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Friday, March 19, 2021

Wouldn't it be Lovely?

Or would it?  In an effort to explain, we must start at the beginning. Years and years ago, at the behest of a friend, mouse downloaded the book Outlander and probably read a few paragraphs and since it failed to scratch any itches she had, promptly forgot all about it. Equally likely it was pushed aside for something more overtly smutty. As much as Master has tried (and repeatedly failed) to foster interest in more classic literature, mouse has always gravitated toward smutty bodice ripping stories that lack any real substance (in a literary sense) but filled with steamy sexy scenes. It's also rather embarrassing when people ask, as they invariably do, 'have you read any good books lately?' 

The reply is generally no, offered without much consideration. Naturally this has led her to be, at times, sharply admonished, as though a lack of interest in reading is akin to everything that's wrong with the world. While they might be apt, mouse has never gravitated to reading much and goes through lengthy periods without even thinking to open a book. That alone is enough to give friends of her's a strong case of the vapers, as they could never imagine themselves without a book close at hand. 

Magazines are something she does actively read, mostly for the photographs and on occasion the story. Although, even those become incredibly annoying to her. Anyone who has looked up a recipe online might understand or even agree that one doesn't need a lengthy meandering tale of the writer's grandmother's kitchen and a hundred artful photographs of their perfect ingredients in their perfect kitchen that leaves one haplessly scrolling for an eternity to find the damn recipe. For a news article, honestly all mouse wants to know is the basics (who, what, where, when, how and why). One will often find a vivid destruction of how someone dressed for work when they woke in the morning, or how the cobblestones felt under their feet as they walked...all the fluff that has zero to do with the actual story. Some 20 paragraphs in you suddenly learn they heard of the event from a "friend" (or relative or second-cousin's hairdresser...), who writes this stuff? Stephen King? In her much younger years, mouse did read a lot of Stephan King and grew increasingly annoyed that sometimes an entire chapter of the story was wasted building a character one might assume some importance to the tale, then vanishes completely only to pop up again when they're killed off (probably horribly) later in the book. 

Ok enough of trying to validate the lack of interest in reading, let's simply push on before mouse becomes guilty of the very thing she truly hates, because there is a point. Each morning Master and slave exercise side by side, while Master's treadmill is a fancy one (His has a screen that shows landscapes, not only providing something nice to look at, but also influence the way the machine behaves. Going uphill, the machine inclines, or running on a beach might cause the machine create its own drag). As opposed to the one His slave uses that is quite simple and completely manual. It hasn't a screen so early exercising was a slog for her, unless you count the blob that eventually completes a circle to indicate a quarter mile has been traveled. Incline is also manual, so mouse just raises and lowers it with a touch of the button. Master decided it would be ok for mouse to watch something on her tablet. For a long while it was the show, "Call the Midwife." a very wholesome story set in the early 1960s district of London about a group of women who work as midwifes but eventually ran out of episodes and needed something else to watch. 

This brings us back around to Outlander and began watching that. Roughly 20 minutes into the first episode, it began to feel vaguely familiar, like something she'd seen before. After the workout a quick google search revealed it was a series based on...A novel. How stupid was mouse? Quick search on the book app found the book and began reading later that evening. Now with a reason to read, in an effort to stay ahead of the story unfurling on the Netflix app, mouse began to carve out time to read (of course with Master's blessing). The book and television series are both enjoyable (there are some differences but it doesn't seem too bothersome). The gist of the story is a woman living in post world war two period is somehow transported to the late 1700s. Setting aside that mouse should have continued reading this long ago, since it does tick a huge box for her. One of the first books mouse ever read on her own was Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder and long held fantasies of milking a cow before school. Escapism maybe for the little mouse who was raised in a bustling noisy city, fast forward decades and the odd fascination continued with her becoming enthralled with stories about things were long ago. Upstairs/Downstairs (which she saw on PBS) was the first time mouse remembered seeing servants and having them as part of the story (often with the focus on them more than the upstairs counterparts). Then in the early 2000s there was show (think it was again on PBS, really mouse should speak to Master about donating more) called something like 1900s House, where a group of people give up their everyday modern life to live as people would have in 1900. Each week mouse would watch and imagine her being transported to the past. 

