Monthly Archives: June 2015

Crowdfunding appeal to save the Greek economy

An ambitious bid to solve the Greek debt crisis via a crowdfunding website has attracted more than £200,000 of donations in two days.

Thom Feeney  has set up the campaign to raise €1.6bn to save the Greek economy on the IndieGoGo site, and is appealing for Europeans to donate a few Euros each.

Mr Feeney, 29, said:

“All this dithering over Greece is getting boring. European ministers flexing their muscles and posturing over whether they can help the Greek people or not.

“Why don’t we the people just sort it instead?

“The European Union is home to 503 million people, if we all just chip in a few Euro then we can get Greece sorted and hopefully get them back on track soon. Easy.”

Mr Feeney has promised a range of treats for people who pledge their support, from a €3 postcard of Greek Prime Minister Alex Tsipiras sent from Greece; a €20 bottle of Greek wine; a €5,000 Greek holiday or “a lot of gratitude from citizens of Europe and particularly the Greek people” for donations of €1m.

Full story : http://northstar.boards.net/thread/156/crowdfunding-appeal-save-greek-economy

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False Water Cobra on loose in County Durham

For three days three-year-old Keegan kept telling his mother Samantha Wozencroft there was a snake in the house – but she didn’t believe him.

That was until mum saw for herself the six-feet-long false water cobra slithering through the front room of their flat.

The South American reptile, whose venom rots skin and muscle, had already bitten the tail of the family’s pet dog, English bull terrier Tyler, and was threatening to turn on others.

Horrified, the 27-year-old mum, from Ouston, County Durham grabbed Tyler, ran outside with her mother-in-law Dawn Martin and son Keegan and rang 999.

After calling in expert help, the police managed to capture the creature and take it away. They are now investigating who owns the snake and how it came to be in Ms Wozencroft’s flat.

“I was so shocked. It was just unreal. You don’t expect to walk into your kitchen and see a snake staring at you,” she said.

“I don’t feel safe there now – what if there’s more? I have a three-year-old and being told the snake was venomous is just so scary.”

Retired inspector Eddie Bell, who Durham Police called in to contain the snake, said:

“I found the snake drinking water from the dog’s cage and managed to pick it up using a snake stick.

 “The boy had been telling the mum for three days they had a snake in the house.

It is believed the snake may have been in the loft for some time but given its size it must have had access to a good food source. It may have come down into the flat when that ran out.

PC Lee Jackson said: “It’s very lucky no-one was bitten.”

Tyler the dog is now on anti-biotics and may have to have part of his tail amputated to stop the infection spreading.

False water cobras are common to South America but rarely kept as pets in the UK. Their venom comes from their rear fangs, so they must catch and chew prey before injecting.

Source – Northern Echo, 30 June 2015

Synchronicity corner : although the snake wasn’t a python, it’s a nice touch to se a PC Lee Jackson being quoted.

Python Lee Jackson was an Australian rock band active from 1965 to 1968, before a brief sojourn in the United Kingdom. The group’s most famous hit was “In a Broken Dream”, featuring Rod Stewart as guest vocalist, and recorded by John Peel.

 

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Delia Derbyshire

On Tueday 30th June Radio 4 Extra is repeating Blue Veils & Golden Sands – the remarkable story of pioneering BBC Radiophonic Workshop music composer Delia Derbyshire.

First broadcast on Radio 4, 2002.  Sophie Thompson plays Delia.

11.15 – 12:00, repeated  21:15 – 22:00, after which it should be available on the BBC iPlayer for a month.

Delia  Derbyshire ( 1937 –  2001) was an English musician and composer of electronic music and musique concrète. She is best known for her electronic realisation of Ron Grainer’s theme music for  Doctor Who and for her work with the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.

Full story : http://northstar.boards.net/thread/147/delia-derbyshire-radio-extra-30

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Excavation of forgotten WW1 camp

Archaeologists have been unearthing military marvels at a forgotten First World War training camp  in the North-East.

Dozens of volunteers have been helping a week-long excavation of Cocken Hall camp, near Durham – and what they have found could change the history books forever.

Today, the centuries-old hall is no more and the site is feet deep in nettles and bushes. But 100 years ago, it was home to up to 1,100 military men preparing for battle on the  Western Front.

Enthusiasts from archaeology outfit No Man’s Land travelled from across the country for this week’s dig, the first since the camp was abandoned near the end of the war.

They have unearthed foundations and artefacts from the military camp – and their work around the original hall suggests the site may have been inhabited well before the previous 17th century estimate.

