Jazz legend Lyttelton dies at 86
Humphrey Lyttelton ended his Radio 2 show The Best of Jazz last month
Veteran jazz musician and radio host Humphrey Lyttelton has died aged 86.
The chairman of BBC Radio 4's comedy panel show I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue recently had surgery in an attempt to repair an aortic aneurysm.
The latest series of the quiz programme was cancelled after Lyttelton was admitted to Barnet Hospital in north London on 16 April.
BBC Director General Mark Thompson described "Humph" as "a unique, irreplaceable talent".
Lyttelton retired from hosting Radio 2's The Best of Jazz last month after more than 40 years presenting the show.
He hosted I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue - the self-styled "antidote to panel games" - since 1972, appearing alongside regulars Graeme Garden, Barry Cryer and Tim Brooke-Taylor.
Like his many fans, we owe him an enormous debt of gratitude. Like them, all of us at the BBC feel a tremendous sense of loss
BBC Director General
In 1993, he received a Sony Gold Award for services to broadcasting.
Lyttelton began playing the trumpet in 1936 and was still touring with his band up until his admission to hospital.
Best known for the song Bad Penny Blues, they became the first British jazz act to enter the top 20 in 1956.
He was honoured with a lifetime achievement award at both the Post Office British Jazz Awards in 2000 and at the first BBC Jazz Awards in 2001.
The BBC's Mark Thompson said Lyttelton would leave an "enormous gap" in British cultural life as a whole and in the lives of many millions of listeners.
"One of the towering figures of British jazz, he excelled too as a writer, cartoonist, humorist and of course as a broadcaster on television and radio," he said.
"On I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue all of his gifts were on show, his warmth and conviviality, his wit, his mischievousness.
"He was a unique, irreplaceable talent. Like his many fans, we owe him an enormous debt of gratitude. Like them, all of us at the BBC feel a tremendous sense of loss."
The controller of Radio Four, Mark Damazer, said Lyttelton encompassed "so many" of the virtues people wanted from Radio Four comedy.
"He's just a colossally good broadcaster and possessed of this fantastic sense of timing," he said.
"It's a very, very sad day but we should celebrate and be very grateful for how much he did for Radio Four because he really was one of the giants over the last 40 years, really terrific."
Jenny Abramsky, BBC Director of Audio and Music, said he had been "one of the wonders of radio broadcasting for years".
Jazz trumpeter Digby Fairweather said that Lyttelton "was, in the best possible way, a jazz machine".
"We will probably never have another Humphrey Lyttelton, which is terribly sad really," he added.
"But we can always play his records."You can hear a classic edition of I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue on BBC Radio 4 on Sunday 27 April at 1200 BST. There will also be a special programme in tribute to Humphrey Lyttleton on Wednesday 30 April at 0900 BST.
No wonder prisoners don't want to leave
By Richard Edwards
A row over "cushy" prisons escalated yesterday as it emerged that inmates were being kept in a country house, complete with listed gardens, on land once owned by Henry VIII.
HMP Hewell Grange, Worcs, houses 200 non-violent male prisoners in the sort of setting a luxury hotel might offer.
The Grade II-listed building, completed in 1894, was the seat of the Windsor-Clive family - originally given the estate by Henry VIII - until they sold it to the state, which turned it into a borstal in 1946. The prison has a farm and gardens, also Grade II listed, where inmates work.
Last night it was also claimed that spaces at another jail remained unused because its kitchen could not provide a choice of meals.
A multi-million pound expansion project has increased the jail's capacity, but because the kitchen is not big enough to give prisoners a choice of meals - including vegetarian and specific diet requirements - it will not fill the cells, he claimed.
Brian Clarke, the chairman of Birmingham's Prison Officers' Association, said: "We could accommodate an extra 292 prisoners, we have those extra beds. We need a bigger kitchen and more staff."
The disclosures emerged after a prison officers' leader said jails had become so comfortable that some inmates were ignoring chances to escape. Further details of luxuries emerged yesterday.
At Hewell Grange, an open prison in Redditch, Worcs, inmates can use a bowling green in the summer at the Grade II, 19th century property, built by the Earl of Plymouth as a family home.
