Residents of East Tafferton will have a shock when they receive their council tax bills this year, as the town council has opted to have all its road markings done by hand. "It's expensive," says Councillor John Thomas. "But we think it's worth it because it enhances the look of the town and will lend a pleasing aspect to our roads and car parks."
The council is currently inviting tenders from artists who are interested in taking on the commission. "We're looking for someone with flair and an eye for detail. A degree in fine art would be advantageous although not essential. We encourage creativity and are not afraid of pushing the boundaries when it comes to colour and style, although the one thing we insist on - and I really can't stress this enough - is that the successful candidate must be able to do straight lines."
...and in related news...
The highways agency has recently experimented with putting glitter into paint used for road markings in an effort to reduce the cost of street lighting. "It's been a fantastic success," said a spokesman. "The new glitter markings have significantly improved visibility at night and, as an added bonus, now it looks like Christmas all year round."
Animal welfare charities have recently reported a disturbing new trend in instances of cruelty to tortoises. Certain individuals have taken to waiting for them to go into hibernation and then 'bricking up their shells'. Although the animals remain quite comfortable and secure during the winter months, come spring they become confused and disorientated as they attempt to emerge only to find that their entrances have been blocked by several courses of badly pointed brickwork.
"It's a very distressing experience for them," said welfare officer Miriam Lettuce. "They go into a panic and try to force their way out through the leg holes. And even when they do manage to get out, many of them are so traumatised that they abandon their shells completely and live the rest of their lives as fat lizards."
Dairy farmer Fergus Pong has staged a protest outside his local benefits office following a decision not to award Employment Support Allowance to his favourite cow. The benefit, which is given to assist people who are no longer able to work due to ill health, is not usually awarded to animals of working age, and Mr Pong believes that this is inherently unfair.
"It's not my Daisy's fault that she can no longer operate a lathe," said Pong, who tells us that his cow had worked for ten years in a small engineering firm in Staffordshire before contracting a rare tropical disease from a pig who worked in the canteen. "Now, whenever she's on her feet for more than ten minutes at a time she comes over all dizzy and has to have a lie down. Well, that's no good is it? When she went for her assessment the man there asked her if she could sit on a chair without feeling discomfort for more than twenty minutes. Well of course she can, so the man there pronounced her fit for work. Well what good is that? Who goes around employing cows to sit in chairs for twenty minutes at a time? There's no money in that lark. If there was, we'd all be doing it."
Mr Pong is currently helping Daisy to appeal against the decision and he is confident of success. He is also expecting good news after assisting his chickens to apply for Working Tax Credit.
We've had a letter from a Mrs Edna Womble of Hartlepool. Mrs Womble writes:
Dear Mr Obvious
My nephew recently bought a leopard from a major high street pet shop, but on getting it home he discovered that it was all bitey and kept trying to rip his arm off. Well, we did just what anyone else would do and took it back to the shop but the shop assistant said that they didn't do refunds and wouldn't give me my money back. Well, of course, I demanded to see the manager but he was off sick after been attacked by a mountain lion the week before. Naturally I stood my ground; I told them that I knew my rights and that I wasn't prepared to leave until I had seen someone in authority. Eventually the assistant manager came out of the back, covered in bandages and scratch marks, and bleeding profusely, but he just tried to fob me off by telling me we could exchange it for two hyenas or an okapi. I left the shop in a huff, promising to write a stern letter to his head office , returning only to collect my nephew, whom I found swaying hypnotically in front of the tank with the big snake in it.
I am presently in the process of penning my letter of complaint, in which I point out the defective nature of the leopard, the lack of safety warnings on the box and the fact that the only instructions appear to be in Italian. But my question is this - bearing in mind the terrible effect that this has had on my impressionable young nephew, my own status as an elderly and fragile pensioner, and mindful of the personal stress and anxiety that this situation had generated, how much should I ask for in compensation?
Mrs Edna Womble
Well thank you for your letter Mrs Womble. A tricky situation indeed. But I'm afraid you're confusing us with someone else. Try a consumer site.
Stuck for a last minute present this Christmas? Well, according to Speedy Critters, a national chain of pet stores, you couldn't do much worse than one of their discount doggies or cut price cats. They're cheap, they're fun and, what's more, they deliver themselves.
"We used to send all of our pets by Parcelforce, FedEx or one of the other major carriers," says company spokesman Harry Mange. "And quite frankly it was costing us a fortune. Then we hit upon an idea - seeing as most of these animals are perfectly capable of moving under their own steam, we thought that they may as well make their own way."
Mr Mange claims that all their puppies are capable of following basic directions and will present themselves at your front door within seven days of purchase. A snake will post itself through your letterbox and, as an added bonus, it will devour any junk mail it finds lying on your doormat. Parrots arrive by air mail.
"We've did have a bit of a problem with our cats," Mr Mange admits. "But since we agreed to pay their travel expenses they've been much more cooperative. You can rest assured that whatever pet you purchase - whether it's a goldfish, hamster or stick insect - it's guaranteed to arrive by the end of the week... Unless it's a tortoise, for which you should allow up to twenty-eight days for delivery."
See the full list
We're very very sorry
Was itching powder used in Vietnam?
Talking rubbish for Britain.
A breakthrough in lunch technology.
The XII Fish Olympiad
"A rancid, petulant wheelbarrow of death..."
Bigger isn't always better, and so when aviation analysts were tasked with finding a way to carry more passengers on each flight, they rejected noisy and expensive 'mega-airliners', and instead came up with the 'dismembertron'. This handy device can easily be installed in most departure lounges, and uses a series of swinging blades to divide passengers into smaller chunks. These pieces can be stored more efficiently - legs in one container, arms in another, etc. - thus making it possible to fit more passengers on a standard sized aircraft. The payload is then reassembled at the destination by a team of highly trained jigsaw enthusiasts, using gaffer tape, staples and a considerable amount of good luck.
"The caverns were closed to the public for their annual hosing down..."
"...landing a man on the moon, shaving it, and returning him safely to Earth......"
"A gentleman never fouls himself upwind of a waitress..."
"You're a miserable old sourpuss..."more...
Stuffed with new material and old favourites, Recalled to Life is 280 pages of plumptiousness and very probably exactly what you need to prop up that wonky old table in the kitchen.
Find out more here.
of the Bleeding Obvious
All material Copyright © Paul Farnsworth 2000-2014, and may not be reproduced without the express permission of the author. All characters, companies and organisations are fictitious, and any similarity to persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.