My Tiny Thoughts

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Introducing the retirement home for old age pussycats


Introducing the retirement home for old age pussycats

Elderly cats can spend the last years of their nine lives in comfort at special accommodation dedicated to looking after senior felines.

  • The Lincolnshire Trust for Cats retirement home

    Becky Barnes

    By Becky Barnes

    Last updated: 04 March 2015, 16:19 GMT

    Elderly cats whose owners pass away or can no longer look after them can live out the rest of their years in comfort at a retirement home dedicated to felines.

    There are 76 ‘Old Age Pussycats’ aged 10 to 20 living at the Lincolnshire Trust for Cats retirement home, which has been adapted especially for moggies.

    The Lincolnshire Trust for Cats retirement home

    Pet owners must pay a one-off fee of £850 for their cat to be taken in at the home, which is south-facing – giving animals plenty of sunshine to relax in – and furnished for their comfort.

    Jain Hills, who set up the retirement home in 2001, wanted to do something for older cats when she saw they were being rejected by rehoming charities.


    “I don’t think anywhere else does it because people come all the way from London with the cats to come here,” the 65-year-old said.

    The oldest cat at the home is Henry, 20, whose owner died. He has a favourite armchair, which the other cats know not to sit in.

    The home is also open to cats whose owners leave the country. One of the whiskered residents gets parcels sent to her from overseas, which she is apparently happy to share with her furry friends.

    The seven-acre retirement facility offers individual rooms for new arrivals while they get settled and has three sitting rooms for the cats to lounge in, linked by enclosed outdoor areas.

    The Lincolnshire Trust for Cats retirement home

    The house is kept warm with central heating, is decorated in cat memorabilia and has leather sofas and Indian rugs for the cats to nap on.

    There are also more than 400 stray cats taken in by the charity now living on the grounds.

Advertisements

March 5, 2015 Posted by | Animals, Awards, Blog, CELEBRITY, Entertainement, Food, Funny, Homeless, Money, People, Uncategorized, Weird | | Leave a comment

It’s no wonder he looks grumpy: ‘Hideous’ blobfish is crowned the world’s ugliest animal | Mail Online


 

It’s no wonder he looks grumpy: ‘Hideous’ blobfish is crowned the world’s ugliest animal

A living blob of jelly that dwells in the darkest depths of the ocean has been officially named the world’s ugliest animal.

The blobfish, described as ‘hideous’ by Simon Watt from the Ugly Animal Preservation Society, is a jelly-like fish that resembles a bald, grumpy old man.

Measuring up to a foot in length, it lives between 600 and 1,200 metres below the ocean surface off the coasts of Australia and Tasmania.

Blobfish

The blobfish, described as ‘hideous’ by Simon Watt from the Ugly Animal Preservation Society, measures up to a foot in length. It lives between 600 and 1,200 metres below the ocean surface off the coasts of Australia and Tasmania

Despite being completely inedible, it has a habit of being hauled up in trawler nets.

Experts believe the blobfish is under serious threat, although there are no reliable estimates of its numbers.

‘We’ve needed an ugly face for endangered animals for a long time,’ said Mr Watt, speaking at the British Festival of Science at the University of Newcastle.

 

Axolotl: This freaky cross between Peter Pan and the Xmen, is endangered because of urbanisation in Mexico City and polluted waters

The Axolotl, a freaky cross between Peter Pan and the Xmen, is endangered because of urbanisation in Mexico City and polluted waters

‘For too long the cute and fluffy animals have taken the limelight but now the blobfish will be a voice for the mingers who always get forgotten.’

The blobfish topped a shortlist of five ugly animals voted for online by members of the public.

In second place was the Kakapo, a critically endangered giant parrot from New Zealand, and number three was the Axolotl, a weird type of salamander from Mexico that is the equivalent of a giant tadpole.

Next on the list was the Titicaca water frog, aka the ‘scrotum frog’, which is only found in Lake Titicaca on the border of Peru and Bolivia.

Frog

The Titicaca frog, also known as the ‘scrotum frog’, is found on the border of Peru and Bolivia. Locals make a frappe of the frog, which is considered an aphrodisiac, by cooking it and running it through a blender

Kakapo: A critically endangered giant parrot, a classic example of evolution on an isolated island - it is the only flightless parrot in the world, and also the heaviest

Kakapo is a classic example of evolution on an isolated island – it is the only flightless parrot in the world, and also the heaviest

Proboscis Monkey: The monkey is named after its enormous nose

The Proboscis monkey is named after its enormous nose

Locals make a frappe of the unfortunate frog, which is considered an aphrodisiac, by cooking it and running it through a blender.

The last ugly animal is the proboscis monkey, from Borneo, whose enormous nose is literally its hooter.

The nose provides a resonating echo chamber for the monkey’s deafening mating calls.

