69-Year-Old Man Known as ‘Pete the Feet’ Hasn’t Worn Shoes or Socks in Almost 50 Years

Englishman Pete Mckenzie has been walking barefooted for the past 50 years. “I won’t put the buggers back on until the day I die,” the 69-year-old former telephone exchange engineer proudly proclaimed one day, after throwing away his shoes. And he has held true to his promise, renouncing footwear even on important occasions like his wedding.

Pete’s bizarre resolution has made him something of a legend in Birmingham’s pubs, where he is popular as ‘Pete the Feet’. He spends a major chunk of his day at these pubs, hawking homemade merchandise like stickers and cigarette lighter covers branded with his personal logo of two bare feet.

“I don’t like shoes, or in fact anything on my feet,” he explained. “Even when I got married, I didn’t wear shoes – and that was in a church. My wife has maybe seen me wearing shoes once or twice, but my daughter hasn’t and my granddaughters definitely haven’t.” Pete has been happily married for 44 years and luckily his wife doesn’t have a problem with his barefooted obsession.

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The Mysterious Shell Grotto of Kent

The Shell Grotto is a unique 70-foot underground winding passageway in Margate, Kent, painstakingly decorated with around 4,6 million seashells. This English tourist attraction is as beautiful as it is mysterious, as no one seems to know who created it and why.

The story goes that the Shell Grotto was discovered in 1835, when local James Newlove lowered his son Joshua into a hole in the ground that appeared while they were digging a duck pond. When the boy came back out, he told his father about this wondrous underground tunnel covered entirely in seashell mosaics. As soon as he laid eyes on the accidental discovery, Newlove immediately saw its commercial potential. He installed gas lamps to illuminate the ornate passageway and three years later he opened the grotto to the public. The opening came as a big surprise to the inhabitants of Margate, as the place had never bee marked on any maps, and nobody knew about its existence. As soon as the first paying visitors walked into the shell–covered underground tunnel, the debate regarding its origins began. For every person who believed it was an ancient temple, there seemed to be another one convinced it was actually the secret meeting place of a secret sect. Everyone saw something different in the mosaic patterns, from altars to gods and goddesses or trees of life. But despite the multiple theories going around, no one has been able to solve the mystery of the Shell Grotto.

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$100,000 Luxury Tree House Is as Comfortable as a 5-Star Hotel

Britain’s most luxurious tree house belongs to builder Chris Whalley. The incredible abode that he unveiled just last week took him over seven months and £60,000 ($98,000) to build. Located in Blean, Kent, Whalley’s tree house is made almost entirely out of driftwood that he gathered from a nearby beach and is meant to be his holiday home. What’s most unique about the house itself is that it comes with all the comforts a five-star hotel has to offer, including plumbing, electricity and even a rustic décor that goes very well with the natural surroundings.

I must say that I’ve fallen in love with this quaint little house, just looking at the pictures of the interiors. There’s something so charming about the place that it reminds me of the Beatrix Potter books I read as a child; of course, with some modern conveniences as well. The beds are covered with the finest Egyptian cotton linen, and the bathrobes and towels are from Waters and Noble. The kitchen crockery is also top of the range. Some of the pieces of luxury furniture in the house are well worth over £1,500. Everything inside the house is one-of-a-kind, including the concrete-wood effect kitchen worktop and the tree trunk sink. As if all this wasn’t good enough, Whalley’s house even comes with an elevated hot tub, for the ultimate experience in luxury. The entire construction rests 20ft above the ground on a 25 ft red cedar tree, making it not only the most deluxe habitable tree house in England, but also the highest. It is located among other holiday log cabins that Whalley built six years ago. Naturally, the view from the house is brilliant.

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For English Family Living in the Middle of a Cemetery Every Day Is Halloween

Would you be brave enough to spend a night in an old mortuary chapel surrounded by dozens of graves? One English family is more than happy to sleep in such a house every night, and say it’s actually their dream home.

Jayne Stead and partner Mike Blatchford didn’t seem to mind the creepy graves and spooky statues when they decided to move into an old cemetery keeper’s lodge, in Southampton, England. The cemetery didn’t put us off. We don’t spook easily, in fact I love watching scary films and television shows,” 52-year-old Jayne told reporters. When we first had a look around it was really run down, there were graves everywhere but it never really felt scary, there was very nice feeling about the place.” Self-employed builder Mike Bletchford spend a whole year and about £100,000 ($160,000) turning the chapel into a home for his family, and today you couldn’t tell the living room was once a mortuary… But, while they’ve never seen a ghost in their unusual home, the couple admit they have witnessed some bizarre occurrences:  “I’ve been sitting on my own in the living room and I’ve felt like there was someone standing behind me a few times,” Ms Stead said. “I’ve also found the dog barking at nothing in the corner of the room, but it’s not scary.”

