News Round Up

by Patrick O'Connor

WHAT is happening to British menfolk?

According to a report in the Daily Mail, watching a cookery show was just as popular as tuning in to England's crucial World Cup football qualifying game against Ukraine on TV last week.

The Mail reveals Twitter debate in which men contemplated whether to watch the footie on ITV or the popular BBC2 show The Great British Bake Off.

Matthew Angell said: “Hmm. England football or Great British Bake Off? Only one winner there: [the show with] 'good bake', 'soggy bottom'.”

Chris Pickup added: “England have 20 minutes to impress me or I shall watch British Bake Off instead.”

The Mail said that the cookery show drew an audience of 4.6million, not far off the 5.4million which saw the World Cup match.

The programme has become a “must-watch” show for cookery lovers claims the Mail and a recent report by trade magazine The Grocer said that home baking is on the rise among British men.

I struggle even to make a decent beans on toast so the football wins every time I'm afraid.

Somehow, I think 90 year old Arthur Reid would also pick the football for Arthur, who lives in Warmley, Gloucestershire, is definitely a man's man who likes his beer.

He has just been honoured with a plaque on his favourite pub chair – where he's been supping for the last 72 years.

Arthur, a retired council worker, has called into The Griffin pub almost every day since turning 18.

He told the Daily Mirror: “I’ve always worked hard and enjoyed visiting the pub – I’ve never seen the need to go much further.”

Arthur has never married.

It seems that the cost of living is going up wherever you look and indeed, according to a story in the Daily Express, the cost of dying is also more expensive.

The cost of a funeral has risen by six per cent on last year, says the annual Sun Life Direct Cost of Dying report.

A funeral will now set you back £3,284 which is a 71 per cent increase on 2004.

Lovely soppy story in the Mail about seven year old Lorcan Dillon, who after being trapped in a world of silence by a condition called selective mutism, which left him unable to talk or express emotion, has spoken his first words: “I love you.”

But they weren't to his mum Jayne but to the family pet, a two year Birman called Jessi-Cat.

Jayne, from Manchester, said: “ I was so moved, but I had to hold myself in check. No matter how excited I felt, I didn’t want him to realise just how important it was for me to hear those precious words.”

Talking about Jessi-Cat, Jayne said: “This cat has an extraordinary sense of duty. She cannot bear not knowing what Lorcan is doing, and if she hears him laugh, she’ll come and find out what’s going on.

Every night, she sleeps beside his bed and when he comes home from school, he runs to scoop her up and hug her.”

It would appear that US singing star Lady Gaga has good tastes. The Sun reports that she insists on British tea PG tips being backstage wherever she is touring in the world.

Apparently she fell for the brew while touring the UK three years ago.

Heavy rock DJ Lady Starlight, 36, who is on Gaga’s current tour, said : “PG Tips are always on the rider. It’s the best black tea and she makes sure it’s on the list, wherever we play.”