Lynton Limpet Festival

Good evening, my little coddled eggs. I am writing to you from a very plush holiday hedge in Devon, which is most satisfactory. Within the windswept twisted twigs, I have a USB socket and WiFi, a luxury bed and a buggered toaster. I’m staying with Aunt Vom, Aunt Bench and Folly for the grand event of the Limpet Festival in Lynton, North Devon. It’s been a mite fractious getting here, as Aunt Vom borrowed (later found out nicked) a motor car and drove us here at speeds that have lifted my eyebrows a whole inch. The upside is I look 15 years younger, but like a startled owl.

Lynton is a curious place, and should be famous for tortoises, as the pace is so crawly. I began to feel old just by looking at other people. There was, sympathetically, a Cobweb Shop, for the young at heart, encouraging people to slow down and mix with the general ambience. For those who have a fair walking pace and avoid dawdling in the middle of roads and pavements, or those who can decide what they would like for lunch within forty minutes, it’s possible to buy cobwebs to place over oneself in order to blend in.

The festival commenced this morning with a marvellous opening speech from a local Limpet name Gavin. Apparently he is marvellously clever, and his vocabulary is unrivalled even by Stephen Fry. He spoke passionately at length about the life of limpets in this area, their plight in facing the building of tidal defences and the certain evictions of rock families, and he touched on issues concerning the rise of flat-earth theory followers and the demise of good manners. This was all highly commendable, and apparently other limpets clapped loudly, but regrettably I noticed Aunt Vom clenching her teeth. It was about to kick off.

Local disgruntled limpets, they want justice not cream teas

The difficulty started when Vom began talking under her breath, someone came over and Shshshh’d her. Her top lip blanched beneath her beard (this is how you tell she’s really pissed), and she reached into her portmanteau for a Chinese throwing star (that’s the other way you know). Vom launched into a diatribe about how we’d all paid good money to travel to see this spectacle of wonder, only to find that because it’s a speech by a Gastropod, nobody has a clue what he’s saying. The organiser tried explaining that although you can’t hear the Limpet speaking, his words speak directly to the subconscious, so you walk away with an invisible gift to the soul. I quite liked this. Vom didn’t.

She chinned him. The organiser began shouting about abuse in the workplace and fished out a clipboard. That was the last straw. Clipboards are like a red rag to a bull where Vom is concerned, at which she swiftly flung her stool at him and the whole crowd whipped up into a brawl. There’s still a folding chair on the roof of the Rising Sun pub, and someone’s cockerel weather vane is well buggered.

Notwithstanding, we did have a very pleasant afternoon. We got Vom out of the nick by fibbing dreadfully about menopause and the effects on the female temper. The fact that it was recently International Women’s Day helped, I feel. So we decided we’d take the Cliff Top Railway which was like a bone-shaking water-powered lift with definite issues of altitude sickness and alarming perspective. I managed to keep things jolly while Vom orated that the whole system is designed to dupe the visitor. She claimed it’s solely for thick people to stand at the bottom, squint up with mouths open like dead fish, pay thruppence, then stand at the top only to squint down with mouths open like dead fish, then be conned out of sixpence for tea and a bun without the pleasure of ‘feeding dangerous gulls’. We almost avoided a fight in the carriage, when Vom stated nobody who lives in the Midlands should be allowed to travel outside the Midlands. Mr and Mrs Ivor Mirkin of Edgebaston were restrained while she rambled, and their sudden fall over the side will remain a mystery. All in all, it was a lovely view and all was going well. Then we had to get Folly out of the Poison Unit, as she’d eaten something in someone’s clifftop garden and began hallucinating and frothing. To be honest, I didn’t notice for twenty minutes.

Clattery thing that attracks people who say ‘Ooh look Stan!’

I am baffled as to three questions, however, which I feel need answering. With regards to North Devon, why are there fudge shops every ten paces? And why do people walking in front suddenly stop without warning to take a picture of something totally irrelevant? And why in the name of Saturn’s Arse do couples decide to walk like a one-man-band with heavy weather clothing, crampons and walking poles when they’re only moving 30 feet from the car park?

Oh, and one more. We were a party of four. Where in the name of Zeus’s nutsack is Aunt Bench?