Category Archives: Curiosities

Two million Britons pack their bags in Easter exodus

Two million Britons are expected to go abroad this Easter, up 20 per cent on last year, with tomorrow expected to be the busiest day at UK airports.

The reports the most popular destinations for Easter: Spain, the Canary Islands, Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia, with Cuba also getting increased interest ahead of the lifting of the US travel ban.

And A new service has been launched by the Highways Agency that allows live traffic information to be accessed via mobile phones.

The says: “Families travelling during the Easter break will find it easier to plan their journey with improvements to the Highways Agency website in time for the holiday. The website can now be accessed from mobile phones through the newly constructed mobile platform. The site gives details of any unplanned incidents and shows where motorways and major trunk roads are flowing freely”.

Happy Holidays!

Oxford clinch memorable university Boat Race

Oxford have beaten Cambridge to claim the 2009 university Boat Race.

The Guardian says: “As the heaviest crew in the 180-year history of the race, Oxford were the strong pre-race favourites to claim the 155th edition of the varsity event but they trailed their old adversaries heading into the Surrey bend after Cambridge had made a quick start. The Light Blues, who had won the toss and opted for the Surrey station, led by half a length at the two-mile mark but could not take advantage of the sweeping middle bend. The crews clashed oars as Oxford began the fightback at the Chiswick Reach and, in a repeat of last year’s victory, the Dark Blues powered clear for their fourth victory in the last five years and their seventh this decade under coach Sean Bowden”.

The challenge is not finished: the next appointment will be in March 2010!

Top schools by county

The Financial Times has published the list of the top 1000 schools of the Country. Attending a good school is essential to have a good culture, the right formation and an attractive curriculum vitae: so parents and children have a look on the map and on the list to find the best for your future!

And here you are the first 10 position of the list 2008

  1. Westminster School   –   Westminster
  2. Perse School for Girls   –   Cambridge
  3. Wycombe Abbey School   –   High Wycombe
  4. Magdalen College School   –   Oxford
  5. Queen Elizabeth’s School   –   Barnet
  6. St Paul’s Girls’ School   –   Hammersmith
  7. Winchester College   –   Winchester
  8. North London Collegiate (IB)   –   Edgware
  9. Colchester Royal Gram Sch   –   Colchester
  10. Eton College   –   Windsor

To find out all the rankings and some more about the previous positions click here. And here is the link to check the best schools in your area (the map gives information for all 2,188 schools in the sample, which had at least 20 pupils in their sixth form studying at least two A’levels. Only the top 1,000 are ranked).

Obama’s Speech: Written for America, Applied to the World.

My fellow citizens: I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors…

Serious challenges

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land – a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America – they will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

‘Era of peace’

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus – and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.


Barack Obama – 44th U.S. President. Speech to the Nation – Speech to the World.

BBC News Bites: mortgages, RBS, RyanAir and environment

The Let’s start the last month of 2008 with a look at BBC Business News:

Mortgages: As they fall, so do house sales and prices. “Bank of England figures show that just 32,000 mortgages were approved, 1,000 fewer than in the previous month”. comments, “The number of mortgages approved, but not yet lent, is a good indicator of medium-term trends in lending”.

Banks: “the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has guaranteed not to repossess the properties of customers who fall behind on payments for at least six months. The bank, which owns NatWest, is Britain’s fifth largest mortgage lender with a 7% market share”. But the most important fact reading is that, “the government has bought a 58% stake in RBS as part of its recapitalisation plan for the banking sector.”

Companies: The Irish airline RyanAir has made a fresh takeover bid for the Irish flag-carrier Aer Lingus to the tune of €748 million. The article reports, “Ryanair’s previous offer for Aer Lingus, which valued it at €1.5 billion, was blocked by the European Commission on competition grounds”.

Environment: “Official advisers to the UK government have demanded Britain slash greenhouse gases by a fifth of current levels by 2020 – the toughest target so far”. The article reads, “The Committee on Climate Change said the cut (21% on 2005 levels) is needed for the UK to play its fair share in combating dangerous change. The independent committee recommends that by 2020 it should be made almost impossible to burn coal for electricity without technology to capture and store the carbon emissions”.

