Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

A Stranger's London

Turkey roasted

The animal liberation movement, whose poisoned Mars bar hoax shocked the country last month, showed its peaceful face recently with a Christmas rally against the turkey trade. Target of the march through Norwich was the turkey industry of Norfolk and Suffolk - especially Bernard Matthew's empire which has its headquarters nearby.

Banners threatened to 'stuff Matthews'. But Mark Gold of Animal Aid, said: "The march is about non- violence. We want people to turn away from eating slaughtered birds at Christmas.'

Debagged and free!

Lamented Lesley Garner in Femail on Sunday column of The Mail on Sunday: Being burgled can revolutionise your life. Because the thief stole my wallet there didn't seem much point in taking a bag to work the next day, so I slipped a powder compact and lipstick in one pocket and scraped a handful of loose change into the other.

I suppose this comes as no surprise to men, but until you've spent a day walking freely about unencumbered by a bag, you ain't been liberated.

A week later and I still haven't succumbed to using a bag, but I have run into problems. Firstly, I have to wear clothes with lots of pockets. Secondly, I have to remember which pocket holds make-up, credit cards, cash or the earrings I took off halfway through the day because they hurt. And then there's the tiresome business of emptying them all at night.

I am determined not to succumb to the tyranny of the handbag again, but there must be a system to living with pockets. Would male readers please advise me?"

A jumbo size present

For those who prefer animals to children and like the idea of other people bringing them up, London and Whipsnade Zoos have an enterprising Christmas present suggestion: adopt an animal.

Spoilt, rich friends can adopt an elephant for £5,000 a year. Gold fish can be adopted for £10 a year, and if a whole animal is out of reach, you can share one for £30 at London Zoo and £15 at Whipsnade.

Your adoption money goes towards keeping the animal and in exchange, Christmas adopters get a certificate dated December 25, a free ticket to the zoo and their names on a plaque, plus a card from their adopted animal.

It's a rip-off!

Armed robbers ripped off the roof of a security van with an excavator in a daring £300,000 raid last week.

First they blocked a slip road on the bust M23 motorway, near Merstham, Surrey, by staging a crash between a breakdown truck and a low loader carrying a Hymac digger. As a Brinko Mat van was forced to halt, the digger swung its arm, and tore off the roof. The three guards inside were terrified, when they jumped out they were beaten up by eight masked men carrying handguns.

The gang fled with sacks of used banknotes in a Transit van and a green Jaguar, leaving behind £1 million in their haste to escape. The three men in the lorries were tied up and bundled into a van which was abandoned at Coalsden.

They were found by chance hours after the robbery.

Doctor with 'soft touch'

Heroin addicts flocked to a doctor's surgery because he was known as a "soft touch" for drugs. He prescribed so much of the heroin substitute Diaconal that he flooded the local black market depressing the price, the doctors' disciplinary committee heard last week.

Dr Nur-Rahman of Highgate Street, Birmingham, was said to have dished out "scripts" at £7 a time his consultation fee. Often he did not check the addicts' medical history, it was alleged.

Dr Nur-Rahman, 45, said that when he first started his practice he didn't realise Diaconal was a heroin substitute but thought it was a painkiller. He is accused of serious professional misconduct. The hearing goes on.

Nun's non-dash 'n' grab at Sainsbury's

A nun who won a supermarket's "dash and grab" prize has been banned from accepting it. Sister Catherine from the Sisters of Mercy was all set to make a two-minute sprint round Sainsbury's loading trolleys with food which she then intended to give away. But last weekend, after discussions with her superiors, she said: "It was decided it would not be in keeping.

"It was not thought right that a nun should go grabbing goods off shelves." Sister Catherine from St Edward's Convent in Swaddlingcote, Derbyshire, bought her ticket in a draw to aid a hospital appeal.

A doctor picked the winner on a local radio programme. Sister Catherine was then phoned "on the air" and listeners heard her say she would make the supermarket run and give the food away.

Heartbreak of virgin wives

Thousands of wives are still virgins… some as long as 10 years after they marry, says the Daily Mirror.

Many girls "save themselves" for their wedding night then discover they are unable to make love, the National Marriage Guidance Council said last week.

As a result, eight out of every hundred women who ask the council's advice on sex, are still virgin. Alison Clegg, who trains the Council's sex therapists said "Couples despair on their wedding night when they find it impossible to make love.

"After trying now and then over a period of time they abandon it. The longest we came across was ten years."

Queen's portrait banned

Portraits of the Queen and Prince Philip have been banned from a Town Hall as "revolting tripe". Councillors say the pictures are not worthy of the royals.

Labour's John Power said: "I wouldn't have them in my home if they were given to me. I'd take them straight to a jumble sale."

The two prints, taken from portraits by royal artist Leonard Boden, were offered to the Council by a local woman. She was concerned that there were no royal portraits in the hall. But councillors rejected her offer.

Mr Power said: "This is not a party issue. I'm not banging a left-wing, anti-monarchy drum. These awful pictures are a lot of tripe - quite revolting. They look like a glossy cover of Tatler magazine."

talking drums 1984-12-10 Cocoa New Strategy needed