Eccentric Britain, 2nd: The Bradt Guide to Britain's Follies and Foibles

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Derbyshire pub regulars compete at toe-wrestling; a Buckinghamshire mayor is weighed in public and heckled if he has piled on the pounds; a Yorkshireman builds a 30 ft Tin Man to personify the heartlessness of council planners. Join the locals as they sing to apple trees, attend church dressed as clowns, engage in raucous fertility dances, guzzle chilli beer, savor garlic ice cream or celebrate Left-Handers' Day. Elsewhere these characters would be called crackpots. In Britain, ...
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Overview

Derbyshire pub regulars compete at toe-wrestling; a Buckinghamshire mayor is weighed in public and heckled if he has piled on the pounds; a Yorkshireman builds a 30 ft Tin Man to personify the heartlessness of council planners. Join the locals as they sing to apple trees, attend church dressed as clowns, engage in raucous fertility dances, guzzle chilli beer, savor garlic ice cream or celebrate Left-Handers' Day. Elsewhere these characters would be called crackpots. In Britain, we respect them and call them "eccentrics."
Eccentric Britain celebrates all these, together with the fascinating follies, peculiar pubs, curious ceremonies and mad marquesses that make this country unique. For the visitor wanting to know where to expect the unexpected, or longing to be let in on the local lore, Benedict le Vay's Eccentric Britain is ideal. But it's also an entertaining read in its own right. If you're not shaking your head in wonder, you'll be cracking up laughing.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781841621227
  • Publisher: Bradt Publications UK
  • Publication date: 8/1/2005
  • Series: Bradt Travel Guide Series
  • Edition description: Second
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 312
  • Product dimensions: 5.36 (w) x 8.56 (h) x 0.67 (d)

Meet the Author

Benedict le Vay is a sub-editor on the features section of the Daily Mail newspaper in the UK. He is also the author of Bradt's Eccentric London and mini guides Eccentric Edinburgh and Eccentric Oxford.
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Table of Contents

Preface VII
Introduction VIII
Part 1 Eccentric Things We Do 1
Chapter 1 The Eccentric Year 3
January 3
Highlights of the Eccentric Year 4
February 10
March 11
April 11
May 16
June 20
July 24
August 25
September 29
October 31
November 33
December 36
Daily events 38
Various dates 39
Fairs 39
Travel information 43
Chapter 2 Eccentric Pastimes 49
Collections of eccentrics 49
Eccentric interests 57
This rather eccentric race 59
On the road to eccentricity 64
Odd associations 70
Eccentricity on display: Britain's top 27 odd museums 73
Travel information 81
Chapter 3 Barmy Bureaucracy and Curious Charities 83
Paying the rent in roses, nails and parsnips 83
Britain's weird courts that court disbelief 86
Worth the weight 91
Your taxes or a kiss 91
Britain's most eccentric jobs 92
Key to eccentricities 93
Bizarre bidding 94
Weird and wonderful ways to get the dole 95
Dice, vice and houses of ill repute 98
Travel information 98
Part 2 Eccentric People 101
Chapter 4 The Aristocrats of Eccentrics 103
The tunnelling duke and other strange aristos 103
Hellfire and heroism 105
Bonkers, and bonking, MPs 107
Modern marquesses of B 108
Wanted: hermits, running footmen and gossips 109
The duke who goes to the polo by jumbo 110
Stately pigs of Old England and sty society 111
Travel information 113
Chapter 5 Dead Eccentric 117
Bizarre last wishes 117
Land of odd pyramids 119
Legend in his own lifetime 120
London's only Nazi memorial 121
Pigeons at war 121
Amazing grace 121
Pickled brains and restless heads 122
Surrey's mystery mosque and a death railway 123
How the living can follow the dead 125
Gone for a Burton: the Arab tent in deepest Mortlake 127
Tombs along odd lines 129
Above our heads 131
Some very strange organs 132
Evasion of the body-snatchers 137
Travel information 138
Chapter 6 The Eccentric Church and Some Very Strange Churchmen 145
Beyond belief 145
Well, well, well - eccentric saints 151
Britain's top ten most surprising places of worship 153
Travel information 155
Part 3 Eccentric Places 157
Chapter 7 Home of the Eccentric 159
Unlikely additions 159
Living with the railways 163
Travel information 174
Chapter 8 Eccentric Gardens 177
Garden wit, wisdom and mass wisteria 177
Neither unhinged nor unhenged 181
Travel information 182
Chapter 9 A Place for Eccentrics 185
Signs of serious eccentricity 185
The world's oddest pubs 187
Eccentric engineering 190
Gateway to eccentricity 197
Dovecotes, royal dung and gunpowder 198
These people should be locked up 200
Eccentric villages 201
Travel information 202
Chapter 10 Monumentally Eccentric 207
Obscure obsolete obelisks 207
Milestones in eccentricity 213
Convicts and martyrs 214
Shrines by the wayside 215
Cranks, pioneers and heroes of the skies 216
Unlikely jumbos 218
Britain's ten most magical (and least known) standing stones 220
Travel information 223
Chapter 11 Towering Eccentrics 227
In search of utter folly 227
Britain's top ten (plus) towers (mostly with very tall stories) 230
True follies come in threes 236
The triangular angle 238
All a sham 242
Cartoons of the sky 244
Travel information 246
Part 4 Practical Information 251
Chapter 12 Nuts and Bolts 253
Getting around 253
Where to stay 259
Food 261
Telephones 262
Chapter 13 Eccentric Itineraries 263
Appendix Further Reading 271
Index
County 277
Alphabetical 283
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