DaisyChain PR Q&A: Steve Jones at The Bristol Hippodrome

DaisyChain PR boasts some great supporters and we thought it was a nice idea to find out what makes them tick and share that with you. This month, we catch up with Steve Jones, Head of Sales & Marketing at The Bristol Hippodrome.

Steve, who lives in Chipping Sodbury with his wife, has been working at The Bristol Hippodrome for 28 years.

Here, he talks to us about the highlights of his job, his love of travelling, and his passion for running – despite his ‘man pillow’!

DaisyChain PR: What’s the best part of your job?

Steve Jones: I think the best part of my job is its ever-changing nature. No day is the same and due to the nature of the business, we have a constantly changing calendar of productions at the theatre. New tours go on sale, current campaigns are to be created and new audiences are to be secured. Each year we need to find a minimum of 50,000 new customers to come to see our shows.

So the exciting part of my job is it can never be completed as there is always something to aspire to. I make it sound like the trials of Atlas but I thrive on that daily challenge!

DC: What was the last live show you saw?

SJ: Excluding Hippodrome shows, the last show I saw was at my other favourite theatre, Theatre Royal Bath. It was called People, Places & Things, which was a play about addiction and had the audience at the back of the stage. So you were also watching people watching the same play as you and watching you watching it! A very new experience for me.

Subject matter was obviously quite dark, but excellent performances as you’d expect and the staging was by the same team that did Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, which is one of my favourite stage shows.

Steve Jones image
Steve Jones

DC: Where’s your favourite local walk?

SJ: I live in Chipping Sodbury and so being ‘Gateway to the Cotwolds’ we are on the Cotswold Way. I’ve done a few sections of it, although I couldn’t pick a favourite. I do like walking in the Malverns though and a good coastal one. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever done a bad walk.

DC: And the best place to eat?

SJ: We went on a nice walk from Weymouth to Osmington Mills and back last year, where we saw an incredible wave of sea fog coming in and stopped at the Smugglers Inn for a well-deserved lunch, which I can recommend. A traditional pub and the food was good. And it was all served on a plate instead of a slate or chopping board!

Actually, talking of which, everyone needs to follow #WeWantPlates on social media, campaigning in a fun way to stop putting food into or on obscure platforms in an attempt to be new and different. If the food is any good there’s no need to stick it in a jam jar!

DC: What’s your best quality?

SJ: I think my best quality is my gut instinct – although other people have varying descriptions of it (Mr Know-It-All!).

Anyway, I tend to get a feeling about most things, including people. I know if something is right, good or great and it has stood me in good stead over the years (although I know I don’t get it right all the time as some will testify!).

I think you have to be honest, go with what you believe in and get passionate about it, or no one else is going to. You need to inspire, drive and get the best out of yourself and others, and you have to fully trust your judgement.

DC: And your worst?

SJ: My self-belief can also let me down if I allow myself to become too blinkered about things.

I also think it could be my ‘ability’ or tendency to find humour in almost every situation or make light of them. I don’t know what it is, but it doesn’t always go down well. It’s almost some kind of nervous impulse to try and make a joke, lighten the situation. My brother is worse than me. Gotta love a bit of dark humour now and again, I reckon!

DC: What’s your guilty pleasure?

SJ: Other than crisps, partying, wine, cheese, more wine, beer, festivals, gigs, rugby, staying up late, eating too much, then it’s probably running stuff. Shoes, running clobber of all kinds.

I probably own far more than I’m ever going to need (not being quite the elite athlete one might think one is) and quite a lot of it doesn’t even fit at the moment. I’m still working off that Christmas over indulgence. This really irritates my other half who, actually in my defence, could quite comfortably have enough shoes for a centipede!

DC: What’s at the top of your bucket list?

SJ: I would love a year off work to drive (at my leisure) around Canada and the USA to see the everyday stuff alongside all the touristy bits. I love to wander and see where roads take me. I wouldn’t say I am well-travelled, although I’ve been to a few countries and to every corner of the UK, so I think with my inquisitive nature I’d enjoy the time to go wandering.

I’m aiming to go the Rugby World Cup in Japan next year, so fingers crossed we get tickets. If there’s a travel company looking for an ambassador for their brand, I’m listening and available!

DC: Have you got a secret skill?

