Corrie Street Jun. 30/13

Understanding Changes

Another week when it’s difficult to choose one scene only. Is it the new producer or just timing of storyline arcs? Or, with student david listening on stairssummer holidays at hand, are they clearing out old stories to make way for ones involving young people? Even the oh-who-cares Ryan and Katy story is looking interesting with them maybe moving into Owen’s flat, cozily being “just the three of us.”

Psycho-Dave is about to return with the revelation by Gail and Kylie that he overheard. Tina is the only true believer in her closed-loop argument that she has to keep the money paid her for the baby so that she can fight said baby’s parents in court to keep him. A lot of changes and not much logic at work in those stories.

Mystery of the condiments

in-heaven-and-earthBut Roy stresses the importance of a clear and open mind. An orderly hand are mysteriously realigning his condiments. That, he says, leaves Anna out – the Jackson Pollock of the griddle he calls her for her free-form approach to culinary art. So if it’s not Anna and not Sylvia, Hayley or Roy himself, who is it? The spirit world maybe? But Roy is not buying that. Logic, he says, provides answers.

Earth is understandable in substantive terms he says when Sylvia falls back on the mysteries of heaven and earth as an explanation for everything not understandable. Heaven is the recourse of those “unable to cope with their own mortality” he says. He prefers a logical approach to apparent mysteries, he tells Sylvia as he goes over to serve Dev and Steve.

Mystery of Sunita’s keys

keys-were-onRoy is just in time to hear them discussing the mystery of Sunita’s keys. Keys to the pub were found in her hospital room and keys are listed on the inventory of her belongings when she was taken to hospital. But, Roy asks, were they the same keys? If there was nothing indicating pub or house or car keys, how can you be sure that the inventoried keys were the same as the pub keys later found by the police?

you-are-a-geniusDev is gobsmacked. He’d never thought of that, and off he went on a renewed quest. Elementary, my dear Dev, Roy might have said. But in trying to understand his own puzzle, Roy could have caused Dev’s death.

Risk of solving puzzles

Karl, hearing about Dev’s new plan to find out exactly what the inventoried keys looked like, knows that cannot happen. So, on the pretext of offering solace, he goes to Dev’s. He slips gloves on before he enters. He best-for-you understanding changessees a golf trophy of Aadi’s handy to where Dev sits poring over his time-line graph of Sunita’s movements. Trophy grasped in his gloved hand, Karl tells Dev it’s pointless to hash and rehash this. Let it go mate. And Dev says ok, you’re right, I have to stop.

Karl replaces the trophy on the sideboard and takes his leave. Back in the ginnel, he throws up, so overwrought is he with what he was about to do. Craig and Beth see him. Craig also saw something the night of the fire. He hasn’t told anyone what it is. But now? Seeing Karl in that same ginnel again acting oddly, will he realize he has the missing piece of a puzzle?

The Taoist book of divination is called the I Ching or The Book of Changes. Many changes at hand on the Street. Despite Roy’s faith in the power of logic, a combination of divination, if not Divine intervention, along with logic may be needed to sort them out.

Rhubarb Jelly

This year, with a lot of rhubarb, I wondered about making jelly. It is rhubarb for making jelly photo-D-Stewartmore time consuming than jam, so I hadn’t done it in a long time and never with rhubarb. I found a recipe (below) from Bernardin, the canning people. It is easy and the jelly is excellent.

While reading, I learned a couple things. First, make small batches of jelly because the more fruit you have, the longer it takes to cook. Successful gelling needs a short cooking time.

Jelly needs time

Second, plan on a full day or two partial days for making jelly – the fruit needs time. You may see a difference in colour rhubarb-jellybetween the two jars. In my first batch (right jar), I watched the juice quickly trickle into the bowl then stop apparently totally after an hour or so. Why wait six hours, I thought, there’s plenty of juice and nothing more is coming out. So I made my jelly. It was easy enough that I decided to prepare another batch to make the next day. But that fruit sat in the sieve overnight, like the recipe said to do. The juice was a much deeper pink, so that is why you let it sit so long.

