Thursday, December 28, 2006

Tales of Christmas gifts

We had a wonderful Christmas with the family. Here is a photo and Julie's blog about the day.

A couple of gifts were worth mentioning. I had taken to heart some of the affluenza discussion from Heather's blog, particularly her mother's Christmas list. I mentioned it to Julie, who duly noted it, and I was presented with a dishcloth! A yellow Chux Superwipe, to be entirely accurate. What a good daughter! There were other goodies, of course.

The best of all was a set of four DVDs. Not just any DVDs. Ooh no. These were really special. For years and years I have blathered on about a BBC show I saw decades ago. It made a huge impression on me, and I have yearned for it ever since. Called Talking to a Stranger it has lots of entries on the web, but it was not available to buy. We've spent years wistfully searching for it. I found one site that listed it as being in someone's collection, but emails were fruitless. I'd given up, thinking of it along the lines of a live performance - enjoyed once, then gone.

But the Great Sleuth had not given up. He did his annual search, and this time persisted through the 1,810,000 sites listed, past all the sites in Russian and Polish and Japanese, on through the Roumanians, the Lithuanians, and on and on. Suddenly he saw this site listed

I can only imagine what it must have felt like for him to find it. He contacted Stan and Jeri, ordered it, and wrapped it in Christmas paper. He kept quiet about it, but said he had a corker of a present for me! He also videoed me opening it. I went pink, got teary, was amazed, clutched the discs to me, and wanted to go home immediately to watch it. This is on the same scale as when Julie found me all the episodes of Quark I had wanted for years.

So we've been watching them. There are four episodes, each one told from the perspective of one family member. We have watched the first, daughter Judi Dench, then father, Maurice Denham. They are intense, gritty, black and white, talky, fascinating. You certainly couldn't watch them too often, but they are as compelling as I remember. As the same scenes are shown over and over, each time from a different perspective, your perception of the characters shifts. A tour de force for the performers, and a tour de force for present-giving. Thank you, Great Sleuth!


  1. heather8:41 PM

    Well done Michael! Can just imagine your reaction! I am delighted my mum has been of such excellent, practical influence. Phrase from this christmas, courtesy of my sister Wendy "Wen, these floor cloths are a real boon aren't they?". Whatever floats your boat...

  2. Wow, this is a lovely story. Sandra and I got quite dewy-eyed over it. He's a gem, that Michael.

  3. happy4:50 AM

    So sweet Christmas gift tale! Merry Christmas!