All posts by Dorothy

Coronation Street Scene of the Week (Mar. 17/13)

You do something enormously stupid.  So you come up with a plan that gets you out of it and, even come-on-katybetter, makes it seem somebody else’s fault.  You will look like a hero, maybe even a martyr, and somebody else will look like the schmuck.  Somebody, say, like Chesney.  Perfect.  What could go wrong?

Thursday Katy learns the art of covering your tracks.  But she needs more practice to become successful at it.  She is angry at Chesney because he is not thrilled about her working at the kebab shop, leaving him with baby Joseph.  She’s become interested in Ryan because, well, he’s not Chesney.  Her friends think Ryan’s hot so she’s looking at him with new eyes.  He deejays, has fun and pays her compliments.  Chesney works at a market stall and whines about lack of money.  Katy is just a teenager, stuck with a baby, a stack of dirty dishes and a sister-in-law whining about her boyfriend banged up in jail.  Yep, Ryan would look good.

Katy-and-Ryan-kissAfter she and Ryan kiss in the back of the kebab shop, she realizes she has to get out of temptation’s way.  Conveniently Dev walks in so she says she quits, that Ches doesn’t like her working.  She’s angry at Ryan, at Ches and, most of all, at herself.  So she stomps home and says I quit are you happy now.  She plays the martyr card, taking over feeding of the baby and saying I’ll bring your pipe and slippers as soon as I’m done here.

take-over-thanksThe lesson she’s about to learn is, in this situation, don’t overplay the martyr.  She doesn’t know that Fizz and Tina have been telling Ches that he’s wrong to expect Katy not to work, that almost all couples must both work and share child-care just to make ends meet.  So when she sits glowering about the injustice Ches has does her, she isn’t aware of how the wheels are turning over in his head.

Katy-Ches-DevOn his way to get take-out, he stops by Dev’s and pleads for her job back.  Dev finally agrees and comes back to the house with Ches.  Both are very pleased with themselves.  Dev is giving a flighty young girl a second chance, Ches is showing that he can change his thinking and isn’t still swimming in the primeval swamp of male chauvinism.  Tada!  Fizz and Tina are witness to the entire thing – Ches fairer-than-thatcomplaining about not having a wife at home, Katy unwillingly giving in to his unreasonable expectations, then his change of heart.  “Can’t say fairer than that, Katy,” says Fizz.

No indeed, Katy, you can’t.  What you must learn in the art of shifting blame is don’t provide a way for the other person to remedy the situation that you have set up as their fault.  all-happyHad she tamped down her appearance of anger before she walked into her house, she may have achieved the outcome she wanted.  Walk in saying, you’re right, I can’t bear to be away from Joseph.  He’s only little once, we’ll get by on what you make, etc.  She then provides Ches with no option other than to say thank you, are you sure, you can work if you want to.  That is the “martyred saint” approach, safer than the “angered martyr” that she chose.  But success in such deception, and deflection, takes time to learn.  And she’s still very young.

Coronation Street Scene of the Week (Mar. 10/13)

should-say-somethingThe scene:  Sylvia and Norris discuss Kylie, who is drinking her pregnant face off.  Sylvia says she shouldn’t be drinking if she’s in the family way.  Norris says that’s probably how she got that way.  Bwahaha.  You’re more correct than you can even imagine, Norris.

The story:  just sad, especially for Kylie.  She had to confess to Gail about what Lewis was using to blackmail her.  A one-night-stand, she says, too drunk to remember who the guy was.  Gail does the math, might be that guy’s baby.  Kylie says no, I used protection.  Gail doesn’t quiz her on how she can remember that when she can’t remember who or where.

how-many-of-thoseWith Gail saying she is telling David, Kylie decides to get drunk.  But does she go to the Weatherfield Arms or the Flying Horse, nearby but less likely to be filled with her neighbours and friends?  No, across the road to the Rovers.  Recently returned Gloria is the only one who doesn’t know she’s pregnant, so she serves her.  Stella cuts her off.  Kylie makes a scene, falls and ends up in hospital.  Both she and the baby are in jeopardy.

