X-Company – Season 2 Jan 27, 2016


X Company’ is a character-driven drama set in a world of espionage and covert operations. The show will be set in WWII, following the stories of five highly skilled young recruits – Canadian, American and British, who are taken from their everyday lives and are trained together in a ultra-secret training facility on the shores of Lake Ontario.

X Company (2015 -)  WWII

Tis Better to Star on Fox..

Tis Better to Star on Fox….. Than to Serve in Hell.

Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, the pilot for ’Lucifer’ is out there if you want to find it. It premieres on Fox on January 25 at 8/7 central, but if you want to know what you might get into, here it is.

Lucifer has decided to take a vacation from Hell, having grown tired of punishing sinners and questioning his place in the Divine Plan. He starts up a bar in Los Angeles named Lux, and has the power to draw out the deepest desires in most humans that he meets. He’s also immortal, so things like bullets don’t bother him much.

Tom Ellis in Fox’s Lucifer

When a former client, a singer named Delilah, comes to see Lucifer, he assures her that most of her trouble since rising to success is her own. She gets gunned down on the street and Lucifer, irritated that the person responsible isn’t being punished, sets out to find them. Lucifer teams up with a cop, Chloe Dancer, who has enough baggage to fill an airport terminal. She doesn’t believe he’s Lucifer Morningstar, even though Lucifer isn’t shy about telling her or hiding what he can do.

Together Lucifer and Chloe find the person who ordered the hit on Delilah. Along the way Lucifer discovers that his charm power doesn’t work on Chloe. Intrigued, he decides to keep working with her and make sure that the guilty get punished. Along the way, the forces of both Heaven and Hell want Lucifer to go back to work because Hell isn’t functioning very well without him.

Tom Ellis and D.B. Woodside in Fox’s Lucifer
Conceptually, the show is a lot like last year’s ill-fated ‘Constantine’ show on NBC. Both have a charming bad-boy Brit in the title role. Both have an angel that has his own agenda and doesn’t really care much about our protagonist. Lucifer and Constantine both have perky female characters along with them who have their own dark pasts.Tom Ellis is Lucifer. Ellis appeared in the USA series ‘Rush’ a couple of years back, and has been in a lot of English stuff. Including ‘The Fades’ *sigh*. He even played Robin Hood briefly on ‘Once Upon a Time’ before they cast Sean Maguire in the part. He’s competent as Lucifer, bringing the charm and snark as well as the occasional hint of something darker

Tom Ellis in Fox’s Lucifer

Lauren German is Chloe, who has been a regular on a couple of shows like ‘Chicago Fire’ and the new ‘Hawaii Five-0’. She’s equally competent here.Rounding out the cast are Lesley-Ann Brandt and D.B. Woodside as the respective demon and angel that are there to get Lucifer back on-track. Rachael Harris as a therapist who ends up counseling Lucifer and having sex with him at the same time, and Scarlett Estevez as Trixie, Chloe’s daughter. Kevin Alejandro is set to play Dan, Chloe’s ex and a fellow police detective, but he’s played by Nicholas Gonzales in the pilot.The pilot is written by Tom Kapinos, who has done a lot of ‘Californation’ episode. The writing is the highlight of the show, but it… varies. There are the obvious riffs by Lucifer when someone says, “Oh God!”, and since he’s in LA, Lucifer tends to get mistaken for some kind of celebrity because of his name. He takes everything literally, such as Chloe talking about how large his cajones are, but it’s hard to determine if this is just mediocre writing, or Kapinos is trying to convey that Lucifer is so used to being king of his kingdom that he doesn’t care what anyone else thinks or does.

