The Voyages of Ladyribenaberet- Adventurer! (Parte the SECONDe)

I’ve decided against writing this blog post in a mock-archaic way (as in Parte the FIRSTe) due to the fact that my week in Ardentinny’s most haphazard cottage with seven other people is amusing all on its own and doesn’t really need dressing up. In fact, olden day speak might have actually eroded some of the amusingness that is about to ensure. However, if you’d prefer to read this aloud in a comedic Victorian fashion, then I won’t stop you. No no, I insist. Go ahead.

First I must reverse time several months, to March 2009…. (screen goes wibbly, as is traditional when Flashing Back).

“Let us away to a cottage for New Year!” said my friend Louise. Or it might have been me. No, I think it was Louise. Anyway, we decided that it was a good plan (probably mine) and so I permitted Louise to make all the necessary arrangements, occasionally glancing at a lengthy email she’d send me every so often detailing all the hard work she was putting in and all the good ideas she was having….

Gradually, these emails came to mention how the amazing stately home we’d hired up at Kinlochmoidart in February wasn’t available and how she’d seen one in Ardentinny instead which- for reasons that may or may not become clear shortly- hadn’t been booked up a bazillion years in advance like most other places.

Also, Ardentinny has a live hencam, so you can watch hens peck at things online. It sounded like Our Kind Of Place: http://www.watchmystream.com/Ardentinnyhencam.

“Yeah, yeah, fine,” I said, glancing at the screen briefly. “Thanks and stuff.”

I then went back to tweeting for several months and Thought No More About It.

CUT TO:

(EXT. CAR- DAY) Five people are crammed into a moving vehicle. All around them are bags and bags of assorted foodstuffs, two fake GUITARS, 30 eggs, a quantity of board games and several SUITCASES. The car is groaning on its axles. I’m not sure what kind it is or what flavour axles it has as I don’t know anything about cars. However, it is called BELLA if that helps. Bella is speeding along a single track ROAD. There is a loch to her right. An Enchanting Lochside Vista can be seen.

LOUISE: Behold! It is Nature, in all her Awesome GLORY!

NATHAN: (Americanly) Huh?

Bella bounds ever onwards, eager to shed herself of a million tons of WEIGHT. She rounds a corner and LO, some houses come into view.

LOUISE:  I think that’s it.

PAUL: (Louise’s betroth’d) Is it?

MICHELE: (disappointedly) is it?

ME: Hmm. It looks like the picture, however the picture was taken from a cunning angle that made it look was if it were a mighty, solitary house in the middle of a field. Possibly surrounded by deer, highland cattle and a lone chap in a kilt striding mightily around whilst tossing cabers at a haggis. Not a detatched Barratts box-like pebble dashed thingy about two feet from an identical Barratts box-like pebble dashed thingy on a street containing many other houses.

Author’s Note- I didn’t actually say it quite like that. That was artistic license. In fact, I actually thought it inside my brain. But you get the idea. Incidentally, the picture above is the one used to advertise it. Note the lack of other houses.

The CAR pulls up outside and lets out an audible sigh of relief, her frontal geegaws sagging.

CUT TO:

(EXT. DAY) A harassed and slightly nervous looking man comes out of a pebble dashed two storey modern non-cottage the colour of rotten milk. He is wearing a HAT.

GEORGE: (for that is his name) Oh, hello!

LOUISE: Hello.

ME: Hello.

MICHELE: H…

…Oh, you get the idea

CUT TO: (I like cutting to things)

(INT. COTTAGE- DAY) It is covered in sawdust. Workmen are fleeing guiltily out of the rear French windows, vaulting off the much-mentioned-in-the-cottage-description SUNDECK and scampering away. A bucket of plaster sits in one corner, some STEPLADDERS in another. The windows have stickers on them indicating their NEWNESS. The camera pans around a corner. Nails and screws adorn the floor of the downstairs toilet. Which has a price tag on it.

ME: Has this place just been built?

GEORGE: (laughs nervously)

Behind them, NATHAN and PAUL are manfully dragging in bags and bags and bags of food. So much food, in fact, that the cast members end up bringing a lot of it back with them at the end of the trip. For yea, the trip doth have an end.

MICHELE: (sneezes because of the dust)

GEORGE: (flings keys at Louise) Don’t use the upstairs toilet or the downstairs one or the shower come to think of it the one in the en-suite sort of works though or you could always rinse yourself off in the loch oh here are the instructions for the dishwasher I don’t know how to use it it’s new there’s an electrician coming tomorrow to put in the lightbulbs bye.

