Tomorrow, when you read this, I’ll be making bacon sandwiches in a tent overlooking Corfe Castle. It will almost certainly be raining, so we will not speak about the likely state of my hair, nor the number of bacon pieces Henry will have rubbed all over his face, nor indeed the tonnage of Cadbury’s chocolate I will have consumed on the journey down. Tonight, let’s talk about some of the fine and wonderful things I have met this week, the things that have made my washing up worth washing, my Henry nap times more meaningful and my evenings under a blanket more cozy. I give you: your Friday watch-listen-read.
watch: The Best of Men
The BBC does this sort of thing superlatively: a feature-length drama about the German doctor who revolutionised British spinal-injury treatment during the Second World War, in the process founding the Paralympic Games. Until Dr Guttman, paralysed servicemen were sedated in a darkened room and left to die. It took a tenacious, ferocious Jewish refugee to work out that life could be lived fully and completely from a wheelchair. I was enthralled until the closing credits, at which point I cried like a big girl’s blouse.
On iPlayer, here. Repeated on Sunday 2nd September, 10pm, BBC2.
listen: Fry’s English Delight
All hail the great and wonderful Stephen Fry. This is his new radio series on language, and is an absolute joy. The episode I listened to last night was on the curiosities and unspoken rules of intonation. We learned why Asian speakers used to get their wires crossed in call centres, how you can accidentally call your mother a linen-horse in Mandarin, and why some questions go up and others go down. LOVE.
On BBC Radio 4, here.
read: Bill Bryson, ‘Home’
I had been reading Bill Bryson’s history of private life for five minutes, and I’d already learned the difference between sheet glass and plate glass, and who invented the Christmas card. It’s that sort of book, and Bryson is that sort of chap. He devotes a bulging chapter to every room in the house, making every fact and history into an exciting anecdote. What I wouldn’t give to sit next to him at a dinner party. I’m enjoying this enormously, and we’re only in the dining room.
Hope you enjoy. Happy quiet times to you!
I’m going to make this a regular post, so check back on Fridays for watch-listen-read suggestions. And, non-UK readers, it won’t usually be all from the BBC – though I think there are ways of getting at least the radio overseas, and I’d be surprised if they don’t release The Best of Men on DVD at some point.