Day 849: Winchester 1

When Laetitia received an email from the headquarters of Mind’s Eye Limerick Tours asking her to lead a tour in Winchester (Hampshire, UK), her first thought was of a piece she had seen on the internet claiming that the original verse of the old bawdy song, Seven Old Ladies Locked in the Lavatory, was written by someone who had a grudge against the Bishop of Winchester. The piece about the song’s origin was not sourced. Thus, Laetitia filed it mentally as conjecture. The song goes:

Dear, dear, what can the matter be
Seven old ladies, locked in the lavatory
They were there from Sunday to Saturday
Nobody knew they were there.

The first was the Bishop of Winchester’s daughter
Who came in to pass some superfluous water
She pulled on the chain and the rising tide caught her
And nobody knew she was there.

Verses to the song now exceed seven by far. The conjecturer opined that other verses were added later.

Winchester has been dwelling site at least as far back as the Iron Age and went through the familiar progression from Roman town to Anglo-Saxon fortified town (once home to Alfred the Great) until the Norman Invasion. The Norman’s built Winchester’s famous cathedral, the longest in Europe, although the city has been a cathedral town since 642. The song, Winchester Cathedral, by the New Vaudeville Band topped the popular music charts in the 1960s and won a Grammy. The Cathedral is the final resting place of Jane Austin, who died in Winchester in 1817.

When Laetitia led her tour, she found Winchester a delightful town with much to see and talk about. No doubt it deserved further presentation, but she decided to begin with a limerick about the conjecture.

Though ‘tis likely that no bishop’s daughter
Went through life without e’er passing water,
While in Winchester slumming
Did one find bad plumbing
When she flushed and the rising tide caught her?

Day 848: English Signs (Shitterton)

During her recent tour in Dorset, Laetitia encountered several signs she thought worthy of mention.   The first was a sign in Bere Regis for a street called “Shitterton.”   It wasn’t as though she was first to discover it. It is No. 120 in Bailey’s and Hurst’s Rude Britain. Adjacent to the road’s stone marker is a sign saying that it is “Unsuitable for heavy goods vehicles” and a triangular sign with symbols suggesting that it’s an appropriate place to take children for walks. Missing is a sign suggesting that walkers wear easily cleaned footwear.

She decided to write a limerick about them.

This writer of limericks opines
That England’s renown for its signs
And Shitterton’s one
That’s especially fun
If one toward bawdy humor inclines.

Day 847: Cerne Abbas Giant

Laetitia received an email from the headquarters of Mind’s Eye Limerick Tours, wherever that is, to lead a tour in Dorset in England that included the Cerne Abbas giant.  She had toured there before, but didn’t mind going there again so she obliged on the next occasion when she had a break from her Antarctic research station duties. The giant is a 180-foot high chalk figure of a man with a club and an erection.  Its date of origin is unknown.  The earliest written record of it is in 1694.

When it came to writing the day’s limerick, Laetitia pondered whether the man depicted by the figure was confused when he was approached by a friend who said, “Wanna go clubbing tonight?

Was the man with the large club of wood
Just a fellow who misunderstood
A friend’s call to go clubbing
And did he get a snubbing
From the folks in his neighborhood?

Day 846: Neuschwanstein

Normally, Laetitia wouldn’t have thought of leading a winter tour but, compared to Antarctica, winters elsewhere are mild.  Thus, Laetitia decided to lead a winter trip to Neuschwanstein, the fairytale castle of King Ludwig II of Bavaria.  Ludwig was a Richard Wagner enthusiast and many of the rooms were modeled after Wagnerian opera scenes.  The falling snow enhanced the romance of the tour although the trek up the hill to the entrance was a bit slippery.  After a guided visit to the castle, Laetitia took her group through the nearby Füssen to enjoy its Christmas markets.  Her guests especially enjoyed the gluhwein (hot mulled wine) served in each stand’s signature cups.

A winter trip to Neuschwanstein
Is an outing exceptionally fine
With a romantic glow
In the feathery snow
And followed by steaming gluhwein.