Country Life celebrates Britain’s Worst Behaved Pets.I think this one’s the winner.
It’s awkward enough having your pet swipe other people’s meals, but it is quite another matter when they consume each other — especially in public. During one now legendary Sunday lunch hosted by the late Maj Tim Riley of Blencowe, Cumbria, his black labrador slunk into the dining room, where he proceeded to sick up a cat under a sideboard. Without breaking the conversation, Maj Riley got up and deftly placed his napkin over the remains. It had, we are told, a really bushy tail.
The site of the former Church of St. Mary the Virgin in Stoke Mandeville, Buckinghamshire, built in 1080, disused since the 1880s, and demolished in the 1960s, is going to be part of the route of a new High-Speed Railroad Line connecting London, the Midlands, the North and Scotland. But construction was delayed to allow archaeologists to first have a crack at excavating the former church site.
First, they found that the Norman Church had been built on the flint foundations of an earlier Anglo-Saxon Church. BBC 9/21/21 story
Roman statues of a man, woman and child have been uncovered by archaeologists at an abandoned medieval church on the route of the HS2 high-speed railway.
The discovery was “utterly astounding”, according to Rachel Wood, the lead archaeologist at the site in Stoke Mandeville, Buckinghamshire. “They’re really rare finds in the UK,” she said.
“The statues are exceptionally well preserved, and you really get an impression of the people they depict – literally looking into the faces of the past is a unique experience.”
A hexagonal glass Roman jug was also uncovered. Despite being in the ground for what is thought to be more than 1,000 years, large pieces were intact. The only known comparable item is a vessel on display in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The statues were unearthed at the ruins of a Norman church, where a team of archaeologists has been working for the past six months.
Saint Mary’s church was built in 1080, and renovated in the 13th, 14th and 17th centuries. It was abandoned in 1880, and demolished in 1966 after being declared dangerous. Its ruins became overgrown with vegetation.
In May, archaeologists and engineers began removing the remaining structure of the church and excavating the burial ground that was in use for 900 years, with the last recorded interment in 1908.
Experts believe the location was used as a Roman mausoleum before the Norman church was built. About 3,000 bodies have been removed and will be reburied at a new site.
Wood said the discovery of the statues and jug “leads us to wonder what else might be buried beneath England’s medieval village churches.
You might not have thought a local English council meeting would be your essential viewing this week, but here we are.
On Thursday, footage of a chaotic Zoom call from Handforth Parish Council’s Planning and Environment Committee in Wilmslow, Cheshire, went viral on Twitter, racking up 3 million views and proving definitively that just because a meeting has the words “planning” and “committee” in its title, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be dull.
We could try to set the viral clip up a little more, but frankly it’s best if you see the thing yourself first.
Smithsonian reports on another British coin hoard. Metal detectors really work, don’t they?
This September, a British birder who’d stopped on the edge of a farmer’s field to watch a buzzard and a pair of magpies stumbled onto a trove of 2,000-year-old Celtic coins worth an estimated £845,000 (around $1,150,000 USD).
As first reported by Julian Evan-Hart of Treasure Hunting magazine, the unnamed bird-watcher—who is also an amateur metal detectorist—unearthed the stash of some 1,300 gold coins in a field in the eastern English countryside. Dated to between roughly 40 and 50 A.D., the cache is the largest hoard of Iron Age Celtic coins found in the United Kingdom since 2008, when a car mechanic excavated a stash of 850 ancient staters, or handmade money, in Suffolk.
“I saw the glint of gold and realized it was a beautiful Celtic gold stater, which made me sit down in sheer shock,” the birder tells Treasure Hunting, as quoted by the Daily Mail’s Luke May. “I then spotted the second coin two feet away and rushed home to get my [metal detector].”
Upon his return, the man found that his detector produced a “really strong” signal—a sure sign that more treasures lingered below the surface. Digging down about 18 inches, he extracted a copper vessel brimming with gold coins dated back to the era when Celtic queen Boudica led a massive uprising against the Romans.
