Category Archives: Television

Am I an addict

“An intelligent person can rationalise anything; a wise person doesn’t try.”
― Jen Knox, After the Gazebo

On no.  Don’t worry.  I haven’t taken to drugs or booze, just a television series.

sherlock

Note – I hope I’m not impinging on anyone’s copyright.
I found this on Google images.

I  watch very little televIision and even when I do it is of the programmes I have recorded.  I prefer to choose what I watch and when I watch.

We have a TV channel here that shows only British programmes and this is what I mostly record and watch.  Some are reruns of old series but there are some good new drama series as well.

Friends and some family members,  and yes some of my blogging friends, have been talking about Sherlock starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes.  I had no desire to watch this programme and therefore didn’t.  But a few weeks ago I turned on the TV and Sherlock was playing.  I watched and over the past couple of weeks I have been recording the programme and on these wet windy afternoons, have watched several.

Now I can’t say that I am one of those who must watch each week, but I find myself doing so.  And what is the attraction of this programme over so many others?

Well, for a start, there are no swear words bandied about by and to all and sundry. This is rare in today’s television series.  There are no gratuitous sexual scenes and while there is some violence it all seems to have already happened before Sherlock and Watson come on the scene.

So this programme suits an elderly widow woman sitting watching TV alone.  Oh yes, you can feel sorry for me.

What else to write about on this ghastly (supposedly) summer day?

I went for a walk to the village today.  While it was not raining it was quite windy.  And as I haven’t walked for several weeks, with so many excuses and no real reasons to put forward, the walk was more difficult for me than it had been when I was walking regularly.  So even though I shall be able to drive again next week, I shall continue walking to get back to where I was.

And yes, those steps were so much more difficult today; fighting the wind and climbing 134 stairs is not funny.  I was very pleased to arrive home and sit with my feet up and with a cup of tea.  Note – I did have a coffee break in the village but….

So now, having written this crazy post, I’m going to watch the latest edition of the programme.  I don’t know how far behind we are to the rest of the world, but does it matter?

“Instructions for living a life.
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.”
― Mary Oliver

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rosemary and Thyme

Are you going to Scarborough Fayre
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Remember me to one who lives there
She once was a true love of mine.

Some of you will remember the line about parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme in the old British ballad  “Scarborough Fayre” and later made famous by  Simon and Garfunkel with their hit song  “Are You Going to Scarborough Fair”.

Well here in New Zealand we see a lot of sitcoms both from the US and the UK.  We were recently being shown a series called Rosemary and Thyme, the general theme of which is that two women each with a love of plants, get together to form a gardening partnership.  They are Rosemary Boxer and Laura Thyme hence the name Rosemary and Thyme.

Rosemary & Thyme

Image via Wikipedia

No ordinary gardeners these.  Laura Thyme was married to a policeman, was in the police force herself and has a son who is also a policeman.  You can guess where this is going?

Rosemary Boxer was a former university professor and they share a passion for horticulture.

They are also amateur sleuths, with Rosemary being the intuitive one and Laura the practical one.  It seems that as soon as they start a new assignment some dastardly happening occurs.  Plots, conspiracies and killers abound amongst the gardens they are asked to tend and put right.  And in each episode there is a dead body and sometimes even two dead bodies.

A recent episode was entitled ‘Three Legs Good”**.  In it the two women are hired to help recreate  an old garden in Regent’s Park, London.  We are told that the garden was originally created by garden great William Nesfield.   Joggers, students, tramps and even nannies who have lost their charges, constantly interrupt them in their work.  Then their peace is shattered when a little three-legged dog leads the ladies to the body of its owner who has been murdered.

Another murder rapidly follows and they determine (before the police of course) that the original murder was a case of mistaken identity!  They adopt the dog and then in a convoluted way (such is the case in all these sitcoms) they find that the dog had lost its leg in a car accident.  Its master was driving the car with his married lover – she was killed in the accident and the dog lost its leg.

The show is peppered with shots of beautiful gardens, fantastic places to visit and quite often, lovely gracious homes in which they stay.

In all an innocent series and although there are murders and mayhem, we dont see the murders being committed.   The series takes me back so many years, when violence was not shown on television.

**The title Three Legs Good is an allusion to George Orwell’s book Animal Farm. When the animals first turn out the farmer and start running their own lives, their slogan is “Four legs good, two legs bad”. Eventually the pigs move into the farm-house and learn to walk on two legs, and the slogan becomes “Four legs good, two legs better.”


Our England is a garden, and such gardens
are not made
By singing: -“Oh, how beautiful!”
and sitting in the shade.
~Rudyard Kipling, “The Glory of the Garden”

Oxford, City of Learning and mistakes

I never make stupid mistakes.  Only very, very clever ones.  John Peel, British writer.

College in Oxford

I think this is Brasenose College but it was several years ago.

I read this post from Hallysan at Photographic Memories today and it brought back vivid memories of my last time in Oxford.

It was several years after my husband’s death.  I had been away the year before for some months and spent time with an elderly widow as her companion.

