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The Joy of Six: football unbeaten runs

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Unbeaten Runs by Football teams, is your team in there?

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The Chelsea Flower Show: 10 things you didn’t know

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Powered by article titled “The Chelsea Flower Show: 10 things you didn’t know” was written by Matthew Appleby and Jane Perrone, for on Tuesday 24th May 2011 09.38 UTC

1. B&Q had to move its 10m veg tower garden a metre or two so it couldn’t be seen behind BBC presenter Alan Titchmarsh, who is the face of B&Q. BBC rules say no advertising by presenters.

2. Parsnips were one of the star plants in the best in show garden, designed by Cleve West for the Daily Telegraph. It was inspired by Roman ruins in Libya.

3. Two gardens will raise money for natural disaster victims – Tamata from New Zealand and the Japanese show garden. Tamata designer Xanthe White’s last show garden was destroyed by the Christchurch earthquake in February.

4. Most expensive items at the show are a Barbara Hepworth sculpture on Yorkshire tourism garden and a sculpture on the Hillier exhibit. Both £70k-ish. Much less than last year’s bling – a £10m diamond on David Domoney’s garden.

5. The Monaco Garden was visited by Prince Albert, who is a keen gardener, a passion passed down from his late mother Princess Grace.

6. Strangest celebrity mis-match of the show had to be JLS doing flower arranging in the Great Pavilion aided by Simon Lycett. They looked suitably bemused by the whole event.

7. Big name designers might not return to the show until 2013, Chelsea’s centenary. We’re talking Christopher Bradley-Hole, Andy Sturgeon and Tom Stuart-Smith. This year’s big names are Bunny Guinness, Diarmuid Gavin and James Wong.

8. The most expensive garden – The Times at £400,000.

9. Biggest tree ever at Chelsea-a 11m Thuja on Leeds Council‘s show garden. Not the 6m tree on Hillier’s stand as widely reported.

10. It costs £40,000 to fix the ground at the site post show. Kestrel Contractors does the work and the site is ready to use by mid June.

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Which are the songs that flopped at Eurovision?

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The fans loved them while the public handed them nul points.

The time is almost here, the Eurovision Song Contest is less than a month away. And that means that fans around the world are debating which song is going to win.

Invariably they’ll choose a disco number, with lots of female voices, key changes and costumes that are rather flamboyant – the sort of songs that could easily be described as Eurovision fan wank.

Invariably these are the same songs that sink without a trace once the public start voting, but still, it keeps them off the streets.

And now Eurovision Insight has gathered the Top Ten songs the fans looed that the rest of the world thought “typical Eurovision.”

Head over to find out the top eurovision fanwank videos.

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Ten Steps to being a good MP and Minister

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Rod Clark’s guide to being a Minister reads like The Thick of It.

So what tips does the civil servant offer to those new to the ministerial jobs?

  1. Enjoy it! If you do, it will inspire others as well.
  2. Your diary secretary is your new best friend.
  3. Prep, prep, prep. Preparation is vital.
  4. Decisions, decisions, decisions. Don’t put decisions off – they’re the essence of being a minister.
  5. Prioritisation. The department’s priorities and definition of what is important may differ from your own.
  6. Explain Parliament to your private office.
  7. Keep your political edge. Don’t get cut off from colleagues.
  8. Communicate with your Secretary of State – either through structured catch-up sessions or more ad-hoc.
  9. Special Advisers and Permanent Secretaries are not just the Secretary of State.
  10. Make space for families – eg. don’t have red boxes delivered at 7am on a Saturday morning.

Looks like the Independent on Sunday got the story, and the UK press are sharing (without linking) like mad. So we might as well join in as well!

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Eurovision isn’t just for Christmas

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Still think the Song Contest is just seven days in May? Think again.

Leading Eurovision commentator ESC Insight has decided to point out that it’s possible to enjoy the Eurovision Song Contest throughout the year – much to the horror of whoever in the BBC needs to decide on who to send to represent the UK and is hoping we all just forget about it (*).

So their’ “Nine Ways to Enjoy Eurovision on the Internet” is going to be essential reading for the closet fans in these dark months. For example:

While you can download the ESC Insight Podcast and listen to our news and Juke Box Jury shows at your leisure, if it’s Wednesday evening in Europe then you should turn in to Radio International, the three hour radio programme (that also stream online) brings a bundle of music, news and interviews in what they call an Ultimate Eurovision Experience.

You can find the rest online at ESC Insight, hat tip to Sharleen.

(*) PS Pixie Lott, Charlotte Church or Katherine Jenkins, m’kay?

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Way Ay Man, Top Ten Green Cities In Britain

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The forum for the Future have just released their Sustainable Cities Index, and Newcastle has been named as Britain’s greenest city for the second year running.

Moves to install electric vehicle charging points and its support of clean technology firms helped keep hold of the trophy.

Peter Madden, chief executive of Forum for the Future, said: “Cities are having to count every penny so it’s essential that they invest wisely for long-term success.

“Leaders like Newcastle and Leicester are developing plans to run services in smarter ways, tackle challenges like climate change and secure the jobs of the future.”

1.  Newcastle
2.  Leicester
3.  Brighton
4.  Bristol
5.  London
6.  Leeds
7.  Coventry
8.  Plymouth
9.  Edinburgh
10. Sheffield

Image credit NewcastleGateshead

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