Bonkers conkers theory is an old wives’ tale

THERE have been some funny goings-on in this quirky world of ours in the last week or so.

Perhaps the most bizarre was in Hampshire where British workmen truly lived up to their reputation.

Here’s the scenario: the workmen are trundling along painting white lines on a road when they suddenly pull up, no doubt with perplexed looks on their faces.

It was something they had never encountered before. There spread-eagled before them directly in the way of the line they were painting was a dead, flattened badger which apparently had been there for a week or more.

Maybe they scratched their heads for a while, but they eventually came to the decision that it was not their responsibility to move it. These jobsworths were working for the county council and dealing with animal carcasses on the highway was down to the district council.


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So they stopped their machine just short of the badger now beyond caring, manoeuvres it around to the other side of the lifeless body and carried on painting, leaving a neat break in the lines where Brock lay.

A spokesman said workers from the sub-contractors involved were not “licensed or trained” to remove road kill. Does that simply mean they did not have a shovel on them at the time?

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Much smaller, but alive, creatures were also in the news. Enterprising children in Cornwall were sceptical about the old belief fostered by housewives that the shiny surface and odour of conkers put near doors and windows would repel spiders.

They tested this out by putting spiders in an empty water tank containing bridges made of wood or conkers. Then they watched and noted that most spiders opted for the conker route, so proving that the thinking on what scared the eight-leggers was a myth.

The youngsters posted their results on YouTube and now their efforts have been rewarded with a gift of �300 from the Royal Society of Chemistry. Good for them. Perhaps they will now investigate whether elephants are really scared of mice.

Another interesting finding which came out the other day was that, despite their airhead reputation, blondes earn more money than brunettes and redheads.

I suspect that this statement may be something of a generalisation. But that does not stop researchers from declaring it as a fact.

They have discovered that fair-haired girls take home an average of �1,018 after tax and national insurance each month, compared to �937 for brunettes and a lowly �887 for redheads.

And two-thirds of blondes fully understand the outgoings they manage each month.

This all sounds too good to be true. And so it seems with the next bit of information. The light-headed ones are more frivolous with their cash than their darker-haired sisters, with 35 per cent of them going into overdraft every month.

Also likely to be controversial is something from US researchers. They conclude that a woman’s body shape may influence how good her memory is.

They found that “apple-shaped” women fared better than “pears” on cognitive tests.

I’ve always found that all women are very good at remembering things men would rather they forget.

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