Lauren German in Fox’s Lucifer

Lucifer’s snark so far really isn’t up to the levels of the great TV Satans: John Glover in ‘Brimstone’ and Ray Wise in ‘Reaper’.Another problem with the show is that Chloe has almost too much baggage. Like Lucifer, the family scenes give me IBS. Chloe has a past as a teenage actress who did nudity (??). She’s a pariah on the force because of a bad call on an officer shooting years ago. She has a cute kid. She has an ex-husband. She has daddy issues. She has mommy issues. At the end of the pilot, Lucifer meets with his therapist, However, you’d think that Chloe is the one who needs decades of counseling.And finally… right now it’s a crime drama. Nobody can resist Lucifer’s power, and he’s immune to bullets. So presumably they’ll be dragging in some supernatural elements at some point. Because otherwise Lucifer makes a pretty overpowering private investigator. The case in the pilot isn’t any different than you’d find in a dozen other crime dramas. It’s not a bad crime drama, but it’s not a particularly exciting one, either.

Tom Ellis and John Pankow in Fox’s Lucifer

So if you hate supernatural stuff, you probably want them to stop with the angelic appearances and get on to crime fighting. If you’re here for the supernatural stuff, you’re probably bored with the procedural elements. Setting it in LA and involving actors and singers makes it a little more interesting. But not much.Of course, that’s all just going by the pilot. A large chunk of pilots are produced by different teams than the ones that end up producing the series duri

Source: Tis Better to Star on Fox..

Chariots of Fire 1981


Won “Best Picture” in 1982 for an Oscar, a BAFTA and a Golden Globe.  Music won a 1983 Grammy.  Many more awards

Chariots of Fire (1981) c1919

Chariots of Fire is a 1981 British historical drama film. It tells the fact-based story of two athletes in the 1924 Olympics: Eric Liddell, a devout Scottish Christian who runs for the glory of God, and Harold Abrahams, an English Jew who runs to overcome prejudice.






Theme Song Trailer
by Vangelis

John Thornton’s Unfolding Dream – 11

Unfolding Dream 250x375


John Thornton’s Unfolding Dream


Amazon Download   $3.99 US



Margaret had finished eating and packing, all the while thinking about seeing Megan again. Her pleasant thoughts of seeing her best friend were interrupted with other, more pleasant thoughts. She had very little sleep last night thinking of Mr. Brampton and his spontaneous farewell and the breathtaking Mr. Thornton, who would soon be picking her up. In the cold light of day, she could not help but chastise herself for accepting a ride from a stranger. Nevertheless, he did not feel like a stranger. She remembered the warm and peaceful spell he wove over her with that sultry voice.

Her aunt and cousin seemed to have finally come to the end of their tirade over her going with the stranger on a train. She hoped that Mr. Thornton could put them at some ease if he came inside. Margaret’s mind was whirling. If she were told that she had to choose between the two gentlemen right now or never breathe again, she would be hard pressed to do it.

Kindle was everything a woman could want: attractive, finely built, polite, protective, passionate, possessed of a career, although she did not know much about it, and by the looks of his carriage and horses he was probably well situated. If he were looking for a woman of wealth to aid his declining family’s historical castle or some such thing, he probably would not be controlling his behavior, which Margaret believed he was doing.

Mr. Thornton, on the other hand . . .

She knew nothing of the man except the city he lived in and the fact that he seemed like he would be well versed in the milling industry. That was all. He was mysterious. Margaret had heard of “love at first sight” but never thought it was real. It made interesting reading in her books, but surely, this was not what was happening to her, could it? There is just something about him, was an understatement. From the time she turned around in the bookstore aisle and blissfully sunk into his blue eyes, which looked like the sky at early twilight, she was almost lost. Still lost in the excitement of getting to know more about Mr. Thornton, she heard her cousin call to her from downstairs.

“There is a carriage outside, Margaret.”

Margaret thought Mr. Thornton was a bit early, but that was nice, too.

She heard Edith calling to her as she swept back the curtains.” It is your gentleman from last night. Come to say goodbye again, no doubt.”

“What!” Margaret whispered to herself as she rushed down the stairs to the door.” Kindle, what a surprise,” she said as she held the door open for him.

He peeked to see if anyone was watching them and quickly kissed her. “I thought I would come and take you to the station. I took a chance that you had not left yet.”

Still standing in the foyer, a worried Margaret said, “Oh, I wish you had said something about that last night. I have made plans. My ride should be here in a few moments.”

“Can’t you dismiss them?” Kindle asked, still smiling while trying to steal another kiss.

