BBQ OMG: 11 million barbecues to fail this summer

London – VIJAY SHAH via SWNS digital

It is the middle of summer, and in the UK, that of course means barbecue season. Families and people across the land will be pulling out their grills from the shed after a year of hibernation to fry tonnes of burgers, chops, sausages, kebabs and other meat and vegetarian products, but not all of them will reach the perfect sizzling conclusion, with a group of researchers claiming that up to 11 million British barbecue parties will be ruined this summer alone.

The main reasons for flaming failures, according to the research by meat trade agency Simply Beef & Lamb, are poorly cooked BBQ foods, followed by unwanted company, drunken guests and snacks or drinks running out. Other al fresco eating experiences could also be derailed by a lack of alcohol and bad taste in music or radio station selection. Burnt or undercooked food was the biggest risk factor for a ruined BBQ, with one in five Britons (22 per cent) complaining about it, according to the study, which surveyed a sample of 2,000 adults.



The massive amount of failed BBQs this year can also be put down to lack of skill in the relevant techniques with the study showing that one in five barbecue organisers struggling with the finer points of well prepared meat and poultry, and almost a quarter (24%) of participants going as far as branding the UK’s collective barbecuing a national disgrace. Twenty seven per cent of the sample claimed to be disgusted by seeing their food cooked on a dirty grill, with another twenty one per cent put off their burgers by guests exhibiting nasty eating habits or ‘table manners’. One in five respondents were annoyed by the British phenomenon of the ‘back-seat BBQer’ – guest who do not cook a single thing themselves but will hover around the person manning the grill, dispensing unwanted advice and criticism of their grilling finesse. Other respondents complained about groups of people huddling around the grill, public displays of affection, a lack of food and drink variety, and controversially, having to cater for vegetarian guests who cannot eat meat.

Simply Beef & Lamb also stated that the average adult will either attend or start up four barbecues in 2017, which adds up to 108 million cookouts among the UK’s 27 million households. The agency’s spokesperson, Nick White, spoke with SWNS news outlet, encouraging British families and friends to keep barbecuing, especially with steak:

“Following our survey, we are launching a campaign to get Brits grilling like Americans, Aussies and Argentinians.

‘We’re asking Brits to banish boring barbecue food and to come together to ‘raise the steaks’.’

‘It’s a misconception that steak is difficult to cook on the barbecue – it’s actually one of the quickest and tastiest meats to prepare on the grill.

‘There are numerous ways to enjoy it, from cutting it into kebabs to marinating it in different flavours.”


  1. Undercooked food
  2. Rain
  3. Burnt food
  4. Bad company
  5. People who are too drunk
  6. Not enough food
  7. Poor BBQ skills
  8. No alcohol
  9. Bad music
  10. Boring and predictable food


  1. Dirty BBQ grill
  2. People with bad eating manners
  3. Criticism and advice from ‘back seat’ BBQ-ers
  4. The amount of smoke from the BBQ
  5. Drunk arguments
  6. Same old bangers and burgers
  7. Vegetarians being awkward
  8. Couples’ public display of affection
  9. All the men huddling around the BBQ
  10. The fact you spend hours cooking and then everyone is too drunk to eat


“Flaming Failures! 11 Millions Barbecues Will be Spoiled this Summer” – SWNS digital/72Point (1 July 2017)


“Texas – Driftwood: The Salt Lick BBQ – Barbecue pit” – Wally Gobetz, Flickr (17 August 2012)


THE REAL-LIFE SIDESHOW BOB?: Fundraising clown criminalised by UK council


Manchester – VIJAY SHAH via SWNS digital

A man dressed as a clown who was fundraising for victims of terrorism found himself accosted by council workers who confiscated his donations bucket, SWNS news agency reported this Friday.

Pensioner Tommy Armstrong, from Greenock in Inverclyde, Scotland, had visited the city of Manchester in England to collect spare change for victims of the recent suicide bombing there, when employees of the Manchester city council approached him while he was about to collect donations for a special charity 10-kilometre fun run he was due to take part in. The council staff demanded to see Tommy’s fundraising permit, which he did not have. They then allegedly emptied his bucket and confiscated the donations. Armstrong was said to have been left ‘close to tears’ by the incident. At that time, he was dressed in full clown costume and face make-up.



