Growing up it never occurred to me why the shop might be called Cherry Pye.
A shop close to my home and selling all things erotic. Its large window festooned with mainly lingerie, saucy adult outfits and a range of adult toys like fluffy handcuffs and whips. No doubt, inside the store were more practical adult toys. The invasive kind? But it was more of a novelty shop than a sex shop which probably explains why it was allowed such a garish window.
And so it remains to this day, almost exactly the same, some 40 years on. Cherry Pye remains open, pepping up marriages perhaps and staving off divorce lawyers. Although not at present with lockdown continuing and only shops selling essential items allowed to trade.
It’s a brazen person who would demand their right to buy a spanking paddle.
But why I am telling you all of this? Where is this going you might wonder?
Well, some years ago, I was producing a short film I had written based on a very funny episode that had occurred to a comedian mate of mine. So funny, that we decided to film it. With my friend playing himself. Harry playing his son. Another comedian playing the other protagonist and with Tom directing (because he was also funding it).
I should probably explain this episode but I won’t because it is not mine to publish and it is not relevant to this tale.
Those readers who are more astute will have deduced already that there is no short film to watch either. More on this later.
With the movie in the can (and it transpires, where it would forever remain) we had one final shot to complete the short film. For this shot, we had commandeered the beautiful house of a friend of ours and their vintage Jaguar car. Our house and Honda was not the look that we needed.
The shot being that my friend (playing himself) would come out of his grand home, open the trunk of his car and be shocked by what he finds.
Not that my friend is not a convincing actor, although like me, he is just a stand-up – the director of this movie (Tom Holland) and my other son who thought he should be the director (Harry Holland) decided that we should have something in the trunk to surprise our leading man – to guarantee a genuine shock reaction.
But what to leave in the trunk of a car. Nothing that will scare him like a small child. But what then? We went through lots of suggestions – all rejected – until someone suggested a sex toy.
I was delighted to announce that Nikki and I had no such to lend and so it would need to be purchased. But no one was very keen to make this purchase as the shooting day loomed.
Then one evening, with all six of us driving home from Sunday lunch my folks and with Cherry Pye open for business… at least three of us wondered.
A quick con-flab amongst us…
We confirmed that the purchase remained outstanding. So here then was a golden opportunity.
But who is going to buy it?
Obviously I can’t because I am driving the car.
Tom adds to his name to the can’t list – because he might get recognised.
Which leaves Harry, Sam, Nikki and Paddy.
Harry is the most likely but he’s only 14.
Maybe Cherry Pye has an age restriction. And anyway, what sort of parents send their son out to buy a vibrator?
With this, Nikki bravely steps up. ‘But I’m not going in alone.’ She states.
‘Harry. You go with mum.’ I instruct as I hand Nikki my wallet.
‘Try to pay with cash.’ I suggest. ‘I don’t want my accountants seeing ‘Cherry Pie’ on my bank statement at year end.’
Nikki and Harry disappear in to Cherry Pye – a shop that beguiled me as a child.
What happens next is the absolute truth and cannot easily be explained…
In the shop, Nikki is mortified by the array of ‘toys’ available. Who knew? Some are enormous and her husband might have explaining to do. It is a decidedly awkward browsing experience because she is very obviously, a mum with her son.
No doubt, the proprietor of Cherry Pye has seen all sorts over the years and is rarely surprised or perturbed by its clientele – but this would be a first…
Nikki grabs what Harry suggests is suitable for our purposes and she makes for the till with her head bowed. Instinctively, she feels a need to explain herself and in doing so, she gets it very wrong indeed…
“It’s not what you think. It’s for a film. My husband is making a film with my son.”
Nikki and Harry emerge from the shop in fits of giggles. They jump in to the car like a couple of armed bank robbers and I step on the gas as they explain.
And it worked by btw. The prop. For the film I mean. We didn’t…
We got the shot we needed – of our leading man looking suitably shocked, only for the laptop on which the footage was stored to be promptly stolen and with it our film was lost.
We had intended to film it again but Tom and Harry have been a tad busy since. I on the other hand…
And just to round off. The ‘toy’ was not kept by the Holland household. Just in case anyone might be wondering.
And as you can imagine, it was not taken to a charity shop either.