News Round Up

WORRYING news in The Independent that hedgehog sightings have fallen again.

According to the annual survey by BBC Gardener's World Magazine, 57 per cent of people responding to the survey said they had not seen any hedgehogs during the whole of 2017 compared to 51 per cent for 2016 and 48 per cent for 2015.

Only nine per cent of people reported seeing hedgehogs in their gardens regularly, down from 12 per cent in 2016.

Forty-five-year-old Shane Healey, from Newcastle, is such a fan of rock band Status Quo that he wants his 3,500 item collection of band memorabilia is to be melted down and made into a coffin because he cannot bear the thought of anyone else getting their hands on his prized possessions.

The Daily Express reports that Shane says he has spent hundreds of thousands of pounds collecting trinkets including signed records, a drum-kit used on the BBC TV show Top of the Pops and Rick Parfitt’s sunglasses.

His collection also includes 650 records and he has seen the group live 467 times.

He told the paper: “The Quo collection will be melted down and made into my coffin.

No-one else is going to get their hands on the collection, so after I leave this mortal coil my collection will be made into my coffin.

“I’m taking it with me because I’ve spent the last 40 years of my life collecting and nobody else is getting their hands on it. It would drive me nuts to think that somebody could scratch a record I’ve carefully looked after.”

THE BBC tells us that the UK's first polar bear cub to be born in 25 years is male.

Staff at the Highland Wildlife Park, near Kincraig in Scotland are preparing a list of "suitable names" for the public to choose from for the cub.

Head keeper responsible for carnivores, Una Richardson, commented: “Our keepers are coming up with a suitable list which we will soon ask the public to choose from on social media.

“This will help us engage with as wide an audience as possible to raise awareness of the threats polar bears are facing in the wild and the need to protect this magnificent species.”

IT seems that living rooms in British houses are getting smaller.

The Guardian newspaper outlines research by LABC Warranty, which provides warranties for new-build homes, which reveals that living rooms are nearly a third smaller than equivalent homes built in the 1970s.

The average living room in a house built since 2010 was 17.1 square metres (184 sq ft), compared with 24.9 sq m (268 sq ft) in the 1970s, a 32 per cent contraction.

And modern-day master bedrooms were on average 13.4 sq m (144 sq ft) in size, compared with 14.7m (158 sq ft) in the 1970s.

“Overall, Britain built the biggest houses in the 1970s,” said a spokesman for LABC but from the 1980s onwards “Britain’s houses started to regress.”

The research also showed a reduction in the number of bedrooms, which peaked in the 1980s at an average of 3.6 compared with just under three bedrooms today - the first time the figure has fallen below three.

THE Daily Mirror tells us that 170 million year old tracks believed to be made by the older cousins of the T. Rex – theropods that stood up to six feet tall – and sauropods, similar sized long-necked cousins of the brontosaurus, have been found in a muddy lagoon off the northeast coast of the Isle of Skye.

The largest print, left by a sauropod, is more than 27in across, while the biggest theropod track is around 20in across.

Dr Steve Brusatte, of the University of Edinburgh, commented: “The more we look on the Isle of Skye, the more dinosaur footprints we find. This new site records two different types of dinosaurs – long-necked cousins of brontosaurus and sharp-toothed cousins of T. Rex – hanging around a shallow lagoon.”

He added that the animals lived on Skye “back when Scotland was much warmer and dinosaurs were beginning their march to global dominance”.