Written – the countryside: you can keep it!
I’m sure you will relived to hear that I’ve finally got the James Taylor tour bus back on the road. I’ve just been confirmed for a bridal Magazine shoot. A five day trip away, in the heart of the English countryside.
I was thrilled, I haven’t worked for weeks and on paper it sounded fantastic. A five day trip away, with what I assumed would be my bride to be; and hopefully a few hotty bridesmaids, just in case.
So first thing Monday morning I jumped in the car and headed over to a funny little place called Castle Combe, which let me tell you, is in the middle of nowhere.
Not much goes on in Castle Combe. (No really nothing) It consists of an inn, a pub, a church, a small sweet shop, and lots and lots of Japanese tourist. They were everywhere, they were, worse than speed bumps, always walking in the road, making me go around them, ruining my racing line, scrubbing all my speed off. Maybe there was a castle there too, but I didn’t see it????
But although it was such a small place, for the life of me I still couldn’t find where our location was, and on this occasion, Lola my car, was as lost as I was. I couldn’t even call for help; as my phone had no signal. And I didn’t speak Japanese; I was as helpless as an Easyjet air stewardess trying to serve a plane full of English yobs on a booze crawl to Benedorm. (Oi love, can I have a Stella)
Eventually after a good 5 minutes (at least), of driving around I finally found it. The place was huge, but was well off the beaten track, as I trundled along down the long stony driveway, towards the manor house, with ivy growing all over, and lots of hooray henrys playing crochet on the lawn. So I bet they were a little shocked to see me roaring up the driveway towards them.
I parked my car and had a quick look around, and I remember getting quite excited at the prospect of taking one of the many golf buggies out for a joy ride, but there was no time for that just yet, as by now I was 2 hours late
Eventually I found everyone else on the shoot. I apologised for being late and after shaking everybody’s hand that was in the room, of course my mind switched to where are all the girls. At which point, I was informed that there where no bridesmaids or even a bride, it turned out it was a groom shoot; so it was just me, and three other guys. There wasn’t even a cute make up artist to look at, as he was a geezer too and as for the stylist, well; she was a right nasty piece of work, bearing in mind the world cup was on; so every time I tried to sneak off to catch a game, she would hunt me down and make me try clothes on; I mean, what was she playing at! But she would let all the others enjoy the game; just persecuting me. As you can imagine, I took to her like a duck to a Chinese restaurant.
The first shot of the day was in one of the bedrooms in the hotel, which were like little stand alone cottages next to the main house.
Now, not hyping things up to much, but these rooms were pretty amazing; huge great marble bathrooms big enough to park a car in, with flat screen tvs in the shower, gadgets everywhere with little buttons to change the mood lighting and make things pop out of cupboards. I couldn’t wait to finish shooting and check in to my room and see what they all did.
However. Once we did finish shooting for the day, the client pulled me to one side and broke the news that, there had been a problem with their booking, and that they were one room short, so they instead had booked me into an Inn down the road in some other little town with a name I can’t recall, for fear of reprisals.
We didn’t finish shooting till quite late, so by this time it was dark, as I pulled up at my destination about a 15 minute drive from where everyone else was staying.
Dark country lanes all the way, with big scary willow trees converging either side of the road. But I kept my wits about me as I parked my car in the pitch black car park and hastily made my way to the reception desk, to be greeted by a old bearded lady, I was waiting for Scooby Doo to pop out any minute; I’m not a big fan of horror films and it doesn’t take much to get my hairs on end, and this place sure did that.
The old lady creaked as she showed me up stairs to my room, and for once in my life I had nothing to say. I really wasn’t feeling to clever about where I was about to spend the night.
She went on to hand me some bath towels and explain that there was only hot water between half 8 and 9 and then shut the door with a bang and I was on my own, in silence and I got undressed ready for bed, the room really gave me the creeps,
So I’m lying in bed, tossing and turning (well actually more tossing than turning) as I just couldn’t relax, it was as if the room was too quite, unsettlingly quite it just made you feel uneasy.
The next day at work, I bit my lip about how dodgy the hotel was and about how I had to have a cold shower as I got up late, and about this trip was nothing like it was made out to be, well for me anyway, but the next few days went by quite well apart from the odd run in with the evil stylist, so I just got on with things.
But on the penultimate night of the shoot as I made my way back to the scary inn, as I locked my door and got into bed, and turned off the light cuddling up to my little teddy, I just felt a strange feeling that something wasn’t quite right, and after a little while I finally did drift off, but then all of a sudden about 3am I was awoken from by this banging noise, it was coming from the room directly below.
Now you can image me, sitting up with the blanket pulled up right over my face, with just my eyes poking out and teddy wasn’t saying to much, so I was in this one on my own; I’ve never been so scared in my life as the banging noise started to get louder and then I herd it out in the hallway and then it started to get louder, it sounded like big boot footprints climbing the stairs outside getting closer and closer and then there was a knock at the door. You can imagine my fear, as I creped over trying my hardest not to make a sound, armed with my travel hairdryer as I looked out of the keyhole to see this shadow standing there.
I held my breathe, so not to make a sound, and just hoped and prayed, it would go away, eventually I herd it turn and walk back down the stairs, and at that point I started frantically collecting all my stuff together.
I gave in 5 minutes and made a run for it; launching my stuff onto the back seat of my car, wheel spinning away in the gravel; I wasn’t hanging around there, and it wasn’t as if I could call anyone, as my phone still didn’t work.
That was it; id had enough and had nowhere to go, so I decided to head back home to Essex. After all, if they put me up in that scary place, they were asking for trouble, and presides, they brought me there on false pretences anyway, where were all the women.
Unfortunately, my phone is now working again and I just got a right ticking off from the boss, for leaving the job, so I don’t think ill be getting married again any time soon.
I still don’t know what was outside my room last night, although unless the bearded lady grew 2 foot and bulked out overnight it definitely wasn’t her.
To be honest, I’m not going back to find out, saying that, this is coming from a man who can’t watch the film, “Alien” on his own.
So I guess I will just never know, I guess the countryside is just not for me either, but at least I’m narrowing down the list.
(Also, I would just like to say a big thank you to Dorothy from the sweet shop; the rhubarb and custards were exquisite)