Day 408: Titty Ho

From Airdrie, Laetitia and her group drove west to the Firth of Clyde and north along the east bank. A bit north of Largs, they stopped to visit Knock Castle—actually, two castles: a nineteenth-century castellated Tudor-style mansion and the ruin of one from the seventeenth century. They then drove up to Castle Levan.

The Tower House at Castle Levan is from the seventeenth century and is now a bed and breakfast, but there have been castles on the spot since the fourteenth century, and the original structure has a tragic past. Lady Mary Montgomery, keeper of the castle while her husband was at war, was sentenced to death for torturing and murdering her tenants. Her sentence was later commuted, but her husband was so outraged when he returned and learned what she had done that he confined her in the castle and starved her to death. A ghost, a white lady assumed to be Lady Mary, is said to haunt the castle.

The group finished the day in Greenock on the banks of River Clyde. After a brief walk on a street in the dockside area called East Breast (Rude Britain number 64), Laetitia dismissed her group with instructions about where to meet for dinner and went to a nearby pub for a pint and to write a limerick. The pub wasn’t busy, and she had a lengthy conversation with the bartender. He told her he was a bachelor and that he loved fox hunting. It’s illegal in Scotland, but he has a friend south of the border in the village of Raunds, Northamptonshire, where hunting is still allowed. Every so often they went fox hunting in West Yorkshire and, when they do, he stays at his friend’s home on a street called Titty Ho.

There were always jokes among the fox hunters about his friend’s street address and its similarity to “tally ho,” the expression shouted when a rider sees the fox. In his view, the best joke was his friend’s behavior when they went to a strip club down the street and the friend kept shouting his street name during each performance. Having neglected to put her notebook in her purse, Laetitia wrote the limerick of the day on a napkin.

A fox hunter who in Scotland’s west
Went to a strip show on East Breast
Shouted out, “Titty Ho!”
In the midst of the show
When all the performers undressed.