x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Some of the best from a really weird year

ET came home; police constable chases himself; some twits on Twitter didn't know the sinking of the Titanic cruise liner actually happened; 'real-life Willy Wonka' told to give up chocolate or risk a heart attack.

ET came home

Called out to recover a body seen floating in the sea off southern England, rescuers discovered instead a life-size model of ET, the alien star of the eponymous film directed by Steven Spielberg.

Police inquiries revealed the model had been stolen from the nearby home of Margaret Wells, 76, in September. The replica had been made by Mrs Wells's daughter nine years ago and has been returned to her, but minus a finger.

Mrs Wells said: "I always knew ET would come home." (January)

Catch me if you can

An undercover police constable spent 20 minutes chasing himself after the operator of a surveillance camera mistook him for a suspect.

The officer had received a radio message alerting him to a man acting suspiciously on the streets of a small town in Sussex, England.

Not realising the camera had picked him up, the officer set off in pursuit, telling a colleague he was "hot on his heels".

The "chase" only ended when another policeman came into the CCTV control room and recognised the officer on screen.

A leaked report of the incident noted that "with the sergeant's sides aching from laughter he pointed out to the PC [police constable] that the operator had been watching him, unaware that he was a plainclothes officer - thus the PC had been chasing himself round the streets". (February)

Twitter twits

Twitter users have expressed surprise at the news that the sinking of the Titanic cruise liner actually happened and was not just a movie.

With James Cameron releasing a 3D version of his Oscar winning blockbuster to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the sinking, Twitter feeds have been buzzing with the revelation that the Titanic was a real ship that sank with massive loss of life in April 1912.

One user of the social networking site tweeted: "I never knew the titanic [sic] was real:/thought it was just another movie I haven't seen yet."

Another wrote: "Is it bad that I didn't know the titanic was real? Always thought it was just a film."

A user called "Mr Dragon Slayer" tweeted: "I'm never going on a cruise again." (April)

Confection impossible

A chocolate tester known as "the real-life Willy Wonka" has given up his job after gaining nearly 13 kilos.

Angus Kennedy, 47, has been told his cholesterol is "dangerously high" and that he risked a heart attack.

Kennedy was appointed the chief tester for the trade journal Kennedy's Confection in 2010, earning the equivalent of Dh172,000 a year to eat up to a kilo of chocolate products a day. He only visited the doctor after the birth of his fifth child and was immediately advised to quit.

Kennedy, from Kent in England, called his job a "Golden Ticket", but added: "a recent check-up showed my arteries were far from fighting fit." (July)

* James Langton