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Monday, 16 April 2012

Elgin - Scotland

Ian and Renton walking through the woods

I’m currently on a mini tour of Scotland where along with Nicola the camera and picture editor  we’ve been making a series of four films for Newsnight Scotland about the local elections. Last week we were in Dundee  and this week our film comes from Moray. For those who don’t know where that is, it lays between Inverness and Aberdeen along the north east shoulder of Scotland. 
It’s not an area I know particularly well. my only experience of the region  was in a previous guise as a drama worker. About 14 years ago I spent a fortnight in Elgin, when along with a colleague we delivered drama workshops to some local schools. To be honest, I remember so little about the actual town. So visiting there brought back absolutely no memories at all. 
From this visit however I will remember two things:
the first being when I arranged to do some filming in a fish processing business in Buckie,  Nicola had a hard time as she is a vegetarian  and it appears wading about in fish guts wasn’t her ideal job! [It can’t all be cake and tea.] 
Lots of lovely fish guts    we need some sratch and sniff cards!
 I expect it didn’t help when I withdrew  to go and wait in the car with Renton. The smell was overwhelming and I wasn’t doing much to assist with  the filming, so I thought it would be best if I left. Just to get out the way you understand.

For the rest of the day she complained about smelling of fish guts. I didn’t think she did, ...well....not that I was going to admit if she reeked of kippers.  
Filleting Salmon
The other memory is the hotel. I’m not going to name it, because the people were perfectly pleasant and the problem could have been solved if I hadn’t been so idle. 
As I’ve written here before, getting the right hotel when travelling with a guide dog is the hardest part. This particular hotel was ideal in so many ways. It had very large grounds in which to run Renton.  

The problem was the room. It was miles away from the reception and refreshment areas. I had to navigate two stair cases, five doors, two corridors and various twists and turns. Now they knew I was blind and coming with a guide dog, so why an earth did they put me in the hardest room to locate in the entire complex? It wasn’t just me being a blind idiot, Nicola also found it confusing and her sense of direction is normally pretty good.  
By the time we found our rooms with all our bits of camera and sound kit, the thought of moving was too much to contemplate. If I had been staying any more than two nights I would have said something and got us shifted to a better and easier room to find.   It’s probably the only hotel I’ve been in where I’ve needed a GPS  just to get to and from the bar.
The film will go out sometime this week on NewsNight Scotland at 23:00 on BBC 2 Scotland. I’ll put a posting up here when exactly when it will be on. I’ll also put up a tweet on @ihamiltonbbc Or if you don’t catch it, I’ll put up a link to the programme on this blog.   

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