Sunday, 29 March 2020

Birds, buds and bright days: how spring can make us healthier and happier / Nature can be source of solace in crisis, says David Attenborough

Birds, buds and bright days: how spring can make us healthier and happier

Longer, lighter days can help us banish old habits, sleep better and improve our mental health, even during the lockdown

Amy Fleming
Sun 29 Mar 2020 15.00 BST

Thank goodness that, in this time of crisis, it is now spring. In the northern hemisphere, at least, we can say hello to green shoots, flowers, bumblebees and butterflies. Finally, the clocks have gone back to British Summer Time. We’ve lost an hour of sleep, but hello, light.

The greatest hope for the new season this year is that better weather will start to make it harder for coronavirus to spread. And for those lucky enough to still have their health, spring can provide other consolations. Its strong sense of a new beginning nudges our outlook and actions in welcome ways. Katherine Milkman, a behavioural scientist at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, has studied the phenomenon and found that there is more to spring cleaning than the sunlight suddenly showing up cobwebs and window smears. “The start of spring generally makes us feel more motivated – it’s a so-called ‘fresh start date’,” she says. As such, it makes us feel less connected to the past. “That disconnect gives us a sense that whatever we messed up on previously, we can get right now. Maybe the old you failed to quit smoking or start a lasting exercise routine, but the new you can do it.”

These moments, she says, also tend “to promote bigger-picture thinking, which gets us focused on our goals”. Whether facing health, financial or professional worries, newly working from home or home schooling, or being suddenly at a loss for something to do, Milkman says this effect can stretch “across all of our goal-oriented activities. We’ve seen that it affects everything from decisions about exercise to retirement savings.”

Spring can also fortify us with the relief it brings from seasonal affective disorder (Sad). Even if you do not have a clinical case of it, says Hugh Selsick, chair of the sleep working group at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, “most people will experience some degree of lifting of mood in the summer months”. Studies looking at populations in North America have illustrated this neatly, according to Selsick. “The further north you go, the worse our mood gets in the winter, because of that lack of light. For us [in the north] the payoff is that we also get these really nice bright long, spring and summer days.

“As humans, we evolved in a tropical place, where there was a lot more light,” Selsick says. This means our brains have evolved to expect a certain amount of it. “It’s probably why we are so susceptible to changes in light,” he says. And why the gloomier months can negatively affect sleep patterns and mood.

Sad symptoms that spring might alleviate include low mood, tiredness, sleeping longer than normal and, says Selsick, cravings of carbohydrates in particular. So feel free to harness this knowledge to fuel a new effort to start exceeding your five a day.

Now that most of us are only allowed out once a day, for exercise, the greatest gains in terms of making the most of spring light are to be had from stepping out first thing in the morning. Not only will getting up and out help avoid the crowds of joggers, but morning light is the most crucial for setting our circadian rhythms. “It’s much better at synchronising our body clocks and getting us back into sync with the outside world,” says Selsick.

When it’s dark, we produce melatonin, which acts as a time signal to the body, telling it we should be sleepy. “That first bit of light in the morning,” says Selsick, “is very effective at switching that melatonin off, which then tells the brain and the rest of the body it’s now time to be awake and active.

“We have a special set of receptors in our eyes which communicate directly with the body clock in the brain,” he adds. “They’re particularly sensitive to blue-green light, which on a [sunny] day like today is the colour of the sky. So that sort of bright sunlight, that outdoor light is what our brains are particularly sensitive to.” Exposure to this in the morning helps us to wake up and shake off bleary-eyed grumpiness. “And it helps to regulate our sleep. If your body knows when the day is starting, it’s easier for it to also know at what time it needs to start winding down and getting ready for sleep.” And of course sleeping well has the positive knock-on effect of giving you a better shot at feeling content and having good overall health.

The big danger with being locked down, warns Selsick, is “allowing your whole rhythm to drift”. Even if a temporary break from commuting allows you to sleep in a little, keep your waking-up time consistent to reap the benefits of the spring sunshine. “If you’re getting that first dose of light at a different time every morning, your body has no idea where it is in time,” he says. “You’re essentially jet-lagging your body by having a different rising time every day.” Setting regular meal times helps keep our daily rhythms in sync, too.

It’s essential that we make the most of opportunities to be outside, whether it’s that one permitted outing, or additional gardening, or spending some time on the balcony. “The more outdoors you can get the better, without getting in close contact with people,” says Selsick.

Getting some sun can fill our heads with new ideas, too. In 2005, psychologists at the University of Michigan found that half an hour out in the sun boosted not only mood, but also memory and creativity. To test the latter, they assessed changes in what they call cognitive broadening – “a style of thinking in which people become more creative and which is hypothesised to be an adaptive shift in cognition that leads to behavioral flexibility and exploration”, write the authors.

Late-evening light may be less likely to have an impact on circadian rhythms than morning rays, but, says Selsick, “people do generally report a better quality of life if they have some light in the evening”. Indeed. A 2016 study by researchers at Brigham Young University in Utah looked at six years of data from more than 16,000 adults and found that seasonal increases in hours of sunshine correlated with decreased mental health distress.

Longer days also seem to extend the amount of use we get from waking hours. When it’s light in the evenings, it feels like daytime for longer. Staying up to batch cook, bake bread or, in the current climate, have beers with friends over Zoom, will seem appealing all of a sudden. “Light does to some extent push sleep away a little bit,” says Selsick. “And people do often feel more alert when there’s bright light.”

And of course, with spring, light and warmth comes nature. April will see the return of swallows, swifts, cuckoos, martins and other feathery summer visitors. The more birds we see in our neighbourhoods, and the more greenery, the more robust our mental health will be, according to a 2017 study by the University of Exeter. In 2019, data from 20,000 British people crunched by researchers at the same university showed that the more time spent enjoying nature, the greater life satisfaction reported.

This is why GPs have been prescribing gardening as therapy. So plant some seeds and watch them grow, whether that’s in a flowerbed or a window-sill or balcony pot. Get a bird feeder – ensuring it’s inaccessible to squirrels, which are bird’s nest predators. Dig out your binoculars and indulge in some twitching, or figure out (with some online help) which song belongs to which bird.

The green shoots of a new chapter in our lives provide opportunities to do better, says Milkman. “The Covid-19 crisis is inaugurating a new era and shaking up our routines. Horrific as the crisis is, it presents an opportunity to size up our routines and consider what we want to change and how we can be better. I hope people will capitalise on that motivation and find ways to help one another (from a requisite social distance) and themselves achieve important goals.”

Yes, we are on lockdown. We may be emotionally exhausted and scared, but at least spring makes our daily outdoor exercise allowance more enticing. On warmer days, we can throw open the windows, let the fresh air flood in and expel the indoor pollutants that have accumulated from a winter’s worth of cooking and cleaning. We can welcome the reduction in traffic noise and fumes. These may be bittersweet byproducts of virus hell, but it’s all the better to hear the birds.

Nature can be source of solace in crisis, says David Attenborough

Broadcaster says in magazine interview that if we damage nature ‘we damage ourselves’

PA Media
Mon 30 Mar 2020 00.01 BST

David Attenborough
 David Attenborough spoke to the Big Issue in early March, before the UK went into lockdown.
The natural world can be a source of solace during times of crisis, Sir David Attenborough has said.

Speaking about the climate, the broadcaster and naturalist, 93, said the world was at an unprecedented point.

He told Big Issue magazine: “In times of crisis, the natural world is a source of both joy and solace. The natural world produces the comfort that can come from nothing else. And we are part of the natural world. If we damage the natural world, we damage ourselves.”

He also said he had cause for hope: “Kids these days are knowledgeable, aware of what’s happening, and are concerned. They are vocal. I haven’t known a generation of children that could be placed alongside these today.”

He said of the environment: “We’re in an unprecedented situation. We know quite a lot about the history of the world. We go back 500m years and there is no species with anything like the power Homo sapiens has over the natural world.

“There is nothing remotely like the situation we’re in at the moment. There’s no moral to be taken from what happened in the past. We’ve got a completely blank sheet of paper in front of us.

“The plain fact is that every mouthful of food you eat comes from the natural world. There’s no food that nourishes you that doesn’t come from the natural world. Every lungful of air that you take is refined by the natural world, oxygen breathed out by plants. If you can’t breathe and you can’t eat, you don’t exist.”

