Extra, Extra, Doc Martin Is Back In Cornwall

Port Isaac is sometimes home to the cast and crew of the hit British television comedy, Doc Martin and as I discovered yesterday, will be again this summer.

Whenever John and I walk in on the coast path from Port Quinn, we can usually see people posing in front of the cottage below which is used for both Doc Martin’s home and office or doctor’s surgery, as they call it here.

Doc Martin’s Cottage

This is the flyer I spotted in my doctor’s waiting room when I went for an appointment yesterday.

A copy of my last headshot, a memento from my acting days.

When I was working as an actor, which really means when I was auditioning for work because that’s what most actors do the bulk of the time, I used to get sent out on auditions for a variety of roles such as Police Woman, Firefighters, Moms, and Waitresses. Once I went to an audition dressed fairly provocatively under a long overcoat for the role of a ” New York City Street-walker ” and ended up being cast as a ” Butch Lesbian ” instead.

Cast as a Butch Lesbian

I think it was the military training listed on my headshot that actually got me the callback for the ” Butch Lesbian ” part as they assumed the army had taught me hand to hand combat and the role called for my character to get into a physical fight in a jail cell. The director saw me during the callback and thought I might be ” too little ” to pull it off, but my tough girl swagger convinced him that size in this case, might not matter.

Getting an agent

Getting an agent was a necessary step to finding work as an actor and you can read more about how I did it in the post, ” Picking Up Steps “ on my first blog if you’re interested.

When you first get an agent you generally will have to work a few times as an extra before being sent out on a proper audition. It’s a good way to become more comfortable on a set where there’s no time to waste with the untrained. I did it a few times before Joan felt I was ready to represent her agency in front of a casting director.

Extra work and Kevin Kline

Because I had been working as a principal for a while, I was surprised one day to receive a call asking if I was interested in doing extra work on a movie being filmed in Atlanta. Just as I was saying, ” Joan, you know I don’t do extra work anymore … ” she cut me off with the words, ” Kevin Kline is in it.”

” Kevin Kline,” I said, with the next words being, ” Will he be on set while we’re shooting? ”  Now, I’m not usually one to go starstruck, but having loved Kevin Kline since his brilliant role in Sophie’s Choice, I said, ” Yes,” immediately after hearing her answer.

Never mind that it also had Kevin Spacey and Forest Whitaker in it, I was totally focused on the possibility that I might get to see Kevin Kline at work. And see him I did, as I stood next to him in a scene where he and Forest Whitaker were seated at a table in a bar. There’s more to that story, but that’s all I’ll say here. It’s nothing shocking, so put down the phone number for The National Enquirer or The Daily Mail. It does involve Kevin Kline and it adds to the story, but I’ll save it for another day.

You can see me clearly in two shots in Consenting Adults, ironically the extra work I initially didn’t want gave me the most visibility on the big screen.

I actually worked a good bit for a part-time actor who also had a busy day job in the pharmaceutical industry, but much of what I did as an actor was not very exciting and was often an industrial training film like a two-day shoot I did for UPS.

Doc Martin

Next week, I’m going to take a ride over to Port Isaac to see if I can do a little work on the next season of Doc Martin, a quirky comedy about a London surgeon who develops a blood phobia and ends up working in a small fishing village in Cornwall.

Martin Clunes character has no bedside manner and isn’t as charming as Hugh Laurie’s character in House, M.D., but I find him screamingly funny and I hope they’ll find my American face  ” Cornish ” enough to spend a bit of time on the set.

Do have a look at the video below if only to see more of Port Isaac. It’s about ten miles from where we live and interestingly where the main office or Doctor’s Surgery is located for the doctors I see when I need one.

Fast Talking Our Way Around Cornwall

Donna Freedman Arriving In Cornwall 2011

 

How much can you squeeze into a short 42 hour visit and still catch a few hours of sleep? John and I had a chance to find out when Donna Freedman rolled into our Cornish community on Tuesday afternoon.

I’ve included only a few pictures from our short time together and I have to add that while I took quite a few pictures of Donna, I did agree that I would not post them without approval. I understand that completely as I’m that way too and it’s a promise I make a lot so people won’t be put off by my documentary style of shooting.

