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Foster’s English Oddities: Weird and Wonderful Stories 

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Old 09-01-2013, 02:35 PM
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Foster’s English Oddities: Weird and Wonderful Stories

Ever heard of the goat who circumnavigated the world, or crabs falling from the sky?

How about the man who left his estate to his two sons – on the condition they did not grow moustaches?

Quirky new book Foster’s English Oddities features scores of little-known tales from Britain past and present – spooky, weird, wonderful and funny stories that will make you see Blighty in a different light.

* Jamie-Louisa Arnold , 12, from Cowlinge, Suffolk, bit into an apple in August 2002 to find a gold ring.

After seeing a photo of it, Rosalind Pike, 37, recognised it as the ring she’d lost in a swimming pool nearly 30 years before.

It was suggested a bird had picked up the ring, dropped it in a tree and an apple eventually grew around it.

* A two-headed calf born in Braunstone, Leicestershire, at the end of the 19th century became a star attraction at a museum in nearby Melton Mowbray.

The calf only survived a few hours but the vet who delivered it stuffed it and displayed it in his surgery before it later moved to the museum.

* Students writing a school assignment called “The Day The School Caught Fire” had to leave it unfinished in Jan 1954 when the school, in Sherborne, Dorset, caught fire.

* Actor George Frederick Cooke, who was born in London, carried on working on the stage even after his death in 1812.

George’s skull was used in productions of Hamlet before being given to the Thomas Jefferson University Medical School Library in Philadelphia.

* A greyhound won a London dog race in September 1930, despite being dead.

Joy Leaflet dropped dead just before it reached the finishing line but the momentum carried him over, beating his opponent.

The judges had no choice but to award him first prize.

* A British man lived for 31 years after being shot through the heart in September 1898 at the Battle of Omdurman in Sudan.

Lieutenant General Sir Arthur Sloggett amazed doctors and lived an active life until the age of 72.

* We’ve heard of the saying ‘raining cats and dogs’ but never crabs.

That’s exactly what happened though in June 1983, when a large spider crab dropped out of a storm cloud in front of Julian Cowan close to his home in Brighton.

The crab was dead with a claw and two of its legs missing.

* Despite going blind in 1816, Margaret McAvoy from Liverpool, stunned doctors by being able to read print with her fingers – even in the dark.

She could also tell the colour of objects just by touching them.

* When Londoner Henry Budd died in February 1862, he left his whole estate to his two sons but on one condition – that neither of them would grow a moustache.

Perhaps he had a pogonophobia – a fear of facial hair?

* A cab driver discovered his long-lost son after picking him up in his taxi.

Barry Bagshaw had not seen his son Colin for 33 years until he picked him and his girlfriend, Rachel, up in August 2001.

Rachel spotted Barry’s ID badge and commented they shared the same surname.

Bizarrely, they also discovered they lived just five doors away from each other in Peacehaven, Sussex.

* A goat died April 1772 after having circumnavigated the world twice.

The goat was a passenger aboard the Dolphin, a discovery ship, and then the Endeavour.

She was sent to the Greenwich Naval Hospital as a pensioner to live out the rest of her days but died just before she was admitted.

* A man sneezed every day for 35 years – only to discover he was allergic to his muesli.

More than 60 doctors saw Patrick Webster, from Ringwood, Hampshire, before he was diagnosed with the allergy after he spotted an article in a paper about food sensitivities in 2000.

* After asking a stranger the time on a train Nick Coomes from Salisbury, Wiltshire, was stunned to discover she was wearing the watch he’d lost two months earlier while on holiday in Jersey in August 1996.

It turned out the girl had been in the same nightclub and picked up the watch, which had Nick’s name engraved on it.

* In the early 17th Century, a woman joked to three potential suitors she’d marry them all if they waited their turn – and she did.

Lady Penelope Darcy married Sir George Trenchard of Wolverton and, when he died in 1607 after a year of marriage, she wed Sir John Gage of Firle.

When he died in 1663, she fulfilled her promise and married Sir William Hervey of Ickleworth, Surrey.

* In the 1920s, three Englishmen happened to be travelling in the same passenger car on a train through Peru.

After introducing themselves the strangers realised a funny coincidence that linked them all.

The first man’s surname was Bingham, the second was called Powell while the third man’s was a combination of both their names – Bingham-Powell.

* A goldfish survived two brushes with death after being dropped down a chimney in Northampton by a heron in December 1999.

Amazingly, it bounced off hot coals on the fire and landed on the living floor of the Brewin family with only minor injuries from being held in the heron’s beak. The family put it in a bowel of water and it made a full recovery.

* In July 1883, Jack Ferry crossed the English Channel on a floating tricycle using large rubber wheels as paddles and a smaller one as a rudder.

It was only 20 miles but took him nine hours because of strong currents.

* William Hobbs of Wrington, Somerset, grew two new teeth in 1765 at the age of 106.

* When she died in 1776, Margaret Thompson of Essex Street, London, left instructions in her will that her coffin was to be lined with all her unwashed snuff handkerchiefs.

She also asked that her body be covered with the best Scottish snuff instead of flowers since “nothing can be so fragrant and refreshing to me as that precious powder.”

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Old 09-01-2013, 02:44 PM
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Re: Foster’s English Oddities: Weird and Wonderful Stories

love stories like these!

Had to read the one about the cab driver a couple times. At first I thought Rachel was Colin after a sex change???

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Old 09-02-2013, 09:25 PM
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