Evidence that I have lost an ovary but gained an addiction
First, a friend at work gave me a film called 'Sideways' about two guys who go on holiday together as a last fling before one of them gets married. I won't go into what kind of flinging they get up to but it involves other people. This is a family blog, or it would be if any families would sign up as followers and send my follower rate to 390 - families with octuplets, listen up. The friend slipped a little note inside the DVD saying, 'You'll need to have a glass of wine while you're watching this'. I wasn't sure what he meant. Was the film really that bad? In which case, why lend it? Not a very nice 'get well soon' gesture, then, dumbo, eh? In the end, it turned out that the holiday the guys go on is a wine-tasting trip. Ah. Get you. Actually, it was quite a long film, so I had three glasses, but that still wasn't as many as the characters in the story drank before they got up to their flinging. I still haven't worked out why it was called 'Sideways', although they weren't exactly vertical much of the time, and after my three glasses, neither was I, but not for the same reason as them.
Second, my sister lent me an 11-DVD set of 'Brideshead Revisited', an Evelyn Waugh novel about upper-class English country house life and all the tragedy, broken hearts and disappointed lovers underneath the linen-clad tables and the glasses of champagne and the butlers with the white cloths over their arms and the 'Dahling, you look marvellous'es. It was pretty fab, and the music was great, too - all violins and music-to-cry-by. But ELEVEN? I never thought I'd get through it. Each one was an hour long. I mean, I know I'm on sick leave, but I didn't think I could justify 11 hours of sitting on my backside watching just one long story. That's just asking too much.
So, for 11 hours, I sat on my backside watching just one long story. Not 11 hours back to back - I stopped to use the phone at least once to call downstairs and ask my husband to bring up another plate of biscuits and a mug of tea, although I felt like I was drinking from a bucket and eating pizza bases, watching the English aristocracy drinking out of thimbles with their little fingers in the air and nibbling on the odd fish egg. By episode 8, although I was enjoying the story, it was like being in a restaurant and having ordered a fantastic meal but which turns out to be five times what you'd normally eat, and you just plough through it, determined to get your money's worth even if you do have to vomit into a hanky and leave it under the leftover vegetables. When it was all over, I went downstairs and said to the Husband, 'I feel like a great burden has been lifted; now I can get on with my life'. And in some ways it had been annoying to watch, because the country house was the size of Africa, and made me feel as though I lived in a shed, and all that dressing for dinner in ivory silks and L'Oreal brushing of the glossy manes before the mirror made me look like I'd slept rough for a week, in my elasticated waist trousers and old sweater with my hair like a gorse bush. I've lost a body part; I don't need to lose my dignity too.
Finally, today, I've been watching Elizabeth Gaskell's 'Wives and Daughters', a mere snip at 4 episodes. Hah. Lightweight, then. It's one of those costume dramas in which there's always someone with that little 'ahem, ahem' cough that says CONSUMPTIVE CONSUMPTIVE - WILL DIE SOON. The ladies are dressed in family tents overlaid with lace and silk and the men are dressed in the strangest trousers with a front panel that looks like a door, shoes with bows (?) and collars starched so stiff that if they look to the left they get poked in the eye. One of the men always gets wet, either rescuing a silly girl who's wandered out in the storm because of a row with Mother (rows with Mother always happen just before storms) or More Sensible Sister/Friend (rows with Sisters/Friends ditto ditto), or emerging from a lake fully-dressed, or chopping logs in the rain to get rid of anger/lust/the starch in the collar. Every time anyone goes shopping in the village, the same two or three ladies are standing by the bread shop, gossipping, and if their bonnets get any more intertwined, they might never be separated. There are always at least twenty misunderstandings in love, despite soulful gazing and hints the size of barges, and you think, 'were they all thick in the nineteenth century or what?' In 'Wives and Daughters' there are some shots of Africa, to which one of the male characters travels, and at one point, because it's hot, he has his shirt off, which is a high point, but not for very long, as this is meant to be a costume drama, and generally the costumes stay on, leading to a lack of drama, but hey. If you want something in which the costumes come off, watch 'Sideways'.
The bad news is, I have a whole collection of about forty of these costume dramas, something I collected with a magazine called 'Classic Drama' a couple of years ago. This has been my first chance to watch them. And now I want to watch them all.
Ooh, I do feel ill. Ooh, I don't think I'm recovering very quickly after all. Ooh, what's that stabbing pain? Ooh, I think I might need at least till Christmas ...