Here’s an outline of what we managed to see and do while she was in Cornwall.

DAY 1:

After a quick sandwich and luggage drop at home, we made a mad dash over to Port Isaac to see a Cornish fishing port that also serves as a part-time set for the television show, Doc Martin.

We had a good walk around the village, stopping to pet a few dogs, eat some Cornish ice cream, and tour an art gallery located in former Methodist church.

On the drive there and back, we passed through a few villages complete with churches that looked a lot like the church in photo below. They’re everywhere here even though they are rarely full these days. Churches in England suffer from a lack of members as my friend Alycia points out here and it’s a struggle to keep them up.

During our drive, we met an oncoming car in one of our narrow lanes and John whipped it into reverse backing up so fast that I think his speed surprised Donna in much the same way it did me when I came over the first time. He should have been a race driver as good as he is behind the wheel.

Driving across the moor in the dark, we came upon a group wild ponies hanging out in the road and Donna wondered aloud as I often do whether they might move for the car. I always hope the moorland ponies will be visible when people come to visit and was pleased to see them.

John made a turkey chili for dinner while I handled the salad and dessert. Since it was Shrove Tuesday, we had pancakes with a baked apple/pecan mixture inside and vanilla ice cream and maple syrup on top.

After that we rushed off to a neighboring village so Donna could see bell ringing practice and try her hand at it as well. John went the pub next door for a pint instead of church and we stopped in after for a minute before heading for home.

Once home, Donna and I stayed up talk, talk, talking, sitting side by side on the sofa, holding our laptops and sharing our stories until my eyes began to close. I went off to bed and she stayed up to finish some writing and managed to post to her blog while I was getting some rest.

Day 2:

After breakfast on Day 2, Donna and I walked to the village shop so I could post a letter and pick up some pasties for lunch. While there, she had a chance to see how helpful folks are here as I asked someone in the shop about what I thought were locked church doors. ( There’s a roster of folks who open and close it each day)

After two phone calls, Margaret determined the church was actually unlocked already and that I just needed to go back and put some muscle to the door. Feeling slightly silly for having been too fragile about it, we walked back to the church where I gave the door a push so we could have a look around. Our village has one of the prettiest churches around with parts of it dating back to Norman times although it was transformed in the 15th century.

Around noon, John and I took about an hour or so to join some others from the village attending the funeral of our next door neighbor who died a week ago Sunday.

We went home for a quick pasty lunch and to pick up Donna before heading out to see Boscastle, a fishing village that was ravaged by a flash flood in 2004, but has since recovered. It’s a good place to pick up the coast path and I was focused on getting Donna on the coast path at least once even with the limited amount of time she was with us. You just can’t come to Cornwall and leave without a walk on the coast path!

We made it back in time for me to make a couple of blackberry cobblers with berries I picked and froze last summer. Saving them for dessert later, we walked down to the pub for dinner and quiz night.

We Won!

We joined friends, Jeff and Robert, teaming up to WIN the pub quiz while Donna very kindly treated us to dinner. I was chuffed that Donna was here and part of the win.

I had a yummy, faceless, veggie burger for dinner while John ordered a meal that stared at me the whole time he was eating it, plus I could see its teeth. Donna had a more traditional meal of roast beef, mashed potatoes, veggies, and yorkshire pudding.

After dinner, we celebrated our quiz win with a dish of  blackberry cobbler that was topped with Cornish ice cream. Donna and I stayed up late again talking, changing subjects quickly as we tried to cover more topics than we had time to do properly.

The Final Day:

This morning we were all up early as Donna had an 8:06 train to catch back to London. Donna was very much like her blog persona which I find reassuring in a way. I tend to think people are who they say they are which can be a bit naïve, but I’ve been lucky when it comes to meeting blogging buddies who really are as they appear to be online when we meet face to face.

42 hours with Donna was as fast paced as an episode of The West Wing, mixed with the energy of newspaper office full of journalists, much like those I’ve seen in the movies listed on this Top 10 Newspaper Movies list.

