QUIRKY WORLD ... A daily look at some of the world’s stranger stories

USA: A 99-year-old Iowa woman who dropped out of a high school more than 80 years ago despite needing only one credit to graduate has finally received her diploma.

Audrey Crabtree, of Cedar Falls, smiled as she received an honorary diploma for her time at Waterloo East High School.

“And I feel so much smarter,” Crabtree quipped.

Crabtree, who began her education at a one-room school house in northeast Iowa, left high school in 1932 due to a swimming and diving accident that forced her to miss several school days. She also had to care for her sick grandmother.

“I was a senior, but I was short a credit, so I would’ve had to go back the next fall,” she told the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier.

That would have interfered with her plans to marry her first husband. In 1957, the couple bought the flower shop where Crabtree had worked after their two children started school. But her husband died of a heart attack two months into their business venture.

Crabtree operated Flowers by Audrey for 28 years. She married two more times and outlived both husbands.

Vine and dine

ENGLAND: A plant which produces both potatoes and tomatoes, described as a “veg plot in a pot”, has been launched in the UK.

The TomTato can grow more than 500 sweet cherry tomatoes while producing white potatoes.

Horticultural mail order company Thompson & Morgan, which is selling the plants for £14.99 (€17.80) each, said the hybrid plants were individually hand-crafted and not a product of genetic engineering.

Beat it

ENGLAND: A controversial Michael Jackson statue has been scrapped from Fulham Football Club’s stadium.

A group of stonemasons removed the artwork from Craven Cottage. It was erected in Apr 2011 at the request of former owner and chairman Mohamed al-Fayed, who was close to Jackson.


USA: A missing toy armadillo with a connection to Willie Nelson has sparked a search in the New York suburbs.

The Capitol Theatre’s general manager says the stuffed armadillo beloved by a member of the country star’s crew was stolen from the stage after a concert.

A posting on Nelson’s Facebook page asks for help finding the thief. One comment says: “We hang armadillo thieves in Texas.”

FRANCE: Staff have demonstrated outside a luxury Paris hotel over pay — saying a single night in its top suite costs more than some of their annual salaries.

Dozens of chambermaids and their supporters timed the protest outside the Park Hyatt Hotel-Vendome to coincide with Paris Fashion Week, when the city hosts many VIP guests.

Blowing whistles, waving red flags of the Communist-backed CGT union, and shouting “You need to pay”, the protesters insisted the chambermaids earn much less than counterparts at other upmarket hotels.

Whiff of scandal

USA: Police storing the carcasses of trapped skunks in an American town caused a stink among their neighbours.

Humanely-trapped skunks were taken to an old police station in Buffalo, New York, where they were shot and stored in outdoor freezers until they could be incinerated.

City officials say they are looking for new locations for dispatching the skunks.

More in this section


Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox