Saturday, October 9, 2010

How to finance your divorce...

John Cleese launches his How to Finance Your Divorce tour

John Cleese has gone back on the road at the age of 70, claiming that his divorce settlement from third wife Alyce Faye Eichelberger has made it necessary.

Divorce: John Cleese says he has gone back on tour to fniance his divorce from Alyce Eichelberger.
Divorce: John Cleese says he has gone back on tour to fniance his divorce from Alyce Eichelberger. Photo: PA
The Oscar nominated comedy actor opens his one-man show, entitled A Ludicrous Evening with John Cleese… or How to Finance Your Divorce, in Oslo on Friday night.
Cleese told the Daily Mail that the only reason he had started working again was because of the £12 million settlement he reached this summer.
He said: “I get angry that I have to pack my trunk just to go away to make money.
“That I, at my age, would have to plan my life anew to pay her all the money she is to get for the next seven years – well it irritates me.
“I’d rather have been drinking coffee, reading books and writing. I can’t afford that now.”
The stage show is a mixture of topical comedy and stories from the Monty Python star’s career.
After seven dates in Norway, Cleese will take the show to the US, under the amended title: A Final Wave at the World... or the Alimony Tour Year One.
The actor is giving his former wife £8 million in cash and assets which include an apartment in New York, a £2 million mews house in fashionable Holland Park in west London, and half a beach house in Santa Barbara in California which is yet to be sold.

Fans mark 70th birthday of Beatle.

  • 9 October 2010, 10:48

Fans Mark Beatle John Lennon's 70th Birthday

Fans around the world are celebrating what would have been John Lennon's 70th birthday.
The former Beatle's widow Yoko Ono is urging people "to learn to love each other in peace" as the music legend would have wished.
In a message she will say of her late husband: "He had a very painful childhood in which he hardly saw his mother or his father.
"But, later, he managed to turn his pain around to give the world many beautiful songs and important messages which changed our heads and the way of our lives.
"I know John was not expecting so much love to still come from you. But he would have been very happy to know it.
"May all of us heal ourselves and learn to love each other in peace."
Ono is also encouraging fans to send one million messages of peace, by email, post or via Twitter.
Fans are remembering the late Beatle at various locations including his home town of Liverpool and a shrine in Central Park, New York, his adopted home.
Ono herself will be leading a celebration in Iceland with a series of events, including a performance by the Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band, alongside their son Sean.
She will also be presenting awards to figures chosen for their contribution to world peace with a biennial award - the Lennon Ono Grant for Peace - created in 2002.
Afterwards she will switch on the Imagine Peace Tower, an illuminated memorial on an island close to the Icelandic capital Reykjavik.
The tower will remain lit until December 8, the anniversary of Lennon's death.
It is thought that fellow Beatles Ringo Starr and George Harrison's widow Olivia may also attend the event.
Lennon was murdered in 1980 by Mark Chapman who is still imprisoned for the crime.
He was shot dead outside his home in the Dakota building, close to Central Park in New York, which Ono still calls home.

Captain Jack Sparrow surprises school. - London.

SUPERSTAR JOHNNY DEPP gave schoolkids a memory to treasure - when he visited their school dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow.

He broke off filming his fourth Pirates Of The Caribbean movie to answer a jokey plea from Beatrice Delap, nine.
Delighted ... instigator Beatrice
Delighted ... instigator Beatrice
She had visited the nearby film set in Greenwich, South East London, and wrote: "We are a bunch of budding young pirates and we're having trouble mutinying against the teachers!
"We'd love it if you could come and help!"
To her amazement, Depp turned up with other cast members - all in pirate gear.
Beatrice said: "He asked where I was so I put my hand up and he gave me a hug. He pulled the letter out of his pocket and said he was going to frame it."
He told another child to study hard - "as pirates have to be cleverer than everyone else".

Meridian Primary School had just ten minutes' notice that father-of-two Depp, 47, was on his way from Greenwich's 18th-century Old Naval College.
He was escorted by police, who are routinely at the set. Beatrice added: "He whispered to me, 'Maybe we shouldn't mutiny today because there are police outside'.
"I said, 'That's probably a good idea'."

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A cup of tea can prevent heart attack.

