Weary winter

life View comments

It seems that winter has arrived. Suddenly all the colour has drained from the leaves and the sky and everything seems dim and desaturated. The day feels like twilight, but without the magic of that transitional time. This is normal, of course, and normally I don’t mind this time of year. In fact, I usually enjoy the dark and cold, and the opportunity it brings for cosy indoor living, with candles and fairy lights, and mugs of tea.

Continue reading

Passing the Bechdel Test

life View comments

There aren’t many dramas on TV (or films, for that matter) that pass the Bechdel Test, meaning that they feature at least two women, who talk to each other, about something other than a man. There are even fewer dramas with leading women in positions of some power, who are friends with each other as well as colleagues, and talk to each other about all kinds of things. However, Scott & Bailey is one such TV drama, and one that I really enjoy.

Continue reading

Secret history of our streets

I’m just catching up with a series of documentaries about particular streets in different areas of Scotland, called The Secret History of Our Streets. I didn’t realise until I looked up the website just now that this is actually the second series — the first was on streets in London. Having seen two out of three episodes of the second series, I’m really sorry that I missed the first, because it has been fascinating.

Continue reading

WWI Photographs

life View comments

Since this year is the centenary of the start of the First World War, there have been a number of interesting documentaries on TV about the Great War. One of these was a fascinating programme about the photographs taken by soldiers themselves in the trenches: Hidden Histories: WW1’s Forgotten Photographs. I have been meaning to write about it for quite a while, but it has slightly haunted me, and I have been struggling to find the words to express what I’d like to say about it.

Continue reading

Warhorses of Letters

I am in awe of fabulously creative writers. I’m talking about Robert Hudson and Marie Phillips — the kind of people who can write a radio comedy series about a love affair conducted by letter between two warhorses, or as they describe it, “A gay, equine, military, epistolary romance for the ages”. Not only have the three series of ‘Warhorses of Letters’ been hilarious, but the very last episode that I listened to last week (and again this morning) was so utterly moving that I was astonished to find myself with big fat tears rolling down my face.

Continue reading

The workhouse

At the weekend, I caught up with the first part of a documentary about the workhouse: Secrets from the Workhouse. It was made by the same production company as ‘Who Do You Think You Are’, and the element of finding out about the ancestors of celebrities was the same. However, in this programme, they focused on one aspect: people who ended up in the workhouse. It consequently featured a number of different celebrities, each of whose ancestors reflected a different experience of the workhouse.

Continue reading

On not being social

life View comments

When I was young, I used to swim at the local swimming baths. While other people ploughed up and down on the surface of the swimming pool, I revelled in swimming below the surface. I would skim along the bottom of the pool, brushing the ceramic tiles with my fingertips, like an inflated manta ray. I adored being underwater. I loved the booming silence, the all-enveloping embrace of the water, and the fact that everyone else was on the surface and I was in my own little world.

Continue reading

In your shoes

life View comments

I’ve been enjoying a TV programme called the Time Traveller’s Guide to Elizabethan England with Dr Ian Mortimer. It’s a history programme about Elizabethan England, obviously, but the conceit is that it is framed as a kind of manual for a time traveller thinking of visiting the period. You can imagine the pitch for the programme (“We want to give people a feel for what it was really like to live in the period…”), and there are some CGI graphics to make it look as if Dr Mortimer is wandering around in some futuristic computer interface.

Continue reading

The Return of the Ring

life View comments

I can’t quite believe what happened today. Remember when Mr Bsag lost his wedding ring? If you don’t, do go and read that post then come back — it’s not a long one. I’ll wait here until you’re back. Well, I can’t quite believe it, but he found the ring again. It didn’t turn up — as I rather fondly imagined that it might — in the middle of a potato that we’d harvested from the allotment, but it was almost as amazing.

Continue reading

Norfolk peace

I really needed a holiday. For one reason or another, it seems to have been a very hectic and stressful year. Work has involved a series of Red Queen situations, in which I’ve had to keep running faster just to keep up, and home life hasn’t been exactly relaxing because of the neighbourhood we live in. This has never been a great area, but recently one or two families have moved in who have absolutely no concept of what it means to be a good neighbour.

Continue reading