Lessons in the "Alternative" Category

Loch Ness Monster spotted!

August is traditionally the silly season for news stories. One such story about the Loch Ness Monster caught my eye. As many people know, the hunt for ‘Nessie’ has been going on for years. There are many photos claiming to show the existence of the beast. Some people spend their lives looking for the elusive monster of the deep.

One of them is George Edwards who has been on the look out for Nessie for 26 years. One of his photos, he claims, proves the monster’s existence. It shows an image of a dark hump slinking in and out of the lake’s waters from the deck of his boat, Nessie Hunter. After he took the photo the monster then quickly vanished back into the deep.

Mr Edwards says his photo proves Nessie is not a sturgeon. More importantly he adds it proves once and for all that the elusive leviathan really exists! He even had the photo independently verified by a team of US military monster experts, as well as a Nessie sighting specialist.

Category: Scotland / Loch Ness / Monster

The unwritten rules French waiters use to get a bigger tip

Today, let’s talk about the unwritten rules French waiters use to get customers to part with their cash in order to get a good tip. These Gallic waiters have an impressive array of tricks and techniques to effortlessly do this.

The unwritten rule book on how “garçons” from Paris and the rest of France manage to lengthen diners bills without raising their hackles has been set in stone by the rue89 website. In their headline “Seven serving tips to increase the bill” rue89 says that waiters and waitresses are taught skills, such as, showing diners to a table right by the front door or window in an otherwise empty restaurant to attract more custom.

A golden rule is never to place bread on the table before an order, as diners are likely to get full too fast for several dishes. A French waiter called Romain explains: “My boss wants me to give it after bringing the dish, even if it means forgetting it entirely so customers will be hungry for dessert.”

Category: France / Restaurants / Waiters

Pudsey the dancing dog goes to Hollywood!

Britain’s Got Talent winner Pudsey ‘the dancing dog’ recently hit Hollywood! The Americans it seems, like the British, can’t seem to get enough of him. The UK’s favourite pet pooch is taking Hollywood by storm, having been flown out on Simon Cowell’s private jet. It appears Pudsey is succeeding where a host of British stars have failed before. Having secured his own book deal and following his success on winning Britain’s Got Talent** his owner, Ashleigh Butler, 17, decided to spend a weekend taking in the sites and sounds of Hollywood with him. During their walkabout they posed for cameras. Pudsey even gave a bus of thrilled tourists an impromptu performance as they looked on in awe. Taking Hollywood in his stride he even donned a pair of sunglasses. Pudsey even smooched with a Stateside girlfriend, as he flirted with a fellow pooch in an LA street while out on ‘walkies’. Naturally, Pudsey and Ashleigh travel around Hollywood in a stretch limo!

Category: Hollywood / Dancing dogs / Pudsey

The Mysterious English Crop Circles

Summertime in South West England sees strange things happening in the farmers’ fields. Mysterious crop circles suddenly appear. No one can explain them. Are they a hoax or are aliens leaving their mark on the English countryside? Maybe it is down to Mother Nature creating these crop circles with various wind patterns?

Whatever the answer no one has come up with the right one yet! One theory is there are a group of crop-circle makers who like to create these elaborate images in the wheat fields. Either way, the result intrigues most English people who find the subject fascinating to discuss.

Of course, if you happen to be a farmer in Wiltshire whose wheat field suddenly has this strange image in it then this can be a problem, as every crop circle costs the farmer money due to flattened wheat. Charging visitors to see them can make up some of the losses.

Category: Mysteries / England / Crop Circles

The British roundabout revolution in the USA

A British roundabout revolution is slowly sweeping across America. The US famous for its stop signs and traffic lights is now starting to embrace the British roundabout. The city of Carmel in Indiana is one such example. It has been described as ‘the Milton Keynes of the USA’.

Lying on the outskirts of Indianapolis, Carmel is seeing more and more roundabouts created. The question is why? The Mayor of Carmel Jim Brainard explains: “We are saving thousands of gallons of fuel per year per roundabout.”

The city is at the forefront of the roundabout revolution that is taking place across several American States. The circular traffic intersection was redesigned in 1960s Britain by Frank Blackmore. He tinkered with the designs and established the modern roundabout by introducing a “Give way” rule for cars entering.

The idea was subsequently exported around the world. It didn’t arrive in the USA till 1990 when one was installed in Nevada. Since then more than 3,000 have sprung up. California has now built 200 in the last three years.

Category: USA / Roundabouts / Transport

Would you take your mother for a meal to McDonald’s?

Would you take your mother for a meal to McDonald’s? That is the question. Well, would you? I ask it, as I took my 87-year-old mother to McDonald’s recently. What an eye opener that was! Why? Because it was her first visit to a McDonald’s in about 40 years! It will probably be her last! She is slightly disabled and I push her around in a wheelchair.

This particular McDonald’s was in Asda, a British supermarket, on the edge of Norwich, England. It was a late lunch, around 3.30pm. We thought Asda’s might have their own restaurant. Horror! There was only a McDonald’s. We decided to try it, as we were on a tight schedule, with little time to hunt elsewhere for lunch.

Category: Food / Restaurants / McDonald’s

The campaign to clean up dog poo

Today’s theme is about dog poo. I mean, there is nothing worse than stepping on some freshly deposited dog poo, is there? Call it what you like; dog fouling, shit, poop, waste or dog crap, it is very annoying when you put your foot in it. Oh, shite…!

Why don’t the owners pick it up and put it in a dog bin? Yes, some people do. They scrape it up using a plastic glove and plastic bag then pop it into a doggie bin. Others walk their dogs, let their dogs crap on the grass then casually walk away as if nothing has happened, leaving the dog faeces to harden.

When challenged the owners simply deny it was their dog that did it. Later some small child might run on the grass. They could pick up a disease from it. This makes some people’s blood boil, to the point where they decide to take action against the dog owners. Some might leave a note on a spike in the dog poo.

Others like Louise Willows recently got so fed up with dog mess in Crouch End, London that she decided to do something about it. She removed the dog mess then left a drawing of a cup cake in a yellow cup in chalk. She also wrote ‘Dog owners please clear up your mess children walk here’. Ironically, she is facing charges for doing this and she had to wash the chalk off!

Category: Environment / Dogs / Dog Poo

Bratislava or Bust!

Whilst flicking through the British newspaper The Times recently an interesting charity advert caught my eye…

  • ‘Bratislava or Bust!’ July 22-26 2011. Meningitis Trust.
  • Set yourself a challenge with a difference for 2011. 1 car. Your friends. 5 days. 6 countries. 1,000 mile road trip of a lifetime. 1 fantastic challenge. 1 fantastic cause. For more information visit www.meningitis-trust.org/BoB Reg charity Nos. 803016/SC037790

Further investigation revealed it’s a charity event for students of all ages! The money raised is for the charity the Meningitis Trust. The event is a car rally that starts in St Omer in northern France. This is where a driver and co-driver check in.

The rally lasts for three to five days. It offers a fun-filled adventure that will see participants wind their way through France, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Austria, Italy and Slovakia. Teams can choose to stop in Italy or go the whole hog and finish in Bratislava. Naturally, it is no ordinary road trip!

Along the way participants will be set a series of daily challenges delivered by the organiser’s man in a white coat, which will test driver’s ingenuity, their co-driver’s map reading skills and the driver’s ability to barter and negotiate in a foreign language! Master the art of the challenges and you will be rewarded with riches and glory.

Category: Car Rallies / Fund Raising / Meningitis