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Bradfield: The Truth

A small girl, no older than six, had been sitting all alone for at least an hour, right in the centre of the cricket pitch at Low Bradfield. Gradually, a crowd of people gathered around her, trying to find out where she’d come from and who was supposed to be looking after her. Oblivious to the fuss, she continued her long, detailed encounter with a Sherbet Dip-Dab, squinting in the spring afternoon sun. Eventually another young girl managed to strike up a conversation with her and asked her what she was doing. “My mum told me to go to the Centre of the Known Universe,” she replied calmly, “and wait until she arrived, so here I am.” Beer lovers will recognise the importance of the girl’s remark. Bradfield Brewery is the birthplace of the fabled Brown Cow, who has caused many a short-term memory to be fondly misplaced. But very few people know - until now, because I’m letting the secret out - that the Parish of Bradfield is, in fact, the epicentre of all existence. Naturally, some people contest this, but I promise you it’s true, and here is how I know. Wigtwizzle was the ancestral home of the Big Friendly Giant, who imparted all his knowledge to Roald Dahl during the author’s sabbatical in Ewden Village just after the Second World War. One evening, they consumed the dregs of the BFG’s drinks cabinet and accidentally replicated the Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster. This cocktail later inspired Douglas Adams to write lots of exciting books. Only under its influence can the full extent of the Universe be truly appreciated. The landscape around Bradfield is a rare source of ganister, an exceptionally heatproof mineral. Bronze Age women knitted ganister suits for their men, who made an epic trip to the heart of the sun, their descendents returning 4,000 years later with all the equipment they needed to make crucible steel. Thus Sheffield’s industrial story began. Soon, people realised that the same landscape was also perfectly suited to building dams and reservoirs to supply water for industry and homes in Sheffield. So all those who understandably believe Sheffield to be the centre of the Universe should remember that the city could not exist without the Bradfield landscape. In the meantime, the Romans had been and gone, but had left behind an immortal horse which has, unsurprisingly, become a major feature of local folklore. The Bradfield Parish Council’s Guide to Bradfield Parish notes that “with the Romans came the horse,” but that “fifty years ago farmers were still using the horse”. The horse retired in 1964 and can often be seen relaxing near Agden Reservoir. That Caesar was able to work for so long is testament to the animal’s incredible work ethic and his original Mediterranean diet. He even enjoyed a brief spell performing tightrope stunts in Frank Bostock’s Circus. The steady supply of manure he produced was highly-prized by local smallholders and allotmenteers, who to this day can still grow brassicas that put the rest of us to shame. This uniquely valuable poo also gave its name to the village of Dungworth, for obvious reasons. In 2014, stage two of the Tour de France passed through the Parish of Bradfield. This was remarkable for a number of reasons. Britons joked about not realising that Bradfield was in France but, in fact, due to its unique situation in space-time, the northern edge of the parish at Midhopestones is everywhere simultaneously. This proved extremely useful to the racing cyclists, who were able to make up lost time and even store time up for later stages. The more observant spectators of the race would have noticed the space-time warp manifesting itself as a beautifully smooth, curving road, ideal for high-speed bicycles, appearing just seconds before the race came through. These are the unassailable facts about Bradfield, and I’m glad to have been able to share them with you. @andrewthewood )

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