Madeleine – 10th – behind the scene

It is still only 9pm, according to the church clock. My camera makes it 9:06pm. This is getting very close to the time of the Jane Tanner sighting. You can see what you can see what you can see. The conditions are far from identical. There is much more sodium lighting here. There was a near full moon on 3 May 2017, just as there was on 3 May 2007, except this time the moon is overhead, and 10 years ago it had not risen.

Make your own mind up. At roughly the time of the Jane Tanner sighting on 3 May 2017, my colour vision was working perfectly. The lady in the yellow jacket has a yellow logo on her microphone. It looks like TVI to me, but I could be wrong. The point is the colours are not hard to see.

The next photo is what the media do when they wait.

They don’t wait. There is copy to be filled. There are colleagues in Lisbon and London to be consulted. There are lighting and sound levels to be checked. Back home, you lot take this for granted. I saw lots of people working really hard so you lot got yer sound bytes. The evening was only going to get tougher.

I like this photo a lot. I timed it at 9:09pm. But the reason I like it is it has the 3 VIPs. The first VIP is in the bottom right foreground is a pleasant gentleman who works for a syndicating agency in Lisbon. From Lisbon to Luz it is about 3 hours by car, ditto back. He had come down to Luz about a week before to put material in the can for his agency. Syndicating means they make their money by selling copy, photo, and video onwards to the world news services. He is is obviously a glutton for punishment, as he had done the 6 hour Lisbon-Luz-Lisbon round trip twice in one week.

The second VIP is Mr Martin Brunt from Sky. As Mr Brunt has been kind enough to correct me in my last post, he was indeed broadcasting live from Luz. I would like to hear that broadcast, but unfortunately I do not think I am going to get what I wish for. As you can see from my photo, Mr Brunt was deeply engaged with whatever was on the Sky script.

The third VIP stands for Very Important Pussy. You can see a tiny little black and white and cat that is looking like it is posing for me. The cat does not know me from Adam. I happen to have been told it is the church cat. But I am sorry, I have no idea what the cat’s name is.

Madeleine – 10th – Sky +

By now, the doors of the church had closed. Inside, the congregation got on with the service. Outside, the various reporting teams were working frantically. There was copy to be written and script to be rehearsed.

It was difficult to be sure quite who was who, but there were teams from Lisbon and teams from the UK.

Sky and Martin Brunt were definitely on site, outside the church, and with a plethora of kit. There was a van directly outside the church that I want to show to you. I think it was Sky, but I didn’t ask, so I can’t be certain.

It had Portuguese plates, was LHD, and had Portuguese documentation. It was a Mercedes. The sodium lights make things difficult colour-wise, but it was pure white to the eyeball. It was shining like an alien craft from Area 51 in Nevada. It had as much technology in the back as we have in our entire house.

The size of the satellite dish on top suggests this beasty can do live broadcasts all around Europe if need be. At this precise moment in time, 3 May 2017, the biggest programme going out was a BBC special Panorama on the 10th anniversary of Madeleine’s disappearance. As far as I could tell, no one was doing anything live that night. Martin Brunt was reading printed notes, doing a shot, going back to his notes, then another little piece etc. I presume this lot got edited and glued together into something much shorter and sharper.

While the congregation was inside and the media teams outside were working harder than a nest of ants, I had a quick look at 2017 technology. Here is what the van looked like on the inside.

I will try to take you through the teams I recognised on 3 May 2017. Please bear in mind I am not an expert on media teams, so if I get this about half-right, I consider I am doing quite well.

Madeleine – 10th – 9pm

My camera says 9.02pm. The church clock says 8.56pm. The parishioners attending the service were mainly inside. Most of the media went inside the church. This is what it looked like from the outside.

This is now approximating to what Jane Tanner could see under sodium lights at around 9.15pm on 3 May 2007. It is still too early, but it is much darker now. The media lights do not help.

Notice the pedestrian traffic. It is highly important. 9pm or so on an important route in Luz on 3 May 2017.

Make your own mind up about whether I could sneak past this lot with Madeleine on 3 May 2007 whilst carrying Madeleine.

There are too many things going on in this photo to mention them all. I believe this is called SHOWTIME!

Madeleine – 1 May 2017 – Weather Station Luz prelims

On 1 May 2017, Luz Tour #6 started. It would run until 3 May 2017. I let the media know that I would give them a 7-day head start on anything that was turned up, so that story is embargoed until 10 May 2017.

I now have an awful lot of material in the backlog, so I thought I would crank out preliminary results from Weather Station Luz. I have not done a check on Weather Station Faro and Weather Station Sagres, so I have no clue as what degree of a match may exist with my local data.

I have found my eyes to be remarkably sensitive to wind direction, sufficient to split the compass into 16 points. I have tested this check on another person, and it worked for him too. Your tear film picks up when the wind is straight in your face, and you can try that for yourself.

There is a distinct pattern that has already emerged. Irrespective of how strong the wind is during the day, it is very rarely strong at 10pm, and it is seldom gusty.

