Support 110 years of independent journalism.

  1. The Back Pages
11 October 2023

This England: Seeds of doubt

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

The organisers of the World Conker Championships will have to harden their seeds this year as heatwaves and wet weather have left chestnuts “soft and mushy”.  Baking conkers has previously been understood as cheating, but severe weather events across the UK have left chestnuts too “squidgy”.

The 2023 World Conker Championships are set to be held in Northamptonshire, with more than 200 people participating.

David Glew, 77, said: “Baking conkers in the oven just wouldn’t be right. It’s nuts. The sport is in crisis.” 
The Independent
(Steve Morley)

Taking flight

Parrot Albert Sebastian picked a lock on his cage to escape and flew 32 miles from home. The bird was found four days later in Beith, Ayrshire.

The parrot’s owner, Lorrett McCutcheon, 53, said: “His cage is like Fort Knox now.”
Amanda Welles
(The Times)

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday - from the New Statesman. Sign up directly at The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. Sign up directly at Stay up to date with NS events, subscription offers & updates. Weekly analysis of the shift to a new economy from the New Statesman's Spotlight on Policy team.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

No need to play chicken

Councillors in East Lothian have unanimously given the green light for a chicken underpass to be built in Gifford. East Lothian Eggs Ltd applied to construct a tunnel under the B6386 to allow its chickens extra space.

The tunnel will be 18m long, 2.5m wide and 1.5m deep, linking the roaming areas to the north and south via earth ramps. The road will be reinstated following the work.

Content from our partners
Resolving the crisis in children’s dentistry
Planetary perspectives: how data can transform disaster response and preparation
How measurement can help turn businesses’ sustainability goals into action

The farm business was last year given permission for a new shed, which would enable it to double its flock from 32,000 chickens to 64,000. But it now says it needs more space in order to meet free-range standards.
BBC Scotland
(Kate McIntosh)

[See also: This England: The great escape]

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

Topics in this article :

This article appears in the 11 Oct 2023 issue of the New Statesman, War Without Limits