The Lost Northbound Train – Part Twelve

Chapter Twelve – Pitching In

Horrified Margaret

“Jowan, what is it?” Margaret asked. Betty got to her feet too, her plain, motherly face full of concern.

“That was my mum,” Jowan stammered, “it seems that my dad has had a stroke. He’s in hospital and she’s terrified. I … I’ll have to go too, see what I can do to help.”

“I am sorry, Jowan,” John’s voice sounded, “I will accompany you to the hospital and assist you.”

“I am coming too,” Margaret said.


At Leicester UH, John and Margaret met with Mrs Thorn, Jowan’s mother, a rather stocky woman of a height that was that of Margaret. She had the same curly hair as Jowan which must have been dark in her youth but was now sprinkled with grey, and very dark eyes. When she saw her son coming into the waiting area, she burst out in tears. It seemed that her husband was getting worse, after having himself worked up about the pub he ran in the town’s centre, where he’d collapsed an hour before. The doctors were still examining him, and Mrs Thorn was waiting for them to be informed about her husband’s condition.

Margaret instantly concerned herself with the distressed woman. She remembered all too well her own, dear mother who had become so ill after they had moved to Milton.

“Come, Mrs Thorn, let me get you a cup of tea.”

The older woman looked at her with sudden relief as if she hadn’t thought about it herself.

“I’m sorry, dear. I’m afraid I didn’t catch your name.”

“This is Margaret,” Jowan said, “a friend of Marjorie’s from Manchester who’s staying with us for a few days. This is her partner, John.”

Hands were shaken, and they all settled in the waiting area with tea from the vending machines.

Jowan’s mother began telling them what had happened.

The pub Jowan’s father owned was his life’s achievement and pride. He had worked long hours all his life to get it like it was now, a busy, well-tended place where people could have a good meal for a reasonable price, a pint of ale after work, or even a cup of tea and a piece of pie while they did their shopping. The biggest problem was to find and keep a sufficient staff in an age when people did not like to work on weekends, or late at night. Mr Thorn was forever fighting battles to meet his own standards, and he pitched in himself when it was busy. As a result of the long hours and hard work, not to mention the stress of dealing with inadequate employees, he had worked himself to exhaustion time after time. His body, which had protested several times over the years, had now given up, but he couldn’t stop worrying about the pub, even during the transport to the hospital

Mrs Thorn began imploring Jowan to go down there and see what could be done to assure that everything went well during his father’s absence.

“Mum, why? Dad has a few employees to do the work while he’s ill, hasn’t he? I’m sure …”

“You don’t understand, Jowan! Your dad has been doing it practically on his own, lately! You know that French cook he took on has too much airs to get his hands messy. Cutting and washing vegetables is beneath him. And that waitress, Kylie is good for nothing if your dad’s not around. Please, darling, you must go there. Your dad will want to hear all about it.”


Twenty minutes later, Jowan parked his car in front of “The Green Huntsman”, Mr Thorn’s pub. Although it was eight pm, there were but a few patrons inside when he and John walked in. A girl in a skirt and top that scarcely bedecked her body was sitting on one of the patrons’ lap. To John, she looked like a prostitute, as she was showing her naked arms and legs and a considerable portion of  her bosom and bare stomach. John was immensely glad that Margaret had stayed at the hospital with Mrs Thorn, otherwise she would have witnessed this unspeakable behaviour.

“Hello, Kylie,” Jowan said as he strode towards the back where the kitchen was, “is Bert still here?”

The girl hastily jumped off the patron’s lap and trotted after Jowan.

“Yes, Jowan! He’s …”

“Sleeping on the job as usual,” Jowan mocked and threw open the door to the kitchen. John brushed past Kylie without a glance and followed Jowan inside.

The kitchen, which was large and well-equipped, looked like a battlefield. The dishes were piled up in the big sink, and there were dirty pots and pans all over the place, not to mention food residues, empty bottles and other signs of neglect everywhere.


Next to the kitchen was a small restroom where they found the chef lounging in a comfortable chair with a glass of brandy in his hand. He didn’t stir when Jowan and John strode in but stared defiantly at them.


