Coronation Street Scene of the Week (July 31/11)

Care Packages

Eddie making care packages for GaryEddie Windass, in the cafe, stealing Roy’s condiments for food purchased elsewhere.  Anna scolds him.  He asks if there’s any tape.  She looks to see what he’s doing, sticking food and magazines in a shoebox.  Ciaran looks too and realizes he’s making a care package for Gary, just left for duty in Afghanistan.

Aah, it’s not the first time I’ve had to wipe away a tear watching Eddie lately.  He gave his son a St. Christopher’s medal from his father, after realizing where his son was going and to what. Gary had packed several hairbrushes, saying he’d need them to brush things off.  What things, Eddie asked, himself not that familiar with hairbrushes.  Explosive devices, Gary said, land mines and that sort of thing.  That brought Eddie up with a start, then he rummaged through a drawer and produced the small medal on a chain.

Then when Gary was leaving, Eddie gave him a video camera and said so you don’t have Ciaran tells Ryan about mom's care packagesto worry about writing, you can just tape on this and send the disk home.

And now, packing up a care box.  He got the idea from Ciaran, who has himself become a wonderful Mr. Fixit for other people.  Ciaran was telling Ryan about the packages his mother used to send him from Ireland when he was in the Navy.  Ciaran’s story was part of his effort to get Ryan to cut the apron strings and go to university in Glasgow.

Ryan wants to go but doesn’t want to leave his poor mother all on her own.  (I wonder Michelle talking to Ciaranwhen Ryan last looked at his mother, really really looked at her.)  Ciaran, with his iffy plan to move to Glasgow, may have an ulterior motive for encouraging Ryan to leave home, but I think he genuinely wants the boy-man to take the opportunity that’s on offer.  Glasgow University is where he really wants to go, and his mother will be just fine.

So to illustrate his point about being able to live away from mother yet still be connected, Ciaran talked about the care packages from Ireland and how much they were appreciated by him and his mates.  And Eddie hears, and begins preparing his own for Gary.

Anna listening to news on earphonesThe added bonus of this care box is that Anna will have something positive to do for her son.  Since he left, she’s just been mourning.  Watching news reports about the war, listening on earphones while she’s supposed to be working.  Her whole focus has become Afghanistan and what is happening there.  This is understandable, but not a great situation in which to bring a new child.  They have been approved for adoption and if a child is placed with them, Anna cannot be totally absorbed in what’s happening with her Anna takes care box to repackother child.

So Eddie’s care package has given Anna a new focus.  She took it to repack properly.  Now she can busy herself knitting socks and packing cookies for the lads overseas.  That is something in which a new child may participate and can understand.

Jack’s care packages

Jack talking with Tyrone about giftsAnd Jack is handing out his own care packages – cash to Tyrone and Molly, theatre tickets to Sally, even a mystery red rose delivered to Julie.  Thursday we found out why:  he’s dying.  I can’t bear to think about it.  Can’t write about that, not yet.  If knitting socks would keep Jack alive and Bill Tarmey on the show, I’d knit a pile higher than Blackpool Tower.

Dear Cat Dumper

To the person who dumped a grey tiger and white male neutered cat at Waterworks Parks on or before July 4, 2011:

cat dumper - Poster for found catHe’s doing well, considering.  He misses you and his own bed and routine.  He spends a lot of time in the garage.  It’s where he feels safest, I guess.  It was where he stayed that first night with us, a place to let him adjust.

At the time, I thought it would be only a day or two of strangeness for him.  I thought you’d contact us as soon as you saw the ads and posters.  A well-looked-after cat like him must have people missing him, I thought.  A couple people did call, hoping he was their lost cat.  But he wasn’t.

He’s been dewormed and vaccinated.  He probably already was, but we couldn’t risk it.  His vet bill is $191 and he needs booster shots.  Thank heavens you had him neutered.

Wally on chair in kitchenHe’s a funny cat, loves to bat cat toys around.  Loves catnip. He has no fear of dogs or of people he doesn’t know. He’s very well adjusted, pretty much the perfect cat.

