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American Writing, British Television, Travels, Or, Saturday Morning at 9:51am

It’s been a quiet week.

I published a new post on Medium, here, in full awareness of my limitations. I first wrote the piece very simply, as a simple but preposterous proposal. For better or worse I couldn’t leave it that way. My internal voice of reason spoke too loudly. Retirement seems to be about having the time to help others and to understand yourself. I am who I am, even when I can see what rough hooks could do, I have to smooth the edges. I am unable to leave emotion alone without logic. There you have it.

Speaking of smooth edges, here are two British television series I have loved to pieces. First, on Hulu, the ITV-produced “Harlots.” Prostitution in Regency England. With a dollop of women’s rights and excellent costuming. Second, on Netflix, “Shetland.” A detective on the islands off the far north coast of Scotland. Green cliffs, gray seas, and a strong man who cares like heck.

Finally, speaking of countries than America, which, let’s, please, Sue went to Italy and France, and Mater is in France as we speak. Do you have summer travel plans?

Have a quiet weekend, if that’s what you need.


42 Responses

  1. Another excellent post on Medium,Lisa!
    I can’t plan next two hours,let alone this summer….(and I’m a plan- and list- making person …..)
    I’ve heard about “Harlots” and “Shetland”,but we don’t have Netflix here yet

    1. @dottoressa, Thank you! And, I am so sorry you don’t yet have Netflix. Seems like one of America’s best exports, something I am not ashamed for us to share!

  2. I loved Shetland.

    I have doubts about the future of the series because there are only 4-5 books in the series. The more the screenwriters make stuff up the weirder stories get, and sometimes not a good way. Definitely read the books as well.

    Did you know that the same author also wrote the books that the series “Vera” is based upon? I suspected as much when the word “bairn” popped up, and then when I checked on who the author was, my guess was right.

    1. @RoseAG, I am going to have to go back and restart Vera! And isn’t bairn the standard Scottish word for child? I could totally be wrong. I know what you mean about series based on books, Games of Thrones lost a lot of narrative interest once they left George R.R. Martin begin.

  3. Loved “Shetland” too, love the books by Ann Cleeves even more but still see the tv version of Jimmy Perez in my mind, so guess he’s there to stay. Thanks for the tip on “Harlots.”

    1. @Janie, You’re welcome. And doesn’t Douglas Henshall act the HECK out of the role of Perez? I can see he’d be hard to shake.

  4. Just returned from two warm weeks in Paris where my son and daughter-in-law live. Delightful time!

    Loved the Shetland series. Ann Cleeves is also the author of the series, Vera.

  5. I thought your Medium piece was an intriguing mix of Yin and yang, your emotion and your logic. It does seem as if something big is broken and thinking fromnbothbindide and outside of the box are urgently needed.
    And thank you for the hat-tip. I’ve actually just left France (via a lovely long lazy day on trains) and will be wandering around Venice all wonderstruck tomorrow… Can’t wait to read where all your readers will be heading.

    1. @Frances/Materfamilias, Thank you Frances:). And, have an amazing time in Venice! You and Sue will have notes to compare! I haven’t been there since I was 20, where it rained for 2 days on my sister and myself, so I don’t have the best of memories to share.

  6. I too love Shetland and am glad to know that the same author is behind Vera, which is also excellent. Harlots doesn’t sound like my cup of tea, and I probably can’t get my husband to watch it anyway. But maybe I’ll give it a try soon. As long as we’re talking British murder series, have you seen Inspector George Gently? It’s set in the ’70s in the north of England and as much about the time and place as about the murders. (So many murders in Britain!)
    As for travels, we’re recently back from Japan. Very interesting, but I feel like I got only the most superficial introduction to the country.

    1. @MJ, With Harlots, I think if you watch the first episode you will know immediately if you will like the series. It’s pretty dramatic, 50/50 on whether it appeals to a large number of men.

      Japan! My son spent something like 4 weeks there last summer, he thought it was fascinating too.