“I had to sit down to get my breath back,” the treasure hunter says. “I had only come out for a walk and found a Celtic hoard.”
Once the man overcame his initial shock, he filled two large shopping bags with the cache of coins and returned home. Then, he promptly contacted local authorities to report the find. If experts deem the discovery treasure, they will offer it to a museum and potentially offer a share of the reward to the finder. (Current guidelines define treasure very narrowly, but as Caroline Davies reports for the Guardian, the U.K. government is working to expand these parameters in order to better protect the country’s national heritage items.)
“The coins form a substantial if not enormous contribution to our academic numismatic knowledge and will undoubtedly be subject to much assessment over the coming year,” says Jules Evan-Hart, editor of Treasure Hunting, in a statement quoted by the New York Post’s Hannah Sparks. “It is possible that [the coins] may form a deposit as a ‘war chest’ for Boudica’s eastern campaigns.”
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak was photographed working, with a $179.95 Coffee Mug on his desk.
Class warfare is popular in Britain, and the current Tory Chancellor inadvertently afforded Labourites a chance to mau-mau him by letting the Press catch sight of an expensive high-tech self-heating coffee mug (the Ember travel mug) sitting on his desk.
[[T]he current chancellor, Rishi Sunak, appears to have gone one step further in the traditional pre-budget photo opportunity by posing with a â€œsmart mugâ€ costing Â£180.
A series of snaps released by the Treasury show Sunak at work, with the expensive gadget on his desk as he pores over the details of the mini-budget he will deliver to the Commons on Wednesday.
The Ember travel mug, reportedly a gift from his wife, Akshata Murthy, the daughter of a billionaire businessman, retails for up to Â£179.95 online, with a product description boasting that it â€œdoes more than simply keep your coffee hotâ€.
It adds: â€œOur smart mug allows you to set an exact drinking temperature and keeps it there for up to three hours, so your coffee is never too hot, or too cold.â€ The 355ml mug is apparently dishwasher safe and even includes a charging coaster.
Rishi Sunak found himself in hot water last week, though fortunately it was not too hot. Just the right temperature, in fact. The Chancellor was photographed at his desk with a Â£180 â€˜smart mugâ€™, which keeps his drink somewhere between 50Â°C and 62.5Â°C for up to three hours on the move or indefinitely if placed on its charging coaster. Very sensible, you might think; but some thought the picture was revealing. Labour MP Beth Winter was quick to point out that her mug, turquoise and shaped like a dinosaur, had cost just Â£3. â€˜No wonder,â€™ Winter tweeted, â€˜he said no when I asked him this week about a wealth tax.â€™
It being Britain, they probably drink their horrible tea with milk out of it.
Jeffrey Tucker sees the recent Tory landslide victory as strong evidence that the main portion of the voting public has had it with the Progressive Left.
Voters throughout the developed world have been getting wiser through the decades. When politicians attack the rich, decry the holes in the safety net, demand controls on business, rail against financial markets, and demand more free things for everyone, there is a missing piece in the rhetoric: enacting all these things puts more power in the hands of the state. Here is the fundamental choice that no amount of fancy language can change: we either trust society and markets to manage themselves or we give more power to the state to use compulsion against the population. This is finally the reality that unmasks every proponent of socialism. Left-wing collectivism is not, in the end, about making society better off; it is about transferring power from the people outside of government to those inside of government.
Let’s hope he’s right. All this “progressive” infatuation with Statism, Collectivism, and the supposed superiority of decision-making by scientific experts is a 19th Century fantasy that really hit its peak influence a century ago. Thereafter, it left a spectacular record of economic failure and atrocity. The mystery is: why is it taking the pseudo-intelligentsia so long to recognize the obvious?
The man can be seen with a narwhal tusk in his right hand.
The Insider reports that British hoplophobes have a whole new category of armament to worry about.
A man used a 5 foot narwhal tusk to confront the London Bridge terror suspect, according to an eyewitness in Fishmongers’ Hall, a building at the north side of the bridge where the attack began.