“Mr Duvalier, good evening!” Jowan said, trying to keep his voice level. “I see that the kitchen is not tidied up. Did the cleaning team not come in today?”

“No, they didn’t!” the chef said in a strong French accent. “How am I supposed to keep up now that Monsieur Thorn has met with illness?”

“Well, couldn’t you have a go with the cleaning-up, then?” Jowan retaliated, anger growing in his tone.

“I absolutely refuse to do that! I am a chef, not a cleaning woman!”

Jowan opened his mouth to shout at him, but John drew him out of the room and whispered,

“Look, do not be shocked by my bluntness, Jowan, but can I make a suggestion? You are needed at the hospital with your mother. I can perfectly sort this out and keep an eye on the business while your father is ill. Trust me, I know a disgruntled employee when I see one. I can handle him.”

“What? John, you don’t know what you’re talking about! This is a stinking mess of a job, you’ll never get that lazy bastard to dirty his hands by doing the dishes!”

“Well,” John chuckled, “a few days ago, I could have easily said that of myself, too! Since then, I have already “dirtied my hands” with the dishes twice and suffered no ill consequences from it. Just tell him I am the one in charge until your father comes back. Leave the rest to me.”

“Okay … if you insist but what do I tell Margaret? You’ll be tied up in here for the largest part of the day … and the night.”

“Bring her here. If I know my Margaret, her hands will soon be dirtied, too! Leave me some cash, please. I might need to go out and buy stuff.”

“Here,” Jowan said, “this is the key to Father’s safe. I’ll show you how it’s opened. You can take whatever you need from it. Thank you, John. I appreciate this.”

John reflecting

After Jowan explained the restaurant’s daily routine and the working of the safe to John, the young man left. He was anxious about what he would find at the hospital, and John’s help was most welcome.

John Thornton now found himself alone and in charge. As usual. He was up to it.


Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell for Christmas 2014

BBC film new period drama Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell for Christmas 2014 in St John’s Square

St John's square, Wakefield<br /><br />
BBC filming new drama

St John’s square, Wakefield BBC filming new drama

A city square will become the star of the small screen as film crews prepare to move in for the making of a magical new BBC drama.

Flim crews will be preparing the set of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell in St John’s Square, St John’s North and South Parade today. (Saturday)

And the drama, based on the best-selling novel by Susanna Clarke, and boasting a seasoned cast of actors, will form the centre piece of the channel’s 2014 Christmas schedule.

It tells the story of a time at the beginning of the 19th Century, when England no longer believes in practical magic.

But Mr Norrell, of Hurtfew Abbey, stuns the city of York, when he brings the minster’s statues to life, and is then invited to London to help the government in the war against Napoleon.

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell stars Eddie Marsan, of Best of Men, Ray Donovan and Filth fame, Olivier award-winning Bertie Carvel, known for roles in Restless, Hidden and Matilda, Paul Kaye, of Game of Thrones and Stella fame plus, Marc Warren from Hustle and Mad Dogs and Alice Englert, who starred in Ginger and Rosa and Beautiful Creatures.

Ben Stephenson, controller of BBC drama commissioning, said: “We have secured the most original, talented and dynamic cast and team to produce this brand new adaptation of Susanna Clarke’s award-winning novel.

“This cements our reputation for bold and ambitious drama and I can’t wait to see Bertie and Eddie bring these wonderful characters to life in a unique and exciting way.”

When Sherlock Met Sherlock

By | Posted on January 20th, 2014

Robert Downey Junior and Benedict Cumberbatch (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision for Producers Guild/AP Images)

Last night, at the 25th annual Producers Guild of America awards, this strange apparition appeared. Sherlock Holmes (as played by Robert Downey Jr.) met Sherlock Holmes (as played by Benedict Cumberbatch) at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

And while this was going on, PBS aired “The Empty Hearse,” the first episode of Season Three of Benedict’s Sherlock (recap here). That is a LOT of deduction in a short space of time.

