Quirky World: English gargoyles pile on the pounds to help with the signs of ageing

Ruben Marcos of Scales and Models inspects the wheel on a full-size origami-inspired Lexus IS Saloonthey help build, as it is unveiled at Toyota's base in Surrey. Picture: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

ENGLAND: A set of 150-year-old gargoyles have had their girth broadened to ward off the effects of ageing.

The waistlines of the landmark Cambridge statues have been expanded to help protect them against the impact of weathering.

In the past, parts of the flock of gryphons and beasts at Gonville and Caius College have occasionally become too skinny and fallen from their perches. So the college has introduced the bigger-bodied replacements in the hope they will be better able to withstand the elements.

Home is where the heart is


A museum in Bucharest is preparing to send the preserved heart of the last queen of Romania to its final resting place — the castle where she died.

Deputy curator of the National History Museum, Cornel Constantin Ilie, said the museum would transfer the heart of Queen Marie in its silver casket to Pelisor castle on November 3.

Marie died in 1938. She asked for her heart to be publicly displayed after her death and it was exhibited by two castles before it was sent to the museum in 1970. Marie’s son, King Carol, also ruled Romania while her grandson, King Michael, was forced to abdicate by the communists in 1947.

Carrot crunchers


Carrots might no longer tempt horses at one Oregon rescue ranch — because they have been munching on tonnes of them for days.

The facility in the central Oregon city of Bend accepted a donation of 22 tonnes after a truck carrying them crashed. Equine Outreach operator Joan Steelhammer was offered the vegetables after they were deemed unfit for human consumption.

Volunteer Gene Storm said about 80 horses have been chomping through the massive stock and animal owners have been invited to help reduce the pile too. A few tonnes are left but it is still more than the ranch’s animals can consume.

Where did the time go?


Former students of a central Florida school were hoping to crack open a buried time capsule to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Hoover Middle School.

The problem is nobody remembers where it was buried. Florida Today reports teacher Jack Deppner filmed students on an 8mm camera in 1976. He also collected mementos to bury in the time capsule.

Students reconnected on Facebook and raised the idea of opening it. But no one knew where it was buried. Deppner died a few years ago, but had searched for years and never found it.

Former student Dawn Atkinson-Spaccio says they’re planning on using metal detectors and ground penetrating radar to scour the campus.

Crunchy crickets


A food truck at the University of Connecticut is serving up roasted crickets.

The Daily Campus reports that the university’s dining services are advertising the insects as organic, not genetically modified, and earth friendly.

The crickets are high in protein and low in fat. They’re a source of B vitamins, iron, and zinc.

UConn says the farm that supplies the crickets uses carbon dioxide to kill them and then roasts them.

The crickets are sold for 99c and come whole in plastic containers. They’re sold as a snack or a taco topping. Dining services area assistant manager John Smith says they sell two or three containers of crickets per day at the truck.

Lunar loblolly


Residents in Boise, Idaho, are trying to save a tree that was grown from seeds taken aboard the Apollo 14 mission to the Moon.

The Idaho Statesman reports the loblolly pine planted in 1977 on Lowell Elementary School’s campus is dehydrated and infected with insects.

Eagle Historical Museum curator Alana Dunn brought the tree to the school’s attention. Pattie Hennequin has a third-grader enrolled at Lowell and is now leading the effort to save the so-called moon tree.

“The tree has a special place in our history,” she said. “It’s a fascinating thing to help teach kids about space exploration and to tie in a little Idaho history.”

Astronaut Stuart Roosa included the seeds in his personal items at the request of the forest service, in part to test the effects of zero gravity. Roosa was a former forest service smoke jumper.

Most of the seeds germinated after returning from their journey in space and were distributed to schools and other entities to grow. Demand was so high the forest service grew more seedlings from cuttings of the trees. It’s unclear where all the moon trees were planted, with many of the known trees having died off since the 1970s.


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