Country Life Today: The $10 million apple that stays ripe and fresh for an entire year

This morning we take a look at a new apple full of promises, Queen Elizabeth I's handwriting and St Paul's Cathedral.

One apple to rule them all? The ‘Cosmic Crisp’ hits shelves

After two decades of research and millions spent in the labs, scientists have finally unveiled the fruit — literally — of their hard work: the Cosmic Crisp apple. It’s said to be particularly tasty and juicy, and if kept in the fridge will stay fresh for up to a year.

‘It’s an ultra-crisp apple, it’s relatively firm, it has a good balance of sweet and tart and it’s very juicy,’ according to Kate Evans, head of the team at Washington State University who bred the apple.

If that sounds good to you, don’t get too excited just yet — unless you live in the USA. The 12 million Cosmic Crisp trees that have been planted are in Washington State, and (for the moment at least) there are strict licensing conditions in place prohibiting others from planting and growing this fruit.

Full story (BBC)

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Great queen, terrible handwriting

When University of East Anglia academic Dr John-Mark Philo chanced upon a Tudor translation of Tacitus’ Annals, he had an inkling it might have been written by Elizabeth I herself. But it was the handwriting that clinched the attribution.

Portrait of Elizabeth I of England (Greenwich, 1533-London, 1603), Queen of England and Ireland. Painting attributed to the School of Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, oil on canvas, 176 x 144 cm.

The Queen had a notoriously bad hand and the ill-formed letters that peppered the manuscript’s notes and corrections confirmed Dr Philo’s hunch, leading the literary historian to say that ‘in terms of proving someone’s authorship, [messy handwriting] is an absolute gift.’

Read more (Country Life)

On This Day… in 1697

St Paul Cathedral was consecrated exactly 322 years ago. The church was built by Sir Christopher Wren to replace Old St Paul’s which had been destroyed in the Fire of London. The architect was given free rein with the design but his views met mixed success at the time, with some saying the Cathedral had an ‘unfamiliar, un-English’ look.

It took 22 years for the construction to advance enough for services to be held at St Paul’s — but the Cathedral was not finished until much after the consecration. Work was officially declared complete in 1710 but some statuary was added to the roof well into the 1720s.

‘The war against nature must stop’

Those are the words of United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, speaking on Sunday ahead of the UN climate conference in Madrid, which runs for the next two weeks in the Spanish capital.

‘We simply have to stop digging and drilling and take advantage of the vast possibilities offered by renewable energy and nature-based solutions,’ he added.

Ponds are places of tranquility for reflection — and priceless havens for wildlife.


There are huge challenges, however. While some nations are honouring their commitments under the 2015 Paris agreement, many are not — with the USA stepping back, China increasing its coal dependency and Brazilian deforestation continuing apace.

‘We also see clearly that the world’s largest emitters are not pulling their weight,’ added Guterres, ‘and without them, our goal is unreachable.’

Read more (Reuters)

And finally…meet a ‘fishy’ Christmas Tree

Villagers in Ullapool, in the Western Highlands, have made a 29.5-ft
Christmas Tree from 340 creels used to catch shellfish.