News Round Up

WHAT do you do when a 'party bus' fails to turn up for a six year old boy's birthday party?

Wait for the police to arrive of course!

The BBC tells us that when the bus didn't arrive for the party for Anna Banyard's son Alexander and 21 friends at her home in Warfield, Berkshire a friend tweeted for help and police turned up with a riot van!

Anna commented: “We rushed outside with Alexander and there was a riot van, a sergeant and a PC. It was mad.

"They immediately invited Alexander to sit in the driver's seat and press all the buttons. They opened up the side doors and the back doors and just let the kids pile in.”



Bit of gory historical news in The Independent

A red silk velvet bag discovered in the attic of West Horsley Place, a stately home in Surrey, could be the one used to carry the severed head of explorer Sir Walter Raleigh.

The Mary Roxburghe Trust, the charity which manages the manor house, has asked historians to examine the bag.

Some historians believe Lady Raleigh kept her husband’s embalmed head in a red bag by her side wherever she went but other accounts reckon she kept it inside a bag at West Horsley Place, where she lived with her son for four years.



Some fascinating items are up for sale in an auction from a collection put together by Christopher Cone and Stanley J Seeger, reports The Guardian.

Seeger, a wealthy and reclusive American heir who once owned one of Britain’s grandest homes, Sutton Place, died in 2014. His partner, Cone, has held a number of sales from their huge collections since then.

“He is having a clear out,” said David Macdonald of Sotheby’s, who is in charge of the sale. “But what an amazing clear out. There are quite serious things and fun things.”

Objects including Marilyn Monroe’s squashed picnic basket, Pablo Picasso’s cigarette box and a Fabergé copper pot given out to First World War Russian soldiers.

Other items include the judge’s copy of Lady Chatterley’s Lover that he relied on during the 1960 obscenity trial; Lord Byron’s snuff box and a beautifully carved canoe from Kerala, India, which the couple hung from the timber rafters of their home.



When lakes at Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, were drained in a bid to save a bridge, a series of mysterious rooms were revealed, says the BBC.

The stately Oxfordshire home needs to remove 400,000 tonnes of silt to protect the Grade I-listed Grand Bridge which contains more than 30 rooms that were flooded when Lancelot "Capability" Brown created lakes on the estate in the 1760s.

It contains ground floor rooms with fireplaces and chimneys, and a large windowless chamber that appears to be a theatre and discoveries range from graffiti dating from the 1760s to sunken boats used for reed cutting in the 1950s.

Head of estates Roy Cox said: “We're currently undertaking a full internal 3D survey as part of a major restoration project.

“It has already revealed a large number of rooms and passageways, some containing original plasterwork, stairways and potentially cooking ranges.



An article in the Daily Mirror explains that Britain is going to become more crowded and an ever-increasing proportion of the inhabitants will be pensioners.

They quote findings from the Office for National Statistics, which says the population is now at a record high of 66million – and will rise even further.

It is estimated that the UK will house 70million people by 2029 and 72.9million by 2041.

Ten years ago just 15.9 per cent of the population was aged 65 and over but last year that

reached 18.2 per cent, which is 12million, and is set to be 24 per cent by 2037 – one in every four Britons.



Volunteers carried more than 2,000 books the 150 metres to new premises for a community bookshop in Southampton.

The Guardian says that a rent increase left October Books unable to afford their old premises so 250 people formed a human chain to their new home in a former bank building that October Books managed to buy with funds raised from donations and loans, where the stock will be kept in the old vault.

“It was a tremendous show of support and community and we’re moved and incredibly touched by it. We are of, and for, our community and it is truly heartening to see that reciprocated,” said Clare Diaper, who works at the bookshop.

Reference list
The Guardian (

The Independent (

Daily Mail (

Daily Mirror (

  • BBC (

THE death of the Queen's 12 year old dog Whisper has brought to an end a personal connection with the Corgi breed dating back to 1944 when she received Susan, her first Pembroke Corgi as an 18th birthday present.

The Daily Mail said that Whisper had become a royal favourite following the death earlier this year of Willow – the last corgi the Queen reared herself.

All her subsequent corgis – apart from Whisper – can trace their lineage back to Susan, and the Queen became an expert on the breed.

She had taken in the dog in 2016 after its owner Bill Fenwick, a former Sandringham gamekeeper, died. 

Although she still has two dogs, Candy and Vulcan, they are dorgis, dachshund and corgi crosses.

A source told the Mail: “Whisper was a friendly chap and followed her everywhere.”



Half of people taking up guitar lessons are female, according to a new study.

The Guardian outlines research in the UK and US by guitar manufacturer Fender.

