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Family & Friends

This year’s pandemic has taught us to appreciate our friends (from a 6-foot distance) and our family (from perhaps a closer distance than we would like). It seems only fitting that family and friends should be the theme for this holiday post. Also: printable coloring page!



BBC Sherlock

I don’t want to get into any book-versus-movie type debates over whether the original Arthur Conan Doyle stories are better than the BBC show (or vice versa). The ACD stories are classic, and nobody can deny it. By the same token, the BBC show handles the preservation of the friendship between Watson and Holmes after the introduction of John and Mary’s relationship, IN MY PERSONAL OPINION.

Also, I would be remiss not to mention Mrs. Hudson. She doesn’t really get much play in the ACD stories, where in the BBC show, her character gets a lot of development and is a good friend to the boys (but not their maid!). This is another difference that I feel is a positive one, again, IN MY PERSONAL OPINION.

Although book-vs-movie (or in this case, show) debates can be quite heated and passionate, I hope that we can all put that aside and appreciate the friendship shown in BBC Sherlock.

Finally, as promised: a printable coloring page featuring Mrs. Hudson and the eminently quotable line—”Not your maid, dear.” Excellent for leaving around the house as a reminder for family members. 😉

Printable coloring page of Mrs. Hudson. Right-click, select open image in a new tab, then File > Print.

Speaking of family…

Bar the Door

Bar the Door (full title: Get Up and Bar the Door) is a Scottish ballad, which you can read in its entirety (and several variants) here. It’s a bit of a classic—if you went to high school in the American public school system, there’s a good chance you read it around the same time you were suffering through Chaucer.

The plot of the ballad is as follows:

It’s around Martinmas (the festival of St. Martin, November 11) and Goodwife is making puddings. Her husband, Goodman, is presumably sitting around, doing the equivalent of watching football. The door to the house is unlocked, causing a draft. Goodman tells Goodwife to go bar the door, but she refuses.

They agree to play the quiet game, where the stakes are whoever speaks up first has to bar the door. In the interim, two robbers avail themselves of the unlocked door and Goodman and Goodwife’s silence to do increasingly outlandish things. Eventually, Goodman can’t take it anymore and speaks up, prompting Goodwife to dance with glee and tell him to go bar the door. What happens to the robbers is not specified.

Winter 2020 Reading Guide, featuring the first few stanzas of Bar the Door (my own telling)

With many countries and some US states enforcing quarantines and stay-at-home orders, and with an increase in working remotely, a lot more people have been spending a lot more time with their family (or roommates) than before. I like this ballad for the family part of the December theme because it highlights that “can’t live with them, can’t live without them” feeling that I think many of us have become familiar with during the course of this year.


Happy Holidays from Short and Sweet WTF!

Published inClassicsMystery

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