Country Life Today: Banksy’s Parliamentary masterpiece comes up for auction at what seems the perfect moment

In today's news round-up, we look at Banksy's derisive view of Parliament, discover which melodies people find most relaxing and view the 'one-in-a-million' kingfisher shot taken by an amateur photographer.

Parliament of primates goes under the hammer

Banksy’s Devolved Parliament, which portrays a dystopian House of Commons filled with chimpanzees, will go on public display from September 28 to October 3, when it will be sold at auction with an estimate of £1.5million to £2 million.

Well, we say ‘dystopian’. Given the current shambles on all sides of the political spectrum, perhaps ‘utopian’ is a better word; it’s hard to imagine how the chimps would have done any worse than the current lot.

Although Banksy’s political parody can feel current, the 13-ft canvas was painted a decade ago.
Full story (Sotheby’s)


Nature’s melodies are most relaxing

Birdsong has been proven to boost wellbeing. Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

Woodland sounds will leave you feeling more relaxed than listening to a meditative app or silence, according to Natural Trust research.

Respondents involved in the study reported feeling the most relaxed, an increase of 30%, after listening to woodland noises, but felt no change after listening to the app or silence.

Full story (Country Life)


Amateur snaps one-in-a-million bird picture

Amateur photographer Paul Gregory has taken the shot of a lifetime: his picture of a kingfisher hovering above the water with its wings outstretched has been called ‘one in a million’ by wildlife experts.

Mr Gregory spotted the bird at the Attenborough Nature Reserve in Nottinghamshire.
Full story (BBC)


On this day in 1975… Fawlty Towers was born

On 19 September, 1975, legendary British comedy Fawlty Towers premiered on BBC2. The 12th and final episode was first shown on 25 October, 1979.


Scotland’s coast ‘a match for anywhere in the world’

Dunfermline-born Doug spoke of his love for the Scottish coast. Credit: Alamy stock photo

Blue Planet cameraman Doug Allan has heaped praise on north Scotland’s stunning north coast.

‘The seas around Scotland, when they’re in the mood to co-operate, […] are the match for anywhere in the world,’ he said.

Full story (Country Life)


Is there charm in grime?

Work to clean and renovate Lincoln’s 14th-century Exchequergate Arch has not gone down very well with local residents, with some saying that the building, deprived of its layers of gunge, looks ‘bland’, ‘too new’ and too much ‘like a new-build’.

However, officials from Lincoln Cathedral said that the cleaning had removed ‘a corrosive crust of pollutants’ that was harming the arch’s stonework.

Full story (BBC)


Is that eely you, Nessie?

Loch Ness — what really does lie beneath?

Loch Ness — what really does lie beneath?

Footage from the Ness Fishery Board has added weight to theories that the Loch Ness monster is in fact a giant eel.

The clip appears to show a long creature sliding through the water, and although it has been met with some cynicism, others say it backs up the belief that Nessie is a slippery fish.

Full story (Country Life)


And finally… An unusual friendship

A touching video has captured miniature pinscher, Boris, and his rather unusual long-eared companion.

Fife-based owner Mark Henderson said a rabbit regularly joins Boris on walks, proving that friendship knows no bounds.


Country Life Today: Your favourite tree needs your vote

In today's news round-up, we bring you Britain's most remarkable trees, reveal why Norfolk has three miles of new beaches