Friday, 14 March 2014

The Stars Align

Every so often the stars align, the Gods smile down on us, and things go right. Sometimes almost too right to believe. So it was the other evening motoring down to Somerset with my lovely old friend and colleague, Pat, for a film shoot at a primary school (his production company, called Lightshop Films, I direct, he shoots, we edit together) when we decided to stop off for some pub grub on the way. 

"Google Gastro pub off the A303," said Pat from the driving seat. 

Yeah right, I thought to myself, we're really going to roll into an amazing pub just off this road, in the middle of nowhere, in the dark, in a bit of a hurry en route to bedtime at the Premier Inn, Glastonbury. I think not. But I dutifully did as he said and typed, "Gastro pub, Stonehenge" into my phone. 

Weird isn't it? If you'd told me only a couple of years ago that we would have been able to find the details of a restaurant somewhere nearby, on a mobile handheld device, from a moving vehicle, I think I would have wet myself laughing (a genuine hazard these days). But a pub name duly came up, The Beckford Arms, and I tried to access its many reviews but my phone just did that whirring, whirring thing it does when you've driven away from a signal. 

I thought the pub looked promising from the picture though, and from the details on its website, and so we put the address into the sat nav, established that it was only 6 minutes from the road we were on, and turned off.

Wow. It was amazing. In fact it was like a dream. The pitch dark country road, high hedges on both sides, turned on to a narrower lane that suddenly widened out at the last moment as the sat nav declared we had reached our destination, to reveal a lonely Georgian, ivy-steeped inn. Its many warm glowing windows, un-curtained to the night, revealed candle-lit rooms beyond, a cosy bar, a stunning dining room replete with blonde wood tables and a roaring fire.

We sat at that very table there in the window.

We ordered two ales, sat at a cosy window table, and happily perused the menu immediately brought to us, which included duck breast and guinea fowl. So we had one of each. 

"Life just isn't like this," observed Pat, "you dream of finding a gorgeous pub just off the beaten track on the way to a shoot and it never happens." 

"Stick with me then," I joked, "coz this sort of thing happens to me all the time." (Ha ha, maybe don't mention the appendicitis drama in Italy). And the rest of the shoot went the same way. 

The Premier Inn was new, perfectly serviceable and extremely close to Glastonbury Tor so that as we drove away for the shoot early next morning its majestic tower could be seen floating ethereally above the mist, and now we can both say we've been to Glastonbury. 

The rooms were comfortable. We rose for a cooked breakfast and Pat found somewhere nearby to buy sandwiches for the crew lunch. We met up with our clients, pitched up at the lovely modern school, parked right outside the ground floor library and classrooms we were using (well recced by me, you see), to be met by wonderful teachers who could not have been more helpful and brought us mugs of hot tea and coffee. Twice.

The children we filmed with, some I had already met and some not, were fantastic. We managed to stick to my shooting schedule to the absolute minute, even breaking for a short lunch break (often not possible), with three sequences already in the bag, by dead on 12 o'clock. 

We wrapped early. We drove back in the blazing spring sunshine through unclogged roads. I was home in time for a delicious supper cooked by Husband at 7.00 pm. Plus it was one of these rare days when I felt totally on it. Do you get those? Energetic, full of ideas and enthusiasm, even wearing the right clothes for the job (and let's face it, work days can be make or break depending on what you pull on first thing in the morning). All good. 

The whole thing made me remember how much I used to love directing back in the day before I had children. It's the best job in the world when it goes well, combining organising, coordinating, communicating, storytelling and creating all in one massive adrenalin-fuelled hit, and you get to call action and cut to boot.

The only downside is that I'm feeling a little washed out today. I may have been on a productive high yesterday but getting up at 6.00 am and filming flat out until 4, with at least 20 different Year 5 children, and 3 from Reception (they were great), plus 3 adults to manoeuvre, has taken its toll. I might just need a little lie on the sofa at some point with a nice cup of tea and the newspaper today. In fact, I could probably do with a tiny bit of a snooze...

Love E x

Just googled The Beckford Arms and found it listed as one of the top 50 pubs in England and voted best dining pub of the year for 2013. All part of my master plan of course...

Glastonbury Tor 



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