  7. I’ve been wanting to try Shetland and will on your recommendation. Badly in need of a new series to binge watch. We do have a number of summer travel plans, maybe a bit too much, but I am looking forward to them.

    I loved your piece on Medium and admire your putting yourself out there so much.

    1. @Kathy, Thank you. And Shetland is oddly calming, what with the people getting murdered, I hope you like it.

  8. 1. Series for you The French Village You can get it through Amazon Prime. But you must subscribe to MHZ? Something like that. It features European Detective series. Worth the money.

    2. Come September I will be going on a cooking tour to Italy and then to London!


    1. @Sandra Sallin, The French Village? Totally new to me! Thanks! Your travel plans sound wonderful, I’m very happy to hear you’re healed enough to traipse about.

  9. I also watch Shetland but I watch anything from other countries I love british humor mysteries etc I don’t have tv so I have the streams netflix hulu acorn.
    I’m also really liking your blog it’s fun to read and I also learn something

    1. @Jeanne, Also try some Aussie TV, right? Good stuff. And thanks, I am glad you enjoy my blog and I’m honored that you learn!

  10. Oh, I enjoyed Shetland tremendously (great knitting fodder) though I couldn’t understand more than 25% of the dialogue. What I love about that show is that, there are 12 people on those islands – and all of them seem to meet an untimely end :-) I mean, really. It seemed incredible when Murder She Wrote lady managed to find another friend who’d been murdered every single week. This is in that category of absurd – though totally addicting.

    1. @K-Line, HA! I thought of that, and I looked up how many people are on Shetland and it’s more like 1700 but, yes. Notice how many of the people who die are visitors;).

    2. I have to turn the sound way up on “Shetland” due to the accents. Worry I may be getting deaf but think it just clarifies the pronunciation!

  11. Hi Lisa,

    Enjoyed your post on Medium. Questions that I too ponder.

    Right smack dab in the middle of Shetland too. A good show, but if I’m too tired those Scottish accents lull me to sleep. :)

  12. Also love the Shetland series. Douglas Henshall… so grizzled, and rumpled, and lovely. In the latest Ann Cleeves/ Jimmy Perez book they discuss how the mainland Scots cannot understand the Shetlanders.
    I’ve been doing a lot of reading on “accents” these days, for a post partly about Canadian accents. And how Americans always think we pronounce “about” as “aboot.” So interesting how many ways we can speak English and not be understood.

  13. The BBC mini series of Waugh’s Decline & Fall – just three episodes is great fun . Very clever .

  14. Everyone seems to love Shetland! I’m going to have to try it! Now, I’m off to read your piece on Medium.

  15. “Retirement seems to be about having the time to help others and to understand yourself.” That is what I am waiting for. (Going to quit working in four weeks’ time.)

  16. If you enjoy Shetland, then you will also love Hinterland. Same sort of premise but set in wildest Wales. I was initially sceptical but my daughter and I have ploughed through it in record time.

  17. Hi —

    If you enjoy Shetlands, then add Brokenwood to your collection as well. It’s set in New Zealand and quite good.

    We are going to the Shetlands in September and had decided on this way before I/we started watching the TV episodes. It’s a truly unique and wonderful part of Scotland.

    Vera may not be in Scotland, but love the series. Down-to-earth and just really good productions of Ann Cleeves books.

    1. @Margaret Robinson, Oh good, New Zealand scenery ought to be amazing. And how fun to go to Shetland. I’m going to the Outer Hebrides with my son this summer, not quite so northern of course, but certainly more remote than here:).

  18. Can I admit to being Scottish and not having seen Shetland? That’s the TV series rather than the place – I’ve visited the islands twice and they’re stunning. However my husband has the DVDs of the series so I may sneak a look. Generally I’m not fond of crime series, but make an exception for the comfort blankets of Morse and Lewis. I’m about to dig out some photos of Shetland to post on Instagram (@occasionalscotland), so you’re welcome to come in by (as we say in Scotland). And I admit that even I had some trouble with the Shetland accent. It helps if you remind yourself that Shetland is nearer Norway than Scotland.

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