Monday, 30 November 2009

The Lincoln Imp

The Lincoln Imp is the symbol of the City of Lincoln, the county town of Lincolnshire, England.
According to a 14th-century legend two mischievous creatures called imps were sent by Satan to do evil work on Earth. After causing mayhem in Northern England, the two imps headed to Lincoln Cathedral (pictured right) where they smashed tables and chairs and tripped up the Bishop. When an angel came out of a book of hymns and told them to stop, one of the imps was brave and started throwing rocks at the angel but the other imp cowered under the broken tables and chairs. The angel turned the first imp to stone giving the second imp a chance to escape.
There are many variations on Lincoln Imp legends. According to one popular legend, the imp which escaped fled north to Grimsby, where it soon began making trouble again. It entered St James' Church and began repeating its behaviour at Lincoln Cathedral. The angel then reappeared and gave the imp's backside a good thrashing before turning it to stone like its friend. The "Grimsby Imp" can still be seen in St James' Church, clinging to its sore bottom. Another legend has the escaped imp turned to stone just
outside the cathedral, and sharp-eyed visitors can spot it on a South outside wall. (Pictured left: The imp inside Lincoln cathedral).

Lincoln City Football Club are nicknamed "The Imps" and an image of the Lincoln Imp appears on their crest. Also, the club's mascot is called Poacher the Imp.

The Imp is the badge of No.LXI Squadron RAF.
Lincoln College, Oxford
An 1899 reproduction of the Lincoln Imp also overlooked the Front Quad of Lincoln College, Oxford until 2000 when it was transferred to the bar (Deep Hall) and another Imp was erected in the traditional position above the entrance to Hall. This has given rise to a traditional Oxford expression: 'to look on someone like the Imp looks over Lincoln' as well as giving rise to the title of the college's undergraduate newspaper: The Lincoln Imp. The Lincoln Imp is also mascot of the college boat club, an image of which is used to decorate the oars and jerseys of the men's first VIII.

Shopping To Kill


Tips For A Longer Life

The following article appeared in the Telegraph last Thursday. I found it very interesting.

A new study has suggested that drinking moderately could be the key to enjoying a longer life. But what other measures do experts consider beneficial in enjoying a long and healthy retirement? Here are some tips gleaned from the longest living communities in the world.

:: On the Greek island of Ikaria, which has the largest proportion of 90-year-olds in the world, locals are famed for drinking a thick mountain herbal tea. The drink, which is consumed several times a day, contains a variety of dried herbs including wild mint, rosemary, purple sage and spleenwort.
:: Due to the mountainous geography of the island and lack of transport options, locals are forced to remain active later in life, taking regular exercise well into their 80s and 90s.
:: The Icarian diet also contains large amounts of olive oil, fruit and vegetables and very little processed food.
:: Residents of the Japanese island of Okinawa also enjoy among the world's longest lifespans. Researchers believe this could be down in part to the way they consume food, rarely overeating and finishing a meal when they are 80 per cent full.
:: Locals also eat a diet heavy on grains, fish and vegetables and tend to steer clear of meat, eggs and dairy food.
:: On the Italian island of Sardinia, where there are high number of centenarians, inhabitants drink wine made from grapes which are very rich in polyphenols and antioxidants that help slow the ageing process.
:: In the Hunza Valley in Pakistan people routinely live into their 90s, which researchers believe could be due to their diet of fruit, grain and vegetables. Many of their plants are eaten raw and they also eat high proportions of apricots, cherries, grapes, plums and peaches.
:: The Vilcambamba region of southern Ecuador, claims to have large numbers of people reaching their 100th birthday in good health. Some have attributed this longevity to their consumption of a natural mineral water, which is remarkably free from impurities.
:: In Loma Linda in California a community of Seventh Day Adventists enjoy a lifespan between five and 10 years longer than their fellow citizens. Researchers have put this down to the fact they do not drink or smoke and have a vegetarian diet.
:: Others have attributed their longevity to the low levels of stress and anxiety present among members of the community.

Who Am I?

Today we bring you another Who Am I? puzzle. As usual ten clues to solve which will reveal the identity of our mystery celebrity. Can you work out who it is?

01 I was born on 7 October 1978.
02 My place of birth was Welwyn Garden City.
03 I am one of seven children.
04 My mother is British, my father Jamaican.
05 I attended the West London 'Dance Attic', a popular hip-hop/jazz dance academy.
06 I was once a member of the girl band Mis-Teeq.
07 In 2007 I became the face of urban clothing brand Ecko Red.
08 I was the supporting act to Enrique Iglesias on his UK tour.
09 In 2009 I fronted a new campaign for Toblerone chocolate.
10 Also in 2009, I climbed Mt Kilimanjaro for Comic Relief.

Good luck with this puzzle. Answer will appear in tomorrow's Journal!

Male Or Female?

