Day 368: Adams Bottom

Today’s destination for Laetitia and her group was Leighton Buzzard, a community in Bedfordshire. The unusual town name is actually a combination of two names. “Leighton,” in Old English means “a clearing in the woods.” Tradition holds that in the twelfth century, there were two Leightons in the same vicinity, and the powers that be decided to distinguish them by adding a second name to each. The second name for this town came from a church official of Norman descent named Theobald du Busar. However, the local peasants were unable or unwilling to pronounce it the French way and it was corrupted to Leighton Buzzard.

The community features a narrow gauge heritage railroad line, so the group spent much of the day touring the Bedfordshire countryside in old passenger cars pulled by a steam engine. Then they made a stop at a short street in Leithton Buzzard called Adams Bottom that has the distinction of being number 99 in Rude UK. Afterward Laetitia and her group agreed on a dinner place for later, and Laetitia went to a pub to sip a pint of Smithwicks and write a limerick.

Near the bar was a table of Australian tourists, who said they came from near Mount Hotham. They had been touring England for the past few weeks and were ready to go home. Their mission this afternoon was to try out as many English ales as they could. Tom, the drunkest of the lot, whom the others called “Old Sot,” asked Laetitia what she had done today. She told him about the train and Adams Bottom and asked him if he had seen either. His response provided the limerick of the day.

A drunken old Aussie, Old Sot Tom
Said, when asked if he’d seen Adams Bottom
I’d prefer to see Eve’s,
Or, perhaps, Anne of Cleaves’
Or, maybe, go home to Mount Hotham.

Day 367: Prickwillow

Laetitia and her group visited the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge and the Round Church that was built in 1130 AD. The church resembles the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Both the Templars and the Knights Hospitallers had strong connections to Jerusalem through the Crusades, but it is not known whether the “Confraternity of the Holy Sepulchre,” which is credited with building the church, had any connection with either group.

At the time of the English Civil War, the puritans who controlled Parliament under Cromwell set about to destroy all images associated with Catholicism. A Puritan soldier named William Dowsing carried out this destructive work in Cambridgeshire. Unlike most other iconoclasts, he kept a journal, and it indicates that the Round Church was one of the places he struck. He described the Round Church as having, “14 superstitious pictures, and diverse idolatrous inscriptions, and one of God the Father, and of Christ, and of the Apostles.”

Making a mental note to come back to Cambridge on later tours, Laetitia took her group to Prickwillow, a Cambridgeshire village listed number 75 in Rude Britain. It is a village on the edge of the fen country, the low-lying region of boggy and reclaimed land that requires a constant battle to keep drained. They visited a local museum featuring technology used over the centuries to drain the wetlands. Laetitia couldn’t think of anything about the draining of wetlands that suggested a good limerick, but fortunately the bartender at the pub where she had a pint before dinner had a story about a fellow named Scott from a nearby town and a local girl named Willow who was his paramour. At dinner, she presented the limerick of the day.

Whenever he went to Prickwillow
Scott carried with him a large pillow
For a reason quite sound
It kept them off the ground
When he lay on the pillow with Willow.

Day 366: Reginald and Celeste

On her second day on Grand Cayman, Laetitia noticed posters inviting all of the hotel guests to a party given in honor of a flotilla of American destroyers that were arriving that afternoon in the main harbor as part of a midshipman cruise. The purpose of such cruises is to give officer candidates some seagoing experience and create an illusion of life as a junior officer far more glamorous than it actually is. The hotel had invited all of the ships’ officers to attend the party, with the provision that they had to come in uniform.

A waiter handed Laetitia a piña colada as she arrived at the ballroom, and she stood near the bar, observing the sea of white uniforms and colorful tropical party clothes. She was about to mingle with the crowd when Reginald Prickett walked up, drink in hand. She was certain that Reginald wasn’t a hotel guest, but she thought party crashing was likely a necessary skill for someone in his profession. Since he had given her yesterday’s limerick and might provide another for today, she stayed to talk to him. They resumed their conversation of yesterday, with Reginald talking about his favorite subject: himself.

Earlier in the day he had gone to a society wedding on the Island as the escort of one of his ladies, a wealthy widow named Monica Beard. They were supposed to go to this evening’s hotel party as well. Unfortunately she had become ill during the wedding, so he came alone. Reginald introduced Laetitia to an acquaintance, Celeste, before going off to join the party crowd in the center of the ballroom.

