Thursday, 5 November 2015

"It was like something from East Germany"

Friends and family were last night rallying around a distressed Londoner whose dream day out to an upmarket shopping village turned into a nightmare.

Hilary Cholmondley-Smythe, 33, an investment banker from Kensington, West London, explained how a mix up over parking led to the horror of finding herself not in the swanky designer outlet, but instead in the centre of the adjoining town.

"I had a few grand left over from my quarterly bonus so I decided to treat myself to a trip to Bicester Village. I wanted to see if I could pick myself up a nice dress for a dinner party some friends of mine are throwing in Belgravia next weekend. So I drove up the M40 in my Mercedes-AMG to see what I could find.

Everything was fine until I got off the M40, then I started seeing signs saying the car parks were full and directing me to a park-and-ride system. Obviously, a person of my social class could not possibly be seen dead on a bus, so I ignored those and carried on driving. The traffic was quite frightful on the roads leading to the village, they really ought to do something about that.

When I got there, it was obvious I wasn't going to get into the car park, so I drove along the road a little bit in to some sort of residential area, and found myself a nice spot to park, just over someone's drive. That's when it all went horribly wrong. I should at that point have turned right to get into Bicester Village, but instead I turned left.

I seemed to be in some sort of town, the existence of which I was previously completely unaware. I walked past a church and down a narrow street and then found myself in a shopping area. This can't be the right place, I thought to myself as I walked on. I had been told there were some posh eateries at the village, but all I could see was a Wimpy. When I looked through the window, there was some fat bloke in there eating a bacon roll. It was hideous, quite hideous.

The horrific scene in which Hilary found herself.

By the time I walked further into the town, I felt myself starting to have a panic attack. There were common people everywhere, with scruffy clothes, tattoos, and all sorts. I searched desperately for the designer outlets, but all I could see were charity shops, estate agents, and opticians. It reminded me of an old film I'd seen about East Germany during the cold war. The final straw was when I saw a Poundland. This was too much and I fainted, there and then in the street".

Miss Cholmondley-Smythe was taken to a nearby Costa Coffee shop to recover. Here she was able to call her PA in London who drove up to rescue her. She is now believed to be recovering from her trauma.

This is not the first time a visitor to Bicester Village has found themselves in the town by mistake. In 2014, a Chinese tourist got off the bus from Oxford at the wrong stop and accidentally ended up buying a polo shirt from Sports Direct.

 Jason Ayres is the author of seven books, including his best-selling time travel novel, My Tomorrow, Your Yesterday, available here: