In a phenomenon known as The Peppa Effect, American parents took to social media with fears that Peppa Pig is turning their children British. Not only were their children speaking with an English accent, but they were also using British words such as ‘petrol’ and ‘lorry’ instead of ‘gas’ and ‘truck’.
In 1995, Heinz hid 100 18-carat gold beans in random tins across the UK to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the foodstuff. This year, one of those beans went to auction and was snapped up by Heinz itself, which had failed to keep one for itself and has been waiting 24 years for one to come on sale.
This year is the 40th anniversary of Monty Python’s Life Of Brian. On its release, the film was widely accused of blasphemy and many UK councils banned it. This remained in place in Aberystwyth until 2008, when it was eventually lifted by the new mayor, former actress Sue Jones-Davies. She had played Brian’s girlfriend in the film.
This year, the council in the sleepy Norfolk town of Thetford spent £1,600 on terrorist insurance, fearing that events such as the Thetford Gaming Convention could make them a target for ISIS
Police were called to a potential murder scene when neighbours heard a man repeatedly screaming ‘WHY WON’T YOU DIE?!’ and a child crying in the background. It turned out that the man suffered from extreme arachnophobia and his comments were directed at a spider. The incident report concluded: ‘No injuries sighted (except to spider).’
The American rock band Guns N’ Roses sued a brewery for making a beer called Guns ’n’ Rosé. They said it had caused ‘irreparable damage’ to their brand.
Several months after a consignment of Nike trainers fell off a ship on the east coast of America last year they have become of unexpected interest to scientists. Oceanographers realised that the shoes responded to ocean currents in different ways, according to whether they were left or right shoes. More left shoes than right ended up in Newquay and more right shoes than left ended up in the Azores.
Thanks to a reduction in traffic levels while the April Extinction Rebellion protest was in full sway, pollution on London’s Oxford Street fell by up to 45 per cent.
Clacton had an outbreak of blue cats and dogs when eight sacks of ink powder broke in a fire. The blaze and smoke carried the blue powder through the air of the Essex resort, where it settled on its furry residents
In the 50th anniversary year of Man’s first landing on the Moon, few remember the crew of Apollo 12 which landed there just four months later. When crew member Pete Conrad became the third person to stand on the Moon, his first words were ‘Whoopie! That may have been a small one for Neil, but that’s a long one for me.’ (He was 5ft 6in tall.) He came up with the line in order to win a $500 bet with a journalist who believed the government scripted everything that the astronauts said.
Only nine per cent of the more than ¤1 billion pledged by millionaires and billionaires for the repair of Notre Dame had materialised over three months later. Many of the would-be donors either went completely silent or refused to release the cash before knowing what it would be used for
A Massachusetts man came home to find that someone had broken into his house and stolen nothing at all. They had just cleaned it. He said, ‘Nothing was damaged, nothing was taken . . . just arranged in a really creepy way.’ Almost every room had been spruced up, and an elaborate origami rose had been made out of toilet paper.
More than 50 billboards across the UK were fitted with cameras and facial detection software. They can identify the age, gender and mood of the passers-by and then show an advert best suited to the individual walking past.
Residents of Jersey faced a feral chicken outbreak. Because there are no natural predators — such as foxes — on the island, escaped chickens were able to breed rapidly, forming gangs of up to 100 birds, which then took to stalking Jersey’s mean streets, causing traffic chaos and chasing joggers.
Racing driver Niki Lauda died this year aged 70. The three-times Formula 1 World Drivers’ Champion hated the design of the F1 trophies so much, he traded all of his for a lifetime of free car washes.
In 2016, a team of scientists travelled to Dominica to study the grip strength of local lizards. This year they returned, more than a year after Hurricane Maria had struck the Caribbean island, to find — in what may be an example of extremely rapid evolution — that the latest generation can grip onto surfaces 10 times more powerfully than their predecessors.