Facilities inside the marble-floored house with oak panelled walls include a gym, a snooker room and a library where inmates can borrow CDs and computer games. Each dormitory - there are no cells - has its own television. One inmate serving a 15-year sentence for kidnap said the facility was "like a hotel, except it's free".
The Prison Service disclosed that the number of inmates in England and Wales had reached a new high of 82,319.
Magistrates have been urged by Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, to reduce the number of criminals they sent to jail, in a fresh bid to ease prison overcrowding.
The former Home Office minister Ann Widdecombe said prisoners were left to be "idle" and should be given work to do to keep them busy.
"Every single convicted prisoner should have to do a full day's work either in the prison workshop or education department or a mixture of both," she said. "Because they are idle, prisoners have more opportunities for drug dealing."
The Ministry of Justice yesterday denied that there were free spaces at Birmingham and said it was at its full operational capacity.
A digital treasure trove of information is out there for the taking, but only if students have a means of discovering the way to find it - a search engine that is both academic and user-friendly.
Scores of academic search engines provide a heavyweight alternative to the commercial ones and work against what Brighton University's professor of media- Tara Brabazon has termed "the Google effect" - a tendency towards mediocrity.The challenge they face is to make themselves sufficiently user-friendly to attract and retain a generation of students reared on commercial search engines.The Joint Information Systems Committee (Jisc) funds several. The Archives Hub provides descriptions of archive collections from 140 UK universities and colleges; the Copac academic and national library catalogue offers access to the catalogues of 24 university libraries, plus the national libraries, and can indicate the availability of books. Jstor is a comprehensive collection of archived journals; and Zetoc, the British Library catalogue, gives details of its 20,000 current journals as well as offering some 16,000 conference proceedings per year and an email alert service.Intute, part of the Mimas national data centre at Manchester University, is an interesting service that has tried to address students' lack of information literacy by providing access to a quality controlled set of free resources and virtual training courses - a kind of training lane in the information highway. Begun in 2006, it has recently launched a new UK university research papers service.The host website is getting 2m searches a month, says director Caroline Williams. "Commercial search engines are not discriminating.
We tackle that by making sure our information is of sufficient quality for academic work. Whatever you're studying, you can come to one place and find what you need."Intute, which is also Jisc-funded, is now looking at how it can make itself commercially viable.Edina, the UK's other national data centre, based at Edinburgh University, both hosts data - scholarly publications, documentary films, and images and maps - and is easier to use. Edina's forte is in adding value to information and finding new ways of using it - its "digimap" service was a world first, says director Peter Burnhill.Some sites are discipline-specific. Cornell University's well-regarded science site, arXiv, contains an extensive collection of quality-controlled papers on physics, maths and computer science. Eric is a free index of subscription articles on education, sponsored by the US department of education.There is, increasingly, a crossover between the academic and commercial worlds. Google's Google Scholar site is welcomed by some academics as a pragmatic option for students already loyal to the brand. Google Scholar is "a tremendously valuable tool", says Sheffield University's Sheila Webber.
Its international dimension is commended by Tara Brabazon, although results can be too broad . The "advanced search" option discriminates better.Publishers onlineAcademic publishers are launching their own online journals sites. Blackwells, for example, publishes 850 journals on the web in disciplines ranging from business to veterinary medicine. Oxford University Press has created Oxford Scholarship online, providing access by subscription to its titles. Meanwhile, Bloomsbury is behind Bloomsbury Magazine, a database of its own reference books, a rich source of material on myth, art and literature.University libraries' online catalogues have been criticised for being non-intuitive and difficult to navigate. UCL's Ian Rowlands says they have much to learn from supermarkets about setting out their contents in accessible and logical ways. "Stores are laid out by type - fresh fruit, wines, cheese.
Library catalogues offer jars, cartons, loose stuff," he says, referring to the way material is grouped according to its form rather than its content.But library computer software is not a mass market proposition, says Webber, and so its development has not attracted the same commercial interest. "Librarians do what they can to make links easier for students but it's a little bit clunky."Those working on making high quality information accessible to students recognise they have lessons to learn from sites like Amazon - where people will be invited to look inside books, offered reader reviews and informed of what other people with similar interests have bought, as well as being notified of new publications in areas where they have shown interest.Caroline Williams, of Intute, describes this process as "aggregated personalisation ... These are the things we're testing out behind the scenes."