Attenborough was interviewed by the magazine in early March, before the UK went into lockdown.

He said: “Problems are short-term and long-term … the short-term we deal with and the long-term ‘we’ll do tomorrow’. But tomorrow never comes. And then suddenly we discover it’s too late.”

The full interview is in the current edition of Big Issue. Vendors are unable to sell it on the streets because of the coronavirus pandemic, but the publication and its beneficiaries can be supported via subscription.

The English Season cancelled by Corona Vírus ?

“When travel journalist Sophie Campbell squeezed into heels and a hat to investigate the English social season, she got more than she bargained for. Why, she wondered, were events such as the Chelsea Flower Show, the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, The Derby at Epsom, Royal Ascot, the Henley Royal Regatta, Wimbledon Fortnight and Glorious Goodwood so formal, so fashionable and so famous?

Her hectic and sometimes hilarious journey through the English summer proved as exotic as any tribal rite of passage as she swam the River Thames in the dark, partied with owners and trainers at Ascot, camped out for Wimbledon, joined Irish Travellers at The Derby, infiltrated the parents stand at the Eton v Harrow cricket match and got caught using a mobile in the Stewards Enclosure at Henley. En route she found a fascinating and surprisingly complex social structure dating back to the time of the Stuart monarchs and involving fashion, food, art and the marriage market. The English summer will never be the same again.”

Summer of sport is CANCELLED... Wimbledon, Ascot, the Olympics and cricket face the chop as coronavirus looks set to wipe them out with Euro 2020 already pushed back to next year

The English Season
The English Season comprises a number of quintessentially British social and sporting events that take place during the spring and summer each year.

Our luxury accommodation in Eton and Windsor is set in the ideal location and provides the perfect place to reside when attending any of the English Season events.

We can arrange for tickets and event packages for our guests through our concierge services, and organise chauffer-driven transportation to the events if you would like to travel in style.

Evolving with the English nobility and aristocrats in the 17th and 18th centuries, the traditional highlights of the English Season now include the Chelsea Flower Show, the Epsom Derby, Royal Ascot, the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, Henley Regatta, Glorious Goodwood and Cowes Week among others. However, this has greatly expanded over the years to capture many fabulous events for which England is now famous.

The events are now as diverse as rowing, horse racing, classic car shows, tennis, polo, golf, cricket, motor racing and music festivals for both the young and the “seasoned”. There is something for everybody!

Many of the occasions are a wonderful excuse to dress up in tailcoats or blazers, elegant dresses and extravagant hats, and all provide the best food, champagne and entertainment available.

For a full event list and calendar, visit our English Season Calendar.

Here are the events though that we think make the perfect English Season (dates vary annually):

Cartier International Polo
Hosted by the Guards Polo Club, the Cartier International Polo Day takes place in Windsor Great Park in late July.

The Cartier International is much more than polo - guests enjoy gourmet food and exclusive shopping.

Chelsea Flower Show
Hosted in May by the Royal Horticultural Society, The Chelsea Flower Show is held at the Chelsea Royal Hospital.

Experience award winning gardens, exhibits, trade stands, cafes and restaurants.

Cheltenham Gold Cup Festival
Taking place in March - four days of the best horse jump racing at Cheltenham Racecourse – with over 220,000 attendees each year.

Cowes Week
Cowes Week is the largest sailing regatta in the world - taking place since 1826.

8,500 competitors take part in August each year - from Olympic and world class professionals to weekend sailors.

Epsom Derby
The Derby, or Epsom Derby, is a flat horse race in early June – and is Britain’s richest horse race.

Formula 1 British Grand Prix
The British Grand Prix takes place at the Silverstone circuit in July, but started at the historic Brooklands racetrack in 1927. Glamour, fast cars and VIP enclosures make this a very special event.


Goodwood Festival of Speed
The world’s greatest car event featuring classic cars, Formula One drivers, driving experiences and more. Usually held during late June and / or early July.

Glorious Goodwood
Glorious flat horse racing spread over five days every August – along with exclusive entertainment and culinary delights.

Glyndebourne Opera Festival
The Glyndebourne Opera Festival in August is a must for all opera lovers – taking place from May through to August.

Henley Royal Regatta
Henley Royal Regatta is the best-known regatta in the world. Five days of rowing and VIP socialising during late June.

