News Round Up

NINETY- five year old Charles Betty, who left school with no qualifications, has become Britain's oldest university student after he was awarded his second PhD.

The Daily Express reports that Charles is now a Doctor of Philosophy after completing a 48,000-word thesis on why elderly ex-pats living in Spain return to the UK.

He took five years to complete the long-distance course while also caring for his disabled wife, Eileen, flying from his home in the Spanish town of Benalmadena to attend his graduation ceremony at the University of Northampton.

He only started his academic career after he retired from being a school inspector aged 70.

and completed his first PhD in Education when he was 75 and five years ago began studying for his second.

He said: “The thesis is all about the reasons why people return to Britain, we've got 300,000 Brits in Spain and most living in the Costa del Sol according to the census.”

 

 

Spice Girls fans are in for a treat, says The Guardian, when a collection of memorabilia goes on a UK tour of 12 cities.

It includes costumes, dolls, flasks, lunch boxes, plates, cups, Christmas crackers, toys, biscuits and cushions.

“I’ve always been a bit of a magpie,” said Alan Smith-Allison ahead of the opening of his Spice Girls exhibition in London.

The new show features thousands of examples of the merchandise that accompanied the girl band, along with hundreds of costumes the Spice Girls wore for their performances, videos and movie.

 

 

More memorabilia news from the BBC...the jacket worn by Harrison Ford when he played Han Solo in Star Wars' The Empire Strikes Back is expected to fetch up to £1m at auction in London next month.

It is one of 600 lots going under the hammer including Marty McFly's Back To The Future Part II hoverboard and Johnny Depp's Edward Scissorhands costume.

Auction house Prop Store said the sale would include “some of the most iconic cinematic artefacts of our time”.

The upcoming auction will be held at the BFI Imax in London, where the items will be on display for the public to view from September 6-20.

 

 

According to The Guardian, a 13th century bible, one of a handful of books which survived intact when the library of Canterbury Cathedral was broken up at the time of the Reformation, is back in the building after almost 500 years.

The Lyghfield bible is the only complete bible and the finest illuminated book known to have survived from the medieval collection.

It was bought at a recent rare books sale in London and the cathedral plans to put it on display in a new exhibition area.

Cressida Williams, head of the cathedral archives, said: “It is of the utmost significance to us to have here in our collections a copy of the core Christian text which was owned by one of the last monks of the medieval monastic community.”

 

 

A new report says that the number of voice calls made on mobile phones in the UK fell for the first time ever in 2017.

The BBC says that according to telecoms regulator Ofcom, a total of 78 per cent of all adults now own a smartphone and on average, people check them once every 12 minutes during their waking hours.

Two in five adults look at their phone within five minutes of waking, while a third check their phones just before falling asleep.

However the report finds that the total volume of calls made on mobiles fell by 1.7 per cent in 2017, even though making them is the cheapest it has ever been.

 

 

The Daily Express tells us that pensioner Dennis Whyard, from Tovil in Kent, has been reunited with Sprocket the springer spaniel after the dog played a major part in finding him after he went missing for five days.

His son Mick Whyard reckoned Sprocket saved his father's life and the animal was the guest of honour at Dennis' 90th birthday.

Dennis, who has dementia, went missing after walking out of his home but Sprocket

sniffed him out underneath a bramble bush.

More than 180 people, drone and sniffer dog teams searched for him before Sprocket found the OAP in a "very frail" condition in woodland near Allington, Kent.

Mick said: “My dad has no recollection of the whole thing.”

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

The Guardian (www.guardian.co.uk)

BBC( www.bbc.co.uk)

IT'S perhaps not surprising that an international study of internet traffic has shown that seven in the evening is one of the most popular time to order take-away food.

The BBC says data research from biologists at the University of Aberdeen, examined patterns of looking for food online, such as pizza or Chinese meals, across the UK, US, Canada, Australia and India.

Similar "twin peaks" pattern appeared in all countries - at 7pm in the evening and then at 2am, suggesting ancient "foraging" behaviour has now switched online.

 

 

The Daily Mail reports on a holiday disaster for a family from Winchester – thanks to their cocker spaniel puppy Bailey.

Ella Arundell, her partner Russell Mack and their three young children were all set to go off for a £2,500 week long break in Majorca when they discovered the puppy had ate the children's passports!

The Mail said the family were unable to use the normal 24-hour fast-track service because they were child passports and the airport warned them that it wouldn’t accept ones that Ella had desperately tried to tape together.

 

 

The things you find in a junk box...the Daily Mirror reports that such a item was a book written 175 years ago by the world’s first computer programmer which has just sold for £114,000.

Only six copies of the 50-page “Sketch of the Analytical Engine” written by Lady Ada Lovelace, are known to exist.

She helped fellow mathematician Charles Babbage in inventing the world’s first computer, the Difference Engine, in 1822.

The book, signed by her, contains her translation of a presentation in Turin by Babbage, along with her own interpretation of his theories.

It was found during a clear-out by a couple from the Cotswolds – who had no idea they owned it.

