Corrie Street Nov. 29/15

Our Girl in Havana

johnny and sally in roversDemotion, lateral move or promotion? It all depends on how you spin it. In Thursday’s episode, a new career direction for Sally was introduced and played out in several scenes. They were all perfect, and the most perfect of all was Johnny and Sal (“do you mind if I call you Sal?”) having a drink in the Rovers, sorting it out.

Johnny says there are one or two stitchersJohnny was trying desperately to dig himself out the very big hole he had dug for himself. He was attempting to explain to Sally that moving her to the sewing pool was not a demotion, rather it was evidence of how valuable she was as a machinist and as part of the management team. She would be their eyes and ears on the factory floor, an “our girl in Havana” agent Sally says she is not going to name namessupplying intel to the office. She’d be part of management too as supervisor of the machinists.

For Sally, that made up for a lot. She had just returned to work after her honeymoon and met her new boss for the first time. Her desk was right beside his in the office, isn’t that nice! Johnny tells Sal she would be our girl in havanaJohnny looked horrified and pained. No, he couldn’t have that, he told Carla in desperation. Her voice! Makes your ears bleed! She has to be outside the office door. Carla said ok, you tell her.

Johnny gave her a load of poppycock about why she was no longer Sally says you really mean it is a promotionneeded as a PA. But Sally winkled out his real reason for demoting her from her desk to a sewing machine. Insulted and unhappy at her machine, not sewing, threatening labour tribunal action. Take her for a drink and fix it, Carla told Johnny.

Character and actor perfection

And that’s how they came to be sitting at a table in the Rovers. As characters and actors, they were perfect and I watched them at both levels. It was hard not to. The pleasure actors Sally Dynevor and sally smiles and dreams of powerRichard Hawley were taking in playing off each other was jumping right off the screen. And their lines and actions were perfect for their characters. The dynamic between the characters and the professional rapport between the actors was a complete joy to watch.

Dr. George Park 1925-2015

George Park Oct 2012Today, Dr. George Park died at the age of 90. He was a retired professor of Anthropology at Memorial University of Newfoundland. He was my thesis advisor and he and his late wife Alice were my “St. John’s parents”. Below is an excerpt from the introductory chapter of a manuscript that he was working on. It tells us something about his life and his way of thinking. 

Kinga and the Knowledge Wars

My US schooling between the two World Wars was an excellent preparation for university, but left one pretty much in the nineteenth century. I was twenty and a Marine Corps fighter pilot waiting in the South Pacific for the planned invasion of Japan—when the war over there quite suddenly ended…

I didn’t discover the beauties of the social sciences until I was in graduate school. I’d gone back to university after trying journalism because it finally came to me that my colleagues in the profession had picked up almost nothing useful in ‘journalism’ classes about what a writer might do for the world – what the great journalists had done – only learned the ropes. After graduating in literature and philosophy I was finding out how little I understood of what my eyes were observing of the ‘real world’.

Three years of graduate work covering all the social sciences led to one intensive year in anthropology. By then we (man & wife & two boys then) had to decide which way to go for earning our bread: ‘high journalism’ and ‘social scientist’ were my options. We decided I should teach for a year, and with one thing and another it turned into something more like a decade.

The Chicago School

Sociologists today know the university where I did my graduate work as home of ‘the Chicago school’, an early teaching which linked the social sciences to direct observation and thereby to a ‘high journalistic‘ style of qualitative sociology–something contrasting to ‘quantitative‘ studies which ‘measure’ social systems without necessarily becoming directly acquainted with them… Most sociology falls between the two contrasting poles. I started my teaching career as a sociologist but moved toward the ‘qualitative‘ pole as best I could. The first step was a two year field study in northern Norway (for the doctorate degree in anthropology. Later I was able to get a post-doctorate year at Cambridge (UK) in ‘British social anthropology’ and consequently the fieldwork in Tanzania.

In the meantime, pretty much behind my back, the social sciences were flourishing in the US. That break from tradition came rather later on the British side. Social anthropology had developed without much sociological foundation there, though London in its classes brought European ‘sociological philosophy’ (not much observational basis) to bear and to good effect.

