Having left Cornwall behind, today Laetitia met her group in Plymouth in Devon. Plymouth is a port city of approximately 250,000 people. With a mild climate and a good harbor, it has for centuries been an important base for the British Navy. There would be plenty to do and see in Plymouth, and there would be good accommodations for her group, but, in the beginning, she wanted to use it as a base for some side trips into the Devon countryside. The first such trip was to Broadwoodwidger, another place listed in Bailey’s and Hurst’s Rude UK.
An American organization of garden enthusiasts, called Toledo Horticulture, was touring England and was hosting a presentation by some local British garden aficionados in Broadwoodwidger. The American group’s leader, Ms. Lenora Bridger, had scheduled the tour, unilaterally, and then browbeaten the rest of the members to go along with the idea. The ostensible reason for the trip was to have an opportunity to learn about British gardening tools and techniques and to see some of the English country gardens that have figured so prominently in British literature. Its real reason was that Ms. Bridger found young men with British accents captivating and she was hoping to bag one or two while here. Essential to her hidden agenda was that they have an opportunity to circulate with the public, so the signs had been posted inviting one and all to attend.
Broadwoodwidger is a village with a population of about 550. It has a picturesque fifteenth century church, a village green, postal box, telephone booth, and bus shelter. Laetitia decided to take her group there because it was a break from the usual activities that most tourists do, it was a trip into the countryside, and the town name might make a good limerick. The highlight of the evening was to be a presentation by Master Gardener, Marty Plowright, on English garden tools. Before the evening’s program was a cocktail hour during which Laetitia and her group circulated among their American hosts. She had an opportunity to talk to Ms. Bridger, who spoke enthusiastically about her organization’s latest project, which was to introduce fallen women to cultural activities. It had, of course, been her idea. She had had an epiphany during an evening of orgiastic frenzy that had accompanied her visit to a male friend’s penthouse to see his collection of Gustav Klimpt originals. It occurred to Ms. Bridger then, that with cultural sophistication, such ladies might raise themselves from lives on the streets turning tricks for food and rent to become the special friends of men of means who might give them condominiums and spending money. Selling this idea to her organization was difficult, but Ms Bridger was so tenacious that she won out in the end. Some members of the group began to call her “Remora” Bridger behind her back, but all that mattered to her was that she had won. She was saying, “The opposition struck its colors, when I presented the keystone argument that this new mission even fits our organization’s name, “Toledo Horticulture,” if you are inclined to appreciate vile puns.” Ms. Bridger then introduced to Laetitia, an attractive young lady named Demi Monde, who was a participant in the project and would be speaking about it on tonight’s program.
At last, after Demi Monde’s testimonial, the highlight of the evening arrived. After an enthusiastic introduction by the mayor of Broadwoodwidger, Marty Plowright strode across the stage and stood, hips thrust forward like a rock star, in the center stage. He was tall and tan and muscular was wearing form-fitting knit pants without pockets. He wasn’t actually wearing a codpiece but it looked like it. Then he spoke. “Since we are gathered here in Broadwoodwidger, I think it’s quite appropriate that we focus today on the tool that is often referred to by that name. I happen to have brought mine with me.” Then the ladies in the crowd gasped as he reached into the front of his pants. He pulled out a wooden instrument somewhat similar to a trowel that might be used for planting seedlings. At this point, Ms. Bridger had recovered from the swoon she’d fallen into when she heard him say “Broadwoodwidger,” and was ready to go into target acquisition mode as soon as the presentation was over. Marty was the instant life of the party that followed, so she had lots of competition, but being the most tenacious of the lot, she won in the end and accompanied him to his flat for a nightcap and to try out his seed dispensing tool. Laetitia and her group headed back to Plymouth and she presented the limerick of the day.