1. HOME ALONE, WANTING A GNOME. Do you yearn for a garden gnome? You are not the only one.


Since last year’s lockdown, garden centres have been reporting a ‘massive upswing’ in ornament sales, due to people being forced to spend more time in their gardens.   Gnomes top the list of most-wanted ornaments, with a near 100 per cent increase in sales over the past two years.


There was even a gnome crisis a while back, when the Suez Canal got jammed, and thousands of gnomes on their way to UK gardens could not get through.


  1. Memories of Elvis

Only one actor has appeared on film with both the Beatles and Elvis Presley: the little-known Norman Rossington.


  1. A full-sized version of Monopoly is coming to the UK in August 2021, in the form of a “4D experience” that allows people to play on a giant 15m x 15m board. Staged at a venue on Tottenham Court Road in London, Monopoly Lifesized will also hand fans the opportunity to buy Hasbro-related merchandise and eat at The Top Hat – a Monopoly-themed bar and restaurant.


  1. It’s okay to be quiet in meetings. Sometimes meetings can feel like survival of the loudest – but staying quiet can pay off. But the people we should take note of during meetings are those who talk least. The quiet people are secretly the doers that make a company tick: they listen and pay close attention to what’s being said, making them the ones who are learning the most. People talking too much do so because of their ego; we should all try to get our ideas across in as few words as possible.


  1. Idea of the week. Our goal shouldn’t be to cling to youth as we get older, but to keep our joy alive by tending our inner child throughout our days while also nurturing our connection to the changing world. In doing so, we balance wisdom with wonder, confidence with curiosity and depth with delight.


  1. Stowe Family Law, the UK’s largest family law firm, received 8,801 enquiries from people seeking a divorce between January and March this year, up from 4,505 in the same three-month period last year.


  1. The bottom line. Even in non-Covid times the average Brit gets through about 127 toilet rolls a year – twice the European average: a national total of some 8.5 billion. It requires one tree to be felled for every 800-1,500 rolls produced; that means felling seven million trees simply to meet the UK’s yearly toilet-tissue needs.


  1. Long working hours cause 745,000 deaths a year worldwide, WHO study reveals

‘Working 55 hours or more is a serious health hazard’.Long working hours led to 745,000 deaths from stroke and ischemic heart disease in 2016 – a 29% rise since 2000, according to estimates from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labour Organization.


The study, published in Environment International today, found that between 2000 and 2016, the number of deaths from heart disease due to working long hours increased by 42%, and from stroke by 19%.


With the pandemic causing a huge shift in work patterns, the “number of people working long hours is increasing, and currently stands at 9% of the total population globally”, the study revealed. This trend puts “even more people at risk of work-related disability and early death”.


“Working 55 hours or more per week is a serious health hazard,” said Dr Maria Neira, director of environment, climate change and health at the WHO. “It’s time that we all, governments, employers, and employees wake up to the fact that long working hours can lead to premature death.”


  1. 4,204 fewer food-led venues in the UK after Covid. Monday 17th May 2021 was a big day for the hospitality industry with indoor dining allowed once again. But for many food outlets their doors will remain permanently closed after failing to recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.


According to the CGA AlixPartners Market Recovery Monitor, the number of food-led venues dropped by 4,204 to 38,922 in April, compared to 43,126 sites in March last year.


Mid-market “casual dining” venues have fallen by 19.4% and while the data suggests that many pubs and bars have also struggled to survive the pandemic, “it is restaurants that have fared worst”, the BBC reports.


“Unfortunately, with the burn of costs of rent and other costs of business, for a number of restaurants, that was simply too much to keep going through the period of closure,” said Graeme Smith, managing director of AlixPartners.


  1. The last Debenhams stores close for the final time. After more than 200 years Debenhams is no longer on the British high street. The department store giant closed its remaining shops on Saturday, 22nd May 2021 “marking the final nail in the coffin in its 243 years of trading”, Retail Gazette reports.


The store closures were part of the company’s liquidation process, but Debenhams will continue to exist online-only after the Boohoo Group bought the brand in a £55m deal in January.


  1. Amazon to create 10,000 new jobs in the UK this year. Online retail giant Amazon is planning to open new operations in Hinckley, Doncaster, Dartford, Gateshead and Swindon in 2021 – and in turn create 10,000 new permanent jobs in the UK.


Amazon’s latest recruitment drive will take its total UK workforce to more than 55,000,. Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng hailed the announcement as “a huge vote of confidence in the British economy”.


12           DISNEY CRUISE SHIP – Bookings for Disney’s new cruise ship go live this month. Disney Cruise Line’s newest ship, the Disney Wish, will set sail on its maiden voyage next summer. Early booking starts 22nd May for Castaway Club members and select Disney Guests while reservations opened to the general public on 27 May.


The ship will feature the first-ever Disney attraction at sea, the AquaMouse water ride, as well as the Star Wars: Hyperspace Lounge and Wish Tower Suite, a 1,966 sq ft “penthouse in the sky”.


  1. Comedy of errors in Argentine TV Shakespeare mix-up. One man in his time really does play many parts, it seems, according to an Argentine newsreader who mixed up the author William Shakespeare with the first man to receive a Pfizer jab.


Canal 26 presenter Noelia Novillo announced that “one of the most important writers in the English language – for me the master” had died.


In fact it was his namesake, William “Bill” Shakespeare, 81, who died in a hospital in England earlier this week.


Shakespeare “The Bard” died in 1616.


However, that was news to Novillo who told her audience on Thursday: “We’ve got news that has stunned all of us given the greatness of this man. We’re talking about William Shakespeare and his death. We’ll let you know how and why it happened.”


With social media proving that all the world is now truly a stage, commentators feasted on the presenter’s gaffe.


“The Montagues and the Capulets went to the wake,” one wag wrote on Twitter.


“The UK took more than four centuries to warn of the virus. On top of that, they blame China,” wrote another.


Bill Shakespeare, a former Rolls Royce worker and parish councillor, received his first jab in December becoming the first man, and the second person, to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.


He died on Thursday from an unrelated illness, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust said.


  1. First Lady Godiva Procession – May 31, 1678.

It celebrated the legend of Lady Godiva’s famous nude ride through Coventry marketplace. Her husband, Leofric, Earl of Mercia, had promised to relieve Coventry of its heavy taxes if she would ride through the town of Coventry clothed only in her hair. She issued a proclamation that all persons should stay indoors and shut their windows as she rode. The term “Peeping Tom” for a voyeur originates from this legend in which a man named Thomas watched her ride and was struck blind.







Life is pain. Anyone who says otherwise is selling something. William Goldman


Happiness is…having a gnome to watch over your garden.


I dreamed about drowning in an ocean made out of orange soda last night. It took me a while to figure out it was just a Fanta sea.


Love is…having the same values.


A time to peep through the curtains…A time not to peep through the curtains. (No.14 above.)


31st May

1959 First Manned Hovercraft Flight

The seven-ton SR.N1 developed by Christopher Cockerell makes its first test flight. It was capable of 60 knots.

1919 First Hilton Hotel

Conrad Hilton buys his first hotel. He was going to buy a bank, but the deal fell through, so he bought the Mobley Hotel in Cisco, Texas instead.

1669 Citing poor eyesight, English civil servant Samuel Pepys records the last event in his famous diary


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©2021 Phil M Robinson