Monday, 4 November 2013

Downton Shabby!

So, half-term is behind us and I find myself back at the keyboard raring to go with all manner of things to write about! I have a very exciting week in prospect, not least because it is the final of the British Sausage Awards on Wednesday which I am preparing for. Look out for another interview in the Oxford Mail. I have a photographer coming around at lunchtime to photograph Bicester Blogger in his natural habitat, along with of course, the now obligatory sausages!

I'll just give you a quick round up of half term before we get into the meat of the blog, which isn't sausage related for a change! October half term is often a tricky one because of the weather and the kids can get cabin fever cooped up if it rains for too long. It's certainly not as easy as in the summer when they can play to their heart's content in the garden. There's something about being inside that seems to bring the monster out in them both and there's been a fair amount of rough 'n' tumble this past week. I imagine refereeing an Oxford v Swindon derby match would be less trouble than we had at times. Fortunately there were plenty of events and outings to break up the week, with trips to nannies' boat, trick or treating, a Halloween party, Bicester fireworks display, McDonalds, and that old favourite Zoomania. I shall not elaborate on any of these outings for fear of repeating myself from past scribblings, but you can read all about them of course in my books, "Austerity Dad" and "Fortysomething Father" which I am selling on promotion this week for the unbelievable low price of 77p! "How can he do it so cheap", I hear you ask? "That's less than a quarter of a pint in the pub for hours of entertainment!" Plug Plug Plug...

Anyway, shameless book plugging aside, those events generally went well and the kids had an amazing time at Zoomania, they disappeared off into the climbing frames and we barely saw them for two hours. No tears, no fighting, no silly tantrums. We have come a long way since our first visit there. A brief mention also of the firework display which was a big improvement on previous years, my only criticism being the amount of time it took to get the bonfire going due to the fact I was freezing to death in the wind and the rain.

Right, I guess I had better get to the point. Last night I was watching Downton Abbey. Not the episode that everyone else was watching but an episode from series 3, which means I am approximately a year behind. This is due to a large backlog of programs to watch, even taking into account my increasing number of evenings in front of the box at this time of year. Anyway, during this episode there was huge outrage when someone had to wear the wrong kind of jacket to dinner.

If Downton really is an accurate portrayal of how we used to live a century ago, I really do marvel at how important all of this pomp and ceremony was to people. And it is not just the "upstairs" people, you would think that the end of the world might have arrived for some of the characters judging by their reactions if anything goes wrong. If so much as a spoon is out of place, Mr Carson looks as if he is about to go into anaphylactic shock.

How different to the modern world where some people slob out to the extent they do. In 100 years we've gone from one extreme to the other. I wonder what Lord and Lady Grantham would make of the modern world.

In fact I wonder so much, I've decided that we should find out. I've come up with another one of my bizarre ideas, and another new character loosely based on me. Now as usual, I must make it clear that this character is not actually me personally, it's just an exaggerated caricature which I could act out, should I ever find myself thrust into the acting profession. Those of you who know me well would know that the suave sophisticated Bicester Blogger that you know and love would never act in such an uncouth way as in some of the scenarios I am about to relate to you.

My new character, who has not yet got a name, I'm trying to think of one, is a kind of pseudo time traveller who instead of travelling through actual time, has the ability to manipulate himself digitally into TV shows that have been already recorded, interact within them, and change them. A kind of HDTV digital terrorist, guaranteed to strike fear into the heart of producers and TV stations everywhere, as he superimposes himself live on TV into the prime time schedules, completely altering the course of the programme.

Picture the scene. The nation is sitting down on Sunday evening watching Downton Abbey. Everyone is sitting down oh so formally enjoying a family dinner, with perhaps a couple of important guests present. Suddenly without warning the double doors open and I come crashing in. For maximum effect I am dressed as badly as possible in some cheap joggers from some bargain sports shop, a T-shirt with an insulting slogan that's too small for me exposing some midriff, and a pair of crocs. I plonk myself down at the table, elbows on the table cloth and proceed to horrify all present with my comments, here are some examples.

"Right, what are we having, then?".
"Just pate and toast for my starter, don't pad it out with all that salad stuff".
"Don't really fancy this wine. Got any diet coke? Don't worry about a glass, I'll drink it straight from the can".
"Would I like some Dolphinauise potatoes? Naah, not really. Can you ask Mrs Patmore to rustle me up a few chips?"
"Oi, Carson, where's the ketchup?"
"Can you bring the telly through from the lounge? Corrie's starting in a minute".
"Where's the bog?"

Somewhat extreme perhaps, but I am sure that the Sunday evening viewers would enjoy this humorous interlude, even if the producers wouldn't. My only fear would be what the Dowager Countess might say. Maggie Smith's character can kill a man at fifty paces with her withering put downs.

Me with the cast, tucking in to a Monster!
So that's me on Downton Abbey, I shall have to have a think about what other TV shows I could potentially hijack. Any suggestions?

If you have enjoyed reading this blog, please take a look at my books on Amazon (Paperback & Kindle), where you can read lots more of the same! Click here.

Jason xx

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