I'm not sure what took me so long. I've been waiting and waiting for Mrs Miniver to turn up on daytime television, so I could abandon all pretence at being responsibly self-employed and put the kettle on ...
But she has never once turned up on those afternoons when I am so easily tempted to down tools for an old-fashioned movie.
But for heaven's sake ... the DVD was only £2 on Amazon.
I was so sure that I'd seen Mrs Miniver once before, years ago - but now I'm wondering if what I saw previously was the sequel The Miniver Story. (I was so convinced that Mrs M died.)
Who could resist lovely Greer Garson and her quizzical eyebrows? And those amazing false eyelashes. Well, Jan Struther could, apparently, and thought she was 'so damn ladylike.'
And it's hard not to shout at the television when you're introduced to Mrs M's strapping all-American son. Please ... couldn't they at least have given him an English haircut? (It does seem a bit creepy that Greer Garson married him the following year.)
It's not so much a wallow as a fascinating piece of wartime propaganda - with an appeal for cash at the end. And it's absolutely nothing like the book.
But how it must have tugged American hearts, no wonder Churchill loved it ... from Mrs Miniver quaking in the bomb shelter, to Clem coming back exhausted from Dunkirk, the feisty little fiancée who dies in Mrs M's arms, the rousing sermon in the bombed-out church.
Rachel's review of the book reminded me that I'd never read Jan Struther's less well-known collection essays Try Anything Twice. I thought it would be just the thing for a hot, sticky afternoon after rather too much Virginia Woolf recently.
But although I could detect glimmers of a prototype Mrs Miniver, there's very little of her charm in this collection, and it all seemed rather laboured. And without a leavening of Mrs M's charm and joie de vivre, the snobbishness rather rankled.
Another 1p bargain from Amazon (rather more than slightly-foxed) arrived just in time to slip into my bag for a weekend by the sea. This was Wilfred and Eileen, by Jonathan Smith; a very slim novella, from 1976, that is due to be republished by Persephone in 2014. I wanted to love it but I couldn't help thinking that it would have worked much better on television. (It was a BBC serial back in the early 80s, although I don't recall watching it. Probably because in those days I was rarely home from work before midnight.)
Wilfred meets Eileen in 1913 during his last days at Cambridge, before he starts training to be a surgeon. Their families don't approve and they marry in secret. It is substantially a true story and dedicated to the daughters of the real Wilfred and Eileen. But maybe because it seemed neither one thing nor the other, it didn't leap off the page as a novel, and there was too much missing from the biographical story. All the Persephone ingredients are there, but the recipe didn't work for me.