i’ve become a big fan of the bbc. it started when i wanted to watch the olympics last year but bolivia doesn’t broadcast them, besides snippets, plus our tv connection is really spotty. so, going online, i tried cbs or whatever u.s. network it was that was supposed to broadcast it. the only way i could watch on my ipad was through their horrendously bad app, full of ads and, as far as i could find, almost all about the u.s. athletes and little about the rest of the world’s athletes. screw that. so i set up my vpn (i use tunnelbear) for the u.k. and tried the bbc. since it was the london olympics, i figured they’d have great coverage – and wow, it was great. super easy website, NO ads, no product placement even!, and lots of coverage – with yes, an emphasis on british athletes, but not in the drama-filled annoying u.s. way, and still lots of events, not jut the big draws, and lots of athletes. i loved it.
since then, i haven’t left the bbc. i have amazon prime, so sometimes i get sucked into some ridiculous reality show (dance mom miami? ugh, can’t believe i did that.) and a few times we’ve watched some moves (once upon a time in the west – great movie!), but mostly it’s the bbc for me. i haven’t watched a single sitcom/fiction piece, it’s allll about the documentaries, food shows, and house shows. LOVE them! for example, ‘masterchef’ – and oh the difference between the u.s. and u.k. versions are fascinating. says so so much about u.s. culture – and not in a flattering way. i’ve house-binged on ‘escape to the country’ – the u.k. has some beautiful rural spaces, folks! all those forests and streams make me long for maryland.
and then there’s the smaller series of documentaries. for example, one series called ‘the great british food revival‘ really impress me. they get famous u.k. chefs to pick one great neglected british food – cheese, apples, eels once, whatever – and then talk about their production in britain, how they taste better and are cheaper than imported versions, and basically encourage people to buy local. oh and they include mouth-watering recipes, like goat cheese and chives souffle, iced strawberry nougat, and much much more.
but! what brought me to write here was one series, just three shows, called ‘wild shepherdess‘ where a welsh sheep (meat only) farmer goes to afghanistan, then peru, and finally australia to see how people there traditionally manage their sheep herds. sounds like a snoozer, but for a fiber enthusiast, i was definitely intrigued. i’ve watched the first two episodes only and there were some annoying cultural elitist bits here and there, but nothing crazy different from the average national geographic documentary. then though, in peru – and yes, maybe i’m a tad defensive of the andes region, and maybe possessive, which is ridiculous i know – she says at some point, that though she hates it, she feels like maybe it’s best if the small farms disappear and then bigger ones take over. wtf! she was talking about alpaca production specifically, since in peru, like in bolivia, it’s not much about sheep but really alpacas, of course. she had been visiting a small (like 60 alpacas?) farm with a really poor typical andean family running it and then she went to a much bigger farm with thousands of alpacas and the comparison was overwhelming i guess. but it bothered me a lot. i mean, she’s a small welsh farmer herself – how can she not support other small farmers? and why is it ok for her to try and be a small farmer in wales but for peru? no, forget it, big farms are the answer. ugh.
so yeah, thanks for listening to my screed. that was frustrating and i yelled at my ipad for a bit, so it feels good to vent here. what small farmers here and worldwide need is support and aid, from their governments, their communities, and, i would think it would be automatic, from other small farmers! sheesh.
still love the bbc though. …next post will have pictures, promise.