Eccentric escape

sea-table gerald



at home

You can move away, you can run away even, but, 90 percent of the time, your quirks and fears and troubles stow away with you. I know this because I have moved a lot, and sometimes a long way.

This is the underlying theme of a new TV show called The Durrells. Thankfully, the quirks, fears and troubles that follow the Durrell family from Bournemouth in the UK to the Greek island of Corfu are also frequently adorable, affectionate, and genuinely funny.

Oh my gosh, I am so in love with this eccentric family of misfits and, in particular, with their mother Louisa, who is most often at her wits' end but is also my hero.

The series is inspired by the trilogy of books by Gerald Durrell. Remember My Family and Other Animals? My father gave me this book when I was a child, telling me how much he had loved it when he was a child. So now I can't think about the book without thinking about my father, which makes it doubly joyful to revisit the hapless Durrells in their warm and sunlit world.

In fact I never want to leave that world. A fruitless wish, since there are only six episodes to a season, but thankfully I hear a second season is already in the making.

And in the meantime, since summer is only just around the corner here in Australia, I am going to take a leaf out of the Durrells' book and eat lunch in the ocean, to keep cool. Tablecloth included. It looks kind of perfect, don't you think?

ps. more of my favourite TV shows here and here

The Honourable Woman

Maggie Gyllenhaal with Oliver Bodur in The Honourable Woman Honourable-Woman-2

Stop a minute. Why is the Internet not exploding with people talking about The Honourable Woman? Why did I only discover this mini-series in a roundabout, accidental way on iTunes because I happen to like Maggie Gyllenhaal as an actress and happened to notice her face in the promo picture?

Holy everything! I can't believe bloggers all over the world aren't talking our ears off about this show! So I guess I'll have to do it.

The Honourable Woman is an eight-part spy thriller. It starts off compelling but slow, and winds up completely, totally, under your skin. Gyllenhaal's character is Nessa Stein, a British-Israeli woman at the head of her family's company. The company formerly dealt in arms but now, under Nessa's leadership, builds communications networks. Her goal, pursued at great personal cost, is to create equality in communications access and opportunity for both Israelis and Palestinians.

The Honourable Woman is taut, considered, complex, clever, vulnerable and of course entertaining. And it is driven, sometimes relentlessly, by a phalanx of powerful, intelligent, broken, fully-drawn female characters.

Had enough of all the adjectives?

Maggie Gyllenhaal in this is exquisite. I couldn't look away. And have you heard of the stunning actress Lubna Azabal? The two of them together made for some of the most intelligent, brave and beautiful television I have watched in a long, long time.

The final episode (the hands, the hands, look for the hands; also, black on white and white on black, oh the symbolism) has destroyed me. I am undone.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Don't even ask me how I ended up watching Outlander at first, because I can't figure it out. The last thing I remember was thinking "that looks pretty corny and a bit B-grade so I don't think I'll bother," and somehow since then I've watched every episode made (half a season) and I can't stop thinking about it.

The story is about an English woman who is travelling with her husband in the Scottish Highlands at the end of WWII, when she steps through some standing stones and finds herself stranded and alone in the middle of the 18th Century.

I know. I KNOW it sounds corny but it is SO good. A bit slow to start, but after a while you don't even mind the slow pace, it's like this show takes the time to respect the characters and the viewers and build the suspense and action properly.

There's no way I can wait until half way through next year for more of Claire's adventures, so now I'm reading the first book. Again, SUPER addicted. As soon as I finish writing this post I'm going to pick the book back up again, because I'm in the middle of a really good bit and it is quite important that I find out what comes next!

Also, I really need to visit Scotland.

What have you been watching and reading lately? Have you read the Outlander books? No spoilers please!!!


Monday's addiction

Jane Lizzie Lizzie&CharlotteIt is... the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, a very funny and completely contemporary adaptation of Pride and Prejudice that is familiar and new at the same time, and makes wonderfully innovative and interactive use of social media. You start watching the YouTube vlog episodes, and following the various characters' social media accounts and conversations (for example, this is Lizzie's Tumblr), and reading the behind-the-scenes insights and, before you know it, a whole hour has gone by and all the things you'd planned to do have been left undone and the most pressing discovery to your world is that KITTY IS A CAT.

My dear friend Brandi Bernoskie (also from Not Your Average Ordinary) introduced me to Lizzie's world last week, and I have been hooked ever since.

I hope you have a wonderful Monday. We have a public holiday here but I am working. Boo.

(ps. If you want to start from the beginning do it from here so you can get all the social media interactions between episodes, in order.)