Land girl found hiding in Wilts thought WWII was still on

Now in her late seventies, she had never seen television, computers or The Beatles
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The Independent Culture
HOW WELL do you follow the news? Well? Very well? So well that you actually watch the BBC 24 Hour News service, which not even John Birt does?

Then how would you like to test your knowledge of current affairs? All you have to do is read the following six stories taken from the last week and decide which ones are true and which are false.

Are you ready to put your money where your mouth is? Then let's go!

1. In one of the longest-running legal cases in the north of England, Mr Thomas Pettigrew has been suing a large airport for invasion of his property while building a new runway. The case had only been running for seven years when Mr Pettigrew suddenly died six months ago. His son, Dan, has inherited the property and the law suit, for he is determined to win where his father never quite succeeded. But Sir Ernest Chalmers, the judge who was trying the case has also recently died and his place has been taken, by an extraordinary coincidence, by his son, Nigel Chalmers. It is believed to be the first time a legal case has gone to the second generation on both sides.

"It is a tribute to the British legal system," says an expert. "In some countries you'd get the law rushing in and trying to settle a case hastily while all parties to it were still alive. In Britain, thank goodness, we still take our time."

2. Rupert Murdoch originally wanted to buy the England football team, not the Manchester United club. But he was persuaded by experts that as England was only allowed to pick English players, not expensive French and Italian imports, it was never likely to become a winning proposition and he went for Manchester United instead. He was also warned by experts that although Manchester United was extremely wealthy, it was also one of the most hated clubs in the world. He said he knew the feeling and went ahead with the deal.

3. A ghastly mix-up occurred in a small village in Kent, when Neighbourhood Watch member Sheila McBonnet noticed that the windows of Rose Cottage were wide open, even though the occupants, the Melchrist family, were on holiday. Miss McBonnet bravely climbed through the ground floor window to search the house for intruders. Meanwhile, Col Rodney Anson (retd), also active in the Neighbourhood Watch scheme, passed by the house five minutes later and spotted an intruder moving around inside the Melchrist family house, which was supposed to be empty. Very courageously he too entered the house and tackled the supposed robber. Sheila McBonnet fought back viciously, thinking she had been attacked by the burglar. By the time Sheila McBonnet and Col Anson (retd) had recognised each other, they had inflicted painful bodily harm on each other.

"It is believed to be the first example of two members of a Neighbourhood Watch scheme attacking each other," commented a local police spokesman. "Luckily, neither of them preferred charges, which suited us fine, as we needed all available manpower to get after the burglar." When it was pointed out to the police that there was in fact no burglary, he said: "Oops, you've got a point there. Luckily we made absolutely no progress anyway."

4. A small partial eclipse of the sun which was due to take place in South America last week did not in fact happen. This was apparently because it failed to attract any local business sponsorship. Scientists see it as a first sinister sign of natural phenomena becoming dependent on subsidies and handouts.

5. Rex Stainforth had been working for five years on a book about urban mythology, and was in fact en route to the publishers with his manuscript when he decided to stop off for a drink. When he came out of the pub he got back into the wrong car and drove off. He only realised his mistake when, looking in the glove compartment for the typescript at a red traffic light, he found a severed hand. Then a voice from the back seat said loudly and clearly: "Put all three of your hands up!" Stainforth jumped from the car and ran for his life until he found another pub. He was about to order a drink when he realised that the barman only had one hand, and was looking at him very oddly...

6. An elderly land girl has been found alive and well living in Savernake Forest in Wiltshire, apparently convinced that the Second World War was still going on. Thinking that the Germans were almost certainly winning, she had kept very much to herself for 50 years. Now in her late seventies, she had never seen television, computers or The Beatles. Now that she has, she doesn't think much of them.

Well? Spot the wrong 'uns? That's right - well done! They were all false except the story involving Ken Livingstone and the inflatable Jeffrey Archer doll.

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