I was brought up with the TV on in the living-room every evening and often I put it on just to watch the news 24 during the day. We have loads of channels nowadays but often there’s nothing that is worth actually watching.
I rarely watch ITV because I can’t stand the adverts, but I did start to watch Scott and Bailey recently as it has been getting good reviews. I liked it, it has lots of good female characters and it seemed a good balance of their private lives and the goings on at the police station.
But, I was amazed by the last couple which I watched because it quickly became obvious that the crime which they were investigating was just a rewrite of the Fred and Rosemary West murders in Gloucester. How lazy and sloppy is that? I know that a lot of authors get their ideas from the newspapers, but they usually have the sense to disguise and twist the storyline and it eventually turns into something more original.
I kept waiting for an unusual twist in the storyline, but it never came. I was actually quite embarrassed for whoever made the programme, but they obviously didn’t feel ashamed of what they had produced.
At the end of the investigation they ‘got their man’. How did we know? Because Bailey came in and announced that the murderer had inadvertently let slip some information which he could only have known if he had been there.
We didn’t actually see that crucial part of the questioning till after we had been told it had happened which made the whole thing a damp squib. Have police drama programme makers in Britain lost it completely? The only good things recently have been Scandinavian or, yes even Italian police investigations. Bring back Inspector Montalbano!
You might know that I recently borrowed The Lake Shore Limited by Sue Miller from my local library, I had been under the impression that it was the book which Peggy Ann at Peggy Ann’s Post had enjoyed, but that was a different one by the same author. So I didn’t even look at the blurb before borrowing it and when Judith (Reader in the Wilderness) commented that she had tried the book and had given up on it, I thought that I was unlikely to have the same reaction – just because I rarely give up on books – but I gave up on The Lake Shore Limited on page 56 to be precise – nine lines from the bottom of the page.
It was the words Lou Gehrig’s disease which stopped me, and I only realised a few weeks ago that that is what people in the US call Motor Neurone disease. For me that was the last straw in what was a bit of a doomfest of a book with one character mourning the loss of a brother at a young age in one of the September, 11th planes.
It reminded me of the Kate Atkinson book When Will There Be Good News – which I ploughed my way through as I really usually enjoy her books but at the end of it I could only think – what a miserable book. Why write such depressing stuff, I feel like prescribing the writers a course of anti-depressants just so that they won’t infect the rest of us with negativity.
This could well be an age thing. I imagine that as a young thing there’s a fair chance that you haven’t had the misfortune to have experienced at first hand things like the early death of siblings – or in my case three cousins who died before the age of 10. You might not have had to nurse your parents and in-laws who had diseases such as cancer, heart disease, peritonitis and MS. You probably haven’t experienced at close quarters someone with MN disease, but I have. And that was why I couldn’t read on any more. I read for entertainment and that doesn’t include horror. I feel the same way about television programmes, it has always been a mystery to me that things set in hospitals are so popular. I suppose those who watch them are not the people who have had to visit hospitals or even had the misfortune to be the person in the hospital bed. When you are the one having to give permission for a life-support machine to be switched off in reality, then you don’t wish to revisit the experience again, not even at second hand.
So I prescribed myself more from P.G. Wodehouse, and I’m feeling quite like my old self again. What ho!
I caught the back end of a Radio 4 programme last night, it was something about sounds which instantly take you back to another time. There was a woman saying that the sound of an old push along lawnmower takes her back to memories of her father in the garden when she was a very young child and he was only about 25. I thought – how strange to remember your dad being just 25, my first memories of my dad, he must have been around 40, and that was old in the 1960s.
Anyway, when they played the sound of an old lawnmower, so much nicer than the violent noise of a Flymo, I was back in my childhood garden where I spent plenty of time cutting the grass, I could almost see and feel that big circular dip in the middle where the ground had sunk, presumably a previous gardener had had a round flowerbed there.
