HERE'S a surprising statistic found in the Daily Mirror who report that nearly a quarter of British adults have never been on a plane!

Research by travel search engine KAYAK.co.uk also revealed that a fifth of those surveyed say they have never visited a beach in their life, a quarter have never visited a European capital city and 41 per cent say they've never tried foreign food.

And one in 10 Brits have stayed in the UK their entire life and never once been abroad.

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Archaeologists reckon that skeletons found near Glastonbury are the oldest examples of monks ever found in the United Kingdom.

The BBC says that carbon dating revealed that the remains discovered at the medieval Beckery Chapel were from the 5th or early 6th Century AD.

Around 50 to 60 skeletons, most of whom were adult male, were found and site director Dr Richard Brunning said: “It's the earliest archaeological evidence we've got for monasticism. It's on a small island just off Glastonbury so it's surrounded by the wetlands and cut off from normal life, that's probably why it's based

there. There are a few rudimentary buildings made of wattle and daub, so nothing grand made of stone.”

The chapel is connected to legendary visits by King Arthur, who is said to have seen a vision of Mary Magdalene and the baby Jesus there.

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Some unusual items are coming up for auction. The Daily Express claims that a pair of Queen Victoria's split drawers may go for £6,000 when they are sold at Henry Aldridge and Son in Devizes, Wiltshire.

They have a 42.5 inch waist and are made of fine linen and embroidered VR 23. Also for sale is a chemise which is also embroidered with the distinctive “VR” and could fetch £800.

Auctioneer Andrew Aldridge said: “The bloomers were given to the vendor's grandmother by one of Queen Victoria's ladies in waiting. Both items are in remarkable condition considering their age.”

And The Guardian tells us that a plain iron key which opened Oscar Wilde’s cell door at Reading jail, is to be sold at a Sotheby’s auction. One of Wilde's most famous poems, the Ballad of Reading Gaol, was originally published in 1898 after Wilde had been sentenced to two years’ hard labour for homosexual offences in 1895.

“It is a very evocative piece,” said Gabriel Heaton, an English literature expert at Sotheby’s. “The heavy dark Victorian key does speak quite loudly and poignantly of the contrast between the freedom and lightness of Oscar Wilde’s wit and that terrible time in his life.” It could go for as much as £6,000.

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Christmas is becoming more and more expensive, according to an article in the Daily Express.

They quote a survey by Barclaycard which says that the cost of filling a traditional Christmas stocking has rocketed as parents replace old favourites such as fruit and sweets with fashionable gadgets.

Items such as smartphones, tablets and fitness bands have taken over from traditional presents like satsumas and chocolate coins and parents are now expected to spend an average £71 on a young child’s seasonal stocking with that amount rising to £119 when they reach 15.

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Better late than never I suppose … a story in The Guardian says that a school library book that was borrowed in the 1890s has been returned after more than 120 years – with no fine to pay.

The paper says that the copy of The Microscope and its Revelations was borrowed from the library at Hereford Cathedral school by a pupil, Arthur Boycott, but was never returned during his lifetime.

However, his granddaughter Alice Gillett, from Taunton in Somerset, discovered it when sorting through a collection of 6,000 books after her husband’s death this year.

She returned it to the school with a note that read: “I am sorry to inform you that one of your former pupils, Prof AE Boycott FRS, appears to have stolen the enclosed. I can’t imagine how the school has managed without it!”

Hereford library, usually charges 17p a day, and the school has calculated that the overdue fine would have been £7,446.

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Reference list:

The Express (www.express.co.uk)

The Guardian (www.guardian.co.uk)

Daily Mirror (www.mirror.co.uk)

BBC (www.bbc.co.uk)