April 2008 Archives
Villagers in one part of South Cheshire are voting in an online poll on whether they would like to be a part of Wales.
The idea came about following a story on the audlem.org website on April Fools' Day but it generated so much interest that Audlem residents have come round to the idea.
The chance of free prescriptions, free parking at NHS hospitals and Audlem's major Sports Hall project becoming a reality have all endeared villagers.
So far, 53 have voted 'yes' and 34 'no' with one 'unsure' vote. A spokesman for the website said: "As we said in a light-hearted piece, becoming part of Wales would bring major benefits.
"By an amazing coincidence, the Government announced on the very same day that prescription charges would be raised in England - they were reduced in Scotland by ÃÂ£2 that same day and it was confirmed they would remain free in Wales.
"Also on the same day, Leighton Hospital doubled some of its parking charges - it now costs ÃÂ£3 to park for more than 20 minutes. Parking remains free at all Welsh hospitals.
"The poll will be seen as a humorous way to make a very serious point. Nobody in England, we suspect, wants to take away the many benefits the Welsh, and even more the Scots enjoy.
"We'd just like the same benefits - as all three countries pay the same level of tax. A 'yes' vote in the Audlem Poll may attract widespread publicity and send out a serious message to the Government.
"One Audlem resident did suggest we applied to be an 'on-shore' island of Scotland. Then we would also get free university education; free care for the elderly and road tolls would be slashed."
The spokesman added: "It's a long way to Scotland however, and we think the Welsh proposal is more practical. After all, the border is a mere nine miles away and the Government has shown how easy it is to change, or create new borders with the controversial decision to split Cheshire in two."
A LOBSTER was a casualty of love last week when an aquatic offering ended in tragedy.
Helsby High School pupil Toby Hazlehurst, 17, bought the choice crustacean for his high school girlfriend but she couldn't face cooking it and, after naming it Bertie, rehomed it at the Blue Planet Aquarium.
But the lobster died after failing to regain its body temperature.
Toby's girlfriend Melissa Thomas, 17, of Homeway, Helsby, said: "I called him Bertie because it was the first name that came into my head. Toby bought me it so I could eat it but I couldn't, I felt sorry for it.
"I don't like seafood so I couldn't eat it anyway. I didn't know what to do."
The lobster was bought from The Goshawk pub, Mouldsworth, where Toby works as kitchen porter. He kept it in his fridge overnight before taking it into Helsby High School the next morning.
Melissa added: "I gave it to the biology department because I didn't know what to do with it. It was there for half-a-day then we took it to the Blue Planet Aquarium.
"None of the teachers really know there was a lobster in the school! I'm sorry about the fact it died."
Blue Planet Aquarium marketing assistant Vikki Calvert said: "The lobster was kept at too low a temperature. He didn't get back to temperature quickly enough and died."
A DRUG-DEALING ex-fireman drove for a quarter of a mile with a policeman clinging on to the bonnet of his car.
The white-knuckle ride lasted for more than two minutes as John Williams, 53, of Glyn Garth, Blacon, tried to escape from two plain clothes police officers.
Williams was found guilty of conspiracy to supply the class A drugs heroin and crack cocaine and dangerous driving.
The court heard PCs Roger Smith and Iestyn Lewis- Jones were patrolling Chester city centre on Saturday, October 20, when they followed three suspicious men to a house in Mason Street, off Liverpool Road.
Moments later Williams turned into the street in a green Hyundai Accent with drug dealers Kevin Corbett, 42, and Liam Harvey, 20, as passengers.
Myles Wilson, prosecuting, told the court: "One of the officers tried to open a passenger door, shouting "stop police", but the occupants locked the doors.
"PC Smith smashed the passenger window with his elbow and jumped on to the bonnet of the car.
"The second officer reached into the car to try and take the keys when the driver's side window was wound up trapping his arm."
Williams then reversed on to a busy Liverpool Road and started to accelerate towards Fountains roundabout. PC Lewis-Jones ran along side the car with his colleague, PC Smith, spread-eagled on its bonnet.
Luckily, PC Lewis-Jones' arm worked free allowing him to call for back-up as the car disappeared towards St Oswald's Way. Williams slowed down to allow his passengers out and PC Smith rolled off the bonnet.
Corbett, 42, Harvey, 20, and Williams will be sentenced at Chester Crown Court on Monday, April 21.
A CHURCH organist collapsed and died in front of shocked mourners at a funeral.
Brian Markland, 66, passed out seconds after a recital of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata.
Another organist will now play the famous piece in Brian's honour at HIS funeral today.
The Rev Graham Halsall, who was leading the service, and funeral directors battled in vain to revive the dad of three at St Saviour's in Bamber Bridge, near Preston, Lancashire.
Mr Halsall told how he held Brian's hand until the end. He said: "It was immensely tragic. He was a gentle man, a great, exquisite organist."
Wife of 44 years, Anne, 63, said Brian, of Leyland, "touched so many lives through his music".
A post mortem found he died of heart disease.
FIREFIGHTERS got more than they bargained for when they attended what they thought was an ordinary house fire.
When the crew from Chester arrived at the house in Macclesfield on Saturday, April 5, they say they were met with a three-floored booby-trapped cannabis factory.
Firefighter Jim Payne explained: "One of our crews went to a supposedly ordinary house fire. It turned out to be a cannabis factory.
"We are aware that they don't want people finding them."
In their efforts to stifle the flames, the crew had to overcome electrified door handles and windows and hundreds of nine inch spikes.
