Apart from cataclysmic bad news stories there is nothing like the prospect of a Royal Wedding to produce a whirlwind of media madness.
Prince William and Kate Middleton announced their engagement.
Let the madness commence.
The call was not long in coming.
“Get up to St Andrews.” was pretty much the brief.
Gregg and I went up to the town where the pair had been students.
They had been away from university long enough for there to be none of their student contemporaries left. However, there were bound to be people in shops, bars and restaurants that would remember them and tell us nice stories about them.
Unsurprisingly the Daybreak newsdesk was not the only one that had post haste dispatched reporters, cameramen and satellite trucks to the upmarket Fife town.
As we all dashed around trying to gather as much colourful chat as possible we kept crossing paths with STV, The BBC and Sky News along with newspaper hacks and snappers.
Andrew from the BBC, an ex-GMTV Scotland Correspondent told us that the folk in the restaurant where Kate worked had been told to say nothing.
Gregg told him that one of the guys at a restaurant that the couple used to frequent, their favourite according to a few locals was happy to chat.
The media network was in high gear. We were all keeping each other informed as to who might be speaking and who might not.
This was not a day where scoops were going to be had.
James form Sky News was busy editing and Debbi from ITV news was getting her material from STV and doing the same.
It was a real buzz of relatively stress free activity. Deadlines were being made and reports went out. Ingredients in the recipe for rolling news, bulletins and programmes.
We were luck in the respect that our deadline was a long way off.
The vox pops with the current cohort of students were done. the interview with the Vice Chancellor of the university was done, the interview with the restaurant boss was done and the piece to camera was done.
The BBC and Sky News trucks outside the main university building.
Gregg and I realised that we had been running around like all the rest and as a result not eaten for a number of hours.
So with the luxury of not having to file our report for a few hours we could indulge in a sit down meal.
Where better than Kate’s old work place?
The Doll's House. Where Kate used to work as a waitress.
Future royalty might not have been on the staff that evening but the food was very nice and not too expensive.
Inside the "Royal" restaurant.
Even after we had flashed some of Daybreak’s cash paying for the meal the staff had to say that they were not allowed to day anything to us about Kate and William.
Their boss had placed a gagging order on them. Anyway none of them had actually worked there when Kate did.
So with our TV colleagues busy either broadcasting, editing or packing up we made our way back south to Edinburgh to edit the report and send it down to Daybreak in London.
We did this from Gregg's flat before we called it a day and clocked off at not short of midnight.
This time of year imposes its own deadline on a lot of stories, a deadline of dark.
I was hurtling as fast as legally possible southwards towards Foston, a small village in North Yorkshire.
The need for speed was two fold, the impending loss of light and that the story I would be doing was at the village primary school and I needed to be there before the kids all went home.
Gregg was also doing the same journey.
The story involving the school was that the kids were now effectively running the village Post Office from the little school’s little library.
The Post Office had closed down, like so many a few years ago and was a great miss to the small village community and those scattered around the nearby countryside.
It was the kid’s idea to provide as much of a Post Office service as they could.
The teachers were happy to take the idea on, so the School Post Office was born.
I arrived. After making use of the smallest of the small rooms in the school, it had been a long drive with not much time to stop, I was given a reviving cup of coffee and a tour of the school.
The small village school.
Gregg then pulled up outside as I was being shown the nursery Post Office dress up corner.
He followed my routine. Sadly there was not time to finish the much appreciated coffee. We had to get on with the job. The kids would be going home soon.
Thankfully it was such a small school that getting the kids organised in the playground for a few outside shots to show them all playing was easy.
Inside the “Post Office” I filmed some of the kids selling stamps and greetings cards to some of the parents who had arrived to combine picking up their offspring with picking up stamps for early Christmas cards.
We did a interviews with some of these parents, a rather nervous Head Teacher and some of the kids.
Everything went off without a hitch. On this occasion the old saying about never working with kids and animals did not hold true.
If all our interviewees were as erudite as one of the girls that talked to us I would not end up with a stiff shoulder and Gregg would not have to ask the same question in a multitude of different ways.
The kids were going home, the light was starting to fade and we were almost finished, well the filming bit anyway.
