Guarding royal palaces worst job in U.K. army
LONDON, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- Guard duty at Buckingham Palace, one of the most visible jobs in the British military, is also considered one of the worst jobs.
A copy of a letter written between military officials dated Nov. 26, 2004 -- obtained by the Sunday Telegraph -- says guarding the royal palaces is an "honor and a privilege," but is also "very onerous and repetitive."
More than 2,000 British troops from the Household Division and the regular Infantry are used for public duties at any time, often in two-year stints that mostly involve ironing and polishing uniforms and equipment. They are housed in Victorian barracks that are considered the worst in the British Army.
"Public duties are mind-numbingly boring for soldiers. The fun aspect of the job evaporates after the first week," a senior officer told the Telegraph. "It's not what soldiers join the Army to do. It requires a very high level of personal discipline, but that's about it -- it requires no intelligence, zeal, athleticism or initiative."
Labrador retriever is favorite U.S. dog
NEW YORK, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- For the 15th consecutive year, the Labrador retriever was the most popular purebred dog in the United States.
Nearly three times as many Labrador retrievers were registered during 2004 by the American Kennel Club than any other breed.
Golden retrievers came in behind the Labrador retrievers, followed by German shepherds, beagles and Yorkshire terriers for the top five spots.
In 2004, the German shepherd reclaimed third place by displacing the beagle, which held that position in 2003. The Yorkshire terrier also edged out the dachshund this year, reclaiming its former position as the fifth most popular dog.
Rounding out the top purebred dogs were: dachshund, boxer, poodle, shih tzu and chihuahua.
At the other end of the list, the English foxhound is again the least-registered purebred dog -- 17 registrations -- followed by the otterhound, American foxhound, Sussex spaniel and harrier.
Grandmother faces prison for marijuana
LONDON, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- A British grandmother has admitted possessing $1,600 of marijuana and intending to distribute it among her retired friends in baked goods.
Patricia Tabram, 65, Humshaugh, England, faces a prison term when she's sentenced March 11, the Sunday Telegraph reported.
Tabram said she had been depressed and considered suicide 18 months ago. But after a friend offered her a marijuana joint she felt better. She then experimented with the drug and developed recipes. She distributed her marijuana-laced baked goods and other foods to several retired friends who were suffering ill health and she they all felt better. She's writing a book entitled "Grandma Eats Cannabis."
"Oh it's wonderful for aches and pains when you get to my age," Tabram said. "None of us takes it for any other reason. I no longer wear my surgical collar, my back and legs no longer ache from arthritis."