I Detect a Good Story!

Oooh, I really love a good detective story!

From first reading Enid Blyton’s Five Find-Outers and Dog books as a child, then moving on to the Famous Five, then Jupiter Jones and the Three Investigators, I always loved a good whodunnit. And then as a teenager I started reading all my mum’s Agatha Christie Poirot and Miss Marple novels, and still love watching the many televised versions today.

And I really love watching current police detective dramas on TV too, espcially those made as feature-length episodes – Inspector Morse, and Lewis, and the retrospective Endeavour, all set in Oxford. And thinking of programmes set in the 1960s there’s George Gently set in Durham, and oh, that reminds me of Vera, set in Northumberland. Looking even further North there was Taggart set in Glasgow, and Rebus in Edinburgh.

Thinking about growing up with US TV detectives I regularly watched Kojak, and Ironside, and Cannon, and of course the unmissable Starsky and Hutch. There was Cagney and Lacey, and oh, just one more thing… yep, that’ll be Columbo! Closer to home again I liked Bergerac (from the Bureau des Etrangers in Jersey) and also (with John Nettles as the starring link) not forgetting the never-ending trail of victims and perpetrators in Midsomer Murders… ๐Ÿ™‚

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Detective

Relying on the Griffin Family for Inspiration

Ok, so all I’ve got in my head for today’s prompt word from Fandango is the theme tune from Family Guy…

‘It seems today, that all you see

Is violence in movies, and sex on TV

But where are those good old family values

On which we used to rely…

Lucky there’s a family guy,

Lucky there’s a man who positively can do

All the things that make us laugh and cry

He’s our family guy!’

Walter Murphy

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Rely

One Liner Wednesday: National Treasure

Ok, so I’m a day late with my One Liner Wednesday, it’s Thursday already… oops!

Yesterday morning on the ITV Breakfast programme Piers Morgan was enjoying having a good-hearted getting his own back at his guest, comedian Jack Whitehall, who has a penchant for always sniping at Piers during his stand-up comedy routines. Piers was ribbing Jack for ‘mocking a national treasure’ and quick as you like Jack quipped back ‘You’re not a national treasure, Piers – you’re a regional trinket at best!’ ๐Ÿ™‚

‘Me the President…’

We were watching Fareed Zakaria’s GPS programme on CNN the other day – yes I know I’m a Brit living in London, but my husband is American so we tend to follow the sycophantic soap-opera shenannigans of current US politics with a fair amount of shock and awe at the bucket-load of bullshit served up day after day.

Anyway, apparently it was the tenth anniversary of Fareed’s programme and he was interviewing both Madeleine Albright and Colin Powell together as special guests. Oh, the absolute relief to hear sensible views from both, respectful and collegial regardless of their different political persuasion, it felt like a breath of fresh air!

Both ex-Secretaries of State spoke frankly of the current situation, and in particular Colin Powell said three things that have really stayed with me. I’m paraphrasing of course but he spoke of Trump’s perpetually adversarial attitude to everything and everybody when most often diplomacy is what is required, both at home and abroad.

He stated that the art of getting along with others who hold opposing views and bringing people together means you focus on your similarities and start building from there, not highlight and exaggerate differences in an attempt to be deliberately divisive, again both at home and abroad.

And he also said he believed the most important three words in the American Constitution are ‘We the people…’ but sadly today’s incumbent of the White House only thinks of ‘Me the President…’ Wow… Just wow… doesn’t that just hit the nail on the head…

Pearl’s A Singer…

We’re watching an episode of ‘The Repair Shop’ on TV, and the leather specialist lady is repairing and restoring an old WWII flying jacket for a young man that was once worn by his grandfather, but now belongs to his father.

Sadly most of the old original stitching has rotted, causing the seams to come apart, so she painstakingly unpicked them and started to re-sew them using her old hand-wheel-turned Singer sewing machine she had named ‘Pearl’.

The sewing machine was apparently named after Elkie Brooks, with her wonderful song ‘Pearl’s a singer…’ Now that’s how to name something with style – I just love it! ๐Ÿ™‚

Accents and Assumptions

Sometime last year my husband and I were walking along a perfectly ordinary street in Marylebone (here in London) when we saw a perfectly ordinary bloke sitting on a bench outside a pub. I glanced his way, and thought he looked a bit familiar but immediately dismissed the thought and carried on walking. But when my husband said ‘Hello Shaun’ I figured it was someone he knew and so I stopped too.

And to my surprise, it was none other than British actor Shaun Evans, who is probably best known for playing the young detective Endeavour Morse in ‘Endeavour’. In fact, he was even sitting reading a script for the next series being filmed, and said he had just been at a rehearsal. He was very polite and friendly, considering we basically interrupted him in his own private time, and happily chatted with us for a couple of minutes.