It would not be the best of Post Offices if it was only open during the school year. When the kids are going to be on holiday ane the school is closed the business will be taken care of, in where else but, the village pub.
So we nipped up the road and did a couple of shots of the White Swan.
The Post Office's holiday home.
Gregg took the tape and headed off to his preferred location for editing the report, ITV Tyne Tees’ southern outpost on Teesside.
I headed in the direction of their northern base to have a night in a hotel prior to a shoot near Newcastle tomorrow.
The filming was not due to start until around lunchtime so I had a relaxed morning in the Hilton Gateshead.
I drove to the location in Cramlington north of Newcastle.
Andrea, a freelance producer had come up in the train and arrived in a taxi just as I was pulling up.
The story that we were doing was with Toni, a lady who had been denied a tummy tuck on the NHS when apparently other people in different areas in the same circumstances had been given one.
Was she a loser in the post code lottery?
She was very welcoming and did the decent thing, got the kettle on straight away.
Although she had insigated us coming to her house by sending Daybreak an e-mail about her situation she was feeling very unsure whether she had done the right thing.
Over our cup of tea and whilst I started to bring my camera, tripod, lights and sound gear in she relaxed a little.
Andrea the producer gets Toni's details.
When I started setting things up in her small lounge which involved stands, cables and moving most of her furniture I would not have been surprised if she started to become less relaxed.
The first thing we did was the interview with her. This took a little bit longer that a “normal” interview because the plan was that the only voice on the piece would be Toni’s.
She told us about losing lots and lots of weight and how she had ended up with a stomach that she described as looking like a deflated balloon and how she had asked for a tummy tuck to get rid of it but had been refused unless she was able to pay.
Once that was done and Toni was much more laid back came the bit that she had not been looking forward to.
In order to illustrate the story we would need to show what the problem was.
We went upstairs where Toni had a large mirror and I filmed her looking at herself.
When she lifted up her top to reveal the folds of wrinkly skin that was covering her stomach it was no surprise that she was keen to find something to make it look less unattractive.
Even doing this, which must have been a bit of an ordeal Toni’s good humour remained.
I did another few set up shots of her at the computer and outside and we were done.
Andrea took the tape south and I drove north.
“There’s bad weather on the way. Go and see if the previous worst effected areas are prepared for it this time.”
“Oh and there will be live broadcasts in the morning.”
That was the brief given to Gregg and I from the newsdesk.
We had to go somewhere that had suffered the last time the weather was bad and be in a location that one of our satellite trucks could get to.
The places chosen to film in and broadcast from were chosen for sound but annoying logistical reasons.
I had to get from Edinburgh to Middleton in Teesdale before the light faded and the forecast bad weather hit.
Around five hours after the call and a long drive south through, it has to be said some beautiful countryside I arrived in the small isolated town high in Teesdale.
Beautiful Teesdale, no snow yet but the snow markers prove it does come, and lots of it.
The sky already grey with the clouds that were flinging out heavy doses of rain was getting darker as the unseen sun deserted as if giving up against the weight of falling water.
I was starting to get some wet general views in the tiny town centre when Gregg pulled into the car park.
We did a couple of interviews and shots with business folk who told us that they were indeed ready for whatever the weather was going to throw at them.
The pair of us then had to make our way north to a gritting depot just off the A1 near Durham to see how this particular council was prepared and check the depot out for our live broadcast in the morning.
I did some shots of a gritting lorry being filled up with grit and we did an interview with one of the council bosses.
We sorted out where we would do the live broadcasts from when we came back in a few hours time.
Gregg grabbed the tape and went off to where he used to work and still spends a lot of his time, ITV Tyne Tees.
I trundled a little way to Durham for a short stay in a hotel.
In the gatehouse of the gritting depot I sipped a piping hot cup of coffee as Steve the Satellite engineer and I waited with the guy who had volunteered to open the place up for us at this horrible early hour for Gregg and Pete, the sound recordist to arrive.
The second sip of coffee slipped in at the same time as Gregg and Pete. There was plenty of time to get set up so there was time for them to have a quick warming drink and Steve and me to finish ours.
Gregg's car and the satellite truck.