The Ugly Animal Preservation Society was set up to champion the cause of endangered creatures with no friends.

It is backed by a number of celebrity scientists, presenters and comedians, and organises road shows and school visits.

Particle physicist and broadcaster Professor Brian Cox said: ‘I support the ugly animal campaign. There are too many people trying to save cute animals. They get all the press, and all the attention.

‘Ugly animals are more deserving than cute animals.’

Describing the blobfish, Mr Watt said: ‘Indeed this is an ugly hideous thing. It looks sad and so it should, because it’s suffering from severe problems.

‘They’ve got a really gelatinous flesh that is slightly more buoyant than the water. So they float around and they can be right lazy.

‘They’ve got no muscle tone whatsoever because they don’t have to move. They just sit there looking unhappy, grabbing any food that comes by.

‘It’s the ultimate deep sea couch potato.’

MORE OF THE WORLD’S UGLIEST ANIMALS

European common eel

A favourite cockney snack, the European eel is threatened by overfishing and environmental changes. Its unusual life cycle sees it change colour as it grows, from transparent to yellow to dark grey.

Rob Wells (comedian and science presenter) – urges supporters to ‘support the eel so we can have a jolly good East End knees up in its honour!’

European common eel: A favourite cockney snack, the European eel is threatened by overfishing and environmental changes. Its unusual life cycle sees it change colour as it grows, from transparent to yellow to dark grey

European common eel: A favourite cockney snack, the European eel is threatened by overfishing and environmental changes. Its unusual life cycle sees it change colour as it grows, from transparent to yellow to dark grey

Dromedary jumping slug

The dromedary jumping slug wriggles its way out of danger, avoiding predators with a quick flick. It’s part of the Aronidae family and lives mainly in the Americas.

Tom Toal (comedian and actor) thinks the slug deserves far more recognition than it currently gets… ‘It’s a slug, with a hump on its back, that can jump! Where’s its Disney movie?? You’ve got the Hunchback of Notre Dame… where’s the dromedary jumping slug and the princess?’

Dromedary jumping slug: The dromedary jumping slug wriggles its way out of danger, avoiding predators with a quick flick. It's part of the Aronidae family and lives mainly in the Americas

Dromedary jumping slug: The dromedary jumping slug wriggles its way out of danger, avoiding predators with a quick flick. It’s part of the Aronidae family and lives mainly in the Americas


Greater short-horned lizard

Stephen Fry is supporting this feisty little lizard, found in North America. The greater short-horned lizard is identified by its toad-like appearance. When scared, it builds its blood pressure near its eyes, and forces blood through its tear ducts, squirting it at predators. Combined with a noxious smell, the blood is a surprisingly effective method of repelling predators such as foxes, coyotes and dogs.

Great short horned lizard: Stephen Fry is supporting this feisty little lizard, found in North America. The greater short-horned lizard is identified by its toad-like appearance

Great short horned lizard: Stephen Fry is supporting this feisty little lizard, found in North America. The greater short-horned lizard is identified by its toad-like appearance

Pig-nosed turtle

The pig-nosed turtle is the sole surviving member of an ancient and once widespread family of animals. The most unique feature is the elongated, pig-like snout, which acts like a snorkel, allowing the turtle to breathe while the rest of the body remains underwater (perhaps so it never has to show the world its ugly face?).

Greg Foot (daredevil scientist and C4 Sunday Brunch’s ‘resident scientist’) says: ‘Forget your big cuddly attention grabbing pandas. It’s time for something else to step up into the limelight, well, I guess something to swim up in this case! Yes, it is the pig-nosed turtle… so there you go – the pig-nosed turtle. Vote now! It’s quite clear it’s got to be the pig-nosed turtle. No longer does he need to be bullied in the animal playground, he can now stand there with his piggy snouty nose raised up high.’

Pig-nosed turtle: The most unique feature of the animal is the elongated, pig-like snout, which acts like a snorkel, allowing the turtle to breathe while the rest of the body remains underwater

Pig-nosed turtle: The most unique feature of the animal is the elongated, pig-like snout, which acts like a snorkel, allowing the turtle to breathe while the rest of the body remains underwater

Pubic lice

Pubic lice have been around for over 3 million years but face extinction because of increasing hygiene habits across the world. They live in coarse hair and eyelashes.

Dan Schreiber (producer, presenter and from QI Elf) explains why he has sympathy for these particularly unattractive beasts… ‘So many women worldwide are having Brazilians that they don’t have a natural habitat to exist on anymore… they’re being deforested!’

