The dew was on the grass as Laetitia walked down Raglan Road toward the Emerald Victorian. She was in great spirits this morning, having seen a wonderful production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in a local theater the night before. She unlocked the door, brewed a pot of shade-grown Mexican dark roast, and settled into her chair in the library. The next stop on the tour was a place she had found in Bailey and Hurst’s Rude Britain called Happy Bottom. It is a relatively small and secluded area of Wimborne, in Dorset. Its name has been a source of humor for some time. As a publicity stunt during World War II, movie stars were given an opportunity to choose names that would become nose art for B-17 bombers that were flying missions over German-occupied Europe. Edward G. Robinson gave the name Happy Bottom to one such airplane. He said he had named it in honor of his wife, “Glad-ass” (Gladys).
Laetitia and her group did some touring around Dorset, visiting an iron age fortress now called Maiden Castle, which was overrun by the Romans in 43 AD. In Laetitia’s group was a woman who had joined this particular tour precisely because it was going to Happy Bottom, which, according to her, was her nickname. Bottom had been her married name, and when she divorced, she found it too expensive or too much trouble to change her name back to Bisby, her maiden name. Her real first name was Titania, but since she was generally of a cheerful disposition, her friends called her Happy.
She lived in the hamlet of Pyramus-on-Thisbe, and was employed at the bank there as a loan manager. The bank is perhaps unique in the United Kingdom, and possibly the world, for having a sod roof herb garden. The local gentry know it as “the bank where the wild thyme blows.” Others call it “the bank where the thyme grows wild,” since bank employees are somewhat lax in tending it.
Laetitia hadn’t written a limerick for the day yet, and thought Titania might be a good source, even though to tell her story would require more than one verse. That evening, they had dinner in a pub and Laetitia presented the day’s multiple-verse limerick.
As a girl, young Titania, nee Bisby
Was the kind who quite rarely played frisbee
She wed young Nick Bottom
Who came from Mount Hotham
And resided in Pyramus-on-Thisbe.
But her marriage soon foundered, alas
When she found that Nick didn’t have class
And sometimes she would joke
That one day the dawn broke
And found her in bed with an ass.
‘Twas not that she was puritanical
But Nick was such a rude mechanical
So she left married life
With all of its strife
For the bank with its sod roof botanical.
She had several friends she could thank
For the job she loves down at the bank
Which was very well known
For the herbs that were grown
On its roof of fine soil, rich and dank.
‘Tis a place each town resident knows
By the name “The Bank Where Wild Thyme Blows”
And she is overjoyed
That she is now employed
And her happiness on her face shows.
Her demeanor is sunny and snappy
And her friends gave her the nickname Happy
And she never quite came
To change her surname
Even though she considers it sappy.
We are happy Happy joined our tour
Of that place, Happy Bottom and more
We wish her good health
And a measure of wealth
And we hope this day wasn’t a bore.