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22 May 2024

This England: Up, boy! Up!

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 nine-year-old Jack Russell called Bentley – alongside his owner, Jon Birtle, 55 – has climbed all 180 Hewitt mountains in England. The challenge started in Pen-y-ghent in the Yorkshire Dales and finished five years later at Place Fell in the Lake District, where Birtle kissed Bentley at the top and said: “We’ve all got a million things going on in our lives but I would go up the mountain with Bentley and come back cleansed.”
Metro (Richard Fearn)

Sorted for reads and wiz

A man who learned to read in his forties says it’s just wizard – as he can now enjoy the Harry Potter books. Peter Lloyd, 46, from Southport, was born partially deaf and struggled with schoolwork. The dad of two later felt ashamed he couldn’t read and found ways to hide it. Lloyd signed up for help with the charity Read Easy, and now he plans to take GCSE English and read all the Harry Potter novels – which, he says, “are 100 per cent better than the films”.
Liverpool World (Jenny Woodhouse)

A glowing hotel review

Two friends mistook the purple glow from a Premier Inn for the Northern Lights. Karim Akhtar, 22, and Sully Laurent, 21, were walking home from a night out in Norwich on Friday 10 May when they saw illuminations in the sky. Rather than the aurora borealis, they were in fact caused by the hotel on Duke Street. In response, Premier Inn called itself “a beacon of light” that could “bring the aurora glow directly to your room”.
Halifax Courier (Maggie Butcher)

[See also: This England: Rabbit roundabout]

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This article appears in the 22 May 2024 issue of the New Statesman, Spring Special 2024