My mobile rang on Friday morning and a perky female voice, which turned out to belong to Becky, from the staff of BBC Radio Berkshire, told me that she had been looking at my website as part of her research for a programme about Country Crafts in Berkshire, and was kind enough to say that she liked the stuff in my gallery pages there. Furthermore, she wondered if I would consider taking part in the programme, introduced by Anne Diamond, and chat with her about my woodturning. Would I? You bet I would! Apart from the obvious chance to promote my work in the run-up to Christmas in what has been a year of very mixed fortunes, I never need any encouragement to talk about wood, and woodturning (especially my own!). There is another aspect to all this, too. When I lived on Anglesey, I made frequent visits to BBC Wales in Bangor to contribute on a variety of topics from Computers, Education, Farming and Conservation to Natural History, for various magazine programmes on BBC Radio Wales or BBC Radio Cymru. I really got a buzz from the spontanaeity of these broadcasts – being totally unrehearsed meant that one was never sure quite what the next question would be, and once answered, the words could not be changed – and this made for a nice adrenaline rush before and during the broadcast. This was so unlike some of the TV chat shows, and the documentary films in which I participated, where the producer and/or director would sometimes stop the flow of the broadcast to ask one of us to re-phrase something, or for the camera to take a slightly different angle. Radio is much more like real life and although the audience cannot see the participants, I always felt that they were sitting in the studio with us, and I always managed to “spot” at least one of my critics sitting there in the gloom of an imaginary back row, just waiting for me to make a mistake. Now you might find that a very perverse approach to broadcasting, but for me it worked well, and kept me alert and my concentration razor-sharp.
As a result, I’m looking forward to tomorrow, when I walk into the studio around 11.30am, with some of my recent smaller pieces of turning (I don’t fancy lugging anything heavy in with me!) and meeting Anne Diamond in the flesh for the first time. I have no idea how long I shall be there and no idea of the approach she will take to the interview, but I do know that I shall thoroughly enjoy it. There’s another thing about this particular episode that means a lot to me. Having spent so long on Anglesey and been well known by a wide variety of people for an equally wide variety of reasons – be it as a teacher, lecturer, naturalist, farmer, author and broadcaster, (or possibly even as something less acceptable – who knows!), the resultant anonymity of moving to West Berkshire a couple of years or so ago has been a little hard on my rather fragile ego. Maybe tomorrow will be the start of a new pathway for me down here…… maybe not, but it is an opportunity – and I have long since learned to grasp opportunities whenever they present themselves.
Oh, I forgot – there is something else. I first saw Anne Diamond when she fronted one of the early morning TV programmes back in whenever when, and I have to confess that she struck me as being a rather “tasty” lady. Will the illusion be shattered tomorrow, I wonder?
Watch this space!