Male or Female? You might not have known this, but a lot of non-living objects are actually either male or female. Here are some examples:

FREEZER BAGS: They are male, because they hold everything in, but you can see right through them.

PHOTOCOPIERS: These are female, because once turned off; it takes a while to warm them up again. They are an effective reproductive device if the right buttons are pushed, but can also wreak havoc if you push the wrong Buttons.

TYRES: Tyres are male, because they go bald easily and are often over inflated.

HOT AIR BALLOONS: Also a male object, because to get them to go anywhere, you have to light a fire under their butt.

SPONGES: These are female, because they are soft, squeezable and retain water.. (ain?t that the truth).

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Looking Back - Motorists Panic As Petrol Ration Looms

On this day in 1956, the government issued further details of its plans for rationing petrol from the following month.
The rationing period was expected to last for four months, from 17 December to 17 April, and was to be controlled through books of coupons.
Petrol had been in short supply since the President of Egypt, Gamal Abdul Nasser, took over the running of the Suez Canal four months earlier.
Supplies of fuel from the Middle East had been blocked ever since, causing fuel shortages throughout Europe.
Aubrey Jones, Minister of Fuel and Power, told journalists that businesses will be allowed an extra 100 miles a month in petrol, in addition to the 200 miles a month issued to normal car users.
Farmers, religious ministers, and essential local authority workers will be allowed 600 miles a month.
A third group, including doctors, midwives, disabled drivers and veterinary surgeons will be allowed whatever petrol they need.
Mr Jones asked all petrol stations to restrict daily sales between now and the start of rationing on 17 December, so that supplies can be spread throughout the month.
Panic buying
But panic buying is already causing havoc throughout the country, following the government's decision to cut petrol supplies by 10%.
Many garages closed altogether at the weekend, and many have already introduced their own form of rationing, allowing customers only one or two gallons each.
The owner of a garage in Denham, Buckinghamshire, said, "We are almost afraid to serve our regular customers.
"When motorists saw a car being filled they stopped and waited. In five minutes we had a queue of 50 cars waiting, and had to turn them all away."
Car industry hit
The fuel shortages have also hit the motor car industry.
Vauxhall Motors and the Ford Motor Company have announced reductions in the number of passenger cars to be built. Staff at both companies have been told they will have to work a four-day week.
Oil companies have also been warning of price rises due to the loss of revenue from petrol sales.

The pre-rationing rush on petrol continued, and by the time official rationing came in, roads were deserted and garages closed across the country.
Petrol was reported to be practically unobtainable in central London, with traffic in the capital down by two-thirds.
There was an outcry as petrol prices rose sharply to about six shillings a gallon - the equivalent of about £4.50 today. By comparison, a gallon of petrol in 2004 cost about £3.87.
Petrol rationing was just one of the side-effects of the Suez Crisis which involved Britain, France, Egypt, Israel, the USSR and the USA.
The pre-rationing rush on petrol continued, and by the time official rationing came in, roads were deserted and garages closed across the country.
Petrol was reported to be practically unobtainable in central London, with traffic in the capital down by two-thirds.
There was an outcry as petrol prices rose sharply to about six shillings a gallon - the equivalent of about £4.50 today. By comparison, a gallon of petrol in 2004 cost about £3.87.
Petrol rationing was just one of the side-effects of the Suez Crisis which involved Britain, France, Egypt, Israel, the USSR and the USA.
If you wish to see pictures concerning the rationing announcement, click on the following video link:

British Post cards

Brainteaser - Saturday's Answer

The answer to yesterday's
The letter 'E'

Did You Know?

The 'save' icon on Microsoft Word' shows a floppy disk, with the shutter on backwards.
A duck's quack doesn't echo, and no one knows why.
The only 15-letter word that can be spelled without repeating a letter is 'uncopyrightable'.
Facetious and abstemious contain all the vowels in the correct order, as does arsenious, meaning 'containing arsenic'.
Emus and Kangaroos cannot walk backwards and are on the Australian coat of arms for that reason.
Cats have over one hundred vocal sounds, while dogs only have about ten.

Thought For Today

In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.
Martin Luther King Jr.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Looking Back - Tearful Farewell From Iron Lady

