Thursday, 30 July 2015

That was my week, that was...

A few years ago my life consisted of going to work and not much else. As I've already admitted in one of my early blogs, I was a bit of a couch potato. But how things have changed. Here is a peek into what my diary entry for the week commencing the 27th July 2015 would look like. If I kept a diary that is.

Monday:- I went to the gym, not something I ever thought I'd hear myself say, then fed the cats at Cogges in the afternoon as usual. Nothing too different there.

The kitchen at Cogges, dressed as Yew Tree Farm.
Tuesday:-I was due to take a group of Irish visitors on a Downton Abbey tour of Cogges. They were due to arrive at about 12.15pm. As is my wont, I was spending the morning writing and checking Facebook. At 10.45am my mobile rang. I could see that it was Colin, the Director of Cogges. Convinced that he was phoning to say that the tour group had cancelled, I answered the phone. Boy was I mistaken. The tour group weren't cancelling, they'd turned up one and a half hours early and Colin wanted to know how quickly I could get there.

Me in my Downton costume.
When I was asked if I'd like to be a tour guide, I was asked if I'd mind wearing a costume. It took some doing, but I've managed to cobble together a look that a 1920's farmer's wife would recognise if she were to appear at Cogges one day. I hastily shut down the computer, threw on my costume and was driving into the Cogges car park about 15 minutes later.The Irish contingent had ensconced themselves in the café and I actually had to hang around until they were finished. Eventually they were ready and the tour that followed was probably the best one I've done so far. At least they laughed in all the right places and didn't speak when I was speaking.

On that particular day, the art department for a certain ITV drama, were on site setting up for filming that was to take place the next day. One of them, Linda, saw me in my costume and said that it was perfect and that I really looked the part. Praise indeed and made all the hassle I'd gone through to put together the costume worth it.

Me bagging fudge.
Wednesday:- I was very excited as I was being allowed to be on site while the filming was taking place. I arrived at 1pm to be told that the filming wouldn't be taking place until 2.30 as the filming in Bampton was running late due to adverse weather conditions. While I was waiting I busied myself in the kitchen bagging up some homemade fudge that some of the volunteers had made. Eventually around 4pm the actors/actress arrived and filming began. I spent the next couple of hours chasing chickens and then trying to make sure that they stayed in shot. Not an easy task. But at least I got the chance to speak to Sophie McShera who plays Daisy, and rectify an embarrassing conversation I'd had with her on a previous visit. For those who don't know what I'm talking about check out this blog.

The filming finished around 8 and it was very sad as this is the last time that filming for this programme will be taking place at Cogges. As I reflected on this, I realised that despite living only about 10 miles from Bampton, I'd never watched any of the filming taking place there.

Tom Branson with Lady Mary at Yew Tree Farm
Thursday:- I jumped in the car and set off for Bampton. Filming was taking place in the area in front of the church and I watched as Lady Edith drove by in an old fashioned car, with Tom Branson in the front passenger seat. Someone had left a white Fiesta parked in shot, so another old fashioned car was placed in front of it to make sure that it wasn't seen in the shot. I was surrounded by a group of American tourists. At one point Allan Leech, who plays Branson, came over and asked us where we were from. I piped up and said that I was from Yew Tree Farm. He looked confused until I explained that I was one of the volunteers at Cogges. He laughed, but was called away before he could say anything else.

David Cameron at the Magna Carta reception
Friday:- Just a normal day? Nope. I had been invited to be a VIP guest at a celebration of the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta hosted by Experience Oxfordshire. I arrived at 12.30 for a lunch which was followed by speeches, one of which was to be made by a special guest speaker. This turned out to be the Prime Minister, David Cameron. After the reception because of  horrendous weather conditions, my hubby and I endured a nightmare journey up to Manchester to visit the family. But it was worth it.

Saturday:- I walked beside my grandson as he took his first donkey ride. The highlight of my week.

So that was my week. It was very hectic but certainly beats my previous existence as a couch potato and I wouldn't change a thing. Well, perhaps next time I'd ask Allan Leech for his autograph and perhaps have my photograph taken with him.

Photos and videos, Isabel's own.

Isabel Johnstone 2105 ©

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