We have been watching the excellent new series “Call the Midwife” on BBC (big Miranda Hart fans already) and also last Sunday caught up with an episode of Vera starring Brenda Blethyn, and it brought home to me what a talented wife I have!
Barbara has written a memoir (Bedpans and Bobby Socks by Barbara Fox and Gwenda Gofton) of her Mum Gwenda Gofton’s trip to the USA in the late 1950s to take up a nursing post in Cleveland. The story unfolds in Cleveland during a one year nursing placement and then subsequently with four nursing friends taking off around the USA, Canada, Mexico and Cuba in an old Ford car on the trip of a lifetime (lasting 18 months). Definite similarities with Call the Midwife in the period and subject matter and also in the camaraderie of the nurses albeit in a more glamorous US setting. The book is already published in the UK by Little, Brown (available on Amazon and in all good bookshops) and is due for release in the US in May, when the wider audience will hopefully kick-start some more interest in filming this great story.
As for Vera, I do find the main character annoying but some fantastic Northumberland locations and it was the setting for last week’s episode that interested our family and it again is due to my wife’s writing. She is co-writing a book called “One Girl and her Dogs: Life, Love & Lambing in the Middle of nowhere”, with Emma Gray a young sheep farmer, dog trainer and duck troupe conductor (until a fox ate them!) from the wilds of Northumberland. We have visited Emma at her remote farm in the Harwood Forest in Northumberland (you may also have seen her on “Countryfile” on BBC 1 a few weeks ago?).
Anyway, while on a recent visit Emma took us to a nearby uninhabited and semi derelict farm-house on her property (National Trust land) and we thought it strange that despite the state of the house with holes in the roof, there was fresh but dated wallpaper on one wall of each room. As Emma then explained the property had been used for the episode of “Vera” shown last week on TV, and the film company had just dressed up one wall to shoot against with a few suitable pieces of furniture in place.
I think Emma’s story (an attractive mid 20’s woman farming in a desolate but beautiful Northumberland forest with 18 dogs and some sheep, and her travails as a dog trainer, sheepdog trialist, duck trainer and contract shepherdess) is a sure-fire winner of a TV series itself, but before then keep an eye out for the book when it is published in April by Little,Brown.
Below are a picture of Bedpans and Bobby Socks covers (just being reprinted after selling out its initial run so may look slightly different), and some pictures of Emma’s farm and fantastic location (Barbara in the red, Thomas and Joseph Fox with Emma last summer).