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Good News / Bad News – December 2011

Good News for…  Potatoes

Astonishing news has surfaced from the Liaoning Province in North East China, where 64-year-old farmer Mr Ma Xiuling was catapulted to stardom after digging up something rather unique. Whilst farming vegetables, Xiuling unearthed a dog-shaped potato, the size of a two-week-old puppy, in his field in Yanji. With two indents appearing to be eyes and four outward circular growths representing arms and legs, neighbours could not ignore the extraordinary season’s growth. The unusual crop initially had a tail, which fell off when Xiuling drew it out of the ground. Villagers, astounded by this potato, have paid visits to see it. “Neighbours all feel surprised when seeing the weird-shaped potato,” Mr Xiuling said. His new-found fame might not last but we say, enjoy your fifteen minutes sir; you’ve earned it.

Dammy Ikeola

 Bad news for… Marathons

Upon reaching the 20-mile point of the Kielder marathon earlier this month, one runner, Rob Sloan from Sunderland, decided that he had had enough. He hopped on a passing bus, getting off and hiding behind a tree before finishing the end of the race and claiming third place. Genius, you cry. Not when the bus he chose was full of spectators heading to the finish line, and not when the person who had been in third place for the entirety of the race hadn’t noticed being overtaken — and was a policeman. Organisers of the race smelt a rat when they realised that Sloan was the only person who managed to complete the second half of the race faster than the first half. Sloan was disqualified from the marathon and the medal presented to its rightful winner, Steven Cairns, in a ceremony in Edinburgh that smacks of salt in the wound: on top of an open-top bus. Poor Sloan. Perhaps we should give him the benefit of the doubt and suggest that he misunderstood the marathon-training manual when it talked about making good use of personal coaches.

Jennifer Newbold

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