Books I have read: An Idiot Abroad

An Idiot Abroad

I always find Ricky Gervais quite funny so borrowed An Idiot Abroad: The Travel Diaries of Karl Pilkington by Karl Pilkington, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant from the library.  I’ve got to be honest, as I finished the book I came away disappointed.

Karl Pilkington was sent by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant to the seven wonders of the world – but instead of having a lovely stay in a 5* hotel and having a beautiful tourist experience he stays or travels with a local resident, most of whom are incredibly poor.  These relationships provide a lot of value in the book – both in terms of amusing stories, but also in terms of the way they clearly make Karl think about the world.

I think the thing that made me most disappointed was Karl’s attitude – he just didn’t seem interested in the fantastic opportunities he’d been given to visit the seven wonders as part of his work.

Cat survives 1,700 miles under a train

Plymouth Cat

Polly the cat was found after riding 1,700 miles around England and Wales in the undercarriage of a train. It is thought that she stayed in the undercarriage for at least two days in fear after badly mangling her front limb. Train manager Emily Mahoney-Smith found the cat when she heard meowing at a stop on the way to Cornwall:

Emily took her on board and fed her tuna from a sandwich from the train’s buffet and put her in a box in her compartment.  She then asked controllers to alert the RSPCA and the charity got in touch with on-call vet Matthew Berriman in Penzance.

Matthew, 34, said Polly was in such a bad state he thought she was a stray and was preparing to put her down.

But she used up her final life when he decided to check if she had been microchipped – and found she had.

The chip gave the details of the cattery in Plymouth who had looked after Polly before giving her a home with retired train driver Arthur Westington, 84, and his wife Louisa.

 

Polly’s owners had not seen the cat in three weeks and thought she was gone for good. They gave permission for her limb to be amputated. Polly is recovering well and will be returned home soon. Click here for the full article.

Funny stories from around the world

Some more funny and random headlines from around the world:

Want to stay safe on the road?

Coldplay - Safer Driving

If you want to stay safe whilst driving there are some big obvious points – wear a seat belt, look in your mirrors, check your blind spot, don’t use your mobile unless you’re hands free … and now listen to Coldplay.

Strange as it may sound, the band’s tunes could help you avoid accidents while driving. Coldplay’s “The Scientist” landed on a list of “ultimate safe driving songs” compiled by Confused.com, the creator of driving app MotorMate.

From the data, London Metropolitan University professor Simon Moore concluded that the optimum music volume for driving is 55 to 65 decibels, while the ideal tempo should mimic the human heartbeat at around 60 to 80 beats per minute.

Based on Moore’s findings, Confused.com created a safe-driving playlist that includes: Norah Jones’ “Come Away With Me,” Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours,” Radiohead’s “Karma Police” and Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer.” For more, check out the video above.

On the other side of the spectrum, Moore cautioned against listening to music that is noisy, upbeat and increases your heart rate. For example, drivers should avoid the Black Eyed Peas’ “Hey Mama,” which topped Confused.com’s list of top 10 dangerous driving songs.

What do you listen to while driving?  Do you think music can make you safer or more dangerous?

Funny stories from around the world

Some more funny and random headlines from around the world:

  • South Africa’s Zuma in dog row: South Africa’s government seeks to clarify remarks by President Jacob Zuma, who angered dog lovers by reportedly saying pets were part of white culture.
  • Apple’s boss in massive pay cut: Tim Cook is to take home a salary that works out to 1% of the $378m (£235m) he received to be Apple’s boss last year.
  • US man admits dinosaur smuggling: A fossils dealer admits smuggling dinosaur bones into the US, including the skeleton of a 70 million-year-old Tyrannosaurus bataar from Mongolia.
  • Wikipedia’s most searched revealed: Articles about Facebook, cul-de-sacs, adult video actresses, One Direction and the @ symbol are among some of 2012’s most clicked Wikipedia pages.
  • Kim and Kanye expecting baby: The rapper Kanye West and his girlfriend Kim Kardashian are expecting a baby.
  • Blood of Louis XVI ‘identified’: Scientists say an old dried out squash contains the blood of beheaded French King Louis XVI, and a genetic link with the mummified head of Henri IV.
  • Woman trapped in shop at new year: While most people celebrated New Year’s Eve with parties and fireworks one pensioner in France spent the night alone in a locked supermarket.
  • Author offers role to dog rescuer: US author Dennis Lehane, who wrote Shutter Island and Mystic River, pledges to name a new character after the person who returns his missing pet dog.
  • Kenya ‘fake police chief’ charged: A Kenyan man is charged after allegedly pretending to be an assistant commissioner of police for five years – during which time he reportedly sacked and recruited police officers.
  • China wedding boom on ‘lucky day’: Thousands of couples across China rush to marry on 4 January, because the Mandarin wording for the date sounds like a promise of eternal love.