Day 331: Prince Albert Court

As agreed, Gloria from Emporia, Kansas, arrived in Sunbury-on-Thames in Surrey, the locale of Prince Albert Court, and prepared to give a lecture on young Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Laetitia and her group visited Prince Albert Court just before lunch and, after dining, went to a conference room she had reserved. She took notes during Gloria’s lecture, and when it was finished, wrote a multiple-verse limerick summarizing it.

“Did Prince Albert court Queen Victoria
And win in a burst of euphoria
Over swains by the dozen
To wed his young cousin?”
Mused a young Kansas author named Gloria.

“Was she wowed by this dapper young man
Later seen on a tobacco can
And gave him her heart
As her faithful consort
In a match both embraced with élan?”

“Or was theirs a royal wedding arranged
Toward statecraft that may seem deranged
And so often embroils
The hapless young royals
In a match that may soon be estranged?”

Our young Gloria’s book did opine
That their marriage, indeed, was quite fine
And when all’s done and said
They had good times in bed
Producing their progeny nine.

There’s a rumor around of a ring
Albert’s said to have worn through his “thing”
Was the Queen most enthused
Or was she “not amused”
When they were on an amorous fling?

This contrasts with the views of historians
Of the staid prudish bent of Victorians
Who disparaged things nude
Or bawdy or rude
In tones that were sometimes stentorian.

And would have viewed such as immoral
If ‘twas worn around Castle Balmoral
And the mark of a rogue
Though such things are in vogue
In today’s world without too much quarrel.

‘Twas not within Gloria’s capacity
To establish this rumor’s veracity
For the folks who would know
Are all dead long ago
And can’t speak on the consort’s audacity.

Day 330: Fays Passage

Laetitia’s agreement with Mind’s Eye Limerick Tours allowed her to take a day off every thirty days or so. This was thirty days since her last day off, so she went to the Emerald Victorian with the intention of not doing a tour today. In the library, with a steaming cup of freshly brewed Sulawesi dark roast in hand, she paged through Rude UK and found two additional place names in Surrey that she thought might make good limericks. The names were Fay’s Passage and Prince Albert Court. Fay’s Passage is in Guildford. She decided that she wouldn’t actually lead a tour there, but would use Fay’s Passage in a limerick to post for today.

When she ran across Prince Albert Court in Rude Britain, she wondered, “What could possibly be rude about Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s consort?” Through the wonders of the Internet, she discovered what it was. She remembered meeting Gloria back in Emporia, Kansas (Day 246), who was writing a book on young Queen Victoria. Laetitia thought it would be helpful to have her on tomorrow’s tour of Prince Albert Court. They communicated by email, and Gloria agreed to join the group tomorrow and give a lecture on the subject. Laetitia posted the Fays Passage limerick.

After searching in very dim light
Brett entered Fays Passage one night
And he drew a large crowd
When he shouted out loud
“This fine place is such a delight.”

Day 326: Pratt’s Bottom

Near Badgers Mount in Kent is the village of Pratt’s Bottom, now part of greater London. In the eighteenth century it was called Spratt’s Bottom, but somehow the S was dropped from the name. It consists of a village hall complete with village green, two churches, a pub, a shop, a school, and a few side streets. Pratt’s Bottom is listed as number 77 in Rude Britain. Its inclusion is especially appropriate, since, as fans of slapstick comedy know, a pratfall is a mishap where the comedian falls and lands on his or her buttocks.

It didn’t take long for Laetitia and her group to see all the places of interest in Pratt. Fortunately an American woman had joined the tour because her surname was Pratt. She was a woman of some means who was unmarried and had made the genealogy of her family names her life’s work. Her genealogical search became the focus of the tour group.

Laetitia didn’t have the heart to tell her that she might have been better off looking for Spratt (like Jack who could eat no fat) in Pratt’s Bottom, but sometimes things done based on flawed logic do yield results. She found that the name Pratt is derived from an Anglo-Saxon word “praett.” The word translates as “trick,” and it might have been a name applied to a magician. She had also found Pratts (albeit spelled “Prat”) in Kent as far back as the twelfth century, and did find some Pratts living in Pratt’s Bottom.

According to Ms. Pratt, when she called on the townsfolk with the same last name, the family resemblance was obvious. Their body shapes resembled that of the schmoo, a 1940s cartoon character created by Al Capp that somewhat resembles a plump pear with legs. The Pratts were pleasant folks and were well accepted by their neighbors, but every so often newcomers made irksome jokes about their surname, the village name, and their body shape. They became the subject of the daily limerick.

Pratt’s Bottom’s a town that can claim
That it’s blessed with a memorable name
But its townsfolk named Pratt
Who are pear-shaped and fat
Are sure to be jokesters’ fair game.

Day 323: Upper Dicker

Each year in July the Village Hall of Upper Dicker in East Sussex is the scene of The Travelling Folk Song and Ale. It is a festival of instrumental and vocal music, good company, and of course consumption of ale or other alcoholic spirits. Many of the attendees tent-camp in a nearby campground. The festival is very popular, and tickets sell out quickly. Laetitia brought her group there. The music on the program was a kind she liked, but her real reason for bringing her group here was that Upper Dicker is in Rude Britain.

By evening, everyone in her group had consumed quite a lot of ale, and the conversation turned from music to the village name. Someone said, “That there is an Upper Dicker implies that there must also be a Lower Dicker.”

“There is,” said Laetitia. “It’s not far from here.” Laetitia knew, because it’s listed in Rude UK. What followed was a lot of giggling talk that an eavesdropping listener who didn’t know the context might have concluded was about food, since “sandwich’ occurred several times in the conversation. As the party wore on, the conversation became ruder and ruder and provided the limerick of the day.

Whenever they’ve had too much liquor
Some folks may have rude thoughts and snicker
About strumpets blue
In between lovers two
When it’s party time in Upper Dicker.