Bloomsbury magazine: www.bloomsbury magazine.com/arc/arc_home_asp
Google Scholar: www.scholar.google.co.uk
Oxford University Press:www.oxfordscholarship.comRIC:www.eric.ed.gov
yam天空新聞 - Taiwan兩千多名在英國唸書、工作及定居的華人(當地時間)週末在「倫敦」舉行沉默示威，抗議包括「英國國家廣播公司」BBC在內的西方媒體，最近對中國鎮壓西藏的相關報導偏頗、不公正。參加抗議的華人群眾都戴上口罩，在英國國會大廈對面舉行示威，不過由於場地有限，無法容納所有 ...
CNN's "The Situation Room" host Jack Cafferty’s said on April 9, 2008, "So I think our relationship with China has certainly changed," he continued. "I think they're basically the same bunch of goons and thugs they've been for the last 50 years." (我认为在过去50年里他们(後來解釋 指政府)基本上一直是一帮暴民和匪徒).
London: On April, 2008, one thousand Chinese expatriates staged a silence demonstration in front of the Parliament building in Old Palace Yard on April 19. 
倫敦華人上街抗議西方媒體不實報導(組圖)新浪網 - Beijing,China本報訊本報實習生梁懌韜英國倫敦報導：昨日，來自英國各地的中國留學生和華僑集結在倫敦市中心西斯敏斯特議會大樓前的OLD PALACE YARD和平示威，反對近期部分西方媒體對於北京奧運聖火傳遞和西藏事件的不實報導。來自樸次茅斯的華僑杜先生昨天拖家帶小來倫敦參加示威活動 ...
For three days each spring, the London Book Fair becomes the focal point for everyone and anyone in the publishing industry.
The London Book Fair is not only a platform for publishing deals and translation rights, it offers a forum for emerging literary talent.
An annual feature of the London Book Fair is its so-called market focus program, which takes a look at the literary scene of a certain country or region. This year, it’s all about literature from the Arab world.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The London Book Fair is a large book-publishing trade fair held annually, usually in March, in London, England. While not as large as the immense Frankfurt Book Fair, held each October, the London Book Fair has grown in size and importance in recent years, and '23,000 publishers, booksellers, literary agents, librarians, media and industry suppliers from over 100 countries' now attend the fair. . Book publishers come to London to publicise their upcoming titles and to sell and purchase subsidiary and translation rights for books from other publishers.
The London Book Fair is much less of an event for the broader public than the Frankfurt Book Fair. Prior to 2006, the London Book Fair had been held at the Olympia exhibition centre, but it moved to the ExCeL Exhibition Centre in London's Docklands that year. Due to generally unfavourable feedback about the new location from attendees, the book fair returned to west London in 2007 and took place at the Earls Court Exhibition Centre from 16-18 April. The 2008 book fair will also be held at the Earls Court Exhibition Centre.
