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The Rich Tapestry of Life Page
On the previous Tapestry page we resorted to looking at “The Week”  which produces an amazing tapestry of life in its pages each week as it pulls together the writings of the Press at large over the past week. We decided to have another look and so here are a few snippets from another three weeks’  worth of copies.
This is PAGE THIRTY - More from a Mixed Bag
To return to “Tapestry CONTENTS”, CLICK HERE
No more teddy diaries
Primary schools are giving up "teddy diaries" — where a child takes the class mascot home for the weekend and records what they did together in a diary —because of the pushiness of some parents, according to The Times Educational Supplement (TES).
In the old days, it was enough to stick in a picture of teddy on the swings, or being wheeled around a garden centre. But latterly, the diary has become a forum for over-competitive parents to show off in, with teddy taking part in the Great North Run, or sitting in the hospitality box at a Premiership match. Other parents then worry that they'll be judged if they can't keep up. "Some have been reduced to tears over having the bear for the weekend," noted Ann Mroz, the TES's editor.

Badly fed pets
We aren't just eating unhealthily ourselves; we're feeding our pets badly, too. A new study has found that almost half of Britain's cats and dogs are obese, far more than five years ago, and even caged birds have been piling on the pounds. Part of the problem comes from owners giving animals their leftovers, but pet food manufacturers aren't helping: many brands are laden with salt, sugar, oils and other fats.

British pride

"The British Attitudes Survey has found that 82% of us are, at least to some degree, proud to be British. However, the proportion who are `somewhat proud' (47%) has now overtaken the 'very prouds' (35%). Just the phrase 'somewhat proud' —rattling with stiff-upper-lipped, muted British happiness — makes my patriotic heart soar. I love this country and am miserable if I spend an extended period anywhere else, but I am 'somewhat proud' to be British, because I'll leave the bolshie, bragging `very proud' to the Americans and North Koreans. Dignified and measured, there is nothing more British than 'somewhat proud'."

Grace Dent in The Independent


Britain's industrial past

"A few years ago, a nephew gave me a copy of a magazine, the Shipbuilding & Shipping Record, dated April 1961. Shipyards... I expected shipyards. But many more pages advertise the things that went into ships and from their addresses you begin to understand how maritime activity touched places many miles from the sea: Stothert & Pitt of Bath built anchor and warping gear; Adams Hydraulics of York made sewage ejectors; Simms of East Finchley supplied starter motors. Travellers through Britain can sometimes still see from their train window a yet-to-be-developed acreage of rosebay willow herb where that kind of factory once stood. The unsettling thing for the reader of a certain age is to realise that he grew up in that world, which now looks so remote."

Ian Jack in The Guardian



We have become hooked of cookery shows, and spend millions on cook books. But one thing we don't seem to enjoy is cooking. Research has found that Britons spend half the time they used to on making supper —just 34 minutes, on average, down from an hour in the 1980s — and know only four recipes. Roasts are still the most-cooked evening meals, but pizza and sand­wiches are next on the list.



Being fat is increasingly becoming the norm, according to England's chief medical officer. Shops are starting to use plus-size mannequins, and studies show that most overweight people are under the impression that their weight is "about right". All this suggests, says Dame Sally Davies, that society is "normalising" obesity.


Humans smell a trillion smells

How do humans smell? The answer is: very effectively thank you. New research has indicated that the human olfactory system is pretty powerful, giving us the ability to distinguish between a trillion odours – rather more than the 10,000 previously assumed, reports The Guardian. However, we don't use the sense to its full potential, partly because we don't need it as much as we once did. For our ancestors it would have been a vital tool, used to identify rotten meat, poisonous plants and disease, and also to sniff out food. It's also the case that many such smells are now masked by cleaning products and scents. The study, conducted at Rockefeller University in the US, involved using 128 different odorous molecules to create three smells that were similar, but which had varying numbers of components. Volunteers were then divided into three groups and given three vials, two that were identical and a third that had a slightly different composition. When asked to spot the odd one out, the volunteers were unable to do so when there was a 90% overlap in the components, but half could do so when the overlap was no more than 75%. The results, when combined with figures for the total number of possible odour combinations, led the team to the one trillion figure – which they suspect is an underestimate.


Pathe News

For much of the 20th century, cinemagoers kept up to date with the help of Pathe newsreels screened before films. Now, after several years' work, British Pathe has finished putting its entire archive on YouTube. Comprising over 3,500 hours of footage, the 85,000 videos span from 1896

to 1976. Historical events including the Battle of the Somme and the bombing of Hiroshima feature, alongside curiosities such as the "world's greatest canine jumper".


My father the billionaire

You might expect the son of a billionaire to have been spoilt as a child – but not if his father is Warren Buffett. The famously frugal investor brought up his children in a suburban house in Omaha, Nebraska, and sent them to the local high school, on the bus. At one point, they did each get a bequest from their grandfather – around $250,000 in today's money – but their father refused to help them out at all, recalls Peter Buffet, 55. "My sister famously went and asked for a loan to remodel the kitchen, and my dad said: 'Go to the bank."' When Peter asked him for a loan to buy some musical equipment, he got the same answer. A quarter of a century on, he is an Emmy award-winning musician – and grateful for his father's stance. "It sounds harsh, but it's

actually very loving," he told Damian Whitworth in The Times. "It's a show of respect, saying: 'You can do it, I believe in you and if I give you a crutch you are never going to learn to walk. I did go to the bank and got loans and built my business and worked my tail off to pay the loans off and I would not have done that if somebody was just writing me a cheque."


“Death Rates” for retirees

On retirement, pensioners could soon be told how long they're likely to live, to help them plan their old age. In his new guidelines for pension firms, pensions minister Steve Webb suggests they could provide clients with a "death date" - based on smoking habits, socio­economic background and diet -to give them a better idea of their financial predicament. People tend to underesti­mate how long they'll live, says Webb. "You probably think about how long your grandparents lived. But that is two generations out of date." The announce­ment coincided with new figures showing a growing north-south divide in life expectancy: a man retiring in Harrow, north London, at 65 can expect to live a further 21 years; in Glasgow, it's just 14 years. The Office for National Statistics estimates that a quarter of boys born in the city won't even reach the age of 65.


Statistics (Spring 2014)


The average cost of moving house in the UK is now £8,248. Londoners pay £20,825


More than 40,000 people in England were cremated anonymously or buried in unmarked pauper’s graves last year.

(Sunday Times)

Three women over 50 give birth in England and Wales every week; double the number of four years ago.

(Daily Mail)

Around 200,000 children under 16 visited hardcore porn websites in December (2013). 44,000 were under 11.

(The Times)

About 10% of all the photographs ever taken were shot in the past twelve months.

(The Telegraph Magazine)

British men are now spending £13bn a year collectively on fashion and accessories, only 10% less than women. 70% say they enjoy shopping for clothes.

(An HPI survey for Westfield/The Sunday Times)



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