SALES of cactus in the UK have 'spiked' says an article in the Daily Mail who report that one national garden centre chain claims sales have gone up by more than 50 per cent.

Apparently the Christmas craze for cacti is the culmination of a trend that has seen them become the hottest plants in Britain this year.

Eddy Harris, secretary of the British Cactus and Succulent Society (BCSS) commented: “Owners — young people especially — love them because they're very easy to look after. You only have to water them during the growing months, typically March to October, and even then it's once a week.”



Staying in the UK is a renowned piece of Salvador Dalí surrealist artwork after it was acquired for £853,000 by the National Galleries of Scotland (NGS).

The Guardian reports that the 'lobster telephone' had been sold at a Christie’s auction to a foreign buyer but was regarded as too important to be allowed to leave the country.

The lobster phone was made in 1938, one of 11 commissioned by Edward James, the eccentric and wealthy patron of surrealist artists. The lobsters were made to fit bakelite telephones at his house in Wimpole Street, central London, and his country house Monkton in West Sussex

Government ministers placed an export bar on the item to allow a UK gallery time to raise the necessary funds.

The NSG’s director of modern and contemporary art Simon Groom, said :“This major acquisition cements our position as one of the world’s greatest collections of surrealist art … Before this acquisition we had nothing of this kind.”



A survey by Duracell found that the average home on Christmas morning had 30 presents opened with the first chocolate eaten as early as 11.53am.

A Daily Mirror story says that while parents will spend two hours and 16 minutes playing with their children and their new toys, the average youngster will cry at 10.28am because their flustered mum and dad can’t get their new toys to work!

The study of 2,000 adults, including almost 1,000 parents of children aged under 18, found the average child wakes up at 6.07am – 75 minutes earlier than on a ‘normal’ morning.



Big boost for young opera lovers according to The Guardian.

English National Opera is to offer under-18s free Saturday night tickets in a bid to attract the next generation of fans.

ENO chief executive Stuart Murphy is quoted as saying: “We were founded on the belief that opera is for everyone. Removing cost as a barrier to entry for under-18s is a seismic leap forward for ENO and for opera as a whole.”



The Independent newspaper tells us that Chester Zoo has received more than £120,000 in public donations after a fire which killed a number of animals.

Keepers were able to move all the zoo’s mammal species to safety – including its group of critically endangered Sumatran orangutans, Sulawesi macaques, endangered silvery gibbons and birds such as rhinoceros hornbills but some frogs, fish, insects and small birds, also housed in the Monsoon Forest habitat building, could not be saved, leaving staff “heartbroken”.

The zoo described it as “one of the toughest days in our long history”.



Stories about important women in the history of London transport are to be featured in new project, Where Are All the Women?, at the London Transport Museum, says The Guardian.

They include the women of Willesden garage who sparked a nationwide strike over equal pay in 1918, Joy Jarvis, who designed London Transport’s distinctive “roundel” seat fabrics, and the first female tube driver Hannah Dadds.

A museum spokeswoman said:“We are asking people to delve into their family history and tell us about any notable female relatives, ancestors, friends or colleagues who may have worked in the transport industry in the past.”



According to a report featured on the BBC, Britain has twice as many shops as it needs.

Retailer Sir John Timpson, who was looking at the country's high streets, said local councils must be given more money to turn town centres into communities and meeting places, adding that each town centre needed to establish a task force to address issues such as planning.

“It's not just about shopping, it's about communities and creating a hub for entertainment, medical facilities, housing. We probably have about twice as many shops as we needs. But we are short of housing.”

A report last month by accountancy firm PwC found that about 14 shops are closing every day, with High Streets face their toughest trading climate in five years.

Reference list
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Daily Mail (

Daily Mirror (