The Reader’s Gazetteer: U

'Doctor Thorne' by Anthony Trollope in a hardback edition with a green cloth cover

My apologies for this unintended hiatus in our literary travels. I was planning a visit to Ullathorne. I reread Doctor Thorne, to discover what I’d forgotten: that the doctor spends the entire book at odds with his Ullathorne relations and never go there. (Still, I went to the trouble of getting a photo of the nice cloth-covered library copy, so here you go.)

I eventually tracked the place down to Barchester Towers and decided, very reluctantly, that if I’d excluded Netherfield and Qualling on the grounds that they were stately homes rather than settlements, I couldn’t really make an exception for Ullathorne. Or could I? After a generous description of Ullathorne Court, we get this:

The picturesque old church of St. Ewold’s stands immediately opposite to the iron gates which open into the court, and is all but surrounded by the branches of the lime-trees which form the avenue leading up to the house from both sides. This avenue is magnificent, but it would lose much of its value in the eyes of many proprietors by the fact that the road through it is not private property. It is a public lane between hedgerows, with a broad grass margin on each side of the road, from which the lime-trees spring.

And then I just ran out of steam. I’d like to say that I’ve spent the last six months frantically looking for fictional places beginning with U, but it wouldn’t be true. I just got stuck in a not reading/not posting circle, at least as far as this series goes.

John Buchan, however, is always helpful, so let’s fall back on a trip to Unnutz ‘in the Tirol’. Or maybe not:

You’d simply loath it. A landscape like a picture postcard. Tennis and bumble-puppy gold and promenades, all in smart clothes.

Such is Alison Westwater’s assessment of the place. But what about the geography?

Above the Waldersee, in the Firnthal?

(Also fictional, both of them. But those are both plausibly Tyrolean, and I had to Google to make sure.)

Unnutz was mainly villas and hotels, but there was an old village as a nucleus – wooden houses built on piles on the lake sure, and one or two narrow twisting streets with pumpkins drying on the shingle roofs. There was a bathing-place there very different from the modish thing on the main promenade, a place where you dived in a hut under a canvas curtain into deep green water, and could swim out to some fantastice little rock islets.

Alison is out of there by the end of the chapter (see K, T, M, and E for where), so that, I’m afraid, is all I can offer for U. See you for V. When we get there.

Books mentioned in this post

Barchester Towers (and Doctor Thorne), Anthony Trollope

The House of the Four Winds, John Buchan

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRST – U

2 thoughts on “The Reader’s Gazetteer: U”

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