Diary: Javid's jokes

Communities secretary Sajid Javid's recent speeches have featured a slightly uncomfortable penchant for self-mockery. At a National Association of Local Councils event held on Halloween, Javid told delegates he had been complimented by Prime Minister Theresa May on his scary mask. "I had to say: 'This is just my face," he quipped. "Perhaps she thought I had come as Uncle Fester."

In an earlier speech to the Black British Business Awards, Javid said "a lot of people were angry" when he was made culture secretary due to his banking background. "They said: 'What does this banker know about the arts?'" Javid recounted. "Well, I think they said 'banker'."

Next, news that a stretch of road in Northern Ireland made famous by the fantasy drama series Game of Thrones has been closed to traffic following concerns about the number of tourist vehicles in the area.

Dark Hedges, an avenue of beech trees near Armoy in County Antrim (above), was used to represent Kingsroad in the HBO series. But following complaints over the impact of tourist traffic on the historic line of trees, Northern Ireland's Department for Infrastructure issued an order banning traffic from the stretch of road. However, reports indicate that the order is just as much fantasy as the TV series, with traffic as busy as usual, according to onlookers.

A petition calling for proper geometry in a road sign may seem an unlikely campaign, but mathematician Matt Parker has attracted 20,000 signatures in his fight for better science in the national tourist road sign for football stadiums.

Parker says the brown sign is a "national embarrassment" because it only uses hexagons in the image despite it being mathematically impossible to create a football from the six-sided shapes alone. He wants the signs to more accurately reflect footballs' mix of pentagons and hexagons.


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