The morning was uneventful. We did a few live broadcasts with Gregg talking about what the weather might have in store for us over the next weeks and possibly months.
I also did a couple of live shots into the programme when Adrian or Christine was talking about what was coming up.
The location was ideal. We were in front of a huge semi permanent building filled with 23000 tonnes of rocksalt.
The grit building.
The weather was cold but no sign of snow or bad frost, yet.
Our last broadcast was before Daybreak went off the air. Once that was done we derigged and got out of the way of the day to day operations of the depot and spent the last half hour or so on standby at a McDonalds not far away.
Then it was time to head back north.
I was up early on this crisp and very bright November morning to do a job that we had been trying to get done for quite some time but the weather had kept getting in the way.
A large estate on the Mull of Kintyre, that very beautiful part of the west of Scotland that dangles off the mainland out into the Atlantic Ocean.
Its two biggest claims to fame are the song of that name by Paul McCartney and a fatal Chinook helicopter crash a few years ago.
The weather this morning could not have been better, well maybe a little bit warmer.
We were going to be going over to the Mull of Kintyre in a helicopter for two reasons.
Firstly it would be a great way of showing the area from the air and because getting there by car involves a very long and slow journey on narrow roads, as I well remember from trying to get there all those years ago when the Chinook went down.
We met Ian the helicopter pilot and Tom the estate agent selling the estate at a little place south of Edinburgh, Oxenfoord Castle.
It was not long until the checks were done and we climbed up into the calm clear blue sky.
The hour long flight was great with beautiful Scottish scenery for me to film and enjoy looking at.
Edinburgh, the river Forth and Fife beyond.
The weather may have been perfect for the whole flight but, it was not forecast to stay that way.
Glasgow and its river, The Clyde.
According to the Met Office in the afternoon snow was a distinct possibility.
Ian was keen that we should leave by 2pm at the latest because it would not be possible for the helicopter to fly in falling snow.
The further west the better the scenery gets.
That meant we would have to work pretty quickly and there was a lot to do.
Good job today Gregg?
Tom, the estate agent.....
....looks at the estate on an OS map.
On the way into land I had done a lot of arial shots of the estate. When we got down Tom had organised a Land Rover to take us around the Estate to get some shots from the land.
Along the little narrow public road that runs through the private land we went, stopping off to get shots of the spectacular scenery.
At the big house on the Estate we did an interview with Tom and shots of the house.
The main house on the estate.
The next location was going to be the beach at Saddle Bay where the video for the famous song was shot back in 1977.
The original plan had been to drive across to it.
We would be doing interviews with a lady from Campbeltown tourist office and a guy who was a piper on the song and was featured in the video.
The impending bad weather meant that there would not be time to drive there.
The only way that we could do it would be to go in the helicopter and land on the beach.
Gregg and Ian the pilot talk about landing on the beach.
The problem with that was the beach is not part of the estate and Ian would need permission to land there.
As soon as we found out that it was owned by a trust, not an individual land owner we thought that getting the permission as quickly as we needed it would be nigh on impossible what with the bureaucratic nonsense that usually surrounds such organisations.
However, it is always worth a try. So when I was busy getting the shots Ian was on the phone asking for permission to land.
When we met him after doing the shots he was grinning like a dog with an additional sexual appendage.
The permission had been granted. He even had it on an official document.
Our tourist office lady and the piper made their own way to the beach
It is certainly the best way to travel. In the helicopter it only took us a few moments to get to the beach. In a car the round trip would have been not far short of an hour.
The view on the way to the beach.
The helicopter beside the beach.
I did a few shots of the beach, including a few hardy visitors that had decided to take a dip in the beautiful yet very cold sea.
Gregg interviewing the piper on the beach.
After the interviews there was just one more thing to do, a piece to camera with Gregg at the stile in front of a the little cottage where Paul had started to sing the song all those years ago.
Sadly the stile had gone, rotted away but the cottage was still there albeit minus a little lean-to extension that it had way back then.
Gregg where the stile was with the cottage behind.
The weather was still perfect as we climbed aboard the Bell Long Ranger for the return flight.