“I am afraid not. I am sorry you have come all this way to carry me to the station. Actually, I do not know where you live to know how far you have come. Where do you live?”

Knowing his address would give away his nobility, he said, “Margaret, when you return, we are going to talk about that and a lot of other things. There is much about me that you do not know, and I want that cleared up. My feelings for you are much more than I have felt for anyone, which is causing me to seek honesty in all we do together. That is not to say I have been dishonest about anything, but I have avoided some areas because I feared your reaction. That will be our priority when you return the day after tomorrow.”

“I do plan to be home in two days, on the four o’clock train. We will get to all you want to say as soon as I return. Oh, here is my . . . new acquaintance, who is taking me to the station, as he lives in the same city as my friend. It will be nice not to be alone for such a long journey, don’t you think?’ Margaret said, smiling, hoping to smooth over the frown now beginning to form on Kindle’s face. “Would you mind grabbing my bag, and I will walk out with you and introduce you.”

Kindle leaned down and collected Margaret’s satchel as Margaret shouted to her family that she was on her way. Both Edith and her aunt hurried to the front to say goodbye and saw Mr. Thornton heading toward the door. “What a mess this is,” said her cousin to her mother, “but Mr. Thornton sure is a fine-looking gentleman.”

“Poor Margaret. It looks like she might have two suitors who are colliding, right now.”

“Goodbye Margaret. Have a safe journey and a nice time with Megan,” called her aunt from behind the crowd that now seemed to be jammed at the front door.

Margaret stepped outside with Kindle behind her as Mr. Thornton was getting to the door, removing his hat. “Hello, Mr. Thornton. Thank you again for offering me a ride to the station. This is Mr. Kindle Brampton, a new friend. Kindle, this is Mr. John Thornton, a very new acquaintance.” The men shook hands politely, but the air was growing heavy with a primitive territorial mind game played by the male combatants. Margaret was sure she was exaggerating that in her mind, but that is exactly how if felt. It made her feel desired. How delicious and fancied she felt. She quickly dismissed her selfish and naive thoughts.

Margaret had not realized that she was on the mark with the men’s behavior.

“Hello, Miss Hale, Mr. Brampton.” John took the satchel from Kindle’s extended hand while wondering if this man was one of the men, he had seen with Margaret in his visions.

“A pleasure to meet you, Mr. Thornton. I have never been to Milton. They say it is a thriving city, now.”

“Yes. It is not London, but it has a lot of the same amenities, all new, but the people are much different there.”

“How do you mean, Mr. Thornton? How different are they?”

John had not missed the fact that Brampton’s coach and horses could only be afforded by the most affluent members of society.

“There are no highborn people. If you live in Milton, you are either poor or you manufacture. Even, the wealthy work. Everyone there works. It is a working town, a mill town, Mr. Brampton,” John said, holding his head high. He paused a moment. “Miss Hale, I believe we have need to leave now.” John noticed Brampton wrapping his hand around Margaret’s waistline at her back, assisting her toward the carriage while John walked behind with the satchel. John suddenly felt disheartened at their apparent closeness. He felt as if he had been punched in the stomach.

Kindle held her hand during the step up, and John stowed her satchel. “Good day, Mr. Brampton. It has been a pleasure to meet you,” John said as he climbed inside.

“The same, Mr. Thornton. Margaret, please have a nice time with your friend in Milton. I will see you upon your return, and we will talk.” Kindle closed the door and stepped back, nodding to the driver.

Margaret waved as the carriage pulled away. She felt that Kindle was playing a game when he said they would talk when she returned, clearly intimating some sort of relationship between them for Mr. Thornton’s benefit.

John and Margaret rode in silence for a few minutes. “It will be lovely to have someone to talk with on the long trip. What do you usually do on long trips, Mr. Thornton?”

“Most of my long trips are business related. I am usually giving a speech somewhere and have plenty of notes and diagrams to study during the hours,” John said.

“And this trip, Mr. Thornton, did you speak somewhere?”

“No, not this time, Miss Hale. I was just researching a subject.” John left his explanation hanging, hoping it would spark some curiosity in her.

