Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Best Cream Tea - Worst Action Scene

Best Cream Tea

This is another case of the words 'best' and 'only' being interchangeable, as I'm keen to live a little more healthily on this trip. I think I have been moderately successful so far.

Primrose Tea Rooms in Lustleigh, Dartmoor, is a beautiful little place, owned and staffed by friendly and funny women. The tea was Cornish Tregothnan and served in the loveliest teapot I've seen since the 1970s. The scones were warm and freshly baked, the jam sweet and tart and delicious, and the clotted cream was totally and utterly exquisite.

As I ate and drank, my heart rate gradually dropped from about 450 bpm to my normal resting 200 or so. I would stand up, or adjust my position on the sweet little lilac seat cushion from time to time, to ensure that I did not impregnate it with any arse crack sweat which was still accumulating from the valley of my spine after the…

Worst Action Scene

T, M, E and H are a family travelling across Dartmoor in a compact motorhome. They have no idea what horrors await them…

M: So this is Lustleigh. And you reckon the Torygraph said it was the nicest village on Dartmoor?

T: Yeah, but I didn't really bother to read the article. Let's just have a look.

M: Oh God, they've got a village fair on.

E & H:
(together) Can we go to the fair?

M & T:
(together) NO.

H: Why not?

M: Because there'll be loads of traffic, and these lanes are really narrow, and we don't want to get stuck.

(There is a long, ominous and meaningful silence while the van winds its way into the village, merging with the queue of vehicles already leaving the fair because it's really hot and they've run out of soft drinks by mid-afternoon.)

M: Oh, that looks like a nice tea room. I really want a Devon Cream Tea.

T: There's nowhere to park because of the bloody fair.
So unfair. I'll give you a nice cream pie if you want?

(Another uncomfortable silence.)

T: It looks like this road just goes up out of the village…

M: It does. That sign says UNSUITABLE FOR HGVs, though?

T: It'll be fine.

(Enter a fabulously glamorous woman in her twenties, driving a tiny sporty car in the opposite direction and pulling into the mouth of a driveway to allow the van to pass. She leans out of her window, piles of golden curls tumbling into the small space between the vehicles as T draws the van up alongside.)

WOMAN: Hello.

T: (In a small voice, desperately trying not to sound like a creepy middle-aged sex pest) Hello. Do you think we will get this van through, up there?

(He does not add that the Hymer only has a 1.9 litre TDi engine, not because he does not expect her to understand that this is rather a low power to weight ratio for such a vehicle, but because he is trying, for once in his life, not to be boring.)

WOMAN: Hmm. Well, you would be very brave to try...

(INCIDENTAL MUSIC: A James Brown scream. Perhaps the beginning of 'I Got You (I Feel Good)', launching into the riff and the verse as T's chest puffs out, he shifts the van into first, and releases the handbrake.)

(EXTREME CLOSE-UP: T's already-slitty-little eyes narrow even further.) Thanks. That's what I will do. (The van moves forward purposefully.)

M: Oh God. You're going to have to keep your speed up - this is really steep.

(T says nothing. It's not just really steep, but really narrow, really bendy, and
really gravelly. He is already losing speed and the tyres are beginning to slip. After a few more bends, the vehicle is stationary and the tyres are spinning. Smoke is rapidly filling the leafy tunnel. Sweat is pouring down T's face, arms and back.)

(really hoping that the young woman will have gone by now) Shit. We'll have to roll back down.

(sighs, gets out of the van, squeezes between the flank of it and the trees, around to the back) LEFT A BIT, RIGHT A BIT, STRAIGHTEN UP... STRAIGHTEN! UP!

(Internal monologue, VO) I'm not really listening to what you are saying, but even if I was, I wouldn't know whether you mean left as you see it, or left as I would see it if I was looking backwards along the sides of the van from the perspective of each of the wing mirrors, which are perfectly adequate for me to do what I am doing, as long as I keep a roughly equal-sized sliver of light visible in each. Fuck. Why have we stopped?



(He tries, though, of course. SFX: the screams, growls, and cries of machinery being punished.)

E: What’s that smell?

T: Are you really asking me what that smell is RIGHT NOW?

E: Um, yes?

T: The van is stuck. I do not have the time to discuss any of the details at the moment.

(T does not know what the smell is. It might be burning rubber, or tortured clutch. He can now just about recognise part of M's forearm in his mirror.)

T: Stop trying to push it. It weighs three and a half tons - you won't be able to. And if I roll back I AM GOING TO KILL YOU.

(The sweat from T's upper body begins to collect in his hairy arse crack, threatening to permeate the fabric of Britain’s Favourite Walking Trouser.)
TUNE IN NEXT WEEK AND FIND OUT IF actually, dont bother.
It was fine in the end.


  1. I am thinking you could rename this one 'up the arse crack of nowhere' if you were minded to attract or repel a certain type of reader. As it stands the cream tea review drew me right in but the arse crack kept me going to the end. I trust that both the lilac cushion and the van survived. See you at the next stop. And take those kids to the fair next time!! ( you're welcome E and H)

  2. Frankly, Mrs Shankley, I would love a wider readership, but I am not prepared to sink to the depths of what is required to generate wider interest across the web. Fame, fame, fatal fame, It can play hideous tricks on the brain. But if you are reading it and a few more too, then that will most certainly do.