Schtum, quiet, silent, mute, inaudible, SHUSH! Note the topical title as today is Mothering Sunday. Where would we be without our mas? Unborn, that's where. But, actually, this post is really titled Why Coventry?
Being sent to Coventry is to be given the silent treatment. Why do we send people to Coventry? No-one seems to really know. (Not least the person being sent there.) Why not somewhere in Yorkshire? Huddersfield or Bradford? Places not famous for garrulity. (You can always tell a Yorkshireman. But you cannot tell him much.)
Is the miscreant Mexican also sent to Coventry? What about the degenerate Dane? The criminal Canadian? Is Coventry prepared for this mass immigration? Have they constructed enough doghouses?
If someone talks to you just a little bit, in grudging mumbles, teeth clenched, eyes averted does that mean you've been sent to (hurriedly checks AA Route Map for somewhere slightly north of Coventry) Nuneaton? Or if you're not being spoken to and also - magically - appear to have become invisible, are you being sent to (checks AA Route Map again - next page, further south) Royal Leamington Spa?
A note, printed in block letters. I CANNOT BELIEVE YOU DID THAT. (What? What did I do?) I'M SENDING YOU TO ROYAL LEAMINGTON SPA. (Where? Hurriedly checks AA Route Map). BE GRATEFUL IT'S NOT SWINDON. (I am, I am.)
I'd much rather be sent to Royal Leamington Spa. It sounds like a better class of punishment. Especially if you have a penchant for blue rinses, dentures, bathchairs and gin - I'm speaking hypothetically, of course. (Cough.)
All I know about Coventry is that it was bombed during the war, it has a cathedral and is populated by people (subdued, chastened, mildly contrite) who have no idea why they have been sent there.
(As an aside, am I the only person who assumes that whenever I travel uphill, I'm heading north?)