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Whilst taking a lovely walk in Oxford yesterday (despite the enormous amounts of mud) my friend was amused by the various unusual rules stipulated on one of the signs going into a park. This led to a funny conversation once we got to the pub (The Victoria Arms, as featured in Morse and Lewis) about some of the more weird and wacky laws from around the world. All of them will have a logical basis for their creation, but often it’s quite hard to work out what that could possibly be!

Many are long since repealed (such as the often cited “In the city of York, it is legal to murder a Scotsman within the ancient city walls, but only if he is carrying a bow and arrow”) but many still stand even though they are not enforced ~ but it is always still very sensible to check local laws abroad as there are broken rules that can end in a fine or even jail for things that seem quite innocent in the UK. (Such as always having headlights on whilst driving in Denmark!)

Some of my favourites are:

* In South Dakota, It is illegal to lie down and fall asleep in a cheese factory.

* The head of any dead whale found on the British coast is legally the  property of the King; the tail, on the other hand, belongs to the Queen (in  case she needs the bones for her corset, traditionally)

* In Ohio, it is against state law to get a fish drunk.

* In Kentucky, it is illegal to carry a concealed weapon more than six-feet long.

* In the UK, a man who feels compelled to urinate in public can do so only  if he aims for his rear wheel and keeps his right hand on his vehicle. (My driving instructor used to tell me this quite often…I’m not sure why!)


* In the UK, a pregnant woman can legally relieve herself anywhere she wants  – even in a policeman’s helmet.

* In Florida unmarried women who parachute on Sundays can face jail!

* In the UK eating mince pies on Christmas Day is banned.

* It is illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament or to enter wearing a suit of armour.

* It is against the law to let your pet “have carnal knowledge” with a pet of the Royal household

* In the UK it is illegal to be drunk in charge of a cow, horse or steam engine.