GUEST BLOG: Did you hear the one about the Queen Mum, the Dalai Lama and the leather whip?

A little bit about our wonderful guest blogger: Kate. “A Yorkshire lass living in Scotland and married to the great grandson of an African chief who would eat people if they caught him having a bath. My husband prefers showers… and chicken. I’m a TV bod, script supervisor, production manager, writer, swimmer, believer, wife and full-time working step-mum to two fantastic girls (11 and 8) who are my stylists, my daily cheer and my reasons for cleaning”.

January 2012 marks the completion of my first decade here in Glasgow, bonnie Scotland. This is the longest I’ve ever lived anywhere apart from the place where I grew up in the north east of England.

I came up over the border fresh from university in Nottingham and via a short blip in Birmingham for a job with a director on a BBC Songs of Praise programme. ‘I can guarantee you ten weeks of work’ he said. That was enough for me to up sticks and move from the land of Brum to the land of the Glasgow kiss. And ten years later I’m sill here; still working in the wonderful world of television and now married and a step-mum to boot. This monumental anniversary has brought about an air of reflection during my moments of lull – so in the shower and at traffic lights as a general rule. I’ve experienced some bonkers, heart-warming, satisfying, sometimes teeth-crunchingly frustrating and downright daft moments during that time and most of them have been brought about by my job.

Whilst helping to make programmes about Florence Nightingale, the King James Bible, microfinance, a 21st century Scottish clan, Narnia, gangsters and J.S. Bach’s organ works to name but an eclectic few I have found myself in some extremely odd predicaments and situations. Here’s my top 20 in no particular order (except maybe the last one):

Answering the phone to the First Minister of Scotland in nothing but my bra and knickers (me, not him).

Staying the night in CS Lewis’s house right next to a wardrobe. Yes, I checked.

Visiting the Guinness Brewery with an actual Mr. Guinness.

Watching a heroin addict shoot up for the last time before observing his gradual recovery from his dependency.

Being advised spontaneously by a Hollywood film star on the merits of breastfeeding.

Running out of intelligent questions to ask the Icelandic Fisheries Minister before asking him whether he’d seen the ‘Happy Feet’ movie.

Couriering a newsreader’s black outfit to the BBC newsroom on the news of the death of the Queen Mum.

Sharing a cuppa with prostitutes.

Hand-rearing two orphaned robins and a baby vole.

Borrowing a fire engine, wangling a walk-on poodle and blagging the loan of a vicar’s dog collar.

Falling asleep in the office of the head of the Zambian Police.

Walking the red carpet at Cannes and the BAFTAs in Scotland and organizing a film premiere and after-party using nothing but freebies and my eyelashes.

Buying a leather whip on Ebay for the props department. My purchase suggestions have never been the same since.

Having a dead body flown from London to Glasgow and organising the deceased’s funeral having never met the person. An odd but strangely emotional and humbling experience.

Asking approximately a hundred men their inside leg measurement.

Doing the accounts with the man who taught Cliff Richard how to play tennis.

Walking along one of the longest nudist beaches in Spain, fully clothed.

Telling the man who plays Poirot that I’d taken up the clarinet because I’d fallen in love with the Poirot theme tune as a kid… only to be told it was the alto sax.

Meeting the man who smuggled the Dalai Lama out of Tibet.

And…

Being proposed to on the big screen with the help of my clever, creative colleagues and the bravery of my now husband.

And so life took another turn at this last point. And, perhaps, of all the momentous moments, becoming a wife and step-mum has been the most jaw-dropping, exhausting and awe-inspiring of them all. Maternity leave for a step-mum would be a very good idea but my experience as a production manager has come in pretty handy… So bring on the next ten years and a large glass of pinot.

You can find out more about Kate’s work at 1AProductions.co.uk and you can read about (or buy if you wish!) one of the projects I worked on with Kate: C.S. Lewis: Beyond Narnia on Amazon.com

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