Social Structure

The more doctrinaire notions at ‘Ox-bridge’ about social structure had helped their fieldworkers start with the politically important features of social organization but had prevented their going much beyond. They sniffed at the ‘American’ notion of an anthropology centered in ‘culture’ and the descriptive analysis of prevailing ‘sentiments’ or ‘psychological’ premises implicit in the style of a people’s communal life. British social anthropologists kept to the end their notion of a ‘system in equilibrium’ as the subject one should study in the field. UK’s only really popular star in the profession was copiously descriptive in style and drifted in the end to New England. This was Bronislaw Malinowski, Polish-born author of an always engaging shelf of books on the South Pacific’s Trobriand Islanders…

Knowledge Wars

So it is to my British tutors I owe my own special interest in social structure, but to fellow North American academics I owe my interest in direct observation (out in the public arena, in the study of a profession or a functioning institution, a community) using facework as a scientific tool. I also owe to North Americans the long years of stress which have led me to an understanding of the useless ‘knowledge wars’ I want to address in this book. The problem, you will see, is the very purposefulness of the narrow mindedness social scientists are expected to show in the pursuit of wisdom in Academia americanensis.

The history of knowledge is older and more lush than the Garden of Academe, but the tales intimately intertwine from the start of the 20th century, when universities undertook the management of public moneys for the advancement of science. Until that point, a university was a center for educating a lumpen elite, the live storage of books, and the meeting of scholarly minds. The introduction of Science, with its increasing needs for equipment, new buildings, salaries for research, and en masse professional training left the poor classical scholar up a tree dreaming of a Saintly re-established Equilibrium. Still, those were stirring times. By the time I had done my apprenticeship, the signs of a shrinking world were burgeoning everywhere.

Paperbacks

The great knowledge revolution had taken hold, and knowledge of any sort, ‘practical’ or not, had begun to seem worth pursuing. The first phase in the democratization of knowledge began slowly with commodification of books in the English language: paperbacks, pocket size. The French had them earlier but in fuller size: ergo no sudden revolution. The US version got publishers putting scarce ‘library books’ in cheap versions, ‘mass produced’ with catchy covers.

Reading a monograph on an African pedestrian culture community had meant, throughout my time teaching sociology before Cambridge and Africa, at least a week getting hold of the book and writing long notes and citations without marring the library’s copy. A short generation later, by the sixties, you could assign such a monograph for a class and expect the students to buy it. Today, I suppose, that first phase of democratizing ‘college-level’ books was segueing into a further phase of ‘instant availability’ by courtesy of digital devices.

Technology had been democratizing knowledge but, for magnifying the knowledge base of social anthropology, the time was short. Research grants were painfully hard to get, and our ‘science’ hardly matured before the ‘field’ for ethnographic observation had virtually disappeared. Yet it is a premise of these pages that the immersion studies actually accomplished – in the too-short window of time a world in turmoil allowed – are a priceless inheritance, unique in its implications for basic research on what we almost casually used to call the ‘human condition’.

Pebbles of Fieldwork

I won’t try making a monument of pebbles, but bits of insight will begin to yield knowledge when you have got them properly laid out. The result can’t be seamless, and it could never be final. The very final chapter in the story of mankind will still be full of new stuff lying unsorted. That is one philosophical point I want to make, and I want to make it by showing off and sorting the pebbles I brought back, as a much younger social anthropologist, from Africa.

I was lucky enough to have, with my feisty, long treasured Alice and our four children, two years in East Africa just as colonial governments were secretly coming to an end. My research dealt with the Kinga people still thriving then in the Livingstone mountains of southwestern Tanganyika, (now Tanzania)…

Fieldwork in the early 1960s came to be focused on reconstructing the precolonial experience of ‘pure Kinga’ communities. What I knew about them when I arrived in their District was only that Kinga were ‘conservative’ in the meaning of their British governors. They hadn’t sold out or lost their way, they had kept continuity with their past as an independent people. This good news and a climate suitable for children had attracted me, and over the next six months as I reconnoitred and my family got settled in a luxurious mud hut (three rooms, tin roof) there was more good news. Guesswork had found me precisely the kind of people I stood to learn most from.