And there’s no sign of it letting up. Today, a spin-off iOS app, inviting fans to become part of Sherlock’s Homeless Network, was released in the U.K.

Look, here’s a trailer:

Sherlock: The Network allows you to help Holmes and Watson solve new cases, whether by passing on messages, or becoming a spy. Your job is to gather information and help solve one of ten new cases, and yes, there is specially shot new footage of Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman and the others.*
The app will be released on January 27 in the U.S., and if you want to see more, read the review at Sherlockology.

Aneurin Barnard – Image of the Week

Actor Factor: Aneurin Barnard
pronounced (ah nii’ ren)

Aneurin Barnard (born 8 May 1987) is an award-winning Welsh stage and screen actor.

Early life

Barnard was born in the former borough of Ogwr in Mid Glamorgan, Wales, the son of June, a factory worker, and Terry Barnard, a coal miner. He has a sister named Ceri. He attended Ysgol Gyfun Llanhari in South Wales during his secondary school years. He then trained at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama alongside Kimberley Nixon and Tom Cullen, graduating in 2008. His first language is Welsh.
Career   2011 Aneurin Barnard - Iron Clad

Barnard played Melchior, one of the three leads, in the London premiere of the Tony Award-winning musical Spring Awakening, which opened in February 2009 at the Lyric Hammersmith. The play later transferred to the Novello Theatre in March 2009, running until May 2009. Barnard won a Laurence Olivier Award for his role in Spring Awakening in 2010. He has appeared in guest roles in TV series Doctors, Casualty, Shameless, Y Pris and Jacob’s Ladder. He has also appeared in the short TV films The Big Day, Night on the Tiles and the BAFTA Cymru winning Owl Creek Bridge.

His theatre work in Wales includes Singin’ in the Rain, playing Don Lockwood, for Bridgend County Youth Theatre and Il Miracolo for Elan Wales. At drama school, he appeared in productions of The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Hobson’s Choice, The Importance of Being Earnest and West Side Story, in which he played Tony. He was also involved in a radio production of Under Milk Wood.2013 Aneurin Barnard - White Queen
The White Queen

Barnard appeared in Ironclad, a film set in 1215 and featuring the signing of the Magna Carta by King John and the rebellion by his barons. The film also stars Paul Giamatti, Derek Jacobi, Kate Mara, James Purefoy, Jason Flemyng and Mackenzie Crook.

In 2011 he starred in Hunky Dory alongside Minnie Driver. The film is set in 1976 during the hottest summer recorded, in a school in Swansea. Barnard played the role of Davy and in the film sang songs from the era such as David Bowie’s “Life on Mars” and The Who’s “Love Reign O’er Me”.

2013 Aneurin Barnard - Moomfleet

In January 2012 he starred as photographer David Bailey in the BBC Four film “We’ll Take Manhattan” alongside Karen Gillan. He also appeared in the 2012 horror movie Elfie Hopkins alongside Jaime Winstone. Barnard was considered for the role of Jack in the 2013 film Jack the Giant Slayer, but was beaten to the part by Nicholas Hoult.

Barnard then appeared in the lead role in Vertigo Films’s Guinea Pigs, also named The Facility an atmospheric, micro-budget horror film about volunteers fighting for their lives after a drug trial goes wrong. The film also stars Alex Reid, Chris Larkin, Steve Evets, Nia Roberts, Oliver Coleman, Skye Lourie, Jack Doolan and Amit Shah. Later in 2012 he starred in the horror-thriller film Citadel.

2013 Areurin Bardnard in Marples Endless Night
Agatha Christie’s Marple  “Endless Night”

In April–June 2012 he filmed the fantasy adventure movie Mariah Mundi and the Midas Box throughout the South West of England, playing the title role of Mariah Mundi. The movie is scheduled for release in 2013. Barnard also featured in Trap for Cinderella (2013) directed by Iain Softley which was based on the book by Sébastien Japrisot as well as portraying the character Claude in Francesca Gregorini’s drama thriller, Emanuel and the Truth About Fishes.

