SIXTY two year old Val Marks is very attached to her gas cooker.

The Daily Express explains that Val, from Rotherham, South Yorkshire, owns one of Britain's oldest gas cookers ...because it is the last surviving memento of her late mother Grace.

Val took possession of the New World 42 appliance when Grace died in 1999 aged 79, and has since cooked more than 20,000 meals with it.

Grace apparently bought it for £38 in 1959 and Val commented: “It’s the only thing I’ve got left of my mum’s belongings.

“People say I should get a new one but I say ‘No, it’s my memories of my mum’. It was my mum’s pride and joy; she was always cleaning it.”


Up for auction at Sotheby's New York next month is a Titian painting once owned by King Charles I and given to his plumber as part payment for money owed

The Guardian reports that the two-metre tall painting depicts the terrified virgin martyr St Margaret escaping from the mouth of Satan in the shape of a dragon.


There is a poignant tale in the Daily Express, all about the late Norman Sanders and his dream to captain a ship across the world's oceans.

Keen sailor Norman who died three months ago was born in South Kirkby, West Yorkshire but later emigrated to New South Wales in Australia.

When he died aged 89 he was cremated and his family kept his ashes in his home before deciding Norman deserved one last trip, whereupon they created a small handmade boat containing the ashes to make the 11,000 mile sea voyage back to England.

The SS Norman Sanders carries a sign for anyone who sees it saying: “This boat contains my ashes, I am trying to make my way back home to England! If you see me beached please help by sending me on my way!”

The ship was sighted just 48 hours later, about 40 miles from where it set off, and the family hope for many more updates.

Granddaugher Haley Solway, said: “My mum said, ‘We’re not keeping his ashes, he needs to go’, so she decided she wanted to build a boat and he was going to be the captain he always wanted to be.

“We’re overwhelmed by the support we’ve received from complete strangers. He was sighted by a lovely lady on her father’s boat.

“She sent us a beautiful photo of this calm sea and granddad’s boat just sailing nicely all in one piece.”


The Guardian tells us that a rare first edition of the original Biggles book, featuring adventures of the fictional first world war flying ace, is to be auctioned.

"The Camels are Coming" was the first book to feature Captain James Bigglesworth, nicknamed Biggles, of the Royal Flying Corps.

It was published in 1932 and was the first of almost 100 books written by author and pilot William Earle Johns, who usually wrote under the pen name WE Johns.

The book will be auctioned at Keys Fine Art Auctioneers in Aylsham, Norfolk, with a pre-sale estimate of £500 to £600.

Robert Henshilwood, head of books and ephemera, said: “First editions are always much sought-after, and when it is a first edition of the first book in a hugely popular canon like Biggles, it is sure to elicit massive interest.

“This volume is already being much talked about on the various Biggles-related internet forums, and we are expecting considerable interest when it goes under the hammer.”


Reference list:

The Express (www.express.co.uk)

The Guardian (www.guardian.co.uk)