Oxford is situated on the edge of that scenic range of hills called the Cotswolds, famous in the past as a wool-growing region, now a popular tourist destination. Laetitia took her group to Stanway, a small Cotswolds village. There they toured Stanway House, a Jacobean manor house built during the sixteenth century that, interestingly, has a small brewery on the premises. J. M. Barrie, a Scottish author and playwright who lived mostly in London, often stayed there during the 1920s. It is said that it was during one of his sojourns at Stanway House that he had the inspiration to write the plays and books about Peter Pan, the Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up. After the tour, Laetitia and her group sampled some of the brews from the Stanway House Brewery and then headed south to Wantage.
Wantage is southwest of Oxford, in an area formerly part of Berkshire, but now in Oxfordshire. It is the birthplace of King Alfred the Great (born in 849) and was home to John Betjeman, who was England’s poet Laureate from 1972 to 1984. Laetitia and her group visited a water-powered mill that dates from the days when Wantage was a prominent wool-trading center. However her primary reason for going to Wantage is the presence of a street there called Tinkerbush Lane, which is listed in Rude Britain. When the group went to a pub after the visit to the street, they had a lively conversation stimulated by the street name and their recent visit to Stanway House. The conversation inspired Laetitia’s limerick of the day.
As children, we thought they were swell
Those characters we knew so well
In the Peter Pan book
Smee, Wendy, and Hook
And Peter Pan’s Pal, Tinker Bell.
Was this book with its deeds astronomical
Source of a street name that is comical
Called Tinkerbush Lane
Derived, some think plain,
From a Tinker Bell part anatomical?