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1 November 2023

This England: To wake the dead

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

Thorpe Park has been forced to apologise to nearby residents after it kept them awake all night by blaring Halloween sound effects.

The theme park in Surrey played wails, screams and spooky music for 12 hours straight after a technical glitch led to noise from its Fright Night event continuing into the early hours.

Jonathan Tennant, a phone engineer who lives close by, said he had to put ear defenders on his 12-year-old terrier, Shamus, to calm him down.
Guardian (Steve Morley)

Flaming cheek

A fire brigade has been ordered to pay compensation to a female firefighter after her male colleagues routinely drove their fire engine along the seafront to ogle women.

Julie Wilkinson said her fellow firefighters at the Cleveland Fire Authority, which covers Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar, Cleveland and Stockton-on-Tees, insisted on taking a diversion they crudely called the “fanny run”.

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Wilkinson, who was the only female member of her watch group, told a tribunal that when she complained about this practice, the men said they would refer to it as the “dick run” for “inclusivity purposes”.
Times (Amanda Welles)

Jingle all the weight limit

A white van was seized by police after a large Santa pushed it over the weight limit. The Mercedes Sprinter van was found to be overloaded by 1.5 tonnes.

Posting on Twitter/X, officers at Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Road Policing Unit said: “Don’t worry, kids. Santa still has plenty of time to finish his journey and hop back on a more traditional sleigh.”
Daily Mirror (Daragh Brady)

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

[See also: Insomnia leads me to The Moonstone, and unexpected wisdom]

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This article appears in the 01 Nov 2023 issue of the New Statesman, Labour Revolts