Pubic louse: Pubic lice have been around for over 3 million years but face extinction because of increasing hygiene habits across the world. They live in coarse hair and eyelashes

Pubic louse: Pubic lice have been around for over 3 million years but face extinction because of increasing hygiene habits across the world. They live in coarse hair and eyelashes

British bats

There are 18 varieties of bat in the UK, and most are in national decline. Seventeen of these are currently known to be breeding, the eighteenth is actually just one lone male who appears to have come over from the continent and lives in a cave in South England on his own.  Bats make up over a quarter of the mammal species that live in the UK and can often be found near railway lines, as they like to use the tunnels as roosting areas, and short cuts to other hunting grounds.

Simon Watt sympathises with these species: ‘Bats are brilliant, if you cannot see all the reasons British bats are fantastic, you must be as blind as a, well, as a bat actually!’

Simon Watt sympathises with these species: 'Bats are brilliant, if you cannot see all the reasons British bats are fantastic, you must be as blind as a, well, as a bat actually!'

Simon Watt sympathises with these species: ‘Bats are brilliant, if you cannot see all the reasons British bats are fantastic, you must be as blind as a, well, as a bat actually!’

It’s no wonder he looks grumpy: ‘Hideous’ blobfish is crowned the world’s ugliest animal | Mail Online

September 20, 2013 Posted by | Animals, Blog, Blogroll, CELEBRITY, Computers, Entertainement, Funny, nature, Star, Weird | | Leave a comment

Lion cub causes uproar by chomping on its dad in a bid to make him play


 

You’ve bitten off more than you can chew! Lion cub causes uproar… by chomping on its dad in a bid to make him play

This is the moment an attention seeking cub annoyed his father once too often.

The cheeky cub can be seen tugging on his father’s mane, chewing on his fur and even smacking him on the end of the nose in a bid to entice him to play.

But while the father initially returned his son’s affections, he soon lost patience with the playful cub and snapped – baring his teeth at the startled cub.

I warned you, boy... Luke the lion makes it clear he has had enough of his son's fun and games

I warned you, boy… Luke the lion makes it clear he has had enough of his son’s fun and games

The images were taken by photographer Paul Sutherland, 54, at the National Zoological Park in Washington, Columbia, US.

He said: ‘I’m connected with a number of people at the zoo and they invited me to come along when the lion cubs were born.

‘Having been an editorial photographer I like to create images which tell a story or send a message.

‘I spent a lot of time photographing the cubs, I went whenever I could. Every time the cubs came out there was a question mark over what they would do.

The cheeky cub can be seen tugging on his father's mane, chewing on his fur and even smacking him on the end of the nose

The cheeky cub can be seen tugging on his father’s mane, chewing on his fur and even smacking him on the end of the nose

So much for my lie-in: Luke's nap is a no-no as far as the youngster is concerned

So much for my lie-in: Luke’s nap is a no-no as far as the youngster is concerned

Seriously, son, take the hint: Luke looks like he is enjoying a cuddle...but that out-stretched paw is getting ready to swipe

Seriously, son, take the hint: Luke looks like he is enjoying a cuddle…but that out-stretched paw is getting ready to swipe

‘When the adult male lion, Luke, is in the yard the cubs come out with the female lions.

‘Interestingly many of the cubs head straight for dad, they’re like "hey dad look at me".

‘The cubs would jump on Luke to try and get his attention, just being playful really.

‘But if Luke is grumpy he’ll roar and as he does the mother lion gives him a telling off. He’s a bit of a wimp compared to other lions so if he gets a telling off he’ll tolerate the cubs a little longer.

‘They would get five to ten minutes’ interaction with dad before he would get tired and there’d be a roar.

‘And if one of the cubs would make the mistake of grabbing his tail, Luke would get really angry.

‘It’s really just nature in action. Humans do it too. You annoy your dad that much, he’ll snap and be like "that’s enough".’

Right, that's it! The cub takes a bite out of Luke's chin... and he's not happy about it

Right, that’s it! The cub takes a bite out of Luke’s chin… and he’s not happy about it

Fine, I'll leave you alone! The cub retreats to safety... still with a look of mischief about it

Fine, I’ll leave you alone! The cub retreats to safety… still with a look of mischief about it

Lion cub causes uproar by chomping on its dad in a bid to make him play | Mail Online

August 29, 2013 Posted by | Animals, Blog, Blogroll, CELEBRITY, Entertainement, Food, Funny, Internet, nature, Weird | | 1 Comment

Experts tell flatulent flyers: let rip


 

Experts tell flatulent flyers: let rip

AFPBy Neil Sands

  • A cabin crew member of budget Philippine airline Cebu Pacific performs a dance as part of the inflight safety demonstration, on October 8, 2010. A group of medical specialists has provided an answer to a dilemma that has faced flyers since the Wright brothers took to the air in 1903 -- is it okay to fart mid-flight?

     

    AFP/AFP/File – A cabin crew member of budget Philippine airline Cebu Pacific performs a dance as part of the inflight safety demonstration, on October 8, 2010. A group of medical specialists has provided an answer to a dilemma that has faced flyers since the Wright brothers took to the air in 1903 — is it okay to fart mid-flight? 

