Chapter 86: COVID Chronicles

By Karen

Day 103

Experiment Update & More British TV

While I read the newspaper every morning, sitting on the living room floor, sometimes I feel eyes on me…

Tony is still basking in the glow of picking actual contenders (even if one was only momentary) in the Belmont Stakes and dreams of doing even better in the Kentucky Derby in September.

Sadly, we’ve suffered two losses. We haven’t seen the cardinals in the holly tree outside the kitchen since Saturday, shortly after I discovered their nest. I think I scared them off and hope there aren’t any eggs now.

And after chives dwindled to one viable stalk in the dirt, I tossed them. That last one’s roots had taken hold and grown. The others had no roots at all. So, if you want to regenerate chives (or green onions or scallions) do it hydroponically.

It was an interesting experiment. But since Tony’s began taking an interest in them and onions are lethal to cats, I had to pull the plug before he accidentally poisoned himself.

I’ve been binge-watching a British detective series on Amazon Prime called DCI Banks, which had five seasons from 2010-2016 and stars Stephen Tompkinson…

DCI Banks reminds me of Doc Martin

In addition to actors Stephen Tompkinson and Martin Clunes resembling each other physically, DCI Banks has Doc Martin’s keen intelligence and determination to get to the bottom of things and do a good job, but minus the Asperger’s.

To top off the comparison, the actress Caroline Catz joined DCI Banks in Season 2 when the female lead Andrea Lowe really got pregnant and took maternity leave (which they wrote into the plot to create some good twists). Catz had played Doc Martin’s love interest Louisa. As DI Helen Morton, her relationship with Banks is platonic because she’s married (and he has the hots for the one who now has a baby). She’s typecast as an uptight, exacting woman who borders on bitchiness, but somehow makes you not hate her.

(Aside: I didn’t immediately connect the dot that Tompkinson also starred for the first few seasons in Ballykissangel as the English priest transplanted to a small parish in Ireland who falls for the mouthy pub owner, another series I loved years ago. Now I may have to revisit that.)…

Photo TV Guide

If you watch British TV, you’ll see other crossovers. Father Brown’s inspector has a regular role, and Father Brown’s criminal nemesis, Flambeau, pops by.

I almost fell off the couch when even Baxter, Lady Cora’s maid from Downton Abbey, played a character who would have given Cora a coronary. (No spoilers!)

One reason I like all these shows is the absence of smartphones. DCI Banks started out in 2010 with a flip phone. Then Catz showed up with her smartphone and there was even a scene where DCI Banks remarked, somewhat annoyed, how much she used it for everything.

By Season 4, smartphones are the usual intrusion. Characters receive meaningful plot turns over the phone and you have to guess what’s going on by their facial reactions or unreadable text message exchanges.

If you have Amazon Prime and like fairly low-tech crime shows, I recommend DCI Banks.


7 Responses to Chapter 86: COVID Chronicles

  1. Joanne M Miarecki says:

    I have been watching Beecham House, based in 19th century India . The British” master” is so gorgeous. The costumes amazing along with the beautiful vivid colors.

  2. catsworking says:

    Welcome, Joanne! I haven’t heard of Beecham House. Where are you finding it?

  3. Donna says:

    The only thing I miss not having TV is all the fabulous Brit TV I watched for free on WETA UK. Some day I will treat myself to one of the streaming services,Acorn,etc. I really miss Hyacinth Bookay

  4. bassgirl23 says:

    We are thinking of trying Acorn for all the great British shows. The last series we watched was Dr. Foster and really enjoyed it. The Capture is really good too (although much more hi-tech & violent). It’s funny how all the BBC actors seem to turn up in various shows – even though we don’t watch all that many we definitely recognize at least one or two familiar faces in every show.

    Surprised your scallions didn’t take – we did the same with ours but planted 6 outside, and all but one is still in good shape. Maybe the roots need to be longer before they’re put into the dirt? We have ours in direct sun most of the day (although it’s not all that hot yet). They seem to prefer that.

  5. Mary Hunter says:


    I loved DCI Banks! It’s been awhile, so may have to revisit that. Also, my husband and I joke about there being only ten actors in England! You see the same ones over and over!

    Ballykissangel sounds great! Thanks for the info. We love Acorn and find so many older British series there. One favorite is “Pie in the Sky” about a police detective who owns a restaurant. It’s really well done. Also, Acorn is very cheap and has so much good content.

    As always, love the pics of Tony. He always looks so startled.

  6. catsworking says:

    Donna, you don’t have TV? As you can see, I watch way TOO MUCH TV. I do gravitate to a lot of British shows, and anything that was done pre-smartphone.

    Once this COVID thing is over, if we aren’t all dead, I will avoid shows that were filmed with everybody talking to a computer screen.

  7. catsworking says:

    bassgirl, I do think the chives definitely suffered from not enough sunlight. It just didn’t exist while they were in dirt. Then Tony started meddling and that’s didn’t help. They all had great roots when I put them into the ground, but they were totally gone when I pulled them up. Oh, well. I’m sure they would have done better outside, but I’m afraid to plant anything around here outside. I’d have to have a truckload of dirt delivered, for one thing, and then people would just let their dogs pee and shit all over it.

    I had Acorn for one month once so I could watch the latest season of Doc Martin. I think there has even been one more after that (Season 9?) but I haven’t seen it yet. Haven’t watched The Capture. I really don’t like shows about murder and mystery that much, but find myself watching more and more of them lately. Probably due to a lack of really good comedies.

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