Oh poor Kylie, there is no way she can come out of this ok.  If Gail tells David, who can even Kylie-on-tableimagine what he will do?  Nick points that out to Gail, who of all people ought to be aware of the thin pinpoint that is David’s sanity.  If Gail doesn’t tell David, Kylie will still have the guilt, remorse and fear forever – made even more acute by knowing that Gail knows.

Nick for once did the decent thing and told his mother the truth, that he was that other guy.  I feared he was going to leave that for Kylie to have to do.  At least this way, she spreads her disgust around to both of them.

Kylie-fallsI can’t blame Gail for being disgusted, for wanting to protect David and even thinking he ought to know what his wife and brother have done to him.  They were both terribly wrong and she is his mother after all.  She cannot, or will not, see what is apparent to anyone with a little more distance.  This whole sorry mess was started by David and his obsessive need to Be A Daddy Now.  That’s what caused the estrangement between him and Kylie.

Her response, to fall into bed with Nick, was really-hurtneither mature nor advisable.  She had been mature in telling David she wasn’t ready for another baby and why.  Neither David nor Gail was mature enough to listen to her and accept her decision.  But now, despite that and despite Nick so desperately hanging on to his own ill-starred marriage, it is Kylie who will take the blame.  Poor Kylie.

Coronation Street Scene of the Week (Mar. 3/13)

Sylvia has found her Rain Man and her rainmaker.  Having developed a liking for games of chance comfort-in-numberswhile in America, she realizes Roy’s odd and heretofore embarrassing mental acuity has a practical use.  She has lost a great deal of money in casinos and Roy wants her to get it back.  She would like to recoup her losses and make even more!

His abilities in mathematics and memory are perfect for the game of blackjack.  He has never played before but, after scanning her book on card games, realizes the trick to it is in counting cards so you have a better chance of predicting card-practicewhat is left in the dealer’s deck.  But he needs to practice with other players.

Enter Dennis and Ken, come to the café for tea and a bun but recruited into blackjack practice.  How perfect that it is them!  Like Roy, Ken has never been in a casino in his life and has moral qualms about all gambling.  Like Sylvia, Dennis is in his element.

blackjackRoy decides that he is ready and takes the café float.  He stops playing after winning back exactly what Sylvia lost in that casino.  The manager comes over after suspecting Roy is counting cards.  Roy freely admits he is and points out that he’s broken no rules by doing so.  The manager says the casino has the right to bar him regardless.  Roy says fine, he has no intentions of returning.

Back at the café, Hayley is horrified by what Roy did.  Roy is proud but uneasy about using his feel-like-a-circus-actpowers for evil, as it were.  Sylvia is exultant and sees riches in their future if only she can convince Roy to keep playing – using his great gift in a way she can be proud of.  He stomps out, after referencing Alex Gilroy’s wish to turn him into a circus act.

Hayley explains to Sylvia that the long-ago Rovers landlord and wannabe impresario wanted to create a stage act for Roy to amaze crowds with his “miracle memory”.  Roy had felt humiliated by such exploitation.  Sylvia realizes she was indeed doing the same thing.

hugWhen Roy returns, he has got back the watch Sylvia had pawned.  She apologizes, says she was proud because he defended her and hugs him.  Hayley is pleased.  So is Roy, although his face shows his unease with such a display of physical affection.

Card counting as Roy was doing it, all in his head, is legal.  Casinos dislike it and watch out for it because it gives the player an advantage.  Shuffling techniques, manual or automated, are used to lessen the likelihood of a player being able to keep track of cards played.  Casinos cannot kick someone out for counting cards, as long as no aids in the form of technology or a helper are dealing-cardsused.  But they have the legal right to bar anyone from specific games or the whole casino if they choose with no cause having to be shown.

Prodigious memory is not needed to count cards although obviously that helps.  There are techniques you can learn that help.  My husband says that in playing bridge, you keep track of cards played in order to anticipate what is coming next.