Celeste was a good-looking woman, older than Laetitia with signs of aging deftly covered with makeup. She was supposed to meet a friend named Damon who had a party invitation, but when he didn’t show, up she came alone. She confessed that she crashed the party by whispering the promise of a future favor in Adam, the bouncer’s, ear and he let her pass into the ballroom. As they talked they found that they shared an interest in Agatha Christie, and Laetitia was surprised to learn that the fully clothed woman on the beach under the palm tree had been Celeste. At the end of their lengthy conversation, Laetitia thanked her and later recounted the stories that emerged from both Reginald and Celeste in multiple-verse limericks.

I live my life in the fast lane
And the wedding for Darcy and Dane
Was where a man single
Could meet and commingle
With the ladies who live on champagne.

I went to it as the escort
Of a widow of wealth and import
Whose body’s well-toned
And well siliconed
As befits one whose home’s a resort.

She’s the widow of Oliver Beard,
An old fellow both hated and feared
Whose holdings substantial
From dealings financial
Weren’t as clean as they might have appeared.

On the day that I met his wife, Monica
She’d finished her tenth gin and tonic, a
Sensation in hose
And chic mourning clothes
Whom I soon took behind the Japonica.

On the day of this great celebration
We started out with a libation
And then several more
Before we reached the door
Of the church that would host this occasion.

Celebrating’s what wedding’s about
But she drank too much, there is no doubt
She passed out in the pew
And was sick in her shoe
‘Fore her nurse came to carry her out.

So I’m at this fine party alone
Is it champagne and beef Bourguignon?
An occasion like this
I did not want to miss
Though for me it’s a kind of work zone.

Hey look! There’s Celeste by herself
Is Damon, her beau, on the shelf?
She’s full of surprises
And herself she disguises
As she gathers her intel by stealth.

She’s writing a book that exposes
The elites in unflattering poses
Like a wife in flagrante
In her beau’s Escalante
While her husband’s out buying her roses.

If you see an old dame with white hair
Fully clothed on the beach in a chair
It’s likely Celeste
Who as Jane Marple dressed
Knits and listens to folks unaware.

She’s a big fan of Agatha Christie
A best-selling author in history
Whose spinster reclusive
Finds her lifestyle conducive
To the solving of many a mystery.

As Miss Marple she looks very frail
But you find when she takes off her veil
That she’s shapely and cute
And of life quite astute
But she can tell you her own tale.

I’m all by myself; I just came on
An invite from my good friend Damon
But wouldn’t you know
The jerk didn’t show
Don’t ya love parties here on Grand Cayman?

I go by the name of Celeste
And I come from America’s west
And here’s my confession
I had a profession
That some scorn, but I thought the best.

For my annual six-figure take
Was a lot more than most women make
Doing cooking and cleaning
Things I find demeaning
That for me would have been a mistake.

There is no doubt I worked for my pay
Seeing forty or more johns a day
Sometimes six an hour
With no time to shower
And no time at all for foreplay.

So night after night I gave solace
To men in the small town of Wallace
In Ginger’s Oasis,
That kind of a place is
For fellows like Speedy Gonzales.

Such men find their love-life’s sublimer
When it’s timed by a plastic egg timer
Since they have to climax
In eight minutes max
It’s not a place for an old-timer.

We’d a posted exchange rate in order
That cowboys from north of the border
From the Alberta boonies
Could pay us in loonies
For whichever service they order.

My hero is witty Nell Gwynne
For whom King Charles Two had a yen
Was her great skill at acting
What made her attracting
To the king and to most other men?

Sometimes the girls thought I was dyin’
When I was just playing Meg Ryan
From Harry Met Sally
It increased my tally
When I made each john feel like a lion.

One day in nineteen eighty eight
We were told that we had to vacate
To take all our cash
And leave in a flash
For there was no time to hesitate.

When I left Oasis I’d enough
Long nights on a bed in the buff
And so to retire
Was my ardent desire
As I aged that lifestyle got more tough.

But I had to consider the facts
I had cash on which I’d paid no tax
When a helpful tax maven
Said find a tax haven
I came here to have fun and relax.

Back then there was no body scan
Showing things once viewed by Superman
So that what’s ‘neath the bodice
Of ladies who’re modest
Can be seen by the airport scan-man.

So I made trips to a Caymans spa
With cash hid ‘neath my corset and bra
And put each amount
In a numbered account
And then had fun in Shangri-La.

At last when the cash was all moved
I decided that now it behoved
Me to come here to stay
And play every day
‘Twas a lifestyle of which I approved.

