Written by Erskin Quint
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Tuesday, 29 May 2012

image for Dorking News: More (One, Actually) Letters To The Editor About History Mainly bearded dwarves: a 16th century Mole Valley Noddler in ceremonial costume, including the Noddler's Bolge.

Dear Sir,

I am writing in the hope that any of your readership may have a care for our lost histories.

You see, I live here in Broadwoodwidger and am researching the lives of our ancestor, Edwin Puley, who was a Cheesewright and Noddler, and indeed served his time in your very environment before ending his days as a Master Cheesewright and Chief Noddler back here in Devon.

I visited your lovely area last year, having forgotten to book my usual week at Bolsover. Also, I suffer from pain when I crouch or squat for any length of time as well as vertitigo (that is, I think that that is it: it is when your earlobes bulge with the fall and rise of the North Sea swell; I believe it is a word like impetigo or vertigo) and so was unable to fly to a family wallpapering holiday in Trondheim that otherwise would have provided the perfect substitute. Dorking it was then, not the wallpapers of Trondheim or pen and ink sketches of Bolsover Castle.

While I was in Dorking I made good the lost times and researched a matter of personal poignance at Dorking Record Office. There I examined the Cheesewright's Roll. Edwin Puley who is one of our local forefathers was not on it, neither was there any mention of him in the Register of Noddlers that would have been kept by the Beadle of the time. And yet, surely he must have been a worthy of note for the scribes of the times?

You see, in those days you couldn't just Noddle willy nilly. You had to be registered. That meant you had to be able to afford the Noddler's Gaiters and giant Left-Hand Mitten, to wear at the ceremony. The Beadle would confer registration by placing the ceremonial Noddler's Bolge across your shoulders and whispering the Noddling Catechism into your left ear. You had then to pledge allegiance to The Worshipful Order of Noddlers and observe the Fourfold Loathings, to signify that you acknowledged the solemn duty you owed to the trade of Cheesewright.

Surely all this could not pass unrecorded in a place of Dorking's calibre, which is known to have offered refuge to the likes of the Wandering Wooden-Legged Lute-Smiths of Lincoln in the Middle Ages, at a time when they were almost universally shunned.

Fascinatingly, in your Mole Valley during the 16th and 17th centuries, Noddlers were mainly dwarves who wore bushy beards. There were Noddling Chapters in all the Mole Valley villages. This is held to be the inspiration for Enid Blyton's Noddy tales, with Big-Ears as the traditionally fat Chief Noddler (they grew corpulent from tasting all the cheese). The little cars and the ears were mere embellishments, obtruded by Ms Blyton in an attempt to curry favour with a blighted generation of suburban refugees. It would be too much of a deliciously personal motif for the oversized ears to be related to the condition of vertitigo, or whatever its name is!

Bolsover Castle has a Noddler's Bolge and a Left-Hand Mitten in a display case in its armoury. Can Dorking, or the wonderfully-festooned Mole Valley, I wonder, boast such an one?

It would be wonderful to hear from any readerships who might provide succour!

yours,

Ms. Wilma Blisteringe,
Blimpe House,
Fissure Crescent
Broadwoodwidger

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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