EXT. A small ferry port, early morning
It’s 05:45 and I’m breathless, having just missed the ferry over to Portsmouth Harbour. Not ten minutes ago, I selflessly forwent the Mug Experience and catastrophically tipped my Earl Grey tea into a travel cup PRECISELY to avoid missing the 05:45. I unceremoniously gulp it down – it doesn’t taste the same. I start to consider where it all went wrong – perhaps I shouldn’t have spent those, what now seem, priceless ten seconds whacking some concealer on a couple of chin spots which I know full well will be concealed by my MASSIVE face mask. Perhaps I shouldn’t have decided to bring with me a full-sized violin as a prop for a scene which will more than likely go unnoticed in the final edit. Perhaps I shouldn’t have allowed myself a trip to the toilet. Enough. This is getting ridiculous.
INT. The train, Portsmouth Harbour Station, still pretty hecking early
I am standing on the train I planned to get and it dawns on me that, had I got the 05:45 sailing, I would have been stood on a freezing train platform for an unnecessary amount of time. I brush the part of my personality which demands I question and evaluate every decision I make under a figurative carpet and look out of the window at the view. I am reminded by the lack of adjustment in my pupils that there is no view. Because it is 06:15 in the morning. Before plumping myself down on a forward-facing chair by a window with a power socket (train flex), I spray it with anti-covid disinfectant. I then repeat this process with the seat next to it, the back of the chair in front and the window. I am safe.
INT. Waterloo Station, London – morning.
*aimless wandering whilst I look for my taxi*
INT. My taxi – still morning.
I am in the taxi. I am mildly embarrassed, having just hoisted my jeans further up my waist right in front of the taxi driver before getting in (aboard?). They had begun to slip down due to my aforementioned *aimless wandering*. “Why didn’t you sort this before you walked to the taxi?” I hear you ask. You must be forgetting that I am still very much carrying a violin. Whilst inside the taxi, I begin a miraculous seated dance as I remove my industrial anti-covid gloves from my hands to inform friends and family via text that I have not yet died due to misadventure. I then return my gloves to my hands before realising I have an itch on my face. I remove the gloves again. Etc.
EXT. Kenwood House Car Park – morning.
I am at the place where I asked to be driven and am beaming behind my two face masks (two for public transport, one for everywhere else) because I have not been kidnapped. As I depart the vehicle, the driver asks me if I have a concert (because I am carrying a violin). I explain to him that I am actually filming and directing a YouTube series about Blue Plaque recipients, which, in hindsight, doesn’t clear up why I am carrying a violin. As the taxi driver bundles away, I begin to wonder how to get to the main building. After looking at a path and deciding it doesn’t give me the vibe I’m after, I decide to walk into the middle of a field instead. I eventually find the path to the entrance – which I suspect was actually the one I was presented with in the car park – and amble towards Kenwood House.
INT. The Green Room, Kenwood House – morning yet again.
We are filming! I have finally got to meet my colleague Yusef with whom I have been devising this series for the past five months over Zoom. He is shorter than I had assumed which is welcome as it makes me feel less like Dobby the elf. However, this effect of perspective could be due to the two-metre distancing rule. My good friend Eleni has also arrived (somewhat surprisingly due to my chaotic nature) and is still (!) eager to act as our leading performer.
EXT. Kenwood Estate – afternoon, bebeh.
Myself and the rest of the crew (literally two other people) set down for a packed lunch outside. Yusef draws out a fully-packaged homemade paella and I eat my four buttered crackers. Eleni has her first ever Babybel, which doesn’t sound like a big moment, but it is.
EXT. The riverside, Kenwood Estate – afternoon.
I have made the executive decision to film my ten-minute long episode two as an almost continuous shot, like Sam Mendes’ 1917. Because, of course, they are both productions with similarly sized crew and narrative scale. I have placed props all round the estate which will bear significance as our lead character journeys across the fields whilst on the phone to the episode’s respective Blue Plaque recipient. We have also filmed the scene with the violin. It took two minutes.
EXT. Kenwood Entrance – afternoon.
Despite making Yusef and Eleni trawl through mud streams, across uneven fields and betwixt mobs of fairly aggressive-looking geese, we have managed to capture everything we planned for day one of shooting. We all scurry to our taxis, Yusef looking like a well-kitted-out camera man; Eleni looking like a glamourous performer at the end of a hard day’s work; and me looking like a classical musician.
I now must face travelling back via taxi and resuming my seated anti-covid glove dance, boarding a train and sailing back to my town across the water from Portsmouth Harbour. I can’t wait to have an Earl Grey and do it all again on Friday.