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The Hansard Trawl, featuring 'stoolball', our man in Pyongyang and headgear unbefitting a gentleman

David Crausby, the deeply obscure MP for one of the Boltons, has a bee in his bonnet:

"Mr. Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent assessment he has made of the merits of replacing bearskin caps worn by the Guards Regiments with caps made from synthetic material".

Alas, no feather in his cap will be forthcoming:

"The Ministry of Defence has repeatedly demonstrated its commitment to the use of faux fur products in military ceremonial clothing...Our conclusion is that industry is not currently able to produce a synthetic material with the properties required for the ceremonial cap..."

Presumably Crausby is some sort of vegetarian fanatic.

Meanwhile, Rozza is interesting himself in the DPRK:

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many full-time staff his Department employs at its embassy in North Korea.

Mr. Ivan Lewis: There are four British diplomatic staff at our embassy in Pyongyang. Six North Korean nationals also work there, under local arrangements by the host Government for the provision of interpreting and maintenance services.

And I imagine that the Embassy leaks like a sieve...

I am indebted to Don Foster for asking this:

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport which types of activity are included in his Department’s target of getting two million people more active ahead of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Mr. Sutcliffe....The following list gives details of these activities and their eligibility.


Hands up anyone who has ever heard of any of these activities, and bonus points for the ability to define them (without googling...)

Bouldering, Body jam, Wrestling—Cumberland, Octopush, Stoolball (sounds truly disgusting), Boccia, Hovering, Mine exploration, Sombo. And so forth. Various forms of motorsport are included, as is fishing. Yes, really.

When is a charity not a charity:

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what her Department’s latest assessment is of the effects of the recession on charities.

Angela E. Smith: In recognition of the challenges for the challenges for the sector during the recession, we have provided a significant package of support for the third sector of up to £42.5 million of targeted support, plus the £16.7 million hardship fund announced in the Budget in April, plus the £1.2 billion future jobs fund which the sector will have a share in.

As noted before, somewhere or other, my reckoning is that if a charity cannot hustle enough money from the public it should go the same way as any other failing business.


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Blogger TheFatBigot said... 10:23 am

I played stoolball at school, it's a Sussex game with certain similarities to cricket.

The wickets (stools) comprise not three stumps but a small square board on a pole, the board is at about shoulder height. The bowler casts a ball underarm towards the stool and the batter has something similar to an obese ping-pong bat with which to smite it.

Runs are scored by running between the wickets, as in cricket. You will be out if you miss the ball and it hits the board or if you hit it and it is caught before hitting the ground.

I can't remember how many players there are on each side but I do recall it being rather good fun.

The village of Handcross in Sussex is the Mecca of stoolies.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 10:38 am

I am indebted for your thumbnail sketch of the sport. Thanks.  

Blogger Tom Mason said... 1:22 pm

I've played a few of those.

Octopush is tremendous fun - underwater hockey, played wearing a snorkel, mask, and flippers. Gradually turns you into a freakish semi-amphibian with lungs the size of the Albert Hall.

Bouldering is low-height, ropeless rock climbing with an emphasis on short sequences of very demanding moves - normally done on large boulders (unsurprisingly!). Turns you into a kind of ape-man capable of doing single-armed, fingertip pull ups.

Never tried Sombo, but I believe it is a wrestling-based martial art.

PS, wot no Korfball??  

Blogger Croydonian said... 1:33 pm

Tom - Blimey, clearly not all readers are as big on lounge lizardry as I am.

Korfball is in the list, but I have heard of it (not that I know what it involves) so didn't think it worth mentioning, ditto kabbadi and so on.  

Blogger Tom Mason said... 2:10 pm

Korfball is always worth a look.

In itself it's not that exciting - a fairly generic basketball/netball type sport of dutch origin.

The fun bit is the rule that all teams must be 50:50 male:female, thus providing fantastic totty opportunities.

The younger Tom has fond memories of playing in the Central England League circa 1995-8.

I'm always surprised it's not more popular than it currently is ;-)


Blogger JuliaM said... 4:23 pm

Octopush was the only one I knew. Or at least, the only one I could say without giggling...  

Blogger Croydonian said... 6:19 pm

Tom - I can see the appeal...

Julia - Yes, there are some very oddly named activities out there.  

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