Friday, 9 July 2010
"It's a wrap!"
I'm very much aware that my blog has taken on narcissistic qualities of late. That's right...it's all about me, me me, me......BUT....I cannot help writing about my latest experience: my brush with fame and having a super, marvellous film crew from Endemol (that's right, French Fancy, the chappies who make "Big Brother", Mr.H. when he discovered this immediately started to take the michael out of me by putting on his best Geordie accent..."'Adriana's in the house et cetera!". I digress...)
Last week. The day before I was due to go to Arbeia (South Shields Roman Fort) to do my digging I got a 'phone call out of the blue from Kerry at Hadrian's Wall Heritage Ltd. asking me: Would I like to be part of some filming they were doing along the length of The Wall? Ever the one to jump into the deep end I instantly said "Yes!" despite having no knowledge of filming (or being filmed). Actually that's a slight lie as I did take part as an extra in a film being shot around the outskirts of Newcastle about a billion years ago. I can't even remember what the film was about but I just remember that the scene in which I was involved was about a party. A good friend of mine was going out with a sound engineer who worked on "The Tube" music programme that used to be filmed out of Newcastle...yes..that one with Jools Holland and Paula Yates...maybe it was something to do with that....hmm...
Anyway back to the here and now.
Michelle and Angela from Endemol came to see me when I was doing some digging at Arbeia and we had a brief chat in the snaking corridors of the Tyne and Wear Museum surrounded by towering cardboard boxes full of artefacts. They were getting to know me and I was getting to know them. The theme was to be that of Vindolanda as a secret garden. I was to reveal where the hidden, recondite, intimate and lesser known spots were in and around the fort.
A week later (this last Wednesday) the mini film crew arrived from Endemol: Gary, Alex and Liz. To say I was nervous about the whole thing was a vast understatement. I was petrified. I met them just as I had come back from walking our dog, Ed. They looked friendly enough. Not too threatening. Gulp!
I welcomed them into the B&B. Mr.H. soon provided us with tea, coffee and nice, juicy, thick, buttery toast. Alex (the dark haired one seen interviewing me in the photos) was the interviewer, Liz was the camera woman and Gary provided direction. In the photos above you can also see Michelle (she's wearing a grey jacket) who was running the whole thing. She popped in from time to time with her colleague, Angela. There were six groups of people in total being filmed doing different things in/around Hadrian's Wall Country.
The above photos show me being interviewed in Four Wynds' patio and garden: "What was my motivation for becoming a volunteer guide?" "How did we come to start the B&B?" and so on... From starting out on our sofa looking and feeling like a rabbit caught in the headlights my blood pressure slowly began to come down and my pulse moved from a gallop to a canter to a trot. Liz, Alex and Gary began to cast their magic. They also, later, filmed me pouring a cup of tea...so I had to master not pouring boiling hot water on my hand and to speak some sense at the same time....I just managed not to scald myself.
At lunch time we moved on to Greenhead (our nearest village). We interviewed a local long standing resident and Mr. Robert C. at his workshop, Rosemary and Katie at the wonderful Old Forge Tea Rooms who make divine teas and cakes, Dave over at The Greenhead Hotel (he and his wife run the pub, the B&B rooms and the Youth Hostel across the road). The sun was out in its full glory. Hurrah! We wandered into the churchyard to see the vicar but as he's retiring (bless him - he's lovely!) he was absent. He has a trillion leaving tea parties to attend this month.
We then went over to Vindolanda. I took them the long route round on the Military Road so that they could see Sycamore Gap (I think that was my plan...my head was in a whirl). We had lunch at Vindolanda's Lepidina Cafe in the baking sun. (It is a massive suntrap down in the valley by the Chineley Burn beside the Chesterholm Museum, the reconstructed Roman temple, shop, house, crofter's bothy and milestone. It was tempting to stay lounging there.)
We pressed on. We went to film up at the top of Barcombe Hill. I showed them the long stone set up to a quarryman who had lost his life, the Roman quarries with the good old phallic symbol carved into the rock face, and the sublime view of Vindolanda below us. (More Barcombe Hill photos to come in due course.)
Yesterday morning, with Gary, we filmed some bits at Vindolanda: outside before the museum opened...more intros (complete with an interested cow in the background), an interview with a lady getting off the AD122 bus, some segments in/around the fort (at the stone fort and at the timber gate posts of previous timber forts) plus the reconstructed bit of Hadrian's Wall within Vindolanda.
I could reveal more about these segments but I'm waiting to see what is in/what is out of the final edit. All the pieces from all the contributors will (hopefully) end up on Hadrian Wall Heritage's website. I await with bated (and unabated) breath. They say that looking at yourself on film is an excruciating process. Watch this space! (As they say....)
Nevertheless I am very pleased to say that I enjoyed every minute of it (despite all my expectations). So it's huge thank you from Hadriana to the guy and gals at Endemol who made the last couple of days so pleasurable. Thank you muchly! ! Gratias vobis ago!