Coronation Street Scene of the Week (Feb. 24/13)

Forgive me for reminding you of this song, Mother-in-Law (click to hear).  But it popped saved-up-enoughinto my head while Gail was pleading with Nick to take her in.  She was homeless, she said.  She was his mother, she how-longsaid.  Throughout her speech, she never once looked at Leanne, Nick’s wife, standing right beside him.  Leanne, however, was looking at her and looking daggers at Nick when he caved in.

Then came my pick for best scene of the week, more accurately I guess, sound.  The scene Nick-looks-to-kitchenwe can only imagine since it took place off-screen.  When Nick told Gail she could move in, Leanne looked at Nick in horror then flung herself through the door to the glass-breakingkitchen.  The sound of crashing glass and crockery followed.  I don’t think it was just dishes and glasses falling, I think they were being thrown across the room.

I don’t blame her.  Gail has not even been civil to her before or since Leanne and Nick’s wedding.  They are still newlyweds, adjusting to living together and making a family life with Simon.  Their relationship was far from easy before the wedding(s) and they need time to sort themselves out.  We’ve never seen Nick’s flat so we don’t know how large it Leanne-laughsis.  But he rented it for himself only so I doubt it’s more than adequate for the three already in it.  And then the mother-in-law expects to move in.  Not because she truly has nowhere else to go, only because she is angry at her other son and his wife.

Gail has reason to be angry.  David and Kylie are not-a-mother-on-earthacting abominably to her.  Whether or not they buy the house, it has been Gail’s house for all of David’s life.  Adjustments in living arrangements need time and discussion by all three adults.  But there’s the rub:  David and Kylie are not adults.  Despite lurches into apparent maturity, they still are just playing at adulthood.

holed-up-in-the-box-roomThat was underscored in Friday’s episode when Gail lets them know that if she is being treated as a lodger, she will act like one. No, she’s no longer taking Max to school, no, she won’t iron David and Kylie’s shirts but she will leave her ironing board up and let them use her iron until they buy their own.  Kylie be-doing-thisand David both are astounded and furious.  After all she’s always done all the work – she’s mum and grandmum.  No, she says, you say I’m a lodger.

She is taking the fight to them, something she should have done at the beginning instead of running to Nick, crying to him to bail her out.

take-it-off-my-rentAt least events of the week have answered the question of how many bedrooms there are upstairs.  But two and a “box room” still doesn’t really explain how Gail has had so many of her children and their lovers and children living there all at the same time.

Coronation Street Scene of the Week (Feb. 17/13)

Amount of money needed to pay off debt: £9,000.  Vengeance exacted while getting that what-goes-aroundmoney:  priceless.

I still don’t think Lewis is justified in his outrage at Gail for testing his loyalty to her mother, and certainly not at Audrey for going along with it when she found out.  It makes me think that his professed love for her and change in character isn’t so profound.  The test, after all, was specifically related to his long-term vocation and avocation, ripping off women like Audrey.  Had he been truly changed by his love for Audrey, he would have accepted that they had cause for doubt regardless of the humiliation caused to him.

However, he is a man with pride and an astounding ability to hold a grudge.  While that has been bad for Audrey and now Gail, it’s been great for us as viewers.

platt-family-viewingGail assembles the family to tell them she and Lewis are moving to Italy.  Lewis texts her:  start without me.  He texts Nick:  put the Italian for Lovers dvd in.  It’s a lesson of a different sort.  Lewis is behind the bar at the Bistro, mixing himself a cocktail and telling Gail what he has done and why.  He cleaned out her bank account because she had cost him his relationship with Audrey.  you-made-it-easyHe tells Audrey that he truly loved her.  But thanks to Gail, he was back to his former self and wanted revenge.  And that, he said, is best served like a Bellini in a chilled glass – cold.

I knew the dénouement of Lewis’ scam would be good but it was better than I imagined.  I ciaoactually felt sorry for poor Gail by the end.  And I was happy to see Audrey vindicated.  An added treat was Lewis’ message to weasel-of-a-husbandKylie:  that she “could do a good deal better than that weasel of a husband”.  In his words to Nick, that he too deserved happiness, there was a coded message to him and Kylie.  The others in the room wouldn’t get it, but probably Kylie did in that she knew that Lewis knew about her night with Nick.