SJ: I’ve got some circus skills. I can juggle and I’m quite good with a diablo and with some intensive training I’m hoping to touch my toes before the summer. Again, bit of excess Christmas weight in the way! I call it my ‘man pillow’.

DC: Where’s your favourite place to holiday?

SJ: I love camping and so I have to mention Croyde in Devon. I love the coast and so the beaches in west Wales and west of England are always top of my list. I grew up in west Wales and I can’t think of a better place to be.

DC: Who’s your favourite actor?

SJ: Richard Burton – wow that voice! I’ve always loved him as an actor and I think Zulu was one of the first films I saw him in. Zulu is high on the list of most Welsh people’s favourite film as we don’t tend to feature in many.

I also read Melvyn Bragg’s biography ‘Rich – The Life of Richard Burton’ when it came out and was blown away by it. Still one of my favourite books, how he paints an honest picture of this brilliant, passionate and flawed genius whose greatest wish was to play rugby for Wales!

DC: What show are you looking forward to coming to the Hippodrome?

SJ: I’m not a fan of musicals, but I think the next big show that people will love will be Matilda. On occasion we are lucky enough to see productions in advance of touring with us and this show is exceptional in many ways. The story, the adaptation, music and staging is all fantastic but it is the performances of the children which are something else. How they learn to be so professional at such a young age is astounding.

DC: Happiness is…

SJ: Camping on the British coast in stunning summer weather with people that make you laugh!

DC: How would you like to be remembered?

SJ: I’ll be serious now we’re coming to the end. I think for those of us who are unfortunate to have lost loved ones and people close to us, it is the little things that sometimes stick with us. I hope I’m remembered fondly and for making you laugh once in a while or at least putting a smile on your face.

Either that or for being a cantankerous old bastard!

DaisyChain PR

DaisyChain PR is an effective, honest and bespoke PR service.

The company was forged as a result of a highly effective working relationship between former Bristol Post Features Writer Natalie Banyard and ex-Bristol Hippodrome Press Officer Sarah Milne.

Through our network of contacts and combined 40+ years of experience, plus our driven, hard-working and friendly approach, we secure as much media and web coverage as we can for our clients.

And in terms of costs, we can offer personalised packages at highly competitive rates (including hourly) for those on a tight budget.

Simply visit daisychainprlimited.com to start the ball rolling.

“Fabulous coverage – what can I say, Daisy Chain PR are quite magnificent.”

Ellen Kent, Ellen Kent Opera & Ballet International

“I have no hesitation in recommending both Natalie and Sarah from DaisyChain PR – their professionalism and attention to detail are incredible.”

Julian Withers, Head of Fundraising & Communications – Jessie May Children’s Hospice at Home

DaisyChain PR Q&A: Downsy (SAMfm)

DaisyChain PR boasts some great supporters and we thought it was a nice idea to find out what makes them tick and share that with you. This month, we catch up with Ian Downs – aka SAMfm presenter Downsy.

The DJ, radio presenter, sports commentator, dog lover, musical theatre aficionado, charity worker and soon-to-be Mr Reed-Downs, is a busy boy, and that’s the way he likes it.

You can catch Downsy on SAMfm between 3pm-7pm on weekdays, 8am-12pm on Saturdays and on his SAMfm Rocks Rugby show between 1pm-4pm on Sundays.

DaisyChain: Where’s your ’happy place’?

Ian Downs: My happy place is a bench in Portishead. It’s right on the top of Battery Point and looks out across the Estuary to Wales and beyond. It’s rugged and open to all the elements. A great place to sit and reflect on life. I often thank Clifford and Alice Heap to whom the bench is dedicated. I reckon we’d have been great pals.

DC: Where do you love to walk the dog?

ID: Cassie, my 11-year-old Collie/Lab/Lurcher, is a squirrel hunter, so she’s a big fan of Leigh Woods and Ashton Court in Bristol. She’s also a big swimmer too, so we head over to Gower, South Wales a fair amount to visit family and she’s always keen on a trip to the beach. We’re big fans of Llangennith and Three Cliffs Bay.

DC: And your favourite watering hole?

ID: I’m not much of a drinker (anymore!). High-days and holidays only really. I love being outside though, so The Royal in Portishead has a great beer garden, The Cottage on Bristol’s Harbourside is fantastic when it’s sunny but I’d probably say cwtched up on the sofa with my fiancé would be my favourite!

