Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Films of British Royals

Lately films about British royals have been the theme of my viewing frenzies. Here are two beautiful BBC dramas which I highly recommend.

Bertie and Elizabeth

The film follows the lives of George VI and Queen Elizabeth from their sweet courtship to their rise as British monarchs. George VI "Bertie" is a rather shy and awkward young man with a speech impediment who somewhat reluctantly becomes King after his brother Edward VIII abdicates the throne. And his brave and loving wife Elizabeth stands by his side all through WWII. It is simply a very sweet story of hardships and triumphs, of life and love.
Stars many period actors such as: James Wilby, Juliet Aubrey, Alan Bates, Eileen Atkins, Barbara Leigh-Hunt, Robert Hardy, Elisabeth Dermot Walsh, Corin Redgrave, Oliver Ford Davies, and Paul Brooke.
You can watch Bertie & Elizabeth on YouTube here.

The Lost Prince


I didn't realize this at first but "The Lost Prince" of whom this film centers is the youngest brother of "Bertie" from the film above. Because of he suffered from epileptic seizures and some autism-like disorder Prince Johnny is kept away from the rest of the family and lives a quiet life in the country with his nurse Lalla who's love and encouragement and faith in him help him to achieve over great odds. The film often shows the world through Johnny's eyes in his honest and loving way. A beautiful film but very sad at times, I definitely cried!
Features some old favorites from period dramas including: Gina McKee, Tom Hollander, Miranda Richardson, Bill Nighy (my favorite role of his), and last but not least Michael Gambon.
You can watch The Lost Prince on YouTube here.

I definitely recommend both of these films, they are beautifully done, clean, sweet and filled with historical facts, lovely acting, gorgeous costumes, enchanting and period goodness!

Also in looking for information for this post I found English Monarchs, a website simply stuffed with history on every British ruler. Just a gem to have on hand!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Decadence Of The Curtsey

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I often wish to be transported back in time to the age when manners were different, and courtesy was valued. Where a handsome bow or graceful curtsy was the familiar greeting and handshakes meant true friendship or a binding oath.
Wouldn't it be lovely if we could reinstate the curtsy as an acceptable greeting? Imagine going to a dinner party or church gathering and sweetly bobbing to friends and acquaintances!

courtesy - early 13c., from O.Fr. curtesie, from curteis "courteous," from curt "court". A specialized sense of curtesie is the source of English curtsy.

- 1570s, "bending the knee and lowering the body as a gesture of respect," a 16c. variant of courtesy. Not originally exclusively feminine.
- Online Etymology Dictionary

Below is an excerpt from Manners for Women by Mrs. Humphry which was first published in 1897. As you can see even at the end of the Victorian era the curtsy was in danger of becoming extinct.

the curtsey
"Girls are never taught to curtsey now, as they used to be. A real, old-fashioned "courtsey", as it used to be spelled, is quite an elaborate performance."

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"First, you draw back the right foot, getting it straight behind the other, and down you go, as far as the suppleness of your limbs will permit, coming up to the "recover" with all the weight on the right foot, and the left pointed out most daintily. "
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"A curtsey is about the only thing in the world that is helped out by the high-heeled shoe."

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"The only trace of this old-fashioned and very graceful bit of deportment is the very deep reverence made by the ladies of Her Majesty's Drawing-Rooms. Some of them preform it with practiced aplomb. Others never achieve it."

-above from Decadence Of The Curtsey, from Manners for Women by Mrs. Humphry

"Her eye half met Captain Wentworth's, a bow, a curtsey passed; she heard his voice; he talked to Mary, said all that was right; said something to the Miss Musgroves, enough to mark an easy footing; the room seemed full, full of persons and voices, but a few minutes ended it." - Jane Austen's Persuasion, Chapter 7

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"Elizabeth merely curtseyed to him, without saying a word". - Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice, Chapter 30

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"She curtsied her acquiescence." - Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey, Chapter 22

"Wherever they went, some pattened girl stopped to curtsy, or some footman in dishabille sneaked off." - Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey, Chapter 23

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If it weren't for the fact that I often wear slacks this time of year and that people might look at me strangely, I would so enjoy trying a curtsy every now and then. Curtsies are just part of the joy of old-fashioned things!
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to practice my curtsy! :)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Emma On Masterpiece Theatre

