Following a sleepless night, the day arrived for filming Celia episode 2. Fortunately Guy has been very understanding about moving out of our bedroom and having it on show globally because he knows how much making these films means to me. My OCD went into overdrive & after wiping the downstairs loo for the umpteenth time, listenupnorth arrived with lots of reassurance for my ragged nerves and we started to prepare the set.
Through The Looking Glass
Then camera & all-round expert Shirley Anne Wood arrived. Shirley is now with ‘bump’ and after a big hug was immediately forbidden to lift anything heavier than a teaspoon. Time to put the kettle on & arrange a tray of fruit & Mars Bar Mini rolls placed out of camera shot to ensure we all keep our sugar levels during the strenuous task of filming. Whilst Shirley set up the lights & camera , listenupnorth and I watched episode 1 in freeze frame so we could place all the toiletry bits & pieces on the dressing table just as I had left them as I walked out at the end of the last episode to answer the door to Simon.
Following on, this episode takes place in the evening & I’m recounting what went on (or off!) when I found Simon on the doorstep. As before, the idea was that delivering the monologue, actor Penny Lamport would express her internal thoughts to the camera placed behind her dressing table mirror (with glass removed). She would also address the audience directly into a second camera at the side of the dressing table.
Penny & Sue arrived to more hugs to complete ‘Team Celia’. After putting the kettle on again & a quick catch up on everyone’s gossip, we had a final call for the loo as we would be unable to leave the room for several hours once the cameras were in place. Part of the driving force to complete our series of 6 short films was Shirley’s worry that, as she expands with baby, she would soon be unable to fit into the tight space between the camera & the door! In addition, actor Penny has expressed concern that she might not look 49ish for much longer. But I would take that with a pinch of salt as that woman has drunk the elixir of eternal youth.
‘Team Celia’ in action
It seemed to take an age of faffing around with lighting to ensure the correct night time ambience plus checking sound levels & positioning cameras before we were finally ready to call ‘Action!’. However, all the preparation paid off and the actual filming progressed very quickly & smoothly. It was ‘in the can’ by late lunch and we were able to sit down to our baked potatoes followed by celebratory chocolate eclairs. Now more hard work as Shirley takes it all away to edit & prepare Celia – episode 2. So watch this space!
I am waiting eagerly for tomorrow when filming is to start on episode 2 of ‘Celia, Housewife 49ish’ . Hopefully. We were supposed to film last Tuesday but rainfall of biblical proportions meant that poor Shirley with all her camera & lighting equipment had to turn back due to floods & blocked roads.
However we did manage a dress rehearsal the day before. Preparing for a night time scene we had to blu-tack lots of thick black card up at the bedroom windows. Sue gave lots of really helpful advice from her time at the BBC & was very tactful when dealing with writer & director listenupnorth’s indecisiveness. And I did think that actor Penny cut rather a dash in my dressing gown & slippers. She looked quite at home as she rehearsed her lines. Just needed a cup of warm steamy cocoa to complete the picture and calm her conscience after a romantic brush with Simon from the village Greenhouse & Gardens Society.
No expense spared – Penny borrows my slippers for this demanding role
Of course living with OCD it’s been a nerve wracking experience to prepare my bedroom for the shoot. I must have wiped round a dozen times already not to mention washing & ironing the curtains. You should have see the dust behind the drawers when Guy moved them out to make room for the camera. I thought if my bedroom is going out global I don’t to be found wanting in the cleanliness department. So I had Guy paint the skirting boards just in case.
Now all I have to do is put a note around the neighbours asking them not to use their lawn mowers & chainsaws tomorrow. Very difficult round here with so many active retired people, as the wives do like to send their husbands out into the garden every day.
It’s a little while since they shot episode 1 so they’ll have quite a job to line everything up on the dressing table for continuity purposes. Roll on tomorrow when they arrive – ‘Lights, Camera, Action – and Cocoa!’
