Posts Tagged ‘Parson’s nose’

Parson’s Nose, 1940s Porn, and England’s Most Forgettable Town Names

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

Yesterday was yet another Bank Holiday in England – May is full of them. The sun was shining so Sir Pubert Gladstone and I headed out to an antiques market in Nantwich. We were welcomed with open arms, a “It’s nice to have some young people here” and free chocolate eclairs to suck on as we wandered around the 40 or so stalls selling gems from yesteryear. There was an interesting mix of items on sale ranging from postcards, jewellery, decorative vases and enough ceramic dogs/cats/horses/birds/etc to fill a zoo. A highlight was a copy of Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Managementan in-depth guide to how to run a successful household, originally written in the 1860s. Offering recipe suggestions for a shooting party and cures for stammering, it contains every piece of useful information a woman or housemaid could ever need. Plus more.

There were also multiple stalls selling vintage Playboy magazines and I had a lengthy conversation with two older gentlemen about the quality of the hand drawn images in 1940s porn. Apparently we HAD to see Batgirl – such great drawing skills and particularly conical breasts. I had won their confidence by spotting a missing book of locomotive postcards, which led to me being allowed to “slip into my pocket” a set of Lyons Tea cards about Australia. According to Card #4, Perth has a population of 376,000.

Perth has changed a bit.

Perth has changed a bit.

After learning about naked ladies, we went for a walk around Nantwich, making a beeline for the city’s church, St Mary’s. We were again warmly welcomed (although no eclairs or pornography this time) and encouraged to explore the impressive 14th century construction. A very friendly volunteer told us about the intricate carvings within the chancel and pointed out a specific detail highlighting the craftsman’s clear dislike for the vicar. Subtly carved into one of the choir stalls is a dodo with the face of the vicar protruding from its rear-end. Apparently this was a play on the derogatory saying of “Parson’s nose.” Very amusing.

Our Bank Holiday adventure continued with a random drive following road signs in the hope of discovering something interesting and exciting. The car went into autopilot when we spotted a sign for a “Microbrewery,” however the signs quickly disappeared and we never found it. All wasn’t lost, however, as we managed to stumble across a town whose name we managed to forget every time we wanted to remember where we were. Even as I write this I need to go to Google maps and find the town to tell you it was called Audlem. This small Cheshire town was going off; bars, sports grounds and local cafés were surrounded by stalls and stages celebrating the Audlem Music Festival and the Union Jack was flying proudly down the streets of the town. Everyone was out enjoying the sunshine and supporting local bands. We went for a wander and managed to spot two men with mullet hair cuts in less than 30 minutes. WIN. We sat and had a beer while listening to groups of teenage boys perform on stage and tried hard to memorise and pronounce the name of the town we were in – Ord-Lem? Owd-lem?

Audlem town centre

Audlem town centre

The unpronounceable and easily-forgettable town names continued as we headed back to Manchester and drove through a place called Wybunbury. Even the Brit driving the car couldn’t say this easily. Why-Bun-bury? Wib-unbry? Who knows. We considered asking a local but didn’t want to offend.