I am skilled at the theater art
And wear costumes that go with each part
Like when I dress and warble
Like that old dame, Jane Marple
Or deck out like some painted young tart.

A boyfriend I have now and then
And some are quite generous men
Who ply me with jewels
And condos with pools
If I only will see them again.

But the moment I cherish with glee
Was when Prickett tried to hustle me
When I dressed like old Jane
And proceeded to feign
I was wealthy and relative-free.

And as that rare evening unfurled
Into stark disbelief he was hurled
When this naive old matron
He sought as a patron
Disrobed and took him ‘round the world.’

To be at this fine party I glad am
For it sure does beat being a madame
And I may meet a beau
And have champagne although
I now owe a favor to Adam.

Day 365: Reginald Prickett

When Laetitia walked down Raglan Road in the crisp morning air, she pondered what she would do today. The powers that be at Mind’s Eye Limerick Tours—wherever that was—had made it clear that every 30 days or so, she could take a day off from leading a tour. Generally on such days, she went to the Emerald Victorian and stayed long enough to have coffee and write and post a limerick. Then she would leave and have the rest of the day to herself. But this day was different. This was day number 365. She had now been leading Mind’s Eye Limerick Tours for one year, and in recognition of this anniversary as a tour leader, Mind’s Eye headquarters had emailed her that she could take off not one but two days. She could take a trip by herself. It would be just like any other Mind’s Eye trip, except that she wouldn’t have to lead a group. She would, however, be required to send them a vignette and limerick at the end of each day.

She looked through some guidebooks and decided to go to someplace warm, Grand Cayman Island. She spent the day snorkeling over a nearby coral reef. In late afternoon, she walked along the beach and noticed a fully clothed older woman knitting as she reclined on a beach chair in the shade of a palm tree. The woman wore wire-rim spectacles and her grey hair in a bun. She was the spitting image of how Laetitia imagined Jane Marple looked in Agatha Christie’sA Caribbean Mystery. “Maybe life imitates art,” she thought.

That evening she showered, put on a casual beach outfit, and went to a beach bar that was part of one of the posh hotels. A man, good-looking and smartly dressed in slacks and a high-end tropical shirt, joined her at the bar. He bought her a couple of rum drinks and talked to her, mostly about himself. As their conversation evolved, it became clear that he was a hustler, but she lacked two essential elements that would have made him interested in making her a conquest. She was neither wealthy nor old. However she was a good listener and Reginald loved to talk about himself. By the end of the evening, his life’s story, which he had told her in great detail, made a nice multiple-verse limerick.

My friends call me Reginald Prickett
And I’m good at both croquet and cricket
I’m known throughout earth
From Frisco to Perth
For my prowess that all say is wicked.

My goal in life once was to own a
Plush condo in downtown Sedona
So that I could beguile
Wealthy ladies in style
Who spend winters in Arizona.

‘Til I wooed an old lady who smoked
And ‘twas not very long ‘til she croaked
And I learned with a thrill
That I was in her will
Imagine what joy that evoked.

With the cash that I got from old Maude
I then started a new life abroad
With a brand new life plan
As a smooth ladies’ man
On a quest for a gullible broad.

You can find me almost any day
On a lawn somewhere playing croquet
With some aged matron
Who’s my current patron
Or instructing some cute protégé.

I’ve a technique for teaching that’s grand
My pupils start with ball-in-hand
And then ball in play
And without delay
Its peel, peg out, push, just as planned.

And though some folks may think it absurd
The dowager girls are preferred
For they usually show gratitude
And seldom have attitude
Like you get from the much younger bird.

They usually aren’t boisterous and loud
And are often with funds well endowed
That they might leave a friend
When their life’s at its end
And they’re joining the feathery crowd.

The best are the ones without kin
Those troublesome heirs who barge in
With lawyers and spoil
The fruits of my toil
And leave me with naught but chagrin.

But I must say that my biggest thrill
Is a lady who’s terminally ill
Who’s frail and infirm
With an outlook short-term
Who just might write me into her will.

I have lived here for almost three years
When I came I was deep in arrears
From dealings in France
Where I lost my pants
But I’m better now thanks to those dears.

I’ve parlayed my good looks and panache
Into condos and sports cars and cash
I’m witty and arty
And love a good party
And wear clothes that exude style and dash.

I live my life in the fast lane
And cruise the beach bars, for it’s plain
That they’re where a man single
Can meet and commingle
With the ladies that live on champagne.

If you think that I’m not very nice
And my lifestyle is nothing but vice
Then you ought to reflect
I deserve your respect
For my services bring a high price.