And with that, he scampers off before anyone thinks to rugby tackle him. Everyone eyes each other nervously. The Americans –a famously hard to please people- slope off into the living room and discover an empty microwave box full of bits of metal in the middle of the floor, a quantity of light bulbs awaiting the attention of the aforementioned electrician, a flatscreen tv with the protective covering still on and a cabinet covered in a dustsheet. Or possibly a very square, immobile ghost.

THE AMERICANS: (begin grumbling in an American kind of way).

ME: (Britishly) It’s not that bad. It’s just a bit…..new. And things.

LOUISE: (looks slightly annoyed/discombobulated as she feels responsible and people are being NEGATIVE)

ME: (tries to diffuse the situation by doing a merry little dance)

PAUL: (because he hasn’t said anything for a while) Yeah.

Author’s note- Louise was NOT responsible, for no one had helped her plan the trip because we’re lazy and anyway, the cottage description failed to mention the fact that it hadn’t been built yet. Although most estate agents could probably have made something of the free sawdust and brand new windows, they’d struggle to sell the unattached bathroom mirrors still in their boxes (£7.99), the wires hanging out of the walls or the lack of stuff in the ‘fully equipped kitchen’ (I tell you, once you’ve chopped garlic with a breadknife there’s no going back). Oh, and despite the fact the cottage sleeps eight, there were only six cups, six plates, six sets of cutlery, a malfunctioning can opener and one pan. Oh, and don’t forget that multifunctional breadknife…

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

CUT TO:

(INT. COTTAGE, LATER THAT DAY) Paul is in the shower. Everyone else is sitting in the living room, inhaling dust and having a good old fashioned chinwag like what we all used to do back in the OLDEN days before we invented hologrammatic DARTBOARDS and hoverbikes and suchlike.

NATHAN: (Americanly) It’s raining inside. Is that what happens in Scotland?

Everyone looks up. A large damp patch has developed on the ceiling and an ominous BULGE has appeared in the plaster. As we watch, water patters down and hits the laminate flooring. Some DUST flees in terror.

ME: (launches herself upstairs, shouting) PAUL! Stop showering!

NATHAN: (aside) To be fair, that might actually solve the whole ‘only one shower between eight people’ problem. One person can shower upstairs while someone else showers in the living room at the same time.

— THE END — (of the faux-screenplay bit, anyway).

To cut a long story short. We made a fuss. Louise called George and was annoyed at him. He promised to send an electrician and plumber forthwith. The plumber finished sealing the shower, the electrician put in the halogen lightbulbs (why the owner couldn’t have done that is, frankly, beyond me). Despite having to sweep approximately 58,000 pints of dust out of the semi-finished cottage, we all had a JOLLY NICE TIME and saw the New Year in with a bang on the shores of Loch Somethingorother.

Ardentinny is in the Cowal Peninsula (so named because it’s owned by Simon Cowell, however they spelled his name wrong on the signs so he stormed off in a huff, cursing a whitewashed two storey cottage as he went) and there are many, many splendid walks to experience. My favourite was the enchanting Puck’s Glen, a wooded gorge filled with waterfalls which has a distinctively Lord of the Rings feel to it:

We also went to Glenbranter and had a great time attempting the Lauder Walk, which was tricky as the ground was entirely frozen and so we spent most of our time sliding around grabbing onto each other in the manner of Torvil and Dean attempting to perform Ravel’s Bolero after 14 pints of vodka.

Dunoon, the closest town, has a lot of charm- if by charm you mean hardware shops, of which there are about 64,000. We did, however, manage to stock up on kitchen utensils such as a working can opener, along with other cottage-enhancing items e.g. a metric ton of booze so we wouldn’t care about the dust.

So yes, to sum up, I’d recommend a trip to the Cowal Peninsula. But for goodness sake, don’t stay here:  http://www.clickholidaycottages.co.uk/holiday-cottage5193.asp

And finally, massive huge thanks to Louise for a) organising it b) sorting out the teething problems c) driving us everywhere and d) putting up with us 🙂 I LOVE HER.

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About Hilary Wardle
Hilary is a freelance journalist and copywriter who writes for a wide range of websites, magazines and newspapers, including Buzzfeed, MSN, The Poke, Chortle, the Guardian and the Independent. She specialises in arts and entertainment, comedy, video games and viral content. Contact her at Hilary3@gmail.com.

5 Responses to The Voyages of Ladyribenaberet- Adventurer! (Parte the SECONDe)

  1. Louise says:

    Ahh how nicely you speak of this louise person! She sounds wonderful, and I’m sure she’ll be very touched by all the niceness you’ve said about her 🙂

  2. Anna says:

    Thank God we didn’t get there til day 3!

  3. False Nails says:

    *– I am really thankful to this topic because it really gives great information ~*;

  4. :~’ that seems to be a great topic, i really love it ‘~~

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