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6 September 2023

This England: Bog standards

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

Competitors have donned their masks and flippers for the return of the World Bog Snorkelling Championship in Wales. The event takes place annually at the Waen Rhydd peat bog, where competitors try to complete two consecutive lengths of a 60-yard, water-filled trench in the shortest time possible.

There was even room for a little glamour, with one swimmer painting her toenails pink to match her snorkel.
Wrexham Leader (Daragh Brady)

[See also: This England: Fish first]

This heavy piggy

A “morbidly obese” pig that was fed junk food, biscuits and Coca-Cola for seven years has been rescued from a one-bedroom flat in Manchester. Portia was three times her healthy weight at 26 stone and could barely move when she was taken in last summer by Whitegate Animal Sanctuary, Wirral.

After a diet and exercise regime, Portia has lost 16 stone. She sleeps “nose to nose” with other pigs in a bed of straw at the sanctuary, which is home to 150 farm animals. “She’s amazing,” said the sanctuary’s founder, Laura Whelan – “she’s very sassy and has a proper piggy attitude.”
The Times (Amanda Welles)

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Toilet duck

During a check on sewers in Gloucestershire, a Wessex Water team removed an “unusual” blockage after a duck was found roaming the underground pipes. A Wessex Water spokesperson said: “Thankfully, our team were able to help the duck back above ground safely and none the worse for her escapade.”
The Telegraph (Steve Morley)

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

[See also: This England: Canine division]

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This article appears in the 06 Sep 2023 issue of the New Statesman, Crumbling Britain