A group of medical specialists has provided an answer to a dilemma that has faced flyers since the Wright brothers took to the air in 1903 — is it okay to fart mid-flight?

The experts’ recommendation is an emphatic yes to airline passengers — but a warning to cockpit crews that breaking wind could distract the pilot and pose a safety risk.

The study concluded that anecdotal evidence that flying increases flatulence is not hot air, finding that changes in air pressure at altitude result in the gut producing more gas.

When Danish gastroenterologist Jacob Rosenberg encountered the malodorous problem first-hand on a flight from Copenhagen to Tokyo, he enlisted some of the finest minds in his field to address the issue.

The result was an in-depth review of scientific literature on flatulence, looking at issues such as whether women’s farts smell worse than men’s (yes), what causes the odour (sulphur) and how often the average person passes wind every day (10).

The bottom line, according to the 3,000-word study published in the New Zealand Medical Journal on Friday, is that airline passengers should ignore the social embarrassment of breaking wind and "just let it go".

"(Holding back) holds significant drawbacks for the individual, such as discomfort and even pain, bloating, dyspepsia (indigestion), pyrosis (heartburn) just to name but a few resulting abdominal symptoms," the study found.

"Moreover, problems resulting from the required concentration to maintain such control may even result in subsequent stress symptoms."

The authors — five gastroenterologists from Denmark and Britain — said that while passengers may experience poor service from the cabin crew as a result of their decision, the health benefits outweighed any negative impacts.

However, they said the cockpit crew faced a lose-lose situation.

"On the one hand, if the pilot restrains a fart, all the drawbacks previously mentioned, including impaired concentration, may affect his abilities to control the plane," the researchers said.

"On the other hand, if he lets go of the fart, his co-pilot may be affected by its odour, which again reduces safety onboard the flight."

The authors canvassed a number of solutions to the issue of flight-induced flatulence, including using methane breath tests to screen wind-prone passengers from flights, but rejected them as impractical.

They did, however, note that the textile covers used on seats in economy class absorbed up to 50 percent of odours because they are gas permeable, unlike the leather seats in first class.

They suggested airlines could improve the odour-eating properties of the seats and issue special blankets and trousers to passengers to minimise mid-air flatulence.

"We humbly propose that active charcoal should be embedded in the seat cushion, since this material is able to neutralise the odour," they said.

"Moreover active charcoal may be used in trousers and blankets to emphasise this effect."

Air New Zealand declined to comment when asked if it would adopt such measures.

Experts tell flatulent flyers: let rip – Yahoo! News UK

February 15, 2013 Posted by | Blogroll, Business, Disgusting, Entertainement, Flying, Funny, Health, nature, People, Space, Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Derek’s death clinches it for BBC – Yahoo! TV UK


 

Derek’s death clinches it for BBC

 

The death of Derek Branning, played by Jamie Foreman, helped to propel EastEnders to the top of the festive viewing list

The death of Derek Branning, played by Jamie Foreman, helped to propel EastEnders …

Evil Derek Branning’s last gasp helped EastEnders retain its traditional spot at the top of the Christmas Day ratings as the BBC dominated festive viewing once again.

The main channels’ period ratings hits Call The Midwife and Downton Abbey tied with an average audience of 7.3 million viewers, although ITV1’s Downton was 1.3 million down on the previous year.

Overnight figures show EastEnders pulled in an average 9.4 million viewers for the climactic episode last night in which fearsome Branning, played by Jamie Foreman, keeled over and died from a heart attack. ITV’s Coronation Street was runner-up with 8.8 million.

Many had expected the period blockbusters – which have performed well on Sunday evenings – to lead the field, but soaps were still the strongest force. However viewing figures were down for many shows, with EastEnders slipping half a million on 2011 and the show’s ratings were thought to be the lowest for Christmas Day for a decade.

Call The Midwife drew its smallest audience since launching earlier this year, and Doctor Who, on 7.6 million viewers, also had an average audience 1.3 million fewer than in 2011.

However the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special was up 300,000 year on year to 7.8 million viewers.

The Queen’s Christmas message was seen by 36,000 people in 3D on the BBC’s HD channel – the first time it has been broadcast in that format – although 6.3 million saw it on BBC1 and 2.2 million saw it on ITV1.

BBC1 had seven of the top ten programmes, while ITV1 (which includes viewers for its +1 catch-up channel) accounted for the other three. And BBC1 took 31.7% of the audience from 6pm to 10.30pm – when many of the biggest shows are broadcast – with ITV1 landing 26.9%.

However when "consolidated" figures are totted up – taking account of time-shift viewing – they often tell a very different story. Last year Downton drew 8.6 million on the day but including catch-up viewing, the figures shot up.