By coincidence Chris Evans played the original 1960s Doctor Who music on the radio early this morning. I knew that the music had been re-arranged a few times over the years, but I thought that it was just age which had sort of inured me to that sound. It doesn’t seem nearly so scary now, however when I heard the 1960s version it all came back, if I hadn’t already been under the covers, I would have just about been hiding behind a sofa, my usual position when Doctor Who started! Have a listen, I think the first version is by far the most menacing one. What do you think? I am just old enough to be able to remember all of the Doctors.
Kay T kindly contacted me the other day to let me know that the Melvyn Bragg show about John Steinbeck has been put onto You Tube. If you’re interested in Steinbeck but didn’t manage to see the programme you should be able to view it now. I really enjoyed it, I hope you do too.
It has become a tradition in our house to watch the Vienna Philarmonic Orchestra’s New Year’s Day concert. It’s a lovely peaceful way of starting the day, even if you aren’t nursing a hangover. There’s always a lovely mixture of music and dance and they show you bits of Vienna too, it’s somewhere I’ve never been but it looks gorgeous.
This year the dance literally revolved around Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss. I love his artworks, whether they’re landscapes or portraits. He was so great at getting the feeling of textures into his work which I suppose is why so many of his designs have been used for tapestry and embroidery kits.
The Kiss dance is around about 39 minutes into this video if you’re interested in looking at it.
I know people always slag off artists whose work is used for things like calendars, it’s daft really because it just proves that it’s beautiful and easy on the eye, after all you don’t want to look at ugly works of art for the whole year.
I have this one above the fireplace in my living-room and I always fancied visiting the place, until I saw it on TV smothered by tourists and that put me right off. Now I’m quite happy just to have it on my wall.
I was flicking through the Guardian the other day (yes we do actually buy it) when I came across this article. It’s quite long but well worth reading, even if the result is to make you spitting mad, like me.
The upshot is that the BBC is having to pay Rupert Murdoch £10 million a year to have the privilege of BBC programmes being shown on Sky. I feel as if I’ve wandered into an alternative universe again. I thought that we lived in a Capitalist society which is very simple to follow. If you have something which someone else wants then they have to pay you for it, if you want them to have it. So why isn’t Murdoch paying the BBC £squillions to be allowed to broadcast BBC programmes?
I have always prided myself that I haven’t knowingly added any money to the Murdoch coffers. I’ve never bought one of his newspapers and I don’t have Sky, so I’m more than a wee bit peeved – actually I’m incandescent – that my licence fee money is going to Murdoch.
I’ve always thought that the TV licence is just about one of the best bargains around. I would even be quite happy if Auntie Beeb didn’t block the internet viewing so that people in other countries could look in. That would stop Murdoch in his tracks, which could only be a good thing.
Please BBC, stop giving money to Rupert Murdoch et al!
Square up to politicians. Nothing is perfect but the BBC has a place in the hearts of most Brits which is second only to the NHS.
Why am I not surprised that this whole situation came about through Maggie Thatcher’s sucking up to Murdoch. Cakes and ale anyone?!
I could go on at length but I can already see that 2012 is going to be a year of grumping and groaning. Now, does anybody know how I go about setting up an online petition to support the BBC?
Well that’s the birthday meal over with and it went down well with all five of us. Especially the Kinloch Castle Tomato Soup the recipe for which reached me in a convoluted way – via Peggy Ann’s Post, somewhere in the US but I’m not sure where exactly, maybe the Appalachians. Anyway thanks for the recipe Peggy, I’ll be making that soup regularly I’m sure. Don’t you just love the internet! Peggy is the only person I’ve ‘met’ who reads George MacDonald’s books, there don’t seem to be many of us about nowadays.
I haven’t had much time for watching TV at all but I did manage to watch all of The Young Victoria a couple of nights ago and I did enjoy it apart from the bit where Albert jumps in front of a bullet aimed at Victoria. There were quite a few attempts on Victoria’s life over the years but why add details which are just untrue. Then I saw that it had been written by Julian Fellowes, that man just can’t stop himself from embroidering history. Between Fellowes and Philippa Gregory the kids of Britain will be convinced of historical ‘facts’ which are just historical nonsense.
