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29 September 2021

This England: Upping sticks

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

Upping sticks

Sir, it is clear from Prue Blake’s letter that it is still virtually impossible to return walking sticks or crutches to an NHS hospital.

Some years ago I had the same problem, having promised an elderly friend with an overdeveloped conscience that I would find a way to return her crutches. In the end I went into the local emergency department, laid them on a chair and then ran like hell.
A letter in the Times
(Terry Timblick)

[See also: This England: Spurring stuff]

Better late than never

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As excuses for the late return of a library book go, Clare Henderson’s was one of the best. When the archaeologist was contacted about her overdue book, The Buildings of St Kilda, she said she couldn’t return it because she was repairing the buildings of St Kilda, 112 miles from the mainland.

Henderson, 41, borrowed the book from a library in Perth when she was applying for the job on St Kilda, and after she was offered the post, asked if she could have the book for a bit longer. Culture Perth and Kinross Libraries have accepted that the book will be nearly 17 months late by the time it is returned.
Sunday Post
(Ron Grant)

[See also: This England: Flight of fancy]

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Numpty Dumpty

A health centre in Shetland has apologised after a “rogue” phone message addressed the caller as a “complete numpty”.

The fault at the Lerwick GP Practice stemmed from an automated test message which was accidentally left on its new phone system.
Aberdeen Press & Journal 
(Chris Cope)

[See also: This England: Nen or neen?]

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 29 Sep 2021 issue of the New Statesman, Spirit of the Age