News Round Up

THINGS aren't looking good for hedgehogs, reports the Daily Mail.

Researchers from the universities of Nottingham and Reading surveyed 261 rural sites across England and Wales to track hedgehog footprints and found the animals at only 55 sites – 21 per cent – and said numbers were ‘worryingly low’

An increase in badgers, hedgehog predators whose numbers have doubled in the past 25 years, may be to blame for the decline.

Added to that, farmland is replacing the hedgerows the creatures live in and pesticides are damaging populations of earthworms they feed on.



The Guardian tells us that restoration of the room George IV created at the Royal Pavilion in Brighton is almost complete after three years of work.

“It was the ultimate expression of his taste, and it is quite something,” said David Beevers, the keeper of the Royal Pavilion.

“The work was carried out by Robert Jones, a man of genius, and it is his masterpiece – but you do wonder if he was on something.”

The paper says that the saloon, dating from 1823, “heaves with crimson and gold silk, with silver walls, golden dragons, palm trees, winged solar disks, an explosion of sunflowers and a carpet reminiscent of a volcanic eruption.”

Apparently it took years of research to recreating every element of the room.



British doctors have been urged to use simple language when communicating with their patients, says the BBC.

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges says too often correspondence contains complex medical jargon rather than plain and simple English.

Using the phrase "twice daily" to explain the dosing of a medicine is better than the Latin abbreviation "bd", for example.

The Please Write to Me initiative is aimed mainly at doctors working in outpatient clinics, although it is best practice for all clinicians who need to write clinical letters and they are being asked to write directly to patients, rather than sending them a copy of a letter penned to their GP.

The Academy suggests any medical words should be translated in plain English and hospital doctors should also consider telephoning the patients rather than breaking bad news in the letter if test results are potentially upsetting.



Want to go and see an exhibition with a difference?

Well, The Guardian reports that one of the Royal Academy of Arts’ main galleries will be flooded with water and mud for a major solo exhibition devoted to the work of Antony Gormley.

The Gormley show will be a mix of his new and old work reconfigured for the RA spaces, said artistic director Tim Marlow.

A key piece is called HOST, which Gormley first made in 1991 when he flooded a room in the old city jail of Charleston, South Carolina, with mud and sea water from the city’s harbour.

He did a similar thing in Kiel, Germany, in 1997 using 5,000 litres of mud from inland Saxony and 5,000 litres of water from Kiel harbour, and in Beijing in 2016, using red clay and sea water from the nearby Tianjin coast.



If felt like it and now it's been confirmed - 2018 was the joint hottest summer on record for the UK as a whole, and the hottest ever for England.

The BBC reports that the Met Office said that highs for summer 2018 were tied with those of 1976, 2003 and 2006 for being the highest since records began in 1910.

The hottest day of 2018 so far was Thursday, July 26, when temperatures reached 35.3C in Faversham, Kent.


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Daily Mail (


DID you know that goats are drawn to humans with happy facial expressions?

The BBC tells us that scientists showed goats pairs of photos of the same person, one of them featuring an angry expression, and the other a happy demeanour and the animals made a beeline for the happy faces.

The results of the tests have been reported in the journal Open Science and scientists reckon

they implies that the ability of animals to perceive human facial cues is not limited to those with a long history of working as human companions, such as dogs and horses.

The study was carried out at the Buttercups Sanctuary for Goats in Kent and co-author Dr Alan McElligott, said: “The study has important implications for how we interact with livestock and other species, because the abilities of animals to perceive human emotions might be widespread and not just limited to pets.”



It seems that us Brits tend to plump for fridge magnets when choosing a holiday souvenir.

The Daily Mail reports on a survey by the airline Flybe, which questioned 2,000 Britons about breaks of up to three days.

Women were more likely to buy a memento than men, and over 75 per cent bought at least one per trip and decorative fridge magnets were the top choice attracting 26 per cent of us, followed by sweets on 24 per cent.



An article in The Guardian newspaper details some of the entries that have reached the shortlist for the annual prize of The Carbuncle Cup, given by Building Design magazine for the building readers select as their least favourite of the last 12 months.

They include a low-energy home, said to look more like an electricity substation and a “grotesque” city centre hotel extension.