Christmas is coming: it’s time to think how to send Cards & Presents!

Christmas is coming. London starts to be decoreted and people are ready for the long month of advent.
During this period the economic problems will be pushed to the back of people’s minds by the organisation of Christmas details: buying presents and sending cards, attending parties and organising dinners, choosing the tree and finding the decorations.

Sometimes gifts and cards have to be sent far; so here some indication and links to organise your Christmas Mail:

Royal Mail – This year Royal Mail wants to make things a little easier extending enquiry office opening hours between the 15th December until Christmas. To make sure that people receive all their packages they have introduced new evening deliveries on Monday 22nd and Tuesday 23rd December and redeliveries on Sunday 21st December. Here more about prices.

DHL – DHL is the global market leader of the international express and logistics industry, combining with worldwide coverage and an in-depth understanding of local markets. This international network links more than 220 countries and territories worldwide.

City Link – The English company provides services in UK, Ireland and around the world and plans extended hours and special prices to satisfy its customers during the Christmas period.

FedEx – Fed Express offers special holiday shipping, including exceptions money-back guarantee.

Timing and prices depends from destination, size and weight. Don’t wait too long to be sure that your family and friends will receive your Christmas Gifts in time.

The Prince of Wales turns 60 today: happy birthday Charles!

If you live or work in London, here is an update on some Royal Gossip and News: the life of the Royal Family is the life of the most famous family of any country. Today Prince Charles turns 60 years old.

To discover something more about the heir to the throne, you can find the 60 most important facts of his life, as reported by the Telegraph.

We would like to provide a bit of background information about the Prince’s Trust, a charity created by Charles to help young people overcome barriers and get their lives in order. It offers loans to groups and business people who’ve had difficulty in gaining outside support. It regularly organises concerts with leading pop, rock, and classical musicians to raise funds for their worthy causes. This foundation is a worldwide organisation that has also supported humanitarian projects. And Prince Charles with his two sons, takes part in many events to help the foundation and many others.

To know more about these fundraising projects please visit the Prince’s Trust website.

Barack Obama: what does he mean for the UK?

Remember Remember the 5th of November… This old poem refers to Guy Fawkes, who was caught in the cellars of the Houses of Parliament with several dozen barrels of gunpowder on 5th November 1605.
But now Remember Remember the 5th of November, the day when the first black man has won the American Presidential Election: Barack Obama will be the new President of the United States, the change has come. Finally.

But what does it mean for the Europe? What will his election mean for the UK? The positive reaction from all sides are unanimous as Barack Obama could be the man of the revival. The UK and US have always had a good relationship, and now it can be strengthened by renovate common values of liberty. Future President Obama is a true ally of Britain and Europe, he knows the importance of working together to come through these difficult economic times and build a safer and more secure society for the future. Whereas British and European citizens couldn’t vote but the expectation on him is immense. And all the world has followed with great estimationthe political campaign and the election, because its outcome is vital to our future.

There are many topics, from the climate change to the global economy, and the new approach of Barack Obama will change the current situation for better. The Bush era is over. Tonight fireworks will flash in the sky over London, rich of meaning and hope for all the City, the country and the world.

Westfield Shopping Centre – Europe’s largest mall – opens

From time to time we’ll offer some great London tips. So here we are with something that we’re sure you’ll appreciate: the Westfield Centre, Europe’s largest urban shopping mall has opened in West London. Shepherd’s Bush tube station, 43-Acre Mall consisting of 265 shops, featuring popular brands like Gap and Nike to the more classier shops like Prada and Chanel. It will also feature a 14-screen cinema, 50 restaurants, a gym, a spa and a library. The Westfield centre is expected to attract 25 million shoppers every year when it is fully completed however only 85 per cent of the stores are opening today as some are still not yet complete. In light of the current economic downturn, one of the store managers has said, “you wouldn’t choose this time, but we’ve been operating for 50 years and from time to time you open in a boom and from time to time you open in a recession. And we are planning for the long term.”

The centre was officially opened this morning by members on the board of the Westfield Group, the Australian company behind the mall alongside the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.If you want to know more about the Westfield centre, here it’s the link!