Last Night of the Proms
The Proms consists of 70 concerts in the Royal Albert Hall, London - culminating in the Last Night in September. The Last Night is traditionally a lighter evening than the other concerts and is a display of English eccentricity at it’s best.

Louis Vuitton Classic
The Louis Vuitton Concours d'Elegance of vintage cars is held at the Hurlingham Club. It usually takes place every June.

Royal Ascot
For over 250 years, Royal Ascot has been a showcase for the best racehorses in the world. Takes place in the third week of June every year.

The Boat Race
First taking place in 1829, Oxford and Cambridge universities race each other on the River Thames every March or April.


The Grand National
Taking place since 1839, the Grand National is a three-day horse jump-racing event in April and the most anticipated horse race of the year.

The Queen's Club Aegon Tennis Championship
The traditional men’s warm up tennis event for Wimbledon, taking place in June every year at the beautiful Queens Tennis Club

Wimbledon Tennis Championships
Strawberries and cream, Centre Court and the best tennis players in the world. Starts late June every year.


Friday, 27 March 2020

The Chukka Boot

Chukka boots are ankle-high leather boots with suede or leather uppers, leather or rubber soles, and open lacing with two or three pairs of eyelets. The name chukka possibly comes from the game of polo, where a chukka is a period of play.
Generally, "chukka boot" refers to a form of desert boots originally worn by British soldiers in the Western Desert Campaign of World War II.
Chukkas are usually made from calfskin or suede,although they can be made from other materials. The style first became popular in the late 1940s through the 1960s as casual wear.In the 21st century, chukkas persist as a popular menswear shoe, particularly in the United Kingdom. They can be worn with both suits and more casual wear like jeans.
According to shoe historian June Swann, the essential chukka boot is ankle-high, open-laced, and unlined, with two to three pairs of eyelets, thin leather soles, calfskin suede uppers in two parts (each from a single piece of leather; quarters sewn on top of vamp), and rounded toes.

“It’s believed that the Chukka boot acquired its name because its similar appearance to the boot worn by polo players, the Jodhpur boot, which itself shares a resemblance to the Chelsea boot. But while Chukkas were identified with the sport of polo, the boots made specifically for polo are different enough in their design from chukkas that it’s unlikely chukkas were ever worn to actually play polo. They were, however, worn by polo players after matches because of their comfort.”

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Belgravia by Julian Fellowes

Belgravia is a historical drama television series based on the 2016 novel of the same name by Julian Fellowes—both named after Belgravia, an affluent district of London. The series, a co-production between British television network ITV and American cable network Epix, is written by Fellowes and directed by John Alexander.

On 4 February 2020, it was announced that the series will premiere first in the UK on ITV on 15 March 2020. On 18 January 2020, it was announced that the series will premiere on 12 April 2020 on Epix in the U.S..

Belgravia review – Julian Fellowes is caught in an uptown funk
2 / 5 stars2 out of 5 stars.   

Taking in class wars, Waterloo and the beginning of the Victorian era, ITV’s new Sunday night saga sees the Downton creator go for full-on melodrama

Lucy Mangan
Sun 15 Mar 2020 22.00 GMT

Julian Fellowes has been typing again. It is the year flimpty plomp, the pasteenth century in days of yore. There are worried English people in Brussels and a French war person, Napoleon Bonaparte – “Boney”, as people would period-specifically call him; you can check in books! – is making them worry Englishly. But the Lady Duke of Richmond is holding a ball, to show that she has a period-specific ballroom and won’t be intimidated by French war people, no she will not!

Philip Glenister is James Trenchard, a trenchant trencherman and victualler – which is pronounced ‘vittler’ – to the English soldiers who are stationed in Brussels in case Boney tries any of his French warring. To the chagrin (“shame and embarrassment” across La Manche) of his slightly better-born wife, Anne (Tamsin Greig), James has wangled invitations to the lady duke’s ball, despite being born to a family of tubers in Covent Garden before he became a successful merchant potato in Frenchland. He is also ignorant-potatoely encouraging his daughter Sophia in her flirtation with the duchess’s nephew, Edmund, Lord Bellasis (Jeremy Neumark Jones), even though she is, of course, half-potato and he cannot marry for love, no matter how much he wants a plate of chips.