 External links
- London Book Fair Official Show Website (Reed Exhibitions)
Runners from the eastern region who pushed themselves to the finish in the London Marathon to help raise money for a clutch of charities.14 Apr 2008
LATEST BBC News & Sport results for marathon
- Marathon bar over man's age claim - 17h 12m ago
- Marathon finish line 'felt magic' - 17h 55m ago
- Marathon run for paralysed player - 22h 26m ago
- A marathon after 28 races in row - 1d ago
喇叭響起，１０１歲的老爺爺馬汀跟著長髮美女和非洲飛毛腿一起起跑。每一步都踩得很穩健，羡煞許多年輕人。馬汀雖然１０１歲，但現在還在工作，為了參加 這次的馬拉松，他每天接受１４個小時的訓練，希望成為史上年紀最大的馬拉松長跑選手。不過提到長壽，馬汀可是既抽煙、又喝酒，顛覆所有養生的祕訣，或許就 是這樣的快樂，讓他活過百歲。
此外，比賽另一個焦點是這些身穿戰袍、手拿長矛、腳穿輪胎鞋的馬賽戰士。他們遠從非洲坦尚尼亞來參賽， 希望籌錢改善家鄉生活條件。他們載歌載舞，成了媒體的寵兒，不過提到這輪胎鞋，他們可是很寶貝的，憑著這種耐力，如果他們接受專業訓練，說不定奧運馬拉松 冠軍就是他們的。(綜合報導)
今年是馬拉松成為奧運正式項目的第一百週年，更吸引來自全世界超過三萬五千位好手來這裡參與比賽。 除了一般組之外，也有輪椅組，選手們坐在輪椅上，一樣是奮力往前衝。 甚至在終點衝線前兩位爭搶第三名的選手還撞成一團，競爭非常激烈。
最後女子組的部份，來自德國的 Irina Mikitenko 才第二次跑全程馬拉松，就拿下女子組冠軍。
而男子組的部份，來自肯亞的Martin Lel 更了不起，在最近四年內，三度拿下冠軍． 另外還有六位來自東非坦尚尼亞的馬賽族勇士，為了替家鄉打造新水井來募款而參賽，還有一位高齡一百零一歲的老先生馬丁，讓這次的倫敦馬拉松更有看頭。
英国古建筑保护协会（The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings）称，一些汽车司机“盲目依赖”卫星导航器，从而对英国的一些历史建筑造成了损害。
该协会指出，卫星导航器把很多大卡车带到了一些不适合卡车行驶的小路上。牛津郡（Oxfordshire）的奥克河（River Ock）上面的窄桥和东萨塞克斯郡（East Sussex）的著名的佩文西中世纪城堡（Wikipedia article "Pevensey Castle" ）都被卡车损坏。另外，曼彻斯特市（Manchester）附近的一间古屋也被毁坏。
Slade Professor of Fine Art
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Slade Professorship of Fine Art is the senior professorship of art at the universities of Cambridge, Oxford and London. The chairs were founded concurrently in 1869 by a bequest from the art collector and philanthropist Felix Slade, with studentships also created in the University of London. The studentships allowed for the creation of the Slade School of Art, now part of University College London. The chair at Oxford is named after the first holder John Ruskin.
 Slade Professors, University of London
- Edward Poynter (1871)
- Alphonse Legros (1876)
- Fred Brown (1882)
- Henry Tonks (1917)
- Randolph Schwabe (1930)
- William Coldstream (1949)
- Lawrence Gowing (1975)
- Patrick George (1985)
- Bernard Cohen (1988)
- John Aiken (2000)
 Slade Professors, Cambridge University
- Matthew Digby Wyatt (1869)
- Sidney Colvin (1873)
- John Henry Middleton (1886)
- Charles Waldstein (1895)
- William Martin Conway (1901)
- Charles Waldstein (1904)
- Edward Schroeder Prior (1912)
- Roger Fry (1933)
- William George Constable (1935)
- Geoffrey Fairbank Webb (1938–1941, 1946–1949)
- Nikolaus Pevsner (1949)
- Alan Francis Clutton Brock (1955)
- Jean Victor Edmond Paul Marie Bony (1958)
- Ernst Gombrich (1961)
- Michael Vincent Levey (1963)
- John Pope-Hennessy (1964)
- Anthony Blunt (1965)
- John Summerson (1966)
- Anita Brookner (1967)
- Otto Demus (1968)
- James Sloss Ackerman (1969)
- Rudolph Wittkower (1970)
- George Heard Hamilton (1971)
- Carl Nordenfalk (1972)
- Tilmann Buddensieg (1973)
- Ernst Kitzinger (1974)
- William Watson (1975)
- Harold John Golding (1976)
- Howard Burns (1977)
- Rupert Bruce-Mitford (1978)
- Joseph Rykwert (1979)
- Jennifer Iris Rachel Montagu (1980)
- Gerhard Schmidt (1981)
- Theodore Franklin Reff (1982)
- Donovan Michael Sullivan (1983)
- Jan Bialostocki (1984)
- David Mackenzie Wilson (1985)
- Pierre Rosenberg (1986)
- Martin Kemp (1987)
- Lindsay Margaret Errington (1988)
- Richard Cork (1989)
- William Henry Toulmin Vaughan (1990)
- Lothar Ledderose (1992)
- Marjorie Elizabeth Cropper (1992)
- Neil Levine (1994)
- Irene Winter (1996)
- Thomas Alexander Heslop (1997)
- Virginia Margaret Spate (1998)
- Albert Blankert (1999)
- Patricia Fortini Brown (2000)
- ? (2001)
