News Round Up

DAN and Stephanie Roach loved visiting a stretch of beach at Saundersfoot in Pembrokeshire, Wales, so much that they bought it, says the Daily Express.

The couple spent every summer on the privately owned beach with their children so when it came up for sale for £250,000 they snapped it up.

Stephanie said: “The beach is gorgeous and we wanted to preserve it. It is such a fantastic spot and our biggest fear was that somebody might buy it and do something against the ethos of it.”

 

 

The Guardian tells us that a £4.5m lottery grant has been received to turn the house in Sudbury, Suffolk, where the famed artist Thomas Gainsborough was born and learned his trade into a national centre for the display and study of his work.

“The announcement is such a boost for the arts nationally, for a market town, a county and for helping to open the doors to this wonderful place for everyone,” said Mark Bills, director of the museum.

 

 

A world record for book illustrations has been set by the £430,000 sale at auction of the original map of Winnie the Pooh's Hundred Acre Wood.

According to The Independent, Sotheby's auction house in London described the 1926 sketch, by English artist and book illustrator EH Shepard, as “possibly the most famous map in children’s literature”.

It sets out the world of Winnie the Pooh and captures the personalities of AA Milne’s characters.

Hundred Acre Wood was inspired by Ashdown Forest in East Sussex - in 1925, AA Milne bought Cotchford Farm on the edge of the forest and he soon started publishing stories about Winnie the Pooh.

 

 

The Museum of London has acquired a unique panoramic view of a lost London landscape including the medieval sprawl of the old Palace of Westminster, captured before the great fire of 1834 destroyed the parliament buildings.

The 1815 work is a watercolour nearly seven metres long by the French artist Pierre Prevost, says The Guardian.

The museum’s director, Sharon Ament, said. “Not only does it highlight London as an important centre of international artistic exchange, it also reveals a fascinating moment in time.”

 

 

It has been described as the ultimate sandcastle....a sculpture made from 29 tonnes of sand in front of Dover Castle in Kent.

The Daily Express says the sculpture has been built with all the required defensive measures which include crenellated outer walls with towers and battlements, and an inner bailey protecting the great tower.

Roy Porter, English Heritage Senior Properties Curator and creator of the castle, said: “By studying hundreds of years of trial and error by the real castle builders our ultimate sandcastle contains everything you’d like to see, with each element showing off castle-building ‘perfection’ from a different era.

The model took five days to make and it has been created to celebrate the start of a weekend dedicated to sandcastle building across all English Heritage castles in England.

 

 

This may make uncomfortable reading for some people but The Independent reports on a poll of 2,000 Brits about the nation's worst bad habits.

They include comfort eating, swearing, stressing, spending too much time on social media, nail biting and not doing any exercise.

Dr Meg Arroll, a psychologist on behalf of wellness brand Healthspan, which commissioned the research, said: “Changing existing habits, particularly eating habits, is complex as we develop these behaviours over a lifetime

“Food can easily be associated with comfort as high fat and sugar treats trigger our brain’s reward centre and comfort foods such as chocolate boost feel-good neurotransmitters, offering an antidepressant effect.”

Reference list:

The Express (www.express.co.uk)

The Guardian (www.guardian.co.uk)

The Independent (www.independent.co.uk)

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INTERESTING list in The Independent of things Brits believe are 'unnecessary' procedures.

These include ‘overly complicated’ internet and phone security measures.

Research by global analytics company FICO involving 2,000 UK adults found that six out of 10 are annoyed by the need for elaborate passwords featuring a mix of numbers, symbols and capital letters.

Around half are sick of having to answer ‘endless’ security questions whenever they call customer service departments.

Forty-three per cent are fed-up with two-step verification and seven in 10 are frustrated by Captcha codes – as they tend to feature illegible words

FICO spokesman Gabriel Hopkins said: “Consumers may be happy their bank is protecting them from fraud, but they’re not happy about the inconvenience this causes.

“More than ever, banks need to figure out how to keep fraud management effective without negatively impacting customer experience.