He prefers canned food.  When we found him at the park, he happily chowed down the cat kibble we had with us.  Then, belly full, he went “mmpff” to kibble and demanded canned food.  So that’s what he gets.

The vet thinks he lost a lot of weight fast.  His skin is loose, as if it used to cover a larger body.  And he’s terrified of the sound of rain.  Those things make me think he was wandering on his own for longer than I’d thought.

Our Wally now

Wally lying on stairsHis name is Wally now and he answers to it.  Maybe you or your kids called him Tigger or Sox for his white feet.  He loves to sprawl across laps and hug up close in your arms – but I guess you already know that.

So he’s ours now.  Just one request:  please don’t replace him with another kitten or puppy until you’re prepared to make a commitment that lasts as long as that animal’s life.  I can’t take another of your pets when you don’t want them anymore.

The next one I find will make a quick trip to the vet to be euthanized if I can’t find another home quickly.  I won’t take him or her to the pound or shelters.  Why?  There aren’t enough homes for all the cats Wally on couch in front of laptopand kittens, dogs and puppies dumped and produced by irresponsible people.

Caring for your pet in the pound costs a lot of money.  City employees get good wages and benefits to scoop litter boxes and put out kibble.  Rescue volunteers do it for free.  But how much labour and money are they expected to give to look after pets that people like you can’t be bothered with anymore?

I too do it for free.  But I’ve reached my limit so, remember, the next dumped animal I find gets a one-way trip to the vet.  It’s a kinder death than the starvation you consigned Wally to.

If you think he is your missing cat, please accept my apologies and contact me!

(From my St. Thomas Dog Blog. See Waterworks Cat for his backstory.)

Fiat Bambina

new Fiat 500 - cute carIf I could possibly justify another teeny-weeny cute car, I’d get the new Fiat 500. I’ve only seen one around here, a silver grey one. I like the tv ads, and I’ve checked them out online since I first heard that Fiat/Chevrolet was going to remake the Bambina.

I was so much hoping they’d do a good job – keep the look and spirit of the original, as BMW did with the MINI. And Fiat, bless their hearts, did.

In the 1970s, in New Zealand, I had a 1965 Fiat 500. There, at the time, old Bambinas were the car of choice or, more accurately, no choice for students and others with no money. I learned to drive on that little car and my boyfriend’s parents’ 12-seater Land Rover. It was like switching between a Dinky Toy and a tank.

Bambino in Ponsonby, AucklandMy Bambina had the “suicide doors” that hinged at the rear (it was 6 months older than the last of those). The back seat would hold two adults as long as they didn’t demand a lot of legroom. Storage was under the hood and the 500 cc engine was in the rear.

It was two cylinder. In models like mine, both pistons went up and down in unison instead of alternating. That meant a lot of vibration, leading to engine parts and wires falling off.

Repairing an old cute car

My boyfriend and I bought a manual for it because we had no money for garage repairs. My father was a mechanic, but he was in Canada and he’d never seen an engine like that anyway. I drew pictures of it and mailed them to him to get his opinion on mechanical problems. But return mail took about 6 weeks so that wasn’t very efficient.

Fiat 500 with cats, Ponsonby, Auckland NZEventually we got so we could put blocks under the engine, haul the bumper off and push the body of the car away, fix it and put the car back together in a couple of hours. That was to replace the starter motor pins that sheared off regularly from the vibration. The starter motor was located at the front of the engine and there was no way to get in to it unless maybe you had a hoist.  We learned to tighten the starter motor every time before starting the car.

Wires also fell off, often at inopportune times like the middle of an intersection. I could push the car off the road by myself. And I learned which wires were more likely to fall off and where they belonged. We learned to check and tighten all wires and cables before starting the car.

But it was a good car. It took us and camping gear all over the North and South Islands one summer. It got crotchety and didn’t like the damp. On those days, it just wouldn’t start. It’s often damp and rainy in New Zealand. Finally, we just kept it for state consumerguideauto.howstuffworks.com/2011-fiat-500.htmoccasions, opting to walk or take the bus most of the time.

It’s the only car that I’ve known every inch of and known how to fix. And its engine was totally unlike any other, so that knowledge was not transferable. I’ve never had a car that frustrated me more, and I’ve never had a car I remembered with such love. I am so happy that they’re back.

