Irthlingborough, for those not in the know, is a small town situated next to the River Nene in Northamptonshire and is home to a population of just over 6,000 people. According to the ever-reliable Wikipedia, Irthlingborough is the smallest town in England to have possessed a team that has competed in The Football League. Although diminutive in nature, the town recently entered the Guinness Book of Records for having the highest concentration of people with a limp in a single location on planet earth. A perfectly-timed glance out of my office window yielded an example of this phenomenon and with a perfunctory adjustment of my webcam, I was able to obtain video evidence. However, due to the fact that everybody is seemingly offended by everything nowadays, I have had to remove the the video in question.

In addition to housing a vast number of inhabitants who, for whatever reason, cannot walk with normal, coordinated gait, Irthlingborough accommodates an utterly bizarre collection of individuals that make the fictitious town of Royston Vasey seem positively normal. Although I have worked here for nigh on a year now, I have inexplicably failed to document any of my numerous encounters with these strange beings. In an effort to rectify this situation, I took a stroll during my lunch break today in the hope of observing some fresh, classic oddness. I wasn’t disappointed.

Upon leaving the office, I was soon struck by the unmistakably pungent aroma of cannabis. Seeking out the origin of this smell, my gaze was drawn immediately to the huge frame of the nearby café owner perched on a small step, her sausage-like fingers clasped around a humongous spliff. I moved swiftly on, resisting the temptation to combine the purchase of a lottery ticket with a haircut from “Toni’s Newsagents & Gentlemen’s Hairdresser” and headed to Tesco. It was here that I had the good fortune to witness a woman wearing a leather waistcoat adorned with a collection of badges (one of which bore the words “fuck you” above a drawing of a fist with its middle finger pointing northwards) clatter into an unsuspecting youngster. Luckily for the victim, a fresh trolley of Hovis wheeled past at precisely the right moment, cushioning his fall and preventing a potentially catastrophic accident. After issuing an admittedly heartfelt apology where the woman (who, incidentally, runs a pub furnished with a coffin, weapons and a stuffed dog) admitted to having had a rather clumsy day, I darted past before she had a chance to sink her flailing elbows into my stomach.

On to Nene Park, now home to newly-relegated Blue Square Bet North side, Kettering Town. To be honest, I hadn’t expected to see any degenerates in the vicinity of the stadium; I was merely here due to a strange fascination that such a grandiose structure should now find itself hosting matches played by such a staggeringly incompetent team. Right on cue, three gentlemen each possessing the poise of a newly-born foal – presumably after imbibing a copious amount of Carlsberg Special Brew earlier that morning in accordance with local custom – staggered past, swearing profusely. At this moment, I stopped for a second, silently musing as to whether the illiterate authors of the sign in an adjacent window had observed the three men who were, quite frankly, absolutely shit-faced. Then it occurred to me – they, themselves were most probably the architects of this grammatical monstrosity.

Sadly, this happened to represent the last of the day’s encounters with absolute fruitcakes. There was no old man wearing an animal beany hat complete with eyes and ears, and no Homer Simpson-esque nutcase chasing a ferret down the high street. Even more disappointing was that the woman who often appears at the window opposite my office, chose not to open her curtains with her breasts exposed today.

In summary, I’m left wondering whether the existence of radon gas, which permeates hundreds of homes throughout Northamptonshire, has had a lasting effect on the county’s inhabitants. It’s safe to say that Irthlingborough, like nearby Wellingborough where I have previously worked, has a population of weirdos that far exceeds the national average.

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