Sssh….I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I really think I was meant to be British. My family tells me this all the time. I love tea. I love a dry sense of humor. I swoon when I hear the accents (my New Yorkese is just not pleasing to the ear). Burberry- oh don’t get me started on the plaid. I would kill for sticky toffee pudding. I truly believe I was born in the wrong place.
Looks wise, when you mix my Mediterranean Mother with my Slavic Father, you end up with a fair skinned. greenish hazel eyed, brunette. People have never thought I was Polish or Italian, the dominant genetic groups- they’ve always thought I was English or Irish. There was a point when I only dated blue eyed, blonde guys with Irish ancestry. You could say that’s my type (my daughters history teacher fits this description- even though he’s about 12, I still felt the need to check my appearance before I walked into parent teacher conferences)
But my intense love of all things British sort of manifests itself in my love of three things: Downton Abbey, Pride and Prejudice and Agatha Christie. There is nothing I like more than absorbing myself in these two works. So this month has been wonderful.
Why? Because a few weeks ago, a Downton Abbey exhibit opened in NYC. I was treated to seeing the actual kitchen, servants dining hall, Mr. Carsons office, the Dowagers desk, the main dining table and Lady Mary’s bedroom. As I told my friends, I could have moved into that room. And the costumes!!! Oh, those dresses!
For an Anglophile, a drawing room drama is perfection. Back stabbing, wheeling and dealing and intrigue are so much better when done with an accent and a country estate. There is a sense of class and elegance to the shows aired on PBS that just draws me in. (OK- I know- they’re PBS- they’re supposed to be like that) I don’t necessarily want to be part of that world (well- I have had a few dreams where I am Lady Mary), but it sure is a fun ride. No American drama has captivated me as Downton did. The dialogue was just line after line of clever and concise writing. The actors- really- do I need to explain how good each and every cast member was? I still haven’t gotten over Matthew and Cybil…..the attention to detail- there was not a thing on the set that wasn’t perfect and accurate to the time.
But my love of all things Brit also extends to literature. Pride and Prejudice. Seriously- could there be a better book? Jane Austen had the ability to describe the universal nature of people is such an insightful and timeless way. And tonight, I get to see an off Broadway production of that amazing book! I get to live in a world of Elizabeth Bennett for just a few hours tonight! To see such a strong female character, and to know how long ago the book was written….to know that Austen had the courage to write about it!
Of course, “Murder on the Orient Express” also came out this month. Agatha Christie- the queen of the detective story. Adapted by Kenneth Branagh. Come on….. Clever, timeless, witty, erudite…..the whole thing is perfect. (ok- the movie is not perfect- but still- a murder on a train….Hercule…..it still works)
So here is my nod to all things British. Here is to my wishing I was British. I’m going to finish my tea, take the lift down and exit my flat to walk my Yorkshire terrier……perhaps I’ll even wear my trench…..