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17 January 2024

This England: Tyne mouth

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 woman was stunned when she woke up with a heavy Geordie accent after suffering a crippling headache – replacing her own entirely.

Verity Went said she couldn’t believe the sound of her own voice after her accent vanished and was suddenly replaced with a Geordie one, despite only visiting the north-east once as a child. The 26-year-old, who lives in Staffordshire, said, “I felt so embarrassed.”
WalesOnline (Steve Morley)

Reversed charges

A retired policeman who helped officers arrest a shoplifter was fined for giving chase in his car – while the thief got off scot-free.

Norman Brennan, 64, received a council penalty for briefly going in the wrong direction on a one-way street while tailing the suspect.

“What an absolute farce,” the trained advanced driver said after his appeal was rejected. The thief was caught with bottles of wine but Sainsbury’s didn’t press charges.
Metro (Mike Berry)

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Squeaky clean

Despite being an avid wildlife photographer, Rodney Holbrook never expected to capture a Ratatouille-style scene in his own shed.

After regularly discovering that things from the night before had been mysteriously tidied, he set up a night-vision camera on his workbench. It captured a mouse picking up clothes pegs, corks, nuts and bolts. He has nicknamed the rodent “Welsh Tidy Mouse”
BBC Wales (Michael Meadowcroft)

[See also: This England: Time to clean up politics]

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This article appears in the 17 Jan 2024 issue of the New Statesman, Trump’s Revenge