 

 

The things you find in an old bread basket...the Guardian reports that such an item was the only known recording of a demo track featuring David Bowie (then known as David Jones) when he was 16.

And the recording, with Bowie singing I Never Dreamed with his first band, The Konrads, is expected to fetch £10,000 at auction.

The Konrads did not win an audition with Decca, although the record company did give them a trial later that year – and turned them down – before Bowie left the band citing artistic differences.

The tape was rediscovered by David Hadfield, who was Konrads drummer and manager, when moving home, stashed in an old bread basket that had belonged to his grandfather.

Hadfield said: “We had decided that we would do a couple of guitar instrumentals and one original song. I chose I Never Dreamed and decided that David was the best person to sing it and give the right interpretation. So this became the very first recording of David Jones singing 55 years ago.”

 

 

According to the BBC, crew members of a ship which sank off the Kent coast more than 275 years ago have been identified.

Researchers using archive documents, were able to name 19 of the 237 shipmen who were on board the Dutch ship the Rooswijk, carrying coins and silver ingots, which sank on Goodwin Sands in January 1740.

An international team of maritime archaeologists are diving, excavating and recording the Dutch East India Company wreck as part of the #Rooswijk1740 project.

Reference list:

The Guardian (www.guardian.co.uk)

Daily Mail (www.dailymail.co.uk)

Daily Mirror (www.mirror.co.uk)

BBC (www.bbc.co.uk)

THE Daily Mirror puts the spotlight on ABBA superfan Clive Roe,71, from Scarborough, North Yorkshire.

His living room has become a shrine to the group, with more than 850 pieces of memorabilia lining the walls and filling every shelf.

Clive reckons each piece of memorabilia makes him feel closer to his heroes – whether it is an ABBA soap bar, keyring or signed album cover.

He listens to their music almost daily, has danced through 86 tribute gigs and has been on a TV quiz with the group as his specialist subject and even named his daughter Agnetha after one of the band's singers.

“Whenever I need a little lift, I look through all my ABBA bits and bobs and it takes me back to happy times, “ said Clive.

 

 

England was full of World Cup fever even though the national team only made the semi-finals and BBC reported that a London Underground station was temporarily renamed after the team's manager.

For 48 hours Southgate Tube station in Enfield, north London was rebranded Gareth Southgate.

Transport London said: “We're delighted to be able to show our appreciation to Gareth and the team by renaming the station in his honour.”

 

 

The UK's first spaceport is to be at A’Mhoine peninsula in Sutherland on Scotland's north coast, says The Guardian.

The UK Space Agency said the site, between Tongue and Durness, was chosen as it is the best place in the UK to reach highly sought-after satellite orbits with vertically launched rockets.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), a Scottish government agency, will be given £2.5m from the UK government to develop the spaceport which could be up and running by the early 2020s.

Agency chief executive Graham Turnock said the spaceport grant would “help kick-start an exciting new era for the UK space industry”.

 

 

Work is to be carried out to protect a Tudor shipwreck, found on Kent mudflats by a local history and archaeology group.

The BBC reported that Timescapes discovered timbers from the 16th century wreck protruding out of sand at Tankerton Beach, Whitstable, while hunting for World War Two pillboxes.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has scheduled the wreck, and another in Camber Sands, for protection on the advice of Historic England.

Experts from Wessex Archaeology, with the help of Timescape volunteers, surveyed the exposed remains, which measured more than 12m long and 5m wide (40ft by 16ft).

Samples of the age of the wood revealed one oak plank comes from woodland in southern Britain and was felled in 1531.

According to Historic England, the hull's construction suggests it is a late 16th or early 17th century single-masted merchant ship of around 100 to 200 tonnes.

 

 

The Morrisons supermarket chain has introduced a “quieter hour” to help customers who struggle with the noise of shopping,

The Daily Express says they will dim lights, turn music off and reduce the volume of bleeping checkout machines in all stores between 9am and 10am every Saturday.

Daniel Cadey, from the National Autistic Society, which helped develop the initiative, said: “Around 700,000 people are on the autism spectrum in the UK.

“This means they see, hear and feel the world differently to other people, often in a more intense way. “Morrisons’ ‘quieter hour’ is a step in the right direction for autistic people, who find supermarket shopping a real struggle.”

 

 

According to The Guardian, a new and less intimidating entrance has helped the V&A in London achieve record visitor numbers, bucking a trend of sharp falls across the UK’s museums and galleries.

More than 4.4 million people visited the V&A and its London satellites, Blythe House and the Museum of Childhood, a 26% rise of almost a million visitors on the previous year.

The museum’s director, Tristram Hunt, said finally getting a new entrance on Exhibition Road had helped drive up visitor numbers. It was less intimidating than the grand “castle keep” way in on Cromwell Road.

Reference list:

The Express (www.express.co.uk)

The Guardian (www.guardian.co.uk)

Daily Mirror (www.mirror.co.uk)

BBC (www.bbc.co.uk)

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)