Three cups of tea a day 'can protect against heart attacks'

Last updated at 1:24 AM on 9th October 2010
Drinking just three cups of tea a day can protect against heart attacks and stroke, claim researchers.
A new review shows regular drinking of either black or green tea can reduce the risk of heart problems by 11 per cent. 
It cuts the build-up of plaque in the arteries - a combination of dangerous fat and cholesterol.
In terms of the delivery of antioxidants, two cups of tea is equivalent to five portions of vegetables or two apples
The review by researchers at the University of Western Australia says the benefits of tea are largely due to the flavonoid content, antioxidant ingredients that counteract cardiovascular disease.
One cup of tea provides 150-200mg of flavonoids. 
In terms of the delivery of antioxidants,  two cups of tea is equivalent to five portions of vegetables or two apples.
The review published in the science journal Molecular Aspects of Medicine also found the flavonoid content of black tea is equal to that of green tea. Almost 80 per cent of Britons are tea drinkers.
Dr Jonathan Hodgson, co-author of the review, said 'There is now consistent data indicating that tea and tea flavonoids can enhance nitric oxide status and improve endothelial function, which may be at least partly responsible for benefits on cardiovascular health.'
Dr Catherine Hood from the industry-backed Tea Advisory Panel said 'Compared with US studies, the cardiovascular benefits of tea are particularly strong in European studies. This includes UK studies where most of the tea consumed is black.
'Plaques in the carotid artery (a marker of atherosclerosis) have been shown to be less common in both men and women who drink tea. 
'Bearing in mind the number of studies, including human trials, data demonstrates that flavonoids in tea can inhibit the development of atherosclerosis.
'This review also highlights evidence from randomised controlled trials showing that tea consumption may improve the health of the inner lining of the blood vessels as well as evidence that tea may reduce the risk of high blood pressure and lower blood pressure.
'Adding milk to tea doesn’t affect the absorption of flavonoids from tea, according to several human research trials. In addition, the antioxidant effects seen in our blood following tea consumption are similar whether or not milk is added.'
She said 'Evidence is growing that three to four cups of black tea each day is good not only for general health, but also for cardiovascular health. 
'Given the popularity of black tea in the UK, this is good news for those who enjoy regular cups of tea.'

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Friday, October 8, 2010

Rare Dormice move into ticket machine.

A first class nest: Rare dormice move into village railway station's ticket machine

Last updated at 2:29 PM on 7th October 2010
Commuters in Aylesbury had to deal with a rather unusual delay to their journeys to work recently after a family of mice decided to nest in the local train station's ticket machine.
The four rare Glis Glis dormice were found in the machine on the platform of Little Kimble station in Buckinghamshire after complaints it had stopped working.
Les Stocker, founder of St Tiggywinkles wildlife hospital, was called to the station after Chiltern Railways customer service manager Mark Cooper was met by four pairs of eyes when he opened the train ticket machine.
A family of four rare Glis Glis doormice were found in the machine on the platform of Little Kimble station in Buckinghamshire
Four tickets, please: A family of rare Glis Glis dormice were found in the machine at Little Kimble station in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire

Commenting on the rather unusual problem, Mr Cooper said: 'The permit to travel machine was not working and when we opened the machine up to find out what the problem was, we found a group of Glis Glis and contacted St Tiggywinkles.
    'We were glad to see the animals taking such an interest in the Chiltern Railways services from Little Kimble.'
    The mammals are some of the rarest in the wild and unfortunately had to be relocated from their nest.

    British law does not allow the release of Edible Dormice back into the wild, even though the Chilterns have been home to wild Glis Glis for well over a hundred years so they have now joined Tiggywinkles ever increasing family.
    There are believed to be around 10,000 of the rare dormice living in Britain after they were accidentally introduced in England in 1902 after a number escaped from Baron Lionel Walter Rothschild's private collection.
    The population is now concentrated around Aylesbury and under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 it is illegal to harm the tiny mammal.
    little kimble
    The dormice now departing... Little Kimble railway station in Aylesbury, Bucks

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    Paris flat found after 70 years locked.

    Parisian flat containing €2.1 million painting lay untouched for 70 years

    For 70 years the Parisian apartment had been left uninhabited, under lock and key, the rent faithfully paid but no hint of what was inside.