When we got back that should have been the end of the day for us but a phone call form the Daybreak newsdesk put paid to that.
The editors of the programme were getting excited about the prospect of the first really big fall of snow forecast to hit the country so early in the winter.
Gregg and I needed to head south into what was being predicted as a white hell.
The plan was to do some filming as the snow fell and then live broadcasts in the morning.
We prepared ourselves for a long and cold night.
It was not until around 9 pm that we encountered any of the white stuff.
Just north of Newcastle the snow was very heavy, falling thick and fast.
This would be an ideal location for the live broadcasts and we had enough shots to make a little report.
Gregg called the office and we started thinking about a hot drink in a nice hotel.
Those thoughts were very quickly put out of our minds when we were told that for logistical reasons it would not be possible to get a satellite truck to us.
At that point the only other place that had a substantial, in fact any amount of snow was much farther south.
It was way down in east Yorkshire near Driffield, only another two or three hours drive for us.
As we drove both Gregg and the guys on the newsdesk kept up to date with the weather in the hope that we could get a location easier for us to get to.
Another couple of hours later and having driven through near perfect weather conditions started to deteriorate as the temperature dropped along with an increasing amount of snow.
We were heading to a small hotel not far from the town decided as our location for the morning.
The snow was now falling very heavily, occasionally blotting out the black road.
I was driving as fast as I thought the conditions would permit, which was not very fast, around 20 mph or so.
As I drove into the village of Fridaythorpe I gently reduced the speed a little bit more by just easing off on the power. I was not wanting to use the brakes because the road surface looked pretty slippery with its covering of snowy slush.
I went round the first bend in the village with no problem but when I turned the steering wheel to go round the next little bend the car kept going straight forwards.
We were heading towards a lamp post and a wall. The steering was on full lock. I stamped on the clutch and quickly heaved the handbreak in an effort to swing the back end of the car round.
Nothing happened we continued heading in the same direction.
Things were all happening even slower than slow motion because we were not actually going that fast to start with.
It did not stop me ejecting an involuntary “fuck!” when the hand brake trick did not work.
Very calmly, quietly and quite slowly Gregg simply said, “it’s OK mate.”
We made contact not gently but not particularly violently with the very narrow pavement and then came to rest against the lamp post.
As we hit the pavement I was stunned by a very loud bang that reverberated in my ears. I was also aware of a flash of white around my head level.
I was surprised to see that the air bag that runs in the roof the full length of the car had deployed along with the one in my seat.
I asked Gregg if he was OK and he reciprocated with the same question.
Apart from the bits of floppy white material dangling out there appeared to be no damage.
That was until I tried to drive the car away from the wall. It just slithered about a bit,
Thinking that it was the snow that was causing the problem I shifted from first gear to reverse to get it out of the slippery stuff.
The car would only move in the one direction no matter what I did with the steering wheel.
It very quickly became clear that the snow was not the culprit. The steering had obviously been damaged.
It may have been the early hours of the morning on a pretty quiet road but the car was in a very dangerous position, particularly if another car coming was going as fast or faster than we were.
I needed to get it to move.
I stuck it in first gear pulled the wheel round to full lock in the only direction that the wheels would move, mercifully the direction we needed to go and gave it a bit of welly.
The car move somewhat crab like away from the danger area and towards a safer parking place.
in the process the drivers door mirror came off as the car slipped past the lamp post.
We were out of danger but clearly going no further.
The pair of us did the obligatory heaving sigh of relief.
The car in its safe parking place after the event.
Then it was phone call time.
I called the Programme organiser to let him know that we would be a bit later than expected getting to the hotel.
I then called the AA fully expecting to be told that it would take hours before we could see help.
The visible damage. It didn't look too bad.
The "straight" route to the lamp post.
In the event a transporter arrived within half an hour.
It took a wee while to get the car on the low loader. Then we were on our way to the small hotel outside the village of Langtoft.
Getting the car onto the low loader.
On and ready to go.
The owner of the hotel was waiting for us asleep on a sofa in the small lounge area when we turned up and checked into the rooms for all of a few moments before we had to head out to get ready for the live broadcasts.
We had made and arrangement that we would be picked up by Sean in the satellite truck to be taken the shot trip down to the village.
