BRITISH politicians may be struggling over how to resolve the Brexit issue but that hasn't stopped them enjoying a glass or two of wine.

An article in The Independent says that wine consumption at government events rose by more than 20 per cent in the past year.

Foreign Office minister Sir Alan Duncan put it down to “an increased number of larger events" over the last 12 months.

The Government Hospitality Wine Cellar Annual Report showed the most popular wine served at functions was English and Welsh, making up 57 per cent of the total.

The cellar is self-funding, with an independent body in charge of buying stocks of vintage wine, keeping them for a number of years then selling them at a profit at auction.

The money is then used to buy cheaper wine to be drunk at government events that year.

 

 

The Daily Mirror says congratulations to Britain's oldest twins, identical Phyllis Jones and Irene Camp, from Stourport-on-Severn, Worcestershire, who have celebrated their 102nd birthdays!

Irene’s husband Samuel, a farmer, died in 1999 in his 90s and Phyllis’s husband Ray died in 2006, aged 91.

Phyllis’s son Carl commented: “They are really feisty – they have to be, being sisters and twins.”

 

 

Benefiting from a clean-up is a 1773 Thomas Gainsborough portrait of his nephew which has had more than a century’s worth of yellowing varnish removed.

The Guardian reports that a conservator at the National Portrait Gallery in London has cleaned the portrait of Gainsborough Dupont and the results were revealed ahead of the oval portrait’s display as part of the gallery’s exhibition, Gainsborough’s Family Album, which is now open to the public.

Polly Saltmarsh said: “Having the opportunity to study the techniques Gainsborough has employed in this beautiful portrait has been a highlight of the preparation for the forthcoming exhibition.

“Removing the old varnish and revealing elements which were previously obscured is very satisfying, and witnessing the reaction of curators and visitors seeing the painting after treatment is a real pleasure.”

Philip Thicknesse, a close friend of Gainsborough, had eulogised the work calling it “the finest head he ever painted” and “more like the work of God than man”.

 

 

Archaeologists working on an island off the coast of Guernsey have a puzzle on their hands, reports The Guardian.

Apparently a porpoise was buried in a medieval grave on Chapelle Dom Hue and now the remains of a handless figure have also been found.

Results of tests on the porpoise have recently come back and suggest it was buried on the island some time in the 15th century.

But when the tests were being done, the archaeologists spotted a human toe bone exposed in a cliff edge about 10 metres from the porpoise site and found a near-complete human skeleton.

States of Guernsey archaeologist Philip de Jersey said the body could be that of a monk as it was believed the island was used by residents from a nearby monastery seeking solitude.

He added: “He is lacking hands and wrist bones, which is mysterious. There are medical reasons a person could lose their hands such as leprosy but the toes are in such good condition it seems unlikely.”

Reference list

The Guardian (www.guardian.co.uk)

The Independent (www.independent.co.uk)

Daily Mirror (www.mirror.co.uk)