How I deal with The Cold

People often ask me if I enjoy filming TV programmes, and the answer is YES.  Of course!  We go to interesting places, at interesting times of day (it’s wonderful being in silent, deserted Westminster Abbey at 7am).  I get to interview experts, which means I spend two hours asking them anything I want in the attempt to get them to encapsulate the research and knowledge of a lifetime for me.  It’s a privilege.

But there’s one big drawback.  THE COLD.

For some reason, I always end up making my programmes in deadest, darkest winter.  And I have had to develop many weapons against the evil powers of THE COLD.  (I have poor circulation, or something, and I always seem to feel the icy finger of frost poking me even when other people feel fine.)

Here’s my arsenal: my down coat (which is white and doubles as a light reflector), my thermos flask of tea, my thermal underwear, my gloves, my mittens, my Zippo hand warmer, my other powdery hand warmers, my hot water bottle.

One might well say, well, given all the advantages of special place and special people and interesting topics, what on earth am I whinging about?

But I see my situation as analogous to the regrettable position of the Decayed Gentlewoman of Victorian Times.

The Decayed Gentlewoman – like Miss Matty in Cranford – has some money, but not enough money to maintain the situation in life to which she aspires.  She keeps a maid, and has a nice house.  But she eats stale bread, and brews tea only for visitors.  She lights the candles only if company is present, and her gown, carefully mended, is twenty years old.  A concern for appearances compels her to act other than she is.

The problem with me and THE COLD is that on camera I’m supposed to look warm, happy, relaxed and comfortable, and sometimes I get away with it. But the Decayed Gentlewoman and I – we’re just pretending.

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  1. Pingback: In which (to my surprise) I learn how to ski. | Lucy Worsley

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