The wonders of modern technology – here are Jerry and I on a rolling ship half way across the storm tossed waves of the North Minch between Ullapool in Scotland and Stornoway in Lewis, Outer Hebrides, (ferry delayed by bad weather), and Jerry happily sends a blog entry to Charles (our esteemed editor) on his new iPhone 4s, meanwhile I receive a request for a taxi driver’s phone number from a friend in Malaysia on my more ancient but nevertheless mind boggling ‘smart’ phone. Everyone else on the ship also seems to be on the phone and those that aren’t, have their phones dangling from charger sockets that ferry operators Caledonian MacBrayne have helpfully provided overhead some of the ferry seats!
Having demonstrated that we are thoroughly modern technocrats, we head for the caf’ zig zagging like crabs across the rolling deck and tuck into thickly battered fish and chips to prove that a little thing like a gale at sea on the Minch will not put these intrepid travellers off their tea. Just to prove the point J orders a glass of red wine and I go one better with a chocolate milk shake to really tempt fate!
But what to do when the technology breaks down? That’s when you need human beings and when our brand new LED panel light failed on day one, just after we filmed Howie the 21st century kilt-maker, human beings came to the rescue in the form of swift work by Drew at our equipment supplier Production Gear down in Elstree Studios who immediately despatched a replacement lamp up to Inverness, no questions asked, nice one Drew.
Then the Scottish support network kicked in with my cousin Wilma and her husband John not only agreeing to receive the package, but also driving all the way over to Ullapool with it to meet us just before we caught our ferry. Considering they had already put us up for the night, fed us and even tackled our fragrant washing while we were on our upward journey, this surely qualifies as family support of the best kind – thanks cous’! Wilma and John are now officially welcomed to the Wild Open Eye Hall of Fame and have even offered their services as guides on future shoots – now that’s what I call hospitality, but this is Scotland and the Scots are like that, the best!
Scots sheep excepted that is – last time I had a close encounter with them (in Harris), they nearly killed me by lying in the road around a blind corner with a rock face on one side and a sheer drop on the other while I was exploring the Subaru’s rally heritage. Tonight they nearly did it again, appearing similarly squat and lethal obstacles sleeping right in the centre of a pitch black Lewis mountain road, just after we had overtaken a slow vehicle and thus had our headlamps dipped – at this point Jerry and I would just like to thank the engineer in Japan whose meticulous attention to design detail in the Forester’s handling and breaking system saved the day and without whose efforts, J and I might have been spending the night upside down in a ditch! Give me human beings over technology any day!