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  1. The Back Pages
22 November 2023

This England: Cold press

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

An ironing board abandoned at the top of Ben Nevis has angered hillwalkers.

It is not uncommon for household items to be carried to the top of the UK’s highest mountain as part of fundraising efforts for charities. In April, a former soldier made it to the top of the 1,345m peak with a fridge on his back. Other strange items reportedly left on Ben Nevis include a church organ, a toilet seat and a 3ft garden gnome.

It is believed those responsible may have been doing “extreme ironing”.
BBC Highlands and Islands
(Steve Morley)

Ewe’re not alone

A ewe dubbed Britain’s loneliest sheep has been rescued from a remote shore in the Highlands.

The sheep, now named Fiona, had been stranded at the foot of the cliffs on the Cromarty Firth for at least two years.
Aberdeen Press and Journal
(Ron Grant)

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[See also: The Booker Prize is becoming irrelevant]

Pups à la mode

Pink is the trendiest new name for dogs this year, with Barbie close behind.

As Greta Gerwig’s movie starring Margot Robbie broke box-office records, Barbie fans fuelled a 15-fold increase in pooches being called Pink.

Mutts being named Freddo, like the frog -shaped chocolate bar, were the second-hottest trend, followed by Barbie.

Unique names handed to hounds in 2023 included Albus Dumblepaws, Bark-a-Lot, Billy Boo Boo, Chugsley Chugglesworth and King Arthur Slobbergob.

Canine behaviourist Adem Fehmi said: “While it’s wonderful to see pet parents… thinking outside the box… remember – you’re the one that has to be comfortable shouting this across the park.”
Daily Mirror
(Amanda Welles)

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

[See also: A blunderer in high office]

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This article appears in the 22 Nov 2023 issue of the New Statesman, The paranoid style

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com Our Thursday ideas newsletter, delving into philosophy, criticism, and intellectual history. The best way to sign up for The Salvo is via thesalvo.substack.com 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.
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