Quirky World: Baker with hunger for success is top of her game



A Hunger Games movie fan has been served up a top award after baking a life-sized cake in the guise of Hollywood A-lister Jennifer Lawrence.

Lara Clarke, originally from Belfast but now plying her craft from her home in Walsall in the West Midlands, won a gold award for her efforts at the Cake International event at Birmingham’s NEC at the weekend.

She was also awarded silver for a similar cake confection depicting Game Of Thrones’ anti-hero Tyrion Lannister, played by Emmy award-winning actor Peter Dinklage.



A brain surgery patient was cured of arachnophobia following an operation but developed a temporary aversion to music.

Dr Nick Medford, a senior lecturer in psychiatry at the Brighton and Sussex Medical School, and medical student Sophie Binks, made the discovery, the first of its kind, after observing a patient who had started having seizures and was found to have swollen tissue in part of his brain.

As a result, he had to have his damaged left amygdala, which helps process emotions such as fear, anger, and pleasure, and determine what memories are stored, removed, a BSMS spokesman said.



A man walked into a fire station with a teapot stuck on his right hand.

Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service said the unnamed man called into Amersham Fire Station with his right hand in the metal pot.

Firefighters delved into a toolkit to remove it.



An 81-year-old man picked thousands of tangerines — 11 truckloads worth — and then sold the stolen bounty at a nearby market, deputies in Florida said.

Herman Southall was charged with 11 counts of transporting citrus without a certificate, grand theft of more than 2,000 pieces of citrus, and trespassing.

He was being held at the Polk County Jail on an $8,500 (€6,820) bond.

Southall and another man were found by deputies picking fruit in a grove after a sheriff’s office helicopter pilot saw them.



A man picked the wrong woman to pay in counterfeit bank notes at a yard sale, as she was a bank clerk trained to know the look and feel of real money.

Gregory Douglas, 40, of Kittanning, Pennsylvania, was trapped after giving Amy Miller counterfeit $20 notes. Ms Miller, who works at Citizens Bank in Kittanning, said the bills were not printed on “money paper”, adding: “Compared to the other 20s in my bag, it was really white.”

Detectives deduced the fakes were printed on CV printing paper and Douglas was charged with forgery and theft by deception.



Things could get confusing when people talk about Sheriff Snaza in southwest Washington.

Twin brothers will have the same title in the neighbouring Thurston and Lewis counties.

With this week’s election, The Chronicle reports Lewis County sheriff’s office veteran Rob Snaza won the top job.

His twin brother, John Snaza, is already sheriff in Thurston County.



A central Florida preacher is trying to break a record for the longest speech.

The Leesburg Daily Commercial reported on Saturday that Zack Zehnder of the Cross Church in Mount Dora hopes to speak for more than 48 hours and 31 minutes to break the world record.

Zehnder is raising money for a new addiction recovery programme during his speech.

He plans to give an overview of the Bible and hopes to speak for 50 hours.

According to rules by the Guinness Book of World Records, Zehnder gets a five-minute break every hour.

He told the newspaper that the recording-breaking speech attempt is a creative way to spread God’s word.



Officials say a European eagle owl attacked a Harris’s hawk on Friday in Burlington’s Town Center Mall.

The Burlington Free Press reports that witnesses said the owl squeezed the hawk in its claws for several minutes, causing the hawk to shriek.

Workers at the mall display for the Freeport, Maine-based outdoors outfitter separated the birds.

The birds are from Talons! A Bird of Prey Experience.

Master falconer Lorrie Schumacher says the birds had known each other for six years and had never gone after each other before.

She says they’re always in close proximity and workers make sure their leashes aren’t too close.

But she adds that they are predators.


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