I read with considerable sadness today that the final county in England to stand up against McDonalds will soon be adorned with the garish golden arches. Britain’s smallest county with one of Europe’s largest man made lakes in Rutland Water, the quinissentially English county of a round 40000 residents, a couple of public schools in Oakham and Uppingham and no actual town called Rutland.
It is so named due to the enormous number of Ruts there; a “Land of Ruts” as it was once described by the travelling poet and some time ventriloquist Bernie Botty and his pet pig Silky Stye (so called due to a reoccurring eye infection to which he would eventually succumb and not to be mixed up with the pornographic actress of the same name). It appears that after a particularly unsuccessful open mike night at the Egleton Working Gentlemens club he was chased out of the event across the freshly ploughed fields by an angry mob towards the reservoir and after several stumbles tumbled and fell in a furrow near to the edge of the lake in a pool of sweat, dirt and embarrassment.
The angry mob, heard him utter “A land of Ruts” although to be fair the wind was blowing a gale and so he may have been referring to his hand which was cut. Anyway the name stuck, Bertie Botty was thrown in to the reservoir, and no one knows what happened to his dummy, or even what form it took.
How do I know this you may ask? Well when I was at University back in the early 90’s my dissertation was about Rutland Water, it was called
“A Conceptual Understanding of Tourism and Leisure in and Around Rutland Water”
I wrote it start to finish in about 8 days, 1000 words a day. I made up all the answers to the questionnaires, took the photos on the final day when dusk was falling as I sped around the lake in my Mum’s Golf. Wrote through the night, and left the hand written manuscript on a chair outside my bedroom, Dad took it to work and his secretary typed it up that day.
All done in 8 days, and I got 68%! Didn’t get a job in the tourism and leisure sector though.