Derek’s death clinches it for BBC – Yahoo! TV UK

December 26, 2012 Posted by | Awards, Blog, CELEBRITY, Computers, Entertainement, Film, Funny, Holiday, Internet, nature, People, Sport | | Leave a comment

Orphaned kangaroo Anzac and wombat Peggy become best of friends – Yahoo! News UK


 

Orphaned kangaroo Anzac and wombat Peggy become best of friends

Yahoo! News

 

An orphaned kangaroo and wombat have found creature comfort with one another.
Anzac the joey and Peggy the wombat have become best friends after sharing a pouch together at the Wildlife Kilmore Rescue Centre in Victoria, Australia.

Orphans Anzac the kangaroo joey and Peggy the wombat

At just over five months old, Anzac was brought to the centre after being rescued in the Macedon Ranges. Missing his mum, Anzac was placed with wombat Peggy and the two now sleep together.
Worker Lisa Milligan said the unlikely friends are comforted by each other’s movement and heartbeat. She said: "There are lots of baby animals about at the moment, and they are orphaned for a range of reasons."
One of the reasons the lively duo get on so well is their similar personalities – with Anzac described as very social while Peggy is boisterous and cheeky.

The two have become close friends (Picture: Rex)

Orphaned kangaroo Anzac and wombat Peggy become best of friends – Yahoo! News UK

August 8, 2012 Posted by | Animals, Awards, Blog, Blogroll, CELEBRITY, Entertainement, Funny, Health, Internet, nature, Star | | Leave a comment

Viewers complain about new Go Compare ad starring Sue Barker – Daily TV round-up – Yahoo! TV UK


 

Viewers complain about new Go Compare ad starring Sue Barker – Daily TV round-up

Yahoo! TV News

Sue Barker stars in the new Go Compare ad (screengrab)
Viewers have complained about the new Go Compare ad that features Sue Barker blowing up the Go Compare opera singer.
The Advertising Standards Authority have received complaints about the advert, which shows Barker dressed as an assassin in a balaclava training a bazooka on the chubby singer, played by real-life tenor Wynne Evans.

She then fires the weapon, blowing up Gio Compario though he is later seen crawling alive from the smoking crater.
But some viewers have found the ad to be in poor taste.
“We have received a total of 43 complaints so far,” said a spokesperson from the ASA. “Some people think it offensive especially at a time when children are watching. Others think it inappropriate when our security forces are coming under fire on a daily basis.
“As with all complaints we are looking into the matter before deciding if we launch a full investigation.” [The Sun]

Sue Barker – Daily TV round-up – Yahoo! TV UK

July 5, 2012 Posted by | Blog, Blogroll, CELEBRITY, Computers, Entertainement, Funny, Health, Internet, Money, nature, People, Politics, Star, Weird | | Leave a comment

Bendtner banned, fined for flashing pants – Yahoo! Eurosport UK


 

Bendtner banned, fined for flashing pants

Denmark striker Nicklas Bendtner has been banned for one competitive fixture and fined just over £80,000 by UEFA after he lowered his shorts after scoring in the Euro 2012 clash with Portugal.

Bendtner banned, fined for flashing pants

Bendtner, 24, was found guilty of improper conduct by European football’s governing body after he revealed the logo of a betting company on his underpants in the match on June 13. It was the Arsenal man’s second goal of the contest, but Portugal went on to win the game 3-2.

The incident was deemed to contravene UEFA’s strict regulations against so-called ‘ambush marketing’, and as a result handed him a 100,000-euro penalty.

When questioned afterwards about the incident, Bendtner, who spent last season on loan at Sunderland, said: "It is just a pair of lucky boxer shorts that I used in the first game as well and have used before the tournament."

He added: "I didn’t know I was breaking any rules but I am aware of that now."

UEFA took a dim view, however, and Bendtner is now set to miss Denmark’s opening game in World Cup 2014 qualifying.

The player has three days to lodge an appeal.

Bendtner banned, fined for flashing pants – Yahoo! Eurosport UK

June 19, 2012 Posted by | Art, Awards, Blog, Blogroll, CELEBRITY, Computers, Entertainement, Funny, Health, Internet, Money, People, Politics, Star | , | Leave a comment

How animals around the world have taken a tip from us to cope with the hot weather | Mail Online


 

Cool of the wild: From sunhats to ice-cream, how animals around the world have taken tips from us to cope with the hot weather

By Nick Enoch

An ice lolly, a dip in the pool, deckchairs… when it comes to cooling off in the hot weather, these animals don’t play by the rules.

As Britain enjoys a heatwave, with the mercury hitting 27c (81f) today, these are just some of the cunning ways our furry friends cope.