We got a call to say that he was running a bit late because of the weather conditions but should arrive just in time for the start of Daybreak.
Pete, the sound recordist arrived in his old but effective Range Rover.
We threw the kit in and he took us down the road.
We had no sooner arrived when the phone rang again.
The satellite truck had come a cropper at the same corner as we had.
Luckily the damage to the truck was less mechanical but more cosmetic.
His mirror had stayed on but the glass was broken.
Even given the problem he had Sean managed to get to us and we only missed the short shot at the start of the programme.
From then in we had a very busy morning. Ours was the only location with any real snow to speak of and that was pretty much all that was being spoken of.
The village of Langtoft.
We did reports, weather shots and other shots scattered throughout the programme.
Gregg ready to broadcast.
The place 5 miles away has an appropriate name for the time of year.
The satellite truck...
.....and the damaged mirror.
It would have been great to get to bed for a bit of a kip after the long night and busy morning but alas that was never going to happen.
The morning was spent decanting the kit from the car, organising the car to be taken to a Ford dealers for repair and sorting out a hire car.
The car goes off to the garage.
I did mange to get about an hours sleep when I was waiting for the hire car to turn up.
Gregg had managed a tiny bit more than me so he was in the driving seat when we started the journey north in the early afternoon.
We headed north with the brief to find more snow.
Deepest county Durham was favourite. We did a quick car swap to Gregg’s four wheel drive and set off
Then I saw a message on Twitter. A plane had come off the runway at Newcastle Airport.
There was suddenly a flurry of activity on the phones by both us and the guys on the newsdesk.
It had been due to the weather conditions. There were no injuries.
If a highly trained pilot can have the odd little skid I felt a bit less crap about last night’s slithering.
We were too far south in the back of beyond to get to Newcastle in time to get any shots before the passengers from the stricken aircraft left the airport and the plane was towed away to a parking stand.
It was looking like being the lead story in the morning.
Tyne Tees had dispatched a reporter and cameraman. They would gather any news material possible and Gregg could do live broadcasts in the morning.
Gregg dropped me at a nice hotel and he did the journey north to work with another cameraman on the lives after he got a bit of a cat nap.
Part of me was disappointed to be missing out on the lead story but, the hotel bed was one of the most welcome sensations in many many hours of manic activity.
I don’t think that my head had even made contact with the fluffy pillow before I touched down in the land of nod.
Next day all I needed to do was drive back north. It took a bit longer than usual but was beautiful.
On the way home.
The country lanes off the A1.
Pretty round every corner.
We were on snow duty again. This time in the Border town of Hawick with the ITV Border Satellite truck.
Normally Hawick is less than an hours drive from Newcastle. Last night it took me more than two to get to our B&B in the town.
It was a battle to get there before the snow got too bad. On more than one occasion I saw cars and trucks struggling to negotiate fairly benign inclines that had been treated with snow but no grit or salt.
The best part was that the B&B was close enough to the live location that we were able to walk to it.
When I arrived at the truck I was very happy to see that Aki the cameraman/engineer with the truck had his camera set up complete with Digi link and radio mic.
All I needed to do was shove it on the tripod, put the mic on Gregg and we’d be off and running.
The Border satellite truck....
...in the town centre.
It was still cold and the snow was still falling.
It was another busy morning starting off with me having the opening shot of the programme.
I used a beautiful clock that was coated in snow on one of the buildings with a zoom out to show the wintery scene to kick off the start of the show.
The rest ot the morning went well, another snow day done.
Hawick town centre when daylight came.
My first alarm in December was not the clock but the phone ringing loud at around 4 am.
It was the newsdesk telling me that Edinburgh airport was closed because of yet more snow and that shots were needed of the people stranded there.
That was going to be the easy bit. The hard bit would be getting the material back to London. The only facilities available to me to make that possible were in Glasgow, 40 miles or so away along a snowbound M8 motorway.
Before I went off to the airport I had to dig my car out of its parking place.
The car up to its axles in snow. Bit of digging required.
There was not time to organise official permission to go and film at the airport. It would unlikely that a press officer would be easily available to sort it out at that time in the morning.