Kinga Trilogy by Dr. George Park

George Park and daughter Oct 2012His Kinga trilogy is available at Scribd to read online or download:

2001 Twin Shadows: Moral strategies of the Kinga of southwest Tanzania

2002 The Four Realms: Religion and politics in the making of an African protostate

2002 A Politics of Fear, a Religion of Blame: A comparative study of Kinga, Pangwa & Nyakyusa peoples in southwest Tanzania 

Macaroni and Cheese

This stove-top macaroni and cheese recipe is the best ever. I’ve made it a lot of different ways, and love this one. It is easy and consistently good.

stove-top macaroni and cheese cookingMakes 4 main-course servings or 6-8 side-dish servings (If you really like mac & cheese, you’ll want this amount for two people so you can have seconds)

Ingredients

2 large eggs
1 12-oz (341 ml) can evaporated milk
¼ tsp (1 ml) Tabasco sauce
2 tsp (10 ml) salt
¼ tsp (1 ml) ground black pepper
1 tsp (5 ml) dry mustard, dissolved in 1 tsp (5 ml) water
½ lb (225 g) elbow macaroni
4 tbsp (50 ml) unsalted butter
12 oz (350 g) Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, grated (abt 3 c/750 ml). Use sharp or mild cheddar, as desired
Toasted bread crumbs or crumbled saltine crackers* (optional)

1. Mix eggs, 1 cup (250 ml) evaporated milk, Tabasco sauce, ½ tsp (2ml) salt, pepper and dry mustard in a small bowl and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, heat 2 qt (2 L) water to boil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven. Add remaining 1½ tsp (7 ml) salt and the macaroni; cook until almost tender but still a little firm to the bite.

3. Drain and return the macaroni to the pan over low heat, add butter and toss to melt.

4. Pour the egg mixture over the buttered noodles along with three-quarters of the cheese; stir until thoroughly combined and cheese starts to melt.

5. Gradually add remaining evaporated milk and cheese, stirring constantly, until mixture is hot and creamy, about 5 minutes.

6. Serve immediately, topped with toasted bread crumbs or crumbled crackers.

Macaroni and Cheese Styles

macaroni and cheese served with peasI got this recipe several years ago from a London Free Press AP article written by Tommy C. Simmons. He says about the different ways of making mac & cheese:

“There are two styles of macaroni and cheese. One combines macaroni with a cheese-flavoured white sauce… The other is layered macaroni and cheese topped with a milk or milk-and-egg mixture that forms a custard when the combination is baked.

The food staff at Cook’s Illustrated magazine found a third style of macaroni and cheese preparation, which they credited to John Thorne’s Simple Cooking cookbook. [This recipe.] The recipe testers at Cook’s Illustrated described Thorne’s recipe and their adaptations in the January-February 1997 issue and rated it the best macaroni and cheese recipe they tested.”

Reading a Kirkus review of Simple Cooking, John Thorne’s books sound worth reading as much for his commentary on food and foodie trends as for the cookery information and recipes.

 

Corrie Street Nov. 22/15

Tile Street

Steve tiling the ladies’ washroom in Tuesday’s episode was funny. I tiling ad break photowasn’t the only one to think so, I would guess, based on the production team’s decision to use it as the still prior to the commercial break. It is rare that shots taken from the actual episode are used instead of one of the stock shots of the street or pub.

steve watches tiling videoUsually, Michelle and Liz laughing at Steve’s efforts is annoying and uncalled-for. But in this case (sorry, home handy persons), it was understandable. The situation was pretty funny.

tiles-fallingThey even tried to be supportive after the great fall. Michelle said, yes, the wall did seem to have a curve in it. And she managed to keep a straight face as she said it.

If Steve had let common sense overrule emotion, he might have looked at Tony repairing the loo as only right. Tony owns half the pub. Michelle, Steve and Liz watch tiles fallHe makes no contribution to its operation at all. I hope he is not getting half the returns from it. But as his share of the workload, and as penance for his fraud, having him do repair work for free makes sense. But doing that repair work means his presence in the bar and Steve, with cause, does not want to see him near the place.

Having done some tiling, and learning it isn’t as easy as it looks, I dab andy tiling video screencould sympathize with Steve’s plight. But still, like Liz and Michelle, I couldn’t help but snicker, indeed laugh.

Your Blues

Your Blues Ain't Like Mine Amazon link
Click for Amazon link

If you want to do some social research on the US of the latter half of the 20th century, read Your Blues Ain’t Like Mine. It is a first novel by Bebe Moore Campbell, published in 1992. All the major socio-political movements from the 1950s to 1990s are here, seen through the eyes of individuals living amidst the turmoil generated by idealism and socio-economic changes.

It can be emotionally hard to read but it’s well worth it. At the beginning, you meet unhappy poor people in rural Mississippi in the 1950s. Right off the bat, you see that there is going to be violence and misery. They are so unlikable that I almost pic Tim Hilton Mississippi house 1966stopped reading. I couldn’t get past them but my brother had told me this was a really good book. So I kept going. He was right.

