Maaryy Poppiinnss (read, with that terrible cockney accent) a film I watched as a young child and fell in love at first sight. After watching repeatedly, it fast became my 'go-to' film, especially as I grew older and the challenges of adult life came creeping in. If things got too much, or another cold set in, Mary Poppins it was. Indeed, I would only have to mention to Mum: 'I'm watching MP' and she'd knowingly reply: 'Oh you must be ill then'. Watching Mary was my ill-o-meter, if she was on, things were bad.
Mary felt like home, and brought that sparkle back into my heart. It was my safe place on a screen. Somewhere I could go, where no-one could take from me. It certainly was like a jolly holiday with Mary, when the day was gray and ordinary, she made the sun shine bright.
This film, this place was coveted. So when they announced they were making another one, my blood boiled. Just leave it alone, it IS practically perfect in every way. Why touch upon this holy ground!? I didn't want to see Mary Poppins Returns, but mum being mum, bought us tickets to see it in the cinema over Christmas. She knew there was just something about it.
And something about it there was, I could still feel my resistance even half an hour into this show. But then I just let it in, let it into my heart. Which is exactly what Mary is trying to do; open hearts, re-connect with that inner child and remember how magical life can be. I cried at so many different points, cried because I loved it so much, cried because of its messages, how it can help others, especially children and cried because I realised all along that I too, want to be a Mary Poppins. Someone who answers that call for help and brings back magic into people's hearts.
Whether this is as good as the first, is neither here nor there. It doesn't matter, what matters is that it still holds that coveted special place, where no-one can touch you and the power of magic and wonder resides.
Thank-you Mary Poppins, and as Jack sings in the new one:
When the fog comes rolling in, just
Keep your feet upon the path
Mustn't mope and frown or worst lie down
Don't let it be your epitaph
So when life is getting scary, be your own illuminary
Who can shine the light for all the world to see
As you trip a little light fantastic with me