I’ve been to Hell but plan on travelling a lot further

Yesterday work took me to a field in Wiltshire, just down the road was the hamlet of Tiddlywink.

It was my first time in Tiddlywink I must admit, but it got me thinking, I remember in the county of my birth Worcestershire, Great Piddle, or other place names I’ve come across on my travels, Shitterton & Shagg, both in Dorset, Dancing Dicks in Essex. When you start to delve you realise that there are some really cracking place names around these fair Islands of ours, Slack Bottom (Yorkshire), Spunkie, Titaboutie, Twatt,  (all  Scotland ), Tongue of Gangsta ( Orkney ) is someone just having a laugh?

Hellin Cornwall, Buttock in Lancashire, Golden Balls in Oxfordshire , Titty Ho in Northamptonshire, Sandy Balls in Hampshire,  there are simply dozens of bizarre place names up and down the Country. There is even a thriving study which I never knew existed , Toponymy, and  a Society for it, The Place Name Society , for the last eighty years publishing volume after volume about the place names of England. I’ve been to Hells Mouth ( Cornwall ), Lickey End ( Worcestershire ) but not Lickham Bottom ( Devon) Pisser Clough ( Yorkshire ) is another I’ve yet to pass through, metaphorically speaking. It’s intriguing to wonder how many of these place got their names, and how many of them seem to be anatomyical,sexual  or sound like a rather nasty infection,  Mankinholes, Dirt Pot, Dungy Head, Kettlesing Bottom, Shitlington Crags, this is one of my personal favourites, how on earth do you put that on a stamped addressed envelope and not cringe every time you write it?

At least we do it with a little style though in the UK , Americans tend to be a little more obvious, or lacking the great British double entendre, Fart – Virginia, Climax-Michigan, Dwarf – Kentucky, Pussy Creek – Ohio, no romance in those names, give me Shitlington Crags every-time.

The Welsh however have to take the biscuit, both for the longest place name and the most ridiculous. Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch  The translation of the name is ‘ St. Marys Church in the Hollow of the White Hazel Near to the Rapid Whirlpool of Llantysilio of the Red Cave. Welsh people, as an English borders person I reckon its all about a lack of identity…………..



As a child I always loved maps and atlases, I could spend hours looking at them, wondering at places I could only imagine, dreaming of seeing them one day, now decades on I still have that love of maps, and I now have the freedom to see more of this amazing world, I guess if the fates are good to me I will get my three score and ten years when I can hope to travel without too many problems, if I take care of myself, I was thinking of a bucket list and in a very short space of time came up with Ten Places I would very much like to see in this world before I take my leave of it. If you were doing your places to see before you croak are ther places I just have to include? For what its worth in no particular order are the 10 that stood out for me:

The Road to Santiago De Compostela  – I so want to walk at least part of it

The Galapagos – has fascinated me since being a child, a definite must see I think

The River Nile – Egypt & The Nile, perhaps its not the right time now, but it’s gotta happen

Tibet, by hook or by crook the roof of the World before the Chinese engulf it entirely

The Silk Road, Isfahan, I want just a little of Marco-Polo’s journey

The Amazon, The lungs of the World, it has to be done

Mount Etna & Pompeii, the catacombs of Naples an easy fix these days, but I’ve yet to do it, far too many Classics lessons unfulfilled

The Forbidden City , well straigtforward enough

Machu Pichu & Lake Titicaca, tourist Hells? they maybe a let down, but they have to be on the list.

India, happy to wander it for an age, I know not why but this mad country is lodged in my heart and in my mind…………….

A quote from Nehru fits rather well

“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure.

There is no end to the adventures we can have

if only we seek them with our eyes open.

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