Jim added: "They are person traps, it's pretty dangerous."
Full story at www.chesterchronicle.co.uk
CHANCELLOR Alistair Darling has been banned from the Calveley Arms in Handley, Chester, following his "anti-pub" budget.
Licensee Harry Miller has written to Darling informing him that he is no longer welcome and has put up a poster, which states "We hereby give notice that Alistair Darling, Chancellor of the Exchequer, is barred from this pub until further notice".
The Calveley Arms is one of hundreds of pubs taking direct action against Darling as part of a national campaign supported by pub industry bible the Morning Advertiser.
Harry MillerÃ Â said: "By adding 4p to a pint of beer and promising to raise duty 2% above inflation for the next four years, Darling will be solely responsible for the closure of a record number of pubs,
"The budget will drive people away from the supervised environment of the pub and into the arms of the deep discounting supermarkets.
"The supermarkets can afford to take the increases on board, so their rock bottom prices will continue as will binge drinking and youths downing alcohol on street corners and in parks.
"The earliest predictions from Goldman Sachs point to a 10% drop in trade at the average pub since the smoking ban came into effect on 1 July last year.
"We are also suffering from rising utility costs, wholesale beer price increases and the cheap and irresponsible deals being offered on alcohol in the supermarkets.
"The trade is on its knees and asked the Chancellor for help but instead he has hammered the final nail in the coffin of the British pub.
"As the poet Hilaire Belloc said: 'When you have lost your inns, drown your empty selves, for you will have lost the last of England."
There have been some belting April fools over the years - but which one is the world's best? Below are some I've found, but please send us any you've done, or heard about, that deserve to join the this infamous list.
- Spaghetti on trees...
In 1957 the respected BBC news show Panorama announced that thanks to a very mild winter and the virtual elimination of the dreaded spaghetti weevil, Swiss farmers were enjoying a bumper spaghetti crop. It accompanied this announcement with footage of Swiss peasants pulling strands of spaghetti down from trees. Huge numbers of viewers were taken in. Many called the BBC wanting to know how they could grow their own spaghetti tree. To this the BBC diplomatically replied that they should "place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best."
- Instant colour TV
In 1962 there was only one tv channel in Sweden, and it broadcast in black and white. The station's technical expert, Kjell Stensson, appeared on the news to announce that, thanks to a new technology, viewers could convert their existing sets to display color reception. All they had to do was pull a nylon stocking over their tv screen. Stensson proceeded to demonstrate the process. Thousands of people were taken in. Regular color broadcasts only commenced in Sweden on April 1, 1970.
- The left-handed Whopper
In 1998 Burger King published a full page advertisement in USA Today announcing the introduction of a new item to their menu: a "Left-Handed Whopper" specially designed for the 32 million left-handed Americans. According to the advertisement, the new whopper included the same ingredients as the original Whopper (lettuce, tomato, hamburger patty, etc.), but all the condiments were rotated 180 degrees for the benefit of their left-handed customers. The following day Burger King issued a follow-up release revealing that although the Left-Handed Whopper was a hoax, thousands of customers had gone into restaurants to request the new sandwich. Simultaneously, according to the press release, "many others requested their own 'right handed' version."
- Eiffel Tower moves
The Parisien stunned French citizens in 1986 when it reported that an agreement had been signed to dismantle the Eiffle Tower. The international symbol of French culture would then be reconstructed in the new Euro Disney theme park going up east of Paris. In the space where the Tower used to stand, a 35,000 seat stadium would be built for use during the 1992 Olympic Games.
- The Eruption of Mount Edgecumbe
In 1974 residents of Sitka, Alaska were alarmed when the long-dormant volcano neighboring them, Mount Edgecumbe, suddenly began to belch out billows of black smoke. People spilled out of their homes onto the streets to gaze up at the volcano, terrified that it was active again and might soon erupt. Luckily it turned out that man, not nature, was responsible for the smoke. A local practical joker named Porky Bickar had flown hundreds of old tires into the volcano's crater and then lit them on fire, all in a (successful) attempt to fool the city dwellers into believing that the volcano was stirring to life. According to local legend, when Mount St. Helens erupted six years later, a Sitka resident wrote to Bickar to tell him, "This time you've gone too far!"
- The Sydney iceberg
On April 1, 1978 a barge appeared in Sydney Harbor towing a giant iceberg. Sydneysiders were expecting it. Dick Smith, a local adventurer and millionaire businessman (owner of Dick Smith's Foods), had been loudly promoting his scheme to tow an iceberg from Antarctica for quite some time. Now he had apparently succeeded. He said that he was going to carve the berg into small ice cubes, which he would sell to the public for ten cents each. These well-traveled cubes, fresh from the pure waters of Antarctica, were promised to improve the flavor of any drink they cooled. Slowly the iceberg made its way into the harbor. Local radio stations provided excited blow-by-blow coverage of the scene. Only when the berg was well into the harbor was its secret revealed. It started to rain, and the firefighting foam and shaving cream that the berg was really made of washed away, uncovering the white plastic sheets beneath.
- Whistling Carrots
In 2002 the British supermarket chain Tesco published an advertisement in The Sun announcing the successful development of a genetically modified 'whistling carrot.' The ad explained that the carrots had been specially engineered to grow with tapered airholes in their side. When fully cooked, these airholes caused the vegetable to whistle.
Thanks for these fools to www.museumofhoaxes.com