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18 January 2023

This England: Cottage pyre

This column – which, though named after a line in Shakespeare’s “Richard II”, refers to the whole of Britain – has run in the NS since 1934.

By New Statesman

Police and fire service officers are investigating the cause of fire that swept through a cottage for the second time in a matter of weeks.

They are working with investigators to find out how the blaze at the house, named “Burnt Cottage”, could have started.
Wiltshire Gazette & Herald
(John Boaler)

Walk the line

Remember being taught in PE lessons how to swing your arms while running, or bend your arms while swimming, in the most energy-efficient way possible? Well, it turns out we’ve been exercising all wrong.

Walking “inefficiently” could be more likely to help you reach exercise goals, according to new research published by the British Medical Journal, and – importantly – it should be done in the style of Mr Teabag from the Ministry of Silly Walks.

In case you’re not acquainted with this government body, its founding members are Mr Teabag and Mr Putey, played by John Cleese and Michael Palin in the 1970s TV show Monty Python’s Flying Circus.
The Big Issue
(James Ball)

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Staying afloat

Days of heavy rain have left the Camp House Inn, north of Worcester, ferrying regulars in by boat. The downpour has caused the River Severn to burst its banks, leaving the pub surrounded by what bar staff are affectionately calling their “moat”.

Sitting on beer crates, drinkers take in scenic views of the submerged car park while boating in serenely over three feet of water. Jo Wainwright-Scarrott, the pub’s assistant manager, said: “I’m more boatswain than barmaid at the moment.”
(Steve Morley)

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Each printed entry receives a £5 book token. Entries to or on a postcard to This England.

[See also: This England: Bunny, I’m home!]

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This article appears in the 18 Jan 2023 issue of the New Statesman, How to fix Britain’s public health crisis