Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Tillside Tours Are the Next Big Thing for Big Bloke's Fan Club; Columnist

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Tillside Tours Are the Next Big Thing for Big Bloke's Fan Club; Columnist

Article excerpt

Byline: David Banks

GUESS what? Godzone is now a designated tourist destination. "Sez who?" I hear you ask. Why you do, dear readers or, at least, two of you did.

The Cornhill Shop was buzzing with the news the other day: "Two lovely people," gushed Loopy Lynda the postmistress. "They'd driven all the way from Newcastle to see if what you write about us in The Journal every week is true."

Sadly, they had arrived 15 minutes after Yours Truly, like Elvis, had left the building.

But our tourist day trippers - "Two townies by residence, not by choice," was how they described themselves - made the most of their visit.

I have since "Are you the postmistress who dressed in Lycra and danced on the roundabout two years ago?" they asked Lynda, who marvelled at in at least three code, far from appears to be their memories.

"And is this where the Byreman buys his papers?" Then she spotted Farmer Morebottle skulking behind the cheese and chutney scones. "He's one of Banksy's Red Lion pals!" she shrieked as Morebottle dived through the door to evade his fan club.

Reader, my mind is made up: if rubberneckers can take coach tours to goggle at the stars' homes in the Hollywood Hills then Tillside Tours are the next new thing.

Starting with coffee at Crookham village hall then lunch at the Cornhill shop, the tour will end with dinner and dominoes at the Red Lion.

"On your left," the tour guide will intone, "the hayseed on the three-legged milking stool is that bibulous old Tory the Byreman ... on the right we're passing the hen hoose of Young Neil ... note the farm gate plaque erected to the memory of Jock the Cock, founder of the flock."

Then it will be off to the Red Lion to make up a domino four-hander with Joe 'The Berwick Barber' Smaile, Klondike and Billy the Kid. Oh yes, and the big bloke drinking at the bar and counting the ticket money? …

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