Armstrong has raised nearly £200,000 for charity in a fundraising career spanning thirty years and has frequented the streets of Manchester for the past decade. He was renowned in his native city for his habit of dressing in complete clown regalia to entertain shoppers and tourists and gather money for charity. He had even appeared on a daytime TV show ‘This Morning’ with the ITV terrestrial station last year. He told SWNS: My race didn’t start until 3pm, so I went to St Ann’s Square first to see the flowers that have been left there in tribute to the victims.

‘I was wearing my clown’s gear and pushing my usual pram with the bucket on it.’

‘I didn’t ask anyone for money at that stage, but many people had put notes and coins into the bucket.’

‘Two officials came up to me and asked if I had a permit to raise money for the fund.’

‘I told them I had been raising money at Manchester and other big races around the country like the London Marathon for years, and I had never heard anything about a permit.’

‘They took my bucket and counted all the money on a wall. People were walking past wondering what was going on.’

‘It was really embarrassing and made me feel like they thought I was trying to collect money for myself. They were very rude and treated me like a criminal.”

The donations confiscated by Manchester council was believed to be in the region of £44. Tommy Armstrong also told SWNS that he felt the council’s rough treatment of him was unwarranted and that they should offer an apology. He added: They gave me a piece of paper with their names and a phone number for Manchester Council, asked for my name and address and said they would send a receipt, but I still haven’t received a thing.

‘These guys hounded me. I was really angry about it and close to tears. They even took my sign away from me.’

‘I travelled down there at my own expense on an overnight bus to try and help, but their attitude seemed to be that I was dressed as a clown so they would treat me like a clown. I think I should get an apology.”

Manchester City Council said that they had required fundraisers collecting money for victims of the Ariana Grande concert attack to carry officially issued permits after a number of fraudulent fundraising drives were reported to them in the days after the atrocity, in which local man Salman Abedi detonated an improvised shrapnel bomb at the Manchester Arena, killing himself and 22 concertgoers, many of whom were parents and children.

A spokesperson for the council told SWNS: “Difficult though it is to countenance, some unscrupulous individuals do exploit the name of charitable funds for their own personal gain.

‘To protect the public from these bogus collectors, people wishing to collect cash donations at public events need to apply for and carry an official permit.’

‘Members of our team spoke with Mr Armstrong to explain that because he did not have a permit, the money he had collected from the public would be taken and deposited with the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund on his behalf.’

‘There is no suggestion that Mr Armstrong’s motives were anything other than good, and we hope that he will understand that the permit process exists with the important aim of protecting the public from rogue collectors.’

‘The money he raised will help to support those who have been injured or bereaved by the attack.”


“Charity Clown Treated Like a “Criminal” By Council Workers” – SWNS digital/72Point (9 June 2017)


“Hobo the Clown” – Shawn Tron (12 November 2011)

GOOD NEWS FOR ARACHNOPHOBES: New spider-proof shed launched

VIJAY SHAH with SWNS Newswire

Currently in the UK, it is now spider season, when thousands of arachnids decide to pay a visit to homes and offices up and down the land, looking for shelter and a female companion. Cue loads of unexpected encounters between spider and human, and inevitably ends up with a final meeting with the sole of a well-aimed slipper amid plenty of screaming.

Sheds are another good place for spiders to call home. The dark and cool interior with its inviting nooks and crannies is practically the Costa del Spider for any homeless creepy-crawly looking for a silky hammock for the next few nights. But now our friends will have to find somewhere else to put their eight feet up after a revolutionary new spider-proof shed hits the market this autumn.

