This is a yummy little series from the BBC that I recently discovered on WYCC (20) here in the Chicago area. A few of the Moonies and I were talking about it over coffee on Friday and I have a feeling it will be discussed again. It is set in the English hamlet of Lark Rise and its larger, bustling sister town of Candelford and is yet another one of those wonderful PBS imports of life in 1800′s England.
The first episode I saw was last Thursday night. Among the several story lines woven into the episode was the story of Dorcas, pictured above, the postmistress and her foray into the realm of politics. I loved it, and her, and all the characters, who will take me awhile to get to know but I have a feeling will become friends of mine. I appreciated her feistiness, especially given the setting and century she was in, and how her story was sewn to show that you don’t always lose when you lose – or win when you win.
I love these little English period pieces and how they are still relevant today. I also love that I have friends that watch them as well. Like some of my friends, the Moonies.
We Moonies met and became friends over a period of time at a now defunct coffee shop in Elmhurst called The Chocolate Moon. It was not a fancy place by any stretch of the imagination, but the “frou frou” drinks (as my Tom likes to call them) were pretty good and the owners let patrons sit for hours on end to talk or read or work on something.
All sorts of people came into the Moon. Mothers with preschoolers, a group of men in the morning talking politics, politicians practicing politics, artists, friends and folks just looking for a place to be. There was, for a time, a group of retired men and women who, having had their COD French class cancelled, or was it Spanish?, commenced their own studies once a week. They pulled a few tables together, set down their lessons, and class would be in session. I liked to go in when I knew they would be there just to observe. You could pick out the retired teacher, who always led the class, and if you watched for a while, you could imagine them as they must have been, years ago, as young high school students in a bygone era. These folks valued education, were serious in their pursuit of a different language, and I admired them their determination and ability to make the situation work for them.
Late afternoons held a place for folks coming in after work, and middle schoolers looking for a place to hang out. . Moms would sit and read or talk as their youngsters took dance lessons. The floor above would echo sounds of tiny feet in ballet slippers landing overhead.
A local newspapers occasionally held its editorial board meetings there. I know as I was alone drinking my mocha one day after a very early morning meeting when they came in, moved a few tables together, ordered their drinks, and settled in, notepads in hand and poised in a journalistic demeanor. I recognized several of them. They were discussing directions to take editorially and the local school board came up. They talked for a moment or two – until one noticed me sitting at a nearby table with a Cheshire grin on my face. End of discussion.
The Chocolate Moon failed to rise one day, then the next, and townspeople wandered around, lost, not knowing what to do. It is funny how things happen like that from time to time in life and we are left to wonder what happens next. A shift occurs and things aren’t the same and the folks to the north and the folks to the south and all those in between wander about trying to figure things out. Eventually, things settle into another routine – a new mode. A new moon rises, new patterns develop and life goes on.
Rather like the hamlet and town of Lark Rise and Candleford.
Thursday night, 8 pm, WYCC, channel 20 here near the lake.
(For my good friends reading away from the lake and its environs, COD is a local community college, aka College of Du Page. )