Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Another "Masterpiece" on the Way!!

image from the BBC
I am SOOO excited for the upcoming broadcast of "Wolf Hall" on Masterpiece!!! What's Wolf Hall you might ask? It is the six-part miniseries adaptation of Hilary Mantel's Man Booker prize-winning novel of the same name and its Man Booker prize-winning sequel, Bring Up the Bodies (the final novel in the series, The Mirror and the Light, is eagerly awaited), starring Damian Lewis ("Homeland", "The Forsyte Saga") and Mark Rylance (The Other Boleyn Girl). Wolf Hall tells the story of Thomas Cromwell, the lawyer who helped King Henry VIII annul his marriage to Queen Katherine of Aragon so that he could marry Anne Boleyn, while separating England from the Roman Catholic Church.

[It's also a two-part play on Broadway by the Royal Shakespeare Company, starring Nathaniel Parker ("Inspector Lynley") and Ben Miles ("Larkrise to Candleford", "Coupling"). I am going to see Part 1 in two weeks!!! SOOOO EXCITED!!!!]

image from The Guardian
The miniseries has already aired in England and garnered lots of praise. It is going to be a "Name That Brit" affair: Claire Foy ("Little Dorrit") as Anne Boleyn, Jonathan Pryce (Pirates of the Caribbean) as Cardinal Wolsey, Bernard Hill (Lord of the Rings) as the Duke of Norfolk, Anton Lesser (Game of Thrones) as Sir Thomas More, Mark Gatiss ("Sherlock") as Cromwell’s rival Stephen Gardiner, Joanne Whalley ("The Virgin Queen") as Queen Katherine, and Thomas Brodie-Sangster ("Game of Thrones") as Cromwell's assistant Rafe Sadler. Plus Ed Speelers ("Downton Abbey"), Harry Lloyd ("Game of Thrones"), Charity Wakefield ("Sense and Sensibility"), Jessica Raine ("Call the Midwife"), David Robb ("Downton Abbey") and Saskia Reeves ("Wallender"), just for starters.

I have just started reading the novel that all this is based on, and while I have found the writing style to be confusing and the rhythm of the writing difficult (this apparently is a common complaint), it is really interesting reading a book where Thomas Cromwell is not portrayed as an absolute villain. Because usually he is, seeing as *NEARLY 500 YEAR OLD HISTORICAL SPOILER ALERT* he is the one "held responsible" for the executions of both Sir Thomas More and Anne Boleyn. (I haven't gotten very far in the novel yet, so I cannot comment on the overall historical accuracy in this piece of historical fiction.) PS. *NEARLY 500 YEAR OLD HISTORICAL SPOILER ALERT*, he isn't going to make a good end of things either. (Was poor Anne of Cleves really THAT BAD?) But it is still a good story....

"Wolf Hall" will be on Masterpiece on PBS, starting Sundays, April 5 (that's Easter Sunday) through May 10, 2015 at 10pm.  (I haven't decided if I am staying awake to live Tweet it or going to DVR to watch on Mondays. Who am I kidding? I am going stay up late to watch it.)

ETA: You can read more about Wolf Hall in today's New York Times on-line. (Coincidentally, they published their article the same day I am publishing this post. Great minds...)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

"Call Mr. Plow, That's My Name. That Name Again is Mr. Plow."*

The first winter I lived in my house, I shoveled after every snowstorm. It wasn't my favorite thing to do, but it was good exercise and I enjoyed being out in the cold air.

Until this happened:
February 2013 Blizzard Dig Out
Opening the Garage February 9, 2013
February 2013 Blizzard Dig Out
Excavating the Walk February 9, 2013
Let me tell you, four foot drifts are KILLER to shovel through. It took me the ENTIRE DAY to get shoveled out, and a kind neighbor ended up snowblowing a path between our houses because we couldn't find the sidewalk.

So after that debacle exciting adventure, the second winter I lived in my house, I hired a service to snow plow my driveway and to snow blow my front walk and sidewalk. But as I was a new customer, despite the fact they were based just around the corner from me, I was on the bottom of the list, and they sometimes ended up coming HOURS after a storm would end. A lot of the time, I would end up shoveling myself out, because the waiting was driving me nuts. And then the city plow dumped a mountain of snow on the sidewalk in front of my house (a side effect of living in a cul de sac that no one mentions when you are buying the house.) The service wouldn't touch the mountain so I had to chip away at it day after day until I reached the sidewalk. Time for a Plan C.

February 9, 2015
So this winter, I sucked it up and bought myself a snow blower, and it was one of the best investments I have ever made. I have been clearing my driveway, my front walk and the sidewalks in storm after storm after storm.

February 15, 2015

It's actually been really empowering to take on the snow this year.  It's me out there after every storm with all the husbands on the block.  A bonus is that I have been able to do the sidewalk and the apron at the end of the driveway for my fabulous neighbor MJ, who only has a shovel.

But I honestly won't mind when it is time to put this fun new household toy away. Until next winter.

*from The Simpsons.  A work colleague has taken to calling me "Mr. Plow".


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