The last job I did abroad for Eclipse was in Paris – although it turned out to be a disaster from start to finish. I’d been asked by one of the project managers if I could do it because due to a change of dates one of the cameraman that was originally booked now couldn’t do the job. I said to him right from the start that I would only do it if I could fly from Newcastle and he said he would sort that out.
When the dates drew nearer I was told that I had been booked on Eurostar out of St Pancras along with all the rest of the crew which meant I would have to travel all the way down to London in order to then get on a train to Paris which would obviously take much longer than just flying from Newcastle. The there was the question of who would pay for it!
At first the director who was my line manager said that the company would only pay for the journey to London because that wasn’t during normal working hours (oh I forgot to mention that I was now travelling out on the Sunday instead of Monday as originally discussed!) but I would have to foot the bill for the return journey. Needless to say I wan’t happy about this and I went to see the other director (who I’ve known longer) and told him if that was the case I was now not available for the job as we were travelling on the Sunday which I hadn’t been told about.
He did some sums and worked out that by the time they’d paid for a freelancer for 3 days, lost the money it had cost them for my train ticket and paid for another ticket there wouldn’t be much change from £1,500 which would cost the company much more than the £28 it would cost them to pay for my return ticket! At this point I think I was starting to see why I was leaving (although they didn’t know this yet!) as these sort of stupid things just kept happening all the time and the original director was usually at the root of noses being cut off to spite faces!
Anyway after a very long day we arrived in Paris and checked into our hotel. We agreed to go out an hour later and I spent the time editing and uploading some audio tracks for another project manager! When we did go out we headed for a bat just over the road. I don’t usually like Paris but we seemed to be in a quiet part of the city and just for once I was enjoying it. After our drink we decided to move to another place to get something to eat and as I picked up my jacket to pay I discovered that my PDs had gone. They’d been in an envelope in my pocket but now they weren’t! I panicked for a bit but then found the envelope on the floor under my chair. I paid for the very expensive pint I’d just drank and off we went for a meal in a restaurant nearby.
The following morning the Project manager announced that he had forgotten to get cash for taxi’s so we would walk to the venue! It was about a 20 minute walk but it was early and the streets were quiet. When we arrived at the venue we had to sign in and we were asked for our passports or other photo ID. I put my hand in my pocket and my passport wasn’t there! Oh no where was it? Shit! Maybe I’d left it back at the hotel! Or maybe not! Anyway I handed over my driving licence and we went in to start the rig.
When the hour was decent I rang Sarah “Don’t shout at me but I think I may have lost my passport! Can you find out what I need to do?” She said she’d look into it and call me back. When she did about half an hour later it wasn’t good news! I needed to go to the British Embassy which was only open between 9:30 and 12:30 each day. I had to pay £100 for emergency travel documents and then when I got back home I’d obviously need to pay for a new passport.
The problem was that it was now 11:30 and I had no idea where the Embassy was. Then tomorrow the show was between 9 and 1 so I wouldn’t be able to go then either. After the show we were supposed to be derigging and getting the Eurostar straight home. Bollocks.
Then I remembered I had the receipts from the two places we’d been to the previous evening so in a last desperate attempt at solving the problem I’d call them and see if it had been handed in. I rang the first bar…
Oh hello – do you speak English?
Oh good – I was in your bar last night and I think I may had dropped my passport and I was wondering if someone had handed it in
” Ah yes – is that Mr….”
Oh thank goodness for that I’ll be back later this evening to collect it
“No problem it will be in the safe”
Huge sigh of relief!
When I did get back to the bar that evening I had a nervous wait till someone found someone who knew where it was – I knew but they didn’t ask me! Finally I had the thing back in my hand and I was so relieved”
The following day we were supposed to be at the venue at 7:30 which meant we could just have enough time to grab breakfast before out enforced route march (with luggage) to the venue. Then the PM said the client had asked for us to be there early so that meant we’d miss breakfast that the hotel but they would organise something at the venue.
Needless to say breakfast never materialized and on the way to the venue the handle snapped on Sarah’s wheely suitcase so I ended up having to carry it most of the way. Midway through the first session we were all starving and then the client twigged that we hadn’t had any breakfast and wasn’t pleased. He told us to go and grab stuff when the delegates broke for coffee but then told us not to be seen doing it! Sod that we just grabbed coffee and as many pastries as we could!
After the show finished we had lunch in the staff canteen and then derigged and loaded the truck – in the rain as I recall! Then we had about 3 hours to kill before we caught the Eurostar so we ended up at a bat near Gare du Nord and had a few beers. Obviously once I’d got back to London I still had another 4 hour journey to get home so when I did I was absolutely knackered!