A Darrowby Downer

Today’s post comes to us from NorthShorer.

 

I discovered on Acorn TV a series called The Yorkshire Vet, about a veterinary practice called Skeldale House that was once James Herriot’s practice. As a reader of the books and an owner of the TV series, it was a delight to find. In his last years my father thoroughly enjoyed the shows on PBS. It reminded him of his pre-World War II life in central Minnesota. The Yorkshire Vet is a documentary, not fiction, and quite well done, I thought. Herriot’s books are very much fiction.

As I often do for TV shows and books, I searched Goggle maps. Darrowby, Herriot’s fictional town, is really Thirsk, which is where the practice is today. I found The World of James Herriot, the original Skeldale House, as a museum outside of which is a full statue of Alf Wight (James Herriot’s real name). Then Google Maps gave me a shock.

A mere handful of blocks from The World of James Herriot is a Tesco, Great Britain’s huge grocery store chain (groceries plus). Not what you expect to see in sleepy little Darrowby. The TV series was filmed in another village because in fact Thirsk was not then an isolated little village. It then and now abuts three or four other towns. But still. Google maps shows me it is now the centre (may as well spell it British) of quite the population area.

When have your romantic delusions been punctured?

46 thoughts on “A Darrowby Downer”

  1. We visited Arles in southern France, where Van Gogh had lived part of his life. The village inside the walled section is still old and charming, but outside the wall it’s just like any other small city, with its gas stations and supermarkets and trafficky streets…

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    1. Conversely, we were disappointed to find old Quebec so completely overrun with tourist attractions: tents of craft vendors and caricature artists, cheesy sidewalk restaurants with singers performing “My Way” and “Volare”, mobs of people everywhere and lots of tacky souvenir shops. There was interesting history but it was disturbingly overwhelmed. It wasn’t until we ventured outside of the walls of the old city and away from the clamor that we got a sense of the genuine city.

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        1. Possibly, but not all tourists are looking for the same thing. You might argue that not all visitors are tourists.

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        2. all who have lived in a high tourist area as I did for most of my life can tell you there are tourists and travelers, as we said

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  2. In May of 1960, when I was a high school senior, the news carried the story that a US “weather plane” had crashed in Russia. When the Soviets claimed this was a spy plane, the president (Dwight Eisenhower) reassured the world that no spying had been involved.

    We discussed this at school. I was comforted by my conviction that the Soviets spied on us but we would not do something like that. I was comforted by my president’s assurances.

    Then the Soviets revealed that the pilot, Gary Francis Powers, survived the crash and was in one of their prisons. Eisenhower had to make a humiliating announcement admitting that his cover story had been a lie. For most Americans, and certainly for me, this was the first confirmed example of the way our own government lied. I had been raised believing that my country was ethical whereas its arch-enemy, the Soviet Union, was unethical.

    That was my first shocking discovery that romantic delusions are often wrong. But to be fair, I’ve also learned that my cynical delusions are just as likely to be proven wrong.

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    1. The disinformation about the Viet Nam war, official reaction to protest, including Kent State, the revelations of the Pentagon Papers and the sharp divide between resisters and officialdom disabused me of the notion that the interest of the government and that of its citizens were reliably the same. I think that was generally the assumption following the second world war and up until the sixties.

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      1. I was young and undoubtedly naive, but that was when I first realized that it was possible to be a citizen of this country and acting with the best of intentions and still be considered an enemy.

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        1. We see this issue the same way. My loss of innocence during the U2 incident shocked me but didn’t make me cynical. That happened slowly, lie by lie, during the Vietnam years. I’ve believed for many years now that the only true way to love one’s country is to admire its strengths while trying to promote the most positive aspects of its ideals. And that requires criticism where criticism is warranted. “Patriotism” that cannot coexist with criticism is bunk.

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  3. Rise and Shine Baboons!

    Having been born unrealistic and romantic, the list of illusions broken is very, very long. The first one that was thrown under the bus was that your family cares for you and is on your side. NOT.