The strangest thing was, in all the times I’ve seen him on TV I’ve never once questioned his decidedly non-regional English accent, never picked up any hint of anything in his acting voice to show it was an acting voice. And so my assumption and expectation was that he probably sounded like that all the time. But here he was in front of me, same eyes, same smile, yet when he spoke he was very clearly a proud Liverpool lad with an easily recognisable scouse accent!

I have to say in person he was absolutely delightful to meet, very down-to-earth and not at all show-bizzy. If he was irritated by our intrusion he gave absolutely no indication of it, and as we left he stood up and shook our hands and we wished him good luck with the next series of Endeavour. I’ve been watching an old recording of Endeavour tonight, which is what prompted this particular post, and however hard I try to hear it, I have to report I can find no trace of his own accent anywhere! ๐Ÿ™‚

Daily Prompt: Assumptionย 

Swamp People

We’ve been watching old re-runs of Swamp People, following the exploits of mainly Louisiana alligator fishermen during the the annual month long alligator hunting season. In particular we like to see Troy Landry and his sons Jacob and Chase from Pierre Part, where my husband was born and raised and where my in-laws still live. It’s a long way from the humidity of the Louisiana swamps to the hustle and bustle of London life, but for my husband it’s a reminder of where he came from, and we love seeing the beautiful bayou vistas and hearing the typical clipped Cajun accents.

I remember on my first ever visit to Pierre Part, being out on the bayou in a flat-bottomed aluminium boat and seeing a long pole sticking out of the water at an angle, with a string tied to it and a chicken leg hanging just above the water line. It’s for catching alligators, they told me, and I though they were making fun of me. But no, apparently that’s exactly how it’s done. It was uncomfortably strange to think of alligators swimming all around us, under us, so I focused on the views above the swamp rather than imagining what lay beneath, lurking in the murky depths – or the shallows, for that matter.

It never ceases to amaze me that anyone can even stand upright balancing in such a relatively small boat only inches above the water, not only to wrangle an angry alligator up close and personal until it tires itself out enough for you to put a shot in the tiny kill spot between its eyes, but also to haul its heavy ass into the slick-surfaced boat afterwards, time after time, day after day. It certainly took me some time to feel comfortably secure sitting cross-legged right up front on the boat, close enough to the swamp to drag my fingers through it – not that I ever did, I kept all body parts firmly in plain view at all times.


The views and the wildlife make the Louisiana swamp such a wonderful place to visit, as out on the bayou it’s a truly immersive experience – well, certainly from on top of the water rather than physically in it. I’ve seen a couple of small alligators and plenty of tell-tale bubbles, one or two cotton-mouth snakes a bit too close for comfort, and more than a few turtles sunning themselves. And out on the wide expanse of Lake Verret we even saw a bald eagle soaring above us, what an amazing wing-span.


So we sit here on our sofa and watch Swamp People, and we each smile at the memories it invokes, and look forward to catching up on the next series when it comes our way… ๐Ÿ™‚

Daily Prompt: Haul

Imposter John Boy

I grew up during the 1970s watching The Waltons as part of our regular family viewing on our one-and-only TV set for the entire house. I remember it as one of those feel-good shows depicting the life of the large extended Walton family growing up in the beautiful Virginia mountains during the 1930s and 1940s, and maybe even the 1950s.ย  The well-known characters became like friends, and so we grew up with them, sharing their dramas and difficulties, trials and tribulations.

Somewhere along the line I must have stopped watching it altogether as my mid-teenage years found me focusing more on spending my evenings either listening to pop music in my bedroom or on chatting on the phone with my schoolfriends, no longer joining in with traditional family viewing time. I dropped the schmaltzy stories of John Boy Walton in favour of swooning over the songs of Donny Osmond and David Cassidy without a second thought…

Roll on several decades, and this long Easter Bank Holiday weekend just gone I found a back-to-back Walton movie-fest on one of our cable channels, so decided to give it a whirl and see what had happened to my old friends in later years. But what a shock I had in store – somewhere along the line an imposter John Boy had appeared, and yet everyone was still treating him like he really was the John Boy we all knew and loved! Thankfully, by the following movie, order had been restored and John Boy was himself again.

Incensed, I consulted my good friend Google, only to find out that a different actor, Robert Wightman, had actually replaced Richard Thomas as John Boy Walton not only for the last few TV series but also in one of the later movies. So I suppose as I was the one to abandon them in the first place, I have no place to complain about feeling cheated just because a replacement actor played the main character who didn’t even appear in person in every episode anyway…

G’night John Boy! ๐Ÿ™‚