'Not all anniversaries are there for celebrating – particularly not with fried chicken and cheese topping'

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By Paula Thelwell

ALMOST every day in the year has some tenuous designation to raise awareness of some, cause, topic, disease, food or whatever.

This has created an eclectic calendar that includes World Nutella Day, International Carrot Day, World Malbec Day – nothing wrong with that one in my book – nor International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists; World Toilet Day and International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies.

I could go on way beyond the word limit of this page. And then there’s an equal number of awareness and observance weeks and months.

However, I think I have made my point and you get the picture.

Such ‘events’ provide businesses, PR executives and marketers with a veritable cornucopia of opportunities to generate publicity and make an extra buck or two.

But it can be a minefield for those who, having spotted an anniversary coming up have no knowledge of the significance of that day.

Such as the German division of American fast food chain KFC who used its German-speaking app to suggest celebrating the 84th anniversary of Kristallnacht on 9 and 10 November with a fried chicken dish, with an added treat of soft cheese on the top.

Hardly an appropriate invitation to mark what is also known as Night of Broken Glass, when the Nazis launched co-ordinated attacks on Jewish people, their homes, businesses, schools and synagogues across Germany and Austria.

Around 100 Jews were killed and in the following days some 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and sent to concentration camps.

However, it is not the only German anniversary linked to that date – others include Schicksaltag, or Day of Destiny, when the monarchy was abolished in 1918, Hitler’s failed beer hall putsch in 1923 and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

Somehow KFC overlooked these and homed in on a date that many historians regard as the beginning of the Holocaust.

A barrage of justifiable outrage ensued and suitable apologies were hastily made but the damage had been done.

This blatant marketing ploy to generate business highlighted a woeful ignorance of history sadly endemic among Millennials and Generation Z.

A baking conundrum

After 13 seasons of the Great British Bake Off, am I alone in wondering how old the little girl shown in the opening titles is now?

Twelve years after the hit show was first screened she should be soon sitting her GCSE exams but, moreover, does she still like cake?

The sound of silence

Wildlife in the Shetland Islands is being shown a degree of care and consideration denied to far too many animals come early November.

The operators of a new spaceport on Unst, where rockets will be launched from next spring, are creating soundproof holes and an underpass under a new road for otters.

And once the facility is up and running, rockets will not be launched when birds are incubating eggs and raising chicks.

Not all animals are as resourceful or fortunate as collie Maisie who, having been spooked by a firework before Guy Fawkes Night in Loughborough, Leicestershire, ended up safe and sound in a police station.

Thankfully, automatic doors allowed her easy access to the building where she curled up in the reception.

Thanks to her microchip the family pet was soon reunited with her greatly relieved owner.

It is not just dogs and cats who are terrified by the random explosions that provide an unwelcome soundtrack to far too many November nights, livestock and wildlife also suffer unnecessary stress and terror.

More power to those behind the petition for silent fireworks but we need to go further. An increasingly annoying number of parties and weddings are not complete without firework displays that can be heard across the Island.

Firework displays should be confined to special public events and banned completely for private use – and preferably be silent.

Off course

So Jersey could be a testbed for driverless vehicles. After generations of directionless government it sounds like a perfect idea.

All at sea

A Scottish fishing crew landed a very unusual catch recently more than 100 miles offshore.

A flurry of furious flapping wings overhead caused a fisherman to look skywards to see an owl being attacked by a flock of seagulls.

Fortunately the hapless long-eared owl, which was believed to have been blown off course and out to sea, managed to land on the deck of the trawler, Benarkle II.

It was as far removed as could be from its usual habitat of coniferous woodland, plantations, small clumps of trees in moorland and farmland.

Safely tucked up in a cardboard box, pierced with holes for air, after a welcome meal of chopped steak, he settled down in the wheelhouse as the crew set about completing their trip.

The owl and crew returned safely to shore where he is recovering in a falconry centre before being returned to the wild.

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