Day 310: Shedbush Lane

When she walked into the Emerald Victorian, Laetitia went immediately into the library and did a quick search for some more information on Pyramus-on-Thisbe. When a quick search revealed nothing, she went back into the kitchen, made coffee, and returned to do a more thorough search. Again, it could not be found on any of the maps or books on England. She shrugged, thinking, “I suppose someone who conducts imaginary tours shouldn’t be surprised at something like this. Perhaps Happy Bottom, if that’s her real name, imagined it.” She went to the coffee maker, poured a fresh cup, and began to plan the day’s tour. Today they would go to Bridport in Dorset to a street called Shedbush Lane.

Bridport is a coastal town with a population of about 13,000. It was once a thriving fishing port and market town famous as a rope-making center. Its picturesque harbor and nearness to Chesil Beach make it an attractive location for holiday homes. On the way to Bridport, Laetitia took her group on a hike along the cliffs of the Jurassic Coast. The Jurassic Coast consists of cliffs from the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods documenting 180 million years of the geologic past. It was here that paleontologist Mary Anning discovered the first complete ichthyosaur skeleton in 1811.

Shedbush Lane is another of the places listed in Bailey and Hurst’s Rude UK. Laetitia and her group passed a salon and spa that featured a long list of services, including massage, manicure, pedicure, tanning, and body hair removal. Several members of Laetitia’s group decided that wanted a massage after the cliff hike, and the rest of the group went into the tearoom next door. The proprietor of both establishments was Lionel, who liked to talk about himself, and singled out Laetitia for the honor of benefiting from his wisdom.

Lionel’s true calling—according to him—was to be a writer. With his first novel, he hoped to not only rake in the substantial royalties that only a bestseller can bring, but to enhance his spa business. He decided to name his novel Shedbush Lane, after the street where his businesses are located. The novel’s heroine, Brittany, lives a mundane existence, until she discovers the life-changing benefits that spa services can bring, not unlike those offered by Lionel’s establishment. There is, of course, a love interest, named Lance, who is tall, tan, and muscular, but otherwise resembles Lionel. Because some of the characters in the novel closely resemble real Bridport residents, Lionel moved the locale of the novel from Chesil Beach to the beach at Penzance.

At dinner that evening, Laetitia presented the limerick of the day.

Shedbush Lane is a young woman’s story
About how she attained fame and glory
And wealth and romance
On the beach at Penzance
With the aid of a depilatory.