The American rock band Guns N’ Roses sued a brewery for making a beer called Guns ’n’ Rosé. They said it had caused ‘irreparable damage’ to their brand
The people of Preston were asked to vote on the city’s best restaurants; 200 were nominated, but it was a local branch of Nando’s that came out on top. Mark O’Rourke, whose burger restaurant We Don’t Give A Fork was the runner-up, said: ‘It just makes Preston look bad. Not that it doesn’t anyway.’
Before being evicted from the Ecuadorean embassy in April, WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange claimed to run three to five miles a day on a treadmill. If this is true, he will have run roughly the equivalent of the distance from the Ecuadorean embassy in London to the British embassy in Ecuador and back.
Matt Carthy, a Northern Irish MEP, discovered his kids were unlocking his laptop by using an election leaflet with his face on it. He wrote that he wasn’t sure whether he should be proud of his children’s cunning or ‘concerned about the sneakiness’.
This year, the council in the sleepy Norfolk town of Thetford spent £1,600 on terrorist insurance, fearing that events such as the Thetford Gaming Convention could make them a target for ISIS. Farmer Mark Maloy commented: ‘There’s more chance of being kicked to death by butterflies.’
County judge Robert George sentenced Missouri deer poacher David Berry to a year in prison. He stipulated that, while incarcerated, the offender must undergo a monthly viewing of the film Bambi.
A handbag 2in long and known as the Jacquemus Mini Le Chiquito made its debut in Paris Fashion Week. One writer tweeted a list of things it could hold: ‘Loose floss, a spare acrylic nail or a singular lock of curled hair retrieved from the head of Jude Law circa 1999.’
A 59-year-old Nebraskan man was being rushed to hospital with an abnormal heartbeat when the ambulance hit a pothole. It jolted his heart back to a normal rhythm and saved his life.
When crew member Pete Conrad became the third person to stand on the Moon, his first words were ‘Whoopie! That may have been a small one for Neil, but that’s a long one for me. Mr Conrad is pictured above on the Moon
A handbag has been invented that can order an Uber. It syncs up with your phone and has a button that can not only find a taxi, but turn on your house lights or help you find your keys.
Researchers at the University of Leeds are developing a drone that will fly around at night spraying 3D-printed asphalt inside small cracks to stop them getting worse. If they’re successful, the roads in and around Leeds will be both pothole-free and completely self-mending by 2035.
A man in Salisbury excused himself from jury duty on the grounds that he was scheduled to be the judge in the case in question. His appeal to be excused was rejected at first, and he was told to apply to the resident judge if he still wanted exemption. He replied: ‘I am the resident judge.’
When fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld died, an undisclosed amount of his £153 million fortune went to his cat, Choupette, who lived almost as extravagantly as Lagerfeld did. She had a modelling contract advertising German cars and Japanese cosmetics. She had two maids, an Instagram feed with more than 200,000 followers and her own website. One of Choupette’s main hobbies was playing with shopping bags. She attended Karl’s cremation in a Louis Vuitton bag designed especially for her.
Honda broke the record for the fastest lawnmower in the world, the Mean Mower V2. As well as accelerating to 100mph faster than a Ferrari Enzo, it can reach speeds in excess of 150mph. It can also cut the grass.
American explorer Victor Vescovo made the deepest-ever dive in human history. Although he descended nearly 11 kilometres to the bottom of the Mariana Trench — the lowest part of the ocean — he found plastic bags and sweet wrappers when he got there
In the heatwave that struck Europe early this summer, a pile of manure in Spain spontaneously combusted and started a 10,000-acre fire — the worst that Catalonia had seen in 20 years.
Scientists conducted an experiment that involved handing in 17,000 ‘lost’ wallets to officials in banks, theatres or police stations all over the world. They found that wallets containing a large sum of money were returned 72 per cent of the time, compared with just 40 per cent for empty wallets. Switzerland came out top, with 76 per cent of wallets being returned. (China, Morocco, Peru and Kazakhstan came bottom.) There were a few surprising results: for example, some wallets dropped at the Vatican and at anti-corruption bureaux never made it back.
In April, when the cathedral of Notre Dame caught fire, the chaplain of the Paris Fire Brigade, Father Fournier, realised his priority was ‘to preserve above all the real presence of our Lord Jesus Christ’ — the wafers and wine, or Blessed Sacrament. He rushed into the cathedral as burning beams fell to the floor, ‘retrieved Jesus’ and, while still inside, used the consecrated bread and wine to bless it. In his view: ‘It was probably both this and the excellent general manoeuvre of the firefighters that led to the stopping of the fire.’
Only nine per cent of the more than €1 billion pledged by millionaires and billionaires for the repair of Notre Dame had materialised over three months later. Many of the would-be donors either went completely silent or refused to release the cash before knowing what it would be used for. According to Notre-Dame’s press officer, they didn’t want it used ‘just to pay employees’ salaries’ during the clean-up.
When fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld died, an undisclosed amount of his £153 million fortune went to his cat, Choupette, who lived almost as extravagantly as Lagerfeld did. She had a modelling contract advertising German cars and Japanese cosmetics
When Hurricane Dorian headed towards Florida in September, e-scooter firms removed all the scooters they could from the region, to avoid the risk of a lethal ‘scooternado’ — a storm of unmoored scooters, whipped up into the hurricane then ejected.
A Japanese hotel that employed 243 robots had to fire them and hire humans. The concierge robot couldn’t answer basic questions, like the opening hours of nearby tourist attractions; the bellboy robots kept getting stuck trying to pass each other in the corridors; and one guest was incessantly woken at night by an in-room assistant asking him to repeat what he’d just said, because it mistook his snoring for speech.
A woman who ordered a cake with a picture of singer Mariah Carey on it was presented with one that featured Nobel Prize-winning chemist Marie Curie.
Research found that many fitness trackers overestimate the calories burned during exercise, some by more than 50 per cent.
Hotelier Robert Bigelow announced that in 2021 he will be offering accommodation 200 miles above the surface of the Earth, in the International Space Station. For £27,500, residents will get food, air, medical kits, exercise equipment and use of the station’s life-support systems and toilet. The ISS orbits the Earth at 17,000mph, so visitors will experience 16 sunrises and sunsets every 24 hours. In other words, they’ll get 16 days for the price of one.
Clacton had an outbreak of blue cats and dogs when eight sacks of ink powder broke in a fire. The blaze and smoke carried the blue powder through the air of the Essex resort, where it settled on its furry residents.
Twenty-seven years after his original retirement tour, the No More Tours Tour, Ozzy Osbourne planned to go back on the road with a tour called the No More Tours Tour 2. (Owing to an injury, this has now been postponed until next year.)
The National Weather Service in Cleveland, Ohio, issued a warning urging owners of small dogs to ‘Hold onto your pooch!’ as 50mph winds hit the city. In 2009 a 70mph gust in Michigan picked up a Chihuahua and deposited it nearly a mile away.
At the 14th hole of Donald Trump’s Washington golf course, there is a plaque commemorating an American Civil War battle that supposedly took place there. According to The New York Times, which consulted three historians about it, this is pure fiction. When confronted, President Trump demanded of reporters: ‘How would they [the historians] know that? Were they there?’
American explorer Victor Vescovo made the deepest-ever dive in human history. Although he descended nearly 11 kilometres to the bottom of the Mariana Trench — the lowest part of the ocean — he found plastic bags and sweet wrappers when he got there.
A tour operator swimming off the coast of South Africa was swallowed by a whale while filming a shoal of sardines. He went down head-first, but didn’t make it past the gullet before the whale spat him out. He emerged still clutching his camera.
Extracted from The Book Of The Year 2019 by No Such Thing As A Fish (Hutchinson, £12.99). © Quite Interesting Ltd 2019.
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