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Monday, 6 February 2012

On the Road again...



I’m preparing to hit the road again in the 3rd of my series to find out what the English think about the prospect of an independent Scotland. This time, I’m only just going over the border to Cumbria.
However, I’m not going to Carlisle, as that’s to obvious. Instead, I’m heading further west to the coastal Cumbria town of Whitehaven and if time allows I may even get to Maryport.  Sadly, Whitehaven is known for a day it would rather forget. Like Dunblane and Hungerford it has become synonymous by a gunman who went on a killing spree.
Pict: by Ray Hardie ..titled..Renton has been replaced!..Rentons' guide harness  has been placed over the head of a large stone carved dog...bigger than Renton...even!
I’ve not chosen Whitehaven for any ghoulish Journalistic reasons. No, My reason for going there is..... it’s an area that has a sense of being bypassed by the M6 motorway as  people head to and from Scotland. The areas population are not normally canvassed as to their opinion on politics but yet are just over the Border and ...Oh yes and I’ve never been there before.  
My plan is a loose one which will leave space for the unexpected.  However, I always set off with a few key contact numbers and emails just incase the people I have initially agreed to speak to are not in or are called away...I like to feel organised.
and of course there are a few things to organise before I leave Lanark and they are not necessarily anything to do with the content of my film. All of them have to be sorted out in advance and can’t be left to chance. 
First do I take Renton? If I do, I need a Hotel that welcomes and is suitable for a large dog. Legally, they can’t refuse to take a guide dog, but there is nothing worse than staying somewhere that your not made welcome. Importantly, I need to book a place with space for Renton to do his business (polite way of saying "bathroom) what if he needs out at 2 in the morning? A hotel in the middle of town is often a non starter. This can take quite a bit of research and checking to insure that the hotel is suitable. Fortunately, there are people in the office who can help with this task.


I then have to get Renton's food, water, bowl, towel, dog whistle, treats, haulty, bells and a mat for him to sleep and pack it all.  [Oh yes, my clothes.] I've also got to make sure that  the hotel meets the BBC budget criteria. After all, this is licence payers cash and it’s all about best value. I do like my comfort, but if I was staying in 5 star hotels questions would be asked.
Next on the check list is - do I have a camera person? and  do they have access to a camera? They both have to be checked for availability and booked. Is the car that they have big enough to take Renton and all the kit? Fortunately, I normally work with the same camera people, who have built up an understanding of working with a blind person in a visual media. 
I must always leave enough time to get the camera person to the location and back within the allotted time. Giving us enough time to actually shoot a decent film. Whilst not killing the camera person with an impossible schedule. That would help neither of us.   
So..check list is in order - time to get on the road again..

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Renton Digs for Victory



Picture of big paws for digging a big hole!!
In my last blog, I hinted at Renton’s foibles. For some unknown reason he’s started digging a hole in the garden and it’s getting bigger and bigger and deeper and deeper. We know, that he knows that it is wrong to dig, as when we catch him with his giant paws in his newly created crater pumping away like jack hammers, he stops.. looks up, puts his ears back,  then runs away. He disappears either inside the house to his bed, (muddy paw trail across all the floors of course)    Or he dashes to the front of the house and hides...Christine caught him poking his long nose and ears around the corner watching to see if we were still there.
If he would dig in the places that needed to be dug, that would be fantastic and a useful extra skill for his cv. But no! He digs in places I’m likely to walk. For example. In front of the wood store so that when I go to get wood, I fall into it...If I didn’t know better I would think he is setting a trap. 

the beginnings of the whole
Having a guide dog that randomly digs holes makes life interesting. It can make strolling around my garden fraught with a combination of excitement and terror. 
I have considered that maybe he’s trying to tell me something. Does he not like me? Perhaps he doesn’t like working! I wonder if he gets bored sitting at my desk at the BBC? Then again, perhaps it’s just a practical joke against his blind owner.  Who knows! What ever it is, I wish he would stop digging, as it’s bloody dangerous.