Coronation Street Scene of the Week (July 24/11)

Hell hath no fury

Hell indeed hath no fury like a woman scorned by lover, lover’s mother, boss who is also Natasha back to say goodbye - hell hath no furylover’s grandmother, and co-worker who is also lover’s brother.  Natasha let pretty much everybody in Weatherfield know exactly what she thought of them before she jumped in a black taxi and left.  She also let them know what Nick thought of them.  You go, girl!  It was wonderful.

The multi-part scene began after she had left the hospital and seemed to recognize Nick’s caring attention as the mealy-mouthed Natasha telling David offguilt it was.  So next day, she returned to the street to say goodbye.

First David, with whom she attempted to be nice.  When he rebuffed her, she told him “next to you I’m sanity personified.  You’re seriously disturbed.”

Natasha thanks LeanneNext to “thank” Leanne:  “You made me wake up and smell the bitchfest.”  And when Peter comes in, she suggests to him, “Look Leanne in the eye and ask her if she loves you.”  He is nonplussed by this.

Then the factory.  First Nick:  “You wrecked my heart.”  Then the Natasha telling Julie what Nick thinks of them allworkers, telling them what Nick calls them after hours.  Sean “limp wrists,” Janice “grunting garden gnome,” Julie “Jackie O – no, Jackie No.”  Carla tells her to leave and she shoots back “Goodbye, ‘Mount Everest – icy, wouldn’t want to go there’!”

Natasha smiles as Gail is firedFinally, her coup de grâce.  The medical clinic.  She told Gail and the doctor what she thought of Gail abusing her position by snooping through Natasha’s confidential records.  Doctor Dishy agreed and Gail was fired on the spot.

Her work there finished, Natasha jumped in Natasha leaves in taxiher taxi and left.  The only thing that destroyed her triumphant regain of herself was Nick coming out of the factory toward her.  But she didn’t tell the driver to stop!  And Nick didn’t really pursue her.  It was just sad, after such a beautiful swathe through town, seeing her crumple in the taxi, the righteous anger going out of her.

The fallout continues.  Carla’s wrath at Nick caused him to quit, so he’s now living at Natasha leaves factory in triumphhome unemployed.  The spillover of her wrath toward Trevor caused him to quit – both the Underworld job and their relationship.  She sought solace in bottles of wine and surprisingly, considering her distaste for all things Scottish, Scotch I think.  Now she’s avoiding Peter’s efforts to recruit her to AA meetings.

Dr. Dishy rejected Gail’s plea for reinstatement. His appointments are now scheduled and tea and bikkies served by Deirdre, “just temping”.   David and Tina seemed to be regaining some friendship after she sympathized with him about Natasha’s outburst.  But then he pretty much attempted to rape her.  Even he must be wondering if he is a psychopath.

Rwanda

Skull among palms in fieldSeventeen years ago, one hundred days of genocide ended in Rwanda.  It was part of a long-standing conflict between Hutu and Tutsi, two groups who uneasily co-exist in the small Central African countries of Rwanda and Burundi.  This time, from early April to July, it was the Hutu doing their damnedest to wipe out their Tutsi neighbours, family and friends.

Canadian Armed Forces General Roméo Dallaire headed a small UN peacekeeping force in Rwanda and Burundi at the time.  He saw early on that there were genocidal objectives to what had seemed like intertribal fighting with colonial history overtones. More peacekeepers were deployed, too late to stop the massacre and without a clear mandate on use of force in a still-volatile situation.  An estimated 800,000 people, one-tenth of Rwanda’s population, were killed in that hundred days.  The majority of the dead were Tutsis, the numerical minority in the country.

Invitation to journalists

Skeleton on beach at Gisenyi, Lake Kivu, RwandaAfter the bloodshed stopped, the Canadian Armed Forces invited journalists to come to Rwanda to see what they were doing.  I was lucky enough to go in September.  A word of advice to writers, travelers, students of the world:  if you ever have an opportunity to go to a war zone or any area of violence and conflict, take it!