“This is challenging in an online, on-demand world, but essential if banks are to hold their own against fintechs.”

 

 

Lettuces are under threat because of the hot weather in the UK, warns The Independent, with shortages expected to become apparent in shops within the next fortnight.

“The soaring summer temperatures are causing havoc for the UK’s leafy salad growers,”said Dieter Lloyd, spokesman for trade body the British Leafy Salad Growers Association.

When the temperature hits 30C lettuces can’t grow.

“In all of the major growing areas, from Cupar in Fife, through Preston, to Ely in East Anglia and Chichester, Sussex, the hot weather has affected all our growers.”

 

 

Buying one particular piece of lettuce brought a surprise for Shevaughan Tolputt, from Carn Brea in Cornwall, reports the BBC.

For when she brought it home from her local Aldi supermarket she found a frog lurking among the leaves.

Shevaughan said: “"I was shocked, but I can also see the funny side of it. I peeled off the outer layers of the lettuce and there it was. Of all the things I was not expecting that."

She picked the frog out and put it in a nearby field.

 

 

Praise has been heaped on Daisy, a nine year old cockapoo, which has collected nearly 5,000 pieces of litter in Diglis, Worcestershire over the past eight years.

The Daily Mail reports that the dog has been collecting everything from beer cans, coffee cups and plastic bottles since she was a puppy while out on walks with her owner Judy Owen and has now received a special award.

She sniffs litter out along canal pathways as well as in hedgerows and bushes before carrying it home and has been awarded a mayoral seal to recognise her contribution to the local environment and is the first animal in the city to receive the accolade.

Judy commented: “I wish Daisy understood how special she was and the award just marks what a special little dog she is.

'She started picking up rubbish when she was around one and I think she discovered it by accident.

'One day she just sniffed out a beer can and then it just carried on from there to coffee cup and plastic bottles.

'She holds them in her mouth until we get home and then drops them on to the front garden before I have to secretly put them in the recycling bin.”

 

 

The Daily Express tells us that swarms of nightmarish jellyfish are descending on the UK's most popular beaches.

Dr Peter Richardson, head of ocean recovery at the Marine Conservation Society, said: "Our national survey suggests significant recent rises in the numbers of some jellyfish species in UK seas, most notably the barrel jellyfish.

"The million-dollar question is why this is happening? At the moment we just don't know.”

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

 

The Independent (www.independent.co.uk)

Daily Mail (www.dailymail.co.uk)

BBC (www.bbc.co.uk)

THERE'S a massive crisis in Britain at the moment...no, not Brexit, but beer is being rationed!

The Guardian tells us that Booker, the UK's biggest wholesale, has begun rationing beer, cider and soft drinks.

Rising demand because of the heatwave and England’s World Cup campaign is complicated by a shortage of food-grade carbon dioxide gas.

Apparently this is because of high summer demand for fizzy drinks and beer, coupled with maintenance shut-downs at ammonia and bioethanol plants across Europe, which are the key sources of the gas.

 

 

When Harry the cat disappeared in 2008, his owner Mark Salisbury thought he would never see him again.

But, reports the BBC, Mark has now met up with Harry after a decade!

Apparently the cat turned up at the Ipswich branch of the animal charity Blue Cross.

Mr Salisbury, who used to live in Ipswich but is now based in Gloucestershire, said despite the fact that Harry disappeared he “could never quite bring myself to cancel the microchip”.

The ginger and white kitten was one of two Mr Salisbury got from a farm near Great Yarmouth when he was in his early 30s.

“Every time I moved home I would email the firm and update them. But after 10 years, you think that's it and you make peace with that.”

 

 

According to the Daily Mail, Spanish will become the most widely-taught language in the UK within a decade.

The British Council’s Language Trends Survey, which polled teachers in around 1,500 state and independent schools across the country found that Spanish is set to overtake French as the most-studied language by 2025.

This summer, GCSE entries for Spanish rose by eight per cent to 91,980, while those for French dropped by one per cent to 120,605 and German rose by three per cent to 43,260.

