The bees are buzzing and so are the helicopters

JAMES BOND MINOR SPOILER ALERT – please stop reading if information about activity on the film set would affect your enjoyment of Skyfall.

glory of the snow

With all the time I’ve been spending at Hankley recently, I hadn’t quite noticed how much spring is springing everywhere else. The warm weather has really brought the flowers and blossom out and it feels as if we have seen the back of winter now (famous last words; we’ll probably be knee deep in snow by next week). The banks of the lanes are covered in daffodils and celandines, and I came across a sward of grass under some trees, carpeted in naturalised white dog violets and these gorgeous little blue fellas; Chionodoxa or glory of the snow. Nice to see the bees busy all over the flowers and blossom. The blossom I’ve photographed here is a Prunus species; the genus that includes cherries, peaches and plums. I think this is P. avium, wild cherry.

oblivious bunny

I saw this cute little baby rabbit grazing happily on a grassy bank. Slightly worryingly, the sign on the gate in front of him indicated that he was nibbling the grass of ‘Gunshot Paddocks’ – good job he can’t read…

metal core of a fake tree

We slightly nervously returned to Hankley yesterday afternoon. The security lady saw

straight through my cunning disguise of wearing a coat (well it was rather chilly), but luckily I’m still free to roam.  They were filming with the helicopters again, and the world and his wife were there to see it. There must have been a good couple of hundred people there, lining every ridge and watching the aerial action. The security guys were making sure people stayed on the paths and out of shot, but neither they nor the military police were stopping anyone from taking pictures and videos (and everyone was!).

Since anyone can go and see for themselves and take pictures, I don’t feel bad about describing it for the fans who can’t drop in to Hankley on a Sunday afternoon. The merlin was being filmed by the camera helicopter, performing very similar manoeuvres to the practice filming last weekend. It hovered for ages level with the ridge at the end of the ‘bowl’ near the chapel – much to the delight of the people gathered there…

…before doing some low flying around the lodge, and finishing up with a burst of gunfire…

The rough tough baddies inside with their big guns gave the crowds a lovely wave as they flew close by afterwards…

There are a couple of pictures that I took during set construction that I think it’s ok to post – they’re just of the fake trees, which unless Daniel is going to shin up one in an effort to evade Javier, seem unlikely to feature largely in the plot. They are real trees (I think I called the photo I posted before ‘fake plastic trees’, but that’s just because I like the Radiohead song by that name), but they’ve had the core hollowed out and metal posts concealed therein. In the picture you can see that the ground has been carefully relaid around it at the base after its been sunk in, with bits of bark glued on. Here is the metal pole inside, keeping the skeleton upright. Again, fantastic attention to detail.


7 thoughts on “The bees are buzzing and so are the helicopters

  1. I absolutely love that colour blue of the glory of the snow Don’t you? Having just come back from a snowy Moscow, it makes you appreciate the colours of spring all the more.

  2. Thank you. Nice that summer also started in England. In the Netherlands we have the warmest March-month ever, but no blossoms yet in my area. Oh, heavens no, it is only the first day of spring today! I am more aware of nature, in recent years. It began ten years ago when the spring began earlier and earlier. It sometimes seemed like summer, while it was still spring. My brain did not understand. Since that time, I am much more outside than before, and the summers are (for me) much longer than in the past.

  3. I hope so! Our Queen Beatrix donates today the city of Luxembourg 1000 tulip bulbs as thanks for the reception during her second state visit to the Grand Duchy. I hope we have some left. Hmm, good idea to visit the “Keukenhof” this year.

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