Dear Ruth Goodman

Posted on January 18, 2011


Dear Ruth Goodman,

I am completely and actively devoted to you. Can I be you when I grow up please?

Many of my fellow countrymen probably have no idea who you are, and that’s a shame. I myself only recently discovered Edwardian Farm because of my newly born and overwhelming fascination with the Edwardian period in general, which I will expound upon in some future entry. From Edwardian Farm I discovered and watched Victorian Farm, Victorian Farm Christmas and am now entrenched in Victorian Pharmacy. None of these programmes have been broadcast here – at least not yet or that I know of – nor are they available on DVD except as imports in that weird format you Brits insist upon. So one either has to get a multi-region DVD player or find the programmes on the internet somewhere. Not that anyone would download a TV show that they didn’t own! *cough* (I’ve yet to find Tales from the Green Valley, but don’t lose faith in my ingenuity.)

You see, I’m a “living history” nut. I watched all of the “House” series done in conjunction with PBS, but we have little more than that here so it naturally falls that I would eat up these new discoveries. What’s my favorite of those, you ask? How kind. Why, Manor House of course. I told you – obsessed with Edwardians. And in revisiting Colonial House via DVD recently I recognized you in the behind-the-scenes stuff and in the final episode putting in an appearance. It was heartwarming. I don’t think I made it all the way through Colonial House the first time because they really were a miserable lot of whiners. But, for my liking, none of them really compare to you folk on the farm. What I like particularly about your Farm programmes is how informative they are. It’s true that you, Alex Langlands and Peter Ginn are all wholly charming and endearing but I appreciate that the series gets less into the interpersonal drama and sticks more with the telling of how things were done. Because, you see, this is where my true devotion to you lies.

I am most interested in the social history aspects. Were I ever to be able to take part in one of these experiments I would want to be involved in the “women’s work” for which you are held responsible. I mean, I don’t particularly mind tilling a field or breaking in a horse (mere child’s play, wouldn’t you say?), but what I love to learn about is what people ate, how they cleaned their houses, what they used to wash their drawers. These things are unendingly fascinating for me. They washed their hair with cow spit and rendered fat? Let’s mix up a batch and try it out! They survived on grainy bread crusts and rancid water? I could stand to lose a few pounds anyway! In the end, I’m a tactile learner. I do need someone to tell me the what and the why I’m doing something, but I don’t really absorb it completely until I’ve got my hands in it. So when I see you scrubbing floors and mixing up caustic soap and taking a steel tubbed bath in the dead of winter with only a wisp of heat from some paltry little twig fire nearby, I’m all for it. There is also a slight chance that I am simply masochistic, but, hey, six of one.

So please consider this blog post (which obviously you will read) (repeatedly, I’m sure) as my open application for your next project. Mind you, I have no delusions about the work. I know at best most days will be mind-numbing and exhausting and at worst painful and inducing of a wide hatred of all humanity. But, you see, I’ve spent some years working in Corporate America, so I’m used to all that. I realize that me taking on the Women’s Work would make the whole thing a slightly gender-askew project but I really don’t see much issue. You seem to like being out of doors, so you can join Peter and Alex in the fields or forests and I’ll stay behind and make the gelatinized hog’s eyeballs and spoilt milk cheese or whatever else it is that these British country folk used to eat. And I think me and that grumpy Italian clothes-making friend of yours would get along fabulously at any rate. He seems a real bitchy queen.

So I have my corsets and bloomers all pre-purchased (don’t ask) and solemnly waiting for the day you call on us to come and take our rightful place. I do fear that you lot have exhausted all the time periods anyone would feel at home in and suspect that next you will have us in Mesopotamia or somewhere weaving reeds into footwear. But whatever it is, I’m your man!

Looking forward to your reply.

Callous handedly yours,

the moody box fan