Building Design editor, Thomas Lane, said the competition was meant as a light-hearted exercise but that it also drew attention to examples of “bad architecture” in the UK.

The magazine says the house at 20 Ambleside Avenue in Streatham, south London, meets demanding Passivhaus standards for low-energy designs but looks like an electricity substation.

And the rooftop extension to the Shankly Hotel in Liverpool is described as “grotesque”.



The Daily Express says the Forgone brothers in Hertfordshire, who own rival fish and chip shops, are “battering” it out to be named the UK's best chippy.

Tony has run Captain’s Fish and Chips in Hoddesdon, for 20 years and narrowly missed out on a top-three position in last year’s National Fish and Chip Awards.

Big brother Liberato runs Sidney and Sons Fish and Chips less than a mile away and they are both among the top 20 entrants for the award.

Tony said of Liberato: “If he wins, good luck. The person who really wins in the end is the customer. For Hoddesdon to have two fish and chip shops in the top 20 is brilliant.” 

Liberato added that if Tony landed the title “I’ll say congratulations”.

The winner will be revealed in January.



It's one of the more eccentric of English 'events' but the Daily Mail highlighted the 11th annual World Gravy Wrestling Championships which took place at Burnley in Lancashire.

Apparently it's all in aid of charity!

Reference list:

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The Guardian (

Daily Mail (


THE animals went in one by one...

It was a busy old time at London Zoo this week, reports the Daily Mail, where over 19,000 animals were having their annual weight and height checked.

Some creatures, such as rhinos, tigers and okapis, had to be coaxed on to specially constructed larger scales.

The statistics are shared with other zoos across the world to allow keepers to compare information about endangered species.

Zoological manager Mark Habben said: “We have to know the vital statistics of every animal at the zoo, however big or small.”



Described as a 'macabre relic,' a porcelain pot which survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 1945 intact has been sold at a UK auction for £3,250.

The Daily Express reports that the small white jar and lid had a chunk of melted glass welded to the side of it from where it had been flung towards it in the nuclear explosion.

It was picked up by an Allied soldier weeks after the bombing and has now been sold at Henry Aldridge & Son of Devizes, Wiltshire as part of a collection kept by a British man.

A spokesman for the auctioneers said: “This pot shows the horrific, raw power the Atomic bomb created.

“The glass stuck to the side of it had melted to goo and was flung towards the pot and solidified.

“When you think that glass melts at temperatures of 1,000F, it gives you some idea of the intense heat the bomb caused.”



On the market for £750,000, is a cottage in the Cornish village of Zennor with an interesting history.

The Daily Mail says Tower House has been rented by DH Lawrence in the past and also owned by Michael Morpurgo when he wrote War Horse.

Apparently both men used the location as inspiration in their writing.

Writer and poet DH Lawrence and his German wife Frieda moved to Zennor in December 1915 and rented the property for £5 a year.



In what is seen as the latest move towards a cashless society, the Royal Mint has cut the number of coins it puts into circulation by nearly half in four years

According to the Daily Express, the government-owned mint issued 1.3 billion coins last year – down from 2.3 billion in 2014.

The number of 1p, 2p and 5p coins being issued all fell by more than half, while the number of pound coins trebled due to the introduction of the new 12-sided coin last year.


Reference list:

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Daily Mail (

IT looks as if British rock legend Rod Stewart is having a clear-out.

The BBC reports that the singer, who owns a mansion in Sheering near Harlow, is auctioning off some his furniture.

A spokesman for Sworders' Fine Art of Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex, said that the collection of more than 60 lots includes a pair of gilt bronze-mounted side tables, estimated at £2,000-£3,000, a pair of late 19th century pier mirrors, estimated at £2,000-£3,000 and a set of four gilt bronze two-branch wall lights, estimated at £800-£1,200.



The Daily Express highlights an unusual way to raise money for a worthy cause...travelling around Britain on a lawnmower.

Andy Maxfield, from Inskip, Lancashire, took five days, eight hours and 36 minutes to travel the 874 miles from John O’Groats to Land’s End on a John Deere X750 lawnmower (top speed 9mph) to raise more than £9,0000 for the Alzheimer’s Society as a tribute to his father James who died in January after a 13 year battle against the disease.

The challenge was recognised by Guinness World Records as the fastest lawnmower ride from the tip of the UK to the bottom.

