Presbyterian Moderator Dr Norman Hamilton described the killing as an evil and despicable act by people whose only contribution to society is to bring death and destruction.
‘The courage and commitment of the PSNI officer who has given his life are the qualities we all must show as we continue to build our shared future together and banish hatred and killing to the past,’ he said.
PC Kerr’s death comes less than two weeks after the PSNI announced a positive discrimination policy in favour of Catholic recruits was to be abolished.
A 1999 report by Lord Patten recommended that after the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, 50 per cent of all new PSNI recruits should be Catholic.
When the 50-50 policy was introduced in 2001, Catholics made up about 8 per cent of the police service. By 2010, the level had risen to just over 27 per cent. Currently, 29.76 per cent of officers come from the Catholic community.
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Owen Patterson announced last month that the recruitment rules were to be scrapped as ‘a significant provision’ of officers were now Catholic.
Changes to Northern Ireland’s police force have been widely embraced by nationalists but extremists such as the Real IRA continue to oppose Catholics joining the force.
If you believe in Peace say so here………on this blog……..