DC: What’s your best quality?

ID: Gosh, big question. I like to think I have a big heart and am a very positive person. I believe that everything happens for a reason, and that instead of moaning and being negative, we should use our mistakes and learn from them rather than let them drag us down. I’d like to think I’m a battery to people … rather than someone that might drain theirs.

DC: And your worst?

ID: I’m greedy. I eat FAR more than is EVER necessary. When I got to 22 stone I knew it was time to exercise some self-control, but even though I’m now back down to 16 stone now, I still LOVE food and will always eat 12 profiteroles where 4 would probably have sufficed.

DC: What’s your guilty pleasure?

ID: Bullseye, The Carpenters and sucking my thumb.

DC: What’s your most listened to album?

ID: Roxette ‘Tourism’. Roxette are highly underrated in my opinion! REM’s ‘Automatic for The People’ also features highly, along with the soundtrack to Wicked.

Ian ‘Downsy’ Downs in his natural habitat – behind the mic

DC: What was the last live show you saw?

ID: Wicked at The Hippodrome … it was my 30th time seeing the show.

DC: What’s at the top of your bucket list?

ID: As I’m not allowed to be a train driver or a pilot because of the severity of my colour blindness, it would have to be learning to ride horses. They are such beautiful animals and being out in the countryside exploring nature on horseback would definitely tick that box!

DC: Have you got a secret skill?

ID: I’m a Grade 8 pianist … shhh!

DC: Football or Rugby?

ID: Tough question as I work professionally in both. I grew up playing rugby and came to football later in life, so I’ll always have a passion for the squashy ball.

DC: Who or what makes you laugh?

ID: My fiancé – he’s absolutely hilarious and makes me laugh every single day. I’m so lucky to have met my soul mate, we can be in stiches doing the most mundane of things, it’s one of the things I love about our relationship the most, it’s just such fun.

DC: How would you like to be remembered?

ID: I’d like to be remembered as someone who brought laughter, love and positivity into people’s lives. When I talk about my mum who passed away when I was 22, I talk about the room lighting up as soon as she walked into it. I guess I’d like people to say the same about me.

DC: Happiness is…

ID: Joggers on, pizza ordered, on the sofa watching boxsets with the dog one side and Ethan on the other.

DC: What’s in store for 2018?

ID: At work Back on SAMfm full time doing Drivetime and juggling that with Bristol City stadium announcing duties and presenting for Bristol Rugby. At home, we’re counting down the days to our wedding, so from July 21st I’ll be Ian Reed-Downs!

DaisyChain PR

DaisyChain PR is an effective, honest and bespoke PR service.

The company was forged as a result of a highly effective working relationship between former Bristol Post Features Writer Natalie Banyard and ex-Bristol Hippodrome Press Officer Sarah Milne.

Through our network of contacts and combined 40+ years of experience, plus our driven, hard-working and friendly approach, we secure as much media and web coverage as we can for our clients.

And in terms of costs, we can offer personalised packages at highly competitive rates (including hourly) for those on a tight budget.

Simply visit daisychainprlimited.com to start the ball rolling.

“DaisyChain PR is one of those rare finds – a friendly and down to earth PR company that works with you to share your story. We wouldn’t hesitate in using them again.”

Laura Williams, Trustee – Baby Bank Network

“I have no hesitation in recommending both Natalie and Sarah from DaisyChain PR – their professionalism and attention to detail are incredible.”

Julian Withers, Head of Fundraising & Communications – Jessie May Children’s Hospice at Home

DaisyChain PR Q&A – Julian Withers (Jessie May Hospice at Home)

DaisyChain PR caught up with Head of Fundraising and Communications at the fantastic Bristol-based charity, Jessie May Hospice at Home

DaisyChain boasts some great supporters and we thought it was a nice idea to find out what makes them tick and share that with you. This month, we catch-up with Julian Withers, Head of Fundraising and Communications at Jessie May Hospice at Home.

Julian, who lives in Henleaze with his family, has spent 13 years working for charities in Bristol and has been involved in fundraising for Jessie May for seven years. He previously worked at The Bristol Hippodrome.

Jessie May is a Bristol-based charity providing nursing care at home for children and young people with life limiting conditions.

The charity was established in September 1994 by Chris and Philippa Purrington, following the death of their baby daughter Jessica May, who died from a genetic condition known as severe Spinal Muscular Atrophy when she was only four months old.

