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15 November 2023

This England: Top cat

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 14-year-old cat from Cambridgeshire has broken the Guinness World Record for the loudest purr. Bella achieved a purr that measured 54.6 decibels – which is equivalent to the volume of a boiling kettle.

Nicole Spink, Bella’s owner, said: “I couldn’t be more thrilled… she has been our family’s companion for many years – we are so proud of her achievement.

“We’ve always known Bella had a really loud purr. We even have to turn up the volume to hear the TV over her purring.”
Aberdeen Press and Journal (Ron Grant)

Trash talk

Bin lorries in Devon have been given a touch of glamour. A new fleet named Bindiana Jones, Bagatha Christie and Optimus Grime – a reference to the Transformers character – are patrolling the streets overseen by Torridge District Council after a public competition to name them.

Cllr Chris Leather said it had highlighted “the importance of recycling and reducing waste”.
Metro (Daragh Brady)

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Don’t stop me now

A speeder was banned for six months – despite claiming the death of the Queen made him drive at 68mph in a 60mph zone.

Andrew Peters, 63, was caught 15 minutes after the Queen’s death was announced on the radio. “I was upset,” he told a court. “I was distracted and missed the [speed limit] sign. I was born in the 1960s – the Queen was part of my life.”

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The management consultant already had nine points on his licence. As well the driving ban, he was fined £384 and ordered to pay a £154 victim surcharge.
Metro (Amanda Welles)

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

[See also: The lies we tell about Joan Didion]

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This article appears in the 15 Nov 2023 issue of the New Statesman, Desperate Measures