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7 June 2023

This England: Muscle man

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

A grandad who began arm wrestling after nearly dying of coronavirus in 2020 has taken gold at the European Championships.

Covid nearly cost me my life, and it made me want to live life to the fullest,” said Mark Waldon of Bedfordshire. After training “tiny muscles… you wouldn’t usually use”, the retired civil servant, 53, has become good enough to go pro. He placed first for his category.
(Daragh Brady)

Make the cut

When a bride disappeared as the dessert was being served at her wedding reception, the groom was understandably surprised.

Courtney Sneddon was still missing 15 minutes later, so Cameron went to find her. She was having a haircut, midway through their wedding day.

She is not alone. A growing number of brides are asking hairstylists to give them a “wedding chop” to surprise family and friends with a new look before their first dance.
Sunday Times
(Amanda Welles)

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Sting in the tale

A tourist with a fear of insects returned from Cuba with a stowaway – a scorpion he named Brian.

David Judd found the venomous arachnid while unpacking his suitcase. The 55-year-old, of Wakefield, said his first reaction was to screech and ask his wife to deal with it. But he summoned his courage and used a litter picker to snare Brian before taking him to a reptile store.

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“I grabbed its tail and put it in a box,” the 6ft 1in former rugby player said. “I felt a huge feeling of pride at being able to do such a thing.”
(David Cope)

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

[See also: The Reeves doctrine: Labour’s plan for power]

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This article appears in the 07 Jun 2023 issue of the New Statesman, The Reeves Doctrine