I went with no knowledge of Rwanda, of military or UN action.  My predisposition was anti-armed forces, and against sticking our noses in other people’s business because we usually make it worse.

Bodies outside and inside Ntarama churchMy 10 days in Rwanda were earth-shattering for me.  I had been in conflict zones before, in Central America in the 1980s, but I’d seen nothing like Rwanda after the killing stopped.  I cannot imagine what it was like while it was still going on.

The closest I came was listening to a CBC radio news item that summer.  In almost silence, the reporter walked through the refugee camp at Goma, Zaire (now DRC).  She whispered into her microphone what she was seeing.  I sat down to listen, chilled in the day’s heat, following her steps over and around corpses and living people moaning for help or food.

Smell of death in Rwanda

In Rwanda, I saw skeletons and smelled the odor of death that lingered in massacre sites now cleaned of bodies. I saw gutted villages, houses burned and people gone.  Survivors starting to clean up and rebuild.  Can’t describe it – I did soon after getting back in a Patients, doctor and soldier in hospital, KibunguCBC Radio documentary Rwanda Maps.  I still smelled it then.

I saw military men and women from around the world – operating field hospitals, rebuilding telephone lines and radio transmitters, guarding and patrolling against insurgents.  On days off, they’d visit orphanages and play with the kids.  They ran radio stations for their own entertainment and that of the surrounding area.

They sometimes talked about what they saw and their own fears.  Soldiers in a military and political no man’s land.  They were not engaged in war, but they were not doing a straightforward peacekeeping mission where the lines, literally and figuratively, are clearly drawn.  They could use their weapons for their own protection or that of others if there was a real threat.  But many of the threats were invisible.  Land was still mined.  Signal Corps linesmen had to work in bush to rebuild communications lines.  The same bush that our Canadian Forces minders told us to avoid for fear of explosive devices.  “Keep on the beaten path, where you can see!”  they told us.  Wasn’t possible for the Signal Corps, however.

Peacekeeper Post-Traumatic Stress

Canadian Forces Grizzlies, stopped for bones in pathWhen my documentary aired, a friend said, “they bought you easily – a free trip to Rwanda and you’re a big Armed Forces fan!”  Yeah, I suppose that’s all it took.  That, and seeing the faces of soldiers.  Seeing them at work, then at play with the little kids.  Hearing them talk about what they’d expected and what they were seeing.  Watching them at a massacre site, telling us to use Vicks Vaporub and our gauze mask to block the stench of death.  Watching them look at skulls split open by a machete.  Them looking at the scattered bones of a child, gauging the age based on the size of their own children.

I later heard a soldier I’d met being interviewed about the need for treatment of post-Village children, base of Virungu Mountainstraumatic stress upon their return.  I could see why.  A night or so after my return, I was in a mall parking lot.  An employee put some wood in a dumpster.  Then he broke it to fit it in.  Crack!  I dropped to the ground like I’d been shot. I was only in Rwanda a few days, after the killing had been somewhat cleaned up.  While there, I never heard a gunshot.

Coronation Street Scene of the Week (July 17/11)

The Good Mother

A storyline, not a scene: the unmasking of Natasha’s dreams of housewifery.  It started Good mother Gail to Audrey: he needs mefor me Wednesday, with Gail getting up from her chair in the Rovers. “He needs his family… he needs me,” about Nick.  No!  Leave him alone!  My pleas to the screen did no good.  She had to Save Her Son.

It has been hideous watching Gail this week.  Yes, she was right to suspect Natasha and, yes, it seems Natasha wasn’t going to come clean of her own volition.  So Gail got the truth out.  Almost got Natasha killed too, but dear Sonny Boy is protected from himself again by his devoted ‘fight to protect the cubs’ mom.

A few years ago, I heard a woman jokingly say to her son, “I made you and I can break you.”   I thought it was pretty funny.  Then some things made me ponder mother-adult child relationships and I realized that too often it isn’t a joke.

Gail telling Nick in flat, Natasha listensMother is so determined to protect child and so convinced that she knows what is best that child never learns to deal with another person without the protection (interference) of mother.  Child never has to deal with his or her own mistakes, or successes, without the help (interference) of mother.  Therefore child ends up incapable of having an adult relationship without mother present in physical or psychological form, giving advice.  Child always looks for something else to blame for whatever goes wrong (after all Mother always scapegoated someone for child’s problems) and child expects someone else to fix those problems.  Mother is happy to do that.

