HAPPY ST GEORGE'S Day. It should prove so for Liberty, a two-year- old Limousin heifer. Bound for a positively final appearance at a south Devon slaughterhouse, the cow made a bold dash for freedom. As a handler led her towards the abattoir where she was scheduled to appear on the wrong end of a bolt, Liberty legged it through the town of Kingsbridge, crossed a driveway and invaded a primary school playground. There she body-swerved slaughterhouse staff, townspeople and two sharp-shooters for more than an hour. As a police helicopter circled above, a local farmer drove Liberty into a nearby field where she was finally recaptured. Animal Concern, sensing a new twist to last year's hot pursuit of the Tamworth Two, this week raised pounds 1,000 to send Liberty (close relative pictured) to the greener pastures of Hillside Animal Sanctuary in Norwich. There she'll live out her days with 400 other lucky creatures. We English adore dumb animals - and Liberty.


OH, AND what could be more English than... hypocrisy? Coincidentally, the News of the World, the nation's favourite Sunday tabloid, has long delighted in titillating its readers under the guise of sharing their moral outrage at the smutty exploits it describes in such loving detail.

Last week the Murdoch rag exposed John Mullis, the 66-year-old multimillionaire chairman of the printers Mullis Morgan, as sharing a "love-nest" with a bisexual 39-year-old Puerto Rican femme enchantingly named Scheherazade.

The intimate relationship between Mullis and his "bondage-loving" babe echoes another cosy set-up: Mullis Morgan just happen to be print suppliers to News International - who publish News of the World.


23 APRIL is also the day, 383 years ago, that Shakespeare died. Tragically, his heritage may not be as safe as bardolators might wish. Overheard in the BBC shop near Broadcasting House - Customer: "Do you have the video of Measure For Measure?" Assistant: "Is that in the DIY section?"


THE GERMAN ad agency Springer & Jacoby opens its international office in London's Clerkenwell today. To prove that they're going to behave properly with the other children, the Teutonic raiders plan a launch party tonight at the Naval & Military Club. On the cusp of the 21st century, tolerance and humour remain core elements of Englishness.


FURTHER ALONG from the agency's offices in St John Street, those who love England but hate jingoism can celebrate the renaissance of English cuisine at St Johns. Its menu today will include St George's mushrooms, and braised squirrel with dried ceps and wild garlic. That's innovative - but where does innovation become invention? Ask Neil Kinnock: a hapless Sunday Times hack mistook a joke Kinnocchio told him for the truth, but let's nail this foodie fib right now. Peter Mandelson never mistook mushy peas for guacamole in a northern chip shop. (Source: Mandelson, the Biography by Donald Macintyre, published this week by HarperCollins.)


TORY TROPHY boy Michael Portillo on his anguished adolescence: "Across the lower facial area a range of high-peaked pustules mapped in angry red... while I was combing my hair my scalp would suddenly exude enough oil to grease a piston." Modesty is as English as the desire to tweak the noses of our supposed betters. But let's not overdo the self-deprecation, eh?


DARK SIDES - we all have one. For the English, it may lurk in the kitchen. According to Procter & Gamble News, 55 per cent of American households have a dishwasher, as do 35 per cent of Continental Europeans. But on these shores the numbers drop to an unhygienic 20 per cent.


WHODATHUNKIT? ONE in five conversations lasting 10 minutes or more will involve a lie, according to Prospect. If one of the parties attended university, it will be one in three.


CHEAP DATE, Kira Jolliffe's dotty anti-fashion magazine, is to launch in New York. Jolliffe, who persuades stellar friends such as Sophie Dahl to model cheap-but-chic looks for the title, has recruited Marlon Richards (son of Rolling Stone Keith) for this innovative English export. It's only frock'n'roll... but we like it.

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