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Lay for the Day
5th October

1969: Monty Python’s Flying Circus is broadcast for the first time.
And now for something completely different.

Country Ways: an Eclogue

Passenger: Excuse me, is this the way to Forestonehatch?

Local: Beg pardon?

Driver: Fore-stone-hatch.

Local: Not round here. Down that way’s Furrysnatch…

Passenger (aside): What do you reckon?

Local: Is it Furrysnatch you want?

Driver: Actually it’s Beauchamphall we’re looking for.

Local: Oh, Bumhole is it?

Passenger: Mm.

Local: Right then. Along here, to the bottom, and you’ll come to the abbey –

Passenger: Allen St Carioc?

Local: Arsecrack, that’s it, and about a quarter of a mile on, there’s a lane on the right, with the big old gateposts just before it, and the sign for the manor –

Passenger: Northby Chase.

Local: You know these parts, then?

Passenger: No, no. It’s what it says on the map. Do we turn right at Northby Chase?

Local: That’s it. Go down by Knobcheese till you reach the lake –

Driver: What’s that?

Passenger: He means this place. So will we see this lake, then, Carthoops Mere?

Local: Ar, Crapsmear, you’ll be seeing it all right. Alongside the railway, left under the bridge –

Driver: Look, it’s nearly dark. Can’t we just go straight on? See, this way, by Further Wyfoot?

Local: You don’t want Fartwhift. That road’s all flooded after the rain Saturday night. No, you go along there by the reservoir, and you’ll come to a place at the end –

Passenger: Teythwaite.

Local: Twat, sir, yes. And by the church, there’s your turn marked. Course you could come round by Furrysnatch, but this way’s shorter. Arsecrack, Knobcheese, and just up past Twat, that’s Bumhole, with a lovely view of Crapsmear.

John Gibbens
from Collected Poems

The Lay Reader: an archive of the poetic calendar