The second time I went back to be with her, the United Kingdom had introduced many new rules for companions and caring to fit in with the requirements of the European Union which they had just joined.  So we had to have some training.  The organization through which I worked was based in Oxford and insisted that we go to Oxford for 2 days for this training.  Very basic food handling, people handling etc.

On the phone from Oxford, the woman at the office told me that most people stayed at the Y.  My thoughts on this, although never having stayed at a Y, were not good so I decided to source accommodation elsewhere.

Bed and Breakfast

I thought I had found a treasure and so booked for a couple of nights.  But horrors, what I found when I arrived very late in the afternoon was a far cry from what had been depicted in the advertising.

It was really late in the day, and as it was mid-summer in Oxford (July) all the accommodation was taken.  So after trudging around the city, I decided that I would stay for the night and hopefully find somewhere better for the next night.

Obviously, I didn’t stay for breakfast.  One look at the dining room and through to the kitchen convinced me that this was not a place to eat.

The next day when I arrived at the office I told the people of my disappointment.  Apparently, it was well-known that the place I had chosen was a disaster and it had been the subject of many complaints and had even featured in a documentary about bad places to stay.

To add insult to injury, one of the other women had stayed at the Y and loudly sang its praises.  What do they say – Pride comes before a fall.  I should have listened to Mother.

If you are English (and as old as me) you may remember a series called Rising Damp.  This ran from 1974-1978 and was set in a terrible house with a ghastly landlord.  My guy was Reggie Perrin incarnate.

They did manage to find me another place for the second night which was more what I had expected and they insisted that I make a complaint about the standard of the first place.  When I said that I wouldn’t be staying and told the proprietor why he became very agitated saying nobody had ever complained before.  As I had already paid in advance for the two nights I had to forfeit the second night’s cost, but it was well worth it to get away from that place.

That was the first time that I booked anything via the internet on the other side of the world.  And I learned a lesson.

“Everything’s got a moral, if only you can find it.”
So said The Queen in Alice in Wonderland.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Dream of Hiking Into My Old Age

I dream of hiking into my old age.
I want to be able even then to pack my load and take off slowly but steadily along the trail.

~ Marlyn Doan

Hiking trail

One of the blogs I follow closely is Robin at Life in the Bogs and today she had this quote at the beginning of the post.  While I don’t hike any distance any more (did I ever I ask myself) and while I guess I have reached my ‘old age’ I love the sentiment expressed by Marlyn Doan.  I have never heard of this woman before but she certainly pushed a button for me.

I have posted before on some ‘older’ women and some men who achieve quite amazing feats of endurance at 80, 90 and even close to 100 years old.  What is it in their makeup that allows them to keep on keeping on?   When conducting my Memories courses I have visited many retirement homes and retirement villages where some appear to be just sitting back and ‘Waiting for God”.   I have friends who ask me why I am still so involved in many things instead of just enjoying my retirement.  I tell them that I am enjoying my retirement.

Here in New Zealand, we have a TV channel dedicated to UK Television so we get to see reruns of some of the old comedy programs.

Title card - One foot in the grave

photo via Wikipedia

Have you heard of “One Foot in the Grave” – a sitcom featuring Victor Meldrew and his long-suffering wife, Margaret?  After being forced to take involuntary early retirement, the series followed Victor’s various efforts to keep himself busy, whilst encountering various misfortunes and misunderstandings. This program ran for 11 years in the UK.

 

Waiting for God

Photo BBC TV

 Another comedy is “Waiting for God” set in a retirement home but the protagonists were two feisty oldies who wouldn’t buckle down to the quiet life that was expected of them.  Great television.

And I don’t feel old and I don’t know of anything I want to do that I am stopped doing because of my age.  Only thing I can think of is renting a car but that is easily overcome by taking out my own insurance.  See rental car companies don’t want to take a chance on my being doddery.  And they don’t even know me.

Anyway, back to the subject in hand.  I have produced my Bucket List so I do know what I still want to do before I leave this world.  And I want to do all these things and more.  Too many to list but I intend to do whatever I do joyfully and with as much fun as possible.  And I have no doubt I shall hike into my old age and hopefully,  grow old disgracefully.

Age is the acceptance of a term of years.
But maturity is the glory of years.

— Martha Graham

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Down Memory Lane aka Streeet Markets

“Memories, light the corners of my mind
Misty watercolor memories of the way we were.
Scattered pictures of the smiles we left behind
smiles we give to one another
for the way we were…”

Isn’t it great how reading what one of our blogging friends writes leads us off into worlds of our own?

One of my blogging friends Hallysan (sorry I don’t know her name in the real world) wrote today about haggling.  See her post here.  While I do occasionally go to the market here I was instantly transported back to Saturday markets when I was growing up in the east end of London.

Road sign

Our particular market was Ridley Road in Dalston.  Way back then there were very few immigrants in the area and consequently we didn’t have the diversity of produce and products that are on sale now.  Saturday was the main market day and this is when mother and her three daughters did the shopping.  Remember, there were no supermarkets then and before going to the market we went to Sainsbury’s or the Co-op to do the grocery shopping.

