Is It Just Me?

mirandahart-288x300This last week I’ve been listening to Miranda Hart read her autobiography Is it just me? Such fun!

I honestly feel like Miranda is prancing about in my kitchen and chatting to me about her life.  She wants me to gallop, play hopscotch and dance around to Billy Joel.

She’s a lovely guest to have, always reminding me to replenish my cup of tea and calling me My Dear Listener Chum or MDLC.

In her book, she admits to things that we all do, but never dare talk about. She discusses the dangers of farting and yoga. Actually, there are many fart and bum jokes so, stay away from her book if you don’t like that sort of thing.

Sometimes I felt I was laughing with her. I too love the  little kettle that you find in hotels. Like her I’m not a big fan of those “family updates” sent out with Christmas cards. I too find manicures a little uncomfortable. She describes it as “basically just holding hands with a stranger for forty-five minutes whilst listening to Enya.”

Other times she was laughing at me. She is often calling my bluff at trying to be cool. I hope I’m not one of those obsessive, over the top mothers that she talks about…

Her book actually seems far more profound when read out loud. The moments of seriousness have real gravitas. I’m taking to heart what she said on raising children.

She says: “Please don’t force them to wear the right things, eat the right things, learn and do the right things. No parent can ever get it right but much more importantly, if you’re basically decent and kind, then it’s hard to get it particularly wrong. We’ve all turned out all right, so let them play! Let them be a mess. Give them a tin of beans and a big stick and cast them loose in back yard with an Arctic roll (jam roll). Because think about it, how great would it be to live life like a child right now?”

Thank you Miranda for your book. I often think to myself, or even say it out loud, “No Miranda it’s not just you!” And what a relief that is.

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Downtown Abbey for Dummies

downton_abbey_s3_18esdt6-18esdtd I just can’t help myself. I would rather watch The Biggest Loser reruns than another episode of Downton Abbey.

Downton Abbey has become a cult hit in America – they are absolutely obsessed with it.

“American Downton fans organise Sunday night viewing parties, shell out on themed merchandise and chat endlessly about the latest plot twists on Twitter and Facebook” (BBC News).

You have to feel sorry for all those Americans sitting around, feeling cultured. All they are watching is a soap opera in fancy frocks. Now there is nothing wrong with a soapie but it shouldn’t pretend to be anything else.

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Even the best soapie can’t really satisfy. It’s just too much plot for no particular reason. It goes on and on and on and on there is no binding theme to hold all the threads together. No plot line can be resolved because they need to make the next episode. Soapie’s rarely have anything intelligent or truthful to say about this world we live in.

Now I’m a big fan of costume dramas. In fact I love them. I just feel it’s a shame that people have flocked to this one when they could do so much better.

Honestly,I just find Downton Abbey very boring. Except for the wonderful Maggie Smith, the characters are singularly unattractive and dull. Am I the only one who sees it? Matthew and Mary from Downton Abbey would have to be the most droopy, boring and unappealing lovers on screen. Where is Colin Firth when you need him?

Maggie Smith is wonderful but most costume dramas have a whole host of eccentric characters. Poor old Maggie has to save the entire show.

Downton is also very short on laughs. It’s just not British enough I think. Everyone takes themselves very seriously. I wish they would employ Miranda Hart as a downstairs maid. Its needs some one to do something silly or at least tell those Crawley sisters to get over themselves.

So if you are looking for a costume drama to watch here are a few suggestions. All these have charm, intelligence and humour.

  1. Pride and Prejudice (1995) watch it because it was the start of great BBC costume dramas really. This one has it all!
  2. Our Mutual Friend (1998)
  3. Vanity Fair (1998)
  4. Wives and Daughters (1999)
  5. The Way we Live Now (2001)
  6. Daniel Deronda (2002)
  7. Cranford (2007)
  8. Little Dorrit (2008)
  9. North and South (2004)
  10.  Bleak House (2005)
  11. Lark Rise to Candleford (2005) – watch this for Dorcas Lane. Everyone needs a Dorcas in their life.
  12. Emma (2009)
  13. Call the Midwife (2012)
  14. The Paradise (2012)