Thursday, 6 December 2012

Red sky in the morning

They say "red sky in the morning, shepherd's warning" and this morning, when I woke up, the sky was a glorious shade of crimson, which may explain why it's presently raining little darts of ice! 

I braced the icy winds and stood for a few moments, in my dressing gown, on the hotel balcony  staring out across the Tyne, lining the iconic Newcastle bridges up so they fitted together like pieces in a game of Jenga.

Snow came to Newcastle in force yesterday. It must have taken the weathermen by surprise because none of the roads had been gritted and Newcastle ended up in gridlock. 

I walked home along the quayside watching cars going into hopeless wheel-spins and excited children trying to make snowballs out of the centimetre of slush which had fallen and then frozen solid.

This morning the roads were even more treacherous. A bloke walking in front of me went down like a sack of spuds on a pedestrian crossing, and because he couldn't get up with ease, actually rolled himself back to the pavement like some kind of beetle. It was like something from Metamorphosis. 

We've spent the day in Byker editing 100 Faces, which is now looking absolutely stunning. We're in a good place. With a day to go, we've already started the process of finessing shots. Of course, with something like green-screening, there's always a million and one extra things you can do to make things look even better. A Hollywood movie would have a team of people working for weeks on this sort of thing alone. 

I am already beginning to feel a sense of nostalgia. This has been such a special project, and I've so enjoyed being back in Newcastle again, surrounded by the wonderful people at the BBC up here. I am just not ready for the process to end. 

350 years ago, and London was still something of a Winter Wonderland. Pepys was very much enjoying the sight of various gardens and landmarks covered in snow and hard frost. 

His household, however, was in a state of flux. Their maid Sarah had been sacked, purely because Elizabeth Pepys didn't "like her attitude," and Pepys paid her off feeling incredibly guilty and angry about the situation. 

Welcomed into the household was Winnifred Gosnell. She wasn't a replacement for Sarah. Far from it. She was actually being  employed as Elizabeth's "companion", someone she could hang out with, play cards with, gossip and shop with and so forth. One assumes there were other slightly more subservient aspects to the role, but Pepys already fancied the pants off her, so she could expect to be well-looked-after.

Gosnell was actually destined to become a well-respected actress and sang beautifully, which excited Pepys to the extent that he spent much of the day hanging out with her and Elizabeth, until Elizabeth smelt a rat and sent him packing to the office! 


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