Like most folks, Darling Husband and I have been watching way more TV than at any other time in our lives. I can’t go the MET in HD for opera, I can’t go to live theater or the symphony or the philharmonic. So we have cozied up with Acorn, Prime, Netflix and PBS.
D.H. would be the first to say that his taste in TV runs to documentaries — YouTube videos on taking rust off of things and anything World War II.
When evening arrives and we want to watch something together, compromise and discovery are our watch words.
But we have struck bargains and have discovered together shows we would never normally have watched, and they have been delightful. I thought that many husbands and wives might be going through the same thing. As my good deed for the week I thought I would share some of the titles of shows that have genuinely brought us joy and may bring some to you. It is best to get off the news and talking heads channels and rediscover our humanity anyway.
“This Farming Life,” BBC, Amazon Prime
This is a documentary-style series following the struggles and triumphs of six very different farming families. You see everything about the farming life from the great calling some folks have to be farmers, to the demand of something that is alive and needing you 24/7 in a real way, right down to baby piggies and calves.
Trust me this will delight you and lower your blood pressure. It will also remind you that we do not, in general, pay enough for the work these men and women do to send us food.
“Village of the Year,” Acorn TV
Penelope Keith is a beloved actress in Britain, viewers will recognize her from many shows that have run on PBS as she hosts this quirky competition show.
This is not looking at towns as we know them, but the very particular villages that Brits love so much. All bring delightful gifts to the table. Three judges — an archaeologist, a master gardener and a craft expert — visit villages, discuss and eliminate until the Village of the Year is chosen.
Our joy is sitting at home seeing these wonderful places, which are filled with people who not only love their village, but who are wildly active in keeping it wonderful and thriving. When this pandemic is over, you will wish to fly directly over and go to each and every one of them.
“Lords and Ladles,” Amazon Prime
This documentary-style show is produced in Ireland and features three top chefs, Derry Clarke, Catherine Fulvio and Paul Flynn, who are challenged in creating elaborate dinners from menus found in some of the great houses of Ireland.
In each episode, one chef gathers the ingredients, one cooks and the other gets to dine with the gentry. Clearly they have most everything delivered, but it does give one chef a chance to highlight some of the great butchers and fishmongers of Ireland.
The three not only display great skill, but seem to get along like wildfire. You will be gobsmacked at the amount of food that is often prepared for a dinner with guests, let alone the china, silver, wine and finery that goes with it. These three are a delight and since we aren’t going out to eat, it is nice to watch others enjoy these delights — and we don’t gain an ounce.
“Scotch! The Story of Whiskey,” Amazon Prime
You can wash this all down with a lovely stroll the the tale of Scotland’s gift to the world as you follow town to town, distillery to distillery learning the trade of making the drink. Also we learn how it traveled where and about the revenue it brings. Even if you are not a Scotch drinker, you will find this a treat.
“The Big House Reborn,” Amazon Prime
This six-part series follows the extraordinary work of the National Trust conservators as they embark on a massive three-year project to repair and restore The Mount Stewart House, located on the shores of Stanford Lough, Northern Ireland. It is thrilling to see the care and innovation to save a piece of history.
Times are stressful, the future uncertain, so wit and kindness and innovation can be a real joy. I will add more later. Enjoy.
Joyce Reehling lives in Pinehurst. She retired here from New York after a 33-year career in theater, TV and commercials.