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Language Barrier

Photo: PA

Language barrier scuppers walker

A man who planned to walk from Bristol to India without any money has quit, after gettingas far as Calais, France.

Mark Boyle, 28, who set out four weeks ago with only T-shirts, a bandage and sandals, hoped torely on the kindness of strangers for food and lodging.

But, because he could not speak French, people thought he was free-loading or an asylum seeker.

He now plans to walk around the coast of Britain instead, learning French as he goes, so he can try again next year.

Mr Boyle, a former organic food company boss, belongs to the Freeconomy movement which wants to get rid of money altogether.

Cold and tired

In his online diary at the start of his journey to Porbander, Gandhi's birthplace, he said he was given two free dinners on his first evening away in Glastonbury.

Later, he was joined in Dover by two companions, and the three managed to get to Calais.

But in one of his last entries, he wrote: "...not only did no one not speak the…

Fewer Brits with pets

Pets in the doghouse as ownership falls
When it comes to the cost of owning a pet, many people in the UK are finding that there's just not enough money in the kitty.

Modern economic pressures mean that fewer households now own a pet. Just 56% now have one, down from 63% five years ago, say retail analysts Mintel.

Because many people cannot affordto buy their own home, more are renting from landlords who don't allow animals.

People are also having a family later in life, and children are big pet fans.

"Shrinking household sizes and the trend of consumers starting their families later in life are all having a negative effect on pet ownership," said Emma Clifford, associate director of food and drink at Mintel.

"Additionally,the shift towards privately rented accommodation continues to putdownwardpressure on pet ownership."

 Ownership of pet fish, including goldfish and tropical fish, has taken the biggest tumble, down from 17% of households in 2012 to 10% th…

Should languages be gender-neutral?

French language watchdogs say 'non' to gender-neutral style 
The Académie Française, France’s ultimate authority on the language, sparks national row after describing inclusive writing as an ‘aberration’ 
The Académie Française, France’s ultimate authority on the French language, is under fierce attack for describing gender-neutral text as an “aberration” that puts the language in “mortal danger”.

The “Immortals”, as the 40 academy members – only five of whom are women – are known, have sparked a national row after declaring that “inclusive writing” has no place in the country’s grammar books, or anywhere else for that matter.

In a statement full of hyperbole, the academy condemned the increasing use of new spellings aimed at making written French less masculine, arguing that it could not see the “desired objective” of the changes.

French grammatical rules give the masculine form of a noun precedence over the female. Women on an all-female board of company directors are called…

Whisky drama

World's most expensive dram of Scotch was a fake
A dram of vintage Scotch bought by a Chinese millionaire in a Swiss hotel bar for £7,600 was a fake, laboratory tests have concluded.

Analysts from Scotland were called in by the Waldhaus Am See hotel in St Moritz after experts questioned the authenticity of the 2cl shot.

It had been poured from an unopened bottle labelled as an 1878 Macallan single malt.

It is believed to be the largest sum ever paid for a poured dram of Scotch.

But analysis found that it was almost certainly not distilled before 1970.

The hotel said it had accepted the findings and reimbursed the customer in full. Zhang Wei, 36, from Beijing - one of China's highest-earning online writers - had paid just under 10,000 Swiss francs (£7,600, $10,050) for the single shot while visiting the hotel's Devil's Place whisky bar in July.

But suspicions about the spirit's provenance surfaced soon after the purchase, when whisky industry experts spotted discre…

It's a fact - "fake news" named Word of the Year

'Fake news' named Collins Dictionary's official Word of the Year for 2017 
Orwellian coinage popularised by US President Donald Trump and his team during the presidential election campaign defines its moment, according to leading lexicographers 
The term “fake news” has been named Collins' Word of the Year 2017.

Usage of the term - which has often been used by US President Donald Trump - has risen by 365% since 2016.

Defined as “false, often sensational, information disseminated under the guise of news reporting”, “fake news” will now be added to the next print edition of Collins Dictionary.

Lexicographers, the people who compile dictionaries, found other politically relevant words had been significant over the last 12 months, including “antifa”, an abbreviation of “anti-fascist”, and “echo chamber”, which refers to those who share their opinions in environments, especially social media, where the only people who hear or read their views will be of a similar dispositi…

Titanic letter

Passenger's letter from doomed Titanic sells for record £126,000 
Penning the letter a day before the disaster, the passenger writes: "If all goes well, we will arrive in New York (on) Wednesday". One of the last-known letters written on board the Titanic has sold at auction for a record-breaking £126,000.

The handwritten note was penned on 13 April 1912 - a day before the ship hit an iceberg and sank in a tragedy that killed more than 1,500 people.

It was written on embossed Titanic stationeryby first-class passenger Alexander Oskar Holverson, who was intending to post it to his mother in New York.

The salesman had boarded the Titanic in Southampton with his wife Mary, who survived the disaster. She never remarried - and according to Encyclopaedia Titanica, she was buried with her husband in New York after dying of kidney failure in 1918 at the age of 41.

In the letter, he says the couple "had good weather while we were in London", adding that England was &…

Bad day? Try out the 90/10 Principle

Discover the 90/10 Principle  It will change your life (at least the way you react to situations).

What is this principle? 10% of life is made up of what happens to you. 90% of life is decided by how you react.

What does this mean? We really have no control over 10% of what happens to us.

We cannot stop the car frombreakingdown. The plane will be late arriving, which messes up our whole. A driver may cut us off in traffic.

We have no control over this 10%. The other 90% is different. You determine the other 90%.

How? By your reaction.

You cannot control a red light. but you can control your reaction.

Don’t let peoplefool you; you can control how you react.

Let’s use an example. You are eating breakfast with your family. Your daughter knocks over a cup of coffee onto your business shirt. You have no control over what just happened.

What happens next will be determined by how you react.

You curse.

You harshly scold your daughter for knocking the cup over. She breaks down in tears. Afte…

Avocados: the in-fruit

Avocados: Spanish company launches low-fat variety
From Instagram posts to morning smoothies, you cannot seem to escape the avocado in 2017.

But the fruit could soon become even more popular after a Spanish company announced it is launching reduced-fat avocados for the first time.

Isla Bonita claims their Avocado Light has up to 30% less fat than ordinary fruits.

They also say it ripens faster, and oxidises - or goes that weirdshade of brown - slower.

The avocados are grown under special soil and climate conditions to provide the same nutritional benefits with less fat, according to the company's website.

Avocados are a foodiehit for their rich and creamy texture caused by their high fat content - an average fruit has between 20-30g of fat.

Most of this is monosaturated fat, which has been linked to the reduction of cholesterol and lowered risk of cancer and heart disease.

But your morning avocado on toast could be less virtuous than you think, with the UK's NHS recommending …