Kylie feels guilty about having given Gail’s banking password to Lewis.  But he would have found it sooner or later.  Back at the Bistro, she told Nick what she had done.  I’m glad she did; a burden shared is a burden lightened and, after all, he can’t afford to rat her out to Gail.

treasure-islandWhat can possibly follow such a splendid scene?  Why, Sylvia and Roy.  Nicely timed, too, with Hayley and Roy looking at Sylvia’s steamer trunk for a few seconds.  Very little dialogue to be missed while audiences are still exulting over Lewis’ tour de force.  Then Roy talks about the trunk, familiar to him from his childhood.  He used to hide in it during his birthday parties.

milton-sent-itSylvia hears him as she enters the room.  “I lifted the lid and there he was, playing with his little Dinkies.  Well, lining them up in straight rows actually.”  It is wonderful to have her back.

What would make me really happy would be for Lewis to return and be in a story with Sylvia.  I don’t know what the storyline make-my-telephone-callmight be but I think they could have the two of them sit in the café and read the telephone book and it would be wonderful to watch.

Coronation Street Scene of the Week (Feb. 10/13)

A Joan Armatrading song mentioned by Jenna this week applies to three characters in two different storylines:  “I’m not in love but I’m open to persuasion.”  Jenna and Lloyd in one, Kirsty and Tyrone in the other.  Four actors, two great scenes.

beat-a-confession-outKirsty and Tyrone talk after she returns to Number 9 from the wedding that didn’t happen.  Tyrone desperately tries to smooth things over so that she will stay or agree to let him keep Ruby.  Kirsty isn’t buying any of it.  She is angry but also hurt.  She wants to tell him how it is going to be, but she also wants to explain herself to him.  It is both a huge fight and a cathartic opening up of her history and emotions.

For the first time that I can recall, she gives details about her dad hitting her and her mother covering it up.  When a child, she had asked her father if they could have a dog kirstyand a broken collarbone was her answer.  At the hospital, her mother told the doctor she had fallen off her bicycle:  “kids, eh!” she laughed.

Tyrone listens to Kirsty without interrupting.  It seems he, like me, is visualizing the little girl hurt by one parent and betrayed by the other.  All because she wanted a dog.  Tyrone is a dog person and I wonder if, like me, he’s thinking thank heavens they didn’t get one to be yet another victim for daddy.

top-of-stairsBut Tyrone returns to his immediate concern – who will have Ruby.  Kirsty, daddy’s girl after all, raises her fists Paul-with-Kirsty-bottom-of-stairsto him as she tells him Ruby will be with her.  They push past each other to get upstairs to the baby.  At the top of the stairs, Tyrone ducks a punch from Kirsty and she keeps on going, all the way to the bottom.  High drama resumes.

Lloyd arranging an opportunity for a heart-to-heart with Jenna breaks the ‘high drama’ be-anything-moreof Sally carping at Jenna about taking advantage of her innocent little Sophie.  As they decide what kind of take-out they want, he gently presses her about whether she has romantic feelings for Sophie or women in general.  She doesn’t answer directly but we and Lloyd accept her words as a yes.  And no, she never felt she could tell her mother or especially her father.  Lloyd questions this, saying her father was an open-minded man.  She says that her dad never again never-played-it-againplayed one of his favourite songs after he heard that the singer was gay.

It was nice to see Jenna relax and open up.  I have liked her character but she always seems to be buttoned up with so much tension held in her neck and shoulders that she could benefit from physiotherapy herself.  Admittedly, she’s had reason to be tense with finding out her late father wasn’t really her dad and he knew it, that Lloyd is her biological dad and now is back with her mother.  On remember-that-songtop of that, Sophie, a teenager, has been throwing herself at her, as did Sophie’s dad.  And she doesn’t want to out herself.

not-marrying-me-becauseSo Jenna might persuade herself to love Sophie.  Tyrone tried to persuade Kirsty he was in love with her and Kirsty desperately wants to believe she is loved.

