Day 305: Crapstone

Laetitia took her group on a sightseeing trip in Plymouth and environs. They visited the National Marine Aquarium, Totnes Castle, and the Bicton Park Botanical Gardens,

At lunch in a waterfront restaurant, Laetitia sat at the bar. The bar was mostly full, and the bartender was busy, so she struck up a conversation with a man named Ben, who was sitting next to her. He said he was from a nearby town, but wouldn’t tell her the name of the town he was from. After she bought him a drink and coaxed a bit, he reluctantly told her he was from Crapstone. She immediately recognized the name, since it is in Bailey’s and Hurst’s Rude Britain. He went on to tell her how embarrassing it was to order by telephone because the order takers inevitably either thought his was a crank call or made jokes about the town name. That evening at dinner, Laetitia presented the limerick of the day.

Whenever Ben ordered by phone
He dreaded to make his town known
For clerks said, “You’re joking,”
Or “What are you smoking?”
When he told them he lived in Crapstone.

Day 304: Broadwoodwidger

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.

A gardener fellow named Marty
Discovered a way to sound arty
When he said “Broadwoodwidger,”
Enticing Miss Bridger
And becoming the life of the party.

Day 303: Prim Whim

That morning at the Emerald Victorian, Laetitia contemplated her next move.  Cornwall had been delightful, but it was time to move north and east and do the rest of England and Wales and Scotland.  She picked up Bailey’s and Hurst’s “Rude” books and looked for some place-names in Devon that might lend themselves to limericks and she found two, but before they went to them, they would go to Plymouth.

Laetitia and her group had a morning walk around Fowey and left town about 10:00 am. Priscilla Prim and Lulu LaFarge were on the trip today. They decided to continue to join the group each day as long as it was in Cornwall.  Laetitia observed that Priscilla was not quite as “prim” as she used to be and was beginning to pick up some of Lulu’s coarse language.  She also noticed that their conversations were often somewhat less than ladylike.  Yesterday, she had overheard Lulu instructing Priscilla on how to squat on the rim of the toilet stool in order to avoid what had happened to her in Flushing.

The group drove over Padstow, a Medieval harbor town, known for its “Doom Bar,” which isn’t a licensed premises where people drink themselves to death but rather a sand bar where many ships have run aground.  They visited the church at St. Enodoc, where John Betjeman, once the Poet Laureate of England, is buried.  The church has had a struggle to keep itself from being buried too.  It is near a surfing beach and has a constant battle to keep from being covered over with wind-blown sand.

Laetitia decided that her group needed to have one last Cornish pasty before leaving Cornwall, so they stopped for lunch at a restaurant that advertised Cornish fare.  After lunch there was the usual exodus to the loos.  As the group began to assemble to board the bus, the quiet buzz of conversation was interrupted by a loud burst of profanity emanating from the lady’s loo.  A short time later, Priscilla Prim emerged with a wet shoe.

That afternoon, they went to the ruined castle at Tintagel.  The present ruin is Norman, but there are a number of traditions indicating that there was a previous castle on the spot that was associated with King Arthur, either as his birthplace, or, as the location of Camelot.  They made a stop at a large country manor, Lanhydrock House before heading for their hotel in Plymouth for dinner where Laetitia presented the limerick of the day.

Shrieked a delicate lady, Miss Prim,
Who had gone into the loo on a whim,
Words to make a tar blush
When before she could flush
She had slipped from her perch on the brim.

Day 302: Lei Lady Lei

Laetitia met her group in Fowey again.  They did a photo walkabout in the morning, stopping to visit the church where Kenneth Grahame was married.  That afternoon they visited a shop where classic wooden sailboats were made and, then, the group went off on their own to shop.  Laetitia found a bench on the waterfront where she could watch the passing scene and overheard a Cornish teenager bragging about what he was going to do when he visited Hawaii next month with his parents.  Back at the hotel, Laetitia presented the limerick of the day.

To Hawaii, goes a young Cornish boy
To a luau, but not for the poi
He goes, I’m afraid
Cause he’s heard he’ll get leid
Which happens quite seldom in Fowey.