I happen to be in an exposed spot at the top of Luz. Apartment 5A is much more sheltered. The 3rd of May 2007 gusty wind event described by Kate McCann does not appear to turning up in reality, at least thus far. I intend to continue this experiment at least until the end of May 2017, so the final results may be different.

Madeleine – 30 Apr 2017 – Luz Tour #5

Let me tell you about a few of the things going on in Luz around this time, as the 10th anniversary approached.

Natasha Donn did a round up Portuguese press reporting on 30 Apr 2017. One of the things it showed was a picture perfect postcard of Gonçalo Amaral re-visiting Luz. Since I have been tracking the weather in Luz I am confident this was some days past.

The photo is pure blue skies. The weather in Luz has not had clear blue skies for several days. So this was something put in the can a fair time ago, according to Weather Station Luz. Here is the piccy.

The media in general has also been in town, also getting their clips and sound bites in for early production processing. On a morning trip to Baptista a few days ago, a number of media crews were buzzing around Apartment 5A. Who knows what will emerge.

Luz Tour #5 was quite simple, though very important. I met up with a Portuguese media team outside of Luz church, Nossa Senhora da Luz for Roman Catholics, St Vincent’s for Anglicans. We decided to go for a drink to have a chat.

The Portuguese team was from Lisbon. They pointed out the ice-cream factory. I explained to them this only does ice-cream. They pointed out the Fortaleza. I informed them that it is not a café, but a restaurant serving meals.

I suggested Fernando’s, so we all walked a bit under 100m to get to Fernando’s. The trouble was, it was shut for lunchtime. So we settled on Kelly’s instead.

The situation was quite amusing, in one sense. The Lisbon team came stacked up with a video recorder on a tripod, which was leant across the front wall of Kelly’s. It screamed media! I got my refreshment first, before the video/tripod/media bit was plain, so I feel confident I got my drink spit-free. The Lisbon trio might or might not.

Our waiter had clocked media and was doing his best impersonation of Mr Grumpy. I asked him a polite and civil question, and I got no reply. I asked exactly the same question, also in a gracious manner, but I got a vary terse and abrupt reply.

I had declined to appear on video or on photographs, so the Lisbon team decided to split up. I cannot blame them. They syndicate photos and videos around the world for a living. The journey down from Lisbon that day had taken 3 hours. They faced the same going back. I am no longer tough enough to stack 6 hours of travelling on top of a long working day. So the video recorder and the stills photographer decided to heave off elsewhere to get more material. All I knew about them, on that day, was they had tried to get an interview with the Mayor of Luz, but for whatever reason he declined, so they met the Treasurer of Luz instead.

I had no idea until that point that Luz had a Treasurer. It was news to me. But it makes sense. If we have a Mayor, we would obviously have a Treasurer.. I have no idea what finances this person keeps an eye on.

So we split up, with two of the three from Lisbon heading off to get their job done elsewhere, while I went on tour with one lady from the team.

Off we trotted, had a quick stop at the Smith sighting, then up Rua 25 de Abril, to have a look at Luz from the top of the mound, the one that Operation Grange dug up in June 2014. I explained the traffic, and the businesses around at that time. She was scribbling at 100mph in shorthand. I showed her why I take people up to the top of the mound. It is the one place I know of in Luz where you can see all 3 of the phone operators, Optimus, TMN, and Vodafone, at once, so you can work out what was going on.

We went back to the church and had a chat on the concrete seats outside. The lady wanted to get a few quotes from me for her script. She wanted short and sharp.

This was easy. I told her I am pro-Madeleine.

After she had jotted a few quotes down, we parted. She was intent on bagging a tourist or two. I had no interest in what the 2017 tourists think, so I went home.

Luz Tour #5 was over. The video-recorder will return, in Luz Tour #6. Kindly watch this spot.

I have no idea whether I was newsworthy enough to turn up anywhere. Since the team syndicates material across the globe, it would take a lot of checking, and I cannot be bothered.

Madeleine- 29 Apr 2017 – Luz weather station

Madeleine – 29 Apr 2017 – Luz weather station vegetation

Every day for a couple of months I have been going to my Luz weather station to record key details about the weather here. These checks happen at 1:37pm and 10pm, so I can do a comparison against the weather pattern of 2007. I have already got some initial findings, but what I want to focus on in this post is what the vegetation in Luz looks like as we approach the start of May.

Here is photograph, taken on 29 Apr 2017 at around 1:40pm.

The grey line at the bottom is the edge of the pavement. Behind you can see grass ripe with seed, wild flowers, and a dandelion ready to spread everywhere.

The interesting thing about this is that once a year the câmara has employees who treat this wilderness. It is is not sophisticated. They get a 2-stroke rotary trimmer to flatten every plant within about a metre of the pavement. That stops the weeds from damaging the pavements and the roads. There is nothing remaining above ground level in this zone when this has been done.

The weeds were whacked around 2 months ago, down to the bare earth. So what you are seeing is how long it takes in the Algarve to regrow weeds from absolute zero to the ripe and seeding stage.

Much of Luz is surrounded by similar terrain. This shows how difficult it would be to find a body concealed in the vicinity. Oh, and how the idea should have been sealed off is a non-starter.

Other than that, it is just a photo of some wild and pretty weeds.