[Another piece originally published on Shropshire Blues.]
In ‘In Valleys of Springs and Rivers’, Housman (quoting a local rhyme) tells us that
“Clunton and Clunbury,
Clungunford and Clun,
Are the quietest places
Under the sun.”
(Don’t worry, this isn’t one I’ve put to music!)
In Shropshire at least, it’s not unknown to hear a variant version in which they’re described as “the drunkenest places under the sun.” If Housman had used that version, it would have put a whole new spin on the next verse, describing that part of Shropshire as ‘the country for easy livers’ I suppose.
I can’t answer for the drinking habits of the current inhabitants of those delightful villages, but I can certainly vouch for their being both quiet and picturesque, having been in those parts with Jude a few weeks ago.
Here’s Clun’s Packhorse Bridge, and part of the castle (complete with swifts):
Jude’s take on that afternoon, with more photographs and description, is here: Just Back From… crossing the border.
Small Blue-Green World