Saturday, 8 November 2008

Life in the land of the strange

I put on the film, Journey to the Center of the Earth. The 1957 version, with James Mason and all. I've called it Film Studies, on the basis that it gives me two hours free while the gritlets are goggling at the dimetrodons, so you can call it treatment for depression.

I last watched this film aged about eight, and cherish fond memories of James Mason running about in a plastic tunnel with a giant mushroom. Then I thought it possibly one of the finest, most magical films ever to have been made, and probably credit this film for pointing me towards literature and inspiring me to read the children's editions of the Jules Verne collection in the local library.

So today I watch a bit too, or as much as I can before I go and beat myself up for failing, in my two hours off, to tackle ordinary household duties, like dirty laundry, filthy sinks, and bits of space rocket on the floor. But the bit I watch is frankly bizarre and makes me wonder about my memory. In fact this film starts so bizarrely it matches anything Grit and the gritlets can muster while they crash about English fields scouring the land for monks or moths or sewage or badgers.

For a start, nearly everyone in this film, James Mason excepted, looks like a cross between Beverly Hills and Munich. They're all clean-cut young folks stained with the same colour of wood varnish and flashing perfect dazzling smiles, while dressed in weird costumes that remind me of lederhosen. Worse, one of the male leads with a rugged all-American jawline has this fake Scottish accent, not helped by striding around in a kilt feeling the need to hack out och ach ach och like he's caught a rat in the throat. When they're not striding about being American Scots, the characters break into song.

Clearly, none of this troubles the gritlets. Just like mama 40 years ago. The gritlets are totally absorbed by this surreal Journey to the Center of the Earth, and remain so, even after I absent myself to scoop up bits of rocket and cry in the midst of my depressive bout. When I return, it's all over, the prehistory's been proven, and I ask whether the film helped everyone think about the stuff we did on explorers, or Darwin, or geology or, I add hopefully, anything at all.

And then Squirrel says she was sorry when the dog was eaten. I don't remember a dog, but somehow manage to talk at length about dogs and what Americans might do when they're starving and lost underground and there is a dog and it looks tasty.

Squirrel stares at me blankly. It takes us forty five minutes to ascertain that she didn't say dog, she said duck, and then I remember that of course, in the film it is Gertrude the duck. And she is eaten.

Which makes perfect sense, because it is perfectly normal to take your pet duck to a journey underground from Iceland to discover the origins of life, even if you are from Beverly Hills dressed up in lederhosen and singing Hollywood songs before being spewed out from a volcano whereupon you can get married and live an ordinary life of fame as a fake Scottish geology professor.

Makes our life sound quite normal.


The Boisterous Butterfly said...

I worry about what is happening with you. I am not sure you are alright. It sounds like you need major reinforcements and I don't mean bottles of beer. Is there an adult in your life who can provide some relief? Someone who can hold your hand for a bit? The gritlets must understand that you can't hold down the fort by yourself and that you need some cooperation. Surely they are sensible enough to listen to reason? Good luck dear, I'm thinking of you.

Grit said...

You are very kind, Irene, and I will be alright. I have faced a lot worse and survived so far. the gritlets can pull together, if i reason with them long and hard enough. these days, apart from aunty dee, no-one offers to babysit the triplets. well, someone did offer, but then when i tried to take them up on it, the offer, and they, melted away. strange.

sharon said...

Has Dig mustered enough Frequent Flyer points for another trip for you? You really need a break and a bit of peace and quiet. Come to Oz. Summer is just around the corner, not that you'd know it from the weather just now although the UK friends who were here is September didn't seem bothered ;-) I can even offer free accommodation. Dig and the Gritlets can have a fun time of, and on, their own I'm sure.

these boots said...

The only babysitting thing I can think of is: is there anything like a skills-swap type scheme in your area? Would there be any takers for, say, you offering an afternoon sorting out someone's garden while they triplet-sit? Even if the Gritlets did an afternoon of Film Studies with their 'sitter'?

But then, that's assuming that you'd find an afternoon gardening for someone relaxing, whereas I'm sure you'd much rather be getting a massage in a health spa or somesuch.

Sorry, only proactive thing I can think of.

mamacrow said...

wish you were closer. I'd happily have 'em round for the afternoon. With five kids, three extra dosn't notice that much :)

So if you fancy the drive to the south east coast, just let me know, ok!