Oakley Court Hotel, Sunday 25th August, 2013
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"From what had gone before this was certain to be..........A Picnic."
Saturday, September 14th, 2013
Way back in 2006 TimeWarp celebrated our eighteen birthday with a picnic at Oakley Court, original filming location for The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Little did we realise that eight years later the picnic would have become our annual fan club organised event and we would be back once more to celebrate our Twenty Fifth anniversary as the official UK Rocky Horror fan club.
We'd hoped to get around forty people to come along to the picnic when we first ran the event, this year we had ninety four signed up a week before the event, a fantastic number of fans once more.
As usual the weather couldn't quite make it's mind up before the day, with the online forecast changing by the hour. But as it turned out, as we arrived around 2pm the sun was beginning to shine once more on Oakley Court. As we parked the now familiar site of our 'Transylvania' flag flying on the tower greeted us once again. Lovely that the hotel fly the flag for the event, making the 'castle' home to the fans each year. This is the one time of year that the hotel are happy for the fans to wander around in our costumes, they are a working hotel after all.
After checking into our room, with a little delay as they hotel had been sold out the night before, we got changed and headed down to see who had arrived already. The hotel had reserved us a section of the seating on the veranda and we joined the early birds for a chat with friends old and new. Loads of photos were taken as more and more people arrived. Just before four we started the picnic proper.
As the weather had been threatening some rain, the hotel had once more set us up some tables indoors complete with candles and some lovely decorations. Everyone had the choice to stay inside, avoiding the wasps, or head back out onto the lawn to enjoy the splendid food provided. There was a main course of food as well as soft drinks and desert. Plenty for all, it just took a little while with over ninety people queueing up to be served, but it was well worth the wait.
As we chatted to more and more of the fans we realised that we had people from Germany, Spain, France and even as far away as Israel in attendance. We were so thrilled that people would travel so far for our little get together.
Also on display during the picnic was a special cake Stephanie had commissioned to celebrate the anniversary of the fan club. Made to look like the Griffin logo we've used since 1992, the cake was big enough to feed everyone (twice over as it happened). More on that later on.
After the food it was time for the traditional "Group Photo" and for once this time around I was determined to get in to the image myself, hence a little radio trigger and tripod joined the photo kit I brought this year. As you can see by the image at the top of the page, I made it!
After many more photos, people continued to socialise and wander the hotel and grounds at their leisure. It always was, and always will be, an important part of the picnics that people had as much time as possible to do what they wanted rather than the whole event being organised to the minute.
We did however have our traditional movie screening event later in the evening. Once more we screened The Rocky Horror Picture Show inside the building it was filmed. I love the first view of the exterior of the 'castle' getting a cheer of it's own during the screening.
Before the screening everyone had some cake, some of us four pieces, and it was to say the least yummy! As soon as most people had finished their cake and settled down in their seats with a drink from the dedicated bar, we had our raffle draw. This year there were twenty five prizes on offer, one for each year of the fan club. Illya, our youngest son, was master of ceremonies for the raffle and he did a fine job of it too. Must be hereditary. Afterwards Stephanie and I realised he'd decided he was in charge this year as neither of us had nominated him as such. Loads of laughs and applause ensued as each winner claimed their prize.
This was followed by a few presentations. This was the first event for many years when all of the dedicated and hard working TimeWarp fan club reps had all been at the same event. Something that Stephanie decided to mark with a little presentation to them all of a special gift each. Steph also gave me one, a gift that is.
Unbeknown to us 'Time' had a steady procession of people visiting her room throughout the day, all secretly signing a huge, beautiful, hand-made card for Stephanie and myself and she presented us with it to much cheering. We also received lots of other wonderful gifts from many of the fans, all unexpected, all gratefully received. Thank you all so much, it meant a great deal to us both and we ended up quite emotional by the start of the movie.
Leo, who travelled all the way from Israel, did us a version of the "Transylvania pledge" before the movie. I'd nearly forgotten we did this back in the early days at the weekly movie screenings in London and it was a nice reminder to hear it as a one off on this special night.
The film screening was as always wonderful and afterwards people headed out to take more photos and relax. The final die-hard group meeting up in the room that the 'Time Warp' room in the film was modelled on for a few more drinks (someone had three pages of drinks bill on checkout). Stephanie and I got to bed around two in the morning, with Illya falling asleep the moment his head touched the pillow. Our eldest son had his own room so who knows when or if he actually slept. Update: Apparently having pushed his two single beds together, Dana turned over in the middle of the night and fell between the gap in the mattresses. He claims he was then stuck there for a couple of hours.
Next morning after five and a half hours sleep and the fantastic Oakley Court breakfast (yummy) we met up with everyone for the traditional game of "you look different with your real clothes on" around the fountain. I'm sure that fountain has powers of it's own to attract Rocky fans in the morning. A few final photos and some very heartfelt goodbyes before most of us checked out and headed off, the flag still flying in the morning sun.
Before the day itself the hotel confirmed the 2014 picnic and lots of people booked as they checked out. The 2014 picnic will take place on Sunday August 24th, 2014. See the 2014 picnic page for details.
A huge thank you from both Stephanie and myself to everyone that attended and for making it a special day for us all. Here's to the next one..............
Love from the UK(TimeWarpWebmaster)
Galleries of images from the day - images online 549 - Queued 0 (Thumbnails only at this time)
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Comments from the 2013 picnic - Say It!
"Just to say as 2013 was mine and Karin's first picnic, thank you to everyone who made it a weekend to remember, for a very long time. Everyone so friendly. Great company. Thank you to Steph, Dave and everyone at TIMEWARP and a thank you to Rob for signing my copy of his book, I won my copy on the night we had the raffle. It was great to meet everyone at last after chatting to them on the forums.
"Thank you so much for to EVERYONE at the Picnic who not only had the patience to come and knock on room 304 so they could get the giant postcard signed, but who withstood the tension keeping it a secret all day long until it was handed in during the evening.
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