SAD news, reported in The Independent newspaper, that Hamish the cat adopted by a Scottish town, has died at the age of 15.

Hamish belonged to Marianne Baird but was so popular in St Andrew's that, according to The Independent: “He had many homes, from student flats to shop windows. His ginger fur could be witnessed on coats across the town with many visitors, students and residents stopping to give the tom cat a cuddle.”

As his fame grew, his presence in St Andrew's was noted everywhere. He had his own ‘Hamish recommends’ section in a local book store and this year also saw the publication of his 'biography' -Hamish McHamish, Cool Cat About Town, by Susan McMullan.

And residents of St Andrews raised £5,000 for a bronze statue of Hamish to be erected.

But now a message has been posted on Hamish's Facebook page stating that the cat had died “peacefully, and with his mum Marianne by his side. In the end, the chest infection that he had been battling proved too much for him and the kindest thing to do was to let him go.”

--------------------------

This time of the year has seen many youngsters experience school life for the very first time and the Daily Mirror reports on the unusual case of two four year olds, Daisy Wilson and Ruby Stephenson, who have been inseparable since birth and who started at St Gregory’s Primary School in Chorley, Lancashire.

What's unusual about them is that although they look like twins, they are in fact aunt and niece!

Mum Alison Wilson and daughter Ashley Stephenson went into labour on the same day, in next door beds at Royal Preston Hospital.

Alison Wilson (43) gave birth to Daisy on April 3, 2010 and on April 6, just 72 hours later, her daughter Ashley (25) gave birth to Ruby.

Ashley said: “I went to the same school and some of my teachers are still there. No one can get their head round the fact Daisy and Ruby are aunt and niece – they find it mind-boggling!”

--------------------------

Whilst on the subject of schools, it is startling to read that the Daily Express notes that half of all UK adults have the maths skills of a primary school pupil.

They are quoting a report by a numeracy charity which described the situation as a 'national scourge'.

Arachnophobes are set to be in for a tough time over the next few weeks, says the Daily Mail.

It seems that Britain's spiders are enjoying a bumper year- and the bad news is they are bigger!

The spider population is fatter, healthier and more numerous than it has been for years — thanks to the warm autumn, which has provided a generous food supply in the form of flies and bugs.

Professor Adam Hart, an entomologist at the University of Gloucestershire, said: “This year has seemingly been a good one for the invertebrates that spiders feed on.”

--------------------------

The Mail also reports that the iconic British phone box is being celebrated at the Avoncroft museum in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire.

They have a collection of every model of phone box used on British streets over the past 94 years. And despite the proliferation of mobile phones, there are still 10,000 modern phone boxes functioning in the UK.

Reference lists:

The Express (www.express.co.uk)

The Independent (www.independent.co.uk)

Daily Mail (www.dailymail.co.uk)

Daily Mirror (www.mirror.co.uk)