Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cement Woman's Crazy about Bats

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cement Woman's Crazy about Bats

Article excerpt

Byline: By Bob Cuffe

A couple of weeks ago, we stayed in a holiday cottage in the Lake District. The first thing you do on arrival is to read the guest comment book ( always by the phone. Here you'll find the views of previous residents on their stay, so it's obviously essential reading.

The last cottage we'd stayed at had been totally remote, and therefore terrifying. There were no comments at all in the book. Upon arrival it was clear to me that ( if we wanted to live ( we needed to leave.

No-one had survived The Remote Cottage. Don't go there after dark.

Anyway, this latest book was full of comments. Previous occupants had clearly been a simple crew, who felt it appropriate to detail all the things they'd done on holiday, as if anyone else would care.

People were recommending pubs, bragging about what they'd cooked in the Aga, and regaling us with how much they'd "enjoyed the garden."

Some left their full addresses and contact details ( thankfully no photos. I'd imagine these are regular Friends Reunited correspondents, and all as ugly as sin.

Amidst the total drivel I was taken by two quite separate single comments made by people I'd genuinely like to meet. The first one said simply: "Is it haunted?" Brilliant. The very fellow. The only three words left by one family. Cement Woman immediately reacted. "Look, this family reckon the house is haunted. I'm not happy about that."

The house was situated right next to a forest, with a number of other properties, so it wasn't remote, but neither was it safe. The forest is a thing of beauty, and also where the beasts live. The demons. The Lord Of The Rings People. Like Blyth.

The second comment was even briefer, but just as evocative. "Giant spiders!"

Two words that, of themselves, chilled my wife to her very cement core. "Spiders" would have done the job. "Giant" was the icing on her cake of fear.

Forests are the homes of spiders, aren't they? Within 15 minutes of arrival, the conversation was all about ghosts and spiders. I corrected the children by pointing out they were giant spiders. …

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