Hampton Court House

Hampton Court House 5-Feb-2013 D StewartThe 140-year-old Court House in Hampton, New Brunswick has heard its last case.  Court cases for Kings County will now be heard in Saint John.  The town knows a new purpose for the building must be found, something befitting its beauty and its position as centrepiece in the town.  But.

They already have a museum and library.  The building needs extensive refits and, of course, public money is in short supply.  Please, Hampton, don’t let this magnificent structure and its grounds become derelict.

There are too many beautiful old buildings left to moulder beyond the point of any reasonable possibility of renovation or maintenance.  Such buildings are markers of our heritage.  When we lose them, we lose our collective history.

nb-castle-manor-cbc.ca-22jun2012In Moncton recently, I saw Castle Manor for the first time.  The huge stone building with good-sized grounds looks pretty bedraggled.  Plywood covers all the ground-floor windows.  Originally built by the Roman Catholic Church in the early 1900s as a seniors’ residence, it has also been a school and orphanage.  Vacant, it was bought in 2012 by a local builder.  He says vandalism has been a problem.  He didn’t say what his plans are, but it sounds like he values its historical and architectural significance to the city.  I hope he can do something beautiful with it before its story ends sadly.

Coming from St. Thomas, Ontario, I know that architecture, and the recognition of its value, can be defeated by real and bureaucratic vandalism.  Alma College was the pride of St. Alma-College-discover-southern-ontario.comThomas.  Built in 1878, it was a private girls’ school from 1881 to 1988.  It then passed through several hands and, like Castle Manor, became pretty sad looking.  Windows were boarded up after the glass had been broken.  People slept in the building and used it as a hangout.  It had provincial status as a historic building but status and a plaque cannot protect against the predation of weather, time and vandals.  It deteriorated to the point that rehabilitation may have been impossible, no matter how much money was available.  Battles about whether to restore or demolish went on for years. Then somebody torched it.

Alma-College-Fire-Credit-Robert-Chaulk,-Sun-Media-Corp-heritagecanadaMay 28th 2008, smoke could be seen all over the city. I drove toward it.  Alma College in flames.  Pretty much every firefighter and piece of firefighting equipment in the city was there, huge crowds gathered on all sides to watch and cry and pray but it was too late.  All that’s left are the outdoor amphitheatre and the music building.

Please do not let this happen to the Hampton Court House.  The building, still usable Main-Street-Hampton-5-Feb-2013 D Stewartnow, has given grandeur to downtown Hampton for well over a century.

I am sorry that it will no longer be an active court.  I will miss the reportage from it in the Sussex Kings County Record.  Every week there is at least one full page of proceedings.  Shoplifting, drunk driving, assault – lengthy and detailed accounts that give a wonderful window into society and jurisprudence in this area.

Coronation Street Scene of the Week (Feb. 3/13)

My husband’s guess was that Kirsty would show up at her wedding with a hidden gun.  kirsty-in-dressAfter seeing her wedding dress, I asked where would she recognize-thishide it?  I never thought about her bouquet as a hiding spot, and neither of us thought Tyrone’s secret cell phone would be what she hid in it.

Very clever is our Kirsty.  By reciting off some of Tyrone’s texts to Fizz, it’s Tyrone who looks bad here, not bat-crazy Kirsty.  It was an mystery-solvedabsolutely insane plan that Fizz came up with, made even more insane by Tyrone’s planned execution of it.

Fizz consulted a lawyer who told her Tyrone could establish parental rights by marrying the child’s mother.  But I feel there must have been a “however” in there that she missed.  Indeed, some UK lawyers have given their opinions online: there are other ways he could gain parental responsibility.  These options, and DNA testing, were mentioned in passing earlier in the story but haven’t been dealt with in a satisfactory fashion for most fans.

at-altarI could find nothing to show whether Tyrone’s plan to depart straight from his own wedding reception with the baby and Fizz would be legally tenable for him to claim custody.  But it makes no common sense to me.  He would have not established even a legally binding marital relationship with Kirsty.

