King Offa of Mercia, who was said to have founded St Albans abbey in the 8th century, is included in its benefactors’ books with less illustrious donorsIt has been likened to a Who’s Who of medieval England and contains portraits of a leprous abbot, a soldier generous with alcohol and a beautiful princess, among hundreds of others. Now you can see the people of the St Albans Benefactors’ Book in all their glorious colour from the comfort of your home, enjoying a rare glimpse of real-life contemporaries of the pilgrims of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales. The illuminated manuscript, which has been digitised, was made to take pride of place on the high altar of St Albans abbey in Hertfordshire, which was a popular pilgrimage destination. It includes names and descriptions of about 600 people who made gifts to the church, and paintings of more than 200 of them.
We had our grandchild moment this weekend. Two little girls we hadn’t seen for ten weeks tumbled out of the car and, for a moment, stood looking at us, checked us out and decided we were acceptable. The youngest, with a fuzz of red hair when we last saw her, is now a blonde. Indeed seldom stops, the words pouring out as she tries them out for size. The older one asked for her favourite toy, an awful fairground trophy, which was supposed to be in the toy cupboard.
Sébastien Jondeau, left, and Baptiste Giabiconi were both close to Karl LagerfeldKarl Lagerfeld never married and had no children, but when he died last year he left a group of close friends united in grief. Now cracks are appearing after one friend, Baptiste Giabiconi, 30, a top French model, claimed to be the spiritual son of the German designer. Giabiconi’s claim was countered by reports in France saying that Lagerfeld’s true heir was Sébastien Jondeau, 45, his chauffeur and bodyguard. Giabiconi and Jondeau are among the seven people to whom Lagerfeld left a share of his fortune, believed to have been in excess of €200 million, according to reports. Lagerfeld’s heirs are also said to include his former housekeeper, on condition that she continue to provide for Lagerfeld’s cat, Choupette.
Scotland’s chief medical officer was warned the country could not properly prepare for a pandemic because of staff and resources shortages, a report has revealed. Gregor Smith led a review of Silver Swan, the Scottish government’s pandemic planning exercise, in 2016, which revealed that officials feared services would struggle to deliver. It said: “Given the pressures on services, people are working in crisis every day and senior managers need to recognise this.”Delegates at the event warned that staff shortages would be a major problem in a pandemic. The report added: “There are significant business-as-usual staff shortages, making stepping up in an emergency even more challenging.”The newly-released review document raises fresh concerns about the readiness of Scotland’s health and care services to deal with
Anti-China sentiment was evident during demonstrations at the weekend in MassachusettsAmerica’s stock exchanges are preparing to lose all of their Chinese listings to London and Hong Kong under a proposed law that would trigger a dramatic exodus from New York. The New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq have concluded that the legislation, which would effectively kick Chinese companies off US exchanges, is more likely than not to be signed into law by President Trump, sources said. If this happens, the future of about 200 US-listed Chinese companies, collectively worth $1.4 trillion, will be thrown into doubt. Among them are Alibaba, Asia’s largest ecommerce group, valued at $557 billion, and JD.com, the online shopping company, worth $80 billion. President Trump with Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba, which listed in New York in 2014 TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/GETTY IMAGESUS exchanges would be all but unable to attract new listings of Chinese companies, which provide a
About 2,000 people a day are testing positive for coronavirus in the UK but few of these appear to be being identified in the “test and trace” programmeContact tracers hired to run the government’s crucial test and trace programme have raised concerns about its state of readiness as lockdown restrictions are relaxed today. The tracing programme, which aims to identify and isolate all those who have come into contact with anyone testing positive for Covid-19, is central to the government’s efforts to prevent a second wave of cases. The government insisted yesterday that the system was up and running and had encountered no problems. However, contact tracers say the programme remains “shambolic” and unfit for purpose. Some of the 25,000 people hired have been waiting weeks for login details for key parts of the system, while others are unable to complete required training because of technical problems.