As usual the Christmas TV seems to be pretty dire. The one thing I hope to be able to watch is The Borrowers which is on on Boxing Day because I don’t think I’ve ever seen it from beginning to end, I loved the books by Mary Norton even although I didn’t read them until I was an adult.
Is there anything good on TV which you are looking forward to watching?
I had wanted to do a before and after photo of the dining-room but it wasn’t to be. So here’s a photo of the new carpet which as you can see is a sort of oatmeal colour and has a slightly textured pattern on it which you can’t really see here. The carpet fitter was absolutely brilliant at his job – how often can you say that – and I’m really pleased with it especially as it won’t show up the crumbs so much! The old carpet was charcoal grey, a big mistake as it showed up every speck.
The boots are new too, I bought them when we were in England recently. My legs are normally covered up, this is a rare outing for them. My Dad always commented that he didn’t know I had legs whenever they got an airing! I’m not a shoe person at all, in fact I view shoes as objects of torture because I’m always bleeding from my heels and blistered so I tend to avoid them and wear clogs and flat boots all the time and then my feet are fine. I couldn’t walk in high heels to save my life. As a kid I dreaded the start of the new school term and new shoes. Those Clarks shoes were agony, I might as well have worn biscuit tins!
I haven’t been able to blog or visit blogs much for the last few days as I’ve been doing so much running around and trying to finish off things in the house before everyone gets here. So tomorrow I just have to bake the birthday boy’s cake and make the birthday meal – and then it’s Christmas! I hope your Christmas plans are on schedule.
I usually do a wee Winter Solstice blogpost, but not this year as I was so busy. The 21st here was indeed the darkest most dismal day and I could’ve been doing with a party then to cheer me up . It was one of those days when you needed a lamp on all the time – positively dreich. I’m so looking forward to having more light soon.
In Scotland we’re being encouraged to dose ourselves up with vitamin D, the easiest way is to take cod liver oil (yeugh). Apparently it’s the lack of sunlight here which gives us the highest rates of MS in the world. I’m going to be making my way to the health food shop soon and on that cheery note – cheerio.
If you’re in need of a bit of a laugh at the moment, give yourself a treat and watch good old Dick Emery. If I wore high heels I would walk like the ‘charming young lady’!
I completely forgot to watch the most recent episode of Kirstie Allsopp’s Homemade Britain programme so I thought I’d watch it on the Channel 4 playback thingy. Then it wouldn’t work so I wandered off elsewhere in the internet and somehow, don’t ask me how, I ended up on classic Scottish TV where I found a bit of a Dorothy Paul show which we went to see when she took it to the provinces about 20 years ago or so.
Dorothy Paul is a Scottish comedienne who is really talented and deserves to be better known than she is. Anyway, here she is playing the part of a cleaner in the Pavilion Theatre in Glasgow, it’s one of those things which has Scottish ‘celebrities’ in the audience. I find it quite annoying that they feel the need to show the audience laughing all the time.
This is just a small part of the show and she’s really just getting warmed up here but it’s funny all the same – if you can understand what she’s saying!
I missed the first ever episode of Downton Abbey and for some reason I never managed to watch that series so when ITV repeated it all before the second series was broadcasted I took the opportunity to watch it.
I love period costume dramas and I’ve seen just about all of them, the first one I remember is the 1960s black and white BBC version of The Forsyte Saga, I must only have been about nine years old then. I’m thinking that possibly I’ve got to saturation point with them because although I’ve watched Downton Abbey I haven’t been as enthralled by it as everybody else seems to be. I know – it’s tantamount to blasphemy in some circles to say something like that.
I don’t want to say too much about the details because I know that people in other countries haven’t seen the second series yet. Suffice to say that Jack and I have laughed at bits of it which have been shudderingly cheesy. It is predictable and the writing is really not very good. I was particularly annoyed when those famous words uttered by the dreadfully snobbish but vulgar MP Alan Clark, about the sort of people who had to buy their own furniture, were put into one character’s mouth.
I think the writing is embarrassingly lazy and this has turned Downton Abbey into something of a comedy for me. I wonder what I’ll think about the next costume drama which comes along!