Do have a quick look so you’ll know what I mean. Not surprisingly, some of the very movies I had in mind were on the list. Donna’s career as a journalist was very apparent in our conversations and her sense of humor, and John and I both enjoyed her visit.

We talked a great deal about writing as you might imagine and she was kind enough to share some helpful tips along with answering my questions on editing and publishing.

I began this post after she left this morning, but partway through decided to take a quick nap. Clearly my subconscious was prodding me to finish it because while I was sleeping, I woke from a dream hearing Donna offering an editorial suggestion to the piece I was supposed to be working on instead of lazing around in bed.

I’m sure it came from observing her writing discipline while she was here and it did not go unnoticed that she was able to meet her deadlines while still having fun.

Walking into Port Isaac

Another view on the path to Port Isaac, but looking back in the opposite direction.

The harbor in Port Isaac with the old school on the hill in the distance.

This is St Breward Church where Donna had an opportunity to ring the bells.

While Donna is not in this blurry shot of some bell ringers in action, I do have some video of her learning how to control the rope.

In the shot above, you can see the two tiny figures of John and Donna off the left of the image about half way down in this photograph of Boscastle. (click twice to enlarge)

I’ve never noticed Rosemary with blooms and snapped this as John walked into my shot.

I love this photo of John near the harbor entrance at Boscastle.

Winchurch Family - Boscastle 1930

After John saw today’s blog post, he gave me this photo that his dad took 80 years ago when he was 16 on a family outing at Boscastle. I had to add it so it could be seen with the photo of John that I took yesterday.

No Word From Evansville, But Gifts Of Another Kind Instead

When you choose to swim in a public place it can be a bit crowded. You may already be friends with some of the people swimming with you while others are strangers to you and content to watch the activities from the dry land. It’s useful to have a wetsuit as an extra layer of protection from the shockingly cold water, but not everyone watching is interested in swimming or in some cases even dipping a toe into the water to see if it might be fun to join the others.

Sometimes there are people with less life experience who may be watching more closely than others as you consider the risky moves … the moves that might not be so easy or could make you feel a bit scared when you consider that you might get hurt if you actually take a chance and jump.

Of course there will be people who will be shocked by your actions and watch in disbelief as you dive in with your eyes wide open to the possibility of pain or even perhaps a lasting injury.

But you do it anyway … because long ago you told yourself that life was for living even with all the fear and sadness and the chance for heartache and that no one was going to keep you from feeling the everyday joy that was as tightly woven through your being as the need to try new things. You open your arms wide before slipping into the water and feel the cold more intensely on your wet face as you surface than you did when you hit the water thirty seconds before.

Others who’ve been watching decide to take the leap as well and while they seem fearless in their actions they feel afraid in mid-air when they realize what they’ve done.

As they break the surface of the water and their head appears safely in sight, a loud wail of pain echos back up the cliff to the watchers along the edge causing a mix of kind strangers and family and friends to move through the water to offer help and concern.

They hold the young girl child up supporting her and offering comfort and a safe ride back to shore.

So she goes back to land having been helped by a group of people … some there by design and others just passing by.

I wanted to say thank you to everyone who took time to share their thoughts and kind comments on this post and through email. The things you said were uplifting and healing and once again remind me of how thoughtful and generous the blogging community can be. So many of you have become friends (or were old friends already) and even though we may not have met yet in person and perhaps never will, I value the gifts you share with me and with others who may find comfort or something else they need in a comment you leave behind.

As for my reader in Evansville, I saw Evansville, Indiana on my sitemeter Saturday evening which was the day I posted this request, but they left no message and have not been back as far as I can tell. It is really okay with me now and the substitution I’ll do if I see Evansville again will be the images above from Sunday when John and I took a walk and saw the brave souls leaping off the cliff into the safety of folks down below.

Your sweet comments made me see the connection between taking a daring jump and revealing a painful past and how much easier it is to risk both when you have friends at the ready to offer kind assistance if it turns out to be scary or too painful.

Thanks for listening and even more … thanks for helping me find a new image to wash away the old one.

