Every now and then, I’ll be having a conversation and someone will, by chance, give me just the right opening to share a favourite anecdote. I try not to trot the old stories out too often (it wouldn’t do to look rehearsed, after all) but there are certain stories that are worth repeating. Virgil knew what he was talking about when he came up with the phrase mirabile dictu.
The conversations will go something like this:
Friend: I was watching a re-run of ‘Minder’ on TV last night.
Me: I had drinks with Dennis Waterman once. That was an interesting evening.
Friend: Did you see that Martha Wainwright is touring Australia?
Me: I kissed her father once at a folk club in Fremantle. Oh, and I stabbed him in the face with a biro at the same time…
Friend: I was watching ‘The Princess Bride’ last weekend.
Me: I LOVE that movie. And I was there to see part of it being filmed.
Now, if you want to know about my encounters with Dennis Waterman or Loudon Wainwright III, (both perfectly innocent, I assure you) you’ll have to ask me in person. Someone did once point out that kissing a guy and stabbing him with a pen was sending mixed signals but I generally prefer to debate that offline as famous people usually have lawyers and, in this litigious age, one can’t be too careful. However, this post is about my ‘Princess Bride’ encounter which I am happy to share with the world because it is one of my favourites and as far as I can tell, there is nothing in it for which I could be sued.
It started like this. I was watching the Adam Hills show last week and for some reason, they were all dressed as characters out of The Princess Bride. 12 year old walked into the room and fell right into the trap.
12 year old: They’re all dressed as people from The Princess Bride.
Me: I LOVE that movie. Have I told you about the time I was there to see part of it being filmed?
12 year old: Several times. (flees room)
Frustrated with my need to tell the story, I decided to blog it instead. You, dear reader, can then decide whether you need to flee or not and I will never know.
Grayshott is the charming English village in Surrey where I lived from the ages of nine to eighteen. It isn’t well-known for anything in particular. Flora Thompson of ‘Lark Rise’ fame once worked at the local post-office and, apparently, Colin “Mr Darcy” Firth was born there, but that is really all that it has to recommend it.
It was a nice place to grow up though. As a child, I had an acre of garden to play in, most of which was wild, and, if you left the garden and walked through the public National Trust woodland for about a mile, this led to a series of man-made lakes called Waggoners Wells. It was a picturesque place and popular with walkers.
On a family walk one day, we chanced across some people dressed in mediaeval costume on horses. There was also a film crew. We stopped to watch them for quite some time as film crews are rare in rural Surrey. Then we walked home and I forgot all about it.
Fast forward a few years, and a friend of mine recommends a movie – The Princess Bride. She says that I will enjoy it and she is right. It was destined to become a cult movie from the very first. Then about a quarter of the way in, I give a little yelp, pause the video (yes, video – showing my age) and there it is: Waggoners Wells and the people in costumes on horses plus the pleasure of realising that I was there, just out of shot, while the filming took place.
|You can't see me, but I was there - just off to the right.|
You can watch the scene here. I did have a look on Wikipedia to see if Waggoners Wells was listed as a location for the film, but they have missed it out. I suppose they can’t list every location that they use.
Of course, the film went on to become very well-known. Wikipedia attributes this to it being 'eminently quotable'.
Certainly, someone only needed to quote a line and I was there with my story:
Me: Ooh, the Princess Bride! I LOVE that movie. And I was there to see part of it being filmed.
Friend: You killed my father! Prepare to die.
Me: Ooh, the Princess Bride etc. etc. etc.
You can see how much currency I have managed to get out of that long-ago incident, especially when I was able to buy the DVD for myself and
inflict it upon show it to my own son.
Actually, he doesn’t mind it as a movie. But, just like the kid in the movie, he objects to any kissing scenes. The fans among us know that “Since the invention of the kiss, there have only been five kisses that were rated the most passionate, the most pure,” and we know that the kiss at the end of the movie “left them all behind.”
And I think I know what puts that final Princess Bride kiss above these Top 5 kisses.
|Look, no pens.|
Buttercup didn’t stab Westley in the face with a biro.
|Photo credit: National Trust Images|