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BritNews RoundUp: Ruthless Roofer Edition

I have never had major renovation work done on my home, never had a bathroom refurbished or a kitchen installed, never had an addition put on. I have heard, however, that -- no matter how promising things are at the start -- you always end up hating your home contractor.

That certainly seems to have been the case in Derbyshire where a contractor with the wonderful name of Royden Toon went from being a roofer to being an unroofer. A long-simmering dispute over payment for an addition ended with Toon climbing on top of homeowner James Arthur's house, tearing off roofing materials and joists, and tossing them to the ground. "He wouldn't pay so I went to take my materials back off the roof," said Toon.

Check out the video, if only for Toon's use of the expression "owt."

The International Church of Jediism claims 500,000 worshipers worldwide. Its doctrine? "[We] encourage people to take the path of the light side through positive thought, meditation and the controlling of ones will, also through the teachings that the Star Wars series brings us." They also like wearing those hooded cloaks.

And that's what got Jedi Church founder Daniel Jones in trouble. Jones was asked to either remove his hood or leave a Tesco supermarket in north Wales, saying it flouted store rules. Said Jones: "They said: 'Take it off', and I said: 'No, it's part of my religion. It's part of my religious right.' I gave them a Jedi church business card."

Amazingly even a Jedi church business card wasn't powerful enough to stop Tesco. And Jones was unable to use his Jedi training to convince store employees that "These aren't the droids you're looking for. And let this guy wear his hood."

A Tesco spokesperson told the Guardian: "Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda and Luke Skywalker all appeared hoodless without ever going over to the Dark Side and we are only aware of the Emperor as one who never removed his hood. If Jedi walk around our stores with their hoods on, they'll miss lots of special offers."

England is a bicycle-friendly country. But that doesn't mean they put up with speeding cyclists. Speed bumps installed on a North London path are designed to put the brakes on bikers who might be tempted to coast downhill. Spread like tank traps across the brick lane, the bumps are convincing many cyclists to just walk their bikes.

A motorcyclist in Scotland hit a particularly big speed bump: a sheep. The animal was killed and the motorcyclist, Moray Ferguson, was injured. Then, to almost literally add insult to injury, Ferguson got a $380 bill for the damage his burning Honda bike did to the road surface.

"I didn't know there was going to be a stray sheep on the road,'' he said. ''The accident wasn't my fault.'' The local council said billing accident victims for road damage is standard practice, except in cases where the motorist is killed. In those cases the bill goes directly to the insurance company.

A village council in the east of England spent more than $5,000 to investigate whether one member insulted another member by calling her a witch. According to the Telegraph, the Adjudication Panel for England, said that "although the comments were inadvisable, they did not constitute personal abuse."

It should be pointed out that the counselor, Lisa Chambers, is not a witch. The whole issue has upset Britain's witches, who can't see why anyone would be insulted by being called a witch. Said Robin Herne, chairman of the Ipswich Pagan Community: “It’s not actually an insult to suggest that somebody has pagan beliefs. It may be inaccurate but it’s not like saying she’s a baby-eater."

The Ipswich Baby-Eating Community has lodged a formal protest against Herne.

And finally, reason has prevailed in the case of Spotted Dickgate. You will recall that two weeks ago in this space I wrote about the Welsh county council that changed the name of a dessert on its cafeteria menu from "Spotted Dick" to "Spotted Richard," so tired were they of coarse comments from some customers.

This week the decision was reversed. According to the BBC: "The council now says the pudding will revert to its traditional name. But it has warned any customers who act in a 'childish way' to behave themselves or be refused food."

Wipe that smirk off your face.

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It's Friday, which can mean only one thing: my weekly online chat. Join me at noon today, when my guest will be Jeff Rubin, founder of National Punctuation Day.

By John Kelly  |  September 25, 2009; 9:30 AM ET
Categories:  BritNews RoundUp  
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Mr Ferguson should also receive a bill for the replacement cost of the sheep he killed.

Posted by: vaherder | September 25, 2009 9:49 AM | Report abuse

I've lived in Scotland - the chances of there being unexpected sheep in the road at any given moment are pretty doggone high!

Posted by: hannnah | September 25, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Clearly, he needs to send a bill to the executor of the estate of the sheep for the motorcycle.

Posted by: egengle | September 25, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

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