IT looks like the makers of Scotch whisky may need a little help from the Dutch!

An article in the Daily Mail says that high demands for the drink in places such as China and Russia has led to claims that Scotland can't grow enough barley to keep up.

And now, reports the Mail, a 30-strong co-operative of farmers in the Netherlands hope that their crops will help make up the shortfall. 

Whisky writer Euan Duguid is quoted as saying that it is inevitable that Scottish producers will have to look abroad for barley. 

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The London Marathon is always a big occasion but for two competitors it had even greater significance – they got married half way round!

The Daily Express reports that Laura Harvey and Paul Elliott tied the knot at St Katharine Docks, near Tower Bridge, then set off on another 13 miles to complete the event.

“Everyone thinks it’s a bit mad but we wanted to do something different,” said Paul.

An embarrassing moment for a marathon runner was highlighted in the Daily Mirror.

Jason Matthews, who travelled from Wolverhampton, to take part in the Manchester Marathon, couldn't remember where he had parked his car and spent hours wandering the streets around Salford Quays looking for it.

Jason said: “I came back up with a friend on the following Sunday to look for it again. We spent the whole day driving around but when we couldn't find it I was resigning myself to the fact it was gone.”

However, after reading about Jason's plight in a local newspaper, Adam Coppin searched for the missing Saab 93 Sport and eventually found it.

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A Daily Mirror story put the spotlight on the annual Maldon Mud Race which takes place on the same day as the London Marathon.

300 runners, in fancy dress took part in the 500 metre event which involves competitors racing around the course through the thick mud of the River Blackwater in Essex at low tide.

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According to The Guardian, two self-portraits by the famous British artist Francis Bacon are going on public display for the first time after resurfacing in a private collection.

The paintings will go on show at Sotheby’s in London and New York before going under the hammer in July and are expected to fetch £15m each.

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In another 'arty' story, the Daily Mirror reveals that a painting kept in an attic for years and thought to be worth £300 has sold for £120,000.

The 9in by 7in miniature of St Peter was thought to be by a follower of 16th century artist El Greco.

Auctioneer Richard Bromell, of Charterhouse Auctioneers of Sherborne, Dorset, gave the work an estimate of between £300 to £400 but after advertising the sale to the trade interest in the work took off.

He commented that the owner would probably have accepted £500 for it before the sale.

“When I told him how much it fetched he said he needed to sit down. When he came down off the ceiling he was very, very pleased.”

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It's never too late...the Daily Mail tells us that George Kirby (103) and Doreen Luckie (91) from Eastbourne in Sussex will finally marry after first getting together 27 years ago.

Between the two of them the couple have had seven children, 15 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

“I didn’t get down on one knee because I don’t think I’d have been able to get back up,” said George.

“I suppose it’s about time, really. I don’t feel my age. Doreen keeps me young.”

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Reference list:
The Express (www.express.co.uk)

The Guardian (www.guardian.co.uk)

Daily Mail (www.dailymail.co.uk)

Daily Mirror (www.mirror.co.uk)