And as the pictures below show, it’s not just those here who are feeling the heat – from China to Germany, Indonesia to the U.S., animals are scoffing at what they’ve seen in nature documentaries and trying something a little bit different…

Let sleeping dogs lie: Tara the dog opts for sunbed and parasol to see her through the blistering heat in Britain

Let sleeping dogs lie: Tara the dog opts for a sunbed and parasol to see her through the blistering heat in Britain

Bird bath with a difference: Jacquille the parrot cools down in a tea cup in Costa Rica

Bird bath with a difference: Jacquille the parrot cools down in a tea cup in Costa Rica

One cool dude: Dudu the walrus beats the summer heat in China, at Qingdao Polar Ocean World

May contain nuts: A squirrel gets stuck into a frozen treat in Swindon, Wiltshire

One cool dude: Dudu the walrus beats the summer heat in China, at Qingdao Polar Ocean World; right, a squirrel gets stuck into a frozen treat in Swindon, Wiltshire

I've got this licked: An African lion in Brookfield zoo, Chicago refreshes himself with a block of ice

I’ve got this licked: An African lion in Brookfield zoo, Chicago refreshes himself with a block of ice

Sealion solution: Keepers at Qingdao Polar Ocean World have come up with innovative ways to keep their animals cool

What a hoot: Eski the snowy owl could do with a towel in the New Forest, Hampshire

Sealion solution: Keepers at Qingdao Polar Ocean World have come up with innovative ways to keep their animals cool; right, Eski the snowy owl could do with a towel in the New Forest, Hampshire

Flew what a scorcher! A tufted titmouse suns itself in Massachusetts

Flew what a scorcher! A tufted titmouse suns itself in Massachusetts

Spread the whirred: This chilled dog has found himself a new fan

Chino the donkey enjoys an ice-cream at Pennywell farm in Buckfastleigh, Devon

Spread the whirred: This chilled dog has found himself a new fan; right, Chino the donkey enjoys an ice-cream at Pennywell farm in Buckfastleigh, Devon

Furry nice! A squirrel takes a dip in a swimming pool in San Antonio, Texas

Furry nice! A squirrel takes a dip in a swimming pool in San Antonio, Texas

Does it come in banana flavour? A baboon enjoys an ice lolly at Hangzhou wild animal centre in China

Chilling is seemples: A meerkat at Marwell wildlife conservation park in Hampshrie

Does it come in banana flavour? A baboon enjoys an ice lolly at Hangzhou wild animal centre, China; right, a meerkat at Marwell Wildlife Conservation Park, Hants

To hell with the diet... An orangutan at Ragunan zoo in Jakarta, Indonesia

To hell with the diet… An orangutan at Ragunan zoo in Jakarta, Indonesia

Just follow my lead: Harland the poodle on Southsea beach in Hampshire

It gets my seal of approval: A fur seal relaxes in Stromness, South Georgia Island

Just follow my lead: Harland the poodle on Southsea beach in Hampshire; right, a fur seal relaxes in Stromness, South Georgia Island

White tiger cubs Jeevan and Ashoka cool off in a paddling pool at a safari park in Germany

White tiger cubs Jeevan and Ashoka cool off in a paddling pool at a safari park in Germany

Trunks, glasses and parasol...this pooch looks good - and he knows it

Trunks, glasses and parasol…this pooch looks good – and he knows it

I'll be finished in about nine hours... A young gorilla chews on a block of ice containing fruit at Los Angeles Zoo

I’ll be finished in about nine hours… A young gorilla chews on a block of ice containing fruit at Los Angeles Zoo

Do I look like I want to share? A ring-tailed lemur at Paradise Wildlife Park in Broxbourne, Herts

Do I look like I want to share? A ring-tailed lemur at Paradise Wildlife Park in Broxbourne, Herts

Pass the oinkment, dear: Some pigs tan themselves in Cambridgeshire

Pass the oinkment, dear: Some pigs tan themselves in Cambridgeshire

It's bacon hot! A piglet falls asleep in a doll's house deckchair at Pennywell farm in Buckfastleigh, Devon

It’s bacon hot! A piglet falls asleep in a doll’s house deckchair

How animals around the world have taken a tip from us to cope with the hot weather | Mail Online

May 23, 2012 Posted by | Animals, Art, Awards, Blog, Blogroll, CELEBRITY, Entertainement, Food, Funny, Health, Holiday, Holidays, Internet, nature, Weird | , | Leave a comment

She rose from Co-op cashier to become the TV star everyone – including the Queen – adored. So why has English Heritage refused Thora Hird a blue plaque?


Come on English Heritage wake up….She was a Star someone to look up to….pity we do not have more people like her today….she was a star for a long period of time not like people today who think they are famous,have no talent and are paid vast amounts of money which they squander very quickly….where are the true stars of today? we live in a society of the 5 minute star…how sad….let us not forget people like Thora Hird true stars of stage and screen…jboy2244

She rose from Co-op cashier to become the TV star everyone – including the Queen – adored. So why has English Heritage refused Thora Hird a blue plaque?