Not all mothers are like that.  Thank God my own is not.  But I see those mothers and their damaged adult children, products of their missionary zeal.  Convinced that their supreme sacrifice of bringing this being into the world gives them the right to control him or her forever, with no questions asked.  Convinced that their years of protecting and caring for the child allows them to ‘protect’ and care for the adult.  The result is emotionally stunted adults who carry mother and her protection around in the back seat with them for the rest of their lives.

Nick beside her, Gail tells Natasha sling your hookWe’re seeing that with Nick.  Thank goodness he went to Canada for a few years, without mother, so maybe he’ll survive her hovering and protection now.  There’s been a few signs of it.  He told her to back off, after Natasha had attempted suicide.  Unfortunately he didn’t do it when Gail was confronting Natasha with her lies.  He stood shoulder to shoulder with his mother telling Natasha everything that was wrong with her.  He and Gail were right, but was the mother-son assault the best way to point these things out to her?

David has been perceptive about Gail’s role in this.  He’s pointed out her interference and its consequences in a calm and reasonable manner.  Of course, she is unlikely to pay attention to his words.  In her understanding of wisdom, she (mother) tells him (son) Nick finds Natasha overdosedwhat’s what, not the other way around.

We all carry our mothers around in our head.  Whether that’s good or bad for us, and anyone we come into contact with, depends on the legacy of behaviour our mothers show us.  The only bit of hope I saw for the Platt-Tilsey sons was both of them politely but firmly telling her to butt out, that she’d done enough.  I hope they stick to that.  I’ll bet she won’t.  She’s “a good mother.”

United Empire Rebels

A couple weeks ago, I posted the family tree of the Mabees, my paternal grandmother’s Christopher Mabee, Canadian Nationals 2005family.  It’s the family I knew least about, other than there are a lot of them in the Tillsonburg-Courtland area.  And I claim the fabulous figure skater Christopher Mabee, from Tillsonburg, as kin.  Don’t know how he’s related but I believe he must be, so I call him “Cousin Chris”.

Anyway, the internet allowed me to connect my limited knowledge of the Mabees with sources of a lot of information about them.  The thing that I was delighted to discover is that the Mabees came to Canada from the US as United Empire Loyalists.  That makes my entire lineage, both sides of both parents’ families, UEL.

Nancy Hart of Georgia, holding United Empire Loyalists prisonerSo talking with my husband, who was born and raised in the US, about the Loyalists.  His children are Canadian because of the Vietnam War.  I am Canadian because of the Revolutionary War.  Telling him about a Mabee ancestor whom the British hanged as a “spy” for the rebels.  The rest of the family came north to Canada. The American rebels, later known as the government and citizenry of the USA, seized their lands.

So what was that like?  Families divided by political opinion and geography.  For those who left, returning to the US was not an option unless they were willing to risk arrest.  Sounds like the American Civil War, doesn’t it?  Only it was a national border between them in the latter 1700s.

Butler's Rangers, painting by Garth DittrickBlack, white and First Nations – all belonged to the group that the new United States saw as traitors and that Canada called United Empire Loyalists.  All contributed to military efforts against the American “rebels” and all made new communities in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Quebec and Ontario.

Voluntarily or not, the loyalists had already left their homelands at least once.  Europeans like my ancestors had sought freedom from religious, economic or political oppression in a new land.

One tyrant or a thousand tyrants

Painting of Loyalists landing, Bay of QuintePresumably, my kin in the Mabee, Burwell, Anger and Lymburner families had found that in the beginning.  But when total independence was being discussed and fought for, they preferred political ties with Britain to living in the proposed republic.  “Better to live under one tyrant a thousand miles away, than a thousand tyrants one mile away” was how UEL Daniel Bliss put it.  And, to the north, there was a country/colony that agreed with that philosophy.  So they picked up stakes again and moved to British North America.