It is thought Spanish may be on the rise because of the country’s popularity as a holiday destination.

 

 

The Daily Express heralds the initiative shown by residents of Michaelston-y-Fedw in Wales, (population 300) who remedied their poor Internet connection by digging 15 miles of trenches themselves to and install a super-fast broadband cable.

Pensioners, farmers, teachers and even the village pub landlord put in thousands of hours of volunteering to dig trenches.

The project cost around £250,000 with villagers providing £150,000, plus £100,000 from EU funding and the Welsh government.

One of the organisers, Carina Dunk said:“It used to take a few days to download a film, now it takes less than a minute.

“Communities have tended to be more distant and detached but not here. Anyone can do it, it’s not rocket science.”

 

 

Buckingham Palace is to get a spruce-up.

The Guardian informs us that a major “decant” of 10,000 works of art including paintings, porcelain, tapestries and furniture, is being organised as part of its £369m refurbishment.

It's part of a 10-year project, which will include replacing vulcanised electrical wiring and ancient plumbing not updated since the 1950s and considered a fire risk.

 

 

The curator of the Museum of London, Vyki Sparkes, says a slice of fatberg on show there could be preserved for future generations.

The BBC says that although the lump of congealed fat, oil and wet wipes - taken from a "monster fatberg", over 250m (820ft) long and weighing 130 tonnes, found in sewers under the streets of Whitechapel has begun to "sweat" and change colour – the curator commented that it had caused a "marked increase" in visitors to the museum and they are now thinking of preserving it, when it finishes its public display.

Reference list:

The Express (www.express.co.uk)

The Guardian (www.guardian.co.uk)

Daily Mail (www.dailymail.co.uk)

BBC (www.bbc.co.uk)

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AN article in the Daily Express newspaper says that mystery surrounds scribbles discovered among

ruins at the 7th century Tintagel Castle, which has links to the legendary King Arthur.

They have been found on a two foot stone at the medieval castle in Cornwall and features a mixture of Christian symbols, Latin writing and Greek lettering.

Michelle Brown, a writing expert from the University of London, said: “The lettering style and language used, as well as Christian symbols exhibiting Mediterranean influence and contacts, all reveal precious clues to the culture of those who lived at Tintagel in the 7th century.”

She added: “The text suggests a high level of literacy and an awareness of contemporary writing styles associated with the early illuminated manuscripts of Britain and Ireland.”

 

 

The Guardian reports that there are doubts over a landmark sculpture in Somerset after a crowdfunding campaign fell short of its target.

The 12 metre high Willow Man next to the M5, which was built at the turn of the century, has become a familiar sight both for local travellers and holidaymakers heading to and from Devon and Cornwall.

Creator Serena de la Hey launched an appeal to raise £75,000 to rebuild the figure, but only £16,000 has been pledged.

She told the Guardian that the nature of the material used meant Willow Man was originally envisaged as a temporary piece, which would stand for only about three years.

“Back then three years seemed enough to be going on with. But it has become part of people’s lives and has also become part of my professional and personal life. It is my calling card and it will be difficult to let it go.”

 

 

The historic Hadrian's Wall has been damaged by metal detectorists who have been blamed for more than 50 holes found around the 1,900-year-old Brunton Turret section, near Hexham, Northumberland.

According to the BBC, Historic England reckons those responsible were searching for loot such as Roman coins and military regalia.

Mike Collins, the organisation's inspector of ancient monuments, said: “We know that the majority of the metal detecting community complies with the laws and regulations regarding discovery and recovery of objects from the land.

“But the small number of people who steal artefacts and damage ancient sites are breaking the law and robbing us all of the knowledge and understanding that objects from the past can give us.”

 

 

The Guardian says that a portrait of Queen Victoria, showing her with” brutal realism as an ageing, pouchy cheeked woman with tired eyes” has been saved from export at a cost of more than £1m.

