Happy Valentine’s weekend! A few years ago, while poring over maps of Shropshire, I got distracted from my research and wrote this silly (romantic?) ditty instead. How many Shropshire place names can you find in it?
A Loamhole Dingle
Knockin on her door one knighton
He said, “My dear sweet madeley,
I’m craven arms to aldon tight
And find you most beguildy.”
“Great Bolas!” she quatt. “I hopesay not.
I mean, you hadley know me.
It haughton do to acton that
I say you’ve gone too farley.”
(She was adderley in love with him
Her lust all pentre in.
But thought to feign a hardwick heart
The betton way to win.)
Woundale slight, he tried again,
His speech flood all a-rushton.
“I cannot sleap for thoughts of you,
No mind if it’s all newton.”
“I’ve nothing moreton say to you,”
Her words came out stoneacton.
“You’ll wait a longnor year for me.”
But her eyes lit quite albrighton.
Westhope filled his soul just then,
And pierced his myddle hotly.
“Wem I go you’ll miss me so,
‘Less you kenstone tell me not to?”
He’s no ditherington, she thought with glee.
And in bedstone there’s no doubt
That even if he uffington,
I wootton kick him out.
“I think you speak quite claverley:
A patton the back,” said she.
“But my besford says I’m comley
And the right man will purslow me.”
A hampton loade upon his mind
(Which worked at snailbeach pace),
He didn’t catch the blists hill look
A-twitchen ‘cross her face.
Winnington the girl was he
But he didn’t coton on.
He gave himself a peplow talk:
Now prees don’t be a clun.
“I’m a shelton of myself,” he said.
“And now I’ll rhewl this day.
You’re norton ounce in love with me.
There’s nothing morda say.”
She couldn’t under sandford
Why his words tern oh-so bitterley
And thought she’d better poynton out
That she loved him too, most muckley.
“You great grimpo! You nash your teeth
And tong upon my door.
Now colemere here, my love,” she said.
“I’ve wyken you since yore.”
A beambridge lit his handsome eyes
He’d never felt so chorley.
“Willstone you marry me?” he asked,
“And be my one and dawley?”
“That’s rushbury, but I don’t mind,”
And lushcott was her laughter.
“It’s yes! I derrington to think we’ll have
Our merrington ever after.”
“Yes, I derrington to think we’ll have
Our merrington ever after.”
Who set his own shirt on fire to cure a bout of hiccups?
What experience did John Betjeman describe as like “being lifted up to heaven”?
Where can you pet a llama, go down a mine, sing in an old-time music hall or stand with one leg in England and one leg in Wales?
When was Shropshire a coral reef in a tropical sea?
Why did weeping Victorian tourists flock to a ‘grave’ in Tong?
Find the answers to all these questions and more in Slow Travel: Shropshire, published by Bradt Travel Guides to a very positive reception in February this year.
Between now and the end of November 2016, I’m taking orders for signed copies – the ideal Christmas present for anyone who loves Shropshire already, or who deserves to be let in on the secrets of this quietly beautiful, unjustly overlooked, historically important county.
Get your signed copy directly from me, the author, for only £12 (RRP £12.99) plus £2.30 P&P*. Just send me a message with your details: I’ll forward you a link for instant payment and get the book to you right away, with the handwritten sentiment of your choice inside.
Please hurry, though, as I have only limited stock. This offer will end on Wednesday 30 November.
Read what people have been saying about the book.
*Price for UK second-class postage. Please let me know in your message if you’re overseas or need it sooner than a second-class service can deliver.
My book for Bradt Travel Guides is available to buy now in online bookshops and some of the best real-life mainstream and indie ones too (cover price is £12.99).
The book came out two days before my second baby so I’ve been very busy (and awake) ever since.
Here is just some of the lovely feedback I’ve received so far:
“an interesting read even for a local, puts a really interesting spin on places you normally only ever drive (or ride) past”
From Shropshire Review
. . . “an excellent guide book, packed to bursting with information and painstakingly gathered detail which will have not only visitors but also natives of the county wanting to get out there and explore.”
From a PhD student at the Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage at the University of Birmingham:
“it’s a lovely format and felt much more like travel writing than a traditional guide book. I was really impressed by the depth of research that went into it and the way it drew me into the stories of the places in it.”
Over at Amazon:
“I found myself reading it almost from cover to cover.”
Just a few of many sweet tweets:
You’ll also find lots of extra content at the Bradt website.
At this very moment it is likely I am wearing wellies, hopping over a stile, falling in a mere, climbing a hill, testing cream tea (VERY important), scribbling down museum opening hours or waiting for a train. Or just holed up in my office writing …
Slow Travel: Shropshire will be published by Bradt Travel Guides in February 2016. Available for pre-order now.