Category Archives: The Telly

When Big Brother Steals Your Remote, Kicks You Off the Sofa, and Makes You Watch the News…

When I saw the Facebook messages being exchanged among my Gulf Coast friends about getting ready for “Gustav’s visit”, I assumed they were talking about some (forgotten) member of my college class…

You know, that international student who’s apparently headed to New Orleans to party with everyone (???)

Yeah, duh! I eventually figured it out thankyouverymuch, so please don’t send me news stories or photos of the destruction.

Realizing that Facebook, although entertaining and addictive, is probably NOT a reliable news source, I decided that it’s about time we get a TV after all.

We held off on buying one until our house in the States sold. It’s under contract right now, which to me is close enough. Then, it became a matter of just getting around to making the actual purchase…

We put it off until we tried to watch The Daily Show online and received this message:

Yeah… The very next day we got our telly, and more importantly, a TELLY LICENSE. One per household is required in the UK if you plan to own and/or operate a TV and they are taken very seriously!

A few weeks ago, we received an angry little letter from the “TV Licensing Enforcement Division”. It stated that…

[Their] database lists this address as UNLICENSED. It is important [we] realize that it is now ILLEGAL to use television receiving equipment…

Please respond by 19th of August to avoid investigation… the consequences of such an investigation CAN BE SERIOUS…

Regional officers will be SCHEDULED to visit your address. If they find evidence of television receiving equipment, you may be CAUTIONED.

I didn’t contact them on the 19th because A) we didn’t have a TV yet and B) I really wanted to see what would happen…

Would they ever come by? Will they have shiny badges and brandish a warrant? Or, will they simply trick me into letting them in like on Law and Order?

I find it so amusing (and so very British) that we received a proper letter informing us that someone will be scheduling a time to give us a warning.

Okay, so there was also a tiny blurb about fines and possible imprisonment under such and such act and criminal law, but that’s not really that interesting now is it…

However, they do have other ways of weeding out such reckless behavior. There’s much hype about TV detector vans roaming neighborhoods and using “super spy technology”  to find offenders. According to the official TV Licensing website:

Some aspects of the equipment have been developed in such secrecy that engineers working on specific detection methods work in isolation, so not even they know how the other detection methods work.

Officers use these devices to check for signals and match them against a list of who’s paid and who hasn’t.

If they find you, they won’t bust you right then and there. They will still call and schedule a time with the homeowner to investigate further…

However, a lot of people think that’s all just a PR hoax to scare people into submission. I don’t know though…

The idea of some mad scientist engineer locked away in a lab developing spy gear is kind of fun. Very 007 (which is also a British invention… hmmm…)

Anyway, the license isn’t actually that expensive when you consider that it funds the BBC, and thereby “allowing it to be independent of advertisers, shareholders or political interests”… supposedly. The license is free of charge for the elderly (75 or older) and disabled, but they still have to register.

Once our TV arrived this week, all I had to do was apply and pay for it online. Easy-peasy pie!

Well, now that we’re licensed to veg, I’m on to my next project…

Figuring out what the heck this show is all about…

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “in the night garden – Google Video“, posted with vodpod

It’s called “In the Night Garden” and it’s marketed like crazy here, but then again, toddler crack usually is…

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Filed under Rantings, The Telly

My Date with Henry VIII

I have been OBSESSED with Henry VIII lately– Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Cardinal Wolsey, and the whole lot. I’m sure it has something to do with this YUMMY guy….

…and less to do with the actual Henry VIII, who I’ve read died syphilitic and so grossly overweight that he had to be moved around with “mechanical contraptions”. But, I guess that’s what the ladies went for in 1533.

Okay, so the money, power, and privilege probably didn’t hurt either…

It just sounds like an episode of Springer, if you ask me.

Although I do have to admit that he was rather GRAND for his day and every detail about his life (and loves) is still a point of fascination five centuries later… and no less scandalous.

I mean, here we are still devouring hit cable dramas about it and thinking impure thoughts about Henry… Well, the guy that plays him.

So, OF COURSE, I took time time (and the train ride) to visit one of his most fabulous homes just outside of London, Hampton Court, which is no less opulent and palatial as it stands today.

It’s not longer an official royal residence, but I was shocked to discover that it is still a private residence to certain members of the gentry. As in people actually still live in private apartments within the palace…

You can see their name plates reading “Lord and Lady So-and So” on doors and gates along the courtyards.

Can you just imagine if THIS was your address?

Of the rooms that were open to the public, the most fascinating (well, to me at least) was the kitchen, a “typical” Tudor style gastronomic extravaganza.

Let’s just say, you don’t get to be that “grand” by starving…

Members of King Henry VIII’s court were entitled to two feasts a day. All 600 of them, at least. Twice a day…

I tend to freak out when I host brunch for six or an afternoon baby shower for forty. That’s 1,200 meals to shop, cook, serve, and clean every single day!

In one of the rooms, there was a model of exactly how vast this kitchen truly was. As you can see, it was more like an entire wing devoted to food. There was a room for fish and one strictly for soups. Butchers on site and… Okay, you get the idea.

Dining at court was a very dignified and serious matter, and most certainly NOT the tossing of chicken bones observed at Medieval Times. As the audio tour assured me…

“Elegant manners were observed. Spoons and knives were used and wiped clean with bread…”

It was all very… well, grand.

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Filed under Sightseeing, The Telly