Almost three-quarters (72 per cent) of those picking up the guitar did so because they wanted to gain a life skill or better themselves, according to Fender’s survey of 500 new and aspirational guitarists, with 42 per cent saying they viewed the guitar as part of their identity.

Half of all British respondents said they preferred to play privately, 18 per cent more than in the US and 61 per cent said they simply wanted to learn songs to play socially or by themselves, rather than make it big on stage.



The latest casualties of a high-tech world seem to be alarm clocks and door knockers, says the Daily


Leading department store John Lewis has reduced its range of alarm clocks by 30 per cent as people turn to mobiles for their wake-up call.

And sales of knockers have fallen by nine per cent because of smart doorbells with features such as video streaming and phone apps.

Also the days of small televisions and DVD players also seem to be numbered, with the most commonly sold screen size doubling to 70 in from 2010's 36 in.



The Independent informs us that the origin of a mysterious golden relic has been identified after leaving archaeologists baffled for almost 150 years.

The small, flat golden plate was discovered alongside a female skeleton and a coin at a grave site beneath York station in 1872.

Now now a team at Yorkshire Museum - alongside experts from around the world – have announced it is a Roman mouth plaque dating from the third century.

It is the only example of its kind in Britain, and one of only 23 discovered worldwide.

The plaque would be used to cover the mouth of a dead body, and experts said it would usually be used for a person of high status.



Up for sale is a rare copy of the first ever Bible to be printed in English.

The Daily Express reports that the bible, which was translated directly from the Hebrew and Greek by Protestant reformist William Tyndale in 1536, could fetch as much as £10,000 at Chiswick Auctions, West London, on November 28.

Reference list:

The Express (

The Guardian (

The Independent (

Daily Mail (

SIGN of the times at an event in the House of Commons...

The Daily Express says that a 'robot' called Pepper gave evidence to a Commons education select committee.

Pepper is a "culturally aware" automaton based at Middlesex University as part of an EU-Japanese project to develop robots to help care for older people.

“She” appeared before the committee to discuss how such technology can help in schools.

The robot stood and moved its arms and head as it gave pre-programmed answers to questions which had been sent in advance,.

Pepper bowed before introducing itself and explaining how Middlesex students had programmed its interfaces to work with primary school children and those with special need.

MPs applauded at the end of the session and committee member Lucy Allan told it: “You're better than some of the ministers we have had before us.”



Fancy your own island with an historic past?

Well The Guardian informs us that Drake's Island in Plymouth South, which was named after the seafarer Sir Francis Drake, is up for sale for £6m.

The fortress island includes 16th-century barracks, a series of tunnels and planning permission for a luxury hotel and spa complex.

Drake set sail from the island in 1577 to circumnavigate the globe and it played a crucial role in defending Plymouth from French and Spanish invasions.

It has also been used as a prison, a religious centre, a refuge and, most recently, an adventure training facility, which closed in 1989.



Football fans were subjected to a 'sausage string' according to an article in The Independent.

Supermarket chain Sainsburys' wanted to promote a new range of vegetarian food and fans attending the Crystal Palace versus Wolves Premier League match in London ordered burgers and hot dogs from a burger van but were not told they contained meat alternatives.

The Independent said that several fans expressed their surprise after being told what they had eaten but praised the 'nice taste.'

Tony Arch is quoted as saying: “Very nice, it’s not meat but it tastes like meat.”


The Daily Express warns readers that massive hornets “the size of MICE” have been spotted flying around Kent for the first time.

Apparently the Asian hornets – real name vespa velutina - can grow to around an inch long and have sparked fears for native species because only a couple of hornets could kill an entire hive of bees.
They were spotted foraging on ivy in Dungeness and chief plant health officer Nicola Spence, from the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, commented: “By ensuring we are alerted to possible sightings as early as possible, we can take swift and effective action to stamp out the threat posed by Asian hornets.

“While they pose no greater risk to human health than a bee, we recognise the damage they can cause to honey bee colonies and other beneficial insects.”



Westminster Abbey is to dedicate a memorial to the author PG Wodehouse 43 years after his death reports The Guardian.

Wodehouse was author of almost 100 books, and the creator of characters including Jeeves and Wooster.

The abbey said the plans, which were at a very early stage, will see Wodehouse honoured with a stone. More than 100 poets and writers are buried or have memorials in the abbey’s Poets’ Corner, from Jane Austen to CS Lewis.

Reference list:

The Express (

The Guardian (

The Independent (

THE Guardian reports that tickets for the 2019 Glastonbury music festival sold out half an hour after going on sale as record numbers of people attempted to buy one.