- Joseph Leo Koerner (January – March 2003)
- William Curtis (2003)
- ? (2004)
- Ian Christie (2005)
 Slade Professors, Oxford University
- John Ruskin (1870–1878)
- George Richmond (1878–1883)
- Ellis Waterhouse (1955)
- John Pope-Hennessy (1956)
- Douglas Cooper (1957)
- John Summerson (1958)
- Eric Newton (1959)
- George Zarnecki (1960)
- Kenneth Clark (1961)
- Anthony Blunt (1962)
- T. S. R. Boase (1963)
- Quentin Bell (1964)
- Leslie Martin (1965)
- David Piper (1966)
- Meyer Schapiro (1967)
- Nikolaus Pevsner (1968)
- F. J. B. Watson (1969)
- Otto Kurz (1970)
- Robert Rosenblum (1971)
- Seymour Slive (1972)
- Michael Sullivan (1973)
- Michael Baxandall (1974)
- Mark Girouard (1975)
- Howard Hibbard (1976)
- Robert Herbert (1977)
- John Beckwith (1978)
- J. Mordaunt Crook (1979)
- Nicholas Penny (1980)
- Jonathan Brown (1981)
- J. F. Harris (1982)
- David Freedberg (1983)
- Irving Lavin (1984)
- Charles Hope (1985)
- John House (1986)
- Henry Mayr-Harting (1987)
- Alistair Rowan (1988–89)
- Elizabeth McGrath (1989–90)
- Jennifer Fletcher (1990–91)
- Michael Rogers (1991–92)
- Kirk Varnedoe (1992–93)
- Juliet Wilson-Bareau (1993–94)
- Michael Levey (1994–95)
- John Richardson (1995–96)
- David Bomford (1996–97)
- Kathleen Weil Garris Brandt (1997–98)
- Joseph Connors (1998–99)
- Robert Hewison (1999–2000)
- Donald Preziosi (2000–01)
- Charles Saumarez Smith (2001–02)
- Ernst van de Wetering (2002–03)
- Craig Clunas (2003–04)
- Larry Schaaf (2004–05)
- Tom Phillips (2005–06)
- Paul Binski (2006–07)
- Alex Potts (2007–08)
- Richard Thomson (2008–09)
它一直在擴充範圍（英國單位何其複雜！）：原先 Ofsted代表.The Office for Standards in Education,
不過，即將包括成人教育等而改稱The Office for Standards in Education, Children Services and Skills 。只是簡稱Ofsted. 未變。
Children Services and Skills but it will continue to be known as Ofsted is the inspectorate for children and learners in England. It is our job to contribute to the provision of better education and care through effective inspection and regulation.
We achieve this through a comprehensive system of inspection and regulation, covering childcare, schools, colleges, children's services, teacher training and youth work. Each week, we carry out hundreds of inspections and regulatory visits, helping professionals in education and childcare make a difference to the lives of children and young people.
We are a non-ministerial government department accountable to Parliament. Our independence means you can rely on us for impartial information about the quality of education and care.
From April 2007 Ofsted's remit will be expanded to include the children's services work of the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI), together with the Children and Families Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) inspection remit of Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Court Administration (HMICA) and the inspection work of the Adult Learning Inspectorate (ALI). The organisation's full title will change to The Office for Standards in Education, Children Services and Skills but it will continue to be known as Ofsted.remit (AREA) Show phonetics
noun [C usually singular]
the area which a person or group of people in authority has responsibility for or control over:
The remit of this official inquiry is to investigate the reasons for the accident.
remit ━━ n. , 〔英〕 （委員会等への）付託事項.
A Pub Crawl Through the Centuries
DR. JOHNSON declared a tavern seat “the throne of human felicity.” The Frenchman Hilaire Belloc, who spent his life in England, said: “When you have lost your inns, drown your empty selves. For you will have lost the last of England.”