On Friday afternoon, two victims were killed and three were injured by the suspect, who was wearing a fake explosive vest, law enforcement said. The suspect was shot and killed by police.
Writer and director Amy Coop tweeted what she witnessed at the scene: “A guy who was with us at Fishmongers Hall took a 5′ narwhale [sic] tusk from the wall and went out to confront the attacker.”
In a video of the attack a man can be seen wielding a large white pole, which according to Coop is a narwhal tusk.
Too bad that the metal detectors got greedy and fell afoul of the authorities. The Guardian has pictures and the story.
On a sunny day in June 2015 amateur metal detectorists George Powell and Layton Davies were hunting for treasure in fields at a remote spot in Herefordshire.
The pair had done their research carefully and were focusing on a promising area just north of Leominster, close to high land and a wood with intriguing regal names â€“ Kings Hall Hill and Kings Hall Covert.
But in their wildest dreams they could not have imagined what they were about to find when the alarm on one of their detectors sounded and they began to dig.
Powell and Davies unearthed a hoard hidden more than 1,000 years ago, almost certainly by a Viking warrior who was part of an army that retreated into the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia after being defeated by Alfred the Great in 878.
There was gold jewellery including a chunky ring, an arm bracelet in the shape of a serpent and a small crystal ball held by thin strips of gold that would have been worn as a pendant. Beneath the gold were silver ingots and an estimated 300 silver coins.
The law is clear: such finds should be reported to the local coroner within 14 days and failure to do so risks an unlimited fine and up to three months in prison. Any reward may be split between the finder, land owner and land occupier.
Powell and Davies, experienced detectorists from south Wales, chose a different route. Two days later they went to a Cardiff antiques centre called the Pumping Station and showed some examples of their find to coin dealer Paul Wells. He immediately knew they were very special.
The crystal ball pendant turned out to be the oldest item, probably dating from the 5th or 6th century, while the ring and arm bracelet are thought to be 9th- century. They were described as priceless in court. Nothing like the arm bracelet has ever been seen by modern man before.
But if anything, the coins turned out to be even more significant. Among them were extremely rare â€œtwo emperorâ€ coins depicting two Anglo-Saxon rulers: King Alfred of Wessex and Ceolwulf II of Mercia. They are important because they give a fresh glimpse of how Mercia and Wessex were ruled in the 9th century at about the time England was morphing into a single united kingdom.
Still, the pair did not contact the authorities. Instead Powell got in touch with another treasure hunter, Simon Wicks from East Sussex, and two weeks after the find he presented himself at upmarket coin auctioneers Dix Noonan Webb in Mayfair, central London.
Wicks put a selection of the coins found in Herefordshire, including a pair of the two emperors, in front of one its leading experts. The expert gasped when he saw the coins and suggested the two emperors could be worth Â£100,000 each.
Meanwhile, whispers that Powell and Davies had struck gold had begun to circulate and on 6 July â€“ 33 days after their discovery â€“ the Herefordshire finds liaison officer, Peter Reavill, contacted Powell and Davies and gently asked if they had anything to tell him about.
Powell initially replied with a firm denial but they eventually handed over the gold jewellery and an ingot. However, they insisted they had only found a couple of damaged coins that they did not need to declare.
But the net was closing in. Police visited Wellsâ€™ house and he showed them five coins from the hoard that had been stitched into his magnifying glass case. When he was arrested he said: â€œI knew it would come to this.â€
I was up early the other day because I was keen to write about the Britannia Hotels groupâ€™s incredible achievement of being voted the UKâ€™s worst chain for the seventh year running. Imagine. Youâ€™re told youâ€™re rubbish once and then you keep on being rubbish for six straight years. I wanted to comment about such an extraordinary level of commitment to slack-jawed slovenliness.
But then I noticed that the survey had been done by Which?, an organisation that is really only interested in reaching adenoidal people in action trousers and sandals who contribute to TripAdvisor and run the neighbourhood watch scheme. As a general rule, Iâ€™ve always reckoned that if something does badly in Which?, itâ€™s probably pretty good.
