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27 January 2021

This England: Back-up bird

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

One of the Tower of London’s ravens has gone missing and is presumed to be dead – in what some consider to be a bad omen. “Queen” raven, Merlina, described as “free spirited”, has not been seen at the Tower for several weeks.

Legend has it that if the ravens leave the Tower of London both the Tower and the kingdom will suffer, but Yeoman Warder Chris Skaife, ravenmaster, put minds at rest: “We do have seven ravens here, six by royal decree and of course I have a spare one, so we’re OK at the moment.”

News Shopper (Anne Turner)


Snow joke

Four people in a car that rolled over in icy conditions were fined by police – for travelling more than 50 miles to “look at the snow”.

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Metro (Amanda Welles)


Keeping it real

A man has written a brutally honest advert describing his car as a “skip full of dog s**t” and begging anyone to take it away. Tommy Rayson said the blue car is “next level filthy”.

He added: “You can’t polish a turd. It genuinely is a piece of s**t and I don’t want anyone to think otherwise.”

Cornwall Live (Daragh Brady)


Randy Radish

A super-stud red squirrel has retired after leading the fight to save his species by siring a dozen offspring.

Randy rodent Radish’s keeper, Ben Gregory, said: “Radish is a real star. We’re all sorry to see him go, but he’s certainly earned his retirement.”

Westmorland Gazette (Janet Mansfield)

Each printed entry receives a £5 book token. Entries to or on a postcard to This England.




This article appears in the 27 Jan 2021 issue of the New Statesman, The Lost