Project director Alastair Fraser said:

“We’ve been able to establish the arrangements of the camp and we now know much more about the house – we’ve realised it was probably older than we thought.

“We’ve had 3D scanners on site and we now hope to produce a 3D model, which we should be able to render – because we have photographs from the time.”

 Cocken Hall dates from at least the 17th century, possibly earlier. Volunteers have found 16th and 17th century wall painting this week.

In the late 18th century, it was known for its ornamental gardens; while in the 19th century it was a convent, then a private home.

It was acquired by the Lambtons, the family of the Earls of Durham, around the 1870s.

Following an early 20th century modernisation, it was to be let again but sadly the prospective tenant died, meaning that at the outbreak of war in 1914 it was unoccupied.

The Earl handed the hall to the Durham Light Infantry (DLI) and it became the training base for the 18th battalion, known as the Durham Pals – men who enlisted with their friends and workmates.

The hall proved too small to accommodate all the men, so a barracks, bath house, rifle range, canteen and recreation room were built. Trenches were also dug, to simulate the brutal warfare the men could expect on the Continent.

 The 18th left for France in May 1915, but Cocken was later used by other DLI battalions, the York and Lancaster Regiment and the forerunner of the Home Guard.

The camp was demolished after the war and the hall, which was in a poor state, followed around 1928 – taking its secrets with it, until now.

Findings will go into a major exhibition on Durham and the Somme marking the centenary of the famous battle next year and Mr Fraser hopes to take a team to excavate part of the Somme where the DLI fought in 2018.

Source – Northern Echo, 26 June 2015

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Is there a Alien Big Cat on the loose in County Durham?

Could a mysterious creature spotted on the side of a busy trunk road be a big cat?

Hazell Lund, from Stockton, is convinced of it.

Ms Lund was travelling along the A66 at about 11.30am on Sunday (June 22) when she saw what she is sure was a large black cat.

“At first I thought it was a black Labrador but I soon realised it wasn’t,” she said.

“It pounced like a cat and the way it walked and held itself was very cat like.

“I know what I saw and I am convinced it was a big cat.”

Unfortunately, Ms Lund did not have time to retrieve her phone from her bag to take a photograph of the creature before it darted out of view.

Source – Northern Echo, 25 June 2015

The return of the Durham Puma, active in the 1990s ? Or its grandchildren…

http://northstar.boards.net/thread/134/alien-big-loose-county-durham

 

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Surrealism in Stockton

Taxi customers in Stockton were left utterly confused by a sign saying the rank was moving to a nonexistent street – on a nonexistent date!

The yellow works sign at the southern end of Stockton High Street said: “Taxi rank relocated to Bridge Street, Thursday 21st June, 1400-1600.”

One bemused cabbie said:

  “Asked where is Bridge St.? Sorry says the taxi driver there isn’t one, but don’t worry the 21st does not fall on a Thursday until 2018.

“That will give our council time to build one.”

Stockton Council said the sign has now been removed and the relocated ranks will be on Bridge Road and Prince Regent Street.

Councillor David Rose, Cabinet member for regeneration and transport, explained:

 “Due to the events being held to show our support for the Armed Forces in Stockton town centre on Thursday this sign was installed by a traffic management company to notify people that the taxi rank will be relocated while soldiers from the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers parade through the High Street.

“We are sorry to learn that the sign contained incorrect information and apologise for any inconvenience.”

http://northstar.boards.net/thread/122/surrealism-stockton

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Mystery Man’s ashes found buried in garden

Mystery surrounds the discovery of a casket, thought to contain the ashes of a North-East man, found buried in a back garden.

The wooden box has a cross and a plaque engraved with the words ‘Thomas Lawson Cox, died 15th June 2008’ and it is believed it holds his remains.

It was discovered buried in a shallow grave, wrapped in a plastic bag last week in the garden of Bill Stephenson, 70, of Wesley Terrace in Chester-le-Street, when a gardener was mowing the lawn.

The retired hospital telephonist said: “It was wrapped in a black bin liner and the lawn mower has ripped some of the top soil off as the gardener was cutting the grass. That is how we have seen it. I had no idea it was there.”

Mr Stephenson has lived in the house for 46 years and is keen to get to the bottom of how the casket came to be buried under grass.

He said: “I have no idea who he was or how he ended up in my garden. That is the big mystery.

“It is a big garden so it could have been done without me knowing.

“Someone could have sneaked in when it was dark, but why?”

Full story :  http://northstar.boards.net/thread/104/mystery-man-ashes-buried-garden

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