Answer; Beverley in Yorkshire’s East Riding
I’ve just been to Beverley Yorkshire and it was wonderful; a mad mix of architectural eras (including a snug local pub still lit by gas), the enormous Beverley Minster, the race course and two markets – the Saturday and Wednesday markets higgledy piggedly in a very upmarket town centre. Whilst extolling its virtues to various friends nobody, just like me, had ever been there before and we are all missing a real treat. In one way, it’s not so surprising I’d not been. It is, after all, in the middle of nowhere. To misquote Peter Pan, instead of following the second star to the left and fly right on until morning, for Beverley, you follow the M62 to the very end before vaguely turning left.
It’s also a little embarrassing I’ve never been before. My father’s goddaughter, who lived there for years, kept inviting me. It’s only after she’s moved to Salisbury do I finally get to go.
The story has it that Lewis Carroll (real name Charles Dodgson), author of Alice in Wonderland , was staying at the Beverley Arms, just across the road from St Mary’s Church (now amongst my favourite churches and due to feature in one of my forthcoming articles) when he spotted a white rabbit carved in stone on a pillar (photo courtesy my American friend, Robert, as my shots were out of focus). As a writer, I’m well aware authors recycle everything –Charles was no exception.
Now it’s your turn to do something for me.
When I was at school, attempting to ward off the inevitable hex (i.e. punch) on the first day of the month, we used to shout ‘white rabbits and no return.’ Now, if I remember correctly, there’s actually two other lines of doggerel which we omitted – ‘Pinch punch, first day of the month and no return.’ So; can anyone out there tell me how white rabbits became a mantra for warding off evil? You will have my everlasting gratitude…