Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)

Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)
Oh, to be in England...

Sunday, November 22, 2015


I finally got to see Suffragette this weekend and it is well worth seeing. Carey Mulligan plays Maud Watts, an East London laundry worker who gets caught up in the Suffragette movement of 1912. After 50 years of politely asking for the right to vote, Mrs. Emmeline Pankhurst and her Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) decided that more militant tactics were required. Although they threw rocks and blew up mail boxes they were careful not to endanger any lives if possible. "Deeds Not Words" got many of them jailed and their treatment there was shocking to say the least.

Suffragette has a star filled cast including Anne-Marie Duff as a fellow laundry worker, Helena Bonham Carter as an educated activist, Romola Garai as the wife of a cabinet minister, Meryl Streep as Mrs. Pankhurst herself, it also has Brendan Gleeson as a police inspector and Ben Whishaw as Maud's husband.

I wish the film had been longer as we don't get quite attached enough to the characters and their stories as there is so much historical fact to cram into one feature length film. Still, it's a well done piece and absolutely worth seeing. Maybe a director's cut on the DVD would be an idea?

Here is the trailer. This is a story that needs to be told and a reason for all women to value and exercise their right to vote in every election no matter where or how small. Just think of the women who fought for our right.

Stay for the timeline of women's voting rights at the end of the film. Some countries still aren't there yet...

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Home Fires on ITV and PBS

Home Fires on ITV and PBS

If you haven't yet been taken under the spell of the WWII drama Home Fires, then here is my whole hearted recommendation to check it out.

Opening in the late summer of 1939 as England prepared itself for the second time in a generation for war, the WI (Women's Institute) considers shutting down for the duration of the war. After all, what use is jam making and tea parties during wartime?

Actually, as the women of the WI in the rural Cheshire community of Great Paxford dig in and get to work (picking blackberries for fundraising jam here) the WI gives the ladies purpose and support and gives us a ton of enjoyment watching them. And the female battle between two local spitfires Joyce Cameron (Francesca Annis) and Frances Barden (Samantha Bond) starts the series off with some fireworks.

Although the stories of women at the home front may sound rather dull, Home Fires is anything but! Young love with dashing fighter pilots, a handsome doctor whose wife thinks she can practice medicine too and a conscientious objector who gets ostracized for his beliefs are among the many absorbing story lines.

Just don't get too attached to the male characters because during war you never know who is coming home and who isn't. And it is that dark cloud over Great Paxford which keeps you on the edge of your seat.

You will see lots of familiar faces such as Francesca Annis (Cranford), Samantha Bond (Downton Abbey) and Ruth Gemmell (Fever Pitch) in this series as well as some very talented new ones. I am thrilled that ITV have picked it up for another season so we get catapulted into the Battle of Britain next year.

Running currently on Sunday nights at 8pm on PBS, you can catch up on episodes on the PBS website here.

Off I go to watch it all again!!!


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Indian Summers with Julie Walters

I just had time to preview the first episode of Indian Summers before my trip and it is well worth watching. A wonderfully well done drama depicting the lives of British socialites in India in the 1930s who went to the cooler Himalayan hills for the hot summers to rule from afar and enjoy.

Julie Walters has a ball as Cynthia Coffin, the lively owner of the exclusively white Royal Simla Club, she sports a rather pronounced East End accent. This seems to be a reminder that all classes could be on equal footing in India in the time of the British Raj and she certainly seems to enjoy controlling more than the music, roast beef and Yorkshire pud at her club.

The first episode sets up a lot of stories from both clashing cultures and foreshadows the trouble ahead, as the Indian independence movement simmers and flares. Just as gorgeous as Downton Abbey (with a more exotic flavour) Indian Summers will draw you in and make you feel the heat!

I will leave you hanging there but do catch this one on PBS starting Sunday September 27 at 9 pm.

Cheers and follow me for the next 2 weeks at Jenny & Gillian Wandering England!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Vacation in London, Salisbury, Avebury, Wiltshire/Dorset Borders and Bath

Avebury Stone Circle, Wiltshire

The anticipation is building as my friend Gillian and I are now days away from our "geeky history girl" tour of the UK. I am hoping to be able to regularly post photos for our family and friends, but anyone who would like to follow along with us is very welcome at Jenny & Gillian Wandering England.

Pulteney Bridge Bath

Please feel free to leave any comments on the Jenny & Gillian blog. We have planned our accommodations in advance, as well as having our 4 day walking tour of the Wiltshire Dorset borders meticulously planned by Alison Howell of Foot Trails walking tours. The rest of the trip will develop on the fly, as we have lots of possible destinations and excursions researched, but a certain amount of chance and serendipity is going to determine our final route. We're sooooo excited!