The bust was sold last year to an undisclosed museum in New York, but the government delayed the granting of an export licence in the hope that a UK institution could match the price.

The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge used a recent bequest, and a National Heritage Memorial Fund grant of over £260,000, to raise the £1,077,607 price and it will now go on display in the museum.

The marble portrait was carved by Sir Alfred Gilbert – best known for the statue of Eros in Piccadilly Circus – between 1887-89.

 

 

According to the BBC, around 9.500 people gathered at the Neolithic monument at Stonehenge in Wiltshire for the summer solstice..

The summer solstice is one of the rare occasions that English Heritage opens up the stones for public access.

Reference list:

The Express (www.express.co.uk)

The Guardian (www.guardian.co.uk)

BBC (www.bbc.co.uk)

WE don't get many in the UK but when we do, the newspapers give it full attention.

An article in The Guardian says that Lincolnshire suffered a 3.9-magnitude earthquake with its epicentre in Grimsby.

The British Geological Survey (BSG) said the seismic event took place at a depth of 18 kilometres (11 miles), with its epicentre in the north-east Lincolnshire seaside town. No serious damage is thought to have been caused.

 

 

According to the Daily Star, divers have found the 330 year old remains of Britain's richest shipwreck.

The merchant ship President sank near Loe Bar, Cornwall in February 1684 laden with a precious cargo of diamonds and pearls from India with all but two of her crew dying.

The Star reports that recent storms may have shifted sands, revealing the wreck to Cornwall Maritime Archaeology divers David Gibbins and Mark Milburn.

David said: “Loe Bar is usually a dangerous place to dive - the entry and exit are treacherous even with the smallest of waves. The recent period of calm weather has allowed us to get in for the first time in months.

“During our dive we were thrilled to discover seven cannons and an anchor at the site, only a few metres from shore in less than seven metres depth.”

He added: “We were exploring an area where artefacts had never previously been recorded, and we realised we were looking at new finds.”

 

 

Liverpool will get some of its greatest treasures out of storage for nine days in August to celebrate the Biennial arts festival including the 30,000 Minton tiles of St George’s Hall, one of the most spectacular surviving Victorian floors.

The Guardian says that other treasures being celebrated include “Waterloo teeth” harvested from the battlefield for sale as dentures; the Allerton oak, believed to be about 1,000 years old; centuries of art treasures from the Walker Gallery, from Giovanni Bellini to David Hockney; the civic silver collection including a mace once part of the regalia of Charles II; and the Central Library’s copy of Audubon’s Birds of America, one of only 120 elephant folio copies in the world.

 

 

The Independent informs us that the last polar bear in South Korea is to spend its retirement in the Yorkshire town of Doncaster.

Twenty four year old Tongki, who currently lives at the Everland theme park, just south of Seoul,

is to be the latest addition to its Project Polar reserve in at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park, joining their

other polar bears – Victor, Pixel, Nissan and Nobby – in November.

 

 

Wildlife warning via The Independent.... the populations of much-loved British mammals including hedgehogs and water voles have dropped by up to two-thirds over the past 20 years, and many more are threatened with imminent extinction.

These findings come from a review carried out by the Mammal Society and Natural England - the first of its kind to be conducted in more than two decades – which shows that pesticide use, invasive species and road deaths have all taken their toll.

 

 

James Bond fans might be interested to read a story in the Daily Express which says that a brooch worn a character from the iconic spy films – Miss Moneypenny – is to be sold auction.

The bug brooch was worn by actress Lois Maxwell in 1969's On Her Majesty's Secret Service and Octopussy in 1983.

The turquoise brooch's design features wings set with diamonds, ruby eyes, and a polished stone body mounted in 18-carat gold and has an estimated value of between £2,000 and £4,000.

It will be sold by Ewbank's Auctions in Surrey on Wednesday, June 20.

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

The Guardian (www.guardian.co.uk)

The Independent (www.independent.co.uk)

Daily Mirror (www.mirror.co.uk)

Daily Star (www.daily star.co.uk)