A rare sight in the animal world... The Independent tells us that a farm in Somerset has announced a cross between a zebra and a donkey.

Zippy the 'zonkey' was born on Kristine Turner’s 55-acre farm in South Barrow and until his arrival there was thought to be only one other zonkey in Britain. - Zambi who lives on a donkey sanctuary in Shropshire.

Zippy's mother Ziggy, is a six-year-old zebra, which shares shares the fields with nine donkeys including his father Rag.

Kristine commented: “Last month I opened my bedroom curtains, which look onto the farm, and I just saw this little foal sitting up staring my way. I was in complete shock.

“He’s half a wild animal so he’ll nip and kick me a tiny bit but in a cheeky way.”

 

 

According to the Daily Express, manuscripts written by a teenage Charlotte Bronte that remained unseen for nearly 200 years have been published for the first time.

They were discovered inside a book once belonging to the Bronte's mother Maria that was sold to an America-based collector in the 1860s and which were purchased by the Bronte Society for a fee thought to be in excess of £170,000 in 2016.

Now Bronte scholars have now taken transcripts and images of the pages and published them within a new release called Charlotte Bronte: The Lost Manuscripts. The pieces date to 1833 and feature a short story and poem.

Ann Dinsdale, the curator of the Brontë Parsonage Museum, said: “These documents are incredibly significant, being among the earliest of Charlotte Bronte's writings.”

 

 

Collins Dictionary's word of the year for 2018 is 'single-use' a term referring to products – often made of plastic –that are made to be used once and then thrown away., according to The Guardian.

“The word [single-use] has seen a four-fold increase since 2013,” says the dictionary

The dictionary defines single-use as “made to be used once only”, calling it “a term that describes items whose unchecked proliferation are blamed for damaging the environment and affecting the food chain.”

Other contenders for word of the year in 2018 included plogging, a Scandinavian craze in which joggers also pick up litter; gammon, meaning “a person, typically male, middle-aged and white, with reactionary views, especially one who supports the withdrawal of Britain from the European Union”; and floss, the victory dance performed in the video game Fortnite.

 

 

You may find it hard to believe but apparently more than 7,000 UK homes are still watching television in black and white!

A Daily Mail article explains that despite colour transmission beginning more than 50 years ago,

figures, released by TV Licensing, show that 7,161 UK households are yet to switch over.

The number of black and white licences issued each year has steadily declined - in 2000, there were 212,000 black and white TV licences in force, but by 2003 the number had shrunk to 93,000. By 2015, it had dipped below 10,000.

 

 

Did you know – I bet you didn't – that the authorities in the British parliament spent £10,785 on pest control, an increase of nearly 600 per cent from £1,581 whilst nearly £30,000 was forked out on flying hawks to scare away pigeons.

A Daily Express story has outlined the lengths officials are going to in their efforts to stop vermin taking over the historic grade one listed complex.

A Parliamentary spokesman explained: “The high volume of restoration and maintenance works across the Estate has disrupted pests, making them more visible and increasing the need for pest control measures including hawk flying.”

 

 

On display for the first time will be the mourning dress worn by Queen Victoria after the death of her grandson from Russian flu.

The Guardian reports that it will be part of an exhibition highlighting the ongoing threat from epidemics.

The tiny black silk and crepe dress was made for the queen in 1892 following the death of Prince Albert Victor, known as Prince Eddy, who was 28 and second in line to the throne when he was struck by the illness a month before his wedding and will be on show at the Museum of London,.

The exhibition has been staged to mark the centenary of the 1918-19 Spanish flu epidemic, which killed between 50 and 100 million people worldwide.

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

The Guardian (www.guardian.co.uk)

The Independent (www.independent.co.uk)

Daily Mail (www.dailymail.co.uk)