Road Sign

This is a road sign just a few miles down the road on the way to Lincoln. It is the name of a town, not directions for use of local amenities, although the ‘please drive carefully’ works in either case, don’t you think? A little further along the road you get to Ownby by Spital, and then Normanby by Spital.

If that tickles you funny bone, as it does mine every time I pass by, beyond Lincoln on the road to London is the town of Lower Bottom. I understand that there is also a Middle Bottom and a Little Bottom close by. Cheek by jowl, as it were.

Last night on the ‘telly’ there was a news item of a local fair featuring a four mile horse race that has been run every year since 1519. At the same festival there was a cheese rolling contest, where teams take one metre diameter rounds of cheese and roll them down a hill. In order to keep them going the teams roll down the hill beside the cheese, and here was the newscaster doing a straight up account of the contest as all these cheeses and all the contestants tumbled over one another in a chaotic fall down a very steep hill. It was hilarious!

It is this combination of the very historic and the very silly – the sublime and the ridiculous, if you will – that gives England its charm: the pomp and circumstance of the longest monarchial dynasty on the planet, as well as the home of Peter Sellers, Monty Python and Mr. Bean.