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11 July 2023

This England: Duck and dive

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

Two people were spotted fighting in the middle of a road in Poole, over the custody of a duck.

A passersby reported seeing a man and a woman “wrestling on the floor – trying to get the duck off each other”. Police officers were called, however by the time they arrived the duo had left the scene.
Bournemouth Echo
(Leigh Hatts)

Prank patrol

A sea safari businessman operating off the coast of Devon, was startled this week when he came face-to-face with a great white shark fin – only to later realise it was a hoax.

Rob Hughes, who runs Devon Sea Safari from Teignmouth, says the incident took place during a boat tour with local school children.

The skipper said the group were near Hope’s Nose when they came across the unusual sighting. Hughes said that although he was shocked at first, it only took a matter of seconds before he realised the realistic fin was, in fact, the work of a prankster.
Devon Live
(Richard Fearn)

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Watch your greens

A grandfather has told of his shock at finding a live snake in a bunch of broccoli.

Neville Linton, 63, described finding the reptile – which was later identified as a ladder snake – as a “frightening” experience. He said he bought the broccoli at an Aldi branch in Stourbridge in the West Midlands.

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When he took the vegetable out of his fridge to prepare a meal, he found the non-venomous snake nestled in near the stem.

“It was pretty frightening. I’m not good with snakes,” Linton, from Birmingham, said.
Sky News
(Steve Morley)

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

[See also: Blur and the strange death of Britpop England]

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This article appears in the 12 Jul 2023 issue of the New Statesman, Tabloid Nation