Thora Hird was more than just a national treasure — she was one of the British crown jewels, a walloping great diamond on a firmly knotted headscarf.

When she died in 2003, aged 91, one obituary summed her up perfectly as a cross between the Queen Mum and a Donald McGill saucy seaside postcard.

But she was also a superb character actress and, for many, as host of Praise Be!, the real face of Sunday worship.

Treasure: Thora Hird's 90-year career was not enough for English Heritage

Treasure: Thora Hird’s 90-year career was not enough for English Heritage

So a decision by English Heritage to deny her the honour of a blue plaque isn’t just stuffy and pompous — it’s downright incomprehensible.

When the advisory panel, which includes Stephen Fry, former Poet Laureate Sir Andrew Motion and former Arts Council chairman Sir Christopher Frayling, ruled that Dame Thora’s contribution to theatre might be forgotten in 20 years or less, they betrayed their total ignorance of a career that stretched across an incredible nine decades.

She was eight weeks old when she made her first stage appearance in her mother’s arms. ‘It was the first and only job I ever got through influence,’ she said. (Her father James ran the Royalty Theatre in Morecambe.)

At the other end of her life, she played a centenarian in a Talking Heads play by Alan Bennett, called Waiting For The Telegram. Talk about a lifetime devoted to theatre: Dame Thora packed enough into her career for two whole lifetimes.

It is baffling that English Heritage can’t see this. It’s not, after all, as if accolades weren’t forthcoming during her lifetime. Thora was made a dame in 1993, back when the honour was reserved for theatre heavyweights such as Edith Evans and Sybil Thorndike.

Staying power: Thora Hird and actor Freddie Frinton at the Daily Mail Ideal Home Exhibition at Olympia in 1965

Staying power: Thora Hird and actor Freddie Frinton at the Daily Mail Ideal Home Exhibition at Olympia in 1965

It helped, of course, that she played the Queen’s favourite character in the Royal Family’s favourite TV show, Last Of The Summer Wine.

Thora was Edie Pegden, the hectoring, house-proud president of the local ladies’ coffee morning. Thora’s artful performance delighted in Edie’s snobbish side — when there was company, her voice would lose its coarse edge and turn quite snooty.

Hugely amused, writer Roy Clarke was inspired to base a whole sitcom on the trait — and Hyacinth Bucket in Keeping Up Appearances was born.

Edie’s character was inspired by the socially anxious, lower-middle-class women whom Thora had observed during her early years working behind the till at the  Co-op in Morecambe.

She spent ten years as a cashier, working by day, acting in the evening and learning lines deep into the night.

Potential: This publicity picture of 'actress Miss Thora Hird' was issued in November 1953

Potential: This publicity picture of ‘actress Miss Thora Hird’ was issued in November 1953

She never lost her sense of those humble roots. ‘I scrubbed my mother’s doorstep when I was a young woman,’ she liked to tell reporters. ‘Now go and fetch me mink!’

She married James Scott, a drummer in the theatre orchestra, in 1937, after a four-year courtship, and their only child, a daughter called Janette, was born a year later.

Thora always claimed that, because there were no forceps handy, the midwife used a pair of fish knives.

In later life, her son-in-law was the crooner Mel Torme, and she visited her daughter’s family in Beverly Hills at least two dozen times. She was never tempted to make a home in California, though.

‘There’s no corner shop, love,’ she would say.

Surely the English Heritage committee cannot be prejudiced against her Lancashire accent and working-class humour?

Legends: Thora Hird in June 1970 with comedian Tommy Cooper who collapsed on stage during a live televised show in 1984 and soon after died

Legends: Thora Hird in June 1970 with comedian Tommy Cooper who collapsed on stage during a live televised show in 1984 and soon after died

It’s true that Thora was salt-of-the-earth, while recent blue plaques have been awarded to the sprinkling-of-chopped-tarragon- and-a grated-truffle type: Sir Terence Rattigan, playwright of the drawing room, for example, or the aristocratic Indian poet Rabindrinath Tagore.

Her rejection has provoked outrage among fans. Maureen Lipman, herself a sitcom actress with strong claims for national treasuredom, called the decision ‘imbecilic snobbery’. Tory MP David Morris immediately announced he would table an Early Day Motion in the Commons to force the committee to reconsider.

But it seems unlikely to succeed: there’s a rule applications cannot be reviewed for at least ten years.

The most puzzling aspect is that Dame Thora’s case met the criteria of English Hidebound (sorry, Heritage). The rules state that to be considered blue-plaque-worthy, a person has to have been dead for 20 years or the centenary of their birth has been passed.

The centenary of her birth was reached last year, on May 28: she would be 101 this month.

She had lived and worked in London, moving there when the musical hall star George Formby asked her to audition for a film with him at Ealing Studios, during the Blitz in 1941.

