A seagull slowly manages swallowing a starfish at dusk on Wharf No. 2 in Monterey, Calif. on Tuesday January 29, 2013. Photo David Royal/ Monterey County Herald)

A BRITISH adventurer is about to enter the Guinness Book of Records for visiting every country in the

world without flying or using private transport. (That’s it: terra firma, da firma da better!)

Graham Hughes, 33, of Liverpool, began the challenge to visit all 193 UN-recognised nations in this way in January 2009. This week he took a train to Poland, from where he will cross into Russia by bus, completing his Odyssey. (He has actually already been to Russia but the visit was not officially recognised because he waded across the River Narva from Estonia without going through immigration).

He has made “surface journeys” to all the world’s hot spots including Iraq, Afghanistan and North Korea, using a combination of train, taxis and cargo ships. He spent four days in a leaky canoe crossing the open ocean from Senegal to Cape Verde. In the Congo he was put in jail for six days until rescued by the British consular authorities.

I wonder when he was in South Africa? I hope he didn’t miss Isipingo. That’s a must on any world traveller’s adventure itinerary.

Burger passion

THE funeral cortege of a Pennsylvania man who’d had a life-long passion for fast food passed through a drive-in Burger King on the way to the cemetery.

A Whopper hamburger was placed on the coffin of David Kime and a Whopper was given to each of the 40 mourners. His daughter said he had lived a wonderful life and on his own terms. He had eaten exactly what he wanted.

You can’t take it with you but I suppose you can make a point. Mr Kime was 88.

Jargon, jargon

COMMERCIAL jargon has seeped in everywhere, it seems. Some of us are still coming to terms with professionalised rugby unions being referred to as “franchises” – as if they were fast-food outlets.

Then the other day a radio news bulletin referred to AQIM – the organisation that seized and killed hostages at a gas plant in Algeria – as a “franchise” of al-Qaeda.

Has the jargon not over-reached itself somewhat?

Legal drama

AN AUSTRALIAN goat named Gary got his comedian owner into hot water when he ate flowers in a municipal garden in Sydney. Jimbo Bazoobi was fined A$440 (about R4 000) by police.

But Bazoobi challenged this in court and won. The magistrate said there was no evidence at all that he took Gary there with the intention of his vandalising the garden. “He may have preferred to have an ice cream.”

Quite so. While this legal drama was being enacted, Gary – who tours with Bazoobi and has become part of his act – waited outside the courthouse.

We’re not told if he munched on anything in the meantime.

Triple whammy

OVERHEARD in the Street Shelter for the Over-40s: “America used to have Steve Jobs, Bob Hope and Johnny Cash. Now they have no Jobs, no Hope and no Cash.”

Shacked-up bats

BRITISH scientists have discovered that bats in the Yorkshire Dales cohabit – male and female – all year round.

This astonishes them because it had been believed until now that bat colonies segregate on a sexual basis, coming together only to mate then go into winter hibernation.

But the Daubenton’s bats of the Dales turn out to be different. Researchers from Leeds University say it’s the first documented example of bats operating a flexible social system.

With the Daubenton’s bats, males share roosts with females and get an early opportunity to mate with them.

Hey, a Daubenton’s bat in a belfry in the Yorkshire Dales – that’s the bat to be!


BUMPER sticker: “If we stop voting will they all go away?”


PADDY takes two stuffed dogs to the Antiques Roadshow.

Presenter: “O-o-o-oh! This is a very rare set, produced by the celebrated Johns Brothers taxidermists who operated in London at the turn of the 19th century.

“Do you have any idea what they would fetch if they were in good condition?”

Paddy: “Sticks.”

Last word

When the politicians complain that TV turns the proceedings into a circus, it should be made clear that the circus was already there, and that TV has merely demonstrated that not all the performers are well trained. – Edward R Murrow