Barnard portrayed King Richard III of England in the television series The White Queen on BBC One. Barnard also portrayed the character John Trenchard in a two part adaptation of “Moonfleet” that was filmed in Ireland.
[source] Wiki


AneurinBarnard_White Queen

The Lost Northbound Train – Part Eleven

Chapter Eleven – Learning and Coping

John finished his story at that same moment, and Dylan clapped his hands in delight.

“Another one, another one!”

“No, Dylan,” his big sister scolded, “John already told you three stories and …”

Margaret saw how the girl’s eyes suddenly opened wide and how the boy followed his sister’s gaze.

“Daddy!” Both children jumped from their seats and ran toward a man who opened his arms to gather them into his embrace.


A sweet smile lit John’s face when he saw the man’s relieved happiness at seeing his children unharmed. Earlier on, the nurse who’d attended their mother, had reassured them of her welfare. She was only mildly injured and was now being treated for a broken forearm so the children would be allowed to see her soon. John stood and turned to see Margaret watching him with bright eyes and a certain look in them he had not seen before. It sent his pulse racing as a rush of sheer desire went straight through him.

“Good day, my love. I did not know you were here too?”

“I came with Marjorie. John, were those children involved in the accident?”

“Yes … their mum was but she is well now. The little boy was so frightened, Margaret, and his sister, God! I have never seen so much pent-up anxiety in someone’s eyes before. And so much … forlornness! Yet she kept herself strong for her little brother’s sake. I am glad their father has come, and that their mother is going to be alright.”

“Have you been here long, darling?”

“I have no idea, Margaret, I came here with Jowan when chaos broke out. There is not much I can do to relieve physical pain but I saw that the relatives of the injured people were left on their own. I took pity on the children and I wanted to help.”

“John,” Margaret said, “you have so thoroughly changed, my love. When I first met you, you did not see other people’s misery.”

John smiled a little sadly, hurt by the memories of his past life that Margaret was conjuring up. It was not something he liked to remember. He had been such a harsh man, only interested in making profit and keeping his mill running.

“Little Tom Boucher has … I don’t know, I cannot really put it into words, but that child has somehow opened my eyes.”

“He has touched your heart, my darling.”

His hand came up to cup her face.

“No, my love, that was your doing, only yours.”

They stood amidst the still packed emergency room, and it was like if they were alone, just the two of them. Gazing at each other, smiling into each other’s eyes, drowning in each other’s expression of pure love, John and his Margaret felt simply happy and strong.


The day at the hospital just flew by, and evening approached almost imperceptibly. Jowan and Marjorie were absolutely worn out by the time they were being relieved by the next team of nurses. During the car drive home, they were quiet, and so were John and Margaret, still very impressed by all they had seen.

Betty took one look at her daughter and knew Marjorie was at the end of her tether, but it was Margaret who led her to her room.

“I will help you undress and bathe, Marjorie,” she said softly, “and I will bring you your supper on a tray afterwards. You need to rest. This cannot be good for the baby.”

Marjorie smiled weakly and sank into a chair.

“It’s because of the baby I feel so knackered, Margaret. Pregnancy will do that for you, although today was so hectic that I’m sure everybody on that ward will be completely exhausted tonight.”

She extended her hand to Margaret, who kneeled beside her and looked up at her.

“Margaret, I watched you with the children and you were marvellous. You could be a nurse yourself, you have the right attitude and a kind heart. Maybe you should consider taking a proper training?”

“Oh, but … can one train as a nurse just like that?”

“Well, you’d have to pass a test before entering medical school, but I’m sure the education you enjoyed back in 1852 will be more than adequate. I’ll rummage through my books, later on, and we can find out what would be required, okay?”

“Erm … okay …” Margaret answered, still uneasy with the twentieth-century wording.


Jowan poured them both a stiff whisky, when he and John settled in the study to unwind. They had been ushered out of the kitchen by Betty, who was preparing supper. The first moments were spent in silence while they sat enjoying the excellent single malt Jowan had chosen.

“This is exquisite,” John praised, “I do not know this brand. Where have you purchased it, Jowan?”

