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
News
election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
News
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
News
people
Voices
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
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

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'