Yes, we can all safely agree that mouse certainly should have given Outlander far more a chance. 

It's also possible why mouse enjoys being at the Lake House. No TV, we usually bring our own movies, the internet is painfully slow or not working, cellphone connections are spotty. We have a landline so we can make phone calls on a real phone that hangs on the kitchen wall and no answering machine. Until we more recently got a clothes dryer, our clothing was hung outdoors. It's still preferred unless the weather is dicy. Clothes last longer dried that way.  Sure we have running water, electricity and most of the creature comforts. What we don't have, we honestly don't really miss all that much either. 

The main home has all the gadgets and are highly dependent on electricity. We have no room for a clothesline and it's against our HOA. Not sure why, but it seems odd considering we're just a block away from a rural road. Yet the rules specifically state no domestic farm animals, no clotheslines and no fences in front of the houses. The semi-rural area has changed a lot over the years, going from people riding horses, keeping chickens to people...well, not. The people with the space to keep horses, cows and chickens are nearly all gone now, having sold their land, leaving us to bear silent witness to those charming homes being knocked down and replaced by more houses, apartments, mini shopping areas...

It also begs to wonder if as people look to being more "green" and seem to care more about the planet, if small changes like clotheslines might make a comeback? 

As much as we enjoy our busy modern life, mouse still at times remained enthralled with the idea of living with far less. While she has no desire to abandon all the creature comforts this modern age provides, part of her wonders how it truly would have been. Naturally, she also accepts that today time travel to a bygone age is completely out of the question even if possible. To exist at time before penicillin or before Master's insulin is completely unthinkable. 

What about the people who do it today? There's a youtube community of people choosing to live their lives off grid. They produce content that also scratched mouse's itch, until she began to notice how well produced the videos were, with fancy introductions and some even have their own theme song. How do they upload those onto the web she wondered? How much time is spent editing? How do they even edit? Do they have someone who does it all for them? Some relative or friend who records the video and edits it at their home and later uploads it onto the web for them? In other words, these videos were not shot with a wiggly phone camera and just uploaded without any edits. 

So, where does this leave mouse? Stuck in the present, grateful for whatever she has! Or right back at the beginning, with maybe a better appreciation for the written word. All this daydreaming and time spent thinking how lovely it might be, has led her back to more basic way of living and cooking. One common thread that she only just realized thanks to Master, all these things involved a more organic (by organic she means natural) cooking and cleaning. Master suggested perhaps that's where the focus should be more about. Although the focus has been more on cooking from "scratch" but there's always room for more improvement. 


Roz said...

Hi Mouse,

I enjoyed reading this. Never read the little house books but avidly watched the tv show back in the day. I haven't read or seem Outlander either. I must be one of the few on the planet lol.

You do wonder how people got on without all the mod cons of today. I even wonder how we got on growing up now lol. I think I'm too attached to do without them now.


Anonymous said...

Hi Mouse!

I used to read a lot but don't anymore, I totally get it. Also, I love my clothesline so much, I have heard of that rule before but it's beyond me. The thought that people have laundry is to appalling to consider?

Sounds like life at the lake is good, I think we have all learned to appreciate the little things this past year.

Best to you all!


claire said...

Oh my original comment disappeared and I hadn't finished, I'm not sure what happened, possibly my pressing a wrong button! I'm very new to blogger and still learning how to navigate my way around, perhaps for the best I feel I may have talked too much.

Regardless, reading your post made me smile, I'm very similar in attitude in regards to books, I haven't read or watched Outlander I shall have to google, if you haven't you might enjoy Bridgerton on Netflix, quite raunchy/romantic and set in the 1800's but with a modern twist to it.