Mount Hood

The heat continues. We drove, en masse, to a location that was suitable for our needs.
Two and half hours to film me getting in and out of cars. Olly in the open topped Mini, me climbing in and out of a personell carrier driven by an ex Minister. Beard, glasses and the inflection of somebody who has such a close relationship with the Redeemer that he could make even George Osborne look good.
So my impending speed fines in England meant that I could only ever be a passenger, not one tiny little Mini drive was I allowed.
This meant the Minister had to learn to be a television driver very quickly. Up the road, down the road, open the door, drive to the mark, start the car, drive off, turn around then off into the distance. We took the same shot from different angles, me very nearly eating my own eyeballs.
The Minister did well.
Then we sat altogether and took lunch under awnings in the sun. Too much to eat and not enough time to digest. The Minister wanted to talk. The one thing about filming is that when lunch does arrive the last thing you want to do is talk about life, art and television, Olly and I were very polite and did all three. Then Olly went off to a Vineyard and me and the big crew set off to Mount Hood.

‘Mount Hood, called Wy’east by the Multnomah tribe, is a potentially active stratovolcano in the Cascade Volcanic Arc of northern Oregon. It was formed by a subduction zone on the Pacific coast and rests in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It is located about 50 miles (80 km) east-southeast of Portland, on the border between Clackamas and Hood River counties. In addition to being Oregon’s highest mountain, it is one of the loftiest mountains in the nation based on its prominence.’
That’s your Wikipedia version. My version is it’s feckin big, has snow all year round and is 6,000 feet high. I made jokes about altitude sickness but trust me as we neared the summit I was seeing double and feeing queasy. That’s why Shakleton would never have taken me with him. I may be good at tent-keeping but I’d have been useless with my crampons.
Up we drove, the Minister telling us to look left, then right and trying to get us to a place where I could do a piece to camera with the mountain behind me and my words in front and in the right order. We finally nailed one abut two minutes from our destination.
We arrived. The air cooler. Into the Mount Hood hotel reception, all wood. The ironwork, made by the original iron workers when it was first built.
It was the hotel that Stanley Kubrick based his film THE SHINING on. Jack Nicholson tricycling through the corridors shouting ‘Here’s Johnny’.
We arrived and we all screamed ‘Heeeere’s Jeni’ but it won’t make the final cut.
Ex snowboarders and skiers, are employed in the kitchen. Handsome young men who like the air and the female cheffettes. The head cook made me Fondue with Crudites, which we took outside to the foot of the mountain.
I was given a beautiful pair of boots, the same kind that Reese Witherspoon wore in WILD, which co-incidentally I had watched flying over on the plane. We intended to film me hiking but it all got a little too complicated with boots, socks and my dress.
So I sat in the sun, people hiking behind me, and dipped my vegetable sprigs into the hot molten cheese. Having eaten we did some pieces to camera then, off the Minister and I went, for the very long drive home.
I sat behind him clutching my boots their box.
Then I said, if it was okay by him, I didn’t want to talk. I had a suspicion that we would be yacking all the way to Portland. He was a little disappointed.
Then I asked how long the journey was likely to take, and he said – I kid you not –
‘Your voice sends me.’
I clutched my boot box to my chest, strapped myself in and remained silent until we got to Portland.
I leapt out of the taxi. ‘God Bless’ said the Monster. ‘You too.’ I replied.
11.15p.m. and I went to the eatery next door to the hotel.
I ordered a White Russian, I have no idea why!
I went back to my hotel and ordered a second cocktail, which tasted so awful I left it, along with most of my food, outside my door.
Mount Hood is magnificent. Mount Hood is perfect if you like anything to do with snow and heights. Mount Hood felt Alpenic. In another life I would holiday there with the ‘oosbind and give myself enough time to get used to the thinned atmosphere. In another life I would snowboard and hike in Reece Witherspoon’s shoes.
As it was it was just another day on ‘Jeni and Olly’s Wine adventure’. Two and half hours driving with an unknown Minister and a pair of beautiful leather boots.
I left the crew up in the clouds as I slipped into bed ready for tomorrows jaunt with was another two hours the other way to Eugene, the home of waffles and running.
I had to repack my case three times to get in boots, bath robes and broken bars of chocolate.
The White Russian addled my brain. I dreamt of mountains, Julie Andrews and the Sound of Ministers.