This England: Flight of fancy

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.

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After a bright orange bird was found on the side of a motorway, folks at the Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital in Aylesbury took it in, assuming it was exotic. But a quick wash later, they realised that it was just a seagull, covered in curry and turmeric. Fittingly they called him Vinny, after a vindaloo.

Metro (Fabian Wood)

Who’s there?

The “knock, knock” joke may soon be consigned to history, as 20 per cent of people under the age of 30 have never heard or told one. A further 75 per cent of all polled agreed they are “a bit old fashioned” and not as funny as they used to be.

The Scotsman (Daragh Brady)


A man in his thirties with no underlying health conditions was offered a Covid vaccine after an NHS error listed him as 6.2cm in height. Liam Thorp was told he qualified for the jab because his measurements gave him a BMI of 28,000.

He said: “I’ve put on a few pounds in lockdown but I was surprised to have made it to clinically, morbidly obese. It made me rethink what I was going to do for pancake night.”

BBC North West  (Nigel Huddleston)

Clean-up act

A football referee is using lockdown to clean every road sign in his town. Allen Lewis, 67, has scrubbed nearly 200 and will not stop until they are all completed in Tavistock, Devon. Mr Lewis said: “People must think I’m mad but I’ve had some really positive comments.”

Metro (Amanda Welles)

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

[see also: Snow place like home]

This article appears in the 24 February 2021 issue of the New Statesman, Britain unlocks

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