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Emma is everywhere! I went to and there was a slide-show advertisement for the miniseries! I'm so excited to watch this on Masterpiece Theatre with my family! I have already seen the film online and my sister and I both enjoyed every moment. I believe each part will be available for viewing at the Masterpiece Theatre website shortly after it airs. You have to see this adaptation! It's a very sweet and youthful take on Jane Austen's Emma, besides which is a fairly complete and faithful telling. I can't wait! :)

Note: I am a bit perturbed by the discovery that Emma will not be aired on my local PBS station until the 31st! I was so hoping to watch it tonight! Oh, well, if it's that good it's worth waiting for.
I hope everyone else is able to enjoy Emma as soon as possible! :)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

She Walks In Beauty


She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow'd to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair'd the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling place.

And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!
-Lord Byron

And in other news I am pleased to officially have 25 Followers of my blog! For the past few days every time I checked Old-Fashioned Charm there was a new follower! Thank you all for your support, comments and interest! :)
And I now have my own YouTube channel which will feature my period drama music videos/slideshows.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

New Winter Header

Thought it was time to move on from the Christmas header and face the winter weather with Margaret Hale from North & South.

Christmas header:

My Day Was Brightened


I've had a lovely couple of days. Friday was spent attending the funeral of a dear Christian man who my family and I have known for years. The funeral was held in the church I grew up in so my family and I really enjoyed catching up with the dear friends there. So much to talk about, it's been about 4 years since I've seen most of these dear saints. How I love them all! It was such a joyous time remember a special life and praising the Lord for a glorious testimony. So many smiles at a funeral! :)

"Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints." Psalm 116:15

Saturday I heard from two special friends through Facebook and have really enjoyed sharing the news of one dear friend's recent engagement. The other friend is cause of prayer and reflection, a special friend to me.


I so enjoy watching people and especially watching them smile! This is yet another reason period dramas appeal to me. The special moments that make you just want to smile from ear to ear!
These experiences spurred me on to finish a picture and music video I had been working on. Pictures of period couples smiling set to the song 'I've Got To See You Smile' a fun upbeat song. I really had so many pictures I wanted to use so I added another song 'It's A Beautiful World'. Hope you enjoy this little ditty!

Looking forward to part 2 of Return to Cranford on Masterpiece Theatre tonight!
Hope you have a beautiful day filled with many reasons to smile! :)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

His Eye Is On The Sparrow

"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." Matthew 10:29-31

I heard the story of this hymn on my Christian radio station this morning. It meant more because my mother grew up in a neighboring village to Elmira, New York where the words were written. I found this recounting of the story at

"Early in the spring of 1905, my hus­band and I were so­journ­ing in El­mi­ra, New York. We con­tract­ed a deep friend­ship for a cou­ple by the name of Mr. and Mrs. Doo­lit­tle—true saints of God. Mrs. Doo­lit­tle had been bed­rid­den for nigh twen­ty years. Her hus­band was an in­cur­a­ble crip­ple who had to pro­pel him­self to and from his bus­i­ness in a wheel chair. De­spite their af­flict­ions, they lived hap­py Christ­ian lives, bring­ing in­spir­a­tion and com­fort to all who knew them. One day while we were vi­sit­ing with the Doo­lit­tles, my hus­band com­ment­ed on their bright hope­ful­ness and asked them for the se­cret of it. Mrs. Doo­lit­tle’s re­ply was sim­ple: “His eye is on the spar­row, and I know He watch­es me.” The beau­ty of this sim­ple ex­press­ion of bound­less faith gripped the hearts and fired the imag­in­a­tion of Dr. Mar­tin and me. The hymn “His Eye Is on the Spar­row” was the out­come of that ex­per­i­ence." - Civilla Martin

After unsuccessfully trying to find a tune that would suit, her husband Dr. Walter Martin sent the lyrics to Mr. Charles Gabriel who quickly set them to music and the hymn was first used in a revival in England and first played in the Royal Albert Music Hall. It fast became a popular tune and was used in many revivals. American blues and jazz vocalist and actress Ethel Waters used it as the title of her biography after she heard the song on a radio broadcast of a revival where it was sung by old time gospel musician George Beverly Shea.


Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home,
When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

“Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear,
And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;
Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise,
When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies,
I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

I sing because I’m happy,
I sing because I’m free,
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.

Words by Mrs. Civilla Martin
Music by Charles Gabriel


Praying that you will remember how much you are loved and how much thought the Lord puts into every detail of your life. May you be blessed today!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Awaiting Cranford


I am earnestly anticipating the return of the wonderful ladies of Cranford! All this week my family and I have been re-watching the original Cranford series at night and enjoying every minute. I certainly can't wait for the new series to start on Sunday! Yay!
I've had some fun with photos and text, enjoy!






Monday, January 4, 2010

Hard Times With Martin Chuzzlewit

I've been addicted to the works of Charles Dickens lately. I found a channel on YouTube that had several adaptations of his stories to watch online. There were many I had seen before but I watched and enjoyed the biographies of Dickens and there were these two adaptations that I wanted to recommend to all of you. I have read very little Dickens content to get the essence of the story from film. These are two lesser known works so I'll make sure to include a short plot line.

Hard Times (1977)

Saving the best for last I will start with this BBC adaptation. Starring such talented British actors as Timothy West (Bleak House, Ever After) and Edward Fox (Daniel Deronda, Importance of Being Earnest). It is quiet an older filming and is quiet limited in scenery and simple in costumes and props. It reminds me of the older Austen adaptations, scripts true to the book but often long and somewhat dry.

Mr. Josiah Bounderby and Mr. Thomas Gradgrind

The story centers around Mr. Gradgrind a business man and mainly follows the lives of his two children and the young orphan he adopts as a companion for his wife. Young Tom and Louisa Gradgrind have the benefit of the best schooling, their lessons are all memorized, ground into them is the idea that knowledge is power. They are cut off from other people their own age, emotion and joy are checked and both long for something more. Young orphan Sissy Jupe is taken into their house and is given the same lessons and upbringing but her mind is less brilliant and she stops her lessons and grows up to be a loving companion and help to the sickly Mrs. Gradgrind.
As Tom grows up he goes into the banking business with Mr. Josiah Bounderby and in his search for meaning in life finds the excitement of the party scene and quickly falls into debt. While Louisa following her father's emotionless example enters into a loveless marriage with the much older Mr. Bounderby. Her motives are challenged and her life filled with new ideas when she meets Captain James Harthouse.

Actress Jacqueline Tong as Louisa Gradgrind Bounderby

There are some lovely moments of this film such as hearing Mr. Bounderby's life story which is quite humorous also the steadfast love of Stephen and Rachael is sweet and compelling. The moral of the story is that power, knowledge, prestige and even enjoyment are nothing without love. This reminds me of a passage from scripture:

"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing." I Corinthians 13:1-2

Martin Chuzzlewit (1994)

Now for the best...I must say when I started watching this the plot seemed strange and I didn't expect to like it. But I persevered and really enjoyed seeing the plot unfold and have decided I must own this adaptation (my own DVD copy is in the mail)!
So for the plot...The Chuzzlewits and their various branches are a large proud family. At it's head is Old Martin Chuzzlewit, a seemingly miserly rich old man who has disinherited his own grandson. Young Martin has displeased his grandfather by declaring his love for a poor young woman, a kind of secretary/companion who Old Mr. Chuzzlewit adopted as an orphaned girl.

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Tom Wilkinson as Mr. Pecksniff, Julia Sawalha as Mercy & Keith Allen as Jonas Chuzzlewit

The plot is often moved ahead by the character of Mr. Chuzzlewit's cousin Mr. Pecksniff and his two daughters shrewd Charity "Cherry" and nonsensical Mercy "Merry" (simply delightful names!). Mr. Pecksniff is called a "hypocrite" by several characters is the story yet he seems a loving father and is trusted by his faithful apprentice Mr. Pinch. The plot thickens when silly Mercy marries the questionable character Jonas Chuzzlewit who has dark secrets to hide.

