According to a recent story on Auntie Beeb, the following are still valid laws on Britain's statute books. Some of them date back to the 12th century, but, well, rules are rules. After all, there was a survey and everything, so it must be true. So I thought it was worth having a look-see:
"Every able-bodied man between the ages of 16 and 60 should practice archery at the local Butts every Sunday after church." Hmmm. I can see I'm going to have a bit of a problem with this one. I don't mind the archery - you never know when there's going to be Agincourt II (This Time It's Personal). And once someone explains to me what "Butts" means, I can stop sniggering. But the "after church" thing? C'mon....
"Being drunk in charge of a horse, cow or steam engine incurs a £200 fine and possibly jail for up to 51 weeks." What if the horse knew its own mind? Can any of us ever truly be said to be "in charge" when it comes to domestic animals? Or am I over-sharing here?
"It is illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament." OK. We're entering the outskirts of Weird County now. Anyway, I've seen Prime Minister's Questions on TV enough to know that some backbenchers have been flouting this law for years. Rimshot, cymbal, I thank you.
"It is illegal not to tell the tax man anything you do not want him to know, but legal not to tell him information you do not mind him knowing." I've re-read this a few times now. And I still don't understand it. Strange, because tax law has such a reputation for unassailable logic and clarity.
"Eating mince pies on Christmas Day is banned." I am so screwed.