‘Team Celia’ Executive Management Meeting listenupnorth, Penny, Sue & Shirley
After an executive committee meeting in Starbucks round hot chocs & cafe lattes, I am delighted to introduce a new member to ‘Team Celia’. In addition to Penny the actor who plays yours truly, Shirley on camera & editing plus listenupnorth who created me & puts the words in my mouth, we now have Sue who comes with lots of experience at the BBC & is going to help with producing & publicity, developing a sound business model & giving listenupnorth an occasional reality check. That way we can all make more in the series of short films about me ‘Celia, Housewife 49ish’ to delight you – our audience.
listenupnorth was absolutely chuffed that everyone wants to continue. In fact she was so excited that she became very bold & interrupted a gentleman in the corner reading ’50 Shades of Grey’ over his Expresso Grande and asked him to take a team photo.
I am writing this from the ferry homewards to Plymouth, England is just in site. Lots of anticipation up on the deck as the boat approaches Blighty. Reading the first British newspaper for a week, my loyalties are torn between wanting to return to the haven that is Brittany and wanting to boycott everything French in Brit loyalty to Will & Kate over those photos. Checking celiatime.com on board I was thrilled to find that it has just been awarded a Beautiful Blogger Award thanks to Susan at Women Making Stridesblog.
Silver sands of Kerfissien
It seems a lifetime away but it’s only yesterday since we were on the warm silver sands of Kerfissien – like England but without the litter and the anti-social behaviour. Plus there was the almost surreal landscape of giant boulders so typical of this area. The children & dogs on the beach reminded me of an illustration straight from Le Petit Nicolas. Reading tales of the mischievous school boy & his copains was Miss Mitchell’s Friday afternoon treat for our French class and for a moment I was back in that bright airy classroom, in my cotton school dress, a summer breeze wafting through the sash windows and wondering if Adrian Brewis would be on the school bus at hometime.
Our boys were enjoying the sea and a makeshift game of volleyball. Guy & I aren’t great sunbathers so we went for a walk along to the next bay. Neither of us like the sand betwen out toes so I’m afraid it’s socks with sandals again. At least Simon wasn’t there to see me looking so uncool; I bet his wife is one of those outdoor types with bare sunkissed feet and trekking sandals. Guy of course had to wear a hat to protect his bald patch which wouldn’t be so bad except he has a couple of strings which tie underneath to stop it blowing off. Still at least he didn’t wear the stripy breton top he bought himself on a rainy afternoon in Brest. It’ll be just like the Hawaiian shirt episode all over again; well at least old Mr Parsons got a bargain at the next church bring & buy sale.
We’ve had a super time in Brittany but as we are about to go down to the car deck I am looking forward to a cup of coffee with cold milk, driving on the correct side of the road, Northumberland beaches with bracing winds & watching Cash in the Attic in pounds not euros!
Au’jourdhui we went inland to Huelgoat and nous avons mange nos jambon baguettes sitting sur un bench near le lac. A few of the locals wished us ‘bon appétit’ as they passed which I thought was lovely. I really like the Breton people, it’s not like Paris where they give that huge nonchalant shrug when all you’re asking for is une tasse de café avec du lait froid. Anyone would think you were sending them to the ends of the earth on a mission to find the elixir of eternal youth.
Giant boulders, Huelgoat
It’s a good job that everyone here is so friendly & helpful as there’s only so far your grammar school French from 35 years ago can take you. I mean your hardly equipped to ask for those holiday essentials every woman needs – a roll of black bin bags and something for your husband’s verucca. But with a bit of gesticulation & a phrase book, I just about ended up with what I needed.
From the centre of this lovely little town we walked into one of the woods which form part of ‘le Parc naturel regional d’Armorique’. It was an amazing landscape – quite surreal: huge boulders strewn haphazardly along the riverside under a canopy of beech trees, covered in moss and forming caves and amazing shapes.
Le Grotte d’Artus
We followed a recommended route to take in ‘le grotte d’Artus’ the cave where King Arthur is reputedly buried, but don’t tell the Cornish or indeed the Cumbrians that because they too are very adamant that Camelot was on their sacred land. Then we chugged up the hill to the Camp d’Artus. Of course the day we decided to go for a walk also coincided with the start of the heaviest period known to woman. But like King Arthur you just have to soldier on and wear jogging pants.
Still, that didn’t stop me daydreaming about Simon, imagining that he was with me under the beech trees with the dappled light shining upon us as we caressed each other. Poor Guy, I felt like a traitor but then I thought he’s probably in the midst of going for a long walk with Julia Bradbury. Who can tell?
