I always thought I should have been British. I was born in Germany to American parents, but I've always felt a connection with all things British. I love rainy days, I love the accents, I love tea. I've never been a coffee drinker, it's always been tea. I adore mysteries, Agatha Christie topping the list, and I love British literature (hello there, Charles Dickens).
Recently, I've started watching some British television shows on Netflix and they are so great, I have to share.
The first series I watched was Doc Martin. The show centers around a top-notch London surgeon who develops hemophobia, a fear of blood. He retreats to Port Wenn, a tiny village in Cornwall where he becomes the General Practitioner (GP) for the little town, which is plagued by all manner of viruses, bacteria, and odd diseases. It's also plagued by all manner of interesting characters.
Doc Martin is a fish out of water in the fishing village, with his brusque and rude attitude. And yet, the towncomes to like, if not love, the GP who seems able to diagnose any disease on the spot and fix any and all maladies. The Doc takes a liking to Louisa Glasson, the resident girl next door and head teacher of the primary school in Port Wenn. Their relationship is fraught with more peril than seems possible, mostly due to the Doc's inability to express his true feelings.
The show is fantastic and just one of those fun mixes of lighthearted humor and serious storylines. Definitely worth watching! The first five seasons are on Netflix with the sixth slated to premiere in Fall 2013.
The second show I started watching this weekend is Call the Midwife. Based on the life of Jennifer Worth, a London nurse and midwife in the late 1950s, this series follows four nurse/midwives and the nuns they board with. The nuns are also midwives and nurses and the convent is located in London's East End, in a city called Poplar. The city is very poor and the nurse/midwives serve the people of the city who otherwise could not access medical care.
This show will make you laugh, cry, and realize that life is truly a gift. The nurse/midwives help bring people into this world, ease them out of it, and take care of all the needs of life between birth and death. These women worked behind the scenes, making life just that little bit easier for those around them. When the hospital was too far, when the night was long, they labored along with their patients, helping to bring new life into the world and easing the departure out of it.
And the patients were heroes too - women living in the poorest of conditions who soldiered on, raising their children, who sometimes numbered into the 20s because birth control was not yet invented, condoms being the only option with the women at the mercy of men who refused to wear them. And yet...they kept on going, making the best life for themselves and their families in sometimes deplorable conditions.
This series shows us that our preconceptions about the poor are really misconceptions in a lot of cases, that love is not an easy concept to understand or to live, and that life is never black and white. The rules are not simple, life is not simple, but if you have your health and you have someone there for you to hold your hand when you come into this world and when you leave it, you are truly blessed. And that is what these nurse/midwives did for their fellow human beings - they were there. And that is a true gift.