quiet holiday

Reggie Lampert: Do you know what’s wrong with you?
Peter Joshua: No, what?
Reggie Lampert: Nothing!
Audrey Hepburn to Cary Grant in CHARADE

The classic Cary Grant with the delicious Audrey Hepburn – perfect viewing tonight on a stormy windy chilly winter’s night.  Always loved this movie – its better and better every time.  how can you resist CG and AH at their prime?  And a romantic mystery set in Paris?  so fabulous.  during my only trip to Paris – four days – I tried to see all the sites from the film – and got most of them.

A quiet thanksgiving holiday -Village sister and her gang (DH and DSs) went South to our mom’s – Berkshire sister and her gang went east to Boston to cousins.  a quiet day – a walk thru the still village on a gloomy overcast day – lights on in houses thru the neighborhoods – families gathering around food laden tables.   home to cook a herb roasted turkey breast and brussel sprouts and brown rice.  then settling down to knit to TO CATCH A THIEF (another fabulously fantastic Cary Grant) and ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL (the third series – the last one with the original Helen and the end of the first production) with cats curled up on the sofa.

I love ACGS and since ALL seven series are available on INSTANT WATCH on Netflix (which I view on my Roku set top box) I can dip into them often.  Last Christmas after first acquiring the ROKU I watched the first four-five of the series but pettered out – so am picking up again – they seem best watched in the dark of winter – with lots of knitting and warm blankets piled on and snuggled on the sofa with a cat or two.

Series Three which I watched last night – is the last of the first round of producing this series.  These first three series are drawn almost wholly from the books by James Herriot (in real life Alf Wright).   The standards are very high – and the acting and writing is exquisite.  Robert Hardy, Christopher Timothy, Peter Davison (on the edge of stardom – he went on to be the 5th DOCTOR WHO from 81-84) and Carol Drinkwater along with supporting cast with Mary Higgett and dozens of Yorkshire actors and real farmers make these first three series an illuminating view at life in the Yorkshire Dales at the end of the pre WWII period. 

Appropriately the third series ends with the two main characters going off to the Royal Air Force and the question of what would happen to the Dales left unfinished for the viewers.

Due to popular demand, the series resumed production but with a lapse of eight years from the end of the third series which concluded in 1980.  The remaining four series were produced from 1988 to 1990.  There were several major changes – Mary Higgett had died just after concluding the third series.  A different actress was used for Helen – the original actress had had an off screen romance with Christopher Timothy (James Herriot) and it had ended and/or she decided not to continue or the real life Mrs Herriot (Mrs. Alf Wright) strongly opposed her reemployment due to the immoral situation as CT was married during the affair.   Several new characters were introduced – Calum Buchanan (John McGlynn) as an assistant vet as Tristan was working for the Ministry of Agriculture and then Deirdre (Calum’s girlfriend and then wife).

I am looking forward to continuing the series – it’s a real treat to watch Robert Hardy chewing the scenery as Siegfried Farnon – based on the real life Donald Sinclair who was quite a character according to Alf Wright’s son.

Opinion is divided as to whether Sinclair was as eccentric in reality as Siegfried was portrayed in the books, but it seems likely that even if his character was exaggerated, he was unique. Sinclair always refused to accept he was eccentric. However, former clients and colleagues, as well as Alfred Wight’s own son in the book The Real James Herriot, stated that Sinclair’s character in the novels was considerably toned down and that Sinclair was more eccentric than the Herriot books portrayed.

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