A Last Look Back

In the small village where John and I live I’m becoming known for almost always having a camera in hand and some people will actually comment if they see me without one. I don’t think it took our July 4th guests, Jamie and Barbara long to see that visiting us meant most moments were likely to be documented. Here’s a last look at a few more images I captured during their stay.

I was standing in the hallway at Lanhydrock shooting this image when Jamie walked by and I caught him looking at the mirror on the wall below.

That’s me in the reflection, but due to flash restrictions it’s a bit grainy from shooting in low light.

Barbara, Jamie and John walking towards the old caretakers cottage on the Lanhydrock property.

Barbara and Jamie standing at the signpost for the Rumps which we walked first and Port Quin which we walked later that afternoon. Please notice that the arrows point in opposite directions … we did a lot of walking that day.

Jamie set off at a good pace right behind John while I waited for Barbara who you can just make out in the right hand corner.

Not too steep yet …

Now this is a bit steeper. Can you see the ant-like figures of Jamie and Barbara in the center of the photograph? (click on it to enlarge)

More color from another direction.

The dragon looking piece of land in the center is known as The Rumps.

Barbara and Jamie take a seat near the Laurence Binyon memorial in front of The Rumps.

Here’s one of us sitting in the same spot.

A few of my favorite cuties or ” dinner ” as John would say.

Looking back from Polzeath in the direction of the Rumps.

The beach at Polzeath in the distance. (click to enlarge)

Cottage at Port Quin (click on to see the barking dog)

Looking back at Polzeath

John, Jamie, and Barbara on Jubilee Rock with what looks like a stormy sky behind them.

Notice the carvings on the rock … according to a site called, Oliver’s Cornwall ” The massive 8 foot high granite boulder was said to have been carved by Lt. John Rogers to celebrate the 1810 golden jubilee of King George III. If Rogers was the carver he must have been a skilled mason as the detail of all the work in still crisp after almost 200 years. All is apparently original except for an 1897 addition for Victoria’s golden jubilee. Detail includes Britannia, the Royal and Cornish coats of arms and those of local families, a plough, and two mason’s marks, a compass and square.”

The whole of the rock is covered in carvings including the top where they’re standing.

This cool picture of them is one of John’s photographs and was taken from the top and backside of the Jubilee Rock.

No trip to our little village is complete without a quick visit to the buttercup field (even though there are few buttercups left in July) and a photo at the footbridge that crosses the water and leads to it. So we’re saying goodbye here to Jamie and Barbara and hoping that the rest of their UK visit goes well. Safe travels.

Coast Path Walking In October- Port Quin To Port Isaac

The weather here was stunning on Saturday so John and I set out to do a little coast path walking. I sometimes forget how close we are to the sea and I’m still a little surprised when I hear seagulls right outside our door. One of the closest coastal locations is Port Quin, which is about ten miles from us. I thought you might like a Monday distraction to go with your coffee or tea break depending on the part of the world you call home. These appear in the order of our journey. I hope you enjoy the walk.

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This sign tells us that we are close, but we’re not driving to Port Isaac, we are walking in, so we veer to the left and head down to a parking spot in Port Quin.

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Taking the left towards Port Quin.

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Port Quin as you see above is tiny. There’s not much there anymore, but what is still there is lovely. It used to be a thriving fishing village until something happened that changed everything. It’s worth going here to find out why.

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You pick up the path to Port Isaac here going between the old cottages leading up and out of Port Quin.

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Almost immediately you begin to see amazing views.

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A shot of me wearing my Tilley hiking hat and carrying my Canon Powershot G9.

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I’m dragging along behind John taking pictures of almost everything. Can you see me down there?  All along the fence, there were spiderwebs with no spiders. I must have passed 30 or 40 empty webs like the one below.

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In the photos above and below you can see a series of steps that go straight up or down if you’re lucky.

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I was amazed to see how many flowers were still blooming along the path.

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John takes a break so I can snag a photo.

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This was the view he was seeing from where he was sitting in the photo above.

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More flowers in October…growing wild.

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Our approach to Port Isaac as seen from above.

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This bee impressed me with his pollen boots.

