DAILY RECORD (15th MAY 1992)
Frank Perkins of Los Angeles made an attempt on the world flagpole-sitting record in 1992. But after he came down, he not only discovered he was eight hours short of the 400-day record, but also that his sponsor had gone bust, his girlfriend had left him, and his phone and electricity had been cut off.
INDEPENDENT (19TH DEC 1996)
A rapturous welcome awaited Antonio Gomez Bohorquez and Pascual Fuertes Noguera when they returned home to Murcia in southern Spain after pioneering a new route up Mount Sisha Pagma in the Himalayas. On studying specialist publications, however, they had to sheepishly admit that they had, in fact, climbed the wrong mountain.
HOUSTON POST (13TH SEPT 1990)
In Cebu city, Philippines, Enrique Quinanola made a determined effort to kill himself. Quinanola, 21 and unemployed, attempted to hang himself, but relatives cut the rope and took him to hospital. While doctors prepared a sedative, he slipped away and ran to a nearby restaurant where he grabbed a knife and slashed his wrists. Police saw the incident and tried to subdue Quinanola, but he put up a terrific struggle, so the officers shot him, first in his leg, then in the chest. He died a few minutes later. His relatives sued the government for violating his civil liberties.
INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE (20 JUL 1992)
Tiring of crowds attending football games at the Kennedy Stadium when the Washington Redskins were playing, Charles Buki moved from his home near the ground to Arlington, Virginia. He said parking was impossible on game days, and was sick of picking up beer bottles in his front yard. On arriving in Arlington he was "absolutely paralyzed" to discover that his new home was only a short distance from the Redskins' planned new stadium. The Washington Post compared his fate to that of farmer Wilmer McLean, who fled Manassas, Virginia, after the American Civil War's first battle was fought there. He moved to Appomattox Courthouse, the eventual site of the final battle of the war, where Lee surrendered to Grant in McLean's living room.
VICTORIA TIMES (19TH SEPT 1990)
Another wartime incident caused Danny Simpson of Ottawa, Canada, much grief. In 1990 he was given six years imprisonment for robbing a bank of $6000 using an elderly Colt .45 pistol. He was arrested and the gun was impounded by the police, where it was recognized as an extremely rare collectors' item, worth between $12,000 and $100,000. It was made under licence by the Ross Rifle Company in Quebec City during WW1, one of only 100 Colt .45's ever made there. Simpson could have walked into any gun shop and sold the pistol for at least twice the haul from his raid without breaking the law.
DAILY MIRROR (28TH SEPT 1995)
Another armed robber, jailed for eight years in Argentina, decided to hire a private detective to trace the father he never met. The detective discovered the man's father was the warder of the prison in which he was incarcerated
WESTERN MORNING NEWS (28TH SPR 1994)
Ian Lewis, 43, of Standish, Lancashire, England, was also interested in finding out about his family. He spent 30 years tracing his family tree back to the seventeenth century. He travelled all over Britain, talked to 2,000 relatives and planned to write a book about how his great-grandfather left to seek his fortune in Russia and how his grandfather was expelled after the Revolution. Then he found out he had been adopted when he was a month old and his real name was David Thornton. He resolved to start his family research all over again.
INDEPENDENT (26TH JULY 1995)
Markku Tahvainen drove his family 250 miles to a zoo in Finland in order to see the bears. Whe they returned home, though, they discovered footprints and droppings in their garden which revealed that in their absence they had been visited by a bear which had eaten their ducks.
BIG ISSUE (20TH FEB 1995)
After three days of uninterrupted heavy music from the flat next door, Gunthwilde Blom, 63, of Klagenfurt, Austria, began to get cross. She hammered on the walls and put notes under the door of the offending flat. All this had no effect so she confronted her neighbour, Wilma Kock, directly. Kock protested her innocence, but Blom did not believe her, calling her a "venomous herring". When the noise continued Mrs Blom finally went berserk and pushed 20lbs of fresh herring through her neighbor's letter-box. Ms Kock called the police, who discovered while interviewing Blom that the music was actually coming from a radio she had inadvertently left on beneath her own bed. Unrepentant, she declared, "They didn't understand - Kock's a cow."