Artists impression of the the world's first spider proof shed has hit the shelves and it guarantees it will keep the eight legged monsters out - if you can afford the hefty price tag. See Ross Parry copy RPYSPIDER : Among other hi-tech anti-spider technology the shed is coloured sky blue - a colour proven to repel the beasts - and can made to smell offensive to them as well. Tiger Sheds launched the anti-arachnid fortress after a survey disclosed 25 per cent of Brits are too scared to venture into the sheds for fear of meeting one these creep crawlies, face to many-eyed face. Not only does this innovative bit of kit keep the eight-legged interlopers out, it will ensure the contents of your garden shed are kept cobweb free.
Artists impression of the the world’s first spider proof shed has hit the shelves and it guarantees it will keep the eight legged monsters out – if you can afford the hefty price tag. Tiger Sheds launched the anti-arachnid fortress after a survey disclosed 25 per cent of Brits are too scared to venture into the sheds for fear of meeting one these creep crawlies, face to many-eyed face. Not only does this innovative bit of kit keep the eight-legged interlopers out, it will ensure the contents of your garden shed are kept cobweb free.

The shed, launched by Tiger Sheds, is the first of its kind in the world, and features the latest in spider-repellent features. It boasts toughened and sealed glass windows, to keep out the large numbers of spiders that enter human buildings via them, and silicone-sealed joints to dissuade any spider lucky enough to get past the Fort Knox style windows from settling down. The sheds are also painted sky-blue and come smelling sweetly of peppermint, citrus and insecticide, all of which are repulsive to spiders.

The shed was designed after a survey of Britons found that twenty-five per cent of them were too scared to nip into their sheds for fear of meeting a spider.

The new shed not only works to keep arachnids out, but also had the added advantage of keeping its contents cobweb-free, so DIY fanatics will no longer have to fight through spider silk Indiana Jones style every time they need the drill.

This amazing new revolution in spider-proof outhousing will not come cheap though. Arachnophobes will have to fork out £2,000, but perhaps it is well worth it if you don’t fancy a date with Aragog.

The anti-spider features include:

–  All joints silicone sealed to ensure no gaps and cracks

Airtight windows with toughened glass and an airtight door with special draft seal to ensure there’s no way for creepy crawlies to sneak in

– Interior lined with spider repellent lining paper to stop spiders coming in through the cladding

– Sky blue exterior cladding, a colour that’s proven to repel spiders

– Heavy duty polyester backed felt roof to keep bugs and water out

– A fun ‘No Spiders allowed’ sign to ensure everyone knows it’s a spider-free zone.

For those who really want to maximise the spider repelling potential of their shed, Tiger Sheds are also offering some additional extras including:

– Impregnated wood – option to have the wood the shed is constructed from impregnated with peppermint, citrus and insecticide (scents which are proven to repel eight-legged creatures)

– A ‘creepy crawly den’, which is a specially designed box that is dark inside and comes complete with holes and cracks for spiders to crawl into that sits beside the shed and attracts spiders away from the outbuilding and into it instead

– A ‘pest test’ carried out every six months by a fully trained member of the Tiger Sheds team, who will carefully inspect your spiderproof shed to ensure that no spiders have made it inside, if that is even possible.

Hannah Moore, a spokesperson for Tiger Sheds, said: “We’d had several requests for a spiderproof shed from people too afraid to venture into their outbuildings in case spiders were lurking, so we decided to conduct some research into how many Brits this fear actually affected.

“Surprisingly, a quarter of those surveyed admitted they avoid their sheds and outbuildings due to a fear of spiders.

“Obviously we wanted to help these people and make them feel comfortable enough to enter their sheds once more, which is why we decided to create the world’s first spider proof shed.

“We spent a lot of time researching spider deterrents and liaised with numerous arachnid experts to come up with the product, which we’re confident will keep spiders out.

“We hope this new product helps arachnophobes across the country enjoy their garden sheds once more!”

Britain is home to more than 600 species of spider, some of which are capable of biting humans. Some, such as the non-native false widow spiders, have been accused of putting people in hospital, but fortunately no British spider possesses venom that is fatal to humans.

To find out more about the shed, visit

“World’s First Spider-Proof Shed Launched” – SWNS digital, 72 point (18 September 2015)