Bebe Moore Campbell takes you into the black and white worlds of Mississippi and Chicago, of racism both personal and institutional, of poverty, of people who have dreams and those who have no hope. There are heroes and Chicago inner city apartments 1975 pic Danny Lyons wikicommonsvillains but there is no simple categorization of either/or. Just when you start feeling sympathy or respect for a main character, she or he will do something cruel or unthinkingly hurtful. When you decide that a character is unremittingly nasty, you will get a glimpse into his or her motivation. That at least explains why or gives you reason to sympathize.

Bebe Moore Campbell NPR photo“Powerful,” “compelling,” “engaging,” “extraordinary” – the words in the cover blurbs describe the book perfectly. It also scares the hell out of you, makes you cry, and makes you think.

NPR wrote and broadcast about Ms. Campbell at the time of her death in 2006.

 

 

Corrie Street Nov. 15/15

Ken & Aud

Ken Barlow is one of those guys who needs to be with someone. Yes, Ken Barlow and Audrey Robertshe enjoys his own company and pursues solitary, intellectual pleasures. But spending the day alone enriching oneself in the library is most enjoyable when someone is at home bemoaning your absence, and cooking your dinner. That was Deirdre. Not the same pleasure in coming home to Tracy. She’d be happy if he moved into the library permanently.

audrey-smiles-at-kenKen needs someone to tend to the real world around him and, perhaps more importantly, to be a foil for him. He needs a measure of comparison to reassure himself that he is a special man, a very special man.

So his zeroing in on Audrey so soon after Deirdre’s death isn’t surprising and isn’t out of character. It’s always nervous-making when one half of a soap couple is left alone. Who are they going to ken-speaks-of-being-alonepair him or her up with? Why can’t someone just be on their own and in a storyline once in a while. I had those thoughts when Ken’s eyes landed on Audrey. But I started thinking of Ken as he is, and it made perfect sense.

Ken has rarely, if ever, been without a woman. Often he has more than one on the go at a time. He needs them. He thinks he is pretty special, above the cut of the masses. At the same time, I think he has major insecurities. Both ways, an adoring woman at his side bolsters ken-audreyhis self-image. Especially if she, and he, believe she is not his intellectual equal.

I wonder if that is why, at the end, he decided to not run off with Martha of the canal boat. She had no doubt that she was more than his equal in intellect, social standing and spirit of adventure. He was in thrall with her, and I think that is not a place Ken is comfortable.

Audrey is perhaps the perfect match for him, next to Deirdre. She aspires toward the social graces, the artistic and intellectual. But she would never be a threat to Ken’s opinion of his superiority in those ken-watches-audrey-leavematters. She dresses beautifully and lives in a gracious, comfortable home.

Audrey settled into widowhood graciously. She is comfortable with her own company, despite her queen bee tendencies. She sought love many times after the death of her dear Alfie, but it never really happened. Maybe this time? Maybe with Ken? That would be fine, for both of them, as long as their narcissist traits mesh instead of collide.

Ken BarlowThe introduction of Nessa is unnecessary, but I can go along with it. A threat to Audrey for Ken’s affections, she is not. Perhaps she’ll give one or both of them a nudge, although Ken already seems ready to rock and roll.

Newfoundland’s Gallipoli

ptes-stanley-and-george-abbot-PANL-heritage.nf.ca_first-world-war_articles_beaumont-hamel“Ptes Stanley and George Abbott of the Newfoundland Regiment were my grandmother’s brothers. I remember that picture of them at her house. My Dad’s sister has it now. They made it through Gallipoli only to be struck down at Beaumont-Hamel.” (Mike Barrett, comment)

George and Stanley were sons of Henry and Emily Abbott of Battery Road in St. John’s. When they were killed July 1st, 1916, George was 22 and Stanley 21.

At Gallipoli, about 40 Newfoundland men died. The 1st Newfoundland Regiment landed September 20, 1915. The battle had been going on since April 25th. It lasted until January 9, 1916.

Caribou-Hill-Gallipoli-rcinet.caThe other Allied forces there were from the UK, France, Australia and New Zealand. The ANZAC troops, from Australia and New Zealand, proportionately lost the most men. Gallipoli was their Beaumont-Hamel, the battle that will always stay in their memory, that defined them as nations.