He commented: “I was going down some busy dual carriageways with vehicles going past at 50 to 60mph.

“We found people had gone past us, then donated and left supportive messages on our fundraising page.”



Firemen who were called in to rescue Jessie the Macaw after it got stuck on a roof at her owner's house in Edmonton, north London, got a rude welcome, says the Daily Mirror.

They were told to tell the bird 'I love you' - to which Jessie replied 'I love you back'.

However she then swore at them in fruity language before flying off to another nearby rooftop.

Fireman Chris Swallow said: “We were told that to bond with the parrot, you have to tell her ‘I love you’, which is exactly what the crew manager did.

“While Jessie responded ‘I love you’ back, we then discovered that she had a bit of a foul mouth and kept swearing, much to our amusement.” The bird was later reunited with its owner.



The Guardian tells us that a 12th-century statue of Buddha, which stolen from India nearly 60 years ago, is to be returned to the country after it was discovered at a trade fair in the UK.

The bronze sculpture was one of 14 statues ransacked from the Archaeological Museum in Nalanda, eastern India, in 1961 and has now been identified at a trade fair in the UK by members of the Association for Research into Crimes Against Art , an organisation working to preserve cultural heritage, and the India Pride Project, which aims to recover stolen artefacts.

Police said the current owner and dealer were unaware of the statue’s history and agreed for it to be returned to India.



It may have been one of the hottest summers on record in the UK but The Air Balloon pub in Filton, near Bristol, has already put up its Christmas tree.

The Daily Express reports that landlady Joanne Johnson admitted she would have put it up even earlier if it had not been for the World Cup.

“Last year I put up the tree in July but I delayed it a bit this year because of the World Cup.”

She added: “I don’t really do it for the purpose of decorating the pub, it’s more for advertising – to let people know that we’ve started taking Christmas dinner bookings.”

Reference list:

The Express (

The Guardian (

Daily Mirror (


AN article in The Guardian newspaper reveals that researchers at the University of Exeter have unearthed a treasure trove of poetry relating to Lancashire’s poverty-stricken cotton workers during the US civil war.

Up to 400,000 of the county’s cotton workers were left unemployed when the war stopped cotton from reaching England’s north-west in the 1860s and the mills were closed.

Without work, they struggled to put food on the table, and the university discovered that many of them turned to poetry to describe the impact of the cotton famine.

A university spokesman said: “It shows how strong working-class poetic culture was at the time – if you’re working for 12 hours, you might still have time to write a poem in the evening.”



“Wasp warning in the Daily Express.

Apparently the little blighters are getting drunk on fermented fruit and going on stinging rampages across Britain.

The paper says that an explosion in the wasp population triggered by the cold winter and heatwave means swarms are heading out to satisfy their taste for something sweet.

Shane Jones, who runs Ridtek Pest Control in Basingstoke, Hampshire, said: “They are really aggressive at this time of year – and because of the cold winter, the wasp season started about six weeks earlier.

“Wasps have built absolutely massive nests and, now that all the larvae have grown up and the queen has stopped laying eggs, the colonies have a workforce with nothing to do – and nothing to eat.

“So they go ‘down to the pub’, obviously. Wasps can’t handle their booze, so they get tanked-up and fight – like lager louts.”



The Daily Mail informs its readers that nearly half of British millennials aged between 18 and 24 do not know that the First World War took place between 1914 and 1918.

A poll of 2,000 people carried out by Ancestry also found that a quarter of all people aged over 24 do not know the start and end dates of the Great War.

Just over a quarter said they didn't know any of Britain's wartime allies, with some even thinking that Germany or the Austro-Hungarian Empire were on Britain's side!

A spokesman for Ancestry said: “This report suggests that many are in danger of forgetting the war's significance.”


Wemyss Ware cat ornaments were collected by the late Queen Mother and, reports the Daily Express, a rare piece from 1900 is expected to fetch up to £4,000 at auction later this month.

Robert Methven Heron introduced the distinctive Scottish pottery range, called Wemyss Ware, in 1882 and fashioned his first pieces in his factory in Gallatown, Kirkcaldy and they attract an international market, with serious collectors in North America and Australia.

Reference list:

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The Guardian (

The Independent (

Daily Mail (