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A Fabulous Place to Stay- By George

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A Fabulous Place to Stay- By George

Post by PigPen on Thu Dec 17 2015, 13:43



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MARION SAUVEBOIS dons her binoculars and camouflage gear for a luxury visit to Sonning, home of elusive Hollywood
heart-throb George Clooney

THE hunt began at dusk. Working on reported sightings and a loose-tongued villager’s tittle-tattle we took a left turn at the quaint Sonning Bridge down to the river banks ready to stalk our prey.

Notoriously elusive, our target had evaded the gaggle of shutterbugs determined to track his every move when he first settled down in Berkshire... but we were confident we’d be able to catch a glimpse of the lesser-spotted Clooney romping through the spinneys of Sonning Eye.

David Attenborough may have made a career patiently hanging around bushes but the waiting game was not all it was cut out to be.

After an arduous journey (the M4 was rather busy) and a thorough Google search which confirmed that yes, the vast swathes across the river belonged indeed to the “Clooney Estate”, was it too much to ask to bump fortuitously into George Clooney by his country pile or at least spot him strolling down his immense garden, close enough to the edge of the property for us to wave? I think not.

If the fairy lights decking the property and warm glow within were anything to go by, the Clooneys were at home.


And if the smarting gale slapping our faces on the banks was also anything to go by, they probably had no intention of braving the cold that night.

But a good hunter/stalker never gives up so we decided to head back to our abode for the night, The Great House. Its restaurant, the new Coppa Club, is a favourite local spot and, we had it on good(ish) authority that Mr Clooney and his wife, Amal, the human rights lawyer, had patronised it.

The Great House at Sonning is the former White Hart public house, so named after King Richard II’s insignia, whose wife Isabella of Valois was kept prisoner at the Bishop’s Palace in the village after his death.

In 1989, the original White Hart was combined with The Red House, where the dramatist Sir Terence Rattigan lived in the late 1940s to become The Great House.

We surveyed our spacious room. Effortlessly elegant and snug with subdued grey furnishings and soothing tones, it was livened up by a modish teal Chesterfield-style headboard and plump yellow cushions neatly laid out on the bed. This was the ideal rest stop between recces.

Unfortunately the room was not river facing, putting the stalking mission in minor jeopardy. This was probably a blessing in disguise as my partner was becoming less inclined to indulge my harmless sleuthing. He was probably relieved not to have to compete with a window.

Soon, we headed down to Coppa Club for a pick-me-up — my spirits were low — before our meal. Champagne in hand, with prime seats on a comfortable sofa by the door, we had plenty of time to take in the vintage-inspired yet sleek and modern design.

Coppa Club is the latest venture of Hugh Osmond, the man behind Pizza Express and the likes of La Strada.

An intriguing hybrid, it blends a homey café feel, complete with cosy Chesterfields, period velvet couches and upcycled trunks as coffee tables, with a trendy bar vibe and rustic dining decor.

The sea of silver foxes and occasional flash of jet back hair did little to take my mind off Mr Clooney but perusing the mouthwatering and very affordable menu (considering celebrities grace its hallowed walls) offered a merciful distraction.

Inspired by the flavours of Italy — the restaurant boasts a large selection of fresh pasta and pizzas — but with a distinctly British inn touch, Coppa certainly knows how to make a customer dither.

My eyes darted across the page deciding on one dish until the next entrée along made me reconsider my entire order.

Finally I settled on fresh crab bruschetta, a thick layer of crab meat peppered over creamy yoghurt seasoned with punchy lemon and chilli and a sprinkling of mint leaves.

The juicy king prawns seared in garlic lemon and chilli vanished within minutes of landing on the other side of the table.

Determined to bring myself out of my (fast waning) no-Clooney funk I treated myself to my favourite dish, rare ribeye steak. The tender meat was simply exquisite, thanks in no small part to generous servings of truffle cream and sautéed potatoes speckled with cheese.

A carnivore after my own heart, my partner opted for the safer but clearly extremely satisfying Coppa Club burger proffered in a golden brioche bun.

The highlight was yet to come with a molten sticky toffee pudding draped in copious lashings of syrup and served with vanilla ice cream.

George Clooney may well have popped in and out of Coppa at that stage – I was too engrossed in my pudding to notice.

Standing by his no-sharing policy, my partner polished off his own enormous hazelnut Pavlova.

I ordered an Americano, milking our time at Coppa for all it was worth and still holding out hope of seeing George bounding through the door for a post-dinner tipple. Eventually, though, we called off the search — until morning.

