The Small Tiled Room of Ablutions has claimed me on this glorious Day 13991, and I'm now seriously relaxed: never mind the details, use your imagination if you must! Alternatively, consider this question: what's the most relaxing word you can think of?
For me, it's 'Cricklade'. Aaah; pardon me while I sag a little more over these keys....
Several things should be made clear at this point: I've never been to Cricklade, I know nothing of its history or its local economy, I don't even know what it looks like; if you were to plonk me down anywhere in its centre (assuming it has one, and assuming there isn't one of those 'Welcome to
So, considering my comprehensive ignorance on the general subject of Cricklade, why does its name have such a profoundly soothing effect on me?
It's probably something to do with maps: particularly UK road-maps. I'm fascinated by them. Many's the slow evening at home --- particularly during my time in Stockholm when I've occasionally pined for England --- that I've sat poring over an Automobile Association Road Atlas, tracing the routes of various byways and savouring the names of settlements (yes, some of my evenings at home have been that slow). And if my finger happens to be virtually touring the Cotswolds, I enjoy the poetry of some of those village names: Little Rollright, Notgrove, Upper Swell; lovely stuff.
And then I glance a little way down the page and spot Cricklade, and that's me lost for the next five or ten minutes, while I settle ever deeper into the armchair. I'd swear my muscles actually become syrup, and seep into the upholstery.
Okay, we've established the map-porn aspect of this unusual fixation with Cricklade, but it doesn't answer the earlier question. Why do I feel like deliquescing into the carpet at the sound of that place-name? As far as I can tell, and basing my answer on another scrutiny of page 18 of the AA's Complete Atlas of Britain (1985 edition), there's only one plausible explanation.
I get Cricklade mixed up with Lechlade. Of course, that must be it!
Now don't tell me you're not lulled into a pleasant drowsiness by the name 'Lechlade'....