On this day in 1990, Britain had a new prime minister for the first time in more than 11 years.
Margaret Thatcher formally tendered her resignation to the Queen early that morning after leaving Downing Street for the last time.
John Major had been elected her successor the previous day by Conservative Party members.
The woman dubbed as the Iron Lady during her premiership made her last tearful speech as the leader of the country from the doorstep of Number 10.
Mrs Thatcher told reporters the country had become a much improved place in which to live since she took office in 1979.
"We're leaving Downing Street for the last time after eleven-and-a-half wonderful years and we're happy to leave the UK in a very much better state than when we came here," she said.
She also gave her support to her successor. "Now it's time for a new chapter to open and I wish John Major all the luck in the world," she said.
'Part of history'
After the speech she and her husband, Denis, were driven to Buckingham Palace, watched by a small crowd keen to witness this significant moment.
"It's part of history and we'd just like to say good bye and wish her well," said one onlooker outside the gates of the palace.
Mrs Thatcher had a half-hour meeting with the Queen before returning to her private home in Dulwich, south London.
Fifteen minutes later Mr Major arrived at the palace and was formally invited by the Queen to form a new administration.
The premiership of Britain's first female leader - and the longest since 1827 - was at an end.
Margaret Thatcher remained MP for Finchley until 1992.
But even after leaving Westminster she continued to be a formidable force in British politics.
Her appearances at Conservative Party conferences overshadowed successive Tory leaders years after her resignation, and she frequently spoke out to lend her support to the Euro sceptics.
Ill health forced the Iron Lady to abandon many of her public engagements in 2002.
John Major was prime minister until May 1997 when the Tories were ousted from power after a Labour landslide victory.
He stepped down as leader of the Conservatives shortly after losing the general election.

To watch in pictures Mrs Thatcher leaving Downing Street for the final time, click on the video link below:

Cool Garage Doors

A German firm called 'Style Your Garage' creates posters for garage doors that make it look as if your garage is where it is all happening.

Funny Signs


Today's brainteaser consists of one simple question. Can you provide the one simple answer? Here is the question:

What occurs twice in a lifetime, but once in every year. Twice in a week but never in a day?

Answer in tomorrows Journal.

Here Are The Latest Newsheadlines

Friday, 27 November 2009

Pearly Kings And Queens

Pearly Kings and Queens, known as pearlies, are an organised charitable tradition of working class culture in London, England.
The practice of wearing clothes decorated with pearl buttons originated in the 19th century. It is first associated with Henry Croft; an orphan street sweeper who collected money for charity. In 1911 an organised pearly society was formed in Fincley, north London. Croft died in January 1930 and his funeral was attended by 400 followers from all over London, receiving national media coverage. In 1934 a memorial was unveiled to him in St Pancras Cemetery and at a speech to mark the occasion he was said to have raised £5,000 for those suffering in London's hospitals.The statue was later moved to the crypt of St Martin-in-the-Fields, Westminster. The inscription reads:

"In memory of Henry Croft who died January 1st 1930 aged 68 years. The original Pearly King.

The pearly organisation is now known as the Original London Pearly Kings and Queens Association Following disagreements, a rival London Pearly Kings and Queens Society has also been set up and another called the Pearly Guild. Each group is associated with a church in central London and works to raise money for London-based charities.

Living With Computers

Glorious Insults

They never open their mouths without subtracting from the sum of human knowledge.
Thomas Brackett Reed
In order to avoid being called a flirt, she always yielded easily.
Charles, Count Talleyrand
He loves nature in spite of what it did to him.
Forrest Tucker
Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?
Mark Twain

Funny Gravestones

On the grave of Ezekial Aikle in East Dalhousie Cemetery, Nova Scotia:

Here lies Ezekial Aikle Age 102

The Good Die Young.

Did You Know?

Owls are the only birds who can see the colour blue.
A man called Charles Osborne had the hiccups for 69 years.
A giraffe can clean its ears with its 21-inch tongue.
The average person laughs ten times a day.
An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain.
Slugs have four noses.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Looking Back - £25m Gold Heist At Heathrow

On this day in 1983, an armed gang carried out Britain's largest ever robbery at London's Heathrow Airport.
Over £25m worth of gold bullion bound for the Far East was stolen from the Brinks Mat warehouse, about one mile (1.6km) outside the airport perimeter, between 0630 and 0815 GMT.
Police have said a group of at least six men overcame the guards and successfully disabled a huge array of electronic security devices.
Insurers have offered a reward of £2m for information leading to the recovery of the 6,800 gold bars - which are all identifiable by refiners' stamps.
The members of the gang - who were all armed and wearing balaclavas - also stole £100,000 worth of cut and uncut diamonds.
Inside information
They dressed in security uniforms to get into the warehouse and then terrorised the guards into giving them the alarm codes.
All the guards were handcuffed, one was hit on the head with a pistol and two had petrol poured over them.
Once inside the safes, the robbers used the warehouse's own forklift trucks to transport the 76 boxes of gold into a waiting van.
The alarm was raised by one of the guards at 0830 GMT after the gang had left.
Scotland Yard Flying Squad chief Commander Frank Cater is leading the hunt for the thieves.
He said he believed they had inside information and were a "highly professional team".
Police estimated 15 people were involved in the planning of the Brinks Mat robbery, but only three of the gang members were convicted.
Micky McAvoy and Brian Robinson were both jailed for 25 years in December 1984, and Kenneth Noye served 14 years for handling some of the stolen gold.
Noye was released in 1990, but 10 years later was convicted of murdering Stephen Cameron in a road-rage fight on the M25 and is now serving a life sentence.
Despite a huge police investigation most of the gold has never been recovered.

