An awful lot of podcasters apparently give up after the first episode. Tried it and didn’t like it, perhaps, or became discouraged by the tumbleweed that greeted their first offering. Well, because I like to be different, I’ve persevered to make the second episode of my sitcom Lee-Ann’s Spare Fridays. It was released on Friday and as before, you can listen to it on Spotify or Apple podcasts, or at https://anchor.fm/jysaville where you should be able to play it in a browser without logging in to anything. And if I’ve embedded it properly, you can listen to both episodes right here:
Before you listen, you may want to know what this podcast is about. It’s about Lee-Ann who’s been moved on to a four-day week and wants to spend more time with her cat and research the history of the Yorkshire village she lives in. Unfortunately she has the sort of interfering and organised older sister (Gina) who doesn’t think those are worthy enough pursuits, and she spends most of Friday trying to get Gina off her case. She also has a dry, laid-back Scottish neighbour called Douglas, and a portly black and white cat named Lord Salisbury. It’s structured like a sitcom, but told as a monologue from Lee-Ann’s point of view. I’m not saying you’re going to learn anything from Lee-Ann, but she does drop real history in now and then (like sourdough bread being around in ancient Egypt).
Lord Salisbury leapt on to Douglas’s knee to show Gina that he’s not standoffish, he just doesn’t like her. Douglas said he was sure he’d regret asking, but why was my cat called Lord Salisbury?episode 2, Lee-Ann’s Spare Fridays by JY Saville
Lord Salisbury (as I’m sure you all know) was a Tory prime minister of the late nineteenth century, and according to HCG Matthew in my Oxford Illustrated History of Britain, ‘the last Prime Minister to wear a beard’. There is no deep meaning behind my choosing the name, it is simply an improbable name for a cat (and turned out not to be the name of a cat who used to live round the corner from me, but that’s another story).
Richard Oastler, who gets a mention in episode two, was another nineteenth-century Tory, this time from Yorkshire. Best known for being instrumental in the Ten Hour Act (1847) which limited the amount of time in a day that children could work, there is a statue in Bradford of him accompanied by sorry-looking children. It’s not that far from the statue to William Forster (not a Tory), whose 1870 Education Act gets a passing mention.
Robert Owen, also mentioned in the second episode, was a Welsh mill-owner and famous socialist. Similar to Titus Salt in Yorkshire or the Cadbury family in the Midlands, he had a village for his workers at New Lanark in Scotland and was attempting to improve their health, morals, and general wellbeing. We learnt about him at school, and then presumably because it was a lot closer to get to, went for a day trip to Quarry Bank mill instead.
As a bonus historical fun fact, pilates (which crops up in both episodes, actually) was called Contrology until its inventor (Mr Pilates) died in 1967. I have a feeling if it was still called that, Lee-Ann wouldn’t be quite so set against it.
If you enjoyed either episode of Lee-Ann’s Spare Fridays and want to support me as I make episode three, you can always buy me a cuppa…