The Daily: decline of the postbox?
Friday, 18 January 2013

The Daily: January 18

Written by Camilla Hayselden-Ashby
Going for Gold
The Gold Rush may seem like a something of the distant past for many of us but for one amateur prospector it is very much a current phenomena. The man, who has not been named, found a gold nugget weighing 5.5kg in the Australian state of Victoria using a metal detector. The nugget has an estimated value of £197,000. The discovery has astonished experts as nothing of this size has previously been found although gold has been prospected in the area for decades. The gold was buried relatively deep underground and it is suggested that this is the reason it had not been found sooner. Despite the gold rush in the area that has been going for over 160 years it took a very high-tech metal detector and a good bit of luck to unearth it.

It's in the Bag
How many of us would be lost without our makeup bag? However, we often don't think about the value of its contents until it is gone. Beauty retailer surveyed over 2,000 of its customers and discovered that the average woman's makeup bag is worth a whopping £172. Although the cost of individual items are low (the averages used for this statistic included Lipstick £14, Mascara £23, Foundation £27) they soon add up with many woman admitting they carry cosmetics they never use "just in case". Given this finding it is worrying that the makeup we take out with us is often not covered by insurance. Even if it is it requires a lot more work to replace individual items than having a new phone or credit card sent out.

Not your best side Ma'am
There's nothing worse than having an unflattering photograph, and it seems the Royal Family can sympathise. Last week Paul Emsley's painting of the Duchess of Cambridge was under fire, being described as aging, lifeless and simply "ghastly". Now it seems he is not the only artist struggling to portray the royal family. A painting by John Napper that was commissioned by Liverpool Town Hall has just been unearthed that was so inaccurate that the artist was forced to paint a replacement. This first version was rejected because critics said the neck was 'too long' and it bore little resemblance to the Queen. The artist said of his first effort: 'It's a beautiful painting of a queen, but not this Queen'. A second version with a shorter neck was later accepted and Liverpool town hall will now have both versions on display to commemorate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

Grin and Baaa it
If you thought graffiti was limited to walls think again. Hundreds of sheep up and down the country have been branded with a mysterious smiley face symbol. The motif, which has been from Perthshire to Devon, has sparked an online debate. People are all joining in the debate about the possible meaning of the pattern and where they could be coming from. Some have even gone as far as to suggest paranormal activity is behind it. The symbol has quite a sinister appearance with spiral eyes and a long, curved mouth; this has led to the animals being referred to as #creepysheep. Farmer Ros Turner, whose sheep have been 'tagged' in Melton Mowbray, said: 'Passing motorists and walkers have had to double take. They can't quite believe what they are seeing".

The Last Post?
The red postbox is one of the most famous British symbols, up there with London's back cabs and red phone boxes. With the last specimen of the "Liverpool Special" style, situated in the city's Albert Dock, is celebrating its 150th birthday many fear that the rest of the country's post boxes may face the same fate. Numbers of red phone boxes have already dwindled to near extinction, it would be sad to have the Royal Mail letterbox also become a rare novelty. With the increased use of email the number of letters sent has decreased from 84mil in 2005 to 58mil last year. Privatisation looms as a way to keep the postal service alive. What if the buyer wants to repaint the boxes with their firm's colour? It seems we need not worry about this, a spokeswoman from the Department for Business, Information and Skills said Royal Mail is committed to keeping the boxes as they are "Any change is beyond the realms of even the most fertile imagination."

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