This England

Ratty gets the wind up

Jane Shilling referred to criticism of the cull of hedgehogs in the Outer Hebrides and asked why no cries of protest had been raised about eradicating rats. As a charity, the British Hedgehog Preservation Society has constitutional responsibility in respect of hedgehogs. There is no question that we are justified in saving the hedgehogs, because this is what our society is here to do. Also there would be legal problems with rescuing rats from the islands.

Times letters (Sheila Millington)

Get ashed about

With the approach of Ash Wednesday I recalled a quaint custom enacted whilst I was at school in Wherwell in 1941/2. It was considered appropriate to take a piece of ash sapling to school, which if you did not produce when asked "got any ash", the enquirer was entitled to hit you over the head with his piece. I imagine this tradition has gone the way of so many as a result of the activities of the Health & Safety Executive.

Hampshire Chronicle letters (Harvey Cole)

This article first appeared in the 19 March 2007 issue of the New Statesman, Trident: Why Brown went to war with Labour