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  4. I don’t make that many friendships, but the ones I make I give my full commitment, despite everything but betrayal of me. Only one of my friends have stood by me, stayed with me over time. I can easily surmise this is my fault, but still.

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  5. One of my grad school friends had her romantic illusions punctured when she realized the man she was dating really only wanted to sell stocks and securities to her.

    Thanks, by the way , to VS for inserting the photo for this post today. Such doings are beyond my capabilities while I am on the road.

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      1. We are still here, and things are turning out well. Daughter says she has had enough adulting for a while. Just a couple more tasks to do today. We head back tomorrow.

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  6. When have they not? It’s really too distressing to contemplate, so I’ll just move on and wait for the next one. Or is that being cynical? Don’t mind me, I’m just talking to myself.

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  7. i was pleaased to see vs start the day wioth my sentiment.
    i am a romantic and every notion of how it should be has been dashed again and agsain but…. such it is to be a romantic.

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  8. my life is on end these days. new china stuff going on with midnight phone calls and emails. im off to br the pro from dover in 10 days and so my trail time is disrupted but i will have new fun stories to tell.
    i had to get my passport photos redoen and the old guy who turned up in the picture was a surprise.
    i am sorry to miss the ones i miss. i saw the one form yesterday when it was up for 3 seconds on sunday and then i missed it yesterday with a hectic day
    vs i did some checking on your garage door. my best suggestion is all american garage door. new doow with opener(good door) get rid of old one $600 dollar
    front step. we need to jack hammer the old one out and order up a cement truck. when is the question. may or june?

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  9. ala clydes post. when i went to ireland 30 years ago numberone on my list was the quiet man location. it was great. kong i think was the town. still a small town. john ford had electricity in the 50’s 60’s to make the movie and the locals all had good stories.
    i unlike clyde make freinds everywhere i go so the fact that they dont stay with me is not important because new ones pop up again tomorrow. i tried for years to keep up to date with all of them and it was exhausting so i stopped. i keep up with the special ones and let the rest go.
    i am not an easy friend either i gather because i am apt to do it my way instead of the correct way just about every time.
    at least there is the trail. i have no trouble keeping up with this crew. except this last week or two

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  10. I’ve actually had the opposite. The first time I traveled to London, we had a trip to Stonehenge on the itinerary. I had several people disparage it prior to my trip. “Too close to the highway, big ole fence around it, muddy, boring”. The morning we drove out was a beautiful clear day with just wisps of clouds. While the stones aren’t out in the middle of nowhere, they aren’t right up again any fencing and aren’t THAT close to the road. I had a great audio guide to listen too, the weather was just the right temperature and it wasn’t terribly crowded.

    I’ve actually found many times in my life that if my expectations aren’t too high, I am often pleasantly surprised!

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    1. The Danes have until a short time ago held the distinction of being the world’s happiest people. One Dane when asked why he thought that was replied: “Low expectations.” While I can’t vouch for that, I think there’s something to be said for having realistic expectations.

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      1. low expectations/ realistic is accepting disappointment before it happens to keep from being disappointed
        i live in that house but not in that world
        i cant not hope for the best every every every time
        am i disappointed? every time but i know it will be good next time. honest it will.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. An animal-related series of books about as deeply loved in GB as All Creatures Great and Small is Gerry Durrels Corfu trilogy, which was done by the BBC and shown on PBS this winter. Watched 3 episodes on Amazon video. Not one incident in the TV show in those episodes is on the books. Not one.

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  12. Being the innocent, sheltered, farm boy, I was shocked, SHOCKED I TELL YOU when, about age 20 I was volunteering in the theater and I found a playboy in someone’s office. (Was I snooping or looking for something… I don’t recall.)
    And then later, working in the same space but late one night, a person returned with a woman NOT his wife.
    I was gob-smacked.

    Theater. I was all innocent before theater. I learned about drinking and marijuana from my theater friends. And a lot about the real world too.

    Liked by 2 people

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