Monday, 15 July 2013

Television serendipity

Yes, I really have given this piece the title "Television Serendipity".  I realise that it might seem to you to be an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms, like an honest antiques dealer or a cheap lawyer, but serendipity is what I found on the television yesterday afternoon.

Now I come to think of it, linking the words "television" and "afternoon" is something of an oddity for me.  I may well have been retired for more than eleven years but I still have this mindset, a mindset which some people might describe as puritanical, which tells me I should not be watching television in the afternoon.  I still can't get out of the feeling that the day should be taken up with work and relaxing activities (there's another oxymoron for you) should be left until the evening or when one is on holiday.  There really is no reason at all why I should not watch television during the day and leave things like ironing and such housework as I do until the evening.  But I don't.

Now look at me: I'm blethering away again on something completely off-subject.  Let's get back on course - and "getting on course" has a loose connection with yesterday's television viewing.

Hilary and local Lions at the reception.
I had been warned that Auntie BBC was to broadcast a programme about Hilary Lister's dream to sail round Britain - solo.  Hilary, a quadriplegic who can move only her head, is also a member of a Lions Club.  It was after she became paralysed that she took up sailing, controlling the boat by blowing or sucking on three straws to raise or lower the sails, change course etc.  She made her first attempt back in 2008 and I met her at a reception Brighton Lions organised for her and her team when they stayed overnight at Brighton marina.  It was only in 2009, or maybe 2010, that Hilary finally achieved her aim but quite why the BBC have taken so long to broadcast the programme has not been explained.

Anyway, I wanted to watch it.  The programme, which lasted an hour, was to be aired starting at 6.30pm, a time which is completely hopeless for me as we would be eating.  So I set the recorder.  But our recorder has developed an irritating occasional fault.  Sometimes, when it is switched on a message appears: "Updating software".  I can't imagine what software they might be that would need updating but once the machine goes into this mode, everything freezes until the machine is manually told to stop updating.  So late in the afternoon I switched on to check that the recorder had not done the dirty on me.  It hadn't, but when I switched off the recorder, I found the television was showing a programme about birds of South America - scarlet macaws, condors, cranes, humming birds, vultures and harpy eagles et al.  Neither the Old Bat nor I had seen any advance publicity about it, but what an intriguing programme it was.  This - nature programmes - is what the BBC does superbly well and I will make a note to either watch or record the programme next week when it will be looking at Asia and Australia through the eyes of birds.

Television serendipity indeed.


This picture, showing the same stretch of Brighton beach as the picture I posted yesterday, shows the beach at 4.00pm yesterday.  I've "borrowed" it from the Daily Telegraph web site.  You can see why I keep out of town over summer weekends.

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