Wardour Castle Wiltshire
These photos are "borrowed" from some online snapshots, however from here on in, only our photos will be posted. Wish us luck!

Cheers and hopefully I will come back with renewed energy for The Jane Austen Film Club!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Shaun the Sheep Movie

Shaun the Sheep Movie is not period drama. However it is a very English film, which I figure qualifies it for this blog and besides, I found it very entertaining! I dragged my sister to this on a recent girl's weekend, reasoning that this was a true all ages film. What can I say? I don't have a young child or grandchild at this point but I love this kind of film which amuses all ages.

If you are a fan of Aardman Animations, who have done Wallace and Gromit and Chicken Run, you may also already know Shaun, Bitzer the dog and Farmer from the Shaun the Sheep television series and you will likely eat this up. If not, but you love the sound of a bouncy fun film with no dialogue but a super soundtrack and lots of sight gags then you will still appreciate this little gem.

I didn't really like the trailer so I have given you the theme song video which gives you a much better idea of whether you will like the movie. And such a cute catchy song too!

Lots of visual gags like this homage to the Beatles Abbey Road photo and a nod to the fact that the music was recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London.

That is all I am going to say about this adorable little film.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Mr. Holmes

Mr. Holmes is a lovely slow gem of a film. If you want the antidote to the summertime blockbuster, here it is! Based on the Mitch Cullin novel A Slight Trick of the Mind, Ian McKellen stars as an aging Sherlock Holmes who has given up the detective business and retired to the Sussex coast.

Wishing to set the record straight about his last case 30 some odd years previously (and struggling with early dementia) Mr. Holmes tries to recall and write down the details of this last case.

Mr. Holmes: I've decided to write the story down; as it was, not as John (Watson) made it. Get it right before I die.

Egged on by adorable Milo Parker as his housekeeper's son Roger the story proceeds in flashbacks to his last case, and more recently to Japan where Holmes goes to get some Prickly Ash plants which, when ingested as jelly, supposedly has restorative properties for the memory.

Ian McKellen, now 75 years of age, was a perfect choice to bounce back and forth from a spry 60 year old detective to a doddering, liver spotted 93 year old retiree tending to his bees and grumping at his doctor.

Hattie Morahan (Sense and Sensibility) is an ethereal "Woman in Dove Grey" who is at the center of the 30 year old mystery.

Laura Linney would have been perfect as the housekeeper Mrs. Munro if she could have nailed whichever accent she was going for. Still, I loved her in this! Unimpressed by the old man's credentials, she clashes with Holmes delightfully.

The chalk cliffs of East Sussex are a character in and of themselves. But Frances de la Tour, Hiroyuki Sanada, Roger Allam and Philip Davis give the supporting roles some real depth.

Roger: Have you ever been bitten?
Mr. Holmes: Stung! Bees don't have teeth!
[Mrs Munro appears]
Mrs. Munro: Have you ever been bitten?
Mr. Holmes: No. I have never been bit.

I can't wait to see this one again!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Suffragette Film October 2015!

I have been eagerly awaiting the trailer for the Suffragette film due out this October and wow was it ever worth the wait. I  have watched them three times now and I have cried each time. Give Carey Mulligan the Oscar now!

A who's who of British (and Irish and American) actors are in this. Carey Mulligan, Meryl Streep, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne-Marie Duff, Romola Garai, Ben Whishaw, Brendan Gleeson and Samuel West to name just a few!

I have never printed quotes before a film was released but here they are!


Male voice over: Women should not exercise judgement in political affairs.

Male voice over: If we allow women to vote it will mean the loss of social structure.

Man: You work at the Glass House Laundry?
Maud (Carey Mulligan): I was born there. Part time washer from when I was 7, full time from when I was 12."

Mrs. Pankhurst (Meryl Streep): For 50 years we have laboured peacefully to secure the note for women. We've been ridiculed, battered and ignored.

Maud: All my life I've been respectful. Done what men told me. Well I can't have that anymore.

Maud: We break windows. We burn things. Cause war's the only language men listen to.

Maud: What are you going to do? Lock us all up? We're in every home. We're half the human race. You can't stop us all.

Judge: What would the vote mean to you?

Mrs. Pankhurst: Never underestimate the power we women have to define our own destiny. We have been left with no alternative. Defy this government!

Mrs. Pankhurst: We don't want to be law breakers. We want to be law makers!"

Edith New (Helena Bonham Carter): The only way is forward!

Violet Cambridge (Anne-Marie Duff): Votes for women!

Alice (Romola Garai): The power is in your hands!

Join me watching this in October. And bring your mother, daughter, friend and spouse!



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