Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)

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

Saturday, December 19, 2015

A Child's Christmas in Wales 1987

A Child's Christmas in Wales

"I can never remember whether it snowed for six days and six nights when I was twelve or whether it snowed for twelve days and twelve nights when I was six."

I watched A Child's Christmas in Wales on television the first Christmas I spent with my husband in 1987, before we were even married.  I knew he was the guy for me, because he appreciated the sweetness and beauty of this holiday classic.  Not many people even know this DVD exists, which is a shame.  Our family had the pleasure of traveling to Wales five years ago (although in the summer) and parts of Wales are still almost as rustic as in this film.  In fact, this was filmed on location in Montgomery Wales, which is probably little changed from when Dylan Thomas was a boy in Swansea.

Old Geraint telling his grandson Thomas about Christmas past...

This sweet film is based on the poem by Dylan Thomas which was first published in 1954 after his death.  It is really more like a lyrical piece of prose as only Thomas could write.  In 1986, a collaborative effort between Global TV in Canada and HTV in Britain (now known as  ITV Wales & West Ltd) brought this to television, and it was shown on PBS in the USA as well.  It is rare to see this on television anymore, so you'll have to invest in the DVD if you want to see this (a wise investment for years to come...)

"One Christmas was so much like another, in those years..."
"December, in my memory, is white as Lapland, though there were no reindeers. But there were cats. Patient, cold and callous, our hands wrapped in socks, we waited to snowball the cats."

"It's loovely Grandad."

The Welsh scenery is gorgeous and lets you feel as if you are truly traveling back in time.  The film is a combination of present day (well, 28 years ago) and flashbacks to what looks like the time period just before WWI.  The children all have authentic Welsh accents, although I believe the adults are all Canadian actors except of course the wonderful Denholm Elliott (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Trading Places, Room with a View) who was English, but does a wonderful Welsh accent.

"...once I had a little crocheted nose bag from an aunt now, alas, no longer whinnying with us."

The music will also stay with you after watching this, particularly from the cozy scene at the end, where the family are all singing by the fire, quaint Welsh carols like "On To Bethlehem Town" and "All Through the Night".

"Our snow was not only shaken from white wash buckets down the sky, it came shawling out of the ground..."

This post is a rerun from a few years ago but I have added the YouTube link below for those who don't have this on DVD. This gorgeous, funny and heartwarming production deserves a much wider audience. It has aged well. Enjoy an old fashioned Christmas with some mischievous boys in Wales!

Click for the full text of the Dylan Thomas Poem A Child's Christmas in Wales.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Christmas Specials-Sherlock and Call the Midwife

A Victorian Sherlock Holmes and John Watson!
Sherlock Holmes has gone Victorian for the holidays! Airing on PBS on January 1st at 9:00 pm we have Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman returning for a one off Sherlock special set in Victorian times with period settings. Yay! I love Sherlock but putting him back in his deer stalker hat and cape is inspired. And I love Mr. Watson's handlebar mustache.

Mr. Watson and Mr. Holmes look ready for adventure!
The Abominable Bride is a 90 minute special and I can't imagine a better way to usher in the new year! Here is a preview to whet your whistle:

Nurses Barbara Gilbert, Trixie Franklin and Patsy Mount are ready for Christmas!

But if you would like a great way to spend Christmas night, the ladies of Nonnatus House in Poplar East London are ready to celebrate 1960 style with a bus trip to Regent street to see the lights.

Are those nurse's caps or Christmas cracker hats?
Sister Evangelina is not in the Christmas spirit despite preparations for a televised carol sing but things go wrong when Sister Monica Joan goes missing. Hasn't she been missing before? At least she isn't barefoot this time!

A Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!




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