The book is a film that takes place in the mind of the reader. That’s why we go to movies and say, “Oh, the book is better.” ~ Paulo Coelho
I often pictured our retirement years as a time to tackle the long list of book recommendations from friends and the literary classics I missed in college. My husband is more of a film buff with an appreciation for every genre but “chick flicks”–(the last one he watched was Private Benjamin at a theater in Arkansas City, Kansas, in 1980). I looked forward to couch time with him and a bowl of popcorn, watching some of the classic films he’s talked about over the years–Citizen Kane, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, High Noon, and The African Queen, to name a few. Even more—learning we qualified for senior citizen rates at our hometown Galaxy Theater made the aging process a little easier to accept. Watching movies on the big screen with a few extra bucks in our pockets is a perk.
Instead, we’ve become Acorn and Britbox junkies. We haven’t been to the theater in over a year. Each night since our discovery of Amazon Prime Fire TV, we’ve been caught up in an episode of one series after another of British television. First it was the adventures of Doc Martin in the fictional seaside town of Portwenn, filmed in Port Isaac in Cornwall. Then, we followed DCI Barnaby through thirteen seasons of The Midsomer Murders as he solved crimes in the little towns in Midsomer County, (west of London in the Cotswolds, if it actually exists.) From there we moved on to Foyle’s War, set in 1940s and 1950s era Sussex, southeast of London, where we found ourselves enthralled in the world of CS Christopher Foyle, solving murders with World War II as the backdrop. Currently, we have wandered into the life of Detective Jack Frost. No doubt the most engaging of the characters we’ve encountered, Frost is a central figure in the police service in the colorful albeit fictional community of Denton, somewhere in southern England near Bristol.
In fact, I’ve become so intrigued by the regional culture and the quirky characters of these shows that I remind my husband at least once a week we need to return to England and go South to Cornwall, to Sussex, or West to the Cotswolds where these fictional stories supposedly take place. We need to wander through the streets of the small towns, stopping for a pastry in the afternoon and a lager in a pub in the evening. Maybe, just maybe, we’ll find ourselves in the parallel universe with the characters and the drama that captivate our attention, night after night, an ocean away in our own little universe in rural Missouri.
And then–maybe, we’ll get this Britbox thing out of our system and this space will become a place for recommendations of the books and films for which it was intended.