Weeeeeeell… I don’t know where to start, really. Or indeed where to finish. I arrived at Hankley this morning, with dog and child, friend and dog, expecting our normal walk around the common only to be enlivened by the film shooting. I greeted, in naive innocence, the (lovely) lady on the main security gate, only to have her call after me “…are you [my name]…?”, and tell me that I was in (and had created) a lot of trouble. They kept me there while they radioed the location manager to come and discuss things with me.
As it turns out, I’ve been a wanted woman on Hankley Common since yesterday, when it became apparent that I had breached military byelaw 4(13). On reading and re-reading this byelaw, I can’t say I’m yet entirely clear about how I’ve breached this, but I’m taking them at their word, and certainly the military police were perfectly serious about finding me and arresting me – the military policeman I talked to later told me that if they’d found me first I would have been arrested, cuffed and charged. I do wish to extend my apologies to the lady with a cocker spaniel who matched my description, who had some tricky questions to answer this morning!
What did distress me is that I seem to have dropped some of the site crew right in it. This really does upset me, because everyone I’ve spoken to on-site has been absolutely lovely, and I’ve greatly enjoyed having chats with them. I certainly wasn’t trying to get anyone into trouble, nor was I doing anything deliberately surreptitious (except maybe sneaking a bit close to the chapel on Weds, by which time the headstones were already long gone). I have been genuinely enthralled by the development of the set, and the incredible skill displayed therein. I love taking photographs of beautiful things, and, to me, the creation of this fake reality was an amazing thing to witness.
I think I got a bit carried away with the excitement of it all and the enthusiasm of the Bond fans wanting more detail. I didn’t properly consider the fact that the people who were telling me these fascinating titbits were not expecting them to reach such a wide audience. I didn’t expect such a wide audience either! I am genuinely very sorry if I got anyone into trouble. In my opinion, no-one behaved remotely improperly and I’d be most upset if they suffered repercussions due to me sharing stuff on here that was common gossip amongst the Elstead locals and dog walkers.
The upshot of this morning’s events is that I certainly will not be taking any more photographs of the set, nor will I be divulging any more information about the filming or what that indicates about the plot. I have to say that this resulted in me almost chewing my fingers off with frustration over what I saw them filming at the lodge today. Oh my, I can’t tell you how much I want to share the details of what we were all watching through our binoculars!!
Anyhowdyhoo, you poor deprived Bond fans will just have to be content with some older pictures that I took of the set, and some pictures of SHOCK HORROR… NATURE! which was, after all, what my blog was supposed to be in the first place. I must say I’ve had enormous fun doing this blog and riding the unexpected wave of enthusiasm that resulted from the Skyfall stuff. I’d like to say a fond goodbye to y’all, and I hope that just a wee handful of you might continue to visit for pictures and explanations of the stunning beauty we find all around us.
I will include some pictures with this post, and edit it a bit, but mainly I just wanted to get this up there as an apology to anyone I dropped in it with my over enthusiasm.
Edited to add:
I just want to make very clear that I did not at any point go anywhere that the public were not free to go, nor was I at any point asked not to take photographs. I did not at any point go inside any fences around the structures which were up during construction. Once the fences were removed, I assumed the boundary to be the ‘flooring’ around the sites (the plastic roadway stuff that protects the ground underneath). Only once did I set foot on that flooring, and that was with permission. There was full public access to the site throughout construction (it’s MoD land), and lots of members of the public taking photos and videos. It was only during filming that the security guys were present. I do feel that if the chapel site was such hot property, then the production team should have made the construction team very aware of this, and put security on the site. It’s not like I was skulking around – I was there with two loud children and a dog!
I was told by the military policeman that I had breached a military byelaw, copies of which are displayed onsite. This is the byelaw in question;
It is prohibited to… 4(13) deposit or distribute, or cause to be deposited or distributed any handbills, leaflets or other literature or printed matter of any description.