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18 May 2022

This England: Quack thinking

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

Rescuers coaxed five ducklings out of a storm drain by playing duck noises on their phones. The flock, trapped in Pontypridd, Wales, is now being cared for by the RSPCA.
Metro (Amanda Welles)

[See also: This England: Story of my life]

A man’s best friend

A derelict cottage in the Cornish countryside has been put up for sale. But a knackered appearance hides a beautiful story.

Pontious Piece Cottages, now empty and up for auction, used to be the home of Tony Trewin and Scrunch, a roughly half-ton Highland cross bull.

Trewin shared the cottage with Scrunch, who he hand-raised after finding the bull freezing to death. The inseparable pair kept each other company for years, and even watched TV together.
Cornwall Live (Kate McIntosh)

[See also: This England: Attack of the clones]

What’s in a name?

An owner is “distraught” at being ordered to change his horse’s name, which was dubbed “inappropriate” by racing chiefs. Nick Rhodes called his two-year-old colt Buggerlugs, in memory of his late father Les. The “informal, old-fashioned” term is “for referring or speaking to someone in a slightly insulting but friendly way,” according to the Cambridge Dictionary.

However, just a day before the juvenile horse’s debut at Beverley Racecourse, Rhodes was told he would have to think of a new name.

He said: “We are distraught by being told to change the name of the horse. My late father used to call me ‘little Buggerlugs’ as a child.”
Daily Mirror (Nigel Huddleston)

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This article appears in the 18 May 2022 issue of the New Statesman, Putin vs Nato