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


ENGLAND: The first man to swim the length of Britain has shaved off the beard he grew to protect his face against jellyfish stings.

It took Sean Conway four-and-a-half months to swim from Land’s End to John O’Groats, via Ireland. Along the way he was stung 10 times by jellyfish including three times on the face, which was why he grew his beard.

Mr Conway said he was unsure whether he was ready to lose it, but it was all part of his fundraising efforts. “The beard was such an important part of my adventure and it inadvertently became my image. I’m definitely going to grow it again,” he said.

Sleeping passenger locked in plane at Houston airport

USA: A Louisiana man flying to California woke up on a dark, empty plane parked at Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston after sleeping through the call to exit the aircraft, officials said.

Tom Wagner was supposed to leave the plane in Houston l and board a flight to California. Instead, he found himself locked inside the ExpressJet plane, which was operating as a United Express flight.

He called his girlfriend for help, according to an interview he gave to Houston television station KTRK.

“She thought I was crazy. I said... ‘I’m locked on the plane. I’m telling you the truth; you better go somewhere and get me off this plane’,” Wagner told the broadcaster.

Ground staff servicing the airplane a few hours after it landed found and released Wagner, ExpressJet spokeswoman Samantha Harrison said.

Company policy requires the flight crew to do a final sweep of the cabin and the company was investigating how Wagner was left onboard, Harrison said.

“As part of post-flight procedures, our flight attendants are responsible for completing a walk-through on the aircraft,” Harrison said in an email.

ExpressJet said in a statement: “We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience this caused for the passenger.”

Wagner told KTRK the airline paid for a hotel in Houston and gave him a $250 (€180) voucher for his trouble.

USA: Americans ranked the “Inattentive Parent” as the most annoying type of fellow air traveller, defeating the “Rear Seat Kicker”, “The Aromatic Passenger” and “The Boozer”, according to a list by online travel agent Expedia.com.

The list, compiled by consulting firm Northstar, ranked the personal annoyances of 1,001 Americans who had flown on an airplane in the past five years.

“Most of us, when we look at the list of offending behaviours, can admit to having committed one or more of the violations,” said John Morrey, vice president and general manager of Expedia.com.

Of the respondents, 63% said they “often feel annoyed” by parents travelling with noisy children, with 59% of those under 35 saying they would pay extra to sit in designated quiet zones if airlines offered them.

Kids’ crying is not the only sound passengers find obnoxious. When asked how they feel about sitting next to talkative passengers, 73% said they were filled with “dread”.


ENGLAND: A police force has had to rename its festive crimefighting calendar after complaints that its original title was “in poor taste”.

Nottinghamshire Police launched the Badvent Calendar at the start of this month, which each day reveals a picture and details of a person wanted by police instead of seasonal images and chocolates.

But after criticisms that the name was inappropriate, including complaints from the force’s own officers and staff, it was renamed as the Festive Crime Calendar.


USA: A man in New Jersey awoke after a night’s sleep to discover a knife stuck in his back.

Police in Trenton said the 42-year- old did not know why his back was hurting when he got up and asked his brother to take a look. The brother found the knife protruding from the middle of his back.

Officers said he had been involved in a fistfight on his porch after a night of drinking and apparently did not realise he had been stabbed.


USA: Oklahoma state politicians are seeking to ease public concern over a plan by a group of Satanists to erect a monument at the state Capitol.

The New York-based Satanic Temple wrote to the Oklahoma Capitol Preservation Commission indicating its plans to donate a homage to Satan and have it placed near a Ten Commandments monument.

But state senate politicians described the plan as a “political stunt”.


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