They say it will damage the economic recovery at a crucial time. 2 Boris Johnson is examining options to boost state investment in domestic telecoms companies to help them compete in the 5G technology market. The proposal is part of a wider plan to reduce Britain’s reliance on Huawei for its next-generation mobile network. 3 Young people are turning to controversial “buy now, pay later” schemes during lockdown, raising fears that internet retailers are encouraging customers into debts they cannot afford. One in six 18 to 24-year-olds have used one of the schemes
For full TV listings for the week, see thetimes.co.uk/tvplannerViewing guide, by Ben DowellLong Lost Family: Born Without TraceITV, 9pmOn January 16, 1962 David McBride was left abandoned in a red tartan bag in the back seat of a car on a residential street on the outskirts of Belfast. Six years later another baby, Helen Ward, was found by a passing truck driver, also left in a red tartan bag, but in a phone box in Dundalk in Ireland. This programme meets the lovely adults these babies grew into in an attempt to discover their birth parents. David and Helen had already made public media appeals for answers, yet met with dead ends. It is clearly the case that the birth parents
Rishi Sunak said that the furlough scheme would be reduced from AugustThe chancellor has failed to offer any assurances that he will bankroll Nicola Sturgeon’s vow to reimpose lockdown if Scots flout social distancing rules. Rishi Sunak will begin winding down the employment support package from next month, with companies encouraged to bring back furloughed workers part time. Government support will be scaled back from August until October and end at the start of November. Speaking at the daily briefing yesterday Jeane Freeman, the Scottish health secretary, said: “I don’t believe that we have had any assurance from the chancellor that he is prepared to modify his support for what happens between any of the four nations. “We will continue to press that as part of the United Kingdom, knowing that there has been agreement that
Natwest, part of the RBS banking group, set up Global Restructuring Group, ostensibly as a turnaround divisionRoyal Bank of Scotland has been accused of using manipulated evidence in court to defend itself against accusations related to its notorious Global Restructuring Group. A business owner who lost a GRG-related claim against the bank and its Natwest subsidiary in 2018 has been given permission by the High Court to replead his case concerning allegations that the original judgment was “procured by fraud” after “document tampering”. RBS said that the allegations “are without any merit”. Jonathan Broomhead, who ran JMB Holdings, a construction business in Derbyshire, had sued RBS for £13.8 million over claims that Natwest breached lending commitments. Chief Master Marsh said that a former RBS employee had provided “troubling” evidence of alleged “document tampering” regarding papers referred to in the 2018
You won’t want to believe this, but it’s true. As The Times reports today, the people who make it all up — the blaggers, the bluffers, the bullshitters — are not the least capable among us. A team of researchers from the University of Waterloo, Canada, have found that an ability to spiel absolute nonsense, convincingly, is a sign of being very, very clever. There probably isn’t even such a place.” Although we checked, and there is, and it’s in Ontario. The successful bluffer, in other words, has lazily hit upon a way of
Baroness Morgan of Cotes, the former Conservative culture secretary, is a member of the People’s Commission on Life After Covid-19A million people will be invited by a think tank to propose ideas for how daily life should change after the pandemic. Martin Lewis, the founder of MoneySavingExpert.com, Baroness Morgan of Cotes, the former Conservative culture secretary and Nick Timothy, the former adviser to Theresa May, are among those who will oversee the work as members of the People’s Commission on Life After Covid-19. Demos, the think tank that created the commission, plans to survey a million people in what it said was “the largest ever public conversation on the future of the UK”. The commission will try “to find ways to hold on to the changes we value — from increased community connection to reduced air pollution — and heal the damage that has
For a man who edited The Daily Telegraph’s letters page, it was appropriate that David Twiston Davies boarded a train to Tunbridge Wells at the end of his working day. Yet for the considerable jollification that “Twisters” brought to the paper for 40 years, he could hardly be described as “disgusted of Tunbridge Wells”. That is not to say that he did not sympathise with what some might have regarded as the more antediluvian sentiments expressed by correspondents to the paper. Twiston Davies himself was a devout Roman Catholic and staunch monarchist, who listed “defending the reputation of the British Empire” among his interests in Debrett’s. As a man who co-existed uneasily with technology and exhibited an endearing clumsiness, he was often the target
In meetings such as those of the cabinet, a lot of eyes look at you a bit too muchYou can’t look someone in the eye on Zoom. And yet at the same time, all eyes are continuously on you — arrayed in a gallery like a low resolution University Challenge team. Worse, among that gallery, delayed by the same millisecond lag, is a video of yourself. Is it any wonder, then, that people find telemeeting more socially exhausting than real meeting? Or, as Linda Kaye, senior lecturer in psychology at Edge Hill University in Lancashire, puts it, “The term ‘Zoom fatigue’ is the buzzword.”Of all the two-word phrases that have entered common usage since the pandemic arrived — from herd immunity to Barnard Castle — none sums up the peculiarly 21st-century nature of our quarantine better than “Zoom fatigue”.
Elon Musk said he was overcome with emotion at the launchAs a self-taught rocket engineer whose vision for space exploration was taken from a doodle on a napkin, Elon Musk’s path to the stars has been paved with both hardship and triumph. Multiple rocket failures and encounters with near financial ruin have dogged SpaceX’s path to success, leaving even Musk, 48, stuck for words after watching his Falcon 9 rocket ferry Crew Dragon and its two astronauts to orbit. “I’m quite overcome with emotion, so it’s hard to talk, frankly,” he said, in a faltering and emotional post-launch media teleconference from Kennedy Space Centre, Florida. “It’s been 18 years working towards this goal.”Asked about the extent to which the burden of responsibility weighs upon him, having promised the astronauts’ sons that