Now That’s What I Call Happy Hump Day News 2020

We can’t quite believe that one of the most globally significant years within our lifetimes is coming to a close… It’s certainly been a rollercoaster, but among all of the worry and grief, there have been some rather beautiful moments. One of the most uplifting aspects for us has been bringing those positive news stories to you each week. It started out as a fun feature, however looking back, it’s been intrinsic to keeping our spirits up! Here is our roundup of the best of Happy Hump Day News 2020. Thank you for reading!

Gone Viral (in the good way)

One of 2020’s biggest social media trends was, of course, TikTok, and there were some 15-second-long gems in amongst all of the repetitive dances. Highlights included this video, which actually helped Fleetwood Mac’s Dreams achieve its biggest ever streaming week on Spotify…

 

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It all started in September when Nathan Apodaca posted a video of himself on a skateboard drinking cranberry juice and singing along to Dreams… if you haven’t seen it, it all kind of makes sense after you watch it. A lovely continuation of the story is that Mick Fleetwood and Stevie Nicks responded with their own videos. The whole thing was strangely heart-warming…

 

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Back in the UK in September, Lincolnshire Wildlife Park had a controversial week… The attraction had to remove five African grey parrots because of their use of bad language, which offended some visitors. While we couldn’t show you a video of the naughty quintet for obvious reasons, we can show you another of the park’s residents, Chico, who is much more approachable and enjoys crooning hits by none other than Beyoncé.

 

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Two self-isolating gerbils in London also demonstrated an appreciation of true artistry when their owners made them their very own petite pop-up gallery. Pandoro and Tiramisu marvelled at some recognisable rodent faces in masterpieces such as the Mona Lisa, Gerbil with a Pearl Earring, The Scream, and The Kiss, and got so excited that they nibbled one of the chairs – despite the signs!

In April, it was proven once again that a picture is worth a thousand words… A 17-year-old carer in a Preston care home gifted a 94-year-old resident a cushion with a photograph of his late wife printed on it, after she noticed he would sleep with a framed picture of her next to him each night. Ken Benbow was married to Ada for 75 years, until she sadly died in 2019. An emotional video of Ken receiving the gift went viral – he declared that it was the most precious thing anyone could wish for.

Since care home residents weren’t allowed visitors for most of the year, you might assume that they played a bit more bingo or watched daytime television instead. This wasn’t quite the case for the hip pensioners at Sydmar Lodge Care Home in Edgware… Staff and residents passed the time by recreating iconic album covers, including those by Adele, Madonna, David Bowie and The Clash. Models included Sheila, 93, who met Rag’n’Bone Man (one of her favourite artists) backstage at a concert in 2019 – she thought it was only fitting to don fake tattoos and emulate his Human album cover for the occasion.

 

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We were once again inspired by our incredible elders when we discovered one of our favourite Instagram accounts of the year, which belongs to a Taiwanese couple who own a laundry. The octogenarians decided to make use of all of the pieces of clothing left by customers over the years, and have been styling and modelling in shoots that wouldn’t look out of place in Vogue

Our Planet

Remember that mini spring heatwave we had? It was the start of a number of new and significant renewable energy records. The month of May was declared Great Britain’s sunniest calendar month ever and greenest month ever – because of the simultaneous lockdown, we didn’t use coal-fired plants for energy for a whopping 18 consecutive days! It was the longest coal-free power run since 1882. That record was broken again in August when we managed 55 coal-free days. Taking into account the wind power generated by Storm Bella in the last week, it looks like 2020 will be the greenest year since records began.

In addition to our unprecedented use of renewable energy, the last 12 months saw a number of successful rewilding programmes and reintroduction projects…

In May, conservationists at Knepp Estate in West Sussex celebrated the arrival of the first baby storks to be born in the wild since the 15th century! Members of the monogamous species were bred in captivity and released into the wild, as part of a special reintroduction project.

Converse, the iconic brand known for kitting out feet in cool kicks, set up a brilliant environmental initiative called Converse City Forests this year. The company commissioned giant murals in cities including Bangkok, Warsaw, Sydney and São Paulo, which were painted using eco-friendly paint that actually purifies the air around it. The photocatalytic paint uses sunlight to help convert pollutants in the air into harmless nitrates – the São Paulo mural itself is the equivalent of planting 750 trees! New street art by local artists in our favourite cities that actually cleans the air? Now that’s cool.

 

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Animal Antics

Much of our Happy Hump Day News revolved around the animal kingdom, which meant it wasn’t easy to whittle down all the delightful stories to just a few highlights… We did our best though!