Funny Signs

New Words For The 21st Century

Blamestorming: Sitting around in a group discussing why a deadline was missed or a project failed, and who was responsible.
Ego Surfing: Scanning the Net, database, print media and so on. looking for references to one's own name.
Swiped Out: An ATM or credit card that has been rendered useless because the magnetic strip is worn away from extensive use.
Good Job: A get-out-of-debt job. A well wired generation's answer to the couch potato.are solvent again,
Beepilepsy: The brief seizure people sometimes have when their beeper goes off (especially in vibrator mode). Characterized by physical spasms, goofy facial expressions and interruption of speech in mid-sentence.
Starter Marriage: A short-lived first marriage that ends in divorce with no kids, no property and no regrets.
Sitcom's: What yuppies turn into when they have children and one of them stops working to stay home with the kids. Stands for Single Income, Two Children, Oppressive Mortgage.
Mouse Potato: The online, wired generation's answer to the couch potato.

Who Am I? - Yesterday's Answer

The answer to Wednesday's
Who Am I?
Jools Holland

Thought For Today

First we form habits, then they form us. Conquer your bad habits or they will conquer you.
Rob Gilbert

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Frank Bruno

Franklin Roy Bruno (born 16 November 1961) is a British former boxer whose career highlight was winning the WBC Heavyweight championship in 1995. Altogether, he won 40 of his 45 contests. Like Henry Cooper before him, Bruno has remained a popular celebrity with the British public since his ring career ended, and still appears regularly in pantomime. Bruno became a professional boxer in 1980, quickly racking up a streak of twenty-one consecutive wins by knockout. This streak caught the attention of many international boxing magazines, such as Ring Magazine, KO Magazine, Boxing Illustrated, The Ring En Espanol and many others. In March 1984, however, future world Heavyweight champion, American James 'Bonecrusher' Smith, then a boxing journeyman, halted that streak when he defeated Bruno by knockout in the tenth and final round of their bout, with Bruno leading on all three judges' cards. This would not be the last time Bruno went on to lose a contest he had been clearly winning and would have emerged victorious from had he survived until the final bell.
Bruno got back into title contention with wins over the likes of former WBA champion Gerrie Coetzee (by knockout in round one), and, in July 1986, he challenged Tim Witherspoon for the WBA world Heavyweight championship. After once again leading on the cards for most of the fight, he ran out of steam and was defeated by knockout, in round eleven. A comment often made was that Bruno, a fine physical specimen, had a bodybuilder's musculature rather than a boxer's, and carrying the extra weight of so much muscle sapped his energy and stamina over a long contest. The contrast between Bruno and the seemingly lard-laden Witherspoon was particularly marked, but the difference was that Witherspoon worked when he had to, and did enough over the course of the fight, whereas Bruno lacked the nous and the killer-instinct to press on when he had the initiative.
In 1989, Bruno challenged Mike Tyson for the unified world Heavyweight title. After being shaken in the opening minute, Bruno finished the first round by rocking Tyson with a left hook. However, Tyson recovered and beat Bruno when the referee stopped the contest in round five with the British boxer taking heavy punishment on the ropes.
Bruno kept winning fights, helping him to retain his spot as one of the world's leading Heavyweights. In 1993 he had a third world title chance against young Lennox Lewis, who was making the second defence of the belt (his first of three championship reigns). The Lennox Lewis vs. Frank Bruno fight was the first time that two British-born boxers had fought for the world heavyweight title. Lewis beat Bruno on a stoppage in round seven, Bruno again failing to take his title chance after leading the contest on points up until what proved the final round.
On 24 September 1994, Oliver McCall beat Lewis with a shock second round knockout victory at Wembley Arena, and, after outpointing Larry Holmes, he came to England to defend the WBC title against Bruno. On 2 September 1995, Bruno finally became world champion by outpointing McCall over twelve rounds. McCall was an emotional mess, and cried on his way into the ring. Bruno did not last long as champion: his first defence was a rematch with Tyson. Tyson beat Bruno on a stoppage in round three, in what turned out to be Bruno's last bout as a professional.
Bruno's publicist throughout most of his career was sports
historian Norman Giller, who wrote three books in harness with Frank: Know What I mean, IEye of the Tiger and From Zero to Hero His manager for all but his last five fights was Terry Lawless, who signed him as a professional shortly after he had become ABA heavyweight champion at the age of eighteen.
Bruno grew up with five siblings in a terraced house in south London, where his parents had settled after moving to England from the Caribbean. In 1990, he married his partner Laura at a small church in Hornchurch, an area of Greater London near the border with Essex. They had three children. However, their relationship deteriorated, and they divorced in 2001.
Bruno has remained a popular figure with the British public. His image was enhanced by his relationship with the BBC boxing commentator Harry Carpenter, his appearances on the early Comic Relief programmes in the 1980s and his frequent appearances thereafter on television and on stage (in pantomime).
In December 2005, Bruno announced that he was to become a father for the fourth time since finding new romance with old friend Yvonne Clydesdale. The pair, who first met five years ago at a health resort, began dating months after bumping into each other at a wine bar near his home. Yvonne gave birth to baby Freya on 10 May 2006.
In 1995, the year of his world championship, he released a cover version of "Eye of the Tiger", the theme song of the movie Rocky III. It reached #28 in the UK charts.
In January 2001, Bruno announced that he wanted to stand as the Conservative candidate in the traditionally safe Tory seat of Brentwood and Ongar, against the independent Member of Parliament, Martin Bell. His proposed slogan was "Don't be a plank, vote for Frank!" However, this idea was quickly dismissed by Conservative Central Office.
On 15th August 2009 he appeard on the weakest link beating Duke Mckenzie in the final for £12,800
On 22 September 2003, Bruno was taken from his home near Brentwood in Essex by medical staff assisted bypolice officers, under the provisions of the Mental Health Act 1953. He was taken to Goodmayes Hospital in Ilford, where he underwent psychological and psychiatric tests. He had been suffering from depression for several months beforehand. He was later diagnosed as having bipolar disorder. The psychologist Professor Cary Cooper expressed the opinion that the end of Bruno's boxing career, the breakdown of his marriage, and the suicide of his former trainer George Francis in 2002 all contributed to his condition. On 9 October 2005 he admitted that his cocaine use, which began in 2000, contributed to his mental health problems. Media coverage of Bruno's problems raised controversy, the principal accusations were gross intrusion and insensitivity. Particular criticism was aimed at The Sun, whose headline in the first editions the next day read "Bonkers Bruno Locked Up". Second editions retracted the headline and attempted to portray a more sympathetic attitude towards Bruno and mental health in general. As an attempt at atonement, the paper established a charity fund for the victims of mental illness, although some mental health charities condemned The Sun's latter action that day as being grossly cynical in the light of the former. On 24 February 2008 Frank Bruno offered his support to formerfootballer Paul Gascoigne, who on 21 February had been sectioned under the Mental Health Act Bruno also spoke on his own personal experiences in the mental heath system at a conference run by Hari Sewell, on the 22nd June 2009.
On 10 October 2006, Bruno and his partner Yvonne Clydesdale were jointly awarded £50,000 damages for libel against The People newspaper and publishers MGN in respect of false claims made about the pair's relationship.
By 2005 Bruno was able to appear on BBC Radio as a guest expert at a boxing match, as well as appearing on television again. Bruno now regularly makes personal appearances and he also sells autographed items of memorabilia.
Frank now lives with one of his sons in the village of Little Billington, on the outskirts of the town of Leighton Buzzard in Bedfordshire.
Bruno has a cameo appearance in Cass, the subject of which is a friend of Frank Bruno's who was a football hooligan. He is standing next to the pub doors in the last few minutes of the movie. His only prior movie appearance would have been as the bus driver in Spice World, but he walked out due to a dispute with the producers.

