Sunday Salon – March 14th 2021

This week, books, films and television.

In my continuing ambiguous relationship with Amazon I decided to review one book and see what would happen. I was surprised to get a positive reply. Could this be because the author has been dead for nearly half a century and could not possibly have bribed me to write a review or happen to be my best friend?

This is my review of ‘Mrs Palfrey At The Claremont’ which I put on Goodreads

I had not read any of Elizabeth Taylor’s books and read a review of this one by a fellow blogger. It appealed to me as gentle pandemic reading. It is quietly very amusing. I loved the line ‘She realised her husband was no longer at death’s door, but actually going through it.’ As Mr. and Mrs. Palfrey’s life had been in the colonial service it appears they did not actually own a home and after enjoying some retirement time Mrs. Palfrey is left on her own and decides to live at a hotel. The wonderful description of her first night, creeping down the corridor to the shared bathroom, tells us all we need to know about the life  Mrs Palfrey now faces in her final years. Perhaps the funniest part of the simple plot is the recreation of the character of her grandson, who is unlikely to visit, but having created an image of him the other residents expect him to appear. Mrs. Palfrey’s friendship with a poverty stricken  young writer provides a solution to her dilemma.

My email from Amazon

Thanks Janet Gogerty,

Your latest customer review is live on Amazon. We and millions of shoppers on Amazon appreciate the time you took to share your experience with this item.
from Janet Gogerty on 09 March 2021
It’s 1968, but Mrs Palfrey is not part of the swinging sixties.
I had not read any of Elizabeth Taylor’s books and read a review of this one by a fellow blogger. It appealed to me as gentle pandemic reading. It is quietly very amusing. I loved the line ‘She realised her husband was no longer at death’s door, but actually going…
See your full review

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  Sunday Salon is for all arts and entertainment and most of us have appreciated a bit of escapism with our television sets, especially if we are in lockdown on our own. However you access programmes and films, I’m sure there has been plenty of choice.

  I did catch up with a film I had wanted to see, A United Kingdom, 2017. From what I have looked up and read, it seems this film is a true love story approved by the family. The sunny reds and ochres of Africa are the antidote to a grey pandemic winter evening. In post war 1940s  England a young clerk falls in love with an African Prince and both families disapprove; it gets very complicated. It wasn’t until the end I realised the British Protectorate of Bechuanaland is now Botswana, a country I always think of as a happy land.

It became an independent Commonwealth republic on 30 September 1966, lead to democracy by the one time prince. It is currently Africa’s oldest continuous democracy and has transformed itself into an upper middle income country, with one of the world’s fastest-growing economies.

I have not set foot on the continent of Africa and my knowledge of Botswana, until I saw the film, was based entirely on the light hearted No 1 Detective Agency books of Alexander McCall Smith and the subsequent film and television series, filmed on location, bringing cheerful viewing on winter evenings a decade ago.

The film was a good story, viewers might be appalled at British bureaucracy and empire style, trying to keep important trading partner South Africa happy, but I think it was not that simple; in a way Britain had also been protecting little Bechuanaland from South Africa, just over their border and trying to impose apartheid on them.

A United Kingdom vs True Story of Seretse Khama and Ruth Williams (

My garden that has not appeared on television.

In a world of dark stories and division and during a long year of lockdowns there is one place many of us enjoy visiting, Longmeadow. This is Monty Don’s real garden from which he broadcasts Gardener’s World on BBC 2. He and other presenters have filmed in isolation, each in their own gardens. This series has been better, on their own chatting to us, no inane banter with each other, just gardening and tranquillity. Apart from one of Monty’s beloved dogs dying ( cue national mourning ) the programmes have been a haven away from politics, division and bad news. My favourite feature has been viewers’ videos. There is no garden too small or too steep and no flat too tiny to be filled with waterfalls and hundreds of plants. Children and the elderly, from every walk of life, able bodied and disabled. In Lockdown everyone was taking the opportunity to have fun gardening and they were all so enthusiastic. I kept boring family and friends with snippets. If you thought I had a lot of pots, this woman had 1,567 pots in her garden. There’s a bloke who lives near you and he has an actual staircase from a house to go up to the garden on top of his (reinforced ) shed and they must be able to look down into all the neighbours’ gardens. One chap mows his lawn every single day. He had 398 varieties of dahlias and could never go away on holiday…

BBC Two – Gardeners’ World, 2020

It was a bad day when Gardener’s World finished for the winter, but there was soon happy news, programmes reviewing the past season and a rerun of Monty’s three part series on American gardens. And now it’s spring again and next Friday, 9pm BBC 2, the new series starts.

What has been your favourite Pandemic viewing?

13 thoughts on “Sunday Salon – March 14th 2021

  1. I’ve never viewed any gardening programs; well, to be truthful I don’t view any programs, having lost the TV habit decades ago and not yet picked up the streaming habit. Seeing perfect grand gardens might be kind of discouraging, but quirky small ones could be inspiring. 1,567 pots would be something to see, and I sympathize with the dahlia man.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes Audrey, you would like Gardeners’ World. They cover every kind of gardener from the tiny front garden with a washing up bowl for a water feature to the serious gardeners whose whole lives are devoted to preparing flowers for the big flower shows – they cannot leave their gardens for a single day!


  3. It might not be acceptable these days, but I miss those ‘old names’ of African (and other continents) countries. They were the names I grew up with, and learned about in the 1950s. Nyasaland, Bechuanaland, Basutoland, Ceylon, Burma, and many more. I also collected their rather exotic stamps as a child.

    On TV, I have been watching ‘Bloodlands’, ‘Unforgotten’, and I am looking forward to the new series of ‘Line Of Duty’ starting next week. I like to escape into a gritty cop/murder drama, and Monty Don and his gardening gang bore the pants off me, to be completely honest.

    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ha ha, I can see gardening programmes are not everyone’s cup of tea Pete; but I always thought stamp collecting was the most boring hobby ever invented for children, aunts always seemed to send stamp albums as presents. Probably why I don’t remember the old African names let alone the new!
    I have Scandi and Iceland Noir and Noir Francais recorded waiting for me to watch. We watched all the series of Line of Duty, but I fear I have lost the plot – who really did it and what did they do!
    Next Sunday Salon I shall be comparing Scandi Noir with Inspector Montalbano…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. How interesting to see Bechuanaland pop up here, Janet. Bechuanaland features in my new book as the seat of administration for this protectorate was Mafeking at the Northern tip of the Cape Colony when the Second Anglo Boer War broke out. I have visited Botswana a few times and the people are very nice. It has a small population and the government has worked hard to uplift and educate its population.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Janet, a wonderful magazine-style post and you have me intrigued by the book and one I will check out. Oh, Amazon at one stage took off ALL my reviews and stopped me posting any more. A lengthy email discussion ensued and all was put back and I can post reviews again. It was disheartening though. As a huge fan of No. 1 Lady Detective Agency (books and series), I love the sound of the film and will see if I find it. My favourite film this year so far was ‘The Beautiful Fantastic’ on iPlayer. Quirky, wonderful, terrific characters – I’m singing its praise to all who will listen! Enjoy Monty Don, he’s a great person and gardener and I’m laughing out loud at the viewer comments! Brilliant! I must go and watch the series!😀

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks Annika, yes it is quite fun having one’s own magazine. I have never tried actually emailing Amazon, I just moan to everyone else! I looked up Beautiful Fantastic and it does look like great Covid comfort viewing.


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