Young Martin, Old Mr. Chuzzlewit and young Mary Graham

There are a lovely cast of characters including some of the truest villains Dickens ever painted. And when mysteries are cleared up many characters are refined through the lessons they have learned. One of my favorite characters is old Mr. Chuffey who is the point of a joke about living past the threescore and ten years the Lord has given.

"The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away." Psalm 90:10

I do recommend both of these films, especially Martin Chuzzlewit . Both would be interesting to Dickens fans and period drama fans. As with others of Charles Dickens' tales the plots are thick and engrosing and the characters very well drawn. The acting both films is excellent and costumes and hairstyles are perfectly in keeping with the time period. So if you get a chance, check them out!

Publicity Photos from Martin Chuzzlewit

Saturday, January 2, 2010

My Christmas in Review

Well, Christmas and New Years Day have come and gone and I had really wanted to post about the activities but it's a little late. So this post is a review in pictures of my Christmas time with my family and friends.

Mountains of Ginger-Fred cookies for the Christmas party at dad's work

A lot of our time before Christmas was occupied with baking, cooking and shopping. Every year my sister makes these gingerbread men for the Christmas part at dad's workplace. Fellow co-workers always ask for the crisp and yummy gentlemen who we decorate with brightly colored clothing, the company name (FHC) and are often decorated to look like dad's boss hence the name Ginger-Fred cookies!

Almond Raspberry Shortbreads and Candy Cane Sugar Cookies

The week before Christmas we three ladies enjoyed an afternoon with mom's friend GariLu with luncheon and baking cookies. Our Candy Cane Sugar Cookies though tasting delightfully good were not as uniformly shaped as we had wished. Mommy's Almond Raspberry Shortbreads were elegant, light and oh so delicious!

Our living room on Christmas Eve

Christmas day was a very quiet and relaxed time with just my own family. We got up early, dad read the Christmas story, baby Jesus - the best present of all - was unwrapped and put into our manger scene, then full stockings were unburdened of their prizes. After a large breakfast, we gathered around the overflowing tree to open gifts. Later we enjoyed a ham dinner with all the fixings. Christmas and the day after were so relaxed and slowly paced. We could just enjoy as a family our gifts, stories of gift shopping, playing new board games, watching new movies, and staying in our pajamas most of the day. My dad has enjoyed 10 days of vacation time and it's been nice to just all be home.

Main hall at Victoria Mansion in Portland, Maine

A few days before New Year's I joined my friend Karis and two of her family members in a tour of Victoria Mansion in Maine's largest city, Portland. The in town house was built between 1858-1860 as a summer home for a native Mainer who had made his money in the hotel business in New Orleans. I had toured this house when I was ten years old but remembered little beyond the amazing flying staircase in the center hallway. With the house decorated for Christmas all four of us just enjoyed walking through admiring the china, furniture, stained glass, paintings and architecture. Simply a wonderful taste of the Victorian era, every bit so lovely and full of history. I couldn't resist buying a book that tells the detailed history of the house as well as two little Victorian era books: Manners for Men, and Manners for Women by Mrs. "Madge of Truth" Humphrey. As I read these last two books I hope to add quotes from them to my blog posts.

Our New Year's Eve feast

Our table on New Year's Eve was spread with all sorts of goodies from the veggie tray, crackers and cheese tray and BBQ meatballs to our packaged cookies (we're all tired of baking), chocolate mint trifle, and our scrumptious spinach artichoke dip. We always toast in the New Year with sparkling apple cider, prayers of thanksgiving and scripture reading. Welcome 2010!

Trying out my new curlers and curling iron

It's really been a great few weeks and it's currently snowing, snowing, snowing! We're supposed to get over 2 feet here. My sister and I have been playing board games and crafting and enjoying sister time. I've been practicing with my new hot curlers and curling iron, it's a bit wild but it's coming.

Our cat Gunther found mom's new blanket

Our cat's have enjoyed the family time too and our presents. I loved the way Gunther was covering his face with his paws as he lay on mom's Christmas gift. What a sweet kitty he is!
Tonight we're making pizza, enjoying the snow, and I'm trying to get over a cold that has just caught up with me.

Me with my fluffy curls

So here I am wishing all of you lovely readers and fellow bloggers a very Happy New Year! Thank you all for your comments and encouragements. May the Lord bless you as we begin 2010!
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