Christmas TV ?

This is meant as an observation, rather than in the nature of a complaint – much too after-the-horses-have-bolted for that, this being the 15th day of January!

Over Christmas there was very little inspirational TV. A gap where once TV was filled (wasn’t it?) with programmes to entice and entertain the viewers.

There; now I’ve typed it. Opening my ether self up to all kinds of –perhaps deserved – criticism:

Yes we don’t have the latest catch up TV technology with three thousand channels that has a new premiere on every night, no wall to wall sports channels and …

Of course I know Christmas is not all about what’s on the box.

Oh and Dr Who was topically interesting in an age where most film blockbusters are either Marvel or DC superhero franchises.

But, bloated by too much trifle, turkey and tinsel I couldn’t get terribly excited over programmes I had been looking forward to.

Sherlock, for example, usually a fine re-working of the Conan Doyle character, re-imagined and definitely re-purposed and essentially nothing like the original but filled with allusions. Over Christmas I found this too pompous and overly packed with trivia: magnificent in a clinical way that had me caring little (or less) for the plot lines.

But along with the tosh was a glimpse of something that had me thinking. At least just a tiny bit. On one hand a bit of an ego trip (the sort that worked for me with characters like Billy Connolly stranded in the Arctic) with one Robson Green (actor of the Geordie parishes and sometime world fisherman) having a chance to fulfil his boyhood dream of being “marooned on a tropical island” – albeit with a chicken, mosquito net and outrigger canoe – in the style of Robinson Crusoe.  Hence the might-be cringe worthy title – Robson Crusoe. And, after all, didn’t the central character in Daniel Defoe’s book have to turn to self sufficiency, even gardening and livestock farming during his twenty something years stranded.

I missed the first part of it, but the last more-than-half had me, at least engaged. He decided not to hunt for animals to eat on the island (as Crusoe had done) but use the canoe, some ready-to hand fishing line and hooks and a few unfortunate hermit crabs: the bait.

He took to the water at sunset (gorgeous photography) but, credit to him, having failed to catch a single fish, was honest enough to admit it and go to bed hungry. Although he looked longingly at the single caged chicken he had with him.

Next morning he was predictably philosophical (though, to be honest these lines could have been written well in advance of the “shipwreck”):

“You know, we often confuse being alone … with being lonely …. It’s not the same thing … how often in the workaday world do we yearn for space and time … a chance to get away from Frantica* … and that’s just what this is … time away, so that once we get back to Frantica we can deal with it again.”

Now, just because we’ve heard this, thought it before, doesn’t mean its wrong when somebody like the earnest Mr Green says it on TV.

I believe he is spot on, nailed down correct.

And, for me time up at the allotment can be this dose of therapy. Making plans, bodging something together, wondering the what-ifs of life. Away from the mundane, often high pressure world of Everybody Else. A necessary time. Sometimes with others, chewing the fat (as we say locally) a chin wag, putting the world to rights – though nothing may change.

Just digging, tidying up, patching up the shed, waiting the right time to plant, to harvest … and not always getting it right. The skies may not always be the wonderful blue of Robson’s island, there are no pristine beaches and no camera to catch all the soliloquies, but I usually leave the plot heartened and bearing in mind a phrase I heard, first on the Beechgrove garden TV programme;

Gardening: work that works.

Do we need a Minister for Gardens?

Should allotments be available on NHS prescription?

It’d be cheaper than buying us all ten days on an isolated island eh?

 

*I’m paraphrasing all of this and, if there is any credit due to this name for Convention-and-Conformity it belongs to me. Just saying. OK?

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