A range of ‘beasts’ were pretty beastly to Brits last year, the Daily Express informs us.

Figures released by NHS England show that crocodiles, alligators, poisonous millipedes and crushing snakes all left patients needing treatment in hospitals in 2018.

The number of bites requiring hospital care rose from 16,249 patients in 2016 to 17,281 in 2017 and 17,708 in 2018.

Among the more surprising cases were the seven people attacked by crocodiles or alligators last year, up from three the year before.

Fifty one people were “bitten or crushed by a non-venomous reptile”, two were stung by scorpions and 65 bitten by poisonous snakes. And 8,004 people were treated after being bitten by dogs!

A church and schoolroom in the centre of Gloucester with links to Charles Dickens and Robert Louis Stevenson have received a boost from a £2.1 restoration project, reports The Guardian.

The St Mary de Crypt church and Old Crypt schoolroom have reopened as a place of worship as well as a creative and community centre, heritage attraction and events venue.

Buried in the church is James “Jemmy” Wood, the owner of the Gloucester Old Bank, who was known as the Gloucester Miser and who may have been in the inspiration for Dickens’s character Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol,and a character called Dismal Jemmy appears in The Pickwick Papers.

The school was attended by the Victorian poet William Ernest Henley, whose left leg was amputated below the knee as a result of tuberculosis. A friend of Robert Louis Stevenson, Henley became the inspiration for Long John Silver in Treasure Island.

Whoops! The BBC reports that a British Airways flight destined for Düsseldorf in Germany landed in Edinburgh by mistake, after the flight paperwork was submitted incorrectly.

The passengers only realised the error when the plane landed and the “welcome to Edinburgh” announcement was made.

“We have apologised to customers for this interruption to their journey and will be contacting them all individually,” BA said in a statement.

They said they was working with WDL Aviation to find why it filed the wrong flight plan.

An article in The Guardian says that a painting that was feared to be a later, inferior copy of a Botticelli masterpiece has been revealed as a rare original produced by the artist’s own workshop. English Heritage revealed that the study of the Madonna and child entitled the Madonna of the Pomegranate, had been covered in thick layers of yellow varnish and substantial areas of overpainting, obscuring the fine brushwork underneath and leading to fears it was a poor-quality imitation.

But restoration experts have confirmed the painting was made in the workshop of Sandro Botticelli in Florence – though they are unable to be certain whether the master himself worked on it.

Some tips on longevity in the Daily Mirror from Bob Weighton, from Alton, Hampshire, who has just celebrated his 111th birthday.

Bob, who was born on March 29, 1908, commented on being asked the secret to his long life: “By avoiding dying – there’s no reason otherwise. I have had the usual scares, flu, influenza, malaria, two or three operations; I ought to be dead but I am a survivor, if you like.”

He added that the world had changed “enormously” in his lifetime but people had mostly stayed the same.

“In practical terms, one thing is the speed of travel. In 1933 I travelled to the Far East on a P&O boat to Hong Kong and it took six weeks, now you can fly there in about eight or nine hours.”

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