All clear so far? Frenchies! Englisheses! Balls! Great! The ball begins, even though Anne “Maris Piper” Trenchard has said: “How strange that we should be having a ball when we are on the brink of war!” Anyone who is anyone is there, especially if they are the Duke of Wellington or the Prince of Orange (“Top Dutchman! Feel m’clogs!”). The Lady Duke of Richmond is enchanting, Anne is mortified and everyone manages to keep a straight face during the sword-dancing display.

All is going swimmingly, although Sophia professes to Edmund that she is a bit worried about the Wikipedia entry she read before about Boney’s advance before getting into her unbecoming but period-specific ballgown, and the possibility of this becoming the most famous ball in history, when Wellington is notified by a messenger that Boney – Napoleon Bonaparte – has unexpectedly arrived at the nearby strategic crossroads of Quatre Bras, which is French for Four Somethings. But Edmund tells her: “Don’t be silly, my little Jersey Royal! Nothing can happen to us! We’re the luckiest couple alive!” Sophia is relieved. “And the most in love!” she replies. No, she really does.

Alas, alack, a message is delivered to Wellington. It does say that the Bonester is at the strategic crossroads of Quatre Bras. Sacré bleu – or, more patriotically, crumbs! Everyone who has a penis, is wearing a red jacket, and is not one of the sword dancers gathers in the Man Duke of Richmond’s study to pore over a parchment map and note that, if they don’t stop French war man at Four Somethings, they may have to do battle nearby at … Where-a-loo? What-a-loo? Waterloo!

Crikey. I hope we win. Off they go – Wellers, Orangey and, sad to say, young Eddie. Sophia is distraught. Also, they need a victualler, pronounced vittler, so James heads off, too. He comes back from his first battlefield a broken man – and no wonder. “A very awful sight it was, too,” he tells Anne while staring into the middle distance, possibly at his agent, whom I imagine is standing with everyone else’s in the wings urging them to think of Maggie Smith’s pension and stagger on. “Bodies everywhere,” he says. “Groans from the wounded. Scavengers” – you can practically see the beads of sweat that must have formed on Fellowes’ brow as he dug deep to recreate the hellish scene for viewers – “picking at the corpses!”

Not only that, but Edmund was killed, quite dead, fatally too. James breaks the news to his baby new potato that her bit of fancy steak has had his frites. She is distraught again.

SMASH CUT to 26 years later. Afternoon tea has been invented, Sophia is dead, the titular London district of Belgravia has been built (by James, in partnership with Thomas Cubitt, dontcha know) and the script is even worse. Once we are ensconced with the Trenchards in their townhouse, we are introduced to the servants and all pretence that this is not Downton Abbey – in, uh, Belgravia – collapses. On the upside, Harriet Walter has arrived as Lady Brockenhurst and Alice Eve is an early Victorian meany of the first water.

So: something to pass the time as the coronavirus curfew descends, or something to send you screaming into the streets and licking the first handrail you can find? The decision is yours. The agents, at least, are happy either way.

Belgravia review: This six-part snobathon toils in the shadow of Downton Abbey

Julian Fellowes has an indisputable gift for instant characterisation, but his new period drama lacks Downton’s sense of place

Ed Cumming @EdCumming
Sunday 15 March 2020 23:03

The spikiest words in Belgravia, Julian Fellowes’ new six-part, Sunday night snobathon, are “Mr” and “Mrs”. Both are uttered frequently, and never without sneering emphasis on the sibilants, as if there were nothing worse you could be. Fellowes’ work has a consistent through-line, which is that nobility may be found at the top and bottom of society, but never in the middle. There’s nothing as vulgar as aspiration. 

The main would-bes here are the Trenchards, a merchant middle-class family on the make in early Victorian society. Philip Glenister is James Trenchard, an army victualler known as “The Magician”. In 1815, he and his wife Anne (Tamsin Greig) are in Brussels, where James is supplying Wellington’s army. They cadge an invitation to the Duchess of Richmond’s (Diana Kent) grand ball, through the machinations of their daughter Sophia (Emily Reid), who is having an affair with the Duchess’s nephew, Lord Bellasis (Jeremy Neumark Jones). Halfway through the party, Wellington gets word that Bonaparte has advanced, and orders his men away from the festivities to prepare for battle. Trenchard survives Waterloo, but Bellasis is killed.

