This England

In my mother's day they didn't make church a social thing. Nowadays the congregation is encouraged to stay for coffee. Being nice to the range of people that turns up is draining. One way of getting a breather is to look after a tramp. If it wasn't un-Christian I'd say that other callers were conmen; always with a story - and broke. One Sunday a persistent guy tried to follow me into the house. I pushed him back out, but, as an encore, he went round the garden and started flashing. - Guardian (Imogen Forster)

Police are trying to trace the owner of a wallet containing a large amount of money which was dropped by a seagull in Looe, Cornwall. - Cornish Times (Sigrid Rabiger)

When a woman of 70 called in at Heavitree police station, Exeter, to see a detective about a family matter, she was given a typing test and interviewed for a job. Only when she asked to see a detective did they realise their mistake. - Sunday Times (John O'Byrne)

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This article first appeared in the 04 June 2001 issue of the New Statesman, A dying body attracts vultures