Real name Franklin Roy Bruno
Nickname(s) "Frank" Bruno "True Brit"
Rated at Heavyweight
Height 6 ft 3.5 in (1.92 m)
Nationality British
Birth date 16 November 1961 (age 48)
Birth place London, England, UK
Stance Orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights 45 - Wins 40 - Wins by KO38

Today's Smile

Here Are The Latest Newsheadlines

The following are a selection of actual news headlines that appeared in real papers, together with a great offer coupon, yes that's real too!

Who Am I?

Today we bring you another 'Who Am I ?' puzzle. All you have to do is name the well known celebrity to which the following ten clues relate.

01 I was born on 24 January 1958.
02 My birthplace is Blackheath, London.
03 I was a founding member of the pop group Squeeze.
04 I am a pianist, bandleader, singer, songwriter and composer.
05 I am also a published author and appear on television and radio shows.
06 I released my first EP, called 'Boogie Woogie' in 1978.
07 I co-presented the TV music show 'The Tube' with Paula Yates.
08 In 1987 I formed my own band which eventually became an 18-piece Rhythm and Blues Orchestra.
09 My autobiography was entitled 'Barefaced Lies and Boogie Woogie Boasts'.
10 In 2003 I received an OBE for services to the British music industry as a television presenter and musician.

Who do you think our mystery celebrity is?

