13-15/06/11 Lights, camera and…action

“You can’t call it that, that implies that we’re making a fictional film,” Johanna the film maker told me.

“I think you’ll find it’s my blog and I can call it what I like…”

In reality there was only a little tension creeping in, and why wouldn’t there be?

Johanna and Charmiane were trying to jam in as much film making as possible over a 2 and a half day period.

Me, being footloose and fancy free, had become somewhat accustomed to doing my own thing, setting my own pace and rules – but enough of that – what an interesting couple if days…

They turned around 4.30 in fortrose carrying tonnes of stuff.

Teen, bless her socks, had agreed to be filmed with me and we set about that task immediately.

We talked about a whole mixture of stuff from mental health to the black isle transition group – more on that in the next blog.

We were a little stumbly at first, but being in front of the camera soon felt natural.

There was a break while Teen went to get her camera – for the press release she had written for me – you can find that here

While I played an unusual game of fetch with Skye the wonderdog – I threw the stick – she brought the stick back and then refused to give it to me – comedic running up and down the beach ensued.

Teen left me with j and c and I took them to the woods to reveal my very fine campsite.

I met an older guy there who started telling me about how his son had become blind following a bout of conjunctivitis – I suddenly became aware of the camera on both he and I.

This was the way it was going to be – I just had to get my head around it.
I managed not to laugh out loud when he looked at my 2 person tent and asked, “are you all staying in that together…?”

Of course, that’s the way these arty film types behave ordinarily – but sadly for me, it was not to be.

The following day we were met with a downpour of biblical proportions – again, it was stunning – the heat from the previous day caused a wonderful steamy mist that hung about the trees – we could have been (insert the name of your favourite rainforest) anywhere.

Johanna and Charmiane soon began to put me in mind of sherlock Holmes and dr Watson. Johanna with her great concentration and focus – Charmiane , recognising the genius in her partner doing everything from holding an umbrella over the camera to holding the big furry mike at arm straining angles at the sane time as having a very keen knowledge of the subject too.

You’ll notice there was no umbrella for the artiste (me) – I just had to continue to rough it and talk in the rain.

I hadn’t quite realised how slick I’d become at packing my tent and stuff away until I turned around and saw them puzzling over their tent and assorted bits.

Oh how I remember the disappointment of thinking I’d packed everything only to turn round to find a pile of “I can’t believe it’s not useless “

On leaving the very well chosen spot, I soon became aware that leaving via the sharp slope up to it was going to be tricky given the earlier monsoon.

I was just beginning to go down backwards on all fours carrying my backpack when Johanna stopped me so she could get it on camera.

It started well enough – until gravity and wet mud kicked in – I vanished out of sight with an ,”Oooaaaahhhhh shiiiittt….”

I don’t think she got it all as I clattered to the bottom – skinned knees (again) – which is tragic – we could have got £250 for that on “you’ve been an arse”.

That evening we visited the lovely Karen and John – we tried to look as natural as possible as we were filmed, slightly squashed up in their kitchen.

Again though I was struck by the feeling of seeing long lost friends – not just folk I’d only recently met – as we laughed and joked and talked about all our bits and pieces .

John and Karen, just because if who they are, gave us a lift to the campsite closest to the train station – we had to be there to catch the train up to wick for some footage of me in my mums hometown.

First thing we were approached by an old drunk and toothless man who saw the camera and decided it was Inverness has talent.

It was all very pleasant until the campsite owner rolled up.

He started raising his voice at the man – and a bit of a tussle followed.


The drunk man was escorted off the campsite – apparently he liked to ask campers for money and cigarettes. He hadn’t bothered us.

Later the manager went past and told us by way of explanation, “he’s mad” whilst doing the international sign of the loon circling his index finger next to his temple.

I thought now was a pretty good time to tell him what I was up to.

I wandered into his office , told him my story and asked if he had a charitable rate for people such as myself.

Very sensitively he told me he’d end up in an asylum if he didn’t charge the very generous rate of £7 a night per person.
Fine then. My blagging skills thwarted I plodded back to Johanna with the news.

Not to be put off, Johanna thought this was an interesting part of my journey – my first clear knock back.

She wanted it on film.

So in we went for another chat.

Mr campsite went a funny colour of red and told us there was no way he was going to let me have my spot at a cheaper rate – even though all Johanna had asked for was to see him turning me down.

Rant rant…”I give £4000 a year to charity…” rant…

We left.

Johanna appeared a little shocked and somewhat embarrassed.

I went back and made the whole thing clear.

He stopped ranting. I think I can look a little threatening when the veins on my forehead bulge. I’m normally a very nice man.

Charmiane – bless her – is a little other worldly – I’d packed all my stuff away ready to go to the train station in ample time (I’m admittedly a little OCD there) Johanna was in the shower and all their stuff was strewn across the ground.

Clock ticking, Charmiane said, “I think I’ll do some Kung Fu …”

I encouraged her otherwise.

We got to wick by train where my Jedi mind trick blag failed again – but this time in such a kind and pleasant way. And the proprietor was willing to be filmed – which was all to the good.
I’ll blog about wick and stuff when I get there officially.

Johanna was keen to film me making my now famous noodles – I set up to find my cooker had stopped working .

I became grumpy. I thought of the long walks ahead without fire and I sulked.
I spoke to my lovely friend jim on the phone on a completely unrelated matter and he cheered me up saying he’d bring a cooker up with him when he was seeing his family in Orkney.

That put the skip back in my step.

Again though I was aware I was being watched and listened to.

Motivated by jim’s good news, I took my cooker and fixed it by battering it off the road – I’m a gifted mender of things, I am.

The great news was that noodlevision took place – Johanna got some satisfactory film of me cooking and enjoying the food of gods – at least of bill Bryson when he took a walk in the woods.

At the end of the day we went to the pub – I would have considered myself rude had I not tried to blag something off the film makers – Charmiane kindly bought me a shandy.


The following morning found us scuttling towards the train station to catch the Inverness flyer just in time (that’s 10 minutes early to anyone else).
Charmiane’s train was later so I entertained Johanna with head lolling, snoring and drooling.

It was a positive experience – in case you hadn’t noticed, I quite like talking about this little adventure. It was a little challenging though – even though they did their best to give me space.

That said, I have a lot of faith in Johanna – I think her work is very good – why not decide for yourself here

We had a great big hug at Inverness station and off we went in our different directions.

It’s nice to be out rambling alone again – although I could do with a camera for my long monologues at times.

Narcissistic? Me?

Walk a mile


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