UEL version of Union Jack 1707-1801 Double rebels, and divided families.  Family members maybe never saw each other again.  Those who left had to abandon the land and homes they’d built up. They had to homestead all over again in new country.  New generations became American or Canadian, maybe not really thinking much about their connections to the other country and their family there.

UEL military service coronet, for Canadian heraldryFrom New Jersey to New Brunswick and New York to Niagara, those United Empire Loyalists, rebels against the United States of America, are my people.

Coronation Street Scene of the Week (July 10/11)

Waitress from Hell

I can’t stand Kylie.  That being said, I loved Wednesday’s scene of her “serving” in Roy’s Kylie slaps plate down for Eileen while talking on phonecafé.  It could be one of Dante’s circles of Hell for restaurant goers everywhere.

Cell phone wedged between her shoulder and ear, chatting away to someone, while slapping plates of food in front of customers.  Customers aghast, yet looking a bit frightened.  And Roy, unbelieving of what was happening in his café in front of his very eyes.

Roy tells waitress Kylie to tend to customersI shouldn’t loathe Kylie as much as I do, I suppose.  She’s a very realistic portrayal of just how stupid and selfish it is possible to be.  She’s young, she has had a hard life, and presumably she didn’t choose to have a child when she did.  She presumably does love Max, in her own young, stupid and selfish way.

Did she really want him back?  Probably in a befuddled emotional way.  Did Becky push her into this?  Oh yes.  Did Becky do it for her own reasons or Kylie’s?  Probably both, in a befuddled emotional way.

Kylie with Liz and kidsBut full-time motherhood is not where she wants her life to be at this moment.  She’s landed herself in a pretty good situation right now, barring having to be a responsible mother.  She’s made up with her sister, she’s got a free place to live and food to eat.  A ready supply of alcohol in the bar, and cash and stealable items handy in order to pay for her drinks and whatever else she wants to buy.

She knows somewhere inside herself that Becky is stealing her child.  She resents Becky buying Max clothes and doing the motherly things that she either can’t or doesn’t want to do.  She’s got Liz’s eagle eye on her, just another bossy old bat to her, ever ready to criticize or “help.”   She knows she’s messing up, and resents them for it.  But she just wants to have fun.

Kylie and Gary in motorhome bedHer “seduction” of Gary Windass was just horrible to watch, for her sake.  And stealing Mary’s motorhome as somewhere preferable to the Windass shed as a place for their – whatever it was.  Ugh, I don’t want to revisit it even in my mind.  I felt sorry for Mary, without the mixed feelings of creepiness I Mary sees her bedusually have about her, having her home desecrated by them.

Now she’s emotionally blackmailing Steve into letting her stay at the pub.  I was pleased that Steve realized what she was doing and called her on it.  But she’s using Max and Becky’s feelings for the child to make him back down.  I don’t think he’s yet realized that it was her who stole his bike.  When that comes out, I hope Kylie is sent packing and that Max stays with Becky and Steve.

I don’t like watching Kylie.  She annoys me and I’d like to give her a good smack and say “straighten up missy.”  But I recognize myself and people I’ve known in her.

Waterworks Cat

I’d planned to write something about this past week’s national birthdays but I’ve been Waterworks cat Wally rolling on floor, July 4thbusy – dealing with someone else’s problem, I think.  We have a new cat.  We didn’t seek him out, didn’t want a new cat.  But he’s here and my hope that he will return to his real home is fading fast.

Monday evening he was wandering the parking lot at Waterworks Park, meowing.   People said he’d been there for an hour or so.  He came right up to us, purr-purr and headrubs. Dark was coming, what are you going to do?

Put him in the car, stopped at a nearby variety store.  Nope, he didn’t look familiar and nobody asking about him.  So he’s been in our garage, slowly venturing into the house.  Our nasty cat hisses and spits at him.

Posters up in Waterworks area

Wally on stairwayPosters are up, ads are placed.  If someone has lost their pet, I hope they find us.  And he definitely is a pet cat.  He’s neutered, he’s not starving, he looks healthy, and he loves cuddling on laps and being petted.

But he’s been here two whole days now.  If I lost my cat, I’d be beating the bushes, going door to door – I’d call in the police if I thought I could.  Maybe someone is doing that and just hasn’t found us yet,  so please accept my apology for what I am about to say.