So, in following the real-life logic of this plotline, there are huge holes.  But it has been riveting due to the domestic abuse story kirsty-reacting-to-textscontent and the acting by both principals.  When the cell phone was found in the couch and Kirsty realized what it was, it was impossible to not feel sorry for her as her dreams crashed around her.  Even though we feared what she would do next, the emotional devastation she felt was so real.

Natalie Gumede has successfully conveyed a woman on the edge; trying to control the violence in herself that she hates so much, hoping that she can change her behaviour, hoping that they can truly be the happy family textthat she has wanted for so long.  Then seeing the texts laying out the whole of Tyrone’s betrayal of the dream and what had appeared to be the reality.  And betraying her and the life she and Tyrone had with the woman Kirsty for so long has seen as a threat. Despite knowing that Tyrone has good reason for what he’s doing, my heart still ached for Kirsty.

Jack 1998-2008

Five years ago today at 2:15 pm ET, my beautiful German Shepherd Jack died.  We had his vet euthanize him before his body did it by itself.  It was getting pretty close; I don’t think he flowers-and-photo of German Shepherd Jackwould have survived another night.  He had a number of physical ailments; we don’t know exactly what all was wrong internally but I suspect a fast-growing cancer was involved.  He was only 9 3/4 years old.  He had been my best friend, counselor and “baby-dog” for 9 1/2 of those years.

He came to me as a puppy needing a home with love and freedom.  He had been tied outside and neglected, fed irregularly and poorly.  At about 4 months, his back legs were so weak he couldn’t climb a step. He didn’t know how to play or run around.  That broke my heart.

He learned to play – quickly!  There were quirks in his personality that remained for life.  A dog trainer told me that the first three months of a pup’s life are very important for socialization.  That is when they learn from their mother and littermates how to play properly and they learn how to interact with humans.  I don’t know how long Jack was with his mother, but I do know his first couple of months on his own were literally spent on his own.

Jack-grave-stoneI had not wanted a dog at that time, but couldn’t find a good home for him.  So he stayed with me, and I am so thankful.  He taught me so much and was my constant companion.

Coronation Street Scene of the Week (Jan. 27/13)

Love, sex, relationships and marriage all featured this week in almost every storyline.  Hayley-returnsTumultuous, even histrionic, tales of intrigue, deception and secrets and, amid all of it, one fleeting glimpse of true love.

Hayley arrives home from Palm Springs.  When asked if she’d like something to eat, she says no, she’s been nibbling all through the long day.  Anna flashes her a warning roy-holds-up-platesignal, yes you want to eat.  And Roy holds up a plate of beef stroganoff, wrapped in saran, awaiting her.  My favourite, thank you, oh yes please, Hayley says to him.

He is so excited about her being there that he didn’t really pay attention to her previous statement about not being hungry so he’s just happy that he can provide sustenance for her.  We didn’t see her eating her dinner, but I bet she cleaned up every bit of it.

An absolutely lovely moment, set up for us by Roy’s dithering in the café kitchen earlier.  Worrying about setting aside the stroganoff, obviously a bit hit with customers since it allocated-stroganoffwas nearly all gone.  Lloyd ordered it and was told there was no more.  Seeing the wrapped plate, he protested.  But he was told firmly by Roy that the plate was already allocated.  Even with Roy’s impeccable standards of customer service, the customer in his café does not always come first, not when Hayley’s needs are involved.

roy-with-flowersAlas, by the end of the week, even Roy and Hayley were at odds with each other.  Hayley decided to patch things up between Roy and Mary.  It didn’t go well.  But I have more confidence in their ability to sort out their disagreement than I do about any of the other relationships unraveling on the street.  oh-yes-pleaseLeanne, Nick, Peter, Gail, Audrey, Kylie and David – they and pretty much everybody else on the street could learn a lot from Roy and Hayley about caring about and respecting your partner.