Week Ahead: What will make the headlines this week (beginning April 17, 2017)

Queen Elizabeth II at the launch at Buckingham Palace, London of The Queen's Baton Relay for the XXI Commonwealth Games being held on the Gold Coast in 2018. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday March 13, 2017. See PA story ROYAL Commonwealth. Photo credit should read: Toby Melville/PA Wire
Queen Elizabeth II at the launch at Buckingham Palace, London of The Queen's Baton Relay for the XXI Commonwealth Games being held on the Gold Coast in 2018. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday March 13, 2017. See PA story ROYAL Commonwealth. Photo credit should read: Toby Melville/PA Wire
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Getting a handle on the week’s news headlines is no mean feat. Neil Hudson tries to get to grips with current and future trends and attempts not to drop the proverbial ball

BLACK FINGERS

Today there are several important sounding conferences taking place, one of which is the teachers’ union NASUWT annual conference in Manchester Central, while another for the NUT will take place in Cardiff but as important as they are, both will be overshadowed by today’s World Coal Carrying Championships in Gawthorpe, which will see men and women run up a 1,012m course from the Royal Oak pub to the maypole at Gawthorpe, lugging sacks of coal weighing 50kg for the man and 20kg for the women.

This year has seen record entries with 178 names down to run today, some of whom have flown in from the US and Norway.

TAPPING FINGERS

Primary school places and everything that affects them will be in the news tomorrow as pensive parents across the country wait to hear from their local authority as to whether their little ones have been offered a place at their chosen schools from September.

GREEN FINGERS

Harrogate Spring Flower Show will begin on Thursday and will run until Sunday at the Great Yorkshire Showground. Run by the North of England Horticultural Society (NEHS), it also has a sister exhibition in September (15-17) and attracts more than 100,000 visitors and over a thousand exhibitors.

If you are stuck for inspiration as to what to do in your garden this year, you could do worse than pay them a visit.

GOLD FINGERS

An inquest into a stash of gold found inside an old piano will take place on Thursday this week. The “substantial” cache of objects found in south west Shropshire last year could be declared the property of the Crown if its owner or their heirs cannot be traced.

An appeal was launched in January to find the original owner, or his or her heirs, of the gold items, found hidden inside an Edwardian piano sold to an Essex-based musical wholesaler in 1906. Events will unfold at Shrewsbury Coroner’s Court.

PURPLE HANDS

Friday will see the first anniversary of the death of musician Prince. He was known to like the colour purple, so expect to see any number of pictures of violaceously clad fans waving their hands at the camera.

THUMBS UP

Friday is also The Queen’s birthday. She will be 91. Of course, some will wonder which one, seeing as she has two. Today is her actual birth day, i.e.: the day in which she was brought into this world back in 1926, while her official birthday is in June and marked by the annual Trooping of Colour. The tradition of monarch’s having two birthdays dates back to 1748 and George II, who was born in November, which was frequently inclement and not conducive to public celebrations. He therefore devised to stage an ‘official’ birthday in June during the annual spring military parade known as Trooping the Colour. It now always takes place on a Saturday and this year will be on June 17.

Her private birthday meanwhile is just that, although it will be marked publicly by gun salutes at noon: a 41 gun salute in Hyde Park, a 21 gun salute in Windsor Great Park and a 62 gun salute at the Tower of London.

FLEET FEET

Sunday will see more than 38,000 fundraisers, amateur runners and athletes take part in the London Marathon. The event was first run on 29 March 1981.

Meanwhile, across the Channel in France, people will be voting in the first round of the much anticipated French presidential elections.

Tim Marshall has travelled the world covering foreign affairs for Sky News.

How chance meeting led to life in the danger zone for Sky News' Tim