Witty Bits

Nothing needs reforming as much as other people's habits.
The five stages of Acquisition: Infatuation, Justification, Appropriation, Obsession and Resale.
What is the difference between a taxidermist and a tax collector? The taxidermist takes only your skin.
The avoidance of taxes is the only intellectual pursuit that carries any rewards.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Looking Back - Giant Of Rock Dies

On this day in 1991, giant of rock Freddie Mercury died aged 45, just one day after he publicly announced he was HIV positive.
The lead singer for rock group Queen died quietly at his home in west London of bronchio-pneumonia, brought on by Aids, his publicist said.
The flamboyant star is thought to have had the disease for two years, but he continued to make music and the decline in his health was only rarely glimpsed.
Mercury was born Farookh Bulsara in Zanzibar in 1946 and spent most of his childhood in India before his family settled in England in 1964. That year he enrolled in art school.
Freddie Mercury, Roger Taylor, Brian May and Mike Grose formed Queen in 1970.
Regarded by fans and critics alike as a consummate showman, Mercury was openly bisexual and enjoyed a colourful rock-star lifestyle.
Tributes from all over the world have been pouring in for the man who stole the show at Live Aid and wrote ground-breaking hits like Bohemian Rhapsody - which was number one in the UK for nine weeks.
Music critic Paul Gambaccini praised Mercury for his huge contribution to hard rock music.
"He gave a form which was pretty staid and sour, a great personality," he said.
The director of an Aids education charity, Dr Patrick Dixon, told the BBC that Mercury's greatest gift to his fans was admitting he was suffering from the disease.
"His hope was no doubt that through his openness many people throughout the world would see that Aids is a real illness - that it's killing people every day," said Dr Dixon.
A Freddie Mercury tribute concert for Aids awareness was held five months after his death at Wembley Stadium, London, and was attended by 72,000 people.
Dozens of stars appeared at the event which was broadcast to 70 countries and raised about £20m for Aids charities.
His enormous contribution to music and his early death quickly cemented his reputation as a rock legend.
In August 2002 voters in a BBC poll voted him among their top 100 British heroes.

To watch a video of Freddie Mercury in action, click the video link below:

British Post Cards

Brainteaser - Monday's Answer

Yesterday the brainteaser puzzle was all about working out cryptic clues that led to the names of English towns. There were 8 clues in all , here are the answers.

01 Gravesend
02 Ripon
03 Blackpool
04 Hastings
05 Newcastle
06 Morecambe
07 Hull
08 Nuneaton

Did you get them all correct?

Bog Standard

A Simple Test For You


Which way is the bus above travelling?

To the left or to the right?
Can't make up your mind?

Look carefully at the picture again.

Take your time.

Still don't know?

Primary school children all over the UK were shown this picture and asked the same question 90% of them gave this answer:
'The bus is travelling to the right.'

When asked, 'Why do you think the bus is travelling to the right?'

They answered

Because you can't see the door to get on the bus.'
How do you feel now???

I know, me too.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Harrods, London

Harrods is a department store located on Brompton Road in Knightsbridge, London, England.The Harrods brand also applies to other enterprises undertaken by the Harrods group of companies including Harrods Bank, Harrods Estates, Harrods Aviation and Air Harrods.
Picture Right: Fashion plate of 1909 shows upper-class Londoners walking in front of Harrods.
The store occupies a 4.5-acre (18,000 m2) site and has over one million square feet (90,000 m2) of selling space in over 330 departments. This makes Harrods one of the largest department stores in the world together with Macy's New York. The UK's second-biggest shop, Oxford Street's Selfridges, is a little over half the size with 540,000-square-foot (50,000 m2) of selling space.
The Harrods motto is Omnia Omnibus Ubique — All Things for All People, Everywhere. Several of its departments, including the seasonal Christmas department and the Food Hall, are world famous.

Harrods was established in 1834 in London’s East End, when founder Charles Henry Harrod set up a wholesale grocery in Stepney, with a special interest in tea. In 1849, to escape the filth of the inner city and to capitalise on trade to the Great Exhibition of 1851 in nearby Hyde Park, Harrod took over a small shop in the district of Knightsbridge, on the site of the current store. Beginning in a single room employing two assistants and a messenger boy, Harrod’s son Charles Digby Harrod built the business into a thriving retail operation selling medicines, perfumes, stationery, fruit, and vegetables. Harrods rapidly expanded, acquired the adjoining buildings, and employed one hundred people by 1880.
However, the store’s booming fortunes were reversed in early December 1883, when it burnt to the ground. Remarkably, in view of this calamity, Charles Harrod fulfilled all of his commitments to his customers to make Christmas deliveries that year — and made a record profit in the process. In short order, a new building was raised on the same site, and soon Harrods extended credit for the first time to its best customers, among them Oscar Wilde, legendary actresses

Lillee Langtry and Ellen Terry, Noel Coward, Sigmund Freud, A. A. Milne, and many members of the British Royal Family.
On Wednesday, 16 November 1898, Harrods debuted England's
first "moving staircase" (escalator) in their Brompton road stores; the device was actually a woven leather conveyor belt-like unit with a mahogany and "silver plate-glass" balustrade. Nervous customers were offered brandy at the top to revive them after their 'ordeal'.

