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9 September 2021

This England: Too big for his boots

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

Too big for his boots

A 6ft 7in, rugby-mad teenager with size 16 feet fears he may have to quit his beloved sport.

Two-metre tall Oliver, 17, from East Yorkshire, outgrew his studs and has been unable to find a larger pair. All major boot manufacturers have told his family they stop at a size 15.

BBC Yorkshire (Christopher Rossi)

Knit one, purl one

A scarf long enough to keep a train carriage cosy was centre stage of Saltburn’s 160th anniversary celebrations. Joyce Baxtrum’s 150ft scarf was wrapped around the carriages at Saltburn Miniature Railways. The 90-year-old received VIP treatment at the event.

Yorkshire Post (Michael Meadowcroft)

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Beep, beep

Homeowners living on a country road in Llandrindod Wells, Powys, are being kept awake at night by tiny toads looking for sex. The midwife toads can be heard croaking but are hardly seen in the day as they are so small. Their distinct call during mating season has been likened to a supermarket scanner.

Daily Mirror (Amanda Welles)

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Learning curve

A young Nazi sympathiser who downloaded bomb-making instructions has been sentenced to read classic novels including Pride and Prejudice instead.

Judge Timothy Spencer QC told Ben John, 21, he could stay out of prison as long as he steered clear of white-supremacy literature and read books and plays by Jane Austen, William Shakespeare, Thomas Hardy and Charles Dickens.

Leicestershire Mercury (Ashok Bery)

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

This article appears in the 10 Sep 2021 issue of the New Statesman, The Eternal Empire