Twenty-four years later, the Trenchards’ elevation is nearly complete. James is now working with the architect Thomas Cubitt to develop a new area of London – Belgravia – for the wealthy to live in. The Trenchards live there, too, in a grand townhouse complete with a suite of bitchy servants led by Turton (Paul Ritter, sceptical and acerbic and watchable). Sophia died soon after Waterloo, but they have another son, Oliver (Richard Goulding), married to a grasping socialite, Susan (Alice Eve.) At a new-fangled “tea” party, Anne bumps into the Duchess of Richmond, who remembers her from all those years before. The Duchess’s sister Lady Brockenhurst (Harriet Walter) – Bellasis’s mother – introduces herself, and soon we learn Sophia had a secret.

As with everything Fellowes does, Belgravia toils in the long dark shadow of Downton Abbey. On the evidence of the first episode, it lacks Downton’s sense of place. From the first time we saw Highclere Castle, the geography of that programme was set firmly in the mind. Belgravia is a trickier sell. Fellowes has also never met a bit of clunky historical exposition he didn’t like. A discussion about Thomas Cubitt sounds like a dramatised Wikipedia entry.

Yet he has an indisputable gift for instant characterisation. The moment someone walks into shot, we know who they are, what they want and how they fit into the precise social stratification of Fellowes’ universe. It’s not subtle, and it’s certainly a suboptimal use of talents such as Walter, Glenister and Greig, but it is effective. Those in Britain who like to watch icy women in lavish frocks throwing side-eye over the saucers – which is roughly nine million people – will drink it up. Belgravia doesn’t have ideas above its station, and in Fellowes-land, that’s a recipe for success.

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Royals practise physical distancing as Charles self-isolates

"The couple traditionally spend time over Easter in Scotland, based at Charles’s 18th-century mansion, Birkhall, set on a 53,000-acre Highland estate on Royal Deeside, Aberdeenshire, that he inherited from his grandmother, the Queen Mother.
They arrived on Friday and Charles, known as the Duke of Rothesay when in Scotland, is said to have become unwell with mild coronavirus symptoms over the weekend."

Royals practise physical distancing as Charles self-isolates

Queen is in Windsor, Prince William and family in Norfolk and Charles in Scotland

Caroline Davies
Wed 25 Mar 2020 17.00 GMTLast modified on Wed 25 Mar 2020 17.08 GMT

The Queen is at Windsor and following “appropriate advice”, the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall are in self-isolation on Royal Deeside and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are at their family home in Norfolk.

As the coronavirus outbreak separates families across the UK, so it is that members of the royal family also do not know when they will next see each other in person.

News that Prince Charles has tested positive for Covid-19 – though his wife has not – raised concerns over his contact with his elderly mother, who will be 94 in April, and father, the Duke of Edinburgh, 98.

His last meeting with the Queen is known to have been on 12 March following an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace. Doctors have estimated that the earliest time Charles could have been infectious was the following day, 13 March.

It is not known whether the Queen has been tested. Buckingham Palace would only say that she “remains in good health” and is “following all the appropriate advice with regard to her welfare”.

Government advice for anyone over the age of 70 or with medical conditions is to practise physical distancing. The Queen has been doing that since leaving Buckingham Palace on 19 March and decamping to Windsor where she will stay for the foreseeable future.

Windsor Castle is her favourite residence, and where she and her sister, Margaret, spent most of their time during the second world war. Now closed to the public due to the virus crisis, it affords her greater protection than the busier Buckingham Palace, where more staff are based.

Prince Philip, who spends his time since retirement based at Sandringham, Norfolk, was helicoptered south to join her last Thursday, a decision likely to have been based on concerns about how long they would otherwise have been separated. He was not at Buckingham Palace at the same time as Charles.

It is understood that the couple have a skeleton staff attending only to them. This is likely to include the Queen’s dresser, Angela Kelly, and the Page of the Backstairs, Paul Whybrew, along with Philip’s valet and page. A housemaid, chef and footman are also understood to be part of the team.

