Amorous judiciary? Snapped on the window of the Vogel Centre (Ministry of Justice building) in Wellington.

Heads lost in the name of love

While modern couples celebrate Valentine's Day with flowers or chocolates, 19th-century Taiwanese aborigines had a more brutal romantic gesture - bestowing a severed head on the object of their affections to woo them, or to brides to celebrate their marriage, according to archive material in the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. The ritual is revealed in a letter written in 1864 by Kew gardener Richard Oldham, who explained it was unsafe to explore the Taiwanese mountains near Tamsui in the spring, "the season at which the young savages marry" and "they might take a particular liking for the heads of foreigners. It will perhaps be safer to go in the summer". (Source:

Start with a tasteless bang?


British food artists Bompas & Parr are launching a food explosion service for weddings where, for a fee, a trained explosives technician will lay charges inside your wedding cake ready for you to detonate. A spokesperson for the firm said: "Traditional wedding cakes are a triumph of spectacle over taste. The ritual of cutting the cake is significantly enhanced through the explosion, the sense of occasion heightened by the blast and your guests are spared eating flavourless fruitcake." The service starts from £800 ($1500).

If the shoe fits ...

When Meryl Streep won the Bafta best actress award for The Iron Lady yesterday, Colin Firth retrieved the shoe she lost on the way up the steps and MC Stephen Fry then referred to them as Prince Charming and Cinderella.

Cave-man technology on wheels

Europe is being hit by severe cold weather, expected to continue for another week. This hasn't stopped one enterprising man in Switzerland from venturing outside in his slightly modified Volvo. Since traditional car heaters are proving ineffective in the bitter cold, Pascal Prokop has built a wood-burning stove in his car, where the front passenger's seat should be. He obtained an operating permit for his stove-car from the Swiss Technical Inspection Authority, making it perfectly legal to operate.