Jessie May Nurses provide vital respite care, emotional support, end of life care, and bereavement support alongside family events that help create treasured memories.

You can find out more about the charity by visiting www.jessiemay.org.uk

Julian Withers
Julian Withers. Jessica-May Purrington, whose short life inspired the charity, is pictured over Julian’s shoulder.

DaisyChain: What’s the best part of your job?

Julian Withers: Without any doubt, it is meeting people. In my job I meet the most amazing children, families and a huge number of people who want to find out more about Jessie May and the work we do. It’s so satisfying when we manage to gain the support of someone that perhaps didn’t know about us beforehand…

DC: Who is the most inspirational person you’ve met?

JW: There are a few. A lady called Philippa Brown-John who is mother to Jessica May Purrington. If it wasn’t for her experience, hard work and perseverance that was born out of the most tragic of situations there would not be a Jessie May Charity and over 350 children and families across 21 years would never have received support from a Jessie May Nurse – quite a lady!

Also, in recent years we have had the good fortune to be working with Barry Hearn of Matchroom Sports through our relationship with World Snooker. He is someone who has built up his own empire in a business he truly loves but also has kept his feet firmly on the ground and his charitable work, including his support for Jessie May, is truly remarkable. There is something about his personality that draws you to him and you can’t help but hang off every word he says.

DC: If you didn’t work for Jessie May, what job would you be doing?

JW: A good question. I’ve always worked in organisations that have inspired me or interested me for some reason. I have a love of theatre and spent the first 13 years of my working life in that industry and moved on to work in the charity sector after that – again because the work/cause has inspired me. I’ve always liked rare/classic cars but never had the skill to take on a project and restore one so perhaps involved in buying, selling and restoring cars.

DC: What’s your best quality?

JW: Talking! Some might say that was my worst too!

DC: Where’s your favourite place in Bristol?

JW: A couple for very different reasons. The Bristol Hippodrome was not only a place of work for me but also is the one place that has had the biggest influence on my adult life. If it wasn’t for that building I wouldn’t have met my wife – we’ve just celebrated 25 years together.

Also, a few years ago I took up running and my usual route takes me round the edge of The Downs and through Clifton Village. There is a path that runs up steeply from the top of Sion Hill to the Observatory. My goal is to run up that hill and the top is the half way point on my run so I stop and have a rest. My reward is the view looking back to the Suspension Bridge. The best view in Bristol I think.

DC: What are you currently reading?

JW: I’ve just finished reading the autobiography of a man called Sam Shrouder. He was one of my bosses from working in the theatre and it is full of anecdotes about people I have worked with and I chuckled my way through it.

DC: What’s at the top of your bucket list?

DC: To see the Northern Lights. I went to Iceland last year in the hope I would increase my chances. One of the clear nights we went out in search of them having followed instructions from locals and guidance from an app. We waited and waited, thought they weren’t coming, went home to bed only to find out that they appeared an hour or so after we left.

DC: Have you got a secret skill?

JW: I can wiggle my ears. This skill is of no use to anyone but apparently is quite rare.

DC: Where’s your favourite place to holiday?

I like my holidays but my favourite place is Turkey. We regularly visit a place called Kalkan and we have got to know some of the locals and the area quite well. It is one of the places where we can go and truly switch off.

DC: What/who makes you laugh?

JW: Observational humour – I love the ability to laugh at everyday happenings.

DC: How would you like to be remembered?

A good dad and husband and hopefully someone who did a bit of good in the world.

DC: Happiness is…

Home, family, running and being inspired by people.

DC: How can people find out more about Jessie May and its amazing work?

JW: Please visit www.jessiemay.org.uk

DaisyChain PR Q&A – Eddie Large

As Christmas approaches, DaisyChain PR caught up with comedian and former pantomime king, Eddie Large

DaisyChain PR boasts some great supporters and we thought it was a nice idea to find out what makes them tick and share that with you. First up in our series of Q&As is comedian Eddie Large.

The comic, best known as a part of the double act Little and Large with Syd Little, is a warm, larger-than-life character who lives in Portishead with his very lovely wife.

Eddie, who you’ll often find strolling along Portishead Marina or catching a show at The Bristol Hippodrome, is looking and feeling better than ever following his heart transplant in 2003. He is a passionate supporter of organ donation and he has joined the campaign for everyone to become a potential donor.

