Thursday, May 27, 2010

Betty and the Real World


Waiting For Deborah:

Deborah is so hard up that she has to go to British Home Stores to replenish her meagre wardrobe. It is described as a department store aiming for a less affluent crowd than Marks and Spencer. I'm thinking J.C. Penny's in relation to Macy's, perhaps? Her old friend gets to trot off to Liberty's.

Old Mrs. Vernon is allowed to eat Complan after Sir James sees her--a nourishing milky food. Yu...m.

The dreamy Sir James thinks Old Mrs. Vernon might someday be able to walk with a Zimmer frame--which sounds like a trapeze apparatus, but isn't. It's just an ordinary walker, to ordinary folks like you and me.

Deborah wants to borrow a special chair/tray from the Red Cross (here, I think Betty is betraying the fact that she was a nurse and would be expected to know that the Red Cross might be willing to part, even temporarily, with valuable medical equipment). The British Red Cross was formed in response to the Franco-Prussian war and their four values were, while noble, after careful consideration deemed too tedious to mention.

Sir James, that naughty boy, loosens Deborah's tongue with some Meursault 1989 Gauthay-Cadet. Sadly, I couldn't easily find info other than that Betty's publisher's should have spelled Gauthay as Gauthey.

Sir James' house was built in 1550 and actual historical figures are mentioned and discussed. Edward VI gave it to James' family and Mary Tudor would have tried to take it back so they lay low until Elizabeth came into the throne. Now, as someone with who is a pretty big fan of the Reformation, I find that Henry VIII and his daughter make themselves so objectionable to me (and I get why others would find Elizabeth I a fun gal--I just don't) that I find myself often rooting for the other side on the micro level even while cheering them on on the macro. Riddle me that.

When Deborah flunks her exams, several girls suggest that she collect Social Security and go on the dole. Interestingly, UB40 was named after the form issued by the DHSS (Department of Health and Social Security) to those claiming unemployment benefit, the full name of which was Unemployment Benefit form 40. And now enjoy some reggae.

An Old-Fashioned Girl:

The only book Patience can find to read during the snowstorm is Beeton's Household Management. I found a whole blog dedicated to her. Wow. A little obsessive, right? A whole blog dedicated to a dead author? I mean who in their right mind...(Betty Keira, um...cough {point of order} cough...) So, hat's off to http://www.beingmrsbeeton.com/--for all your mid-Victorian housewifery needs.

Patience sings to Rosie--ending with "My Old Man's a Dustman" (it just makes me love her more). It's pretty clear that Patience was an only child raised by maiden aunts with a repertoire like that but my question is, when did she have time to frequent pubs?

Patience is employed as a general factotum. From the Latin, fac is do/make and totum is everything. (Google makes me look smart.) 'Everything' includes the flowers I suppose. Betty Debbie found a song with factotum in the title and it's a recognizable one at that. I give you Barber of Seville--Largo al factotum. Are you picturing Tom and Jerry in your mind's eye too?