Thursday, 4 July 2013

Miss Marple

The morning obligations have been fulfilled, I’ve had my lunch and washed up, and I don’t have to sally forth again until the evening.  I have a little correspondence to attend to, but I prepared tomorrow’s funeral last night; so right now I’m going to sit down with a cup of tea and watch Julia MacKenzie play Miss Marple in the film based on Agatha Christie’s Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?

Somewhat to my surprise I find that Miss Marple is my rôle model for the stage of life I have now reached.

The great thing about a fictional rôle model is that they cannot surprise you with disappointing choices – well, I say that, but maybe it’s not always the case; I had some vigorous protests from readers when my Father William opted for the course of action that concluded Remember Me.  But then he always did manage to upset everyone.

Anyway Miss Marple is everything I aspire to.

She has a quiet but clear and effective Christian faith.

She’s observant and intelligent.

She dresses modestly and becomingly, with understated elegance becoming to her age group.  I love Miss Marple’s dress sense.  She always looks wholesome and . . . erm . . . what’s the word . . . pleasant . . . neat . . . restful to the eye.  I like her fine lawn blouses and her well-cut tweed jackets, her sensible lace-up shoes and her soft blue woollens.  I like her graceful, tidy hairstyle

Her gaze is direct and acute, shrewd. She takes in what she sees and grasps its significance.

She is understanding and compassionate; she listens properly and reflects on what she hears.  She is wise and kind, never prejudiced or hasty in her judgements.

She is not bossy or pushy, but she perseveres and can be insistent when the well-being of others is at stake.

She is self-effacing, courteous and serene, soft-spoken and approachable.

She doesn't have to be slim.  Thank you, Miss Marple; I love that.

Oh, Miss Marple, I have so much to learn from you.

I have a boxed set of DVDs of Margaret Rutherford’s Miss Marple, a present from the Badger.  My absolute favourite is The 4.50 From Paddington – I love the detail of the station and  the old train (like they used to be – happy sigh), and the kitchen with all the old-fashioned things that make the world feel comforting and secure. 

I prefer Joan Hickson’s and JuliaMacKenzie’s Miss Marple attire to Margaret Rutherford’s and Geraldine McEwan’s – I don’t like the fantastical, comedic get-ups they dress the latter two in; lampooned, somehow.  Miss Marple had dignity, style and quiet flair – she was an English country gentle-woman.

In a bewildering and alarming world full of urgently and aggressively promoted agendas, antagonism, chatter and opportunism, I feel that Miss Marple has what it takes to help me thread my way through the chaos, and reach afternoon tea still smelling faintly of soap and lavender.  Or maybe violets.  Or roses.


Daisyanon said...

How well you put it! I share your love for Miss Marple and all she represents. LOL!

Not so much the clothes though!

Pilgrim said...

Miss Marple is great. Always wanted to visit her; never wanted to be her. :-)
I would really like to have someone make me tea every day. :-)

Thank you for the comparisons of versions. Have to make a note of that. Will have to come back on click on all these links....

Roberta Desalle said...

You have captured Miss Marple so well that I was able to enjoy her person, Ina living sense, through your words.
I love her simplicity, her directness, her humble "knowing".
Joan Hickson is my favorite.

Pen Wilcock said...

:0) xx


Anonymous said...

Nooo...Father William made the right choice...the one I wanted him to anyway :-D


Pen Wilcock said...

Under discussion. I think we are going for self-publishing. Am waiting for my agent to return from holiday to make arrangements.


Anonymous said...

Ditto, Ditto, Ditto - we share exactly the same thoughts about dear Miss Marple.


Nearly Martha said...

Joan Hickson first I think. Someone said they sawt the Geraldine McEwan version having a smoke. Surely Not. Have just finished Remember Me. (have been saving it) It would have broken my heart if William hadn't made the decision that he did. I think that it would make a great TV series.

Pen Wilcock said...

Hi Bean - then we think as one.


Hi Martha - William's story continues in Book 7 ("The Breath of Peace") - I have always wondered what 'happily ever after' might really mean if unpacked; and this is explored in the next story. I hope we have FINALLY reached a publishing decision and will get that moving soon.

Anonymous said...

Love Miss Marple! She has been allowed to grow old gracefully while being valued for her wisdom and contribution to society. How rare and how wonderful! Watching those films makes me dream of aging in place in a little English cottage such as hers.
PS: Joan Hickson is my favorite as well.

Pen Wilcock said...

:0) xx

Anonymous said...

If ever I'm feeling cold or exhausted, I find watching the Joan Hickson version of A Caribbean Mystery always has the power to make me feel warm and relaxed! Yes, I agree, much about Miss Marple to admire and emulate.

Pen Wilcock said...

I feel it may be necessary for me to take a Caribbean holiday so I can fully enter into the story . . .

Beth said...

Oh, goodness. I read this post and immediately wanted to watch Miss Marple. Love her and since I met her have always wanted to sit down and have tea and knit with her!

Pen Wilcock said...

Yes - it's my spare-moment treat since I discovered the Julia McKenzie ones are all uploaded to YouTube! x

San said...

Ah miss m each character brings to the table there own inimitable strengths, M R for her comedic face pulling, JH for her cut glass accent and beady eyes and GM for full on dottiness!! The only one i have yet to see is JM so will have to check her out. Yay for all things eccentric and a flash back to a more orderly time.

San xx

Julie B. said...

What a delightful post. I love Miss Marple, and now have two of the episodes you mentioned at the top of our Netflix queue!

Anonymous said...

On a related note, "The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency" series staring Jill Scott, is another wonderful woman allowed to be who she is and navigate in her strengths. I turn to it's bright colors and warm, friendly characters during our cold Minnesota winters. Wish they had made more of them.

Pen Wilcock said...

Hello friends :0)

Yes, Precious Ramotswe - that traditionally built lady - is anothe rone who soothes my soul.


Pen Wilcock said...

Lynda - thank you for your comment and kind words. I understood you to mean you would prefer me not to publish it, so I haven't. xx