Hand-stitching is an exercise in patience. I can work for hours at a time as long as my mind is engaged. Podcasts come in handy. Here are three favorites.
The Experience 50 Podcast by Mary Rogers.
Every week, Mary Rogers interviews a 50-something guest who shares tips, tricks and ideas about kicking "your midlife into gear". There are travelers and caretakers, artists, seekers, financial advisers, flounderers, writers, bloggers and so many, many more interesting people. Every few episodes Mary also takes the mic to share her thoughts on life.
Why I like this podcast: it's one third kick-in-the-rear, one third practical magic, one third pure fun. Mary Rogers is like your extroverted friend who is always happy to see you. I binge-listen to her podcasts whenever I need a serious pick-me-up with a healthy dose of reality-check. This podcast is my spirit balm.
The Dressed Podcast by Cassidy Zachary and April Calahan
April and Cassidy are fashion historians who tackle the "rich and complex history of what we wear". Their episodes are extremely well researched and packed with information about fashion and fashion history, presented in a broader historical and cultural context. The hosts interview fellow historians but also present their own research.
Why I like this podcast: It's meaty. April and Cassidy's podcasts have been the starting point to some of my own research. I also like the chemistry between these two women and how they elevate fashion into the important cultural element that it is. The Dressed Podcast got me to research XVth century lace, 1920's fashion, the history of the undergarments and the beauty of Filipino dresses. This podcast is the very bright light shining on a corner of the world that is usually taken for granted. This is my exciting rabbit hole.
In Our Time: History with Melvyn Bragg
This podcast of a BBC4 radio show offers hour-long snippets on historical topics as diverse as the history of coffee, the Justinian plague, the siege of Paris and Marie Antoinette, to name a few. Melvyn leads a discussion with three historians. There are lots and lots of episodes, dating back to the start of the show in 1998. It's all very British and well mannered even when the historians bicker and Melvyn gets testy about his opinions. Each episode ends with the producer asking the guests whether they'd like tea or coffee. Darling.
Why I like this podcast: in our troubled times, I am finding an unexpected source of comfort in the long view of history. Think COVID is bad? Hear about the great plague. Worried about riots at the Capitol? Here are twenty tales of riots and revolutions and what happened as a result. Also, this podcast is how I get to tell my husband all about Alcuin of York, inventor of the Carolingian minor script, for example. And how my husband, who is a really nice guy, tells me that's super interesting, which in turns makes me feel very appreciated. This is my feel-good podcast.
Try these podcasts. Also, let me know what you are listening to.