    1 of 2 Images
    For 70 years the Parisian apartment had been left uninhabited, under lock and key, the rent faithfully paid but no hint of what was inside.
    Mrs de Florian, a 'demimondaine' never returned to her Paris flat after the war and died at the age of 91 in 2010 Photo: GETTY
    Behind the door, under a thick layer of dusk lay a treasure trove of turn-of-the-century objects including a painting by the 19th century Italian artist Giovanni Boldini.
    The woman who owned the flat had left for the south of France before the Second World War and never returned.
    But when she died recently aged 91, experts were tasked with drawing up an inventory of her possessions and homed in on the flat near the Trinité church in Paris between the Pigalle red light district and Opera.
    Entering the untouched, cobweb-filled flat in Paris' 9th arrondissement, one expert said it was like stumbling into the castle of Sleeping Beauty, where time had stood still since 1900.
    "There was a smell of old dust," said Olivier Choppin-Janvry, who made the discovery. Walking under high wooden ceilings, past an old wood stove and stone sink in the kitchen, he spotted a stuffed ostrich and a Mickey Mouse toy dating from before the war, as well as an exquisite dressing table.
    But he said his heart missed a beat when he caught sight of a stunning tableau of a woman in a pink muslin evening dress.
    The painting was by Boldini and the subject a beautiful Frenchwoman who turned out to be the artist's former muse and whose granddaughter it was who had left the flat uninhabited for more than half a century.
    The muse was Marthe de Florian, an actress with a long list of ardent admirers, whose fervent love letters she kept wrapped neatly in ribbon and were still on the premises. Among the admirers was the 72nd prime minister of France, George Clemenceau, but also Boldini.
    The expert had a hunch the painting was by Boldini, but could find no record of the painting. "No reference book dedicated to Boldini mentioned the tableau, which was never exhibited," said Marc Ottavi, the art specialist he consulted about the work.
    When Mr Choppin-Janvry found a visiting card with a scribbled love note from Boldini, he knew he had struck gold. "We had the link and I was sure at that moment that it was indeed a very fine Boldini".
    He finally found a reference to the work in a book by the artist's widow, which said it was painted in 1898 when Miss de Florian was 24.
    The starting price for the painting was €300,000 but it rocketed as ten bidders vyed for the historic work. Finally it went under the hammer for €2.1 million, a world record for the artist.
    "It was a magic moment. One could see that the buyer loved the painting; he paid the price of passion," said Mr Ottavi.

    Cunard launches new palace.

    Here she comes: The Buckingham Palace of the high seas sails into Southampton for official launch

    Last updated at 12:47 PM on 8th October 2010
    • The Queen will officially launch The Queen Elizabeth II on Monday
    • The boat will make it's first voyage on Tuesday - to the Canary Islands
    • The £365m boat will have over 1,000 members of crew on board
    • Some 119,000 bottles of champagne are aboard the 964.5ft ship
    She’s the first and, at £365 million, the most expensive Jubilee present the Queen is likely to receive. 
    And as the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty’s reign draws near, Cunard’s new liner the Queen Elizabeth, seen here sailing into Southampton this morning, is about to meet its namesake — and there’s tension in the air.
    Hidden away in an Italian shipyard, a work-force of more than 2,000 has been feverishly labouring over the past few weeks to bring this epic new ship to readiness and seaworthiness.
    Monarch of the seas: The new Queen Elizabeth is sailing to Southampton to be named by the Queen
    Monarch of the seas: The new Queen Elizabeth is sailing to Southampton to be named by the Queen
    The Queen Elizabeth, which sailed to Southampton today, cost £365 to build and is stocked with superb features
    The Queen Elizabeth, which sailed to Southampton today, cost £365 and is stocked with superb features

    They have been laying carpets, polishing brass, swabbing decks, dabbing paint — and will continue to do so until just hours before the Queen officially names the ship in Southampton on Monday.
    It’s already dressed in the familiar black and red Cunard livery. In pride of place, dominating the swirling three-storey Grand Lobby, is a personal tribute from the sovereign’s carpenter nephew Viscount Linley: an impressive 18ft-high marquetry frieze in the art deco style depicting the bow of the first Queen Elizabeth, which sailed between 1938 and 1968. It will be the first thing to take Auntie’s eye as she steps aboard.
    Linley’s pleased, and hopes the Queen will be too. ‘Though we’ve made fittings for luxury yachts in the past, this is the first seagoing work we’ve done on this scale,’ he says. ‘I recall my father Lord Snowdon saying the interior design on Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth 2 made one proud to be British, so I’m hoping our achievement on the new ship will make him —and others — equally proud.'

    To those still unfamiliar with the world of cruising – the fastest-growing sector in the multi-billion-pound holiday market — the fuss over the naming of yet one more ship may seem a touch over-the-top.
    But this is something special — for the Queen especially. One of the iconic moments of her reign was the day in 1967 she launched the fabled QE2 at the John Brown shipyard on the Clyde. As a floating advertisement for royalty and Britain, the liner was unsurpassed for the next four decades.
    Now comes her replacement, alas not built in a British yard, but in every other respect as British as they come. Her Majesty is said to be ‘thrilled’ to make her acquaintance.
    Royal connections: Her majesty will be greeted by Lord Linley's frieze in the Grand Lobby
    Royal connections: Her majesty will be greeted by Lord Linley's frieze in the Grand Lobby