Bernardin Rhubarb Jelly

4 cups (1000 ml) rhubarb, coarsely chopped (8-9 stalks)
1 1/2 cups (375 ml) water
3 1/2 cups (875 ml) granulated sugar
1 pouch (85 ml) BERNARDIN® Liquid pectin

Step 1: Making juice

• Put rhubarb and water in a medium stainless steel or enamel saucepan. Bring to a boil; simmer 5 minutes; remove from heat. Pour through a dampened cheesecloth lined strainer or jelly bag. Allow juice to drip 6 to 8 hours or overnight.

Step 2: Making jelly

• Measure juice. If necessary, add water to yield 1 3/4 cups (425 ml) rhubarb juice.

• Place 3 clean 250 ml mason jars on a rack in a boiling water canner; cover jars with water and heat to a simmer (180°F/82°C). Set screw bands aside. Heat sealing discs in hot water, not boiling (180°F/82°C). Keep jars and lids hot until ready to use.

• In a large deep stainless steel or enamel saucepan, combine rhubarb juice and all the sugar, mixing well. To reduce foaming, add 1/2 tsp (2 ml) butter or margarine. Over high heat, bring mixture to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Add pectin, squeezing entire contents from pouch. Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and quickly skim off foam, if necessary.

• Quickly pour jelly into a hot jar to within 1/4 inch (0.5 cm) of top of jar (headspace). Using a nonmetallic utensil, remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if required, by adding more jelly. Wipe jar rim clean. Centre hot sealing discs on jar rim. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip tight. Return filled jar to rack in canner. Repeat for remaining jelly.

• When canner is filled, cover jars by at least one inch (2.5 cm) of water. Cover canner with lid and bring water to full rolling boil before starting to count processing time. At altitudes up to 1000 ft (305 m), boil filled jars 10 minutes.

• When processing is complete, remove lid, wait 5 minutes, then remove jars without tilting and place them upright on a protected work surface. Cool upright, undisturbed 24 hours. DO NOT RETIGHTEN screw bands.

• Next day, check jar seals. Sealed lids curve downward and do not move when pressed. Remove screw bands; wipe and dry bands and jars. Store screw bands separately or replace loosely on jars, as desired. Label and store in a cool, dark place. For best quality, use within one year.

Making Jelly Clear

In another recipe for a lovely savoury rhubarb-rosemary jelly, I read that you rhubarb jelly skimmed-photo-D-Stewartcan press rhubarb slightly to make the juice come out faster. Doing that with most fruits is not advised if you want to have the clearest possible jelly. Rhubarb juice is never totally clear so it doesn’t matter, the author says. I did not press the fruit at all and, yes, the jelly is not totally clear. Still, it isn’t a huge deal to put aside the bowl with a strainer full of fruit and let gravity take its course. That way you know you’re getting the prettiest jelly possible.

(You can also make rhubarb juice – same process but you stop before the jelling. It’s wonderful.)


Corrie Street June 23/13

What happens with Rita

Rita-and-Tina-in-hall what happens with rita“What happens with Rita stays with Rita” is what Tina wanted to hear.  Tina needed to hear what she’d said moments earlier when they talked beside baby Jake’s incubator. The baby is not yours to keep, Rita told Tina. It’s quite natural that she would have a strong attachment to the infant she carried, but he is Izzy and Gary’s baby. End of.

take-your-word-for-thatRita is the only person who could say these things to Tina without ticking her off. Even so, Tina managed to hurt Rita by reminding her, perhaps inadvertently, that she could not know how it feels to give birth to a child. Rita rallied and let Tina know that she supported her but that she needed to get over her feelings and remember that she was a temporary mother for the child of what-you-saidother people.

This was a powerful and nuanced scene between two women who are friends and, themselves, kind of a mother-daughter surrogacy. Tina’s confusion and defensiveness was obvious, as was Rita’s deep affection and her trepidation about raising a difficult topic.

Emotional cavalry

Tommy was glad to see the cavalry arrive. A bit earlier he had said the same thing to just-in-timeTina but she was not taking it from him. In order to show his love and support for Tina, he had go along with her idea of keeping the baby. He cannot find the right balance between support and uncomfortable truths in addressing Tina’s wishes and intentions.

Even if he did, he is her boyfriend and is of the same age. It’s a different relationship dynamic than with Rita. Tina will listen to her, a woman and older, with more deference than she would to anyone, male or female, of her own age. The two scenes nicely counterpointed each other.

Owen-entersJust when maybe Rita was getting somewhere with Tina, in walks Owen. My husband said the Armstrongs and Windasses are like blackflies in a Canadian summer – everywhere, all the time. You can’t get away from them.

Acting brilliance

All the actors in this story have been brilliant and Tina especially so. Her facial and body language alone convey the torment she is feeling. There have been inconsistencies in what she has said, as there likely would be in such a situation.

She told I-can-see-whyTommy that she realized the extent of her love for the baby when he became ill. Moments later Tina told Rita it had nothing to do with his illness, that she had felt it since he was born. Both statements are true but, of the two, I suspect what she told Rita is truer. With Rita, she can be completely honest. Rita demands honesty from her and returns it even when she knows it isn’t what Tina wants to hear.

Tina-looks-at-babyRita’s initial doubts about the surrogacy are proving justified. Standing in the nursery with Rita, Tina said “I always thought I was the least maternal person in the world.” Therefore, she left unsaid, giving up the baby would not be a problem for her. “Now look at me,” realizing that time and a tiny baby change you. Her words to Tommy showed the price of trying to straighten out that confusion, the pain of “hating yourself for loving your baby.”

Frissell’s The Viking

Amazon link for The Viking
Amazon link

The Newfoundland Museum, when still on Duckworth Street, had a small collection of films to screen for visitors. The first one I ever showed was The Viking. I had never heard of the film or the story behind it. After I got the reel running, I stood in the doorway to make sure it was working okay. And I began watching. Finally I pulled a chair over so I could watch the movie more comfortably while also keeping an eye on the lobby. It was spellbinding – the 1930 seal hunt with ice and cold and deprivation, and a romance and survival story.

Later I learned that the sealing ship, SS Viking, had exploded during the filming and 27 men had died. One of them was the film’s producer Varick Frissell, along with his dog Cabot. The real life story was as filled with ice and cold and deprivation as the fictional one. And it had a much worse ending.

Pilgrim cover Varick Frissell and dog CabotI read Earl B. Pilgrim’s book The Day of Varick Frissell. It is wonderful. Pilgrim tells how Frissell came to Newfoundland and how he came up with the idea for a movie he called White Thunder and got practical and financial backing for it. The Viking sailed to the sealing grounds with a film crew aboard. She had two captains for that 1930 voyage. Captain Sid Jones commanded her and real-life captain and explorer Bob Bartlett portrayed her captain in the movie.

Loss of the SS Viking

Frissell didn’t get the dramatic shots of the huge ice fields, the “white thunder,” that he wanted. The following year, in March of 1931, the film crew sailed with the Viking again. Captain Abram Kean Jr. was in command. The objective was less to seal and more to film, and dynamite, the northerly ice fields. The journey soon became disastrous, due to human error as much as nature.

Camera Crew The Viking CNS MUNPilgrim includes a full list of all aboard the Viking on her final voyage and of the men who lost their lives on her. Despite the loss of the ship and men and presumably the footage shot on that second journey, the film was released in 1931 as The Viking.

A dangerous beauty

It is a tribute to the men who sailed on the Viking and other sealing vessels. It is also a tribute to Varick Frissell who saw the beauty of the sea-ice and the men who battled it every spring. He also believed it was important to share that dangerous beauty with a world that enjoyed seal fur without thinking of the rigour of its production.

ssviking-1Pilgrim’s book pays further tribute by giving us a glimpse of the real and tragic events, through reconstruction of known facts and surmise of what may have happened. He tells also of romance in Frissell’s life, with a Grenfell Mission nurse named Sarah who came from north of St. Anthony. If her existence is fact, I wonder who she was.

Here are Brooklyn newspaper accounts. The Day of Varick Frissel is available on Amazon. If you are connected to the Northern Peninsula Kean family of ship captains, you’ll be especially interested in this story. See my Mr. Otto Kelland for more on the old museum on Duckworth Street.


Corrie Street Jun. 16/13

Four for Four

The first four episodes this past week each had more than one contender for “the scene”. Four scenes - Izzy cries able-to-see-him-soonI cannot narrow it down any further than one from each day.

Monday: Izzy’s face as she realizes the newborn is not crying and the nurse hustles him off. Equally good was Izzy standing at the incubator holding the hand of the tiny infant inside it.

Tuesday: Owen giving way to his fear and sadness. “Vulnerable and venerable” my husband called Owen after seeing him lose his carefully constructed and maintained façade of bravery and bravado. With Anna, he can give voice to his inner fears and self-see-him-lying-in-the-incubatorrecriminations. He blamed himself for “pushing” Izzy and Gary into this surrogacy. Of course he didn’t. He was adamantly opposed when they said they were thinking of it and he gave valid reasons for his objections. But he did make it possible. They had the idea and he had the ability to figure out how best to do it as well as the resources to make it happen.

Owen is the quintessential male in the schema of gender roles found in Men are from Mars, Women… Venus. Mr. Fixit, taking a problem and solving it. Now, with the baby’s prognosis for survival not great and the mess Izzy and Gary have made of their relationship, he blames himself for taking their hare-brained dream and making it a reality.

Wednesday: Tina entering the nursery where Izzy and Gary are fighting beside the baby’s he-might-have-your-eyesincubator. She lays down the law to them.  They will sort out their problems somewhere else and, until they do, neither of them will see the baby. She has deliberately tried to avoid bonding with the child she was carrying. But she will defend him against anyone, including his biological parents. Good for her.

Thursday: Carla telling Rob what is going to happen in order for her to not report his theft to the police. Her performance, as the character, belied Tracy’s earlier jibe that loser-I-grew-up-withbeneath the designer clothes and six inches of makeup, you’re nothing. You could see Carla collect herself, and her strength, and say everything quickly before she lost her resolve.

She needed that focused composure in light of what Rob had said earlier to her, when she caught him out at the warehouse with the stolen silk. Showing himself to be a master manipulator, he turned everything Carla said on its head. He knew exactly where to poke clear-your-lockerto hit her own self-doubts and her love for him, the little brother she believes she abandoned long ago. In the Bistro you can see the look of confusion on Rob’s face. His tricks aren’t working on her. Rob’s scenes this week have been the best I’ve ever seen from him. I like him even less. But I’m fascinated with watching the narcissist, verging on sociopath, side of him reveal itself.

Corrie Street Jun. 9/13

Rovers Returned

lineup-outside-new-roversI got quite teary-eyed during Stella’s speech at Friday’s reopening of the Rovers. I was as pleased as she to see everyone back in there with pints and large reds and Audrey with her G & T.

A couple storylines got advanced during the opening. Ches and Ryan getting in a fight and Izzy finding out what Gary has been so desperate to keep from her. But Ryan and first-pub-fightKaty bore me stiff. Also, like Tina, I am tired of the Windass clan hovering around her. The stress seems to be causing Tina’s baby to be born early. Perhaps the birth of Rover, as I now call the baby, will well and truly christen the renovated pub.

But it was the subtexts that were most interesting. Stella has refused to use the words “Grand Opening” or “celebration” in light of the tragedy that caused the rebuilding. Two people died, one a hero and one believed to be a villain.

Subtexts of loss

raise-your-glassesPaul and a fellow firefighter came in honour of Toni who died saving Karl. Dev, husband of alleged arsonist Sunita, attended reluctantly. He hadn’t wanted to revisit the place of his loss. But Mary convinced him that he needed to face those demons. Stella acknowledged him and his loss with grace and subtlety.

JasonThe camera reminded us of another story, the end of Jason and Stella’s romance. As Stella thanks Karl, the camera focuses on Jason. He does not want to watch his former lover kiss the man Jason believes to be responsible for everything that has gone wrong.

Leanne also uses just her eyes to tell her story. As Stella pulls Gloria and Karl to her, saying she couldn’t have done this without them, Leanne stands behind her. First she throws a glare Karl’s way, a man she cannot trust no matter how often her mother says he’s changed. Then she looks down and bottled-beerwalks off-camera, dejected. Despite her animosity toward Karl, she gave Stella money for the pub fittings. She and Nick also carried up bottled beer from the Bistro when Stella’s suppliers did not get her order delivered in time. Surely, I think she was thinking, she deserves some public acknowledgement as well.

