Monday, July 16, 2007

What we've been watching

I've watched some pretty interesting things on TV over the past few weeks, and kept thinking about them. I thought I'd mention a few.

1) Concert for Diana

I guess many of us probably watched the huge concert organised by Princes William and Harry to mark the tenth anniversary of their mother's fatal accident. I enjoyed all the interesting artists and acts they'd drawn together, but I also watched a young journalist interview the two princes the evening before. What has stayed in my mind is one short statement they made.
"We know she really loved us."
And the film footages they showed of Princess Diana with her young sons just reinforced that. It's evident how much she did love them, in the way she looked at them, the way she made time for them in her busy schedule and the way she spoke about them on the media. Because of the seeds she sowed into their lives in their earliest years, William and Harry could sit there, in their twenties, and confidently claim, "We know we were her priority." And in my opinion, that made Diana a smashing success and example. I couldn't help thinking of several children of celebrities who have been heard to say the exact opposite about their parents. And her example is one that any of us could follow. If my kids ever declare, "I know she really loved us," years down the track, then I'll feel that I've been a success too. No matter what the media have dragged up about Diana's personal life, she's made a bigger impact on me than many, for this simple reason.

2) The Worst Jobs of the Georgian Era

Journalist Tony Robinson hosted a program about the seamier side of this elegant time period, when we think of genteel tea parties, the pomp and pride of the British empire, and Jane Austen sitting in her parsonage writing her masterpieces of literature. I'll tell you what, after watching what he brought up last night, I'm quite content to be living in the 21st century, thanks very much! Some of the occupations mentioned were incredible. I'll just mention a few.

There was the bath attendant in Bath. They had to help the infirm, elderly and sick visitors dip into the public baths, which meant that they had to subject themselves to some of the worst noxious skin diseases all day and every day, and then clean scum off the tops of the baths. Not my idea of fun.
Then there were the famous Italian Castrato singers who were said to have the voices of angels. But, of course, they were called castratos for obvious reasons, and even then, some of them were judged to be second-rate failures. Eight & nine year old boys who'd already been set apart as having especially sweet and clear voices were chosen for the "honour". It makes my skin crawl.
By far the weirdest occupation I've ever heard of is professional hermit. These guys were hired by the gentry & aristocracy when landscape artists such as Capability Brown made wonderful gardens for them. The well-to-do families hired hermits to live in little caves on their property designed especially for them. Part of the contract meant that hermits had to walk out and display themselves when the family were showing visitors through. It was all for show, to appeal to the "wild, romantic, poetic" side of human nature. But the poor hermits were not supposed to communicate with anybody at all. Staff brought their food to them each night and they were only paid every seven years. They said that one poor fellow was fired after three weeks, when he was discovered having a drink in the local pub.

3) Stranger Than Fiction.

This is a fun movie we hired that would have to appeal to the creative in anybody. Will Farrell is the hero, who notices a stranges woman's voice narrating his life wherever he goes. After hours of therapy, he discovers that he is a fictional character who has been invented by a lady author (Emma Thompson) whose trademark is killing off her main characters in unusual ways. So he goes on a wild and desperate chase to try to convince her to leave him alive. An unusual and very entertaining plot.


  1. I don't know. How hard could it be to be a professional hermit? :o)
    Loved your comment about Fred and George. Do you think Ms. Rowling is a homeschooler wannabe?
    I forgot to tell you that my mother is blogging! Check out her blog here:
    I've been sending all my friends over to give her encouragement.
    Peace and Laughter,

  2. There are times when I wish we could have TV, just for one night here and there. The Concert for Diana was one of those time. I always liked Duran Duran, it would have been fun to see them perform again. There were probably other's I would have liked as well. That's really cool, what her sons said about her. She would be so pleased to know how they felt. I thought it was a sweet way to honor their mother, to have a concert of her favorite performers. When my dad died, I wanted to do something to honor him, to tell the world how special I thought he was. I'm glad they were able to do this. Thanks for sharing this. If it comes out on DVD, maybe I'll get to see it! And, yes, I hope my own kids feel that way about me when they are grown!

    I don't know if I told you this but I'm reading a book about a man who moved his family to New Zealand. It also has a lot of info about Australia as well. I'm learning a lot about the history of the two places and the flora and fauna. Interesting! Have a good week!


  3. Loving our kids is the greatest form of "job fulfillment" we can have as a mother. What a legacy that it leaves behind!

    We really liked Stranger Than Fiction too!

    My husband already noticed the US price for your trilogy. We aren't really fast at following through on stuff like this, so don't take it as a "we don't really want to read the books" if it takes us a while to actually order them. :o)

  4. First of all, thank you for your comments about my poem. Love to be read! And if you ever get to NYC, let Tina and me know. We will give you a free tour!

    I love your blog and look forward to seeing pictures of your home. Also enjoyed your comments on shows that I watch as well. But I didn't see the one about "dirty jobs". Jane Austen is one of my favorite authors but I agree, the job at the Baths turns me off big time!