DAILY MIRROR (2ND JUN 1993)
A South African came 6,000 miles to photograph the church clock in Grantchester, Cambridge, at ten to three, as in the Rupert Brooke poem. It had broken down, and was stuck as 1:05.
EDINBURGH EVE NEWS (12TH JAN 1990)
Albin's trek across the world had a similarly disappointing end. He set out for New Zealand from London, England to to track down a cousin he had not seen for 30 years - but cousin Bennett Birch was a recluse who lived in the remote settlement of Takehe in New Zealand's far north. He had died a month or so before Albin's arrival, but due to his reclusive habits no one had noticed.
NEWS OF THE WORLD (21ST AUG 1988)
Meanwhile, Martin Reeves travelled 8,000 miles to India to find parts for his 1957 Morris Cowley. His mission was succesful, but when he got back to Brighton, England, he found the car had been stolen.
SUSSEX EVE ARGUS (20TH DEC 1990)
Athlete John Oliver, 31, went all the way from Bournemouth, Dorset, England, to Nepal - a journey of over 5,000 miles - to take part in his first marathon, only to sprain his ankle on the starting line.
DAILY MIRROR (25TH MAY 1990)
Security measures bring their own headaches. In Broadway, Worcestershire, England, in 1990, a safe was unlocked for the first time since its key had been lost in 1942. All it contained was a note urging people not to lose the key.
DAILY TELEGRAPH (16 SEPT 1986)
In Mumbles, Swansea, England, Robin Branhall got tired of vandals who had broken the window of this surfing shop more than 20 times, so he fitted an unbreakable one. Arriving at his shop next day, he found the entire window had been stolen.
REUTERS (20TH JULY 1994)
Likewise, a Dutchman who invested more than $1,000 in a police trained guard dog to protect his house in Schalkhar woke up two days later to find the house had been broken into. The only thing the burglars had taken was the dog.
CHESTERFIELD & DRONFIELD GAZETTE (20TH MAY 1988)
A lonely heart who placed an ad in an unnamed Yorkshire, England, paper seeking to meet a lady for outings and friendship received one reply - from his mother.
NEWS OF THE WORLD (15TH DEC 1991)
Had he had better luck, he would have been wise not to use the condoms issued by the New Zealand Health Department in their safe-sex guide. They were attached to the booklet by a staple through the middle.
THE GUARDIAN (26TH APR 1989)
La Cicciolina, the Italian porn star MP, returned to her native Hungary in 1989 to visit the hamlet of Kiskunhalas in order to celebrate the departure of Soviet military forces from the land they had occupied since 1945. She marked the beginning of the withdrawal by releasing a white dove, but could only watch, along with bemused villagers, as the symbolic bird fluttered down onto the railway transporter's loading ramp and the first tank of the first regiment of the Soviet Southern Army Group 13th Division rolled right over it.
DAILY TELEGRAPH (18TH NOV 1988)
Sheffield City Council's Norton Nurseries, England, was home to a magnificent 25ft-tall succulent, Agave americana, which had survived WW2, and 50 British winters. In its native South America it flowers once every 15 years, but in the British climate that was believed to take 50-100 years. In 1988 it began to develop a flower spike and was excitedly tended by nurserymen awaiting the great event - until a council workman reversed his lorry over the plant, smashing it to oblivion.
DAILY TELEGRAPH (25 JUL 1986)
A fireman in Bath, Somerset, England, using a metal detector to trace a fire hydrant which had been covered in tarmac after road resurfacing, dug seven holes in the wrong place before realizing the device was being set off by the steel toe-caps in his boots.
DAILY TELEGRAPH (23 AUG 1986)
Water supplies also caused much vexation to historians trying to discover the identity of someone buried in the graveyard of Evercreech Church, Shepton Mallet, Somerset, England. They were trying to identify the person under the gravestone simply marked "H.W.P." until the Wessex Water Authority put them out of their misery by pointing out that it was a marker for the church's hot-water pipe.
DAILY RECORD (18TH MAR 1996)
In 1996 Claude Arcens finally gave up his vigil under the Eiffel Tower. In 1984 someone on the tower dropped a purse which he found and kept, so he returned in the hope of retrieving other treasures. The only thing he found during his 12-year wait was a lighter.