Corrie Street Aug. 31/14

That’s Amore

beth-and-kirk-kebab-shopAt the kebab shop, Chesney speaks for us all as he tells Kirk to just do it now! Kirk still wants a bit of drama for his proposal so he hides the ring in Beth’s kebab. Outside on the street, they start to eat. In the shop, anxious faces peer out the window. Ches, Sean, Julie and the others are holding their breath, like us, hoping against hope that nothing goes wrong.

It does. Worried about fitting into her bathing suit on their upcoming vacation, Beth looking-for-ringthrows her box of food away. No! There is a ring in there! When she realizes that, she scrambles to help Kirk go through the garbage can. An audience grows around them. Eccles joins in, seeing scraps of food she can grab. They find the ring, Eccles survives Beth’s wrath, and Kirk goes down on bended knee and asks her to marry him. Julie and Sean add a bit of song. “When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore.”

amore kirk-proposesBeth is over the moon, so happy with her Kirky and her ring. All week Kirk has been event-planning the perfect proposal moment. Each time went very wrong. Was he ever going to find the moment? Would he lose the ring? Beth thought his strange behaviour meant that he was going to break up with her. Ches dreaded a horrible flight to their sun vacation with both Kirk and Beth tense with anxiety. We can all now, with Chesney, heave a huge sigh of relief.

kirk-holding-ringI look forward to the wedding. The props department outdid themselves with that ring. What will they do with planning a wedding for Beth? I can’t wait to see.

Corrie Street Aug. 24/14

Shut Up

“Shut up shut up shut up!” Deirdre screamed at Ken as he continued to badger her about oh shut upnot having told him what was up with Peter. He is right, she ought to have told him. But, in the way that arguments do, it spiraled way past the actual issue to everything in their relationship.

She felt he was making it all her fault, and he felt she was making it all his fault. Her fault for not believing in Peter’s innocence and for not doing more to help him. His fault for not being there when his son needed him and when she needed him. And for never listening to her ever. And for always turning because-i-was-scaredthings around, in his clever way, to put her in the wrong. Just shut up. And he did.

He didn’t apologize to her, or acknowledge that he was often too quick to blame her. But he switched topics and altered the tenor of his voice from an accusatory screech to a reasonable tone for discussion. So they sat and talked about the circumstances of Peter’s arrest and what they could do, separately and together, for him.

even-then-you-did-not-callIt hasn’t been easy for Deirdre this past year, coping with everything on her own. It’s not easy for Ken, finding out how much he has not been kept in the loop. It hasn’t been easy for the writers either, not knowing for a long time when, indeed if, Ken would be returning. It is difficult to mesh storyline needs with real life exigencies and, overall, the writers have done a good job with Ken’s absence and return. But in the age of social media and online access to everything in the world all the time, there is quibble room.

deirdre and ken silentEven if we accept that neither his daughter nor grandchildren have thought about phoning or skyping Granddad in Canada and if we accept that Ken is not on Facebook or Twitter, wouldn’t he want to keep up on the UK news? He’s a newspaper junkie and I am sure he knows his way around a website. It’s a bit too much of a stretch to accept that the Weatherfield Gazette does not have an online edition and that former Ace Reporter Barlow would not check it just to get a sense of home.

We heard “shut up shut up shut up” again at the end of the week. It was directed to Peter, Jim-says-listen-to-me-peterto stop his whining and get on with getting a defence. No, it wasn’t Ken, although I suspect he’d have liked to. It was from Peter’s new best friend, purveyor of prison booze, The Landlord. It was Jim McDonald, so it was, talking sense in the big house.

A Grenfell Mat

At the annual Sussex Flea Market in Princess Louise Park you can find almost anything. But a Grenfell hooked mat was probably the last thing I expected to find. Grenfell mat showing hunter and dogs in winter

It hung on a canvas wall, shining among the antiques and bric-a-brac around it. Fortunately the seller knew what it was, a unique piece of early 20th century Newfoundland art and a beautiful example of a particular type of craft production.

Dr. Wilfred Grenfell, later Sir, was an English physician who Grenfell_1940_Issue-5c newfoundland stamp-wikicommonsestablished nursing stations and cottage hospitals in coastal Labrador and northern Newfoundland. In order to raise funds for the Grenfell Mission and to provide a source of cash income for local women, he started a handicraft production industry.

One of the main items produced by what was known as “The Industrial” were hooked mats. At first they were the geometric and floral design rag mats the women already made for use in their own homes. Later they began making “picture mats” of silk, like the one in Sussex.

Mats made of stockings

“When your stockings run, let them run to Labrador!” the Mission’s newsletter asked of its readers. So donations of “silk stockings and underwear in unlimited quantities” were sent to the Grenfell Mission. There they were cut in strips and dyed. Grenfell, his wife and some of the mat-makers themselves drew designs for the mats. Then using the sketch as a guide, the artisans hooked the scene into burlap with the silk strips.

Amazon link for Silk Stocking Mats about Grenfell mats
Click for Amazon link

The lightness of the silk and fineness of the hooking makes the mat almost like a tapestry. The surface sheen is visible these 80 or 90 years after this mat was made.

The height of the Grenfell mat-making industry was in the 1920s and 1930s. Mats were sold throughout the world, marketed through the Mission newsletter as well as Grenfell’s own contacts. They are still collected as the pieces of art they are. If I’d had the money, the one at the Sussex flea market would have found a home with me.

For detailed photographs and discussion of mats and other Grenfell craftwork, from a 2010 talk given by Silk Stocking Mats author Paula Laverty, see this blog.  