The station stop had been close to Margaret’s home, so their journey was short. “Mr. Thornton,” she paused, “is your research something that you can speak about?”

The carriage pulled to a stop and John exited, handing his and Margaret’s satchels to a porter, then handed her out. “You, Miss Hale, seem to be the reason for my trip.”

The porter followed the pair to the ticket window, carrying their bags.

“Two tickets to Milton,” John requested. He turned to Margaret as she was beginning to speak, and said, “Please, allow me.” Leaning in to hear what the ticket master was asking, John responded, “One ticket is one way, and the second ticket is a return.”

No words were spoken while the two of them and the porter walked into the bustling crowd on the platform. John walked quite a long way down the platform until he found an empty coach. The porter entered the coach first and set their baggage on the overhead shelf. John handed him a coin. “Thank you.”

“Please, Miss Hale, have a seat.” Margaret sat next to the window as per her usual routine when it was available. “Miss Hale, would you feel more comfortable if I were to sit next to you or across from you?”

No one had ever asked that question of her before, but it did not take her long to think of the differences with the atmosphere that was now hovering around them. The peace and warmth were already settling through her body, but Margaret was selfish and wanted to look at his handsome face. “Would you mind sitting across from me? I do not know if it will make our conversations harder or easier. If we get a crowd in here, then we shall sit next to each other. When I am sleepy, though, I may borrow your shoulder if you do not mind.”

“I would not mind in the least,” John replied.

The train started its hissing of steam as the brakes were released. The loud chugging sound permeated the coach, and Margaret knew it would be several minutes before she could ask the question that was filling the coach. She could feel his eyes on her again, but he would deflect them when she looked his way. She looked at the overhead, forgetting that she had brought her Milton book. It would be a help when she was stuck for conversation. As she rose to reach for it, Mr. Thornton rose up instantly, too.

“Can I assist you, Miss Hale?” he asked.

The train was still lurching forward, causing Margaret to fall into his chest. John immediately had his arms around her to steady her. He took embarrassingly too long to ease his grip and hold her by her shoulders. Margaret did not want it to stop, either. Before he knew why, John pulled her tighter, leaned down, and kissed her long and hard. Embarrassed, John backed away, still holding her. “Please forgive me, Miss Hale. I do not know why I did that. I am sorry. You must think I am a rogue or a cad at the least. However, I am not. Maybe I will be able to explain myself before our trip is completed. Again, I am sorry.”

Looking down, Margaret pressed the back of her hand to her mouth. She said, “Please . . . do not be sorry, Mr. Thornton.”

Astonished over her comment, he glanced down at her again and said, “John.”

Margaret, stuttering, asked, “W-what did you say?”

“I said John. Please call me John, if your society permits that.”

“Mr. Thornton . . . John . . . I have no society. I, too, appreciate the casualness of first names. Please call me Margaret.”

“If you wish, but please accept my apology.”

“Accepted. If you do not mind, I was reaching for my satchel to retrieve my Milton book.”

John guided Margaret backward a step and encouraged her to sit while he collected her bag.

As he reached overhead, pulling his coat upwards from lifting his arms, Margaret’s eyes wandered shamelessly. She was aware that their kiss had meant a lot to him. Margaret started to wonder what type of woman she was turning out to be. Ideas of a more sensual nature were seeping into her consciousness more often. These new men in her life were spurring and stirring her inner passionate feelings, feelings she had only read about.

John had totally forgotten about his situation. He had been hard since he had put his arms around her. He was mortified to be standing almost directly in front of her as he reached to the overhead. He knew he could not say anything, could not apologize . . . could not do anything but be an idiot for the moment. He quickly gathered her bag and sat down on the same bench until he would return it. “Oh, God, she is blushing,” John thought. “At least, blushing is a good sign. She could have been frowning.” John calmed his nerves somewhat with that thinking. He could have thrown away everything in one absent-minded moment of lustful thinking.

