qatsi (qatsi) wrote,

Walking with Time Lords

Two weeks ago the series of Grand Designs Abroad finished, and last week Kirsty Wark completed her Tales From Europe. Replacement entertainment chez qatsi comes in the form of Beyond River Cottage and Walking with SpacemenSpace Odyssey.

Two interesting facts on the Grand Designs series were that several of the projects were re-building buildings that had fallen into disuse and disrepair (one for about 100 years, two others since World War II) and that, generally speaking, the locals had no problem with British expats coming in to refurbish their local economies.

Tales From Europe was a tour of the eight countries entering the EU from the former Soviet bloc. The series waxed and waned a little. Slovenia, the Czech Republic, and the three Baltic states seemed to be faring the best; Slovakia and Poland, and particularly Hungary, seemed to be falling behind. A cautionary note for anyone contemplating a trip to Tallinn is that it is apparently the new Prague, so beware the Stag parties.

I fail to see how taking on a 40-acre farm and running a part-time restaurant counts as downshifting, but Hugh Fearlessly-Eats-It-All's River Cottage series is still entertaining. It's like Two Fat Ladies but without the calories, though the sight of Hugh finding out the intimate way whether his cows were pregnant was a bit of a pre-watershed surprise, and no doubt Channel 4 will be deluged with more complaints about Hugh describing his mixed feelings as he drives a flock of sheep to the local abbatoir.

And last night, for the first time since <I can't remember when>, I watched a docu-drama on BBC one: Space Odyssey. It wasn't as dumbed down as I had expected, but lots of details were glossed over. Though I agree that there was nothing that broke the laws of physics, some aspects did strike me as a bit dubious. The atmosphere on Venus didn't really seem thick enough, though admittedly all we have to go on is some heavily distorted images from the Soviet Venera probes. The idea of sending any spacecraft (manned or unmanned) within 5 million miles of the Sun and expecting it to be unharmed seems unlikely. But the Martian landscape did seem quite convincing, and (as acknowledged in the linked article) achieving the effect of lesser gravitation or weightlessness was impressive. The second part should make interesting viewing.
Tags: food, tv
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