Friday, 20 June 2008

Behind the Scenes: Saying Yes To The Millionaire - Chp 4

Fern and Josh’s first clue is this:

Make your way to Berwick Street market. There you will find ten stalls with the Secret London logo on them. Two teams may work on each stall. Your team must sell £30 worth of fruit and veg in order to receive your next clue.

Berwick Street is a crowded little road lined with fabric shops, many selling material for saris. Incense wafts out of the fabric shops and mixes with the smells of fresh produce on the market stalls that line the pavement. I seriously wouldn’t consider buying electrical goods from some of the ‘geezers’ manning the stalls. Ever seen the comedy show ‘Only Fools And Horses’? Nuff said.

Next stop is Speakers’ Corner, an area at the edge of Hyde Park. On a Sunday, people can exercise their right to free speech here. Some of the 'speakers' make sense, some are out and out nutcases. It’s normally empty on weekdays (see photo), but for the purpose of the book, I invented an extra session complete with a baying crowd drawn by the radio coverage of the contest.

The following clue is a little more complicated and Fern and Josh find themselves back in Trafalgar Square and start hunting for a Turner painting – The Hay Wain:
It's housed in the National Gallery. I actually spent a day navigating Fern and Josh's route and working out which rooms they would end up in following their clues. The area of gallery that is closed in the book was really blocked off on the day I visited. Things are going fairly well until Fern starts to find her stride in the race and realises that they’re not only barking up the wrong tree, but in the wrong gallery looking for the wrong painting. Josh is so impressed, he plants a kiss on her, and that’s where things start to get complicated!

Next stop is another gallery – the Tate Britain. Fern and Josh discover they painting they are actually looking for is this one:

Which leads them to another paining, one of my absolute favourites – Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose by John Singer Sargent. I swear, when you stand in front of it, those paper lanterns really seem to glow. And I could stare at the frill details on the girls' dresses for hours...


Jessica Raymond said...

Ooh, it sounds so exciting! I am really looking forward to reading it :)

I've never seen that painting before, but it looks very vivid and pretty.

Barb said...

Oh, Fiona, that is one of my all time favourite paintings, too. I wish I'd seen it when I was in London. I had a book about art when I was a child and I would stare at that painting for hours. I was almost there, in the garden with those girls -- utterly enthralled.

Kate Hardy said...

I love this painting, too. (Some of my favourite memories of London are associated with the Tate. Including the time I saw the original sketch for 'The Beguiling of Merlin' - my all-time fave painting.)

Thoroughly enjoyed the book, btw :o)

Fiona Harper said...

This book was such fun to write - even if fitting the research and romance together got a bit tricky sometimes!

It's really lovely to find other people who have the same secret likes!