Margaret wanted to burst out giggling when offering her thanks. She could not look at his face, not yet, anyway. Calming her knowledge of his desire for her, she said, “Thank you, John,” as she plundered her satchel. “Oh, here it is.” She buckled her bag. John took hold of the case, and she could see his hesitation on returning it to the top shelf. He did some type of contorted twist to swing it up, and Margaret could not hold it in any longer. With crimson rising from her throat to her cheeks, she burst out laughing. He had to know why she was laughing. It seemed suddenly the heaviness of the air lifted as they passed through the awkward new acquaintance stage in a highly unconventional manner. “I am sorry to laugh, John.”

“Why are you laughing, Margaret?” he asked, playing dumb as he returned to the seat opposite her, tugging his coat around him as he sat.

Sweat beaded on Margaret’s top lip and out came the giggles again. “Oh, it is nothing, really. Well . . . I do not really mean nothing. Not in that way, of course.” Margaret realized she was digging a hole and could not get out of the way of herself.

Now John joined in the laughter, duly relieved that she took this embarrassing event in the manner in which she did. “All right, have it your way, do not tell me.” John had to let her off this delicious hook for both their sakes.

John waited for the question to be asked. He had decided to be honest with her because he knew no other way. He folded his arms and looked at the passing scenes as the train rolled down the tracks.


Margaret did not know how to bring up the subject, opting instead for other conversation. “John, what is it that you do in Milton?”

John unfolded his arms and gave her all of his attention. “Margaret, I am a mill master. I, and a partner of mine own two cotton mills. Shortly, I believe he will allow me to buy his fifteen percent portion so both belong to me while he buys his own mill. We have been good friends for a long time.”

“Have you always lived in Milton?”

“Yes, I had rather humble beginnings there, but through diligence, I have made a good career for myself.”

“This career, does your wife mind it?” Margaret knew that would be seen as an obtuse way to find out if he was married, but she could think of no other way to find out.

“I am not married as yet,” John responded.

“That sounds like you soon will be. Do you have a lady picked out?”

“I think I would like to defer that question until a later time,” John said with a penetrating stare at her, as Margaret got closer to asking what he wanted her to know.

“You seem to be playing a game with me, so here it comes. As we exited the carriage, you said I seemed to be the reason you came to London. If I am to believe any of this, you must tell me why you assume to know me.”

“Let me preface my explanation by first saying that my original reason for coming to London was to do research on this strange phenomenon that has recently happened to me. Almost six months ago, I was involved in a rather serious accident that left me in a severe coma from a head injury that I sustained. After I was back on my feet, I started having visions that I could not explain and still cannot – that is why the research.”

“Oh, I think I have heard of such a thing. You have become gifted, is that right?”

Amazed at her knowledge, he said, “I guess you could say that. I am not at all sure that I like it, except for what has happened recently. My first real vision warned me, as I see it now, that my horse would be mildly injured. I dealt with the injury but feared this vision entity far more. There was a second vision that warned of a big personal mistake I could make and did not. Nevertheless, these past six weeks or so, the visions have been very pleasant. I still find them disturbing, as they interrupt my life the way I have always known it. But recently, my life has been pleasantly engaged in this chaos of unknown origin.”

“That is very interesting. I am most fascinated to hear your story. And what do I have to do with any of this?”

“You, Margaret Hale, have been the source of my latest and most agreeable visions.”


Hearts Adrift – Part Two




Chapter Two


“Are you certain, sir, that you want to pursue this matter? The streets are extremely dangerous in Paris right now.”

The young man’s pleasant countenance grew serious, causing Richard de Briers to turn a sharp eye on him. “What is it that you are saying, Jake? Are the streets barred? Bridges over the Seine destroyed, maybe?”

Jake Davies had been acting as Richard’s business man in Paris for the last four years. He had begun his life as a London street urchin and Robert de Briers had caught the boy trying to steal his handkerchief one rainy night. Richard’s father, seeing the sorry state the starving boy was in, took him into his London household and gave him a home, responsibilities, and, seeing a potential in him, eventually an education. Jake started his career as a clerk to Mr. Donby, Robert de Briers’ secretary. His childhood in the London rookeries made him the perfect man to tackle post-revolutionary Paris. He had made possible many successful business transactions for Richard and his father before him. So, when Jake found it necessary to warn him, Richard listened and pondered.