Significant events in Harrods' history

1834: Charles Henry Harrod (1799-1885) founds a wholesale grocery in Stepney, East London
1849: Harrods moves to the Knightsbridge area of London, near Hyde Park
1861: Harrods undergoes a transformation when it was taken over by Harrod's son, Charles Digby Harrod (1841-1905)
1883: On December 6, fire guts the shop buildings, giving the family the opportunity to rebuild on a grander scale
1889: Charles Digby Harrod retires, and Harrods shares are floated on the London Stock Exchange under the name Harrod's Stores Limited
1905: Begun in 1894, the present building is completed to the design of architect Charles William Stephens.
1912: Harrods opens its first and only foreign branch in Buenos Aries, Argentina. It became independent of Harrods in the late 1940s but still traded under the Harrods name usable only in Argentina Harrods Buenos Aries. 1914: Harrods buys the Regent Street department store Dickins & Jones.
1919: Harrods buys the Manchester department store, Kendals it took on the Harrods name for a short time in the 1920s, but the name was changed back to Kendals following protests from staff and customers.
1959: The British department store holding company, House of Fraser, buys Harrods.
1969: Christian the lion was bought by John Rendall and Anthony 'Ace' Bourke. The lion was set free in Kenya after reaching maturity.
1983: A terrorist attack by the Provisional IRA outside the Knightsbridge store kills six people.
1985: The Fayed brothers buy the store for £615 million
1986: The small town of Otorohanga in New Zealand briefly changed its name to Harrodsville in response to legal threats made by Mohamed Al Fayed against a person with the surname of Harrod, who had used the name "Harrod's" for his shop. Other town businesses changed their store name to Harrod's in support, and the resultant lampooning in the British press led to Al Fayed dropping the legal action.
1990: A Harrods shop opens onboard the RMS Queen Mary in Long Beach, whi
ch was then owned by the Walt Disney Company..
1994: The relationship between House of Fraser and Harrods is severed. Harrods remains under the ownership of the Fayed family, and House of Fraser is floated on the stock exchange.
1997: The British court issues an injunction to restrain the Buenos Aires Harrods store from trading under the Harrods name.
2006: The Harrods "102" store opens opposite the main store on Brompton Road; it features concessions like Krispy Kreme and Yo! Sushi, as well as florists, a herbalist, a masseur, and an oxygen spa.
2006: Omar Fayed, Mohamed's youngest son, joins the Harrods board.

The store's 330 departments offer a wide range of products and services. Products on offer include clothing for every sort of customer (women, men, children, and infants), electronics, jewelery, sporting gear, bridal trousseau, pets and pet accessories, toys, food and drink, health and beauty items, packaged gifts, stationery, housewares, home appliances, furniture, and much more.
A representative sample of store services includes 28 restaurants (number has been questioned by Billy Mc), serving everything from high tea to tapas to pub food to haute cousine; a personal shopping-assistance programme known as "By Appointment"; a watch repair service; a tailor; a dispensing pharmacy; a beauty spa and salon; a barbers shop; Harrods Financial Services; Harrods Bank; Ella Jade Bathroom Planning and Design Service; private events planning and catering; food delivery; a wine steward; bespoke "picnic" hampers and gift boxes; bespoke cakes; and bespoke fragrance formulations.
Up to 300,000 customers visit the store on peak days, comprising the highest proportion of
customers from non-English speaking countries of any department store in London. More than five thousand staff from over fifty different countries work at Harrods. A fleet of fifty delivery vehicles make up to 225,000 deliveries every year. Approximately 11,500 energy-efficient light bulbs turn Harrods into a beacon of light each night, 300 of which are replaced every day.
There are also a number of concessions opposite the main store on Brompton Road in 'Harrods 102' such as Turnball & Asser, HMV Waterstones, Krispy Kreme and David Clulow Opticians.
As of the 15th October 2009, Harrods Bank has started selling gold bars and coins that customers can buy "off the shelf". The gold products range from 1g to 12.5 kg, and can be purchased within Harrods Bank. They also offer storage services, as well as the ability to sell back gold to Harrods in the future.

Harrods and Mohamed Al Fayed have been criticised for selling real animal fur with regular protests organised outside Harrods Harrods is the only department store in the UK that has continued to sell fur. Harrods was sharply criticized in 2004 by the Hindu community for marketing a line of feminine underwear (designed by Roberto Cavalli) which featured the images of South-Asian goddesses. The line was eventually withdrawn and formal apologies were made.