A good pub is a ready-made party, a home away from home, a club anyone can join. Some British pubs began as simple meeting places, some as coaching inns — hostelries where stagecoaches stopped for the night for fodder, bed and stable. Generally these were larger, and had a secondary pub at the back for ostlers, farriers and other riffraff.
riff-raff Show phonetics
- People regarded as disreputable or worthless.
- Rubbish; trash.
plural noun DISAPPROVING
people with a bad reputation or of a low social class:
She says that charging high prices will keep the riff-raff out.
In Oxford, which has some pubs — like the Bear, on Blue Boar Lane, and the Mitre, on the High Street — that date back to the 1200’s, many of the names echo the Middle Ages. The White Hart (a stag, Richard II’s heraldic emblem), the Kings Arms (named for James I, during whose reign neighboring Wadham College was founded), The Bear, the Wheatsheaf: all are names that call up a past of knights, farms and forests.
A pub is a great leveler — not a workingman’s club, but an everyman’s club. The best are filled not only with the scent of yeast and hops, but also with banter and wit. Back in 1954, when the Rose & Crown on North Parade Avenue in Oxford was threatened with closure (inadequate toilet facilities), the defense that won the day called it a “home of cultured, witty and flippant conversation.” Whether it’s how to warm plates swiftly or use the hyphen correctly, there’s no talk like pub talk. Some, like the Rose & Crown, are a kind of family. Its landlord, Andrew Hall, knows exactly how much to know of his regulars’ business. But every well-behaved person who is neither a dog nor a politician is welcome too.
The Rose & Crown is an ideal pub. Half a mile north of the city center, it’s only 140 years old, but the three small, wood-paneled rooms and the affable, eloquent host make it a home away from home. It also keeps the best pint of Old Hooky in town. Brewed about 20 miles away at Hook Norton, said to be the country’s last “steam brewery” (i.e., very old-fashioned), it’s a legend in the annals of real ale, a vessel of hazel clarity, redolent of harvest stubble lit by an evening sun, of woods drenched in rain, of dewy meadows at dawn, of cattle in dells, of Thomas Hardy and sandy-gray churches nestled in the nook of sheep-studded hills. If this isn’t the drinkable essence of England, nothing is.
Some say the pub is in crisis. A few years ago, The Guardian reported that for the first time since the Norman Conquest fewer than half the villages of England have a pub. Chains of horrendous corporate-owned “vertical drinking establishments” — giant Identikit bars — threaten the real pubs, and the real pubs are mostly owned by equally horrendous “pubcos,” companies invented to dodge laws against brewing monopolies. Yet somehow real ale, championed by Camra (the Campaign for Real Ale), and real pubs do survive.
A chap at the back bar of the Kings Arms, with long hair, sports jacket (slight rip in shoulder seam) and a pint of Waggle Dance at his elbow, is holding forth about Bulgaria — “I’ve always loved the country,” he drawls — then about Falstaff. Some say the death of Falstaff in Shakespeare’s “Henry V” symbolizes the death of merry old England. In come the Protestants, out go the bibulous friars, jolly yeomen and Mother Mary. After that, only in the public house did the Middle Ages continue to find shelter.
The Kings Arms is a linchpin of Oxford life. Situated at a junction in the heart of the city, it has spacious, airy front rooms, and at the rear three or four small rooms, all thick with honey-colored wood and irregular in shape. It was founded in the early 17th century when adjacent Wadham College was being built (the landlord presumably hoping for trade with the masons). It used to be host to bare-knuckle and cudgel fights, almost to the death, in its courtyard.
The Bear, tucked down Blue Boar Lane at the back of Christ Church, has only two tiny wood rooms, which date from 1242. They are covered, wall and ceiling, with picture frames containing short pieces of ties. Ties of clubs, regiments, schools — the Royal Gloucester Hussars, the Imperial Yeomanry, the Punjab Frontier Force, Lloyd’s of London Croquet Club — telling of an older, more powerful, more sedate England. Croquet, beer, cricket, empire and P G. Wodehouse: a snip off your tie, and you’ll get a free pint.