Ridley Road Market

via Telegraph UK

After buying the butter, cheese, tea and other necessities for the week, we made our way to The Market.  This was a loud, lively place with stallholders (costermongers) calling out attracting us to buy their wares.  Shortly after the second world war ended there was no great variety.  Vegetables and fruit in season that had to be weighed by the stallholder.  Pat Cryer talks about this in detail.  Visit her website and I have talked about shopping when I was growing up in an earlier blog.

On Sundays, after father returned from the war he would take us to Petticoat Lane or the Lane as it was called by those of us who lived nearby.

Again, remember this was shortly after the war ended and there were very few tourists or immigrants.  The stalls were all manned or womaned by true Londoners with their cockney accents, calling out to see what they had on offer. And they had great things – “Look here Luv. Look at this lovely dinner set.  I’m not asking you ten pounds not even eight pounds – OK you can have it for a fiver (five pounds).  Can’t say fairer than that.  Can I?”.  What characters they were.

Logo

Logo via Wikipedia

If you have ever seen the BBC sitcom “Only Fools and Horses” you will get some idea of these characters.

There was a wide variety of things for sale from clothes, dinnerware and other china, ornaments to puppy dogs, cats and birds and everything in between.  This was an exciting time for three little girls out with their father who had been away for so long.  Mother was always left behind to make Sunday lunch and even writing this I can smell that lunch when we returned.  We were usually cold and always excited from this trip out with Father.

Petticoat Lane is a great favourite of tourists to London now and not to be missed but it has changed and expanded since we were three little girls.

“Can it be that it was all so simple then
or has time rewritten every line?
If we had the chance to do it all again
tell me would we? Could we?”

There were several other markets in the area but these were the two we regularly visited.

Many years later I returned to both these markets.  How they have changed.  They are of course and because of the immigrants, both more international and many of the stallholders call out attracting folk to their stalls but the accents are no longer all cockney.

“Memories, may be beautiful and yet
what’s too painful to remember
we simply choose to forget
So it’s the laughter we will remember
whenever we remember
the way we were.”

Doesn’t Barbra Streisand singing Memories say it all?  It does for me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday at Lake Woebegon

“If the family were a fruit, it would be an orange, a circle of sections, held together but separable – each segment distinct. ”
Letty Cottin Pogrebin
, American writer and journalist. 1939 –

Wednesday is the day I spend time with my eldest grandson.  This time is very special to me, as I have said before.

Children at piano

James 18 months old playing piano

James is now 16 and no longer plays the piano.  But he has ‘dabbled’  and had lessons in clarinet, guitar and saxophone.  The dabbling came to nothing.  He now plays his iPod.

After spending time with James and having dinner we settle down as a family to watch a series of TV programs, most of which I would never have watched on my own.  We start with Two and a Half Men.  This is becoming dreary now that we know that  Charlie Sheen has been shown up for the ass he really is and know how he will be written out of the series.  Wonder what the future of the series is.

Then The Big Bang Theory.   My question each week is where did they find these goofy people to act in this sitcom.  The fashion police aka James always has comments to make on their clothes.

William Shatner stars in another sitcom – $#*! My Dad Says.  I understand this originated as a blog, so perhaps there is room for a sitcom from your blog!

Then Cougar Town and Drop Dead Diva.  I usually leave before the final one starts as I have an hour’s drive home (and it is currently winter).

But there is another reason I leave.  At 9pm on a Wednesday Night on Radio New Zealand (our public radio), we have Garrison Keillor and a Prairie Home Companion.  This show certainly keeps me entertained on the drive home.

We are told “the show originates from the Fitzgerald Theater in Saint Paul, Minnesota, although it is frequently taken on the road. A Prairie Home Companion is known for its musical guests, especially folk and traditional musicians, tongue-in-cheek radio drama, and Keillor’s storytelling segment, “News from Lake Wobegon”.

I wonder how the people of Minnesota (Minnesotians?) react to his very dry humour and constant picking on them and their habits.

One of my favourite parts is Guy Noir, Private Eye.  A down-on-his-luck detective, who ends up taking odd jobs to get by, such as finding missing poodles.  And often comments on current events weaving them into his story.

With this fabulous cast of characters, the drive home passes with laughter, lively music and enjoyment.

And quite recently when I took James to have some stitches removed following an operation, the surgeon and I spent a happy 15 or so minutes discussing Keillor and Lake Woebegon.  I don’t remember how we got onto the subject but interesting to see that we both shared the same sense of humour.  His parting words to James were “Look after your Granma. She’s rare”.  Was it my sense of humour, the love he could see I share with James or something quite different?

I am often amazed at the things that bring people together.  I know they are far more powerful than those things that pull them apart.  Laughter is, of course, one of the most powerful things that bring us together.


In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out.  It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being.  We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.  ~
Albert Schweitzer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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