Day 351: Tinkerbush Lane

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 Panthe 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?

Day 303: Prim Whim

That morning at the Emerald Victorian, Laetitia contemplated her next move.  Cornwall had been delightful, but it was time to move north and east and do the rest of England and Wales and Scotland.  She picked up Bailey’s and Hurst’s “Rude” books and looked for some place-names in Devon that might lend themselves to limericks and she found two, but before they went to them, they would go to Plymouth.

Laetitia and her group had a morning walk around Fowey and left town about 10:00 am. Priscilla Prim and Lulu LaFarge were on the trip today. They decided to continue to join the group each day as long as it was in Cornwall.  Laetitia observed that Priscilla was not quite as “prim” as she used to be and was beginning to pick up some of Lulu’s coarse language.  She also noticed that their conversations were often somewhat less than ladylike.  Yesterday, she had overheard Lulu instructing Priscilla on how to squat on the rim of the toilet stool in order to avoid what had happened to her in Flushing.

The group drove over Padstow, a Medieval harbor town, known for its “Doom Bar,” which isn’t a licensed premises where people drink themselves to death but rather a sand bar where many ships have run aground.  They visited the church at St. Enodoc, where John Betjeman, once the Poet Laureate of England, is buried.  The church has had a struggle to keep itself from being buried too.  It is near a surfing beach and has a constant battle to keep from being covered over with wind-blown sand.

Laetitia decided that her group needed to have one last Cornish pasty before leaving Cornwall, so they stopped for lunch at a restaurant that advertised Cornish fare.  After lunch there was the usual exodus to the loos.  As the group began to assemble to board the bus, the quiet buzz of conversation was interrupted by a loud burst of profanity emanating from the lady’s loo.  A short time later, Priscilla Prim emerged with a wet shoe.

That afternoon, they went to the ruined castle at Tintagel.  The present ruin is Norman, but there are a number of traditions indicating that there was a previous castle on the spot that was associated with King Arthur, either as his birthplace, or, as the location of Camelot.  They made a stop at a large country manor, Lanhydrock House before heading for their hotel in Plymouth for dinner where Laetitia presented the limerick of the day.

Shrieked a delicate lady, Miss Prim,
Who had gone into the loo on a whim,
Words to make a tar blush
When before she could flush
She had slipped from her perch on the brim.