Wedmore Antics

PUBLISHED: 16:30 20 October 2008 | UPDATED: 15:32 20 February 2013

Illustration: David Barwick

Illustration: David Barwick

So there we were, my girlfriends and I, enjoying a restorative Friday bottle of Beaujolais outside our local, when a passing acquaintance broke the news: 'There's a film crew outside your house - what's the story?' What, indeed. Permit me to expla...

Gary Glitter's release from jail resulted in the collective assumption on the part of the media that he had gone to ground at his former home, hence the media circus, which provided a diversionary floor show for families out for a therapeutic Friday afternoon stroll.

This came as no surprise but my attitude to any media posse is ambivalent, given my days as a Fleet Street tabloid hack during which I haunted many a doorstep contemplating the hell that awaited any journalist returning to the office without the copy/photograph/ footage for which they had been despatched.

Actually, a sinister ambience, vaguely reminiscent of a Stephen King horror story, continues to permeate my house. Leaving aside the shroud of gossamer cobwebs which festoons our exterior fixtures and fittings, the nights lately have been rendered eerily chilling as the wood-smoke air is rent by the screams of some rodent being violently done to death in the woods opposite my bedroom window... to say nothing of Igor.

Igor is my new friend, a baby bat who sees my sleeping quarters as his personal theme park. Two weeks ago I was awoken by the sound of Bertie crooning plaintively as a small, squeaking black apparition described ever-decreasing circles around the bedroom. Now, I am enough of a country girl to know that your common bat is a creature as protected and universally admired as the late Queen Mother, and I resigned myself to a life (and domicile) in which the local bat community called the shots.

A bit of nocturnal detective work on night four of Igor's limited season with us revealed that he was merely a passing opportunist - entering by the bedroom window and leaving when, presumably, Mum rang the dinner gong - so that's all right.

The nights are drawing in and my social commitments are in grave danger of overreaching themselves, not least in view of Wedmore Theatre Club's winter offering, a Francis Durbridge thriller in which I get to play an overwrought and highly strung female whose husband is driving her to the brink of madness. I get to do a nice line in hysterical laughter and suffer stylishly via five costume changes and much neurotic fiddling with various items of costume jewellery - there's art imitating life for you.

Bertie's neuroses, on the other hand, are quite another plate of Pedigree Chum. His groomer, Buffy, who, if there was any justice, would get danger money and a George Cross for what she has been subjected to, gently suggested that, for all our sakes, neutering him might be the answer. So, and this should come as a huge relief to Wedmore dog walkers who have to withstand the daily fallout from Bertie's inner rottweiller, he has been 'done'. And while I don't expect him to take up needlework and flower arranging in the future, I think his days as a heat-seeking missile with testosterone overload are behind us.

Which is just as well. I have my hands full preparing for a rehearsed play-reading this weekend of Noel Coward's 'Blithe Spirit'. I am playing Elvira, the second dead-come-back-to-life trollop I have played on stage in the last ten months. Like my last part as Rosie Probert from 'Under Milk Wood', she is a heavily lipsticked harpy with an attitude problem and a heaving bosom - talk about ghost bustiers!


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