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Button Crazy – London’s Pearly Kings and Queens

The Pearly Kings and Queens of London, commonly referred to as “pearlies”, are an organised charitable tradition of working class culture in London, England. They raise funds to provide a better way of living for those less fortunate, but they’re best known for their flashy outfits decorated with thousands of pearl buttons.

Pearlies can be traced back to the year 1875, when the organisation was founded by Henry Croft, a 13-year-old street sweeper and rat catcher who dedicated his life to raising money to help children raised in orphanages. Henry himself was an orphan, and after he left the orphanage, at age 13 he became fascinated by London’s costermongers, a guild of colorful street traders who always helped one of their own when he was in trouble. They would organize a “whip round”, collecting money to help fellow costermongers get back on their feet. Traditionally, costers elected Kings’ to lead them against bullies seeking to drive them from their’place of business. They all wore clothes decorated with pearl buttons so they could easily be identified. The buttons were sewn down the outside leg seam of their pants, from the knee down to the ankle, on the pockets of their waistcoats and the front of their caps. Henry was fascinated both by their lifestyle and their dress code and decided to take their fashion style to a new level by decorating a whole suit with pearly buttons, while at the same time raising money for various causes. He became an attraction wherever he went, and one point he was so popular that Hospitals and other charities started asking him to collect money for their causes. But he needed help in his quest to help the sick and poor, and it help from his costermonger friends, who later became known as the Pearly Kings and Queens of London.

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Stunning Photos from the World’s Most Amazing Suburban Family Garden

Located in the small backyard of a family-owned property in Wallsall, England, is one of the most incredible-looking gardens in the world. The Four Seasons Garden may not be as large as other famous English gardens you may have visited, but it certainly makes up in beauty and charm.

There are hundreds, probably thousands of breathtaking gardens all over Europe, but most of them were designed and looked-after by teams of professional gardeners, at a considerable cost. The Four Seasons Garden, created by self-taught gardeners Tony and Marie Newton, started out as a hobby, but slowly grew into one of the most popular suburban  gardens in Britain. 20 years ago, the couple from West Midlands decided to transform their traditional garden into a stunning display of creative gardening. Tony hated weeding, but loved building things, while his wife Marie just loved plants, so together they set out to create Four Seasons, their version of the ideal backyard garden.

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Woman Desperate to Find a Job Sells Herself on eBay

“For sale – a willing and able permanent or temporary employee’ – reads the eBay ad. It’s quite unusual for the e-commerce website where merchants are more interested in selling goods. But 38-year-old Deborah Bowen had no other choice but to try and sell herself on eBay, having had no proper employment for over 2 years. She went from a £33,000 per year role in sales, to looking for jobs where she’s willing to do almost ‘anything’ for a living.

In the last couple of years, Bowen has been sending out her resume to hundreds of recruiters and prospective employers. She didn’t even leave out local plumber’s merchants in the hope of receiving some sort of permanent employment. But all she could find was part-time work, sometimes paying as low as £6.6 per hour. Bowen and her partner have been struggling to make mortgage repayments and are facing eviction from their home in Gloucester. With the next payment due in March, she is desperate to try anything and hence decided to try out eBay.

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Farmer Uses Sheep as Living Billboards

English farmer, James Metcalfe, has brought a whole new meaning to the term “branding”, after using his sheep to advertise a business venture.

After authorities denied his request to erect billboards near the A1 highway, because they could distract drivers, Metcalfe, from Dalton, North Yorkshier, decided to advertise his turf company using 20 of his sheep as living banners. Sheep marker comes in spray cans so it was quite easy to write Tyas Turf on the oblivious animals, and since the fields they graze on are right next to the A1, they’re just as good as any billboards.

Asked if he considers expanding into the advertising business, and renting his sheep as advertising space for other companies, Metcalfe, who partly owns Tyas Turf, said he doesn’t reckon his shepherd will go along with the idea, since he barely convinced him to let him  spray-paint the 20 sheep.

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Cyber Granny – World’s Oldest Facebooker

She’s two months away from her 104th birthday but age isn’t an impediment for Lillian Lowe, the world’s oldest Facebook user.

Lillian Lowe, from Tenby, Pembrokeshire, south Wales, may be a grandmother and great-grandmother at 103, but she is still young-at-heart and her online adventure on Facebook is proof of that. After 104-year-old Ivy Bean died in June, Lillian has become the oldest of over 500 million users of the popular social network.

