Wooda #1: Atlantic Coast Express

Doom & Bar

Nick & I eventually arrived at Wooda after a hair-raising ride aboard the most excellently named Atlantic Coast Express. The ACE – may I call it that? – is a double-decker bus that rips giddily through Devon & Cornwall on its way to Bude, skirting round the northern fringe of Dartmoor, taking no prisoners & few passengers. At one time it was an important branch of the rail network, connecting Waterloo with the Cornish Coast. Better a bus than nothing, say I.

The previous day’s snowfall rendered the moor itself invisible, but we knew it was out there beyond the steamed-up windows, being very cold, creating gorse, burying sheep. How Nick ever managed to nod off on that journey I do not know, but in between the power-napping he did his best to keep me amused with idle talk of Yorkshire sayings. I can relate that the Yorkshire phrase ‘weeny on’ means ‘massive’. He gave a 30 year old example: look at you with your weeny on flares.

Make Do & Mend
Make Do & Mend

A lively local gal sat upfront reminded Nick of a boy in his school nicknamed ‘Bardy One’, possibly on account of a protruding incisor, but the details are hazy. I tried to recall some Devonian treats from my Exeter days, but only got as far as ‘awright my luvver?’ Such things help pass the time.

Home From Home
Home From Home

Our first night was an interesting game of failing repeatedly to get the wood-burning stove going whilst steadily demolishing the entire supply of wine & ale & food that Max had kindly supplied in advance of our arrival, plus some of the whisky Nick had brought along. There may of course be a correlation between our feeble pyrotechnics & the booze, but I doubt it. The logs must have been wet, or perhaps the matches, or was a weeny on Cornish wind against us? Yes, that must have been it.

Man & Wicker
Wicker & Man

Much ado about kindling warmed us up no end & then predictably, around 1.30am, the ‘drunken Irishman’ appeared. That’s what Nick calls me when he is in danger of losing an argument. It relates to my gene pool, something to do with Birkenhead. For the record, the argument was (give or take) about whether films should be 4 hours or 4 minutes long. Important stuff, I’m sure you’ll agree, & clearly films should be 4 hours long. The drunken Irishman also decreed that audience is not important & one must not think about them whatsoever when editing (more on that later, possibly).

Weeny On Pudding Hat
Weeny On Pudding

Sunday greeted us gently with a lovely roast lunch at the farmhouse, prepared by team Wooda, with Gary resplendent in full chef’s attire. Nick remarked that it was the best roast he’d had in years (so he’d better not let his mum read this blog). I would add that the curried parsnips were particularly outstanding & that Yorkshire pudding was at least the size of Henry VIII’s hat.

Thank you chaps for that warm welcome, it was spot on.

That afternoon we set up the Mac in order to start capturing DV footage but were hampered by a series of boring technical challenges which in fact carried on over into the beginning of the week, losing us much time. Some of these were genuine problems, such as a hardware malfunction – in layman’s terms, the machine was not doing what it’s supposed to do – but being resourceful types, we found a work-around.

The most acutely frustrating problem though was self-inflicted & I think it’s worth mentioning for sheer daftness. Inadvertently we must have switched the function of the mouse’s left / right buttons round. This meant that each time one tried to click on something using the normal button (left), a pop-up would occur, obscuring the cursor. This effectively blocked us from interacting with the screen in any meaningful way – for at least two hours. (Try this for yourself if you don’t believe me). Eventually the daft mouse button problem was resolved. Nick made me promise never to tell anyone in case it made him look like a bad editor.

I Made This Myself
Made of Wooda

An interesting revelation for me was our differing attitudes to these technical challenges. For the past 10 years I have been working on a PC & Nick’s experience is mostly with Mac. Essentially Nick’s attitude when problems arose was ‘Macs are designed to do this & should therefore do their job’ whereas mine was ‘all machines are faulty & sometimes need a rest – let’s restart’. 

That clever chap Umberto Eco wrote about how Mac was essentially catholic (God = absolute) & that PC was protestant (God = tinker-able). Henry VIII is implicated once again, what with his multiple peripherals. The machine we’re working with at Wooda is a Mac & bizarrely enough the hardware problem we encountered was that it won’t accept more than one peripheral at a time – it’s monogamous.

To complicate the metaphor further (as if I didn’t have enough to do), at the heart of this Mac sit dual Intel (PC) processors. This means, effectively, that the computer is a catholic with a protestant heart.

So what does that spell?

Next: Line Dancing Mule!

Wooda #1: Atlantic Coast Express

6 thoughts on “Wooda #1: Atlantic Coast Express

  1. rob says:

    well at least that woman, jessica, didn’t walk out of the theatre as Alessandra did when I took her to see Ai No Corrida. I don’t go on dates anymore. I sit indoors reading entertaining blogs.

  2. marmee says:

    Dear Billy Blogg

    Always watch fingertips when proffered to the hairy equine muzzle, and enjoy your Norwegian- Wood-style-studio-with- green- fields- in- background.This is the first time I’ve replied to a blog and am inhibited by the sense that Others Will Read What I Say. So back to my escritoire, quill pen etc to finish an epistle which you will get next week.Thank you so much for the cd. Bliss. All my love x

  3. dd says:

    well, being called a drunken ‘irish’ man eh? i hope this refers to your creative talent, literary genius and good humour ( as many irish both then and now, possess these qualities in abundance!!).

    if an argument breaks out remember
    ‘ in an emergency irish dance ‘

    xx dd

  4. Stanley says:

    I took a girl to see Dirty Dancing. It was great. Especially the bit with the water melons. And Patrick ‘The Hazy’ Swayze’s hips scoboodled like a dizzy fair ground ride. (Is this at all relevant?)

  5. Nick says:

    Oh God Matty man, you promised to keep the mouse thing dark, you MAD irishman.

    Films should be 1 hour 28 minutes plus trailers and ads for Orange and cars exactly, unless it’s a 3 hour epic about duty, death and rain by Tarkovsky in which case you shouldn’t count and don’t bring a first date ‘cos it’ll be the only date. Mind you taking a lass to a Tarkovsky is not as bad as our friend Rob who once took a first date to see ‘The Life & Death of Bob Flanagan, Super-Masochist’ a documentary about a Cystic Fibrosis sufferer who enjoys being hung from the ceiling by spikes stuck through his not very weeny on weeny and the like, and then he dies. Ill-advised.

    Good blog action, but it’s probably best you don’t mention the fact that you and soap are relative strangers. (I use shower gel – Ed.)

    Nick. x

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