In line with government guidance, the couple have not been visited by family, though the Duke of York lives on the Windsor estate and the Earl and Countess of Wessex in nearby Bagshot.

The prime minister’s weekly audience with the Queen is being conducted by telephone.

Charles, 71, and Camilla, 72, have left their London residence, Clarence House. They had been due to travel to Cyprus, Jordan and Bosnia on an official tour beginning 17 March, but this was cancelled. Instead the couple headed to Highgrove, Charles’s Gloucestershire home, on 13 March, from where he conducted several private meetings, some on Duchy of Cornwall business.

The couple traditionally spend time over Easter in Scotland, based at Charles’s 18th-century mansion, Birkhall, set on a 53,000-acre Highland estate on Royal Deeside, Aberdeenshire, that he inherited from his grandmother, the Queen Mother.

They arrived on Friday and Charles, known as the Duke of Rothesay when in Scotland, is said to have become unwell with mild coronavirus symptoms over the weekend.

With his condition not expected to escalate, he has been conducting daily business while self-isolating, including remaining in touch with his patronages and charities. A small retinue of domestic staff remains with them, though there is understood to be no physical interaction between the staff and the royals, who are believed to be isolating separately from each other in the house.

The Cambridges, meanwhile, have moved from their London residence at Kensington Palace to Anmer Hall, their Norfolk home, where they usually spend school holidays and where there is plenty of space for George, six, Charlotte, four, and Louis, almost two, to play.

It seems they are likely to be performing frontline royal roles during this crisis. Last week they visited staff answering calls at an NHS 111 call centre in Croydon, south London. In an Instagram post, William said the couple had been “proud to visit staff working at NHS 111 to pass on our personal thanks, along with those of my grandmother and father, to staff working around the clock to provide care and advice to those that need it most.”

Prince Charles tests positive for coronavirus

Prince Charles tests positive for coronavirus
Heir to the throne self-isolating at home in Scotland and is said to be ‘up and about’

Caroline Davies
Wed 25 Mar 2020 11.59 GMTLast modified on Wed 25 Mar 2020 14.35 GMT

Prince Charles is reported to be in good spirits and continuing to work.

Charles, 71, is said to be “up and about” and in “good spirits” and has continued to work for the last few days.

Doctors believe the earliest he would have been contagious was on 13 March. He last saw the Queen on 12 March, following an investiture.

His last public engagement was also on 12 March. He has held private meetings since then.

Buckingham Palace said: “Her Majesty the Queen remains in good health. The Queen last saw the Prince of Wales briefly on the morning of 12 March and is following all the appropriate advice with regard to her welfare.”

It is not known whether the Queen has been tested for coronavirus.

Charles was tested on Monday after qualifying for an NHS test due to age and medical condition criteria in Aberdeenshire. He received the results on Tuesday. It is thought he was tested at Birkhall, his home on the Queen’s Balmoral estate in Aberdeenshire.

Medical advice is that it is unlikely that his condition will escalate into a more serious case. He is thought to have first displayed symptoms over the weekend.

Clarence House said: “The Prince of Wales has tested positive for coronavirus. He has been displaying mild symptoms but otherwise remains in good health and has been working from home throughout the last few days as usual.

 “The Duchess of Cornwall has also been tested but does not have the virus. In accordance with government and medical advice, the prince and the duchess are now self-isolating at home in Scotland. The tests were carried out by the NHS in Aberdeenshire where they met the criteria required for testing.

“It is not possible to ascertain from whom the prince caught the virus owing to the high number of engagements he carried out in his public role during recent weeks.”

Camilla is self-isolating separately from Charles at Birkhall and will carry on doing so for 14 days.

No details have been made public about exactly what symptoms Charles has displayed, except that they are mild.

He and the duchess travelled to Birkhall on SundayThey have a small team of domestic staff who will remain there, sources have said.

The couple are said not to be interacting with that small team of staff in any way.

Charles is understood to have spoken to the Duke of Cambridge, who is in Norfolk, and the Duke of Sussex, who is on Vancouver Island.

Since his last public engagements on 12 March, Charles has held a small number of private meetings at Highgrove, his home in Gloucestershire, on Duchy of Cornwall business. The people he interacted with during those meetings have been informed of Charles’s diagnosis. It is not known whether they have been tested.