“I am saying, sir, that we must go unnoticed, which implies we have to go after dark. However, the darkness will add a definite danger to our journey. There are two liabilities, as I see it. We could get held up by the troops of the Terror –  and arrested if they have a mind to it. In that case, we are as good as dead, being foreigners, and English to boot. They will think us spies. On the other hand, we could be caught by cutthroats, and be robbed and murdered. No one would be surprised by one or two corpses floating in the Seine, these days.”

“Or, Jake, we could be clever and pick our way to the Rue Saint-Jacques cautiously. We could bring my relatives back to the inn in Auteuil and from there, set off to the coast. Once we reach Boulogne, we could hire a boat to bring us back to England.”

Jake bowed his head at the resolute tone of his master’s voice. “Yes, sir, we could do all that. Well, no better time than tonight.”

“My good man!” Richard grinned. “Let us prepare ourselves!”


The riots were still raging through Paris’ streets; therefore, Manon and Jéhan were sensibly staying indoors. They had, however, finished their last bits of food the night before. Manon realised they could not stay at the house for much longer. Jéhan was frightened, with reason, and she had done all she could to keep him quiet and comfort him as best as she was able to. After four days of hiding, Manon told her brother that their father might have been arrested. She kept silent about the real situation. Jéhan was too young to understand. Better to let him think their father was in prison, and therefore unreachable. No one was allowed to visit prisoners these days, and Jéhan, young though he was, knew that. She would explain what transpired when the time was right.

For now, she would make a plan to escape from Paris. Her mind was diligently considering her options, while she was picking up eggs in the back garden. By some miracle, the plunderers had overlooked a single chicken, hidden under a pile of straw.

A large hand covered her mouth and a steely arm sneaked around her body, effectively pinning her arms in a tight hold. Manon struggled, fought, kicked her heels against her assailant’s shins, but it was like kicking a brick wall. A warm whiff of breath caressed her ear, and a deep baritone voice whispered, “Do not fight me. Are you Manon Favier, daughter of Lily de Briers and Thibaut Favier?”

The tall, incredibly strong man had spoken in heavily accented French, and Manon had to strain her ears just to be able to understand what he said. She nodded as well as she could, given the fact that his hand was still on her mouth.

“I am your uncle Richard de Briers,” the man said. “I will release you now, and you must not make a sound. I have come to take you and your brother to England with me.”

Manon heaved a deep sigh and turned to look at her uncle as soon as he set her back on her feet. It was early dusk and she could see him clearly in the light of the setting sun.

Richard de Briers was tall and broad-shouldered, with a figure that seemed to be hewn out of granite. Although he was dressed in the drab, coarsely woven clothes of a commoner, his stance and the expression on his face immediately gave him away as an aristocrat. A face as handsome as the devil’s, Manon registered – clean-cut, with wide-set eyes the colour of a winter sky, a long blade of a nose and a wide, thin-lipped mouth. A full head of pitch-black hair completed the image of a devil, yet what troubled Manon the most was the cold, steely gaze in those grey eyes.

She shivered but straightened to her full height, which only allowed her to bring the top of her head halfway up his chest. Mon Dieu, but the man was a giant!

“How do I know that you are who you say you are, monsieur?” she challenged him, tossing back the red mane of her hair that had come undone from its pins. Her green eyes blazed at him with unmitigated defiance as she lifted her face to look him straight in the eyes.

Richard de Briers stared at her in disbelief, unable, for a moment, to find the words that would convince her. Was this slip of a girl doubting his word? If he was to act as her guardian, he had better make it clear to her from the beginning that he was the one giving the orders.

“Quit your whims, girl, and follow me. Do not fuss or there will be consequences. I have no qualms binding and gagging you.”

He gripped her arm and towed her along into the kitchen, where another man slighter and shorter than de Briers was waiting with her little brother, perched on his shoulder. Jéhan did not seem to be afraid of the strangers and had his wooden horse tucked under his arm.