Despite retiring, he can’t resist the smell of the greasepaint and still makes one-off appearances on stage and screen. Eddie and Syd have recorded a programme for Channel 5 and will be appearing on BBC1’s Pointless Celebrities in the new year – plus a couple more high profile TV shows which are still under wraps!

Eddie Large photo
Legendary comic Eddie Large

DaisyChain: What’s your favourite local landmark?
Eddie Large: The Suspension Bridge

DC: And the best place to eat?
EL: Il Giardino in Clevedon

DC: What’s your best quality?
EL: Easy going

DC: And your worst?
EL: Moody!

DC: What’s your guilty pleasure?
EL: Custard slices

DC: What’s at the top of your bucket list?
EL: To visit New York

DC: Have you got a secret skill?
EL: I can flick 28 beer mats off a table and catch them in the same hand!

DC: Do you prefer to watch TV or see a live show?
EL: Live show

DC: And which do you prefer to work on?
EL: Live!

DC: What was the last show you saw?
EL: War Horse

DC: If you hadn’t made it as a comic, what career path would you have taken?
EL: An Engineer

DC: Who or what makes you laugh?
EL: Tommy Cooper, Eric Morecambe, Peter Kay, Billy Conolly and Bernard Manning!

DC: How would you like to be remembered?
EL: As a good husband, a good dad and a good grandad

DC: Happiness is…
EL: The love of a good woman

DaisyChain PR is a friendly and efficient PR company based in the West Country. It’s run by co-directors Natalie Banyard (previously Entertainment Editor at the Bristol Post) and Sarah Milne (formerly Press Officer at Bristol Hippodrome). To find out more about what we could do for your company, please take a moment to browse our website and get in touch

Comfort Zone

Here I am again, popping up to write my second blog.

I’m informed by my ever present and most helpful assistant Google that a blog is ‘an updated personal journal or diary and a place to express yourself to the world’. Of course, whether the world wants to read my slightly bonkers ramblings is another matter entirely but did get me thinking that I could rabbit on about anything here…

But today I’ll stay in a comfortable zone, which leads me nicely on to one of my favourite subjects – comfort zones.

One of the most important things we believe DaisyChain PR can offer is a way to enhance and build on your brand in the eyes of both existing and potential customers. With this latest blog article I thought I’d look at one of my favourite brands, John Lewis, in a bid to try and understand why it’s become such a comfort zone for me personally.

In theory I have three comfort zones – John Lewis at Cribbs Causeway, Waitrose and Gloucester Services (either north or sound-bound it really doesn’t matter). However, JL really do come out tops so permit me to briefly extol the virtues of this marvellous store.

I have no idea how they do it or what the magic ingredient is but even the thought of a visit to John Lewis can envelop me in a world of calm (I don’t get out much).

There is something so pleasing to the senses about the store that it doesn’t matter what kind of day I’ve had: once I step through the doors I feel at peace, relaxed and any everyday trivialities simply disperse – possibly heading off themselves to browse the lighting department.

Whether the latte and cheese scone upon arrival (other baked delicacies are also available), the visual delight at the artistically arranged products all over the store or browsing through the vast array of simply gorgeous towels (I have a thing about them) there is no end to my enjoyment.

As for the staff, well what I can say? There is always a helpful sales advisor on hand by the elevator ready to assist with any enquiries and they are always so polite and cheery. This is in complete contrast these days to so many establishments where poor customer service seems to be the norm and which really infuriates me…

But that’s a subject matter for another blog… watch this space!

Worries and word of mouth

The last few weeks have been something of a blur! It’s fair to say that we’ve hit the ground running – which is great news, but it hasn’t been without its hiccups, worries and panic stations!

Sarah and I had worked successfully together for 13 years, so when Sarah left the Hippodrome after 30 years as Press Officer, and just weeks later I left my role at The Bristol Post, it was serendipitous.

We realised it was now or never to set up the joint venture we’d so often spoken of.

Of course, being the pair of worriers that we are, we both immediately came up with endless lists of questions and concerns. Where do we start? How do we set up a website? How do we organise a business account? How do we get the word out there? How do we stop worrying so much?

Luckily, our partners, family, friends and colleagues were all on hand to give help, advice and support. And for that we’re very grateful. The reaction we had to the launch of our business and website was phenomenal, with lots of shares and likes for our Facebook page as well as messages of congratulations and people willing to recommend us on Facebook.

