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9 Tales We Cherished This Yr That Had Completely Nothing To Do With Covid

Have you heard of the dinosaurs that invaded Plymouth this year? Or how about the Brighton landlady who started the smallest pub in the world?

The coronavirus was undoubtedly the dominant story of 2021, but there have been plenty of fun tales across the UK as well, adding to the mood.

In the name of balance, we’ve tried to bring you these escapism cuts alongside the Covid news that you can trust. Because let’s face it, we all needed a slight relief.

If you’ve missed the fun, you can read these feel-good features and more in our Covid-Free Zone section or scroll down to see a snippet of our nine favorites of the year. Rona, you are not welcome here.

1. The Monster Sourdough Starter

The monster has a daily meal of flour and water.

The Herbert family have been making bread for 100 years and have businesses in the Cotswolds and Bristol. The secret of their success? A decade-old sourdough starter nicknamed The Monster.

The family diligently tends to the yeasty brew, like a family favorite, and is even throwing a 65th birthday party this year.

We asked the master bakers for the key to keep the legend alive. You can read more about it here.

2. A legendary Teletubby shared some secrets

That year it was 20 years since the Teletubbies’ original run ended. Reboots may have followed, but the OG cast will always have a place in our hearts, so we sat down with Dipsy legend John Simmit to hear the behind-the-scenes gossip.

Simmit has since had a career as a successful stand-up comedian, actor, and DJ, but he told us he’ll never forget wearing the three-stone suit that casts the cast “so sweaty we could be wrung out “. He also revealed the true taste of tubby pudding, which was apparently “not fit for human consumption”.

But his favorite memory was how he subtly reflected his legacy on screen. “I would do Jamaican moves, a bogle there and a tatty here,” he said. People have discovered my little wink about my culture and I’m proud of that. “

Read the full interview here.

3. Dinosaurs took over Plymouth

Did you spot a dinosaur this year? Did you spot a dinosaur this year?

On any given day in Plymouth, you might have seen a pterodactyl at the bus stop, a couple of T-Rexes in the canning aisle, or a stegosaurus at the school gate.

That’s because the dinosaur attraction trend hit the port city this year, with more than 6,700 fans joining the Dinosaurs of Plymouth Facebook group.

The idea was simple: put on an inflatable dinosaur suit and spread a little joy. And why not? Really a sight for dinosaur eyes. Read more here.

4. The detective for wedding photos

Charlotte Sibtain (left) and the first vintage wedding photo of her 400+ collection. Charlotte Sibtain (left) and the first vintage wedding photo of her 400+ collection.

Have you ever spotted a wedding photo at a trunk sale or in a charity shop? They are often mistakenly thrown out when a house is cleared, but Charlotte Sibtain loves collecting them.

The 33-year-old has a collection of 400+ vintage wedding photos in the house she shares with her husband, but her real passion is reuniting photos with long-lost ancestors

She walked us through her detective process and explained the emotional reunion she was able to coordinate with a daughter, granddaughter and a long-lost wedding album.

“It was wonderful. The daughter was absolutely stunned, I think they were both,” she said. “They both thought it was lost forever and didn’t think it would ever come back.”

Read the whole story here.

5. A tiny home that made us see twice

Some of Scarlett Stephens-Smith's creations. Some of Scarlett Stephens-Smith’s creations.

Scarlett Stephens-Smith owns two of them all. From their extensive book collection to identical houseplants and double sofas, you will see double in their home.

Because the 29-year-old was busy transforming a doll’s house from her childhood into an exact replica of her actual home.

Every detail is meticulously examined and copied – from the outer pebble and the masonry to the miniature TV remote control and the innovative watering can. The folks on TikTok couldn’t get enough of it this year. She gained more than 770,000 followers and 14 million likes.

See more of the incredible craft project here.

6. The smallest pub in the world

Jennifer left outside holding hands. Jennifer left outside holding hands.

Speaking of tiny replicas, Jennifer Left impressed us this year with creating the world’s smallest pub.

The 36-year-old is the proud landlady of Hand in Hand, a (actually) pub right by the sea in Brighton.

The mini-pub is an exact replica of the original, and Left strapped it to her bike, put on a costume, and delivered beer – and cheers! – for people who cannot attend their usual restaurant this year. They say not all heroes wear capes, but this one does. Read the whole story here.

7. The British who have never tried a cup of tea

No tea for this crowd.

No tea for this crowd.

Yes, they really do exist. How have you been in a lifetime without even trying this great British pastime? We interviewed a lot of people to find out.

It found the smell to put a lot of people off (who would have thought that?) While some shared disturbing childhood memories. Mary Cushen, 42, of Telford, remembered her grandparents making a large saucepan on the stove that they reheated for “about a week” until it was used up. It made her lift. “It looked stale and didn’t smell much better,” she said. Ouch!

Hear more tea stories here.

8. A drag race star shared his huge collection of watches

Gothy Kendoll with one of his beloved watches. Gothy Kendoll with one of his beloved watches.

Gothy Kendoll (real name Samuel Handley) may have become famous in the Drag Race UK, but watches are his first love. Yes, really.

When he was five he had around 40 clocks on his bedroom wall and his passion has only grown since then. Today he loves to save old broken watches and restore them to their former glory.

We asked him everything about the obsession and how he deals with all the ticking !?

Read the full interview here.

9. The photographer who became a squirrel whisperer

Hobby photographer Niki Colemont has dedicated the last five years of his life to photographing squirrels. He loves the creatures so much that he is even known as the “Squirrel Man” on social media.

“They are my little children in the open,” he told us. “Squirrels are incredibly cute. If you see one, you want to hug him … but I don’t advise you to do it! “

Colemont doesn’t use Photoshop but encourages the squirrels to play with his props. He said the key to taking a great squirrel photo is patience. “You have to invest a lot of time and energy,” he says.

See more of his fantastic photos here.

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