So, rather than blunder in with my large camera and big fluffy mic etc I would do the job with my little handycam. This way I there was less chance of getting involved in lengthy explanations that would take up too much time and result in me not getting the shots in time to get on the programme.
I knew that would be difficult enough anyway.
When I got to the airport terminal at around 5 am it did not look any busier than it does on any normal early morning. It is about peak time for the early morning red eye flights to London.
There did seem to be a bit more less purposeful movement around the place though, it has to be said.
There was no sign of any other media there, newspapers, radio or TV.
I did a few shots of people queuing up at airline desks trying to get information.
I did interviews with some passengers who had been stuck at the airport for almost 24 hours waiting for their flights which were now even less likely than before.
A couple of people told me stories of being onboard the aircraft for four hours and when it eventually started to taxi it bumped into some snow and had to return the short distance it had moved to the parking stand and they were all taken off.
There was some good material and I was very keen that it should get onto the programme.
The work had been done pretty quickly and it was just 5:30 am when I was pulling out of the airport short stay car park.
I called in to say that it would be unlikely that I would get the material to Daybreak for the start of the programme. Even on a good day it would take 40 to 50 minutes to get to Glasgow.
There was hope that the shots and interviews might make it for the 7 am news bulletins.
The motorway was down to one lane moving pretty slowly, unless of course you had a good four wheel drive then the outside lane was usable.
Unfortuatlely I did not but, if the traffic kept up at that speed I would still get there, just.
However, the traffic came to a halt pretty soon.
At around Livingston things ground to a stop for the best part of an hour.
Not moving far on the M8 as the snow still falls.
By this time the main bulletin at 8 o’clock was also looking in jeopardy.
I called to ask if it was worth my while carrying on with the journey if the traffic started moving again.
The office wanted to get the material on, even if it was only a little bit at the final opportunity in the Lorraine programme at 9 am.
Shortly after the call the things started moving again. The problem had been a large truck trying to get up a slight incline on the slippery motorway.
Eventually I got to the office of Macmillan media in Glasgow to feed the material to Daybreak. It was 9:40.
There was just enough time to get it edited and on air.
By 9:45 the pictures were zipping down to London.
The guys at Macmillan gave me a coffee and I drank it as I watched the news bulletin on their screens.
I was gutted to say the least. Not one of my shots or interviews had been used. In fact the closure of Edinburgh airport was not mentioned.
Feeling knackered and pissed off I went back to the car to take the return journey.
I was even more pissed off when I did get home and found that Sky News were going pretty big on the story.
If the material had made it Daybreak would have had a minor scoop but. such is life.
I did not know it at 7 am when I went to Edinburgh airport to meet Luke the producer and features editor Grainne Seioge that I was about to have one hell of a 27 hours.
The plan was to pick up a 4x4 hire car and head up to a place not far from Fort William to do some filming around the rare and elusive Scottish wild cat.
The job had been in jeopardy for a few days with fears of bad weather.
When I had gone to bed it was still all systems go.
It was not until I reached the airport after getting up and out in the minimum time that I checked my e-mails.
At 4 am Luke and Grainne’s flight had been cancelled. Sure enough when I looked at the arrivals board although there were a lot of London flights arriving there’s was not.
“Ah well”, I though, “at least I’ll get the rest of the day off then.”
Fate and the Daybreak newsdesk were not not going to be that kind.
I got a phone call to say that there was a shoot planned for today, more snow stuff and possibly live broadcasts tomorrow morning.
I organised to pick up the 4x4. I had been trying to get one for ages but they were all out or booked up. I was glad that this one had been booked for a while.
The bulk of what we were going to do would be in the evening and at night so it might be a late finish.
The bad news for Daybreak was that it was not possible to get a satellite truck for the morning’s live broadcasts. They would have to be done using the internet either on a good cabled or WiFi connection or using a small Bgan satellite dish.
This turned out to be good news for me because what was wanted for the programme was a place in the city that had been particularly badly hit and was a good example of how it was still very difficult for people to get on with normal day to day life.
One of the best places that I knew of was my little estate.
The side road up to the main road is quite short and not very steep but the satellite truck would not have been able to negotiate it.