The small Eagle and Child on the broad boulevard of St. Giles’ was for decades distinguished mostly by the coziness of its nooks, and by the fact that — like its counterpart across the road, the Lamb & Flag, where Graham Greene liked to drink — it has long been owned by St. John’s, a college of spectacular wealth. But in the last few years, since the “Lord of the Rings” movies, it has become a celebrity among pubs. It was here that the Inklings (Tolkien, C. S. Lewis and others) would meet of a Tuesday to drink, talk and smoke.Wikipedia article "Inklings".
On a summer evening, when green-filtered light from the trees floods in through the front windows and the sheen on its paneling is restful on the eye, it’s both dark as a hovel, yet struck through with daylight. But alas, the nooks were clearly made for smoking, and feel denuded now that a smoking ban began last summer. These oak rooms without smoke? Any writer of the 19th or 20th century — Tolkien, Lewis or whoever — without pipe, cigar or cigarette? Unthinkable. Unwritable.
There’s no mistaking the age of the Turf Tavern. Its string of low-beamed, stone-walled rooms could be straight out of Chaucer. But what really makes it is its three gardens. In one, beside the cottages of Bath Close, you could be in a Cotswold village, with flower boxes and black beams. The other side, you’re deep in the shade of the ancient city wall, erected against the Vikings. You can hardly tell if it’s 2008 or 1408. You hear no cars or TVs, only the babble of voices softened by ale and nighttime. How many centuries have people hungry for learning, for the book, sat here under the walls swigging jars of ale? On a summer night, with the sky stretched over the stones of Oxford, history becomes a living stream of Ruddles and Theakstons, Hook Norton and Feathers.
Here, allegedly, Bill Clinton didn’t inhale. Here, too, Bob Hawke most affirmatively did swallow a yard of ale (two and a half pints) in 11 seconds, securing a place in the Guinness World Records, as well as (later) the Australian premiership.
One could crawl on and on. There’s Old Bookbinders down in the canalside neighborhood of Jericho, a stone’s throw from Castle Mill boatyard (threatened with imminent development), which inspired Philip Pullman to create the Gyptians boat people in “The Golden Compass.” At Bookbinders, the ales are kept in barrels behind the bar, and you can reach into a tub for free handfuls of ground nuts. There’s the Gardeners of Plantation Road, with its armchairs and two wood rooms, and the best vegetarian food in town. Not to mention the Trout on the river, the Grapes in the center, the White Horse, and the little Half Moon by Magdalen Bridge. Oxford: what a surfeit of good will in its honey-gold stone and nut-brown glasses.
LEAD FOR BUILDINGS AND CONSTRUCTION
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As Price of Lead Soars, British Churches Find Holes in Roof
EDMONDTHORPE, England — Thieves peeled long strips of lead from the roof of St. Michael and All Angels, until a barking dog sent them fleeing from this tiny Leicestershire village. But by then, they had left a hole of about 100 square feet in the top of the 800-year-old church.
For centuries, people have stolen religious artifacts in Europe, including chunks of religious buildings, but Britain is in the midst of an accelerating crime wave that some experts call the most concerted assault on churches since the Reformation.
Instead of doctrinal differences, the motivation is the near record price that lead — the stuff many old church roofs are made of — is fetching on commodity markets.
“The local parish church has become a victim of international demand for metals,” said Chris Pitt, a spokesman for Ecclesiastical, a company that specializes in insuring religious buildings and other heritage sites in Britain.
Lead’s price on global markets has rocketed sevenfold in the last six years, largely because of rising demand from industrializing countries like China and India. Centuries ago, its malleability made it a popular building material; now it is sought mainly for use in batteries for vehicles and backup power systems for computer and mobile phone networks. It is also used to make bullets and shot, cables and paints.
Because of booming demand, new mines are opening in South America and Asia, where deposits are plentiful. There is also a growing business in recycling lead, mainly from used batteries (where 75 percent of lead ends up) but also scrap metal.
Lead prices reached a record of $3,900 a ton late last summer mainly because of supply problems from mines in Australia, consumer demand in China for cars and motorbikes, and speculation by hedge fund managers on volatile commodities markets, said William Adams, a metals analyst at BaseMetals.com in London.