“We are travelling to England, Manon! Is that not wonderful?” The boy was smiling broadly.

“Keep quiet, little master,” Jake admonished in perfect Parisian French. “We do not want the guards to hear us.”

“Sorry,” Jéhan apologized. “I can be quiet as a mouse, monsieur, I promise!”

“Who are you, monsieur?” Manon challenged Jake. “Put my brother down, now!”

“His name is Jake Davies and he is my business man. You have nothing to fear from him,” Richard de Briers’ voice rumbled above her head. “Now, listen, mademoiselle. We will go to the river, where I have a small boat ready to take us to my rooms in Auteuil. That way, we will avoid the Barrière de Grenelle and inspection by the guards at the barrier checkpoint. The surveillance is very thorough these days.”

Manon humphed, which made the man raise an annoyed eyebrow. “I know all too well how thorough the surveillance is, monsieur! I live here, remember?”

De Briers cut her short with a glare that could have set the place on fire, then continued, “From Auteuil, where I have horses ready, we ride to Boulogne, from where we sail to England. Can you ride?”

“No,” she sneered, “Why would I have learned to ride a horse? There is no need to ride in Paris!”

“Perfect!” De Briers growled under his breath, but aloud he said, “It is of no consequence. Jake and I can take you behind us in the saddle in turn.”

Manon decided to give in, at least for now. This was as good a way as any other to escape Paris. Her “uncle” seemed to have made his plan rather thoroughly. The toll barriers and the wall, called Murs des Fermiers Généraux had been in place since 1788, a year before the storming of the Bastille. The people had not approved of the tolls on all incoming goods, which were levied to pay for the aristocrats’ extravagances. Since 1790, the barriers were checkpoints for controlling not only goods, but also the comings and goings of people, so avoiding them was paramount. Once they were in the countryside, Manon would find an opportunity to run away. Surely, in the Bois de Boulogne, an opportunity would present itself.

Manon did not trust this “uncle” unconditionally. Father had told her about her so-called English family often enough, and what she had learned about these people had not inclined her to feel generous towards them, but these were desperate times.

Manon’s mother had been a child of her grandfather’s first marriage. After the death of his wife in childbirth, her grandfather had not taken much notice of his baby daughter, so Maman had been raised by her nanny, and later, by her governess. At fifteen, Maman had eloped with her father’s French valet, Thibaut Favier. To escape her father’s wrath, they had fled to Paris, where Papa had worked in his father’s apothecary shop and learned the trade. Manon was born and the couple stayed in Paris. Jéhan was born when Manon was fifteen, but this late pregnancy was too much for Maman’s frail body. She died after three days of horrible agony, even though Manon – who had also learned the apothecary trade – and her father had tried everything that was humanly possible to heal her.

There had never been a word from England, as far as Manon knew. And now this “uncle” had shown up. Her grandfather must have remarried at some point.

“Have you gathered the necessities for your journey?” De Briers shook her arm, as if he had noticed her daydreaming.

“We have only the clothes on our backs, Jéhan and I. Our house was plundered a few days ago.”

He nodded. “I will provide you with clothes and necessaries, when we reach Auteuil. It might be useful if you had a cloak, however. The river can be damp at night.”

“I have no cloak,” Manon replied. “Nor does Jéhan.”

“We have to go, Master,” Jake urged. “In another ten minutes, the night watch will be upon us.”

“Come on, then,” De Briers said, and took Jéhan from Jake, settling the boy on his hip, before striding to the door.

A Private Function (1984) c.1947


In a small Northern English town in 1947 the citizens endure continuing food rationing. Some local businessmen want to hold a party to celebrate the royal wedding of Princess Elizabeth to Prince Philip and illegally decide to raise a pig for that occasion. However, the pig gets stolen by Gilbert Chilvers (Michael Palin), who was encouraged to do so by his wife Joyce (Maggie Smith). Meanwhile a food inspector is determined to stop activities circumventing the food rationing.

IMDB  Their trailer is a bit better.

Private function

Comedy: Michael Palinand Maggie Smith

Menu Title