As I sat, deciding which side to take in the great hotel debate, I was distracted by an annoying man on Radio 4â€™s Farming Today show. He was from the airborne wing of the Labour Party â€” also known as the Royal Society for the Prevention of Birds â€” and he was talking about how he thought shooting game birds might be a bad thing.
The RSPB has always been prevented by its royal charter from campaigning against the shooting industry â€” Mrs Queen likes to strangle a pheasant or two at Christmas time, as we know â€” but it has worked out that it can comment if it reckons shooting is done by rich bastards in Range Rovers.
Now, the columnist Charles Moore said recently that the actress Olivia Colman had a â€œleft-wing faceâ€. I wonâ€™t comment on that, but I will say that Martin Harper, the man the RSPB sent to Radio 4, had a left-wing voice. Chris Packham has both a left-wing voice and a left-wing face, and he wants us all to stop using fly spray.
Anyway, Martin reckoned that if you release 50m non-native game birds into the British countryside every year, itâ€™s bound to have an effect. When pressed by the interviewer for a specific effect, he said: â€œEr, climate change.â€ That was lucky for the Britannia Hotels chain, because I immediately abandoned my original plan and decided to write about shooting instead.
The first thing I did when I started a small shoot was plant several acres of so-called cover crops. Maize, sunflowers and something called kale, which can be eaten by humans if they are very deranged. These crops provide warmth, food and a place to hide from Johnny Fox, not just for my pheasants but a whole squadron of other birds too.
We keep reading about how endangered the yellowhammer is these days; well, not on my farm it isnâ€™t. Since I started my shoot, the skies are black with them. And goldcrests. And wrens. And skylarks. The dawn chorus used to be nothing but the occasional squawk of a murderous crow, whereas now itâ€™s positively philharmonic.
Research has shown that if you run through a field of crops planted by a shootist, you are 340 times more likely to encounter a songbird than if you do a Theresa May and run through a field of grass.
So, Martin, if the RSPB does manage to ban shooting, then, yes, you will be championed as a class hero throughout the vegan strongholds of Islington and Shoreditch, but you will also be responsible for the deaths of a million linnets. Which, as far as I know, isnâ€™t why the RSPB was founded.
And then there are the woods, where the pheasants are held until they are old enough to forage on their own. Woods are beautiful and still. Theyâ€™re places to shelter from the endless drone of light-aircraft enthusiasts. Mine are full of roe deer and muntjac and squirrels and badgers, and at this time of year there are many mushrooms too. I love to spend an evening down there as the leaves turn golden, giggling. Everyone likes woods, except if you are in a horror film.
But they generate no income. So if shooting were banned, Iâ€™d have to get Brazilian on their arses and turn them into farmland. Is that what you want, Martin? Because I fear that would create a damn sight more climate change than my Range Rover.
Of course, Iâ€™m well aware that some people might bridle at the sight and sound of eight hedge-fund managers in tweed shorts, braying their way through a pint of sloe gin while brandishing a pair of Â£20,000 shotguns, but what good comes from making them take up golf instead?
There are many hobbies that inflict far more pain and misery on others: light aircraft â€” Iâ€™m not giving up on that â€” the violin, motorcycling, strimming, morris dancing and so on, so why pick on one thatâ€™s good for nature and good for the way the countryside looks?
Pointedly, itâ€™s good for birds too. Not just songbirds, but the kind of stuff that makes kids point at the sky and squeak with joy. Birds of prey. Since I started a shoot, I have seen a huge increase in the number of kestrels and buzzards over my farm. I even think I spotted a peregrine falcon the other day, and that made my heart soar.
Was it here because it likes eating my pheasants and partridges? Thereâ€™s some debate about that, but the truth is I donâ€™t really care if it does take a few. Because I like having it around.
Clarkson is right in saying that the Ringneck pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) is not native to Britain, but they were actually introduced by Julius Caesar a very long time ago, you’d think they’d have been given naturalized citizenship by now.