Ask-A-Wench — Movies and TV

Anne here, and today we’re responding to the question: “What have the wenches been watching lately?”

Andrea said: I have been binging through ‘Lewis,’ a wonderful British police procedural spin-off of “Morse.” (Lewis was his sidekick.) It’s based in Oxford, with the mysteries always involving members of the university, so the plots are often cleverly erudite and tie into some arcane academic element. I find the ambiance, the scenery and the twists a lot of fun. I also really enjoy the chemistry between Lewis and his sidekick, Hathaway, who is a bit of an odd duck, (apparently both on and off the screen.) Hathaway is pretty tightly wound and adds an interesting edginess to the series. It ran for nine seasons . . .and I’m getting sad that I’m working my way closer to “THE END.”

Given the the political and cultural turmoil in this country right now, I also was moved to re-watch the amazing Ken Burns PBS documentary series on The Civil War. It is extraordinarily well-done, using letters and vintage pictures to tell the poignant story of the conflict. it really brings home the horrendous suffering and death on both sides caused by passions that sparked into hatred and extremism. It’s incredibly sobering and a chilling reminder of the awful consequences of violence.

Christina here. I’ve been in the mood for some very light entertainment and I found the perfect thing on Swedish TV when visiting my mother  – Hudson & Rex. It’s a Canadian crime series/police procedural drama set in St. John’s, Newfoundland, which is an unusual and very beautiful setting. Detective Charlie Hudson solves murders and other crimes with the help of his canine sidekick Rex, a very clever Alsatian/German Shepherd.

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Lord Elgin and the Marbles

The Parthenon by Lusieri; Wikimedia Commons

Andrea here. There has been a hiatus in my self-published Lady Arianna Regency mystery series, but I’m delighted to announce that a new book will be releasing on May 14th! (It’s up for pre-order now.) The adventures of Lady Arianna and her husband, the Earl of Saybrook revolve around political intrigues of the era, which is fun for because it allows me to set stories in different countries during interesting events—past stories have been set at the grand Peace Conference in Vienna, Paris during the Allied occupation after the Battle of Waterloo, and the Imperial Russian court in St. Petersburg.

One of the Elgin Marbles; photo by author

I also enjoy working in cameo appearances of real people, and exploring controversies that created social and political tensions One of the things that has always struck me as I do research into a specific topic is how many of the things that matter to us today  as resonated with people in earlier times. (There is that old French saying, plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose—which roughly translates to “the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Having traveled to Greece last year, I really wanted to set a book there. And luckily, history provided me with a perfect story—one that is still stirring emotions today.

In 1816, known as the Year Without A Summer because of the massive volcanic eruption of Mt. Tambora, Lord Elgin asked the British government to purchase his breathtaking collection of decorative marbles—known then and now as the Elgin Marbles—that he had brought back to Britain from their original home as integral elements of the magnificent temple known as the Parthenon, which crowned the Acropolis in Athens.

How did Lord Elgin come into possession of these Marbles? Well, it’s a long story.

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AAW: Out My Window

Pat Rice here: Today, we’re going to play a little game called Looking Out My Window. The idea originally came from https://www.window-swap.com/Window at the start of Covid. Anne Gracie blogged about it.

We’ll turn the idea about a bit. Each of us has written a short piece about what we see from the window of our writing space—but I won’t name who wrote the piece. Instead, I have labeled them A, B, C, etc. Let’s have a little fun guessing who wrote which piece, and it would be lovely if you add what you see out your window!

A.

garden and wallThis is a bit tough. I can’t actually see out my office window unless I stand up. I can see the flash of raven shadows as they stop by for a drink from our birdbath. Locating my desk this way is deliberate. I’d never get anything done elsewise. But here’s what I see if I stand and look out. We’re going on vacation shortly, and our daughter is leaving at the same time, and consequently, we have no one to hand water the potted plants. So this is not the usual view. Most of the pretty plants have been moved to a corner where they’re not visible from this angle. We’ve set up a sprinkler to rain on that corner. The hardy geranium is the main pot you see, and the irrigation system should take care of it. There is no tomato in the tomato cage yet, but that’s a small corner of my husband’s vegetable garden. The orange tree is covered with oranges, although they’re hard to see from here. We’ve grown that immense staghorn fern on the fence since it was a little fella. Had to divide it at one point because it got too heavy. The clivia is getting way too much sun now that the carrotwood tree has been trimmed. I can’t see the blooms on the camellia, but I know they’re there. I’ll have to hope that back corner survives while we’re gone!

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The Exuberant Art of Crayon Painting

Bouquet of Flowers-Odilon Redon; courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Andrea here, musing about art today. I made a recent visit to the Metropolitan Museum in New York City—one of my favorite places in the world!—to see a show on Literary Posters (more on that in a future blog.) But as usual, I took a stroll through a number of the other galleries just to enjoy the heady buzz of creative energy that always swirls through any venue showcasing art.

As I took in some of the marvelous works by the Impressionists, I was reminded that this past Christmas, I gave a set of pastels “crayons” to an art-minded friend—and also decided to gift myself with a set, too! I have very fond childhood memories of exuberantly scribbling away with the huge set of colorful sticks that my artist mother let me use in her studio. The colors are much richer than regular crayons, as they are actually fashioned with ground pigments, just like oil paints.

That got me to thinking about the art of pastels, and how it has an odd niche in the pantheon of artistic mediums.  It doesn’t get as much respect as one might think—perhaps because, like me, many children use pastels in school art classes because of the rich colors, and so it doesn’t have the same mystique as oil painting. So, history nerd that I am, I decided to do a little research into the subject . . .

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