The End of 2013
The latter half of the year saw a big dip in the quality and quantity of stories that I was assigned to added to the editorial direction that Daybreak had taken there were also far fewer opportunities to cover foreign stories.
As a direct result my interest in the blog waned quite considerably to the point that I made no entries for the rest of the year.
There was a mixture of stories that were fun, interesting, impressive and tragic.
At least it was only her character that was suffering of Pancreatic cancer. Coronation Street was the sunny location for the down the line interview with actress Julie Hesmondhalgh who plays Hayley.
|Maybe my crew car could get a part as an extra|
|This has to be one of the coolest places I've parked|
|Freelance producer Jeanette briefs Julie on the questions|
|Then soundman Pete gets her wired up..|
|..for her interview outside the cafe.|
In September as the days started to cool and shorten Mark Hayes made a trip to his homeland for a bit of a fashion shoot at Culzean Castle.
|Mark posing with model Jerry|
A pleasant morning with weather presenter Laura Tobin at the world famous Harrogate Flower Show and some of the massive vegetables.
|Laura scripting in the car..|
|…before wheeling in the giant cabbage|
In October Edinburgh University had the media in when Professor Higgs was awarded the Nobel prize for xxxx for theorising the Boson particle way back in which was eventually proved in the LHC.
|Setting up for the media conference in the Playfair Library|
|Professor Higgs in the middle of the shot..|
|..in my camera|
|The original extract explaining the "God Particle".|
There was another trip back to the university to see a very impressive young lady speak and be awarded an honorary doctorate.
Malala Yousefzai was there with two of the friends that were with her on the bus when she was shot in the head by the Taliban for having the audacity to be wanting an education.
|The three friends on the stage of the McEwan Hall|
|Malala speaking passionately and eruditely|
In December like most of the UK media I spent a few days in Glasgow covering the tragic loss of life and injury when a police helicopter plummeted out of the sky and crashed through the roof of the packed Clutha Vaults pub.
|Sky News and the BBC setting up for their early morning live broadcasts|
|Eyewitness Gordon Smart, editor of the Scottish Sun doing a down the line interview|
|Time for a quick coffee in-between broadcasts at the hospital|
Onwards into 2014
The end of 2013 saw yet another change in leadership at Daybreak heralding a change of course for the programme back onto a more sensible and familiar heading.
It looked like being a busy year with lots of things already in the diary, a royal visit down under, a possible trip to Rio to cover the Word Cup, the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and the small matter of an independence referendum vote in September.
It certainly started at a hectic pace as on the 3rd of January I was dispatched to Romania. The travel and work restrictions placed on Romanians coming to Britain since joining the EU were lifted.
There was fear that like when Poland became a full member of the EU the country would be flooded with migrants looking for work, many of them Roma Gypsies.
With correspondent Katie Fawcett and fixer Jake Bowers we flew into Bucharest where we did an interview with a well known Roma, the musician Damian Draghici, now a minister in the Romanian government.
|Interviewing Damian Draghici in a chilly Bucharest park|
Then we went on a long drive to the town of Caracal where a lot of the Romanian Gypsies live in conditions that are not the best.
The same could not have been said of the country's executed dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.
|Even in the fog one of his palaces was pretty impressive|
On the way we went to a more rural area, Smerduasa to film a very poor family. It is the first time that I have witnessed children out playing football on rough ground in bare feet in a temperature a bit below freezing.
|The kids of Smerduasa..|
|...like kids everywhere love getting sweets|
|Mum is not so happy with her situation|
We were very warmly welcomed in Caracal. One of the ladies living in the dilapidated building called simply the block invited us in and instantly insisted that we dance with her and her friends.
|One of the blocks|
|The spontanious dancing in Marianna's flat on the block|
|Marianna and friend|
Another of the residents Maria spoke excellent English and acted as host and translator.
|Maria translates for Katy in Marianna's flat|
Overnight we edited the report and sent it to London. After a few hours sleep we went back for some of the most atmospheric live broadcasts that I have ever done.
|Katy choosing the interview clips in the hotel room|
|Maria's strong black coffee out of a teapot certainly woke us up|
|We were well fed too, homemade doughnuts...|
|…and music, food for the soul|
|Doing one of the live broadcasts|
Not long after that trip I was scrambled along with Daybreak's political editor Sue Jameson to Paris.
The French president Francois Hollande had been having some assignations with another woman who was not his partner.
We did some interviews with Parisians to see what they thought about the affair and then some live broadcasts in the morning, a very wet one.
|A pretty impressive backdrop, particularly in the rain|
|At least a hot coffee was not far away|
|Sue doing her stuff|
There were a couple of tragic events involving children that we had to cover. If these types of stories never happened again I would be very happy.
A boy missing from home turned out to be a boy murdered. His mother ended up in the dock being charged for killing him.
Then just the other day a wall fell on top of a pupil at Liberton High School in Edinburgh killing the 12 year old girl.
|Reporting on little Mikaeel, a missing boy|
|The police appealed for help in search, but something was not right|
A few days later we were outside the Edinburgh Sheriff Court where Mikaeel's mother would be charged with his murder.
|Prior to her appearance in court we were outside for live broadcasts|