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15 March 2023

This England: Dog’s dinner

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

Most Munro baggers crack open the fizz or enjoy a wee dram when they reach the summit. But Kerry blue terrier Betty – one of the fastest dogs to conquer all 282 Scottish mountains over 3,000ft – prefers a hard-boiled egg.

For owner and hiking companion Shona Marshall, that has meant providing a constant supply of treats for her pet. Mrs Marshall said: “She always gets two hard-boiled eggs on the summit and every walking day she gets sardines on top of her normal meal for the extra calories.”

But she recalled: “We had a bit of a disaster on top of Sgùrr Alasdair. I got her two eggs and she nosed one of them and it set off down the hill, rolling. Luckily she didn’t try to chase after it!”
Aberdeen Press and Journal
(Ron Grant)

[See also: What is “Britishness” – and does it still matter? With Gary Younge, Jeremy Deller and Jason Cowley]

Gone to pot

A 10ft sculpture honouring the potter Josiah Wedgwood has been knocked down by a council during roadworks.

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Stoke-on-Trent council admitted it made a “grave mistake” when contractors accidentally demolished the red-brick sculpture while attempting to widen a road near the city centre.
The Telegraph
(Linda Calvey)

[See also: What does it mean to be British?]

Tri-ing his best

Footage of a three-legged hedgehog sniffing around a back garden has been captured.

Scott Jarvis, who has set up trail cameras in his garden in Derby, said the mammal has been using its nose to balance.

Mr Jarvis added: “He’s quite a bit slower than the other hedgehogs but he manages to cope all right.” An RSPCA spokeswoman added that the animal looked “happy and healthy”.
BBC East Midlands
(Nikki Knewstub)

Each printed entry receives a £5 book token. Entries to comp@newstatesman.co.uk or on a postcard to This England.

[See also: Queen Elizabeth made us feel less embarrassed about the British Empire]

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This article appears in the 15 Mar 2023 issue of the New Statesman, The Iraq Catastrophe