Royal warrants

Harrods was the holder of royal warrants from:
Queen Elizabeth II for Provisions and Household Goods
The Duke of Edinburgh as Outfitters
The Prince of Wales as Outfitters and Saddlers
The Queen Mother, now deceased, for China and Glass
Harrods had held The Duke of Edinburgh's warrant since 1956, but it was rescinded byPrince Philip on 21 December 2001 because of a "significant decline in the trading relationship" between the duke and the store.
Al Fayed then pre-emptively removed all the royal coats of arms that had been prominently displayed by the business, even though other warrants were yet to expire or be withdrawn. None of the royal grantors of warrants had spent any money at Harrods since 1997, the year Diana Princess of Wales, died.

Egyptian cobra

On 10 September, 2002, Harrods hired a live Egyptian coba to protect the shoe counter, guarding a £62,000 (€84,880) pair of haute couture ruby-, sapphire- and diamond-encrusted sandals launched by designer Rene Caovilla.


"Innocent Victims", the second of two memorials in Harrods

Since the deathsof Diana, Princess of Wales, and Dodi Fayed, Mohamed Al Fayed's son, two memorials commissioned by Al Fayed have been erected inside Harrods to the couple. The first, unveiled on April 12, 1998, consists of photographs of the two behind a pyramid-shaped display that holds a wine glass still smudged with lipstick from Diana's last dinner as well as what is described as an engagement ring Dodi purchased the day before they died.
The second memorial, unveiled in 2005 and located by the Egyptian escalator at door three is titled "Innocent Victims", is a bronze statue of the two dancing on a beach beneath the wings of an albatross. The albatross is a bird that is said to symbolise the "Holy Spirit". The sculpture was created by 80 year old Bill Mitchell who is a close friend of Al Fayed and has been the artistic design advisor to Harrods for 40 years. Mr Al Fayed said he wanted to keep the pair's "spirit alive" through the statue.After the death of Michael Jackson, Al-Fayed announced that they had already been discussing plans to build a memorial statue of the singer.

Animal Crackers



Today's brainteaser is made up of 8 cryptic clues. Solve each clue to reveal the name of a well known town in England. Tricky but interesting!

01 Where you might find a headstone.
02 Angela? Perhaps.
03 Sounds like dirty water.
04 Battle against the sea.
05 Recently built fortress.
06 A famous comedian.
07 Part of a ship.
08 When all the food is left.

The best of luck. I suspect you may need it with one or two of these!

Thought For Today

Children require guidance and sympathy far more than instruction.
Annie Sullivan

Questions You Just Can't Answer

Why do they call it 'common sense' when it's so rare?
Why do they put Braille dots on the keypad of the drive-up ATM?
If you get corn oil by squeezing corn, how do you get baby oil?
Why is it that when you transport something by car, it's called a shipment, but when you transport something by ship, it's called cargo.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Looking Back - Kennedy Shot Dead In Dallas

On this day in 1963,The President of the United States was assassinated by a gunman in Dallas, Texas.
John F Kennedy was hit in the head and throat when three shots were fired at his open-topped car.
The presidential motorcade was travelling through the main business area of the city.
Texas Governor John Connally was also seriously injured when one of the unknown sniper's bullets hit him in the back. The men were accompanied by their wives, who were both uninjured.
Vice-president Lyndon Johnson - who was following in a different car - has been sworn in as the new US leader.
The presidential party was driving from Dallas airport to the city centre when witnesses said shots were fired from the window of a building overlooking the road.
The president collapsed into Jackie Kennedy's arms, who was heard to cry "Oh no". Seconds later Governor Connally was also hit.
Dallas Times Herald photographer Bob Jackson was in the motorcade close behind the Democrat leader's car and heard the shots as it entered Dealey Plaza.
"As I looked up I saw a rifle being pulled back from a window - it might have been resting on the windowsill - I didn't see a man," he said.
Mr Kennedy's limousine was driven at speed to Parklands Hospital immediately after the shooting.
The president was alive when he was admitted, but died at 1400 local time (1900 GMT) - 35 minutes after being shot.
Police and Secret Service agents stormed the School Book Depository building moments after the shots were fired and recovered a rifle with a telescopic sight, said to be the assassination weapon.
The mood of shock in the US was echoed by Senator Mike Mansfield in an emergency forum of the senate.
A little under an hour after the shooting, a policeman approached Lee Harvey Oswald, believing he recognised his description.
The policeman was shot dead. Oswald was arrested almost immediately under suspicion of murder.
Shortly afterwards, he was also charged with the assassination of President Kennedy.
The suspect was never tried as he was shot dead himself two days later by nightclub owner Jack Ruby.
The Warren Report, commissioned to investigate the president's death, concluded he had been killed by shots fired by Mr Oswald from the School Book Depository building.
But conspiracy enthusiasts quickly turned the assassination into one of the most disputed events in modern history, with theories ranging from claims it was an elaborately staged suicide to the driver being the murderer.

To watch a video clip of the event click the following link: