Culture Articles

 

You may never have heard of them, but believe me when I say, The Archers are a British institution. Turn on your radio anytime from the 1950s onwards and "that music" would come on; "'Dum tee tiddly dum tee dum tee dum tee ...'". Yet this tale of ‘Country folk’ is all in the imagination, including the geography.  There is no Ambridge, no Borsetshire, no Woolpack pub etc. They simply don’t exist. It is all form the imagination of the writers, but they have been around for so long.  One of the characters,  Jill Archer, first appeared in the programme when I was a girl, and she is still going strong. Recently I saw the actress who plays her, Patricia Greene, being interviewed on television. All these years I had never even seen a picture, so she wasn’t at all as I had imagined her, and then she began to speak, and there she was: that gentle, slightly hesitant, caring voice I’d been hearing most of my life.

Today I spent ages preparing a pie chart for college. And when I say “ages” I mean  ages. I followed the text book, but at times it said ‘Ask Excel Help’ – if I tell you that the instructions take up pages 139-181 you will have some idea of how complicated this can be. It was boring and frustrating, and it wasn’t helped by the fact that my husband is trying to put on a new door for our wet room right next door.  Lunch tasted all the better when both jobs were done.

 

When it comes to the last croissant we would probably share, or at least offer to do so, but there are other things that it is harder to share – a favourite sweet perhaps, the last square of chocolate.

I remember years ago in college there was only one slice of ham on the plate and eight people. All but one had had enough, but one person was still to take her second slice. She was Swiss and newly engaged, and as she reached out I couldn’t help teasing her ‘They say in England that if you take the last piece of food from the table you will never marry.’ She hesitated just for a moment and then declared ‘Oh, such nonsense.’ before taking the first bite-full.  

Not far from here there are many caves once inhabited by early man and his ancestors.  You can go to a park where you suddenly come across a model of a sabre toothed tiger or a bear hunt. Deep in the caves stalagmites stand and stalactites drip slowly.  There are some 50 such sites in France and others in Spain and elsewhere.  Someone is making a lot of money with exorbitantly high entry fees. I prefer to stand on a hillside or by a lake and view  a landscape hardly different from those times.

 

Someone said on my Facebook page today that the English are no good at ball games – especially the ones we invented. The list is quite a long one – tennis, soccer, netball, field hockey, polo, rounders, cricket and more.