Among the things I’m learning from Foyle’s War

Among the things I’m learning from Foyle’s War is what “barrage balloons” were (to damage/redirect enemy planes, especially bombers). I’d seen them mentioned in novels but their use wasn’t explained. I’d assumed they had the same function as dirigibles in World War I (as observation balloons and, believe it or not, bombers).

I’m greatly enjoying the performance of Honeysuckle Weeks (her real name!) as Sam Stewart, Foyle’s driver, whose insouciance is a much-needed foil to the reserved mien of Detective Chief-Inspector Christopher (never “Chris”) Foyle. And I’m keeping my ear in training by listening to the multiplicity of British (and Irish) accents on offer; usually I can understand people on first hearing, but sometimes I have to “wind back” the DVD and re-listen. And it’s great to see so many familiar faces as guest-stars, even though they may have aged so much they’re unrecognizable except by their distinctive voices—for example, Adrian Lukis, who played George Wickham in the 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice, or Roy Marsden, who played detective Adam Dalgliesh in many dramatizations of P.D. James novels but first came to my attention in the Cold War spy series The Sandbaggers (1978–80).

I was delighted to learn today that they’re making more Foyle’s War; Series Eight is currently filming in Ireland. On the Internet Movie Database (, I was looking up the work of actor Stella Gonet, who played Barbara Hicks, a possible love-interest for Foyle, in Series Three’s “They Fought in the Fields”; Barbara was posted elsewhere at the end of the episode and hasn’t been heard from since (I’m currently watching Series Four, set in 1942). I very much admired Stella’s work as one of the leads in The House of Eliott series (1991–94). She’s not listed on Imdb as doing any more Foyle’s War. I was hoping she and Foyle could be reunited at series’ end. Foyle strikes me as a lonely man. His wife, who must have been much younger than he, was only 30 when she died in 1932.

I’m now doing what I call my “stevedore act” and hauling my plants in off the balcony at night and “tossing” them back out in the day, as night-time is too cold for them; a few days ago, we had two degrees of frost. Already.

At right isn’t one of my plants; it was in a flower-bed on the Bay Street side of Toronto City Hall on 9 June. I believe it’s a hibiscus.