Perhaps it was my unintended stab at slapstick comedy that started the ball rolling, but after Friday night’s incident with a gas trolley I spent the rest of that evening and most of Saturday giggling. I lost count how many times I had to retake the most simple sentences whilst recording for On the Track, the one giving me the most trouble involving the words Scandinavia, Asia and the Urals in one mouthful, which ended up several times as Scandinasia (shorthand syndrome via the brain rather than the hand). As for the Urals – well that always makes me giggle. Not to mention the crabs that became grabs and the wildlife friendly farming that insisted on becoming the farming friendly farming, no matter how hard I tried to resist it.
It didn’t help, of course, that by the end of my many attempts - and the fact that a small covered microphone more commonly known as a 'dead chincilla on a stick' was waving precariously by my left eye - David was turning his head away obviously giggling and Jon was staring at me holding a can of Newcastle Brown Ale in one hand, whilst donning a pair of rather large headphones over his lug holes trying his best to impersonate Steven Speilberg. The fact that all three of us were jammed into the small office space made it even worse, as it felt like we were trying to film The Big Country in a small understairs cupboard.
And the gas trolley?
For those of you who cannot visualise to what I am making reference:
Now imagine one of these species painted dark red rather than a fetching bright yellow. Then picture it lurking surreptitiously in the shadows as it lounged against a wall outside the village shop. Imagine then a slightly befuddled woman rushing out of the shop door and turning rather too sharply into the darkness on her hurried return to the safety of her home, whilst clutching two cartons of fruit juice (one orange and one apple if you would care to know – two for £2 in fact). As said woman plonked her ungainly plates of meat on the ground one came into contact with the canister resting plate of said lurking beast which then, as if auditioning for some old Ealing comedy (or even, heaven forbid, some dreadful Chuckle Brothers advert) flung itself forward as if to hit her on the head in true slapstick style.
Well nearly, because although getting on a bit and perhaps not possessing the razor sharp reactions she used to, she did have enough left to save her head from being thwacked with the metal by raising a fist (still clutching on to one of the cartons) and saving herself. However, she did manage the obligatory “Oh goodness, dear me,” as she checked for passers-by, hidden cameras etc., before she collapsed into a fit of giggles which lasted all the way from the shop to the corner, then all the way down Back Street, through the garden gate, and into the office.
A case of an apple a day keeping the doctor away perhaps?