“I have an uncle and a cousin, back in Scotland, who both work at a brewery and send me supplies, now and then,” Jowan replied, “I’ll bet the whisky breweries you knew, back in 1852, are still in place nowadays. We should go and find out, and you’ll see that Scotland too has changed very much in a hundred and sixty years.”

John nodded, shrugging and grinning.

“Yes, that would be so, I guess. After what I saw today, I have a hard time figuring out where Margaret and I belong to in this era. We might have to think about it, though. Last night, when I was wandering through the fields, I discovered that the train carriage is no longer there so we have no means to go back to our time. I have no money, and we cannot live off you and Marjorie and Betty indefinitely so I will have to seek employment and a place to live.”

“Wow, wow, mate!” Jowan raised a steadying hand and looked somewhat alarmed.

“John, what kind of work would you be doing? You’re an employer yourself, a manufacturer! You’re not used to being bossed around, and ordered what to do, and how to behave! You’ll go bonkers within a week!”

John straightened himself in his chair, feeling slightly annoyed with Jowan’s critique of his character.

“I know it will be hard and unfamiliar, and that there will be a great deal for me to learn anew, but I also know myself, Jowan. I work hard and I always was a quick study. Being an employer of men is the best training school there is to adapt yourself to any situation that might arise. Adapting to the unforeseen is what I do day after day in my mill, Jowan.”

“Yes,” Jowan said, a look of surprise in his eyes at the calm strength this nineteenth-century manufacturer displayed. “Yes, I think I understand, John. There is something about you that might do the trick in many a circumstance.”

“Anyway,” John stated, rising from his chair in a determined way, “I have to speak with Margaret first. I am not alone in this situation, and from what I have seen so far, in this era, women do have a say in all kinds of situations. I am not sure I will get used to that, ever!”


Soon thereafter, Betty called them all to supper, and they enjoyed it in blessed silence. Marjorie had come to table too, though she still looked a bit pale. After the meal, Margaret insisted that the young woman should go to bed and rest, while she herself would help Betty clean up the dishes. She was pleasantly surprised to see Jowan and John doing their share, and again she marvelled how the latter had changed. To be honest, they had not seen each other for months before they met at the train station, yet Margaret had instantly sensed that John had changed, both in manners and also in character. He was – what was the word she was looking for – he was milder, more tolerant of people and their behaviour. He had learned to control his temper, and this was reflected in his dealings with people. He was kinder, much less conceited, and ready to do whatever was needed.

Margaret liked this John very much.

When all but Marjorie retreated to the terrace, there was a call on Jowan’s mobile, which he took inside the house. The look of sorrow on his face was enough to get Margaret on her feet. She quietly asked him what was going on.

The Imitation Game 2014

The Imitation Game

The Imitation Game 2014

2014 Film
The drama, a biopic of Alan Turing, also stars Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Mark Strong, Rory Kinnear, Charles Dance, Allen Leech and Matthew Beard. One of Britain’s most extraordinary unsung heroes, Turing was the pioneer of modern-day computing, Turing is credited with cracking the German Enigma code and the film is a nail-biting race against time by Turing and his brilliant team at Britain’s top-secret code-breaking centre, Bletchley Park, during the darkest days of World War II. Turing, whose contributions and genius significantly shortened the war, saving thousands of lives, was the eventual victim of an unenlightened British Establishment, but his work and legacy live on.
  • The Imitation Game is an upcoming historical drama film about British wartime cryptographer Alan Turing who cracked Nazi Germany’s Enigma code during World War II and was later criminally prosecuted for his homosexuality. Wikipedia
Alan Turing
Keira Knightley (Joan Clarke)

Keira Knightley

Joan Clarke
Allen Leech (John Cairncross)

Allen Leech

John Cairncross
Mark Strong (Stewart Menzies)

Mark Strong

Stewart Menzies
Matthew Goode (Hugh Alexander)

Matthew Goode

Hugh Alexander
The Imitation Game 2014 - Benedict Cumberbatch The Imitation Game 2014 - 02 The Imitation Game 2014 - Mark Strong