Diary: At least Rio's got the memories

More dreadful news for Manchester United footballers and their marriages. An entire wing of Peckforton Castle in Cheshire, a 19th-century Gothic mansion that frequently hosts lavish wedding receptions, has been gutted by fire. This throws into chaos not only the plans of civilian couples booked to celebrate their nuptials at the exclusive country house hotel, but also those of Old Trafford footballers and their future spouses.

Two of the team's back four, Rio Ferdinand and Wes Brown, were married at Peckforton, and both made use of one of the venue's unique services: delivery of the wedding rings by a barn owl, which will – upon request – land on the best man's hand with a pouch containing the crucial jewellery. The castle also boasts its own golden eagle, which greets wedding guests at the gate for a reasonable fee. Sadly, the birds will be perched indefinitely after a disgruntled bridegroom allegedly started the fire in the early hours of Sunday morning, causing an estimated £1m of damage. It is believed his argument was with the hotel owners – over the bill? – and not with his new bride. All of the guests escaped unscathed, including Ollie (the owl) and Elfie (the eagle).

* While Nelson Mandela's deep affection for BBC 6 Music remains a mere rumour, Aung San Suu Kyi's support of the World Service in the face of threatened cuts has been widely reported, not least by this column. The Burmese democracy leader has now detailed her listening habits more precisely in an interview with Radio Times ahead of her 2011 Reith Lectures, and she agreed that the World Service is not what it used to be. "I haven't heard any music on the BBC World Service in a long time," she lamented. "I used to listen to all sorts of different programmes, not just classical music. Er... Dave Travis?" Dave Lee Travis? "Yes!... I would listen to [Dave Lee Travis] quite happily because the listeners would write in and I had a chance to hear other people's words. It made my world much more complete." On a retro theme, the interview also reveals the code-name used by BBC producers for Ms Suu Kyi, as they covertly organised the Reith Lectures: Maggie Philbin.



* Dapper Dan Stevens – God's gift to women of a certain age, and heir to a rather large country pile named Downton Abbey – is now (be still, my beating heart!) a full-blown feminist, inspired by Caitlin Moran's much-discussed tome How to be a Woman. "Man-made scales of 'fitness' or 'hotness' have been wildly confused with those of beauty," the dashing Stevens writes for The Times, demonstrating the deep sensitivity that imbues his every performance. "As an actor," he goes on, "you continually see the ridiculous additional pressures heaped on actresses to 'look right' when actually what the camera sees when it spies the 'great actress' – what distinguishes them, and indeed the 'great woman', from her peers – is not on the surface at all. It is what illuminates the love-light in every man, whether he knows it or not. It's that little spark behind the eyes; an intellectual curiosity, an erotic imagination – and just maybe a knowledge of early Nineties indie and dance music." I think what he's saying, with characteristic charm, is that beauty comes from within, and you shouldn't judge a book, for example, by its cover. Calm down ladies; he's married!



* Man City fan and shadow Culture Secretary Ivan Lewis is another stalwart BBC supporter, and has no time for critics of the corporation's big move north. "Let me say this to those commentators, celebrities and BBC staff who have rallied against the BBC move to Salford," he declared yesterday, "Shame on you for your outdated prejudices, one-dimensional view of Britain and negativity about the north which belongs in the dark ages." Another ungenerous Labour MP was quiet on the topic of Salford, but happily told me: "One of the things I'll never be able to quite forgive the north for is the fact it gave us Ivan Lewis."



* A distinctive take on Rory McIlroy's victory at the US Open, from the Murdoch-owned New York Post. The paper's front page yesterday featured the Northern Irish golfer raising aloft his trophy beneath the words: "Eire Apparent". Perhaps Rupert should provide some lessons in Irish history for the sports desk, just in case McIlroy's star keeps rising.

highstreetken@independent.co.uk

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Project Manager (HR)- Bristol - Upto £400 p/day

£350 - £400 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...

HR Business Partner (Maternity Cover 12 Months)

£30000 - £34000 Per Annum 25 days holiday, Private healthcare: Clearwater Peop...

Project Manager (Procurement & Human Resources)

Unpaid: Cancer Research UK: If you’re a professional in project management, lo...

Geography Teacher

£85 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: We require a teacher of Geogr...

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices