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(Christmas 2002)
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Cockurbania is a tiny sovereign nation located in the South East of the British mainland.

Latitude 51 22' 07" North and Longitude 00 05' 45" East
Grid Reference: TQ 459654

Area: 0.000138 square miles, 26% of which is built-up

Population: officially five (5), although 20% of the population is away for educational purposes at a university in County Durham studying the glorious art of Mathematics

Government: Cockurbania is a benevolent dictatorship under the gracious oversight of King Paul. He wisely delegates much of the practical decision-making to competent underlings. Indeed, he rules the nation with such subtlety that the majority of the population are unaware of his leadership and are under the impression that Prime Minister Susan is the real power.

Religion: These days the nation is predominantly Methodist. Indeed the head of state is also the high priest in the conglomerate of other local tribes at Orpington Methodist Church. Some of the citizens have been known to dabble in alternative non-conformist religions.

Geography: The nation slopes gently from the high grasslands in the Southwest down to the built-up area in the Northeast. The soil is rich and fertile allowing for a potential harvest of raspberries, gooseberries and beans. There has recently been a programme of intensive deforestation which has removed one third of the trees allowing greater light and space on the borders of the residential area.

Wildlife: There is a huge variety of species native to Cockurbania - Real Hippo (A.K.A. Hippo); Fluffy Hippo; Walnut (a tiger); Brownfoot (a hippo); Large Hippo; New Hippo; Hand Hippo; Spare Hippo; Big Blue Hippo; Pyjama Hippo and many others.

History: In the latter half of the twentieth century Cockurbania was inhabited by a succession of tribes. The present population are the result of a mass immigration in August 2001, wholly displacing the tribe of Hope who had lived happily in the land until then.

Transport: 60% of the population are licensed to drive (compared with only 40% a year ago). However, the automobile industry took a serious knock in October this year when a full half of the state's fleet of vehicles broke down whilst travelling at high speed in distant climes near Harrogate. This national disaster resulted in Cockurbania's monarch having to travel home via three trains, one tube, one coach and one breakdown truck - then return to foreign parts a week later to negotiate release of the official car from the Harrogate garage.

Famous Residents: Honours were awarded during the year to two students for outstanding results in school examinations. Hannah gained nine GCSEs (two grade A and seven grade A*) and Nathanael gained five A-levels (all grade A).

Economy: Since one fifth of the population are now living in strange distant lands where the natives speak funny, the proportion of the gross domestic product allocated to foodstuffs has fallen substantially.

Education: The ruling house of Cockurbania have decreed that all citizens under the age of twenty-one shall receive a good education and have sent children to high quality institutions such as Darrick Wood Junior School, Darrick Wood Sixth Form and Grey College, Durham for the purposes of education. They plan that the younger generation will earn qualifications suitable to keep the nation's economy thriving and thereby enable the older generation to enjoy comfort and luxury in their advancing years.

If you want to know more about Cockurbania, or even visit it to see the sights and meet the natives, then please contact the Tourist Office at ** ***** ****, Orpington, Kent, BR6 ***, telephone 01689 ****** or email touristinfo@cockburn.freeuk.com

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