THE BBC reports that the chimes of Big Ben will have to stop after 157 years of nearly unbroken service, when urgent repair work will be carried out at a cost of £29m.

The Elizabeth Tower, which houses the iconic London clock, will also be repaired during the three year project, which starts next year.

A spokesman said: “The clock mechanism will need to be stopped for several months in order to carry out essential maintenance. During this period there will be no chimes. We are also investigating whether or not the chiming will have an effect on operatives working at high level, which will need to be taken into consideration. Striking and tolling will be maintained for important events.”

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The Daily Mirror tells us that a house which is believed to have inspired Lewis Carroll to write Alice in Wonderland is up for sale for £3.65 million.

The Grade 1-listed Consort House in Lewes Crescent, Brighton, East Sussex, even has a rabbit-hole-style tunnel which leads down to the beach front.

It is said that Carroll saw the tunnel on his visits to Brighton in the lead up to publishing the tale 150 years ago.

Owner Barry Crogan said: “The potential Alice in Wonderland links are a lovely side story and a quite fantastic and large tunnel just adds to the legend.

“Residents are each given a key so the tunnel has private access and it is not like a rabbit hole when you are inside, it is a full, spacious tunnel.”

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Chloe, a tabby and white cat which has been missing for six years, has returned to the family home, says The Guardian.

In 2006 she jumped from a pet carrier when her owner Rebecca Lee was taking her to the vet in Caerphilly, South Wales.

Then, after living as a stray and being cared for by an elderly woman just over a mile away from her owner’s home, Chloe was eventually handed into Cats Protection’s adoption centre in Bridgend where a routine scan of her microchip meant she could finally be reunited with her owner.

Rebecca said: “Chloe had jumped from the pet carrier in the car park and we never saw her again.

“I put up posters and placed adverts and shortly after got a call to say a cat matching her description had been found dead by the roadside. I was devastated but came to terms with her death. Unbeknown to me at the time, it seems she had wandered as a stray before eventually finding an elderly lady who had taken her in.”

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An article in The Independent reveals that a single pumpkin seed has been sold for £1,250.

Horticulture firm Thompson & Morgan, based in Ipswich, Suffolk, bought the seed at a specialist auction in the hope that it would produce the biggest pumpkin the world has seen.

The seed was about two inches long and came from the biggest pumpkin so far - a 2,323 lb (1054 kg) specimen produced by a Swiss grower in 2014.

Thompson and Morgan has asked horticulturist Matthew Oliver to turn the seed into a record breaker.

He commented: “I'm not sure whether it was a brave or stupid idea to take on this challenge, but I'll give it my best shot. Let's just say that my holiday plans will be on hold until after the October weigh-in.”

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Prisoners in UK jails are doing their bit for the economy, reports the Daily Mirror.

Figures released under Freedom of Information laws reveal that contracts carried out by the UK’s 85,000 inmates were worth more than £5m.

The work includes jobs like washing the kit of Warrington Wolves rugby league club to helping print the Methodist magazine and materials for parish councils and cricket clubs.

Figures show there were 376 Prison Service business deals, all contracts with the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), providing work behind bars and at training academies.

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The Independent says that police are hunting the driver of a Toyota 4x4 who appears to deliberately drive through puddles in order to splash passers-by.

 

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

The Guardian (www.guardian.co.uk)

The Independent (www.independent.co.uk)

Daily Mirror (www.mirror.co.uk)

BBC (www.bbc.co.uk)