23 May 2010

Old fashion roses, reading and dreaming

Cold rainy days are still upon us and it really hardly seems Spring will soon be replaced by Summer! Rain and more rain...and slugs! We tried everything in the book but they are persistent!

Gardens are blooming little by little everywhere. Irises, rhododendrons, calla lilies and now roses. The nights however are still so cool the vegetable patch is having a slow start! Perhaps Memorial weekend will bring better weather!

Last night saw us seeing the last installment of North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell.
Anyone who is not familiar with this talented writer will appreciate this introduction to her work through the fantastic BBC presentation of the miniseries.

The story revolves around Margaret Hale, a young woman in the 1850's who moves to the Northern industrial part of England and discovers the shocking inequalities between the rich and the working class.
John Thornton is the mill owner, a man who triumphs over poverty and seeks to constantly better himself. Someone with high standards, yet none higher than he holds himself to and Margaret is his match in every possible way.
Nicholas Higgins is the mill worker, a union man who seeks fair working condition for himself and the others workers peacefully.

This is a tale of love and pride but it is also a social novel which describes the many changes industrialization brought to Victorian England.

Elizabeth Gaskell balances her sympathy for the workers in the factories with the dilemmas posed to the mill owners by new machinery, strikes and competition from abroad.

I was amazed at the extent to which the producers went to represent the industrial revolution of the 1850's in England including the 1851 Great Exhibition of London .

The cotton mills in particular and the reenactment of the living condition of the times were so accurate in their details you could see the cotton floating in the air and feel the squalor.
The actors are to be praised for their flair in drawing us to each character.

This is a story that will let you dream.
This is a story you will never forget.

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