After a hearty breakfast of pancakes slathered in orange crème fraiche and cinnamon French toast we headed back down the river banks.

In the cold light of day, with only a small orange digger and blue portable toilet to feast our eyes on through the copse surrounding the Clooney mansion, we had to resign ourselves to the harsh truth (well, I had to — my partner had long given up). Unless Mr Clooney was a religious man and attended Sunday service I had missed my chance of seeing him in the flesh.

Church?! Yes of course.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. With renewed hope I dragged my boyfriend down to St Andrew’s, guided by the sound of bells calling worshippers.

The crowd of chocolate Labradors (and owners) was a surprising sight in the church yard. But George was nowhere to be found.

A Dickensian Fair was due to start at 2pm, a lovely warden told us. But even I could see that the chances of a childless Oscar-winner filing into a crammed church for a toffee apple were slim to none.

We said our goodbyes to the helpful warden guarding the church gates. He was no George Clooney but with his silver mane (what was left of it anyway) and cheeky smile, he was the closest to ER’s heartthrob Dr Doug Ross I would meet that day or — perish the thought! — ever.
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Marion stayed at the The Great House at Sonning, Thames Street, Sonning, RG4

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Re: A Fabulous Place to Stay- By George

Post by carolhathaway on Thu Dec 17 2015, 14:36

It really sounds like a nice place to stay and to live (as I said before, I'd been to a similar small town in Oxfordshire, quite nearby Reading, more than a dozen times and so I can really imagine how it feels to be there). 

It also sounds a bit like a promoted story for this restaurant...
But I don't mind. I'm sure it's lovely to live there, and if they know how to make a celebrity couple like George and Amal feel welcome it's even better...

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Re: A Fabulous Place to Stay- By George

Post by carolhathaway on Thu Dec 17 2015, 14:43

I just realized that this article is from an advertisement magazine so of course it is a promoted story! Sorry, I hadn't realized this before!

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Re: A Fabulous Place to Stay- By George

Post by carolhathaway on Thu Dec 17 2015, 16:06

It's me again, I'm a little slow this afternoo, sorry!
So this whole story is about somebody who's trying to catch a glimpse (or stalk) George in his new hometown? Why on earth?
If that's what's going to happen now just imagine what will happen in summer! Hundreds of fans walking around this village every day, coordinating via facebook or twitter:" Somebody said that he likes to go to this place in the evening." "But usually he's in that pub every wednesday night. That's what this guy in the shop just mentioned." Because you'll always find somebody who knows something, especially when you tip him...
This is going to be fun! I wonder how long it might last until they'll all be fed up in Sonning - not with George and Amal but with those fans and stalkers...
Is that what happened in Laglio as well? Because I remember that he used to go into town, played basketball with the kids and visited the restaurants and bars without being noticed, this would be quite different now, I guess.

It somehow frightens me to think how much life in Sonning might change just because somebody famous decided to move there...

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Re: A Fabulous Place to Stay- By George

Post by party animal - not! on Thu Dec 17 2015, 23:54

Don't worry. It won't. They're used to it. Same with Laglio and environs. So many 'famous' people live in the vicinity nobody local takes any notice at all. In fact they protect and respect their privacy.

The local newspaper report above is just that - a local newspaper report.  The reporter probably had to find an angle to do a write up on the hotel, having been invited to stay as part of the promotion and an ad put in the paper.

The biggest problem now is the world media who pay the paps megabucks for a shot - it makes them a fortune of course

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Re: A Fabulous Place to Stay- By George

Post by carolhathaway on Fri Dec 18 2015, 06:51

PAN,
I really hope so. Are you sure that life in Laglio hasn't changed? I watched a TV report about bodyguards this year. It was actually quite interesting to watch since most of the people there who needed security were mafia hunters or key witnesses who got a new identity. And they were interviewed and said how much their lifes changed and how much it stresses them etc. And then George was mentioned, and they showed how paps try to catch him in Laglio, how they were on the qui vive with their long lenses cameras and that they sometimes don't even know if he's there because the house often looks unoccupied even when they know he's there. And then they interviewed people in Laglio who said that they don't see him walking around anymore, and that there are so many fans and paps etc. They didn't complain though, they just stated the facts.
So I really hope that life in Sonning isn't going to change, and if the people there act clever and don't post pictures of him every time they see him in town they might succeed...

