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30 March 2022

This England: Eats shoots and leaves

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 cider farm has announced that it will be reviving Dorset’s nettle-eating competition. The competition dates back to the 1980s when two farmers contested as to who grew the longest stinging nettle. When the winner produced a 15-foot long nettle, the loser had to eat all the leaves from his stalk.

The aptly named Philip Thorne achieved the record for the most stinging nettles eaten in 2018 – chomping 104ft of the plant.
Dorset Echo (Catherine Dyer)

Daydream believer

Worshippers at a 900-year-old church have recruited non-believers to save it. After every pew was left empty during a service at All Saints Church in East Yorkshire, parishioners feared it could close – so they set up a “Bums on Pews” rota, with even atheists signing up.
Metro (Daragh Brady)

All Bar None

Croydon, south London, has lost more than 100 pubs since the year 2000. Mark Knight, the landlord of the Dog and Bull on Surrey Street, said: “A lot of difference has been seen in the market. The younger generation is a lot healthier than previous.”
South London Press (Benjamin Chase)

Cheeky monkeys

Residents of Frome, Somerset, are mourning the loss of a life-sized plastic gorilla. The ape was stolen from a pond at the front of Chris Moss’s home by a hooded thief. Moss said the community was “devastated” by the theft of the ornament, which has been dubbed a “local landmark”.
Daily Star (Michael Meadowcroft)

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This article appears in the 30 Mar 2022 issue of the New Statesman, The New Iron Curtain