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9 March 2022

This England: Petty Polly

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 “depressed” parrot that refused to talk when its owner died has started swearing in his new home, the RSPCA said.

Jesse, an African grey, was taken to an animal centre in Dorset when his owner died. His new owner, the animal behaviourist Rachel Leather, said as well as swearing he was making farting noises and playing with his toys.
BBC Dorset (Neil Stone)

Easy money

The energy company Northern Powergrid compensated 74 customers hit by power cuts during Storm Arwen with cheques for trillions of pounds.

Gareth Hughes, 44, of Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, smiled at his cheque for £2,324,252,080,110, knowing that he would never be able to cash it. The company said that a clerical error was to blame.
The Times (Amanda Welles)

An old new ball game

A Warwickshire town kicked off its ancient Shrove Tuesday ball game following a two-year break due to the pandemic. The 822nd Atherstone Ball Game involved hundreds of people competing on the streets for ownership of a heavy, leather ball.

Josh Sheldon from Grendon was named the winner after the two-hour match. He said it had been easy to hold on to the ball at the end – as he had hid it under his T-shirt.

“It had popped and then I quickly took it and put it under my T-shirt and me and my friend were just in a deep hug,” he said.
BBC West Midlands (Daragh Brady)

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This article appears in the 09 Mar 2022 issue of the New Statesman, Putin's War of Terror