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Re: A Fabulous Place to Stay- By George

Post by carolhathaway on Fri Dec 18 2015, 06:55

By the way: 
I just realized that this thread is in the 'George's film work' section. 
Did it get mixed up? Because the other thread about 'Our Brand is Crisis' is posted in the Amal section...

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Re: A Fabulous Place to Stay- By George

Post by annemarie on Fri Dec 18 2015, 10:44

George has said in an interview that he doesn't go out on weekends to walk around because there are so many people.
I think that is also why the mayor has made the rules tighter near Oleandra for safety and privacy of George. He has also said the fans at the house don't bother him he has security there. I think while it can be annoying he is used to it and takes precautions like where and when he goes out.

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Re: A Fabulous Place to Stay- By George

Post by carolhathaway on Fri Dec 18 2015, 11:34

annemarie wrote:George has said in an interview that he doesn't go out on weekends to walk around because there are so many people.
I think that is also why the mayor has made the rules tighter near Oleandra for safety and privacy of George. He has also said the fans at the house don't bother him he has security there. I think while it can be annoying he is used to it and takes precautions like where and when he goes out.

Annemarie,
I guess that's why he's got such a large estate. Because otherwise he would feel caged (at least I would feel that). And also that's why they added everything to their ground like a tennis court...
I couldn't live like that...

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Re: A Fabulous Place to Stay- By George

Post by annemarie on Fri Dec 18 2015, 12:09

I think George is a homebody and so is Amal, I think having everything there makes it easy for them to entertain and have family and friends with them.

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Re: A Fabulous Place to Stay- By George

Post by carolhathaway on Fri Dec 18 2015, 13:28

Annemarie,
I agree that they are homebodies and having everything at home to make you feel comfortable and to entertain everybody makes it quite easy. But just having to think "Well, today's Saturday so it's better to stay in, wait until Monday before we can go into town" would make me claustrophobic...

But at least George is used to it and I guess Amal did so as well...

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Re: A Fabulous Place to Stay- By George

Post by Donnamarie on Fri Dec 18 2015, 14:06

carolhathaway wrote:By the way: 
I just realized that this thread is in the 'George's film work' section. 
Did it get mixed up? Because the other thread about 'Our Brand is Crisis' is posted in the Amal section...

I do think this topic is in the wrong thread.

Not sure what's going on with the latest gossip that George is selling his Como home.  But  it does make you wonder to the extent that his privacy is compromised when he is there for the summer how serious he'd consider moving to a more secluded property.  I know how much he loves his Como home.  But now married to Amal and wanting to protect their privacy in the future ...

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Re: A Fabulous Place to Stay- By George

Post by carolhathaway on Fri Dec 18 2015, 14:25

Donna,
and if you think how the technic developes it will become more difficult for them in the future. If you just think about long lenses cameras and the use of drones...

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Re: A Fabulous Place to Stay- By George

Post by PigPen on Fri Dec 18 2015, 17:44

annemarie wrote:I think George is a homebody and so is Amal, I think having everything there makes it easy for them to entertain and have family and friends with them.
LOL... is that why he has so many homes???? Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy

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Re: A Fabulous Place to Stay- By George

Post by PigPen on Fri Dec 18 2015, 17:47

I just realized that this thread is in the 'George's film work' section. 
Did it get mixed up? Because the other thread about 'Our Brand is Crisis' is posted in the Amal section...

Is there something a bit wrong tech wise with the site......I created a "New Topic" when I posted the article. 

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Re: A Fabulous Place to Stay- By George

Post by Katiedot on Fri Dec 18 2015, 21:10

carolhathaway wrote:So this whole story is about somebody who's trying to catch a glimpse (or stalk) George in his new hometown? Why on earth?
If that's what's going to happen now just imagine what will happen in summer!
It's the same as in Italy. I think we'll hear more about it because more of the stories will be in English so we'll be able to read them better, but George will be hunted down in their UK home just as much as in Italy. When you think about how little time he spends in one place though, I think mostly stories will be exactly like this one: creative and amusing make-do stories of people not seeing him.

carolhathaway wrote:By the way: 
I just realized that this thread is in the 'George's film work' section.
PigPen wrote:Is there something a bit wrong tech wise with the site......I created a "New Topic" when I posted the article. 
No worries, I can always move threads into the right section.

Pigpen: you need to be in the right section before you hit 'new topic' button because it'll start the new topic in whichever section you're in. If that's what you did, then yup, looks like the forum has a bug or something.

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