The Telegraph has helpfully published a list of the top thousand most polluting postcodes for carbon emissions. I am quietly proud that my leafy suburb is up there, though at 25.5 tonnes per household per year, it lags behind top-of-the-league Rickmansworth's 36.42. It's all down to the affluent middle classes, apparently, what with the 4x4s, people carriers (so essential for the school run with Mellors and Jemima), barbecues and forren holidays.
Reading through the list gave me a little frisson of gratitude that I didn't live in the other places, which may be unfair, but there is something about some place names that say to me, 'Don't go there!' And then I went to my big book of poetry and read this
Barton in the Beans
For comfort on bad nights,
open out a map of Middle England
and sing yourself to sleep
with a lullaby of English names:
Shouldham Thorpe, in gentle sunshine,
Swadlincote, in a Laura Ashley frock,
Little Cubley, running with weak tea,
Kibworth Beauchamp, praying on protestant knees,
Ashby-de-la-Zouche, saying 'Morning',
Wigston Parva, smiling- but not too widely,
Ramsey Mereside, raising an eyebrow,
Eye Kettleby, where they'd rather not talk about it,
Market Overton, echoing with the slamming doors
of Cold Overton, where teenagers flee every night to their rooms,
screaming that from Appleby Magna to Stubbers Green
they never met a soul who understood.
They never met a soul.
At Barton in the Beans, the rain says Ssssshhhh...