TV I’ve been watching

In these long days of winter and especially in the horrible weather we’ve been having recently I’ve been watching TV, even in the afternoon sometimes. In fact this afternoon was one of those days when I drew the curtains at 3.30 because it was just so dark and dreich (dismal) that the best thing to do was just shut it all out.

I scrolled down the TV menu and was amazed to see the words Three Pines – could it be the same Three Pines I wondered? And amazingly it was – Still Life. I’m not even sure that I knew that they had made a film of one of the Louise Penny books. I was/am puzzled though as to why they chose an English actor (Nathaniel Parker) to play Armand Gamache. Anyway I enjoyed it although of course inevitably it had been sanitised,, especially Ruth Zardo, who was nothing like the anarchic character in the book, but fair enough, they couldn’t have an old lady in a film ‘effing’ her way through life as she does in the books.

Otherwise I’ve been enjoying watching Capital, which is intriguing.

Also The Detectorists. That Toby Jones chap is getting around!

The Last Kingdom has been a must watch for us, it’s historical and thankfully it’s not the Tudor period. It’s King Alfred and Vikings, I’m unsure whose side I’m on!

Doctor Who is also a must watch but this series is bizarre. Each time I think it’s getting better, it is followed by a distinctly weird episode.

London Spy has turned out to be a good spy/thriller series even although it is obviously based on something which was in the news a few years ago, involving a spy who was into weird sex – it’s fine once you get past that bit.

Well that’s what I’ve been watching recently, have you seen anything else which is worth watching?

TV – a great new season – so far

There have been times fairly recently when I thought I had really fallen out of love with television as I never seemed to bother to watch most of the new things which were being broadcast. I gave up on Downton Abbey because of the greed of ITV which meant that there were more commercials being screened during Downton time than actual Downton Abbey. It put me right off commercial TV altogether.

I’ve always enjoyed watching The Bake Off. I’m not a big fan of Paul Hollywood, I don’t find him objectionable though, I am quite a fan of Mary Berry however, since watching her on a TV cookery programme which was on in the afternoons in the 1970s. It was partly her old-fashioned oh so proper Englishness (but not snooty) which I liked, but now I like her for being so positive and determined to try to say something good about some aspect of the contestants’ efforts. I’ve come to realise that in life one of the most important things is to be kind, or at least not to be vicious, some people seem to think that that’s entertainment, pulling someone’s best efforts apart, but it’s not my idea of comfy viewing.

The Bake Off is the only thing of that sort which I’ve watched. I’ve never seen ‘Strictly’ or any of those jungle/island/Big Brother things, frankly I’d rather do just about anything else. I sometimes feel a bit odd, not quite part of society as all these types of programmes feature so highly in day to day living, but I don’t even recognise most of the names of the people involved in them.

So I was watching very little of ‘new’ TV and was almost always watching re-runs of old programmes if anything at all, but I’ve been drawn into new things this season and really enjoying them, despite sometimes being quite determined not to like them. The programme which comes under that category is Cradle to Grave which is apparently about the teenage years of the DJ/entertainer Danny Baker, never a favourite of mine, but it has been a really nostalgic step back into the 1970s for me, the time when I was a teenager too.

Doctor Foster was well trailed as a must view so I gave it a go, mainly because I really like the actress Suranne Jones, and I’ve not been disappointed although I just have to shout advice at her on screen, she’s not taking any of it though!

The new series of Doctor Who is fab, Missy played by Michelle Gomez is wonderful and I’m warming to Peter Capaldi as the Doctor. I love it when they both start speaking in their normal Scottish accents, but David Tennant will always be my favourite Doctor.

I’ve been enjoying watching Boy Meets Girl which is about a young chap who happens to start dating a transgender woman/man. It’s funny and very well acted, with an actual transgender person acting in it. It’s very brave apparently for the BBC to take on this subject, brave it might be but it’s definitely entertaining.

Countdown to Life: The Extraordinary Making of You is a series about how foetuses develop and what happens when the development goes wrong, fascinating for the science and the people involved who have gone bit wonky in the womb but it hasn’t got them down.

I see that on Wednesday there’s a new Simon Schama series – The Face of Britain which looks like it’ll be interesting. There’s a book to go with the series and you can read the Guardian review of it here.

On Thursday BBC 4 there’s Oak Tree: Nature’s Greatest Survivor, a year in the life of an oak tree.

On Friday BBC 1 – The Kennedys has been tipped by the Guardian as a pick of the day. The setting is again the 1970s, so I think it’ll be another nostalgia trip.

It looks like I’ll be doing nothing but watching the telly, but I promise you I’m still getting plenty of reading in, just don’t look at the state of my house!

Have you been watching anything good on TV recently?

Sound Memories

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.

Compost Corner

I’ve been gardening for a very long time. It was my dad’s hobby and I helped him from a very early age. Over the years I’ve had 5 different gardens, and even although I’ve had my present garden for over 20 years, I’ve never made my own compost.

Well, that has all changed since I became the proud owner of a new compost bin yesterday. I was given the bin by my friend Annella who had ordered it as she thought it was a bargain too good to be missed. However, when she read the instructions she decided that she didn’t have time to wait for the slow process of compost making. She is 83 and thinks that 6 -18 months is too long to wait at her age. Mind you I think she is good for at least another 10 years and I’m sure that I’ll be passing plenty of home-made compost down along the road to her garden over the years.

Well, that is if I’m successful in making it. I am following the instructions to the letter, so it won’t be for want of trying.

It feels to me that I have a big baby in the garden, which is in need of nurture and I can’t tell you how virtuous and green glowish I feel now that I’m feeding all my veggie waste, egg shells, tea bags and coffee grounds into my new toy.

Annella called it her Dalek, but my husband thought it looks more like a Chumbley (in foreground in the picture.)

Mind you, I’m a bit worried about attracting unwanted visitors in the shape of rats. Ants are bad enough. So, at the first sniff of a rat, the experiment will be over, and I’ll be back to putting all the garden waste in the council brown bin and buying my compost ready made.

I think we were pretty good, waste management-wise even before this as we only have our wheely bin emptied once a fortnight. Sometimes there are 3 adults in the household and other times there are 5 of us but we have never been anywhere near having a full bin.

I know of some households of only 2 adults who have rubbish spilling out of the top of their bins come collection day. I don’t understand how they can generate so much garbage. We live really close to one of the many recycling centres in Fife so we don’t have any excuses for having full bins.