Je suis dans La France en Famille. C’est un gite tres charmant mais I do wish the boys would open their bedroom window as it smells comme un gerbil’s cage in there dans le matin. Goodness knows what Madame Marie would think. I only popped my head round the door to ask if they had any dirty washing; you should have heard the response. I thought it’s my holiday too you know; I didn’t exactly plan to spend it groping under your bed for putrid socks and undies whilst you have the luxury of a lie in.
Greetings from Locquirec
When the boys had finally managed to get up, we had a baguette or two for lunch then took the voiture to Locquirec just east of Roscoff. It’s a lovely little seaside town reminiscent of one of my favourite films – Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday – the one where he stays in a hotel and gets caught up in all sorts of escapades like that funny tennis match. It was shown at our village hall last year when The Upper Welford Film Club had a French season. We took a walk out onto the headland and arrived at the other side of the town to find a French car boot sale. It was just like an English one – only with euros.
French car boot sale: like an English one but with euros
Guy & I left James & Julian on the beach at their request – I think they wanted to sit on a rock and further their French conversation skills with a couple of girls in bikinis. We found a little café overlooking the harbour; whilst Guy went for a crepe; I decided to have a ‘Mega Emocion’ which was not in fact the latest sexual awakening from 50 Shades of Grey but merely an French X-rated glacee – a sort of Magnum with nuts.
Ice creams in Locquirec
We returned to the boys to find that they had been usurped by a couple of local guys on scooters; I couldn’t help but feel sorry – they’re my boys after all but they are going to have to learn about affairs of the heart sometime. Talking of which, should I send Simon a postcard? I’m sure he would count me as one of his friends? Difficult to know what to write – of course I’d have to keep it general, be indifferent and address it to Simon and his family.
Of course I can’t say what I really feel – Dear Simon, Wish you were here! Love Celia xxx
Apres un tres long journey to get here, myself & the family are finally ensconced in a petit gite nestling in the beautiful Brittany countryside a cote des owners, Marie et Jean-Paul. I do hope that Guy will now settle down – he’s been in overdrive checking tyres chaque deux minutes to ensure the pressures are correct for our load: he even bought a new gadget for the holidays. And then he keeps running down his checklist to ensure we comply with all these new French laws like having a high visibility jacket for everyone in the car in case of breakdown. I mean who wants to wear one of those? It’s worse than socks with sandals.
La Phare, Roscoff
We arrived in France this morning, disembarking at some unearthly hour. I sometimes wonder if the French arrange these ferry times to give maximum disorientation to les Anglais. Thankfully, we found a boulangerie open in Roscoff serving croissants, pain et strong coffee. Roscoff is a pretty little place not that we were able to appreciate its finer points as along with other bleary-eyed Brits we wandered up and down its quaint streets in what must have resembled a scene from Zombies En Vacances!
The first thing you notice about France is how stylish & well made everything seems although I wondered if the toilets would still leave a lot to be desired and whether Canard de toilette had made it across the channel. I was very tempted to carry around one of the cloths that I’d packed away in the boot but I resisted the urge and did all the sensible desensitising things that my counsellor suggested.
Market Day in the Mediaeval Town of Morlaix
We had a stop off at Morlaix for lunch with its fine Mediaeval Square and bustling market. Its heritage was somewhat lost on my teenage boys who do not see the point of anything unless it can be turned into un jeux de computer and virtually blasted off the face of the earth. They also seemed to have conveniently forgotten every scrap of French they ever knew and this trip was after all intended to help Julian with his French conversation retake.
Guy lit le Figaro
When we arrived at our lovely gite – a converted pigsty and were greeted by the lovely owners, Marie & Jean-Paul. We nodded intelligently as they explained en Francais about how to reset the trip switch if they were out. James & Julian took great interest in Therese (seize ans), the gite owners’ daughter. It was quite remarkable how every noun, conjugation and past participle they had ever learned at school was suddenly brought to mind. But I think they both felt rather intimidated by her brother Claude (dix-neuf ans), nonchalant, sporting a baseball cap, a Gauloise & driving a red Citroen Saxo.
Guy & I fully intend to throw ourselves into French culture this week. Guy has bought Le Figaro and looks quite knowledgeable when he scans the ‘economie’ pages. I have been watching French TV and really enjoyed Un Tresor dans Votre Maison which is the French version of Cash in the Attic except it’s all in euros. But I’ve brought some DVDs of the first series of Morse just in case.