All senior members of the royal family were together on 9 March at a Commonwealth Day service.

Monday, 23 March 2020

All Creatures Great and Small 2020


All Creatures Great and Small (2020 TV series)
Based on             If Only They Could Talk
by James Herriot
Written by          Ben Vanstone
Directed by        Brian Percival
Original network             Channel 5

All Creatures Great and Small is an upcoming 2020 television series based upon the books about a Yorkshire vet, written by Alf Wight under the pen name of James Herriot. The series, which also consists of a special Christmas episode, has been filmed in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the publication of the first book in the James Herriot series.

The show revolves around a trio of veterinary surgeons working in the Yorkshire Dales. Siegfried Farnon (described as an "eccentric), reluctantly hires James Herriot into his veterinary practice at Skeldale Hall. Besides Siegfried and James, there is Siegfried's younger brother, Tristan, and Mrs Hall, the housekeeper at Skeldale Hall.

Nicholas Ralph as James Herriot
Samuel West as Siegfried Farnon
Anna Madeley as Mrs Hall
Callum Woodhouse as Tristan Farnon
Rachel Shenton as Helen Alderson
Diana Rigg, Matthew Lewis and Nigel Havers are also in the series in as yet undisclosed roles.[4]

The series, which was shot in the Yorkshire Dales, is a being produced by Playground Entertainment for Channel 5 in the United Kingdom, and PBS in America. The BBC series which was broadcast between 1978 and 1990, was filmed largely in the northern part of the Dales (Wensleydale and Swaledale), whereas the new series has been filmed further south in the national park (around Nidderdale). Grassington in Wharfedale has been used as the setting for the fictional town of Darrowby (Askrigg was used in the BBC series).

A six-episode series and a Christmas special were filmed in 2019 and also in early 2020.

Channel 5 to revive TV drama All Creatures Great and Small
 This article is more than 8 months old
Series based on James Herriot books about life as a Yorkshire vet given a fresh interpretation

Mark Sweney
@marksweney  Email
Thu 27 Jun 2019 13.10 BSTLast modified on Fri 28 Jun 2019 00.45 BST

The television drama All Creatures Great and Small is making a comeback. The series, based on the real-life adventures of the Yorkshire vet James Herriot, originally ran on BBC1 from 1978 to 1990, and is now being given a fresh interpretation by Channel 5.

The six-part series, a co-production with the American broadcaster PBS, is due to start shooting on location in Yorkshire this year. The series, which includes a Christmas special, will air next year to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the original publication of Herriot’s much-loved books.

Sebastian Cardwell, the digital channel controller at Channel 5, said: “James Herriot has a special place in the heart of the public and the commission of this iconic drama series, against the stunning backdrop of the Yorkshire Dales, is set to bring joy to a new army of TV viewers.

“The original books affectionately captured a unique slice of British life. In challenging times we hope the charming and heartwarming stories of community and compassion will resonate with new audiences.”

The production has not yet announced the casting for the lead role. Christopher Timothy played Herriot in the original series, which also starred Robert Hardy, Peter Davison, Lynda Bellingham and Carol Drinkwater. At its peak, All Creatures Great and Small pulled in audiences of more than 13 million.

The new series will be created by Playground, the production company behind the hit dramas Howards End and Wolf Hall, with a promise to remain faithful to the books of Alf Wight, James Herriot’s real name.

 “It is a responsibility we take very seriously,” said Colin Callender, chief executive of Playground. “The series will embrace the fun and nostalgia of revisiting the England of the past, while celebrating Herriot’s values that, despite all our current upheaval, still underpin British life today.”

The bucolic depiction of country life seems a far cry from the Channel 5 of old, the former home of Big Brother. Its schedule was once described as “films, football and fucking”.

However, the broadcaster has made a return to quality drama in the past year under Ben Frow, Channel 5’s director of programmes. This includes Cold Call, which is set in a woman’s prison, and 15 Days, a murder mystery set at a Welsh farmhouse.

In 2010, the BBC commissioned a three-part series, Young James, based on the earlier years of Herriot’s career. It was filmed and set in Glasgow, the city where Wight learned his trade.

All Creatures Great and Small remake-BTS filming in Grassington,Yorkshire.

Friday, 20 March 2020

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