New investment while remembering past

A developing story was touched on, that of Gloria as financial “angel” with her £80,000. without-youBefore the opening, Stella continually had to rein Gloria in from buying balloons and banners and bunting. Not a celebration but a ‘marking’, she repeatedly told her, to little avail. After Stella thanks everyone for helping and for being there, Gloria says “what am I, chopped liver?” just loud enough for Stella to hear. It’s wishful thinking if Stella isn’t aware her mother will be adding “Gloria” to the landlady sign.

bettyLastly, Rita bringing a new photo of Betty to hang in the bar makes it truly the Rovers Return. As Stella said, “Buildings store memories in bricks and mortar, and I reckon this pub’s got lots of those already. But now it’s got a few more that we’ll never forget. So will you raise your glasses to present and absent friends.” I think Jack and Vera and many others would have loved it.

I hadn’t store-memoriesrealized how much I’d missed the Rovers. I wish only that they’d had a panoramic sweep of it with everyone quiet, so I could get a good look. If you do want to see it and read about its real-life construction, check out this at Bluenose Corrie Blogger.

Corrie Street Jun. 2/13

The Legacy

A two-year-old letter from Roy’s father has produced amazing scenes. It began with the legacy Mr-Cropper's-letterSylvia going to the hated Home to pick it up, then to her telling Hayley not to pressure Roy into reading it. Then Roy dithering about what to do once he knew about it and more dithering when he learned his father was no longer at the address given in the letter.

Thursday he unwillingly went to a newer Cropper-houseaddress he had found for his father, where he met his father’s widow. Three months earlier Mr. Cropper Sr. had died, believing that Roy wanted nothing to do with him. That was indeed the case, although Roy had not known that his father was trying to reach him. Four remarkable scenes followed Roy and Hayley’s entry into his father’s house.

Roy-and-mantle-photosRoy in the sitting room, surrounded by photos of his father’s other family. The three children, one in New Zealand, one in Cornwall and one near the parental home. No photos of the child Roy, his father’s firstborn.

Tea and conversation

Hayley, herself flummoxed, trying to talk normally and drink tea, trying to find out as much as possible about Roy’s Croppersfather and his life and hoping against hope that Roy can somehow find the answers he needs in light of his father’s death. Mrs. Cropper explaining that Roy’s father truly regretted leaving his eldest son and never contacting him, trying to explain that his family – all members – were truly important to him.  Roy listening but keeping very still as if he were just trying to hold himself together.

train-set-in-caseAs they prepare to leave, Mrs. Cropper gives him a suitcase saying his father had wanted Roy to have it. That St. John had spent hours playing with it and that none of his other children were interested but he knew Roy would want it. A train set like the one Roy had when a child. Roy refused it, saying maybe a grandchild would take it. Mrs. Cropper pressed it on him, saying it was his.  Roy took it reverentially.

After the visit

how-was-heBack home, Sylvia wants to know everything. What happened? Had he lost his hair? Because balding ran in his family, that Roy took after her side in that so he needn’t worry because he was nothing like that man. Roy would never run out on those who relied on him. When she ran out of steam, Roy said  “He’s dead”.

Last scene, Roy closing himself off again in when-one-is-abandonedorder to cope. Sylvia quiet, trying to keep herself together and, I think, giving Roy room to be quiet too. Hayley seeing the anguish in them both, but wanting to talk about it, to not keep it bottled up, sorry if what she’d done in showing him the letter caused him grief.

“If I’m in any way to blame,” Hayley said. Roy couldn’t take any you-are-Hayley-you-aremore. “You are, Hayley, you are to blame,” he said, after giving her a summing up of the unnecessary need felt by modern society to explore feelings, come to terms with things, find closure. He left the room, presumably to find silence. Sylvia, looking a bit shocked by Roy’s explosion, said to Hayley “I did try to warn you.” And she had.

I-did-warn-youThese three actors, and characters, are wonderful. These scenes were among the best ever from them. This is what Coronation Street does so well. In the storylines, there’s often something that may especially resonant for individuals. This one is a story about abandonment of a child and a spouse. That is a fear, and maybe reality, for many or all of us.