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26 July

In the headlines

Britain’s Covid cases are finally falling. Yesterday there were 29,173 recorded positive cases – the first time the number has dropped below 30,000 in a fortnight. Among possible explanations are the end of the Euros, which means fewer people are meeting up in pubs and at home, the hot weather, and children being at home for the school holidays. Severe thunderstorms in London have flooded roads, Tube stations and hospitals. And Britain won three Olympic golds this morning. Swimmer Adam Peaty, divers Tom Daley and Matty Lee, and mountain biker Tom Pidcock took the medals in the space of five hours. 

Comment of the day



This summer it’s all about WFV, says Duncan Craig in The Sunday Times. That’s “working from villa”. Swarms of Brits are renting foreign villas for weeks at a time so they can work abroad. Villa rental service The Thinking Traveller has seen a 20% increase in holiday lengths since 2019, and the Italian rental company Bellini Travel says a string of its UK clients have booked villas for all of August. Given the complicated Covid restrictions, it makes sense, says Bellini’s founder, Emily FitzRoy. “Once you’ve gone to the trouble of getting to Italy or wherever, you might as well stay put.” 

Inside politics

When I turned six I wanted a princess party, says Boris Johnson’s daughter Lara Lettice Johnson-Wheeler in her blog I’m Not A Party Girl. Instead the PM and his ex-wife Marina Wheeler threw her a Henry VIII-themed bash. “My parents got the neighbour’s nanny to dress up as an executioner,” says Johnson-Wheeler, 28. “Most of the children were horrified, particularly when Anne Boleyn lost her head (a balloon and ketchup were involved).” For the birthday girl, it was just another day in the life as Boris’s child. “To be honest, I was kind of used to it.” 

Tomorrow’s world

Concorde is set for a comeback, says Graeme Paton in The Times. Several companies are racing to make the next supersonic aircraft, and Spike Aerospace’s S-512 could be the winner. Predicted to enter commercial service in 2028, the $120m plane will travel at 1,200mph, whizzing passengers from New York to London in three hours. From an environmental stance, the news is less good, says aviation writer David Learmount. The planes will guzzle fuel and tickets will cost a fortune. “The world really won’t take kindly to the hyper-rich flying around the world in climate-destroying capsules.” 


Quoted 26-07

“We are all here on earth to help others; what on earth the others are here for I don’t know.”

WH Auden

Snapshot answer

It’s Adam Peaty, training in his garden near Loughborough. The Olympic swimmer, who won a gold medal for the 100 metres breaststroke this morning, has a gruelling training routine. He swims 35-40 hours a week, eats 8,000 calories a day and unwinds with regular ice baths. In lockdown, Peaty had no access to a pool, so British Swimming installed a Jacuzzi in his garden. It produces a powerful current, which he has to swim against.