Two giant pandas, Wu Wen and Xing Ya, on loan from China to Ouwehands Zoo in Holland became new parents in May. The birth of a giant panda is a cause for celebration because the species famously struggles to mate, and couples only have a small window during which to successfully do so. The male cub was named Fan Xing, which is a combination of the Chinese word for star and Vincent van Gogh’s name in Dutch (Fan Gau).

You may remember a heartbreaking story in 2018 about a killer whale who carried her dead calf with her for 17 days. Scientists at SR3 – a sealife response, rehabilitation and research group – revealed in September that Tahlequah gave birth to a new and healthy calf, which has now been named Phoenix.

We welcomed more good whale news when two 12-year-old beluga whales were successfully transported from Changfeng Ocean World aquarium in Shanghai to a sanctuary in Iceland, where they can live the rest of their lives freely. Little Grey and Little White made the 30-hour voyage across the world to Heimaey island aided by Britain’s Sea Life Trust, and it is now possible to take boat trips into the bay to admire the new residents from a respectable distance.

Springer spaniel Max popped into Kerry Irving’s life at the time he needed him most. Irving had been left with excruciating back pain after a car accident and was struggling to even get out for a walk around where he lives in the Lake District. Meeting Max gave Irving a new reason to get up and out every day, and the pooch affected his outlook so much that he penned a book about him. Max gathered a bit of a following on social media – people got in touch with Irving about how happy the pictures and videos made them, and sometimes opened up about their own struggles. Now, the pair have made television appearances and led charity walks that have raised thousands. The next chapter in their story is that Max is set to get his own bronze statue erected in Keswick Park in Spring 2021. Stay!

Staff at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary set up an online dating ad for one of their otter residents Harris, after his partner of four years, Apricot, passed away. Happily, Scarborough SEA LIFE responded to the one-of-a-kind ‘Fishing for Love’ profile with photos of a female otter called Pumpkin, whose partner Eric also died. Otters are well-known for being close to their partners and are often pictured holding hands as they float so that one of the couple doesn’t drift away. We’re pleased to report that Harris and Pumpkin just enjoyed their first Christmas together in SEA LIFE Scarborough!

This year’s Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards certainly raised a few smiles too. The competition’s overall winner was Mark Fitzpatrick who took this fantastic photo of a rather grumpy Terry the turtle – a 2020 mood if ever we saw one.

Meanwhile in Malaysia, a monkey tried to create his own Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards entry when he stole a man’s phone. Several photos and a video appear to show the cheeky chap fiddling with, and possibly trying to eat, the device.

 

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Penguin Press

Penguins were a hot topic in 2020! In August, you may have read about one in Nottinghamshire that escaped from its farm enclosure and was rescued by police – who nicknamed it Po-Po – after they spotted it wandering along a road. Meanwhile in an aquarium in Valencia, two female penguins named Electra and Viola became proud parents after their adopted egg hatched.

In September, a Northern Rockhopper penguin called Pierre washed up on an Australian beach in a bit of a pickle. He was nursed back to health by Perth Zoo, however as the only penguin in the recovery centre, he got lonely at times… The zookeepers remedied this by playing Pierre videos of other Northern Rockhopper penguins in the wild as well as episodes of… Pingu! It brought a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘Netflix and chill’… Now that he’s healthy again, Pierre has moved to Singapore, where he’s joined real-life Rockhopper penguins in Jurong Bird Park.

 

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You might recall the same-sex gentoo penguin couple in the Sea Life Aquarium in Sydney that became well-known in 2018 for hatching an adopted egg after they were showing parental tendencies towards a rock… Well, this year they welcomed a second arrival into their family. Sphen and Magic were given an egg that was neglected by other penguins, and are now raising their second adopted chick together.

Oceanographic Magazine awarded an Ocean Photograph Award to Tobias Baumgaertner in Melbourne, who captured this shot of two fairy penguins who appear to be hugging while looking at the bright city lights. According to a volunteer at the colony, the pair of penguins – one older female and a younger male – both lost their partners and are widowed, so they often meet up and comfort each other. I’m not crying, you’re crying…

And Finally…

Here are some of our favourite funny and bizarre happenings that we hope gave you a giggle each week.

 

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That’s all for 2020. We hope 2021 brings you a great deal more joy!

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About Marianne
Marianne

When Marianne isn't writing about all the wonderful places you can visit through dealchecker, she enjoys exploring London, visiting scenic spots within the UK and adventuring further afield whenever possible!

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