Her grandson Steve is the one responsible with wetting her up with a Facebook account and he’s also the one who lent her his iPad, but she is planning to replace it with a newer version, seeing that she’s also up to date in terms of  gadgets, as she admits herself “At the moment I use my grandson’s iPad but I am very hopeful to get one of my own, there are some great new models out at the moment.”

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Silvas Capitalis – The Forest Head of Kielder

Silvas Capitalis, which translates as “forest head”, is an unusual art installation built by the American art group SIMPARCH.

Located on the grounds of Kielder Forest, near the Scottish border, Silvas Capitalis is not exactly the kind of shelter you’d expect to stumble upon while walking through the trees. It’s purpose is to provide visitors and cyclists of Kielder Forest with a refuge, and at the same time, add to the mystery of this place. Inspired by the “watchers” of Celtic folklore – spiritual beings who keep watch over the forest and its inhabitants – who were usually depicted as human heads, the forest head was considered too scary for young children. Visits to local schools were required to test the reaction of the kids, before the actual building began.

Silvas Capitalis is made from hundreds of individual timber blocks, individually cut, sanded and glued into the shape of a head. Visitors can climb up the stairs of Silvas Capitalis and actually look through the eyes of the watcher. The initial plan included carving out its ears so people could hear through them, but due to time limitations, this step was skipped.

 

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Giant Meerkat Straw Sculpture Turns Up in England

A 36-foot-tall meerkat statue made of straw has appeared on a field, in Chester, England, drawing the attention of drivers on the A51 motorway.

I don’t know if you remember, but last year I wrote a post about a straw replica of the Big Ben, built by the owner of an ice-cream company. His straw creations have become sort of a tradition in Chester, and this year he raised the bar even higher with an incredible meerkat straw statue.

Chris Sadler and his wife Cheryl have been coming up with ideas for straw statues since 1998, when their first creation, the straw Millennium Dome, was created, and have continued delivering wacky ideas that ended up being built by Mike Harper, who creates metal structures and fills them with hay.

The idea of a meerkat statue was inspired by a popular commercial in the UK, and since everyone loves these creatures, it seemed like a good idea. The public certainly loves the overgrown meerkat, and most people say they feel cheered up just looking at it.

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Football Fan Turns Living Room into World Cup Stadium

Just because he wasn’t able to travel to South Africa, and support his national team, on the scene, doesn’t mean football fan Mark Thompson can’t experience the vibe of a crowded stadium, right in he comfort of his own living room.

45-year-old Mark Thompson, and his 55-year-old wife Kate decided to pick a theme for this year’s Football World Cup, and after doing some online research, they decided the stadium would do just fine. They covered the side walls of their living room with England emblem wallpaper, designed a six yard line and penalty spot, on their green carpet, and set up a giant poster of the World Cup stadium, complete with drawn supporters.

The English couple were planning to redecorate anyway, and thought this was the perfect way to celebrate the greatest event in football, before giving their house a whole new look. Now they’re ready to invite friends to watch Engalnd’s football games, on a “real” stadium, with a theme for every match. When they played the US, Karen served burgers, with Algeria she will cook curries, and against Slovenia they’ll have goulash.

A big fan of Manchester United, Mark says he’s taken out all the furniture and replaced it with some garden chairs, during the World Cup. Although his wife, Karen, would like things to get back to normal once the football tournament is over, Mark confesses he’d like to keep his makeshift stadium for a lot longer.

via Daily Mail and Oldham Evening Chronicle

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Lilliputan Terracotta Army Invades England

40,000 small terracotta soldiers storm into the Spanish Barn, in Torquay, Devon.

The Terracotta Army is a famous art collection, by British artist Anthony Gormley, featuring 40,000 clay figurines. They were all made in St. Helen’s, Merseyside, as a community project. Children and their families were given clay balls to manipulate into a human shape, with two eyes. Each person created up to 200 terracotta figurines per day.

Now the Terracotta Army has been moved from London’s South Bank Center into the Torre Abbey’s Spanish Barn, in Torquay, Devon. All the 40,000 lilliputian terracotta soldiers must face in the same direction and must be viewed from a certain angle. That’s why volunteers were needed to walk through the ranks and arrange the figurines.

The young lady in the second photo is one such volunteer, walking carefully among the 8 to 26-cm-tall statuettes, in her socks. If one of the soldiers were to fall, it could lead to a disastrous domino effect.

Anthony Gormley’s Terracotta Army will be stationed inside the abbey for the summer, if you fancy a visit.

Photos by SWNS

via Daily Mail

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