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Viewing the harbor from Port Isaac.

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John heading back to Port Quin.

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Again…honeysuckle flowers in October. I always thought of these as a flower for spring.

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Returning to Port Quin…coming back by what I think of as the back way.

Remember to stop by tomorrow for Tell Me A Story Tuesday. If you’d like to participate in TMAST, go here to see the pictures and choose a topic sentence. Post your story on your blog and let me know so I can link it here.

Walking The Coast Path With Cows And Caution-No Bullies Allowed

The title for this post takes its name in part from an email I received from a coast path walker who found my blog through some of my previous posts about walking the Cornish coast path. I hope she won’t mind my ” borrowing” a part of her email subject heading for my post today.

Yesterday John and I headed out to find a bit of adventure along with some fresh air and exercise. I’ve been doing a lot of computer work lately (editing wedding pictures) and the weather was too nice to stay inside. Additionally, even though I’ve been back since May 25, it was our first walk along the coast since I’d gone back to America in late April. John suggested a short walk from Port Quin to Port Isaac both of which are about ten miles from where we live. After packing up a P B & J for me and some fruit for him…we were off. 

It was beautiful as it always is and I promise I’ll include a few pictures near the water, but my main reason for this post is to have a little talk about the cows and bullocks we encountered so walk with me now….

 

Sometimes on our walks we have to walk through fields that are already occupied.

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Me saying hello…this one was quite happy to let me touch him on the nose before moving along with his buddies.

The question came up from one of my readers as to the safety in crossing though these places where the public footpath herds (sorry, I couldn’t help myself) you right in with the big animals.  I told her I’d never encountered any problems and then she recounted how she and her family had a bunch of cows come charging across the field startling her, her husband, and their children. In the past I naively thought cows and bullocks were just happy to see me whenever I saw a herd of them shift direction and move in mass at a clip towards me.

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John said if they ever look scary to just say boo and throw your arms out at them.  He demonstrated this technique below without warning me so you can’t see the hand motions. ( I missed it)

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A couple of guys trying to look tough…”Whadaya mean you want to pass through us?”

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John approaching the bad boy brothers just moments before saying BOO!

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After they’d scattered …giving him some sulky looks.

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This one did not look amused either.

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This brown one was pretty interested in me however… deciding that I might be worth investigating further.

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Right!  Now I’m usually okay with a nudge but I think I really must draw the line when it comes to taste testing.  John was getting his camera out here while I was trying to capture this beastie licking my arm.

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For the record…cow tongues are rough, slimy and strong.  

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All joking aside, when I mentioned to John what my reader Sarah had said in an email to me about cows and safety on the path he said…people are usually quite safe and that cows are more curious as you can see above than dangerous. He did go on to say that they will get angry when dogs are around especially if they have calves with them.  An incident was in the news here recently that illustrated this when David Blunkett, a prominent politician in the UK who is blind was out walking with his guide dog and was trampled by a cow who was trying to get to the dog. So I’d say caution is key when passing by these gentle seeming two ton Toms and Tessies. ( Okay maybe one ton not two, but it worked better).

Wrapping up the walk from yesterday…as I was taking this picture.

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John was climbing up and over here.

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Then while I was trying to get a decent closeup of these drying flower heads below….

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John slipped back and stuck his head through a gap in the wall and began to make woo woo scary moaning sounds as I approached the fence and started to climb over.  Going back I saw this….

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On  the other side…you can actually walk down to the water…no one’s stopping you.

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Back on the path

Port Isaac

Port Isaac from above.   We had a little pub stop for a pint and a coffee and walked back to Port Quin totally ignored by the cows who’d lost all interest in us by late afternoon.  

NEXT TIME: Celebrity spotting in Cornwall.

I’ll be back with my experience with celebrity spotting yesterday in the supermarket. We were actually side by side scanning the parking lot for our cars after stepping out of the store at the same time. 

Here’s a hint…there’s a TV show that uses Port Isaac as its location, but with a name change. The man I almost  bumped  into is a regular character on the show although not the male lead. He’s associated with a trade profession in the show…anybody want to venture a guess?