I thought I’d ease up a bit on my search for Britain’s toilet, and have a little dalliance around the edges of #Dorset and #Somerset. The miles of shaved wheatfields but yet still sturdy corn crops making for breath-taking although nasal-bursting scenery. It is already time to take in the hay, leaving the horizon full of bales and bricks, and the air full of dust and other sternutatory materials. The waft of hay fever cuts through yet another mugging heatwave, and in between cruising, Nelson and I have taken to fighting over the sweet spots under the van’s ceiling fans. It is the cat who suffers from hayfever, and when he sneezes, I get splattered. As a result, he wins most of the fights.
In between our carrying on, we happened, somewhat surprisingly, upon #SydlingSt.Nicholas.
A fascinating name which conjured up my committing an act of frotteurism on Santa Claus. I should make clear: molesting Nick the Wonderworker will result in, not only an absence of presents on Christmas Day, but also being consigned to the sex offenders’ register. That said, it is an olde-worlde name for an olde-worlde village: full of squat, thatched terraces, rumbling along the Sydling Waters, a trickle of a stream that feeds into the Frome. I didn’t lurk for long, largely because parking is impossible, and I feared being charged with loitering with the intent of ruining someone’s day.
Instead, I headed off for a string of hamlets which collectively sounded like a series of disappointing love affairs: commencing with Hardy’s #Evershot. Evershot, contradictorily, is the source of the River Frome, which runs parallel to the River Piddle. It was dribbling away like a Great Dane at dinnertime. From there, I made my way upwards to #Penselwood, where England’s finest made a stand against the Great Cnut in 1016, and lost. I should not have been flabbergasted by this revelation. After that, I dropped down to #Droop. There’s bugger all to be said about Droop. Not even a signpost saying “Thank you for driving carefully.” Even the houses, substantial though they were, were hidden by thick hedging, making life difficult to detect.
So, full of dismay, I headed off to the outstanding village of #Tincleton. I asked Google, the font of all knowledge, for interesting facts about #Tincleton and it came back “There are no interesting facts about Tincleton.” Eventually, after a lot of digging, I learnt that the population had increased by eight in the last twenty years. They’re breeding, Jim: just very, very slowly. Either that or there’s some funny business going on.
After my little daily flirtations around the boundaries of #Dorset and #Somerset, I found myself hunting for suitable one night stands for #TheShitRon. Ideally, a bare patch of gravel high up a down, preferably one giving stunning panoramic views of rolling English hills, and marvellous views from the loo. Occasionally, I make do with a quiet layby off a B-road. A poor selection means as traffic swings by, it sucks the air away from the van, especially first thing when the great-employed hurtle towards another paid-for day. In their wake, the bed-ridden occupants contained within lurch as if the tarmac has become a superhighway of water. If the van’s a-rocking, don’t come a-knocking: the occupants are likely being sea-sick.
Another night’s search for a good nap found in me a quiet lay-by, well away from the A-road. As I settled in, I thought to commend it on #Park4Night, an app like Tinder, albeit one matching chaste bedfellows for vans. That’s where I learnt, come 10:30pm, it is a popular dogging spot. Nelson, I should imagine, will be equally as alarmed. At the time of writing, it was only 9pm.
Postscript: By 10:30 there was a plethora of moons to be sighted.