A few people recently have expressed the opinion that I would enjoy Downton Abbey; I’m not generally an avid TV watcher, tending to stick to Doctor Who and The Apprentice but with such an amazing cast, and being a period drama (which I am a bit partial to), I thought I’d give it a go! I really liked it (as people knew I would)! I enjoyed the ‘behind the scenes’ drama, intrigue, humour and ‘us’ verses ‘them’ feel. The first episode is set in April 1912, in the immediate aftermath of the Titanic disaster. Here I offer you two facts; I have almost always known that the Titanic sunk in 1912. I have also almost always known my Great Grandmother was born in 1908. However, at no point (prior to yesterday) did these two facts converge.
My Gran was 4 when the Titanic sunk.
Someone I knew, met and talked with was alive in the time of Downton (though nowhere so grand I assure you!). Plastic was invented when she was one!! Imagine being a teenager in the 1920’s, living through two world wars, the first commercial flight, the introduction of television and popular music. She was ten when women gained the right to vote, a teenager when A.A.Milne created Winnie the Pooh and Walt Disney first introduced Micky Mouse. Her twenties saw the completion of the Empire State building, the invention of the cheeseburger and abdication of King Edward VIII. Indeed our country had five monarchs in her lifetime…FIVE! I’m in my mid-twenties and have only witnessed one!! Many of you will have watched the opening ceremony of the Olympics… Ethel Clara Seal witnessed almost ALL of that first hand. She was alive when the Beatles changed the music world, when cinemas were introduced and Britain elected a female Prime Minister. I could go on…the first computer, China becoming communist, the discovery of DNA and invention of the seatbelt. Cigarettes went from cool, to good for you, to very very not good for you and man walked on the moon. Imagine going from there barely being cars…to travelling to the moon! All in 60 years!
I have always known these things happened in the 1900’s, but I think it took last nights trigger to make me realise how recent all this is! Not long ago our world was one of horse and carts, of log fires and telegrams. Zoom forward one hundred years to when Ethel Clara Speakman died and we all have little things within a metre of us with which we can answer any question in the world, contact our friends, check our bank statement and book a holiday all within 5 minutes. Can you imagine the possibilities for the next century? If we continue at this pace…I can’t even begin to fathom where the world could be!
However, if I do make one hundred, like my dear old Gran, I hope I too can look around at my family, as she did, with a smile on my face and say ‘Aye, we’re a good looking bunch!’ What a star!