The Rocky Horror Picnic Show 2008 was our third picnic in as many years at Oakley Court. The 2006 event marked TimeWarp's eighteenth anniversary and 2008 saw us celebrate our twentieth year as the official UK Rocky Horror Fan Club.
The 2006 and 2007 picnics had just under fifty attendees at each event and we were hoping to get around the same number for 2008. The week before hand we were up to 69, no really I didn't make the number up, and by the day we had 75 people at the picnic.
We arrived to find our little surprise was up and flying. We'd made an exact copy of the original Transylvanian flag that flew over the castle in the movie. Stephanie had even chatted to Sue Blane to make sure it was the right shape. The only downside was that the rope for the flagpole was broken and the hotel were unable to take the current flag down and put ours on top of the pole, it did look quite good attached lower down as it fluttered in the wind though. You might also notice from some of the pictures that they didn't quite manage to read the "Top" instructions written on the flag and the lightning flash ended upside down (The image on the left has the logo flipped in photoshop). Oh well, next time, eh? It as however the first time the Rocky flag had flown over the castle for 34 years.
As we were there a little early we chilled out with other fans on the decking (added a few years back) in the garden. Just as we were relaxing a guy came up and asked if any of us wanted to talk to Patricia Quinn as she was on his phone. It turned out he was a friend of hers and had called her to say we were all at the hotel. I had a quick chat with Pat then passed the phone on for a few fans to talk to her. It made a nice start to the picnic talking to such a wonderful person as Pat.
The food and drinks were up to the usual very high standard of Oakley Court and everyone said they enjoyed the picnic meal. We all retired to the lawn or the deck to eat, talk and spend an hour or two mingling with our fellow fans. Click here for a scrollable panoramic shot of us all before the food arrived.
We then had a surprise visit from the man himself......Richard O'Brien who stopped to sign a couple of things! The point of the picnic has always been to have a great time (at a special discount rate!) at the original filming location for The Rocky Horror Picture Show with like minded fans. We don't plan the event like we would a convention, so having Richard turn just after the food was served at 3.30pm to help us celebrate our 20th anniversary was a real honour. Richard took time out to chat with the fans and sign thousands of autographs, he then stayed as late as he could before heading off to a prior engagement at around half-six. One of the most surreal moments of the weekend was Richard inviting anyone that wanted to come along to the car-park to see his recently acquired classic car. The sight of Richard and myself with thirty or so fans in costume walking down the access road will stay with me for a long time.
As in 2006 we even managed to fit a screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show into the day. Again this was an extra on top of the day, rather than an integral part. Most people did come along to the 10pm screening (as did some of the other hotel guests) and were treated to a little extra in the way of a video slide-show of images from our previous picnic shows and the fan club run Transylvania conventions. All put together the day before hand by Dana, our twelve year old son and well received by everyone who watched.
We even had a marriage proposal during the movie, the young lady doing the asking had wanted to do it before the screening, but her fella got wind of it and they made it a slightly more private affair. Congratulations to you both from TimeWarp and all your fellow fans.
After the screening everyone retired either to their rooms, or back onto the lawns for some late night chat after another great picnic day. Even the weather stayed dry for the picnic, after raining earlier that morning. Someone down there likes us.
Huge thanks to all the staff at the hotel for making our day so memorable. Special thanks go to Ruth for the organisation and Edward for his kind attention throughout the day and evening, very much above and beyond the call of duty.
Will we run the picnic again next year for TimeWarp's 21st anniversary? Yes. In fact the hotel have already set up the offer and are taking bookings now. We've just booked our room!
Galleries of images from the day [398 images]
"As well as celebrating the first anniversary with the woman I've loved and shared my world and life with since last year's TimeWarp picnic (making it even more special than words could ever say), highlights this year for me included the specially made Transylvanian flag flying over the Frankenstein Place (albeit upside down, oops); Phil Barden bringing along one of the actual original King's Road plastic Phantom masks from the 70s (my reaction was suitably impressed and wide-eyed; thanks Phil, it was so cool to see it up close and personal); the legend that is Richard coming along in the afternoon, hanging out with us for photos and chats (and looking so glamourous too); wandering up the lane to the Bray Studios gate with Carol, Ed, Helen and Max to get photos by the sign; getting to see The Rocky Horror Picture Show (my all time favourite movie) again at the place where it was filmed, as well as Dana's brilliant DVD pre-show TimeWarp celebration; meeting Big Mike from Las Vegas (the largest Criminologist you're ever likely to see, and a great guy) and members of the Spanish shadow cast; seeing so many lovely friends again, who we don't see anywhere near often enough, especially when there's no UK tour (Stephanie and David, Ed, Helen, Max, Kate, Norman, Sandy, Joanne, Barbara, Phil, Karina, Sonia, Krysie, Nat, Liz, James and so many more); and meeting new friends who share the same wonderful and undying passion for Rocky Horror.
Rob Bagnall (quote taken from timewarp.org.uk forums).
"Once again a great day, a complete success - well done for such an inspirational idea,lots of hard work too - Stephanie - and to David, Dana and Anne and Trevor Sutton for helping you make it all happen! We love being able to dress up, chat about our Rocky experiences and just enjoy being in the company of fellow Rock-ites! Always a bonus - a visit by Richard (Rocky Horror) O'Brien - a genuine guy - spending time with the fans! Happy 20th, can't wait for you to be 21, a real coming of age?
Anne & Trevor Sutton XX.
"Thank you for an excellent day, It was the perfect way to celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary after getting engaged at the Bromley show back in 2003. We hope to be back next year to celebrate our 5th!"
Emma & Aaron.
If you were at the picnic and wish to send comments, please send them to us via the Contact us form.
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