Cartmel is posh but I am not.

Cartmel is the poshest place in the world. Seriously.

And I used to live in Bath.

This scares me.

I do not know where 20 fags and some Tampax could possibly be purchased here. The residents here must live on over embellished cupcakes, unpasteurised ewes milk cheese cut from a block and a sense of their own self-satisfaction.

It is undeniably a staggering beautiful village, the sort of village you imagine in a trench when about to be shot to death because it is the Essence of England, like something Cath Kidson has spewed up in a dotty bunting bedecked dream in the Cotswolds.

Being sort of hidden somehow between Lancashire and Cumbria, on minor A roads, you are expecting a small village that excels in its rightly famous sticky toffee pudding and the Priory that you have read about somewhere and feel you should really go and look at and pretend to be interested in even though you are actually only interested in the haunted gatehouse that you read about in a rubbish local book about ghosts you were embarrassed to be seen ordering from the library.

Oh and L’Enclume, the famous Michelin starred restaurant which has unlikely foams and things and you secretly hope that there might be a two for a tenner lunch special even though you are actually aware that won’t ever ever happen.

There are waving meadows in front of hanging basket-bedecked cottages, the cottages all have names engraved on little slabs, and tasteful dust free antiquities are displayed on quaintly gnarled windowsills.

A woman is splashed (oh so slightly) by a car and when I smile and make a sympathetic joke, she keeps repeating the word ‘idiots’ and she is very angry indeed. It was only a small puddle but the car had young people in which I suspect may have been the problem.

The centre is bigger than expected; should one wish to have a nice cup of coffee, there is so much competition there is clearly controversy galore as one coffee shop also delighting in the excitement and daring of selling sodding cupcakes, (prostituted tarted up fairy cakes) has a sign that says ‘best coffee in town or your money back’. I like Community in Action.

I am nearly run over by a Bentley, which I am a bit pleased by. There is a fiver in my purse and some coins and I feel rich rich rich with my paper money knocking splendidly about but a sticky dense loaf of three cheese and marmite bread from the bakery and a Cartmel Apple and Toffee Crumble Bake has knocked me into overdraft.

The Priory is glorious but I feel guilty as do not have the politely requested three pound donation so post all my remaining cash through the slot where it gleams with accusing copperiness. The bread won’t fit through, anyway the marmite and three cheeses will surely jam up the hole so I run around quickly, trying not to get three pounds worth of viewing. If it crumbles into a ball tomorrow, it is my entire fault. But the bread was worth it.

A Farrow and Balled pub up a side street has the classic meal deal of soup and sandwich but for a tenner. The nearby L’ Enclume is indeed so classy and non ‘two for a tenner’ there is not a menu outside, nor indeed any sign it is in fact a place to eat. It could be a media hub in Shoreditch or an Anorexic clinic for supermodels in Richmond were it not for the fact that there is an ancient cat on a windowsill opposite sticking its tongue out at me and yet another pony has just gone past.

It is hard here, to imagine the reality of the recession, which is why it might be so bustling.

If you can afford the petrol to get here and a tenner to spend on cupcakes and coffee, you feel like a Barclay Brother. A woman cheerily bemoans to the staff in the bakery (a bakery so posh it sells virtually only bread) that she will simply never get the time to read her ‘papers’- (the Daily Telegraph was tucked under her arm) but she ‘buys them anyway’.

I look at my toddler leaning dangerously and angrily away from me, coated in Smartie Batter and consider leaving him here. Like a pub cat, he would be fed on lovely tit bits by tourists and well heeled locals, be patted and smiled upon and probably be extremely happy.

Then as I look upon a cheeseboard and wine platter, displayed vividly and erotically upon a chalkboard, I decide to simply sell him instead.

One Response to “Cartmel is posh but I am not.”

  • nunmoreblack Says:

    I haven’t been up to the old chocolate box for a while, but I reckon you absolutely nailed it. Nice one.
    One thing though: I’m surprised you didn’t come across the last remaining heavy industry in the region, the ‘World Famous Cartmel Sticky Toffee Tampon Company’ – it’s the reason you wont find any Tampax-they dont get a look in. As you’re aware, the demographic demand ‘local’ produce at all times, and are very loyal to ‘toffee tamps’. The guided tour (official) is very special.

    Back in the 80’s there was a challenge: Local entrepreneur, Thomas ‘Tommy’ Thompson launched ‘Tommies Tamps’ in direct competition with ‘Toffee Tamps’ but it was doomed from the beginning. An ill-advised slogan, leading to an advertising campaign that included a billboard on Cartmel racecourse, showing a huge smiling face and that slogan; ‘I never knew there was so much in it’, was at best confusing. Racegoers argued about just what was being advertised, and most concluded that it was probably more cometition for ‘Utterly Butterly’. Thompson had made his fortune in high end novelty seaside rock and was, frankly, out of his depth. Even the gimmicky ‘winged’ version (now highly collectable) never got off the ground – leading only to a law suit with Paul McCartneys record company.

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