    Queen Elizabeth liner cost
    Indeed, even though they don’t quite have a By Royal Appointment sticker over the front door of their London offices, the 170-year-old Cunard line like to think of themselves as the blue-bloods of the cruising business, decking out their ships with an understated British elegance.
    They claim their staff-passenger ratios are better than most, and their personal service is legendary — 80 per cent of passengers on the Queen Elizabeth’s maiden voyage are returning customers from previous Cunard ships. 
    Which raises the thorny question of the QE2. For 40 years she sailed the globe, yet suddenly in 2008 she disappeared — dispatched to the Middle East where now she lies, mothballed and silent, in a lonely dock in Dubai.
    Many avid Cunarders (and there are tens of thousands, just check the tribute sites on the web) felt short-changed, and found themselves bereft — you might say at sea — when they tried out the ship’s immediate replacement, the Queen Mary, with its long, long corridors and colossal bulk.
    The shipping company has taken steps to mollify its faithful clientele by bringing over a treasure-trove of memorabilia from QE2 — after all, ocean cruising’s as much about nostalgia as it is about seeking new ports of call. And as the naming ceremony in Southampton approaches they are aware of the pressures on their reputation. ‘The world is watching,’ said one executive at the Trieste yard where the ship has been built over the past 18 months. ‘We’ve got to get this right.’
    So have they? Only time will tell whether the new Queen proves as popular as its predecessor, but the early signs are encouraging.
    Lessons have been learned from her sister ship, the Queen Victoria, named by the Duchess of Cornwall a couple of years ago (the champagne bottle inauspiciously failed to break over the bow).
    This new ship, though similar in size and construction, has finer attention to detail with more decorative art, redesigned bars and decks, and a theatre company bigger than many in the West End. Stepping into the grand lobby which contains Lord Linley’s frieze, you see a new portrait of the Queen, commissioned by Cunard and painted by Isobel Peachey, at 31 the youngest artist to have officially portrayed the sovereign. The static work is a touch redolent of Madame Tussauds, but a welcome gesture.
    Hitting the High Cs: The grand 'Royal Court Theatre' where passengers can enjoy shows from a company of entertainers larger than many in the West End
    Hitting the High Cs: The grand 'Royal Court Theatre' where passengers can enjoy shows from a company of entertainers larger than many in the West End
    Ultimate comfort: The Rostron, one of four Grande Suites onboard. It is named after Arthur Rostron, a legendary commodore of the Cunard line in the last century
    Ultimate comfort: The Rostron, one of four Grande Suites onboard. It is named after Arthur Rostron, a legendary commodore of the Cunard line in the last century
    Around the ship are constant reminders of the Queen’s 60-year reign, in display cabinets, in busts and objets d’art, photographs and memorabilia. I lost count of the murals depicting royal castles and palaces.
    It stops short of being a shrine, but it may be gratifying to Her Majesty as she tours the ship that her name and reign are so well-represented on what is, when it comes down to it, a commercial enterprise.
    ‘This is a tribute to her and her incredible reign, from a company that has proudly borne the royal name Elizabeth for the best part of a century,’ says Cunard’s president Peter Shanks, and you sense a genuine thrill among the company at their royal endorsement.
    Book a place: The elegant Ship's Library houses 6,000 books
    Book a place: The elegant Ship's Library houses 6,000 books
    At the Fincantieri shipyard in Trieste, however, the pressure mounted in the past few weeks as shipwrights battled against the clock to finish the commission. The ship docked in Britain for the naming this morning — after last-minute checks  on the sea trials which preceded its arrival in Southampton.
    Gold and marble decorations are being stripped of plastic shrouds, hand-made carpets are down, and the space-age bridge has only recently had its protective casing taken off.
    Along the corridors which contain the 1,046 staterooms, stickers are steadily being peeled off the doors which have been checked and passed by punctilious Hotel Inspector types. There are still a few to go.
    There’s a palpable sense of urgency as lines of beavering workers, resembling a scene from Fritz Lang’s movie Metropolis, are driven on by their royal deadline.
    The ship’s 1,000-strong crew has been flown out to join their new home, and are familiarising themselves with the layout and procedures which will govern their daily lives from now on.
    And the 2,092 lucky maiden- voyage passengers who snapped up the first tickets are writing out their luggage-labels and jauntily poring over the itinerary — it took just 29 minutes 14 seconds for the voyage to sell out, a seafaring record.
    The first voyage is a ten-day hop round the Mediterranean, while later in the year there’s a 23-night tour of the Caribbean.
    For those who still have cash in these straitened times, it’ll be possible to circumnavigate the globe using all three Cunard ships — Elizabeth, Victoria and Mary — in succession. Cheapest fare is £10,317, while those who ignore the old saying ‘Those who pay the most, sway the most’ can shell out £119,317 per person for a top cabin. Against that, you can take a short ‘voyage’ — Cunard don’t like the word ‘cruise’ — for less than £500.
    Queen Elizabeth liner

    There is always an understandable affinity between royal ladies and the ships which bear their names. In the QE2, the present monarch had a floating ambassador which took her name around the globe countless times during her reign: wherever the ship came to rest, crowds gathered and celebrated.
    And even in these agnostic times the Queen can expect a fanfare of trumpets and a roll of drums wherever in the world her ship puts into harbour.
    That’s not bad for the royal brand. And from Cunard’s point of view, that’s not bad for business.

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