This week's UK news: 3 December 2010
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3 December 2010


It’s been snowing in the UK

Here in the UK we are not very used to getting much snow in the winter. For about 20 years, we did not usually get deep snow except in Scotland and the North of England.

But for the past 3 winters, it has been different, especially in the South of England. And this year is extraordinary. For the past week, much of Scotland and the North East of England has had deep snow. There have been snowstorms most days and because the whole country is bitterly cold the snow has not melted.

Now the snow has spread to the South of England and most places have been affected. Thousands of schools have been shut, many train services have not run and the roads have been closed by snow and accidents. In some cases passengers have even been stuck over night on trains.

The problem is that the UK does not usually get such extremely cold weather. We usually get warm, wet, windy and unpredictable weather coming from the south-west. At the moment we are getting weather that would normally stay in Sweden, Norway and Greenland, and it is very cold. However, children are very happy because lots of schools have been closed. And lots of adults are having fun too.

Royal scandal jewels sold

The British royal family is usually good at avoiding problems. But this week we had a reminder of the biggest problem for royalty in the past 100 years.

The problem was an American lady called Wallis Simpson. Mrs Simpson was divorced when she and the heir to the British throne fell in love in the 1930s. The King or Queen of England is also the head of the Church in this country and were not allowed to marry people who had divorced.

Edward VIII was forced to choose between Mrs Simpson and staying as the King. He stopped being King (abdicated) to marry Mrs Simpson, and this shocked many people.

Mrs Simpson was very fashionable and had lots of beautiful jewellery, including a bracelet like a panther and a flamingo brooch. A collection including many of her jewels were sold for GBP 8m this week. The panther bracelet sold for GBP 4.5m.

Well-known businessman dies

Bernard Matthews, who made turkey a cheap and popular meat in the UK, died this week at the age of 80.

Turkeys used to be eaten only at Christmas, but now the meat appears all year round as a healthy choice in supermarkets. It is also available to cook in lots of less healthy but very quick ways.

Bernard Matthews started his business in the 1950s with 20 turkey eggs and a machine to keep them warm till they hatched. He then bought a 37-roomed old house to raise his birds in. Now Bernard Matthews farms raises 7m birds a year.

Mr Matthews became well known 30 years ago when he began to advertise his turkey meat on TV. He used to say: "It's beautiful" in his local accent. This sounded like "It's bootiful" and became very well known.

The most boring day ever

If you know anyone who was alive on April 11 1954, ask them what they were doing. Because Cambridge scientist William Tunstall-Pedoe has worked out that this was the most boring day since 1900.

Mr Tunstall-Pedoe has created a computer programme called True Knowledge. It was fed 300m facts about people, places, businesses and events which have made the news. It used programmes to work out that this Sunday in 1945 had fewer notable events than any other day.

The only interesting things that happened were a General Election in Belgium, the birth of a Turkish academic, and the death of a footballer from a small English team.

 

by Susan Young
susan@englishuk.com

 

  • This week's UK news: 26 November 2010
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  • This week's UK news: 12 November 2010
  • This week's UK news: 5 November 2010
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