However using the internet we would be able to broadcast from my front door.
What a result, even though we might finish late I would be able to sleep in my own bed and just stumble downstairs to do the broadcasts.
It would also be an opportunity for Gregg to retrieve his car that he had parked there before our eventful trip to Yorkshire.
Whether he could actually drive it away would be another matter but, it might be possible.
Gregg's car hiding under a mound of snow before our broadcasts.
The snow around the airport and various other niggely little logistical problems meant that it took a few hours to finally get the 4x4 filled with my kit, gear for the snow and away from the rent a car area.
On the way to meet Gregg for our evening shoot I did a few shots to illustrate the dreadful road conditions off the main routes in the city.
Our first call was to make contact with an RAC patrol man dealing with breakdowns mainly as a result of the bad weather.
When Gregg phoned him he had just arrived at a car owned by a physiotherapist at the Edinburgh’s main hospital.
When we got to them he had diagnosed the problem as a flat battery that needed to be replaced.
It was ideal for us a health worker struggling to get up and running to get to work and all the fault of the snow and ice.
I did shots of the battery being replaced and we did interviews with the patrol man and the lady.
Next, the main part of the story for us was that the army had been called in with their Land Rovers to assist paramedics and ambulances to get to locations that were difficult to access because of the build up of snow.
In an industrial estate on the western outskirts of the city I filmed in the makeshift control room staffed by ambulance and army personnel and we did an interview with the ambulance boss.
The paramedic control room.
We would then have loved to have gone out with the paramedics and their army drivers on some actual calls that was not possible.
Had the material not been needed for the morning it could have been possible but, getting all the permissions from all the parties that we might film with takes a bit of time.
So, it was felt that if the material had been going into a documentary that would not be going out for a while there would be no problem but with the speed of transmission a vital factor we were not allowed to go on any real jobs.
To illustrate the story I was given a paramedic and a driver who were not working at that time to get some shots of them as if they were going out on a call.
I did shots of them in the Land Rover as the driver bounced over snowy terrain and from the outside as it drove along.
It did not take too long to get the shots we needed.
We were finished shooting earlier than we thought, it was just coming up to 11 pm.
The editing of the report to Daybreak could be done at my house and sent to London over my new fast Virgin media broadband.
With a cup of tea to hand Gregg edited the report on my kitchen table.
My kitchen table becomes an edit workstation.
The 7th became the 8th.
He went home to get some sleep leaving me to get it to London.
At that point I was looking at getting a little over three hours sleep.
It would not be great but, at least it would be in my own bed.
Then the stress set in.
I tried to get the Daybreak laptop to connect to my broadband but for some reason every time that I hit a letter key to type in the password all that I got was a loud ping from the computer and nothing.
Everything appeared to be working correctly. All my personal computers and phones were happily connected and working well.
I was stumped. Time to call the IT chaps at Daybreak.
I had not picked a good time to have a weird problem because a virus had just been found zipping around the Daybreak computer system in London and it was all hands to the pump to get that sorted.
However, even given this rather large and potentially catastrophic problem I was given as much help as possible.
It was a strange thing that neither my small brain or the larger computer brains down south could sort out in any kind of hurry.
My possible three hours sleep was now slipping ever so much further away.
Along with that it was looking like I was going to have to brave the cold outside much earlier than I had anticipated because I was going to have to set up the satellite terminal and use that.
It would be slower and hugely more expensive but it was going to have to be done.
After a few more attempts with various possible solutions the answer appeared to be that the security protocol on the new broadband that I had and that the Daybreak laptop. It was not up to date enough to cope with it.
So, out into the cold I went and set the dish up on the roof of my wife’s car and got the material sent in time for broadcast.
The report being set using the Bgan satellite dish.
Gregg arrived a short time later as I was setting up for the live broadcasts from the same place I had set the report from. I just swapped cars to give the dish a bit more elevation.
The live broadcast set up.
We only did one live broadcast report but, I did do quite a few live shots and was on standby for even more.
When the programme was off the air Gregg did get his car out and did manage to get it up the slight hill out of the estate.
Gregg starts to clear the car.
I went to bed as soon as I could.