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Thanksgiving: Queen Bees! Pies! Drunk Birds! Autumn Watch Rant!

Molly Peacock’s The Paper Garden: Mrs Delany begins her life’s work at 72

What’s not to like about that selection?  Something for everyone, I say.  My usual musings around holiday time, ‘for me [primarily] or for you for anyone or of course for no one to make what you or he will of them.’ (Remember Fern HillThen you should like these words about poetry from which the quote is taken).   Warning, this is a lot of musing….

Let’s begin on a high note with our Queen Bees.

OK, but you do know the bra burning is one of those urban myths, right?

Some of the best books I have read recently have come from the bargain table at Heffers in Cambridge.  But more on that a bit further down.

Right now, I want to join the Romola Garai fan club.  Not just because she is an actress of considerable promise, but because of this:

On her role in The Hour:  “Bel is a sort of fantasy. There’s no way she would have been in that position – producing her own show – at my age [Garai is 30]. She would have been there for a very long time and in a very lowly position before she was given that kind of opportunity. But it’s a drama and Bel’s a great character. So I’m not complaining.”

On the 50s or the 60s, depending upon how much the BBC wants to copy Mad Men for any given story line: ” I find it strange when women get nostalgic for that era. I can see just about that we have lost some of what might be called the security of being in the home, but what we’ve gained seems to me so much greater.”

But most of all for this:  “I’m a feminist,” she declares, “God, yes! A bra-burning, building-burning feminist. I was brought up with a very strong sense of what can happen if your society starts to chip away at the small victories women have won for themselves. I remember when I was about nine, there was a timeline of British history on the wall at school and votes for women was about an inch before the end. We’re just a hundred years into having any history of our own and I never forget that.”

Romola garai in Emma

Romola garai in Emma (Photo credit: urizenbl)

There’s nothing more to be said and so much more (see Autumn Watch below).  Except, we women have more than 100 years of history:  it’s just no one has paid much attention.  Witness Mrs Delany of the Paper Garden fame.  Thank God, Molly Peacock has rescued her story for history (click on photo for more info on Peacock’s site).  Mary Delany’s life could have been permanently blighted by an arranged, practically forced first marriage.  But, she was rescued by her own intelligence, generosity, and strength of character.  And then she married the love of her life in her 40s, formed a wonderful friendship with another woman, both of which fostered an intense artistic ‘flowering’, leading to the truly unique paper garden, started after her husband died.  Can you imagine?  I don’t know about you, but in some of my worst moments I go stomping about the place thinking there’s no more for me to contribute, I’m on the downward slope  ad boring nauseum.  (Don’t fret, those who know me well will tell you I am of a cynical turn of mind)  How can any one think it too late to kick start a life after reading this story?  Romola, get yourself a copy.  You will love it.  Better still, make a movie about her life.  You others, get the book, and if you are local, you can even see the Paper Garden for yourself (note the Note on Peacock’s site about the necessary resrictions at the British Museum).

Another Queen Bee is/was Christine Granville (yes, I did just read a book about her, Clare Mulley’s The Spy Who Loved).  I read accounts like this–she was a WWII spy–and wonder where does courage like this come from?  Can one be taught to be so fearless?

It Is Getting Better
The various ‘Watches’, that is, the most recent  being Autumn Watch aired on the BBC at the end of October.  Overall, I do enjoy watching for any scraps I can learn about wildlife.  However, past series had to be taped so as to fast forward through the comedy routines of the presenters and to avoid their obssessiveness on certain topics–the male deer rut anywhere in the UK, as an example (although on a another post I had a link to a previous Autumn Watch segment where the female deer became so frustrated they started to hump each other–that segment doesn’t seem to be on the site now).

True, the presenters were up to their old AutumnWatch deer rut tricks, er.  This time, though, they were on the Isle of Rum which happens to be conducting a 59-year old survey.  And the focus of the survey?  The females and their offspring!  Of course, it seems the Autumn Watch viewers found that out by asking what those tags on the females’ necks were.   So, of course, we got little bits of information on the females, along with the big combat scenes of the male.

English: Deer, Kinloch Glen, Isle of Rum Taken...

English: Deer, Kinloch Glen, Isle of Rum Taken with a very long focus lens. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now, I’m no fool.  I know why they focus on these battles.  But it gets a bit repetitive.  I guess that’s why ole Martin felt he had to mix it up with naughty female sex (whether it was of the human or deer variety, well difficult to tell really with the language used).  That’s right:  one of the findings from the study is that, despite all this male posturing and noise, it really is the female that decides.  Any while a couple of the guys might be swaggering about, she seeks out another and gets busy with him.  Oh, Michaela and Martin were all a twitter (in the prehistoic sense of the word);  I think the word ‘naughty’ might have been used, as well as a few smirks and nudges.  So, let me get this straight:  a male can go crashing around from one female to another, and it’s heroic.  But the females are just being a bit slutty?  Brilliant analysis there from a couple of so-called naturists.  Romola, honey, they are chippin’ away…. Mind you, I had already learned about this behavior, and not in the learning environment of these nature programs, but through a chick-mystery-lite series, Maggie Sefton’s Kelly Flynn series,  a great way to pass an afternoon and learn about wildlife apparently.

I began this section by saying the presenters were getting better, though.  And they are:  a lot less of the he-generic.  In fact, in one episode Martin was describing some animal behavior, and suddenly cried out:  “Why am I saying ‘he’?”  Why indeed, Martin?

A Somewhat Happy Note
You are rooting for them in the beginning, those drunk juvenile blackbirds (drunk on fermented berries).  I do have to warn you, though, it doesn’t end well.

Happiest of All
Can one be drunk on pie?  One can certainly try!  (Hey, Dylan Thomas, I’m a poet and I didn’t know it!):

Phew!  I had been saving that up for a while!  So, as you were, and Happy Thanksgiving to those for whom it applies.

Other Sources (aside from the million others!)

Quotes from Romola Garai from:  http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2012-11-14/romola-garai-on-the-hour-airbrushing-and-being-a-bra-burning-feminist


4 thoughts on “Thanksgiving: Queen Bees! Pies! Drunk Birds! Autumn Watch Rant!

  1. Oh now you’ve gone and done it! After reading this I am going to hear Helen Reddy singing “I Am Woman” over and over in my head and will not be able to fall asleep until she stops! And to think, I have lived many of those 100 years of our history!

    Posted by Bluebird Annie | November 22, 2012, 3:33 am

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