Some of you may have heard earlier this week that Richard Briers, the real Tom Good from the Good Life, died at the age of 79. I thought it only fitting that I pay homage to one of the characters for whom my blog is named. I remember watching The Good Life as a child with my parents and have since re-watched the series countless times. The idea of leaving the mainstream, money-driven world, as Tom and Barbara attempted to do, appealed to me from a very young age. And of course there was all that vegetable growing.
The series was delightfully funny, though when I watch it now, with more understanding, I also see the deep-seated sexism and patriarchy even in a relationship which on the surface looked more equal than most of that time. Looking past that, I love the antics, the attempts to become entirely self-sufficient (the cabbage glut) and the forays into animal rearing in suburbia. And I love the characters, all of them, Tom, Barbara, Margot and Jerry.
However unlike the real Goods, where Tom was the one with the wild ideas and Barbara went along for the ride so to speak, in our Good household it’s me with the hair-brained schemes and Mr Good (I never called him Tom mostly because he is so decidedly different from the character Tom Good that it just didn’t feel right) nods and rolls his eyes but also encourages me… and helps with any major building works. That is how it’s been for most of our fourteen year relationship, but I have seen a recent shift. After a decade of trying to talk him into leaving the city we’re finally making steps to do just that and he’s just as excited as I am. We agree on the sort of house we want, older ‘with character’ but in need of some TLC, and most importantly with a big sunny garden for veggies, chooks and kids. So perhaps now he’s starting to earn the title of Tom Good.
And as for the passing of Richard Briers, I was a little sad especially because he had suffered quite a long illness. But the reports claim that he died peacefully at home with his family and that sounds like a nice was of leaving the world to me. In another time I would have marked this sad occasion by sitting down and watching all three series again, followed by some intensive time in the garden, instead it was swimming, shopping, refereeing the disagreements of small children and getting the house ready to go on the market (and what a job that is turning out to be).
P.S. Incidently I enjoyed Richard Briers just as much in Monarch of the Glen.