..Johnny Turk he was waiting, he primed himself well…
And in five minutes flat he’d blown us all to hell…

(Eric Bogle, And the Band Played Waltzing Matildahere it is, beautifully presented)

ANZAC Day

April 25th is Anzac Day, a day of remembrance each year in New Zealand and Australia. And in Newfoundland. “The Newfoundland Regiment commemorates Anzac Day, a unique tradition in the modern-day Canadian Forces. Every 25 April the regiment marches through St John’s to the National War Memorial…” (NZ History).

Beaumont-Hamel has such a strong presence in Newfoundland and Labrador’s memory that it’s easy to overlook battles like Gallipoli. A commemorative newspaper tells the story of Newfoundland’s Gallipoli. The text is below (the whole paper is online – worth reading).

gallipoli canada-remembers-times“When Britain declared war in August 1914, Newfoundland, which was a colony of Britain at the time and not yet a part of Canada, responded quickly and began recruiting men for overseas service.

The fighting in the First World War occurred in more places than just Western Europe. On September 20, 1915, the 1st Newfoundland Regiment landed on Turkey’s Gallipoli peninsula, joining British, French, Australian and New Zealand troops already there. Gallipoli would be the Newfoundlanders’ first experience of the horrors of trench warfare—artillery fire, snipers, punishing heat and cold, and disease caused by living in such harsh conditions.

In November they earned their first battle honour when they captured “Caribou Hill”—named after the animal that represented their regiment. These soldiers later successfully covered the withdrawal of Allied troops from the region, being among the last to leave in January 1916. Approximately 40 Newfoundlanders had died there, a grim taste of the great casualties the regiment would soon suffer on the Western Front.”

W_Beach_Helles_Gallipoli-7Jan1916-wikipediaChristopher Morry tells his grandfather’s story in the book When the Great Red Dawn Is Shining. Howard Morry of Ferryland fought at Gallipoli, fought at Beaumont-Hamel, and came home to Newfoundland. Lucky man!

Those buried at Gallipoli

I could not find the names of all the men of the 1st Newfoundland Regiment who died at or due to Gallipoli. Below are the names of 22 who are buried there.

nf-reg-wwi-badgeBewhey, E.
Blyde, M. J.
Brown, J. M.
Carew, D. M.
Dunphy, J.
Ebsary, H. E.
Ellsworth, J.
Fitzgerald, J.
Hardy, W. F.
Hiscock, S.
Hynes, J. J.
poppy-d-stewartKnight, G. S.
Lodge, S.T.
McWhirter, H. W.
Morris, R.
Murphy, W. J.
Roberts, F.
Roper, F. C.
Simms, G.
Squibb, J.
Tibbo, J. J.
Wighton, C. Capt.

 

Corrie Street Nov. 8/15

Make a wish

Thursday Tyrone reassured Hope that she’d meet Santa, the real Santa, in tyrone tells hope she can make a wish for SantaLapland. I too desperately wanted her to get her wish. I knew that he, like Fiz, was worried about not having the money for the trip, but couldn’t break her heart by saying no.

Contact Make-A-Wish, I thought. That surprised me. I’ve never been comfortable with the premise of it and similar foundations that fund terminally ill children’s wishes. A lot of money is raised to send kids to Disneyland. But couldn’t that money be better spent on research for cures? For preventing preventable disease among millions of poor and undernourished children? Trips to Disneyland or wherever seemed to me like First World, individualistic self-absorption.

hope-and-tyHope has changed my mind. For a sick child, that wish is the single most important obtainable thing in his or her life. Fiz and Tyrone are showing me that, for the parents of a gravely ill child, that one child is the world. The mantra of ‘we should care equally for all children everywhere’ may be a valid sentiment. But it means squat to parents and children facing grave illness.

Generosity of spirit

If there are kind people in the world who want to help make dreams come true, who am I to quibble about where and how they express their generosity of spirit? Not having the money to give your child the one last gift he or she would really like is one extra burden on already overburdened parents. Money alone can’t cure childhood cancer, but fiz listens and worriesit can provide the means of bringing that bit of joy to sick kids and their families.

So the next time a grocery cashier asks if I want to donate to Make-A-Wish or Children’s Wish Foundation, I will not reply with my usual ‘no’. I’ll donate. Thank you, Hope.

If you haven’t seen this already, here’s how St. George, Ontario made sure a 7 year old boy got to see Santa come to town.

