Below is an excerpt from one of my unpublished works, The Village Id — my homage to P. G. Wodehouse.
Every village has a character. I don’t mean the village idiot. I mean a personality, a feel that’s obvious to visitors, yet invisible to residents.
Come to think of it, every village has a character in the other sense. Not necessarily an idiot. That would hardly be polite, and rarely truthful.
No, a character: the odd man out, the one whose character isn’t totally aligned with the village’s.
In Iddington village that would be me: I’m the only sane person there.
Perhaps the run on insanity is, in part, having to explain to every passerby (including most postal services) that, no, this is not Eddington, a name apparently overused to the point of saturation, but Iddington, a name used so rarely it’s hardly used even here, except by visitors. On those occasions, like a Southern Baptist congregation, each utterance of the name is echoed rifle crack by all within earshot, pronounced precisely correctly: IDingtn (note the lack of a vowel sound in the final syllable.)
Most visitors jump. Some turn tail and run.
On one such occasion the fleeing party stopped short a few yards out, spun on his heel, boomeranged to the door of the post office.
“IDDINGTON!” was the shouted response from all, let alone sundry.
“Well, obviously. I asked the driver to deliver me to Iddington and he has so why shouldn’t I say ‘Iddington’ when I arrive?”
The silence wasn’t surprise, it was tactical preparation. As if elected, Mrs. Elisabeth With An Ess Rose stepped from behind the counter where she lived (at least it appeared she lived there; I had never been in the post without seeing her there, and suspected the similar-looking apparition seen prowling the streets at other times was a stunt double.)
“It’s so often mispronounced.”
The stranger stood his ground. “And have I mispronounced it?”
“No indeed, you have not.”
Blinking, the stranger gathered his wits.