“Over hill, over dale, Thorough bush, thorough brier, Over park, over pale, Thorough flood, thorough fire; I do wander every where, Swifter than the moon’s sphere; And I serve the fairy queen, To dew her orbs upon the green.”
Yep, this week I’m channelling the Bard of Avon and celebrating This Sceptered Isle in preparation for The Decision Marketing Bus Tour of Britain. After all, why should the South Coast be the only place to enjoy our company, we’re going to spread the love and take this show on the road.
You see, with the coronavirus scuppering the usual trip to our favourite French bolt-hole, this year it’s out with the Reblochon, Époisses de Bourgogne and Cure Nantais and in with the Ticklemore, Tunworth and Cornish Yarg.
It’s down with the Domaines Ott Clos Mireille, Château Bourgneuf and Chapoutier Ermitage De L’Orée Blanc and up with the Pigswill, Dog’s Bollocks and Old Peculier.
Forget Le Cassoulet, D’escargots de Bourgogne, and La Bouillabaisse, bring on the Lancashire Hotpot, Cumberland Sausage and, er, our national dish, Chicken Tikka Massala (well, we can’t miss out Birmingham’s Curry Mile can we?).
However, I must admit my initial optimism about our trip has taken a knock, having been sent a link to a new microsite, where you can find out the smelliest places in the UK. It even features an interactive map where they detail the most unusual smell complaint reported to each local council. (Yes, I know, some people obviously have far too much time on their hands…)
As you can imagine, the most common complaints are over bonfires, commercial waste and agriculture – nothing new to report there. However, quite how the Cotswolds, one of the most beautiful parts of the country, with its rolling hills and sweeping vistas that inspired Gainsborough, Constable, and Turner, came out on top is anyone’s guess.
In fact, almost everywhere you look there seems to be a nasty niff, from “smelly insects” in Norfolk and “bad odours from 14 dogs, ferrets, rabbits, chickens, lizards and snakes” in Somerset to “rodents” in Redbridge and “ditch water” in Wychavon.
Even the Derbyshire Dales, complete with sparkling rivers, cobbled streets, ancient stone bridges, Victorian spas and the historic houses of Chatsworth, Haddon and Sudbury doesn’t escape lightly. Its local council reported that it had received complaints about “excrement that came from the sky” – the ultimate shit storm.
Not quite how Visit Britain’s marketing describes it all. And I quote: “Life may have been on pause recently, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start dreaming of exploring our beautiful countryside, wandering our sandy shores and discovering our historic landmarks once more.
“Our traditional pubs and stately homes are getting ready to give you a warm British welcome once again, and in the meantime you can still delve into our heritage, revel in our culture, and dig into our foodie delights from afar.”
Hmm can’t wait…