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10 March 2021

This England: Mine, all mine

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 beachcomber’s hopes of keeping a washed-up sea mine have been dashed.

Joe Gray spotted the mine on rocks near Penzance, Cornwall, and rolled it home once coastguards confirmed it was inert. The mine was proudly displayed as a seat, footstool and even coffee table for just under two weeks – until a navy representative claimed it back. They said it had broken free after being tethered to the seabed for a training exercise.

Disappointed Joe said: “I’ll just have to hope another one washes up one day.”

Metro (Daragh Brady)

Rabbit in the headlights

A driver has been fined after police found the van they were driving on the motorway to be overweight by 20 per cent – because of a load of carrots.

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Police said the vehicle caught their attention at Junction 26 on the M62 due to the “number of rabbits on the verge of the motorway watching it pass”.

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Yorkshire Evening Post (Michael Meadowcroft)

Small wonder

An ecologist was driving to work on the Somerset Levels when he stopped to photograph thousands of starlings that had flown directly across the road in front of him.

Jamie Kingscott, 26, said: “There were several thousand of them. They were all over the place.”

He said that he often makes a “special effort” to see the stunning winter murmurations, but that the birds coming “to see me on my way to work was quite nice of them. You can’t help but be slightly impressed.”

BBC West (Christopher Rossi)

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: Get into jail free]

This article appears in the 10 Mar 2021 issue of the New Statesman, Grief nation