135,000 tickets have been sold with festival goers making the commitment before even knowing the line-up.

“Tickets have now all sold out! We are blown away by the huge demand, looks like record numbers tried. Thank you for your patience and incredible support and for those of you who missed out, there will be a ticket resale in April,” commented co-organiser Emily Eavis.



The Daily Mirror puts the spotlight in England's smallest school.

The Milburn School in Cumbria only has six pupils, one classroom and just one full-time teacher.

And it is so tiny, three year olds learn alongside 10-year-olds and their lunches are cooked by a local pub chef.

Pupils at the Milburn, which is on the edge of the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, play on the picturesque village green during breaks because there is no playground.

Headteacher Nick Page, who splits his time as head between Milburn School and nearby Beaconside Primary School, which has 451 pupils. says that the low number of students means they benefit from one-to-one teaching.

He said: “Milburn is very special school in terms of its location, its number of pupils and what it has to offer.”



The Independent tells us that the remnants of a 200-year-old shipwreck have been found on a beach at Royal Bay of Grouville on the island of Jersey.

Metal detectorist Jonathan Bull discovered around 21 pieces of copper sheathing which are thought to belong to the HMS Severn and one is stamped “1794”– the year the ship finished undergoing a refit at Plymouth dockyard.

Records show the Severn was damaged nearby, stranded in the bay with a broken rudder.



According to the Daily Express, soaring property prices have forced more than a quarter of young adults to live with their parents.

The paper says that record numbers of those aged 20 to 34 cannot afford to leave home because of high rents and daunting mortgage deposits and payments and the number has increased by an extra 5,500 every month over the last 15 years,.

Angus Hanton, the co-founder of the pressure group Intergenerational Fairness, said: “Many young people simply cannot afford to fly the nest when they face stagnant wages, precarious employment, unpaid internships, and high student debt.”



An article in The Guardian newspaper says that a love poem written from the frontline of the Somme by the “great forgotten voice of the First World War”, the American author, heiress, suffragette and nurse Mary Borden, will form the heart of an event at the Tower of London to mark the centenary of Armistice Day.

The poem was written for a young British officer with whom she had an affair while running a field hospital during the First World War.

Borden expert Professor Paul O’Prey said it was “the only love poem I know about the battle of the Somme”.

Reference list:

The Express (

The Guardian (

The Independent (

Daily Mirror (

FANS of the British pop group The Kinks are in for a real treat, reports The Guardian.

Rare photos and memorabilia marking the release of their classic album The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society 50 years ago are to go on show at the Proud Central gallery in London.

The band’s sixth studio album failed to spark commercial fireworks at the time but, says The Guardian, has since become a landmark of pop culture.

It was the final album made by the original quartet: brothers Ray and Dave Davies, Pete Quaife and Mick Avory.

Photographer Barrie Wentzell, who took many of the images used to promote the album, said: “As we were speeding up the Edgware Road, Ray told me about the album idea. The old pubs, houses, steam trains, village greens and old London were disappearing before our eyes – very sadly romantic and nostalgic and true!”



Data released by the Office For National Statistics shows that unpaid housework, such as cooking, cleaning and looking after children, is worth more than the UK’s retail and manufacturing output combined

An article in The Independent says that the data reveals that unpaid household work, which also includes adult care, laundry and driving, increased by 80 per cent between 2005 to 2016 – from £684.87bn to £1.24tn.

The figure, which equates to £18,932 per person, is greater than the £1.04tn total contribution of the UK’s non-financial corporation sector.



Now that's what I call an expensive drink.

The Daily Express informs us that a rare bottle of Macallan has set a new world record for a bottle of whisky at public auction after going for a £848,750.

The Macallan Valerio Adami 1926 60-year-old was sold at Bonhams Whisky Sale in Edinburgh to an anonymous telephone bidder based in the Far East.

Collectors from around the world, including China, Hong Kong and Russia as well as the UK, packed the auction room in the capital's Queen Street.

Richard Harvey, from Bonhams, said: “We were hoping a new world record would be set, having broken the record twice in Hong Kong on the same day in May.

“To have broken the record for a bottle of whisky at auction three times in six months is astounding.”



The V&A museum aims to create the “world’s most joyful museum” for children and young people in a £13.5m revamp of its east London outpost, the Museum of Childhood.

The Guardian reports that the redevelopment is intended to make the museum more immersive and interactive, to inspire, it hopes, greater creativity in its young visitors.

A spokesman said: “This flagship project will unlock the V&A Museum of Childhood’s huge potential to fire imagination, spark ingenuity and become the world’s most joyful museum for children, families and young people.”

Reference list:

The Express (

The Guardian (

The Independent (