The period pains of Location-in-the-Wold

There was a spirit of unrest abroad in the small Cotswold village of Steeple Netherby, and this was a most untoward thing, for until very recently Steeple Netherby had been marked by a contentment which almost bordered on self-satisfaction. Not to put too fine a point on it, Steeple Netherby had become famous. There may have been people in the village who were unaware of the recent fame, but there could not be many. For it was in this unassuming, unchanged and picturesque spot that the filming for the recent TV adaptation of Jane Austen's little-known novel Risk and Risibility had taken place.

Much of the exterior filming for this very successful realisation had been done outside the house belonging to Colonel Sands, who, as his rank suggests, had been in the army and gave people to understand that he had seen much exciting action, though as he had been in the catering corps, the excitement had been generally limited to the thrill of supplying bread for the men on time and withdrawing broccoli soup when it had proved unpopular. He had been out of the army some little while, but had taken his rank with him when he left, and had indeed even carefully improved the rank as time went by, for he had been no more than a major when he left, and was now a colonel and he very much hoped to become a general if he should ever move house again.

"I am going to the shop," the Colonel called to his wife Susan one morning in May.

"My dear, there are some people outside the house taking photographs. Perhaps you should wait a moment."

"I'll give them and their blasted photographs!" said the Colonel. Yet despite his strong words, he stayed tamely inside the house and peered through the curtains until the strangers had gone.

"We cannot complain," said Mrs Sands, coming downstairs. She paused at a window where she noticed a vase of anemones looking a little underwatered, gave them a brisk box on the ears (for she was more military by inclination than her husband) and passed briskly on. "We made a lot of money from the TV company for the use of our house in the film, and we cannot complain if viewers come to gawp at it. It is not as if they try to break into the house and take souvenirs or ask for a cup of water."

"I am sure you are right, my dear," said Colonel Sands, who had indeed answered a knock on the door the previous day and charged the TV pilgrim 10p for a glass of water, for which he now felt slightly ashamed. "It is just that it seems to go on and on. Just when we think it will all die down, the TV company repeats the blessed film. Or Country Life does a feature called `The Village in the heart of Austen Country'. And everyone comes flocking again. I wish to high heaven we had never been involved. I certainly hope we will never be involved again."

"Then you will be pleased to hear that the danger has been averted," said his wife.

"I'm sorry?" said her uncomprehending husband.

"According to the local paper, a TV company intends to make a new comedy series called Period Pains. This comedy is set in a picturesque village which is fed up to the back teeth with being used as a period setting, somewhere like Castle Combe."

"Or us," said her husband.

"Very like us," said Mrs Sands. "It is indeed based on us. It is based on many of the things which happened to us. Like the time the lorry bringing authentic 18th-century manure overturned, and the village stank for three days. Or the runaway reindeer. Or the time they put back the wrong TV dishes on the wrong houses ..."

"Yes, yes," said the Colonel testily. "So they're making a film about a village like us which is always being plagued by film companies, and they are coming here to film this ... this comedy, are they?"

"No," said his wife. "They are going to Lower Ashby."

"Lower Ashby?" said the Colonel aghast. "Lower Ashby? They can't do that!"

Lower Ashby was a nearby village, smaller but equally picturesque, and, if the truth be known, more unspoilt.

"Oh, but they are," said his wife. "Lower Ashby is going to play the part of us. I thought you'd be pleased. I know how fed up you are with us being Location-in-the-Wold, as you so wittily call it."

"Lower Ashby?" repeated the Colonel, as if it were a mantra. "I cannot believe it ! It must not happen."

An extract from `Art and Adaptability', a new Jane Austen-style novel by the authoress of `Tact and Taciturnity', `Ink and Illegibility', etc, and soon to be a major TV success.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
filmIdris Elba responds to James Bond rumours on Twitter
Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
booksNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones
film
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Manager

£32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Manager is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Panel & Cabinet Wireman

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...

Recruitment Genius: Electronics Test Engineer

£25000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SME based in East Cheshire, ...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015