Living in South Shropshire, means that I am only three miles away from the Acton Scott Museum where the BBC 2 television series "Victorian Farm' was filmed. The series was broadcast in January and February this year and consistently attracted viewing audiences of over 5.2 million, which is very high for the BBC2 channel. In fact, in the last 5 years only 2 programmes have attracted higher viewing figures on BBC2.
This afternoon, two of the show's stars had been invited by our local bookshop to come along and do a talk in the church hall. Both Alex Langlands and Peter Ginn chatted about the making of the television series, and showed us a collection of photos and pictures of behind the scenes events. One common comment was the fact that mother nature and farming, didn't always want to 'play ball' when the film crew was around, particularly the animals!
And we also learnt that if you have a male Shire Horse who won't pull a load, then put a female Shire Horse in a field ahead of him and he'll soon move!
Fans of the show may be interested to know that they are filming 3 one hour shows to be broadcast later in the year, possibly around Christmas time.
Talks are underway about another series, possibly an Edwardian Farm this time, although the talks are at a very early stage.
Both Alex and Peter were quite tired because having listened to the Met Office's weather forecast at the beginning of last week, they decided that this week would be a good week to harvest the hay. For this you need long periods of sunshine to allow it to dry after cutting. Thursday was the chosen day which stayed dry for cutting. Since then, here in Shropshire we've had rain on Friday, Saturday and today, so their hay isn't drying out particularly quickly! They've also lost confidence in the Met Office forecasts too!
What struck me though, was the infinite knowledge these two people had. They merely had to change the photo on their Powerpoint Presentation and immediately they launched into the tricks of the trade, the mishaps and their successes of their time spent on the farm.
Which brings me onto a 'writing' point. Have a specialism. Or two. Or three! If you know about a subject, then writing about it will be easy. If the mere sight of a picture can trigger a series of thoughts and comments then you will probably find that you can write quite easily about that topic. (You should see the size of the accompanying book that Alex, Peter and their co-presenter Ruth have written!)
Too often, writers don't know what to write about and they feel that the regularly trotted out phrase "Write about what you know" doesn't help. But if you have a specialism, writing about that subject is easy. So don't have one interest - writing - have lots of interests. Then you can use the writing to write about your other interests. This is why you should get out an experience life. It gives you something to write about. Alex, Peter and Ruth stayed on the Victorian Farm for a whole year - hence the size of the book! But it will give them lots to write about for the rest of their life.
So next time you get the opportunity, go to an author talk and just watch how they enthuse about their subject. It's proof that they are 'mini-experts' and have a lot of knowledge to share. And what is writing, whether it is fiction or non-fiction, if it isn't the author sharing knowledge of some kind with their reader?