Friday, February 24, 2012
Attractions and Distractions
Apologies to David Starkey but my latest historian crush is Amanda Vickery. Forget the "Ooh, can I have your autograph" sort of thing, I just think it would be fantastic to have a close friend who could chat about the price of breakfast cereal today as well as contraception from the Georgian era over a cup of tea.
Since At Home with the Georgians aired here a few weeks ago there is no moment too brief to re-watch a snippet of an episode. I especially love that although the presentation may be of historical facts, the men and women are represented as the modern citizens they were of their day. An attractive home, food on the table, decent values and security for the future are just a few basic wants which haven't changed throughout the years despite technology and shortened hemlines. The way Professor Vickery caresses the pages of a diary reclaimed from the bowels of an archival storage facility displays an awe and respect for its writer that goes beyond academic research. Clearly she is passionate about her work and the people she gleans facts from. If you're her neighbour or friend...lucky!
For an earthier approach to educating a viewing audience about life at home during the Edwardian era we are two episodes in to Edwardian Farm. Ruth, Peter and Alex are back, living to period in a cottage in Devon, toiling away on the farm and in the kitchen. You can practically smell the aroma of sweat coming from their tired bodies. Most of the time I would be quite willing to pitch in alongside but when offal is on the menu I am more than happy to be watching from my sofa. And each foray into these historical experiments leaves me with a yearning to try my hand at cheese making, what's that all about?
We're having our own domestic issue at the moment, a four year-old stove with its third major issue. Don't think I haven't envied Ruth Goodman and her wood stove minus its electronic motherboard. I've been eyeing up our fireplace and picturing how it would look with a spit and cauldron. But what to do about baking cakes and cookies? There has been more time spent visiting appliance stores, reading consumer reports and angry customer forums than my books for pleasure these days which does not make me a happy lady of the house. I'm in the midst of my own Aga saga, so to speak...now there's an idea! Don't I just wish.