If this cat no longer fits in your plans or if you thought you could help solve a difficulty by dumping him, thanks for giving us your problem.  If you drove him to the park thinking “somebody will take him in and give him a good home”, thanks for disrupting our lives for two days so far.

Yes, we did take him.  A crying cat alone in a public place with no houses near by, almost dark.  What kind of person wouldn’t?  The people there were all concerned about him, and I could see the looks of relief when they realized a sucker was there willing to take him.  Lucky them!

Vet check needed because we don’t know

So he’s now being treated for parasites – no evidence of any, but just as a precaution old cat watches new catbecause I don’t know anything about his history.  If he isn’t claimed soon, he’ll have to get vaccinations.  He might be up to date on them but, again, I don’t know.

So, I have a request for anyone planning to dump their pet for someone else to look after. Spend one last dollar and buy a collar.  Attach a note with information on vaccinations, age and medical history.  If you want me or some “nice person” to clean up your mess, that’s the least you can do.  We’re paying money to do preventive vet care that may not be needed.

Again I apologize if someone is frantically looking for him.  Please contact me if he’s your cat.  We like him, are calling him Wally, but would love to see him reunited with his people.

Here’s a July 29th update on Wally – still with us!

Coronation Street Scene of the Week (July 3/11)

Family Trees

Two scenes this week – couldn’t choose between them.  Very different stories, but both about expanding the family tree.

We’ve got a new shoot on the Dobbs lineage, but daddy Tyrone doesn’t yet know that it was likely a graft.

Molly about to give birth, Kevin and Sally thereMolly hanging on, wanting Tyrone to be there before she went to the hospital and before she gave birth.  The people she most didn’t want there – Kevin and Sally – were.  Sally was trying to keep her from having the baby on the spot, in the living room.  Kevin was looking like he’d rather be anywhere than where he was.  Molly was throwing dagger looks at him and snarky comments.  Sally, for once, was just trying to help.

I was thinking who is this situation worse for – Molly or Sally?  In the moment, it’s gotta be Molly.  Having probably Kevin’s baby, while Kevin’s wife is acting as her midwife and Kevin himself is there in the room with you and her.

Jack and Connie with baby JackBut when the truth comes out, about Kevin and Molly’s affair, what is that going to be like for Sally?  Realizing she helped deliver her husband’s child.  I think that’s much worse, realizing you’ve been betrayed and that you, willingly and unwittingly, aided and comforted your betrayer.

And the coda to this scene, the lovely moment that brought tears to my eyes was Jack Duckworth holding the baby, and hearing that he’d be named Jack Dobbs.  The look on Jack’s face.  And that lucky baby:  he has the best granddad and dad in the world, even if both of them are social kin rather than biological.

Barlow Oak Tree

Peter Barlow meeting new family in RoversThe other scene involving lineage:  the ever-expanding branches of the Ken Barlow “oak tree” as Peter called his dad.  Seeing Ken’s son Lawrence and grandson James together with Ken was wonderful.  In the story it was great, but even greater knowing that both characters are played by Bill Roache’s real life sons.  That too made my eyes misty.  A show where an original character, first portrayed by a young man of 21 or something, now can show three generations with that actor’s own grown-up family.  I think that’s just fabulous for the Roache family and the Coronation Street family, both production and viewer.

Ken and father at table, 1st ep.In terms of the storyline, they’re also harking back to the origins of the Street – its characterizations and literary references.  We met Ken in conflict with his father over beliefs and values.  Their clash was over social class, and yes, Susan, mother of Lawrence was involved.  Fifty years later, Ken is trying to arbitrate between his son and grandson in their clash in values and ways of life.  Their clash is over sexual orientation.  The scene of them sitting Ken, son and grandson at tablearound Lawrence’s kitchen table arguing about change and social norms is a kind of upscale version of the “kitchen sink realism” of Britain in the 1950s and 1960s, a dramatic form and era that influenced Coronation Street.  And I could almost hear Neil Young’s anthem from the next era, “Old man, look at my life.  I’m a lot like you were.”