Breeders’ Cup

Saturday was Hallowe’en. A big day. This October 31st was a big day for another reason. The Breeders’ Cup Classic horse race and the chance to see something that’s never happened before. It happened.

breeders' cup classic pharoah-and-victorWire to wire and breaking the track record time, American Pharoah won the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Classic. Therefore, he won the grand slam, the four most prestigious Thoroughbred races in North America. He is the 12th horse to win the Triple Crown and the first who had the chance to add a fourth jewel. (Watch it here)

The Breeders’ Cup was started in 1984 by American horse breeders as a showcase for the sport and the bloodstock. Each year, on dirt and turf tracks, the best of the best compete. The Classic is for 3 year old and older horses. It’s a big end to the race meet and the season.

five-length-leadUnlike the Triple Crown races, the Breeders’ Cup moves from track to track each year. This year, for the first time, it was held at Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky. In light of the history it made, that was especially nice. Keeneland is an old and prestigious track right in the middle of the blue grass and horse farm country.

Breeders cup celebration wave

After the Breeders’ Cup Classic

The day after the Breeders’ Cup, American Pharoah was trailered a few kilometres down the road to his new home, Ashford Stud at Coolmore Farms. It would have been a difficult day for the Zayats, saying goodbye to him.

He’s still their horse but they sold the breeding rights to Coolmore. It’s likely his stud fee will be about $200,000. That will go up or down, depending on what happens when his babies start racing. The fee for the services of Pioneerof the Nile, his dad, jumped way up to $120,000 after American Pharaoh won the Triple Crown. It was evidence of good genes being passed on. So now we wait to see if American Pharoah passes them to his offspring.

classic championI wish American Pharaoh a long and happy life. His name will be a distinguished one in the record books forever. He’ll have a special place in our hearts. A Triple Crown after 37 long years, when it seemed all but impossible. Then the cherry on top – the Breeders’ Cup Classic. But most of all for his heart and personality, for making it look so easy.

 

Corrie Street Nov. 1/15

Meh

I found no ‘scene’ this week. So here are some storyline comments to fill the space – just as the storylines themselves seemed to do this week.

Corrie Street Nov. 1/15 sarah-upsetI don’t want any of the Platts to go to jail for the offing of Callum. But, after watching Sarah look like a scared rabbit for weeks, I’ll volunteer her. Go to jail, go to Milan, please just make it stop.

And why hasn’t anyone confronted her about it. She looks awful, she’s messing up at work really badly when she sees her way clear to being there. People have noticed but no one, until Billy, has asked what is going on and waited for a real explanation. I don’t think you need to be a trained professional to Corrie Street Nov. 1/15 seanknow that something is seriously off with her. So Billy the vicar notices and promises the seal of the confessional and she’s ready to talk. Along comes Sean, barging into an emotional and private talk. That had to have been evident from the other end of the street. It’s the chance for Sarah to escape, and she does.

How Billy did not turn on Sean in fury, I don’t know. Sean needs some schooling in basic vicar partner behaviour. Like keep your sarah-leavesnose out if it looks like your man might be doing vicar work even if it is outside on the street.

Billy finally got some of the story out of Sarah, and then ran into Todd on the street. He reassured him about Sarah, and touched his arm. Sean was lurking to see what Billy was doing, and so now thinks something is going on between Billy and Todd. Oh please Lord, spare us Sean’s misinterpretations.

Racing storyline and more new people

luke-with-car racing storylineMisinterpretation of a sort by Maria. Wow, there’s a surprise! Why did she give Luke a car to do up as a racer if she is so dead set against him racing? What did she think he was going to do with it?

In order for the “Tell Laura I Love Her” story to play out, Luke needs unhappy-mariaan accomplice. So we have a new character, Luke’s racing partner. He might not last past the racing story and, with luck, that will end soon. Yes, Maria, your parents and the donkeys, indeed the whole of Cyprus, need your help.

Because the street just doesn’t have enough underused characters already, we have new Connors in the factory. I like Johnny, the father. He has great potential for being a real foil for the factory girls and for connors - Carla, Aiden and JohnnyCarla. He has everything needed for a Mike Baldwin. His daughter? I don’t see the point of her, other than to bring in her girlfriend Caz. I guess Sophie, presently the only lesbian on the street, needs fodder for a romantic storyline. I can’t see any other reason for yet another new character.

There, space filled. Let’s get back to some scenes that you can sink your teeth into.