Dedicated to the work of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger and all the other people, both actors and technicians who helped them make those wonderful films.
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I Know Where I'm Going!
A Celebration of This Well Loved Mull Film
The 2010 weekend
It all started so well, Robert & I had planned a few treats and surprises for this second quinquennial IKWIG weekend. I had all my tickets booked to get me up to Mull. I took a few days off work to make sure that I had everything ready, and that's where I think I made my big mistake.
And it was a very big mistake, a real doozie of a mistake.
I forgot what day it was!
I was meant to catch the overnight sleeper from London to Glasgow, leaving London at about 23:30. That was to get to Mull by about midday on Friday so of course I should have caught the sleeper on Thursday night. But I forgot what day it was and I was still at home at midday on Friday.
I suddenly realised that it was Friday and that I should be already travelling, and nearly there. So a mad panic ensued and I booked a ticket on the next flight to Glasgow in an attempt to catch up with my original schedule.
But when I got into Glasgow itself, the airport is some way out of town, I discovered that I had just missed the last train to Oban. There are only 4 trains a day! I checked the ferry timetables and saw that there was a late ferry on Friday nights, leaving Oban at 10pm. Could I get that? I went to the bus station and checked the bus timetable. There are only 3 buses a day from Glasgow to Oban and the last one had long gone. I even asked some taxi drivers if there was any chance of doing it. They said it would cost about £150 - £200 and even then they weren't sure I could get there in time. There are lots of small twisty little roads between Glasgow & Oban. If I had tried that and had missed the ferry then my options would have been severely limited.
I even thought about (but not too seriously) hiring a helicopter, but that would have been excessive, even for me.
So I got a hotel room in Glasgow and planned to get the first train in the morning. I rocked myself to sleep by banging my head against the wall. Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!
There is a tradition of the IKWIG journey being disrupted. After all, that's what happens to Joan in the film, her journey is disrupted, and I was trying to re-create her journey as much as possible by getting the sleeper to Glasgow, then the local train to Oban and the ferry to Mull. Last time, five years ago, I had mixed up the winter and summer timetables for the ferry and had had to wait for a few hours in Oban. This time the delay was a bit more than just a few hours.
I got up early and was at the station in plenty of time for the train. I was finally back on the right track - only 24 hours late. The train I got to Oban is the one that I would have got if I'd come up on the sleeper from London on Friday night. Sometimes the fates just play games with us.
I had been keeping Robert informed about my progress, or lack of it, and he arranged for a taxi to meet me at the ferry terminal on Mull and take me to join the others. Just as I got to the jetty at Lochbuie where the others were just getting into their waterproofs for the boat trip out to Corryvreckan. I quickly joined them and we all took to the water in two boats.
The boat trip was great fun. We knew in advance that the whirlpools wouldn't be at their most fierce. The boats have powerful twin engines (300 HP) and can do up to 40 knots. Each boat comes with a skipper and a naturalist/crew member who gives a good commentary and helps explain what we are seeing. Not just the whirlpools but the wildlife in the area as well. We saw Sea Eagles, Golden Eagles, dolphin and porpoises as well as many other birds and even a red deer looking down at us from the top of Scarba.
As an ex-Sea Cadet who has sailed and canoed around the Western Isles (in my youth, a long time ago, when I was young and fit) I thoroughly approved of the care they took of their passengers, the safety drill they gave and the procedures they followed. As a keen observer of wildlife I also admired the way they spotted the various creatures and told us all about them. Very knowledgeable but in a keen and enthusiastic way, keen to share their enthusiasm.
The engine did "accidentally" cut out a few times but we were in no real danger of being sucked into the whirlpool
I wasn't watching the clock all that carefully, I was too busy enjoying myself, but we spent a good few hours out there and everybody said they really enjoyed it.
Our skipper (did anyone catch his name? It was mainly Vic doing the talking) and guide, (Victoria Hillman) kindly joined in when I asked them to set the scene by reading out some of the lines from the film.
IKWIG 65th Anniversary Weekend
15th - 17th October 2010, Mull
Players: Torquil, Joan
Torquil: [To Joan] Are you the praying type? Joan: Sometimes, are you? Torquil: Always. If we can stay on our course and right-side up, we've got a chance. Joan: Aren't we on our course? Torquil: Every mile nearer Kiloran we're 2 miles nearer Scarba. Joan: Is that dangerous? Torquil: [Surprised she should ask] Yes Joan: Why? Torquil: Corryvreckan.
That earned them a round of applause
We made our way back to the Western Isles where we met up with the rest of the group. Not everybody had gone on the Corryvreckan trip. A few more greetings to the people I knew from previous trips and introductions to the people who were there for the first time. I checked in at the hotel and had a quick wash and brush up before joining everyone for dinner.
As I was so late in turning up I had missed out on some of the location trips (and they missed my providing the extracts from the scripts to read out) but that wasn't a great disaster as I had seen them before and I caught up with some of them on the Monday. What I did miss out on was the Friday night dinner.
'i know where i'm going!'
Friday 15th October
Colonel Barnstable's cream of broccoli soup
with Dunsyre blue & roasted hazelnuts
Pork & mushroom terrine from Catriona Maclean's own recipe,
with cranberry relish
* * *
Roast sirloin of beef from Auntie Crozier's herd served with
Yorkshire pudding, pan jus & Autumn vegetables
Lady Bellinger's gently poached fillet of hake, parsley creamed potatoes,
wilted greens, crispy Parma ham & Inverlussa mussel veloutée
Lochinvar cannelloni bean cassoulet with potatoes, fennel & melted goats cheese
* * *
Lemon & lime tart with Western Isles Hotel fruit compôte
Cheril's favourite: profiteroles with banana & chocolate sauce
* * *
Freshly ground Brodies Columbian fair-trade coffee or tea served in the lounge
After the dinner on the Friday they showed the film and Robert gave a talk on it followed by a general discussion about it.
But although I missed all of that, I did join in the dinner on Saturday evening with some relish.
Before the meal we raised our glasses in a toast, first to the Royal Navy who had been based at the hotel in 1944 and were training in Tobermory bay. Also, Torquil was serving in the Senior Service and a few of the Archers were in the navy. Then we raised our glasses again to The Archers and the wonderful film they had given us.
'i know where i'm going!'
In honour of Roger & Wendy, Michael and Emeric
Saturday 16th October
Classic Scotch broth à la Pressburger with braised lamb shank
Pamela Brown's walnut breaded goats cheese with spiced redcurrant jam and lambs lettuce
* * *
Honey glazed pork belly served with creamed Erwin potatoes, sautéed Hillier carrots,
crackling and dark beer gravy
Baked salmon Wellington in the style of Finlay Currie served with mushroom and
baby spinach duxelle and Hollandaise sauce
Wild mushroom risotto with pecorino cheese à la Michael Powell
* * *
Jean Cadell's dark chocolate and pistachio tart with fresh strawberries
Mango panacotta Petula Clark with mango coulis
* * *
Freshly ground Brodies Columbian fair-trade coffee de Valentine Dyall
served in the conservatory
After all of that we were joined in the conservatory by a couple of musicians who led us in a Celidh. There weren't many people who could dance properly, but a lot of us did and what we lacked in skill we made up for with enthusiasm.
And that was the end of the Saturday.
What happened on Sunday?
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