But then it was down to the real work and the sleepless nights.

Word-of-mouth has been our biggest asset. It was through a friend that we found a great accountant, Tom Payne (Abaqus Limited), who very quickly put our minds at rest and plotted out the steps to registering our business with Companies House, as well as walking us through complex issues like tax, book-keeping, insurance and so on.

It was through word-of-mouth that we secured our first clients, artist Anton Christian and a local charity. They were both wonderful to work with and we were able to secure lots of coverage in print, online and on radio. They were thrilled with our work and the results.

It has never been more important to access the services of good PR practitioners.
“I have worked with Sarah and Natalie on the promotion of my own enterprise, and found them dedicated, professional, and more importantly ‘effective’.
“I would un-reservedly recommend DaisyChain PR to anyone who wishes to raise their own profiles and put themselves ‘out there’.”

Anton Christian, artist

It was through word-of-mouth that the Wales Millennium Centre requested to see us and hear our pitch. Despite feeling like the new kids in school, they were impressed and we won a three-month contract to work on two of their touring shows. Yay us!

Our partners, friend and family have also been instrumental in us succeeding. My husband Ben set up our website for us and has become our un-paid IT guru. Sarah’s partner Simon has been roped into taking pictures and offering business advice. My parents have been looking after my 5-year-old twins when meetings have prevented me from picking them up from school, and Sarah’s friends have been on hand to dog-sit or just offer a cup of tea when it all gets a bit much!

Nothing is going to stop us worrying, though. We’re both born worriers and setting up a business takes over your life, especially when you hit the ground running as we have. We’ve been trying to get all the legal and business side of things set up at the same time as working our socks off for our clients and making new connections and meeting people to try to secure future business.

Luckily, we have each other. Whenever we’re panicking (often unnecessarily), or we’re a bit confused about something, we’ve had another sleepless night, or we just need to hear a friendly voice, we just pick up the phone, Skype or pop round to see one another to remind ourselves how far we’ve come, how pleased our clients are with what we’ve achieved for them already, and how we’re finally doing what we wanted to do for all those years.

If you’d like to find out how we could help your business, event or charity, do get in touch. We look forward to hearing from you.

Natalie x

Photogenically yours…

The day has come and how super exciting it is. Our own PR company – who’d have thought it? Of course, the real reason behind all this is so that Natalie and I can finally call ourselves Directors!

The build-up to this moment has been all-consuming – setting up a business is no mean feat and our thanks go to everyone who has made this possible; our special thanks go to Simon and Ben – we couldn’t have done this without your brilliant support.

Now some people might find this a little strange, but one of my main concerns has been related to the fact that I was informed I was going to have to have my photograph taken for the website and anybody who knows me will be fully aware that I intensely dislike having my photo taken. Have done for as long as I can remember and that’s never going to change.

On this particular occasion, naturally the lovely Natalie is required to be in the photo with me and the fact that she is a tad (OK – a lot) on the gorgeous side (although she’d modestly protest) doesn’t help the matter as far as I’m concerned. Come to think of it I’ve never seen a bad photo of her, no matter what time of day or night it’s been or how many very small glasses of vino she/we might have participated in.

So gearing up in the knowledge that my partner Simon has scheduled in a window of photographic opportunity between his work, garden renovation and being an allotment supremo (you have to see it to believe it), the appointment with the hairdresser is made as I feel I need to do something, and quick.

It’s the usual short cut but this time along with the annual low-lights/highlights (I’ve never been able to tell the difference) and I think the result is rather fetching, so much so that I fully anticipate a rapturous response from Simon when he gets home. It didn’t happen. I had a ‘you’ve had your hair cut, it’s short’. And that was it. It doesn’t bode well or fill me with confidence for our starring moment!

So the big day comes and not being one for normally wearing a vast amount of make-up, I slowly increase the amount until I end up resembling somebody who isn’t me at all, so it’s back to the drawing board (literally).

Then the moment is here and I put my fears aside and stand proudly next to my new business partner and beam into the camera – ‘perhaps this is going to go well after all’, I think to myself. Simon snaps away, I gain more in confidence, he views the images on his camera, I wait with baited breath to hear all is well and then he looks at me and says ‘that’ll do nicely Gromit’…