She didn’t get the part, but the test led to a 1942 film called The Black Sheep Of Whitehall, opposite comedian Will Hay. Incidentally, Hay has got a blue plaque, so has the film’s producer, Michael Balcon. And she died at Brinsworth House, a retirement home for actors in South-West London.

Hird is so much a part of her adopted city that she is one of the few actors to have inspired a piece of Cockney rhyming slang.

Popular: Thora Hird pictured in 1987 when she was starring in long running British sitcome Last of the Summer Wine which went for 31 series

Popular: Thora Hird pictured in 1987 when she was starring in long running British sitcome Last of the Summer Wine which went for 31 series

University students who scrape through their exams are said to get a Thora Hird — or third, as in third-class degree.

If that seems disrespectful, you should hear the stories Thora liked to tell about herself.

Alan Bennett noted one of her favourites in his diary — she claimed that when she was a girl growing up next-door to the theatre in Morecambe, an alley ran along the back where the seaside town’s only lady of the night, Miss Nellie Hodge, would take her clients.

One night, Thora heard a man’s complaining voice: ‘Ee Nellie, I wish you’d stop nodding your head.’

‘I can’t help it,’ Nellie replied. ‘You’ve gone and got tangled in me scarf.’

It’s not the sort of tale Thora would have told on Praise Be! — the Sunday evening collection of viewers’ favourite hymns she hosted, which ran for 17 years on BBC1 in the teatime ‘God slot’. Like former Goon Show entertainer Harry Secombe who presented Songs Of Praise, she became an unofficial symbol of the Church of England.

Varied: Thora Hird also appeared in the TV show In Loving Memory, set in an undertakers business, which ran from 1979 until 1986

Varied: Thora Hird also appeared in the TV show In Loving Memory, set in an undertakers business, which ran from 1979 until 1986

It was no stretch to imagine Thora reading her Bible at home and being comforted by familiar verses, or being moved to tears by the plain poetry of well-loved hymns.

Each week, five million people tuned in. She had a wisdom in her voice that was rooted in common sense, something that audiences could recognise and cherish.

It was that quality which Bennett captured in his 1988 short play, A Cream Cracker Under The Settee,  written for Thora.

She played an elderly widow who had suffered a fall. Gradually, in a monologue that becomes mumbled as her life slips away, Thora revealed her fall was the consequence of climbing up on to the furniture, trying to do the dusting.

It was a portrait of abandonment and loss, depicted with such heart-rending pathos that Thora’s postbag was bulging for days after the broadcast with letters from people begging her to come and live with them.

How can English Heritage fail to see how beloved this woman was? And why would they think she might be less warmly remembered in a couple of decades?

A look at recently approved names on plaques provides a clue: they are largely male. So, too, is the committee: seven of the ten, including the chairman, historian Professor Sir David Cannadine, are men.

Glamour: This picture taken in 1966 shows Thora Hird enjoying a night at the fashionable Dorchester Hotel in London's Park Lane

Glamour: This picture taken in 1966 shows Thora Hird enjoying a night at the fashionable Dorchester Hotel in London’s Park Lane

Plenty of plaques have been granted to actors in the past few years. Alastair Sim, a star of Ealing comedies, was honoured with a blue plate at his Hampstead home.

Sim was a lovely, lugubrious comic, but he is hardly a household name — never the star of TV’s longest-running sitcom, for instance.

To test the theory that there’s a sexist bias at English Heritage, I suggested a couple of candidates — both actresses. One was Hattie Jacques, the matron of the Carry On movies. The other was Diana Dors, the only bona fide sex-bomb of British cinema’s golden era.

Both were younger than Thora. Both have been dead for more than 20 years. Both lived and worked in London. In other words, they meet  the criteria.

A spokeswoman for English Heritage admitted last night that neither Hattie nor Diana had ever been considered.

That’s a disgrace. But for a committee that is incompetent enough to deny an honour to the Queen’s favourite actress, it’s probably not surprising.

Or as Dame Thora might have said: ‘Them’s too numb to know they are numb!’

CHRISTOPHER STEVENS compiled The Masters Of Sitcom: From Hancock To Steptoe (Michael O’Mara Books).

Friends: Thora Hird arriving at the memorial service for entertainer Sir Harry Secombe at Westminster Catherdral in October, 2001

Friends: Thora Hird arriving at the memorial service for entertainer Sir Harry Secombe at Westminster Catherdral in October, 2001

She rose from Co-op cashier to become the TV star everyone – including the Queen – adored. So why has English Heritage refused Thora Hird a blue plaque? | Mail Online

By Christopher Stevens

May 1, 2012 Posted by | Art, Awards, Blog, Blogroll, CELEBRITY, Charity, Entertainement, Film, Funny, Health, Internet, Just Wrong, nature, People, Star | | Leave a comment