The other night, with it finally getting hot here in Spokane, I decided
to get back to the bedroom with the air conditioning. As I've mentioned
before all I have back there is a crappy little TV with no cable. So
there isn't always a lot on to watch. I ended up on my local PBS channel
watching a British show called Heartbeat. I had never heard of the show.
But at least it was in British English, which is fairly understandable to
me and which in any case is more convenient than the Spanish of another
show I watched a while back called Victoria. I tried my best to put Victoria
through the language translator. But the results were doubtful, to say the
least. So I figured I would do a lot better with Heartbeat, where all I
would have to do is figure out strange euphemisms like 'lift' or 'mobile'.

Heartbeat is set in a town in England somewhere. I don't know
how big the town is exactly but let's just say it is small enough to be
very near horses and sheep but large enough to have experienced some
urban blight. As the show opened, some itinerant street musicians were
playing and singing outside an antique store. I really don't know if it
was an antique store or not, but let's just say that it was. But evidently
the owner of the store, an older attractive women with a not-so-nice
personality. didn't like them playing outside her store. Or maybe she
just didn't like Donovan, which is what they were singing. Then a bobby
came along, and suggested to the musicians that perhaps it would be best if
they were to move along. Then the attractive older woman came out and
started in on the musicians again. At which point the bobby again suggested
that the mucians move along. So the musicians moved along to wherever
they were moving along to and the bobby resumed his beat.

Then there was a scene where a young prep-school girl sat drinking tea
in a shop, talking to herself. But after a few seconds I realized that
the girl, a very nice looking blonde, was in fact probably about 35
years old. Which was very strange.

Back at the antique store or whatever is was, the older woman argued
with a younger, middle-age man who was apparently her son. Then a woman
walked up in front of the store pushing a baby carriage (or 'pram' as I
think they are called in England). The woman then left the carriage and
baby unattended out on the street and walked into the store. As it turned
out the woman was married to the older attractive woman's son. The woman
and her husband then climbed up to the second floor of the antique shop
and had some sort of very serious discussion about something that I didn't
quite catch. But it was apparent at that point that the woman didn't think
much of her mother-in-law. After that the woman went downstairs and out the
door — only to find her baby missing from the carriage. So she calls the
police and the bobby comes around again. At this point the woman thinks it
was her mother-in-law who took the baby, as in the meantime her mother-in-
law had left to go home, and evidently because that's just the type of person
her mother-in-law was, that she would take a baby like that.

The scene then changes to a country farmhouse. A man comes home after a
visit to the doctor's to find his wife missing. He talks to their servant
or maid or whatever, and discovers that his wife has been missing all day.

The bobby and the baby's mother then end up at the grandmother's big
old nice house. The mother flies through the door, demanding to know
where her baby is. But the attractive grandmother has no idea what she
is talking about, and the mother senses that she is telling the truth.
At that point the mother's anger turns to pure panic. The grandmother
then tells the bobby that it must have been the itinerant street musicians
who stole the baby, in order to get back at her for having been sent off
down the street. The bobby isn't so sure about that, but promises her he
will look into it.

The next thing you see is the good-looking blonde in the schoolgirl
uniform walking across a field carrying a baby. It doesn't exactly take
much to put two and two together at this point and figure out that it
is the stolen baby she is carrying. And it seems that in this town
there isn't much distance at all between the fields and the town because
not much time has actually passed by since the baby was reported missing.
The woman approaches a farm-house and, avoiding the people who live there,
slips into the barn. There she has a good long conversation with herself
about how she may not be quite ready to take care of a baby. Which is
probably for the best considering that she is a 35 year old woman wearing
a schoolgirl uniform who has been reduced to hiding out in barn. So she
takes off and before you know it she's back in town. Walking down the
street, she sees the aforementioned street musicians going into an abandoned
warehouse. Figuring they would be out soon, she leaves the baby outside the

While all this has been going on, the man with the missing wife goes
into the police station to report her missing. The cop there tells him
how strange it is that they would have two missing people in one day,
his wife and a baby they are looking for. The man, of course, knows
pretty much what has happened and decides to go look for his wife
himself before she gets into any trouble.

At that point I felt the need for a cigarette so I went into the
bathroom and closed the door so that the air conditioner would pull the
smoke out, or most of it. When I returned to the show things were sort
of in the process of tying up. The street musicians had found the baby
and decided that the best thing to do would be to take it into the
police. I really wonder how their story sounded. Because to me the line
"we just happened to find this baby lying in front of the abandoned
warehouse we were in" sounds a little on the thin side. But evidently
the police believed them anyway. As for the man and his missing wife,
he managed to find her. And since nobody had actually seen her with
the missing baby it looked like she wouldn't be getting in any trouble
because of it. And I have to say, I was kinda glad about that.

I don't know if I will watch Heartbeat again. I guess it just depends
on how hot it gets in the living room and how desperate I am for a
show to watch. But I think that if nothing else Episode 18 can teach
us two valuable lessons: First, you really shouldn't leave your baby
in a pram unattended on the city street. You think people would know
that. But evidently not. And second, if your wife has been acting
strangely, and wearing a schoolgirl uniform, and if the schoolgirl
uniform isn't part of some hot romantic thing you two have going on,
then you should definitely get her some psychological counseling —
before she starts running all over town stealing babies.