Wednesday, 8 July 2009

The Imaginary Reviewer Takes on England!

One thing I wanted to do when I was back in England was to visit lots of places I’ve never been to before. Sure, there’s London, Manchester, Liverpool and Royal Leamington Spa, but I’ve been to all of them before and I love trying new things in new places with new faces and new spaces. Here’s what I found in my travels, like Bill Bryson but without the facial hair.

The village of Flatbrush in Upper Denmarkshire is famous among locals for being “that place that’s mentioned on all the pieces of paper that the postman brings”. It is home to Britain’s largest stuffed mandrill, which weighs more than a car seat and is tall enough to ride Space Mountain at EuroDisney. I loved it in Flatbrush, with its street-lined trees (very handy for stealing apples) and children playing army games with skipping ropes and needle-nosed pliers. Visitors should avoid the aquarium, though, as the fish are all made of innards.

A stuffed mandrill with quite an angry face, yesterday

Crannymagnet is a delightful town located between Blattford and Chorlton-cum-Bucket. It is full of small tea shops run by little old ladies who provide the most wonderful scones with clotted cream and jam. The rooms are all charmingly decorated with twee patterns and chintzy doilies, and the pensioners themselves are all delightful to talk to. Furthermore, give them fifty pence and they’ll take you into the back room and show you their underwear. Splendid!

There’s a tiny hamlet called St Laurence of the Leisure-Suit on Splee, and in order to find it one must first enter Godswood Forest in Bliss (near Bagshot), find a particular wooded glade and recite a poem written by sixth-century monk Douglas Twanky. Then, when the moon glides in a self-satisfied manner towards the South, scatter the ashes of a deceased rhythm guitarist around you and clap three times. A hole will appear in the ground, and when you walk through an imp will ask you three riddles which you must answer correctly or you will be turned to lymph. Only then will you find your way to St Laurence of the Leisure-Suit on Splee. And to be honest, all they’ve got is a crappy souvenir shop and a McDonald’s, so I wouldn’t bother.

If you like custard, you’ll love the city of Cataract, which is down the M18 from Tattersby (turn left before you get to the mill). A tragedy in their pudding factory means that the entire city is covered in eight feet of custard, and daring scuba divers are encouraged to visit and see if they can find any more remains. Anyone is welcome to gorge themselves silly on sweet and gloopy yellow liquid, so long as they bring their own spoon.

Finally, I have heard great things about the village of East Frottage on the cusp of Dantwedge and Throttle. The scenery is beautiful, with gorgeous parks and all-you-can-eat lawns. Museums and art galleries of the highest quality fill the place; in fact, there’s so much culture in the village that the average IQ of the residents is six thousand. I wish I could have seen it all, but I couldn’t as there are no roads which enter East Frottage, only ones that leave. This town planning oversight is quite egregious, and thus I cannot recommend this place at all.

England is open from Monday to Saturday, 06:00 to 23:00, except Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Entrance is free to under 12s and racists.


Soda and Candy said...

I love your super-Englishy posts the best of all.

Also? Mmm, custard.

Did you know they don't sell custard by the carton here in the US (or at least in the South)? The closest thing they have is a horrid probably-non-dairy travesty called vanilla pudding.

It's a bloody outrage it is.

Red said...

Ew. I plan to never visit East Frottage.

mo.stoneskin said...

Piece of advice to anyone visiting "tea shops run by little old ladies". The service will probably be snail-pace, but you can fill the time by running your finger round and round the edge of the doily on the table.

words...words...words... said...

I'm sorry to hear that East Frottage seems to have rubbed you the wrong way.

Bitterly Indifferent said...

My wife and I went to a travel agent who tried to convince us to spend our honeymoon in St Laurence of the Leisure-Suit on Splee. It sounds like we made the right decision when we opted for Camden, NJ, instead.

The Imaginary Reviewer said...

S&C: Custard is only worth eating when it's home-made. And when it's home-made by my Mum. That stuff's so thick you eat it by the slice.

Red: East Frottage is a good place to have a cottage.

Mo: Mmmm...tactiley!

WWW: Yeah, and not in that usually-good-rubbing-the-wrong-way-way.

PMJG: Yeah, and coming from the US means the customs/security control are even harder than getting to St Laurence...

Some Guy said...

Just a word of warning regarding Crannymagnet: Beware of skidmarks the size of Big Ben.

FMIR said...

I thought custard was only to be used as a condiment. Shouldn't we bring sponge cakes instead of spoons?

BeckEye said...

Crannymagnet? Reminds me of this neighborhood in NYC, Trannymagnet.

The Imaginary Reviewer said...

Some Guy: Ooh, that was my dinner.

FMIR: Well, yes, spoons and something to accompany the custard. Well remembered!

Beckeye: Sounds like it's worth a visit...once.

Cooper Green said...

You are a liar of no mean talent, and of course I find that very appealing. I had hoped to see more of England on the weekend, but the Sunday closure meant my wife and I had to leave our hotel room by midnight Saturday, and we spent a very uncomfortable night in a big pool of custard.