Thursday, January 2, 2014

Now for something completely different!

Midst the deep and ancient dreams I've been having, and the aches that only prove I'm still alive though pained Pluto in Capricorn has brought old, not quite vintage, old dames into our lives. Hauling old things around is not a new thing for us, and among them is the hand-me-down television set from our friends in Everett. The set, mostly color, though it does sometimes waiver and we have a flash back to black and white. Perhaps the old tubes are cold or damp from the shared residence that television set experiences in our wash house. Onward ... once a day, after the sun is set and our dinner et we plug in the old t.v. fiddle with the cords from the d.v.d. player and settle on the futon for a nightly dose of some old, or new, movie. Recently our entertainment has been episodes from the 1990's Brit cooking show TWO FAT LADIES.

Pete and I started watching the outrageously funny women on BBC when we lived in Iao Valley on the island of Maui. It was 1996 and we were two not quite young nor not quite old dears beginning a life together. After days of work at the hotel where we both worked once a week their capricious romps on Jennifer Patterson's motorbike with Clarissa Dickson Wright packed snug with her leather helmet in the sidebar was pure entertainment. Looking back at those Iao Valley times and the episodes of the Two Fat Ladies is rather like appreciating life, food, conversation and the odd conventions we all consider and too often judge. Pete said last night, "We should buy ourselves these videos." He was surprised and nightly delighted at the old-fashioned hands on and absolutely devoid of politically correct choices of ingredients, and opinions. Both ingredients and opinions being strong, and liberally funny.

The cooking show ran on BBC for four seasons, but ended unexpectedly when only four weeks after she was diagnosed with lung cancer, Jennifer Patterson died of the disease. She was a heavy and unapologetic smoker. According to the Guardian's account of Patterson's death, she is quoted as having said, "Thousands die from smoking each year, but knowing this I continue to smoke myself. It is my informed decision." The second half of the two fat ladies, Clarissa Dickson Wright was a fine balance of visual example wearing bluntly cut not quite blond hair with little or no makeup, a single ring on her pinkie contrasting Patterson's darkly colored black hair held back in a pony tail, with large black rimmed glasses, glossy red lipstick with manicured nails to match and emeralds on her fingers. Their physical appearance and their zest for life and conversations spread liberally with lyrics from Portugal or Ireland made the Two Fat Ladies a source for cult followers.

These women were(are) cooks, not chefs. That was an important point. Jennifer and Clarissa loved to cook with their hands in the works, fondling raw fish for bones being one of those tips that really made a hit with me. (I have found too many fish bones in my throat!) We're on the third of four seasons now, and though the choices we make today about what we eat might exclude some of the meats and a pound of the butter, the two fat women's facility and joy for food is something worth savoring. Their techniques (stomping dried bread in a wrapped bag for bread crumbs, hand pressing lovely pastry on a tablecloth) and their conversations embrace the potential to be fully alive beings. The production and assembly of film is an illusion, I know, I know. But, sometimes that's exactly what one needs. "Now for something completely different!"

1 comment:

  1. We've watched the last of the four series videos of The Two Fat Ladies and I frankly cannot get enough of them. Here is a link to a NYTimes article written shortly after Jennifer Paterson's death in 1999


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