Grenfell Mats etc. on eBay

Corrie Street Aug. 17/14

Hello, Goodbye

dennis-leavesIt was ironic this week that Dennis Tanner left the street and Ken Barlow returned. Dennis left first, so they didn’t have a chance to say hello and goodbye.

Jim’s scene pick is Rita coming in the Kabin to see Dennis with his hand in the till, having just thumped Norris. She tells Dennis to leave now. No more chances for him, for them.

It put-the-money-on-the-counterwas a good scene, with the bonus of seeing Norris get a punch in the nose. But, for me, it is a scene that should not have been necessary. It was setting up the departure of Dennis and that is truly a shame. I agree with Llifon at Bluenose Corrie about the under-use and misuse of a good actor and the opportunity to link 50 years of the show’s broadcast history.

possessed-me-to-do-itI did like Dennis looking at his handiwork on the windowsill of his old house, now Eileen’s. It was nice seeing him with Julie, a friend and maybe distant relative. How much more would it have completed the circle if it had been Ken there, saying goodbye old friend, rival, whatever they were to each other in the early 1960s.

My scene was Friday and Ken getting out of the taxi. I was as excited as Deirdre to see deirdre-greets-kenhim. Welcome back, Ken and Bill Roache. You have been missed.

Deirdre trying to get him in the door before neighbours had a chance to spill about Peter was brilliant. And later, in the house when she is about to tell him, Eccles provides a twist in the thickening plot of ‘what does Ken know and when will he find out the rest?’

eccles-wants-outI do hope that Eccles’ moments of stardom in plot and character continue even now that Ken is back at Number 1. She has shone lately, first as investigator in Tina’s murder and now as therapist for Simon.

Corrie Street Aug. 10/14

Repo Man

faye-opens-doorTuesday the bailiffs come to the Windass-Armstrong house. Faye is the only one home and she lets them in. They size up what is worth taking to apply against the £5,480 that is due immediately.

If only Gary hadn’t run over to the shop to get a can of beans. If Faye had paid less attention to her phone and more to what Gary was telling her about who to let in and who to not. Even if Gary had explained why it was gary-tells-bailiffs-outso important to not open the door to anyone she didn’t know.

Faye told Anna that she knew what bankruptcy means. Gary might have made sure she also knew what repossession means, and that repo people might be on their way to their house. If he had, she might still have her laptop. But, as I once read, stories would be pretty short and uneventful if everyone did what they should do.

The visit by the bailiffs was eventful. Gary saw them as he came out of Dev’s, dropped his get-serious-sirtin of beans and sent out the alarm for Anna and Owen. All of them tried to stop anything being removed. They pleaded and tried to barter for an extra day, for mercy.

The bailiffs did give the family as much time as they could to make a partial payment in cash. But the small amount they could come up anna-begs-bailiff to take necklacewith wasn’t enough. Anna again was willing to sacrifice what precious things she had left, her necklace and ring, if they would leave what belonged to the others. It’s not enough, the bailiff said and refused to take them from Anna.

It’s not a circus

The whole street, it seemed, was out to watch what was going on. Sally was in the midst of it, alternately being Miss Judgemental and showing compassion for Anna (a surprise!) and comforting Faye. She even got rid of the gawkers – “it’s not a circus.”

The bailiffs left with the television and Faye’s laptop, and a lot of the Windass and removing-tvArmstrong pride. But they didn’t take their determination to work together to get out of this mess.

Despite feeling powerless, they are doing what they can. Owen will take any job, no matter how small. Gary gives Faye the little he has to make her life a bit more normal. And Anna makes a difficult trek to a food bank, because she will feed her family, come hell or high water.

Corrie writers are telling a story that plays out too often in real-life. Owen has worked windass-armstrongs-regrouphard all his life and, this one time, he took a risk on a big opportunity. He isn’t a scam artist. He’s not Phelan who uses bankruptcy as a way of living well with everything in his wife’s name. He is not Eddie Windass who, although lovely, would cheat at anything just to keep in practice. Owen, and Anna, are just trying to look after a family in an honest and honourable way. Still, such a nightmare can happen.

Corrie Street Aug. 3/14

Fairy Tale

not-have-to-be-like-thatAndrea turns up, with a bag, at Lloyd’s flat. She is ready to move in and ready, willingly or not, to tell him she is married. But Lloyd has already found out. They ignore the flowers and champagne that were meant to welcome her.

Lloyd doesn’t want to hear her explanations or protestations of love. It was a fairy tale, he says, beautiful girl meets ordinary guy and and wants to live with him happily ever fairy tale our-sorry-little-taleafter. But fairy tales don’t come true.

They can, says she. Trapped in an ok marriage, she found her Prince Charming in Lloyd. She loves him, wants to live with him, has left her husband. Her suitcase is her proof, she wants the happy ending.

But Lloyd can’t believe her. Because of his low self-esteem, Steve’s harsh words about her, and the extent of Andrea’s deception, he if-i-did-think-about-itbelieves that once again he’s been played for the fool. He was her bit on the side, as Steve said, and he hadn’t been able to read the signs she had been giving out. So he had blundered on, hoping and believing.

Andrea is devastated. What will she do if Lloyd tells her to leave? He wants to believe her and almost does. He should talk to her husband, he says, try to explain, try to make things right.

She hadn’t told her husband about Lloyd. She had just destroyed his family, she said, why lloyd-grabs-baghurt him more? But Lloyd takes that avoidance of the truth as a negation of him, and Plan B for her. Out, he says as he throws her bag toward the door.

However, a question pops to my mind. Aren’t they on Facebook?  Wouldn’t somebody have checked out somebody else’s profile and have had social media FBcircles collide? Could Andrea so completely hide her two lives from each other for so long?