The price has pulled back since, trading at about $2,750 a ton, he said, but it could climb again on continuing supply problems and steady Chinese demand.
One of the oddest consequences of the historically high price is that idyllic corners of Britain — a nation that gave birth to the Industrial Revolution — are suddenly feeling the strain of Asia’s industrialization.
“Churches have become pretty savvy at protecting property inside their buildings, such as the altar ware and money in boxes,” said Mr. Pitt of Ecclesiastical, “but now the most valuable thing these churches have is being taken away piece by piece, and that is tearing away the very fabric of these buildings.”
Ecclesiastical is raising its premiums for churches after paying out claims last year totaling £9 million ($18 million), mostly for thefts of lead from roofs, he said. Before 2005, such claims were almost unheard-of.
A crucial problem for Britain’s churches is that many go unused for long periods of time, largely because of a decline in churchgoing. Services here in Edmondthorpe, for example, are often held just six times a year.
In some cases, clergy members and parishioners discover roof thefts only once rain pours into the building, damaging cherished items like carved wooden screens and ancient organs. The thefts can lead to thousands of pounds of structural damage, too.
In Edmondthorpe, the damage will cost £10,000 ($20,000) to repair.
“It’s ruthless how they do it,” said Nigel Peters, an inspector with the Leicestershire constabulary, describing lead thefts at Edmondthorpe and seven other local churches. “It’s such a skill to lay down the lead, and then it is literally just ripped away.”
Mr. Peters said his force had carried out raids on two local scrap metal dealers but had found no evidence of wrongdoing. He said no arrests had been made in connection with thefts in his part of the county.
Historical preservation rules require many churches to replace roofs with original building materials, including lead, despite its attractiveness to thieves and its cost. Many fear thieves will return after the repairs.
“Whenever I get an early morning phone call these days, I think, ‘Oh no, they’ve taken the roof again,’ ” said John Deave, 80, a retired barrister and a churchwarden at St. Guthlac’s Church in Stathern, another Leicestershire village, where the church was vandalized in January.
Mr. Deave suspected that thieves had climbed up the drainpipe, peeled a three-foot-wide strip from the roof, and threw their haul down into the churchyard, where they left a piece of metal and an indentation in the grass, before driving away.
Insurance paid most of the £2,300 bill to fix the roof. But the church had to pay the £500 deductible with parishioners’ money and reserves from tiny “peppercorn rents” still collected on nearby lands.
Mr. Deave has put special paint on the drainpipes to make them slippery to would-be climbers; has marked the roof with SmartWater, a kind of indelible ink that can be used to identify stolen property; and has pitched a thicket of signs around St. Guthlac’s warning thieves to stay away.
He wanted to put a bright light on the roof as an additional security measure but neighbors opposed the move.
Some churches in larger and more prosperous towns have upgraded their internal security, little changed since medieval times, to systems that are distinctly 21st century.
After lead worth £7,500 was taken from the roof of St. Peter & St. Paul, in Rutland, a county neighboring Leicestershire, the church canon, Stephen Evans, installed a security system with outdoor cameras. Movement on the roof sets off warnings that are sent to up to six mobile phones.
For churches with less money, the introduction of more rudimentary deterrents may be inevitable.
“Nobody likes to think of barbed wire or that kind of thing on these buildings, but churches seriously have to look at that,” said Tom Bates, a former insurance manager in the village of Waltham-on-the-Wolds, where lead was removed from the church of St. Mary Magdalene late last year.
“Ultimately insurance companies will say, ‘Enough is enough,’ ” he said.
At St. Michael and All Angels in Edmondthorpe, Barbara Coulson, a lay minister, went ahead with a Good Friday service even after the theft. Thirty-six people attended as wintry gusts flapped the blue plastic covering the hole in the roof.
Ms. Coulson expected the roof to be repaired soon and said new security measures would be put in place.
Still, she said, churches like hers would remain vulnerable, in part because respect for faith traditions is often too weak to offset the temptation of cashing in on global markets.
“We increasingly seem to live in a world where the question ‘Is nothing sacred?’ so easily springs to mind,” she said.