Ziferblat Cafe, London – where drinks are free, but you pay 3p-per-minute to be there

This is an interesting idea – as long as the coffee is good then it could well be worth visiting the Ziferblat cafe.


I wonder if they are open 24 hours a day and have comfortable chairs?

Little Known British Traditions – Animal Gambling

The local fish pond was the scene of more gambling. People baked their own bread using various recipes and then played “feed the fish”. People threw pieces of bread into the water and the first piece of bread eaten would win its baker the prize. In 1892, after ten years of  overzealous competition the fish in the pond were so large that they could barely swim and so there was a five-year hiatus before the contest recommenced.
Another contest was ‘Attract the mouse,” which was played in the house of Martha Grable. She had a large mouse hole in her skirting board. Gamblers placed their pieces of cheese around the hole and then crouched down behind the sofa to wait. The judge ensured that each piece was genuine cheese and hadn’t been doctored by a mouse attractant. The judge also ensured that each piece of cheese was exactly three feet from the hole. The winner was the person whose piece of cheese was first eaten by the mouse. A mouse sniffing at a piece of cheese didn’t count.
The most popular contest was “Guess the spots on the ladybird.” The ladybird judge would catch an insect and ask people to place bets on the number of spots. If the number of spots wasn’t guessed correctly all bets were carried over into the next guess. In 1763, an apparent plague of 10-spotted ladybirds was found to be a hoax perpetrated by Andrew Craig, the local painter, who was banned from all gambling events for 200 years.
Extract from 40 Humourous British Traditions available here

Soccer Fans Generosity

Fans of soccer (or football as it’s called in many countries) are sometimes portrayed as violent thugs. These people give the beautiful game a bad name.

To begin to set the record straight, read this story about the generosity of some Bournemouth fans towards the fans of their opponents in the third round of the F.A. Cup, Burton Albion.


Sports the Olympics Forgot – Boats on Wheels, Lubeck

There are a number of races in each category for both men and women depending on a contestant’s age. The U-21 race is over 5 miles, the 21-30 race is for 7.5 miles, and the 31 and above race is a distance of 10 miles. In most years, the number of contestants in each category is between 750 and 1000 split evenly between each age range. The first round in each of the age ranges is split into four separate races and the idea in this first round is not to be caught by the Vikings. The starter, dressed as Neptune, fires a Very Light into the sky and the racers start to paddle away from the starting line.

Five minutes later the starter fires a distress flare into the sky and 25 Viking warriors start running after the contestants carrying plastic axes and wearing traditional helmets. If the Vikings catch a contestant and strike him over the head with their axe then the contestant, and his fellow crew members in canoes and fishing boats, takes no further part in the contest. Only those boats that reach the finishing line without being caught by a Viking qualify for the next round.

Sports the Olympics Forgot – The Hula Hoop Games in Buenos Aires

Another throwing event is the Wrist Snap Retrieve where entrants throw the hoop high into the air, but with reverse spin so that when the hoop hits the ground on its rim it returns in the direction of the thrower. The person who throws the hoop the furthest away from them and yet still makes it come back to them is declared the winner. The longest retrieve throw ever was 89 feet 7 inches by Basil Workman from Chipping Sodbury in the UK.

The accuracy events involve both throwing and rolling. The basic idea is that the hoop should land over one of three 2-foot long armadillos that are placed at distances of 100, 200, and 300 feet from the thrower. Since 1963, pottery armadillos have been used instead of real ones in order to save the animals from the mental cruelty of having objects thrown at them. The contestant receives five points for completely circling the 100-foot armadillo, 10 points for circling the 200-foot armadillo, and 20 points for circling the 300-foot armadillo. If the hoop balances on the animal then no points are awarded, but the hoop counts as a ‘toucher.’ If two people are level on points after the six rounds of competition then the number of touchers is taken into account to try and break the tie.

Extract from “Sports the Olympics Forgot” by Julian Worker

Animal images from the last week of 2013

Here are some wonderful animal images from the last week of 2013.


New Year’s Traditions from around the World

Here are some strange New Year’s Traditions.


I hope you can find the time to witness one of these events in 2014.

Albert Camus – Quote

If you’re looking for a New Year’s resolution, try the one below, before it’s too late.

 “Real generosity towards the future lies in giving all to the present.”

Sports the Olympics Forgot

Sports the Olympics Forgot, my newest book, is now available for Kindle readers on Amazon both in the US and Canada.

The world has many interesting sports such as Bog-snorkelling, Conkers, Egg-and-Spoon Racing, and Sack Racing. Sports the Olympics Forgot describes 40 more sports in a similar vein, all of which haven’t started yet.

All the stories are individual and distinct and can be read independently if necessary; a book for the busy individual who perhaps has five minutes to spare to understand the complexities of Bull Pulling or Unicycle Volleyball.

None of these sports should be attempted at home; the best way to research these sports further would be to find the relevant sporting associations on the Internet and contact them. These associations would also be able to put you in touch with like-minded individuals.

Photos of the Year and the stories behind them

20 leading photojournalists describe how they captured some defining images from 2013


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