A middle-aged couple from the Isle of Wight are the toast of the literary scene today after publishing what the London Review of Books has called ‘the standalone achievement in British literary history’. Mr and Mrs Harris, whose only previous works have included notes for the milkman and a firm but fair letter of complaint to the council about overhanging branches, penned the seven-line postcard for a neighbour while on a city-break in Paris and are now firm favourites to pick up both the Booker and a Nobel prize for Literature.
Government officials have announced that the historic Isle of Wight town of Shanklin has been selected as Britain’s first set-aside town. During the next six months the municipality and surrounding villages will be evacuated, businesses will be closed and utilities will be cut off. The area will then be left to lie fallow for a two year period.
Set-aside is an old farming method where a field is left unused, or fallow, for a period of time to allow the soil to replenish nutrients and thus remain fertile for the next phase of crop rotation. In 2007 a government think-tank hit upon the idea of using this technique to revitalise parts of the country during recession.
A group of teenage youths on the Isle of Wight has issued a formal complaint to the local council about the ‘threatening behaviour’ of elderly people within their community. ‘It’s getting intolerable’, said Shane, 13. ‘They take over the bus shelters, shout loudly to each other and even get on the bus without paying. How do they get away with it? Some people even get up and offer their seats to them because they’re so afraid.’