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Magdalene Sisters

magdalene_sisters1

A thoroughly mind provoking film about 3 young women whom, under socially unacceptable circumstances see themselves cast away to a Magdalene Asylum for young women in 1964. One of many such institutions all over Ireland at the time; run by the rule of God and a will of iron, the prison like regime saw young girls forced to do workhouse laundry and hard labour, never to understand their crime and never to leave, unless they decide to ‘take orders’ and become one of the nuns.

The asylum is for supposedly ‘fallen’ women, one of the three had found herself pregnant, the child taken for adoption and she ostracised by her family; a second had been seen behaving tentatively flirtatiously towards the boys hanging over the railings at the orphanage, branded as potential ‘trouble’ she was whisked off; the third a young innocent who was raped by a village boy at a wedding, he said she asked, she said she didn’t, as he was believed she was denounced as a lying whore and taken at first light.

The young girls are imprisoned indefinitely and endure agonising punishments and a long, harsh working system which leaves them physically drained and mentally damaged.  Every ounce of human identity is removed, they are uniformed day and night, drilled and marched around, no idle chit chat permitted, every opportunity to humiliate taken advantage of.

As the girls bond together, it soon becomes clear that the only way out of the Magdalene convent is to escape, but with twisted Sister Bridget running the wing, any chances seem limited.

To say I enjoyed this might sound sadistic, but the enjoyment came from the quality of acting, the script, the scening, the whole package delivered its subject extremely well.  It was informative without being documentative.

I won’t go into the rights and wrongs of this system, nor the doctorin of religion imposed, it was of its time and now thankfully no more, but I do wonder if we had such schemes today more women would be ‘in’ than ‘out’.  It is a sad piece of social history.

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2013 in Films, Review

 

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The Soloist

SoloistPoster

From the moment I first heard about this film I wanted to see it.  The film is based on the book by Steven Lopez a columnist for the Los Angeles Times about the Cellist Nathaniel Ayers, the book came about because of a series of columns wrote about Nathaniel, his life and its spirals.  There is something about a true life story that gives a film an undefined depth, but this one for me didn’t quite get there, maybe because as is often the case with such fall and rise films you wanted an ending that brought everything back together for the better – an ending with positive hope.

Lopez first finds Ayers playing beside the Beethoven statue in Pershing Square on a two stringed violin, Ayer’s schizophrenic mind zipping and darting as if on permanent fast forward but Lopez catches snippets that intrigue him as a writer, the mention of the word ‘Julliard’ the prestigious musical university.  He wonders what brought such a gifted musician to the streets of LA, homeless, broken of mind, but still enraptured in music, specifically Beethoven.

As when one human is touched by another so profoundly you want to do right by them, you want to be able to help set them straight, get them back to some kind of accepted ordinary.  Carting your life around in a shopping trolley, sleeping in doorways where the rats and detritus of the world accumulates, sitting for hours beneath an underpass playing a two stringed violin is far from the ordinary this once child prodigy deserves.

One of Lopez’s readers send him a cello for Ayers and this becomes the tool to bring Ayers out of his solitude, but the realities of life on and around skid row are harsh.  The interactions are wonderful, the scenes sometimes dramatic and disturbing, you sense the hopelessness of many folk so down on their luck that even the viewer cannot see help.  You see the results that a violent world can have on a person, and how their fear over rides everything.  It can be difficult rationalising a fear with someone of sound mind, but if you put pure fear together with an injured mind there is little that can be done.  You sense that Ayer’s does not want any association with the word schizophrenia because he will be locked up.  Ayers does not know what he wants for himself and is distrustful of everything.

If anything, for me, this film showed that how ever much you want to help and improve things for a person, they themselves may not want that.  You could see that Lopez wanted Ayers brought back to full health, receive treatment for his schizophrenia, had visions of one day Ayers being back at school, maybe touring as a cellist, in an orchestra, a world of audience adulation and acceptance, but Ayers would not want that.

It was an interesting film to watch, not exactly entertaining, not exactly inspirational, not altogether uncomfortable, but yes I would watch it again, there are nuances that I know I will pick up on second time around

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2013 in Films, Review

 

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Once Upon A Time .. .. Not So Long Ago

On The Road

As the weather improves I find I am feeling my confinement more than during the winter months [I know, I am never satisfied].  As I sit here the sun is shinning, the blue sky is smattered with a few fluffy comfy clouds, the tree is full of blossom and even the occasional chirp of a bird [other than crawing seagull] sounds happy.

Today is the sort of day that I would have sprung up with the alarm, washed my hair, dressed in clothes other than slopping around the house attire, got into my beloved blue car and with suitable rocking music blaring out, would have motored up to the City.  I’d have been seated in my best friends kitchen waiting for the coffee she offered as we gabbled and conversed, she may have been doing laundry or clearing out the fridge. We may have gone to do her grocery shop, or run errands in the city or taken child 1 or 2 to friends, project supplies shopping or where ever.  After jobs were done we may have sat outside or jaunted off somewhere, we may have watched a film together.  I would have been transported and involved in another world.

But I no longer drive and she no longer lives that close.

I miss it.

I miss that time.

Today I am trying to get some chores and jobs done but am too easily distracted. Coming to the blog site was a distraction from balancing the cheque book and paying the credit card.  Playing a silly game will likely distract me from emptying the dryer.  Staring blankly at nothing will distract me from filing away the post and papers.  Then I will be angry at myself for not getting the stuff done and allowing myself to distract myself.

A disability can take away huge things from a person, but it can be the little insignificant things that are felt the most.

Tonight I am going to watch the DVD The Soloist – the Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jnr film about the life of Nathaniel Anthony Ayers it is based on a true story and is something I have wanted to watch since it was first trailered in 2009.

Happy weekend everyone

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Senna – TT 3D – Fastest

senna

If you’re a an fan of the motor racing world then you will find this three disc box set very interesting and somewhat enlightening.

SENNA – a documentary style film about Senna’s years in Formula until his tragic death in 1994, predominantly featuring behind the scenes home cine footage and television interview footage, enlightening insights into the politics of formula 1, the on and off track rivalry between he and Prost, the changes in cars and teams.  F1 went through a rough period in the early 1990’s, the successful season of 1992 was followed by a controversial 1993 season when the early days of electronics ad computerisation creeped in, as such technology was out of the pockets of many teams they were banned for the 1994 season.  one would think this meant returning to the 1992 cars but no, it became a year of carnage where Martin Donnelly was severely injured in a practice session for the Spanish Grand Prix, Roland Ratzenburger died while driving a qualifying lap at the San Marino Grand Prix and the next day Senna died during the race.

TT 3D CLOSER TO THE EDG – This centres on the 2010 season of this bastion of road racing.  It shows many of the riders [they look either old enough to know better or young enough to still be using stabilisers].  It does not really explain the circuit, which for a unique place is a shame.  I found the drivers talk interesting and insightful, however, it is portray Guy Martin as a slightly selfish renegade, maybe he was, maybe it was the black leather relentless sponsored attitude; all the same those eyes .  These guys are straight talking, hard riders, they know the perils and they know the dangers.  While the crashes are spectacular, there are injuries and fatalities, they do not make light of it.

FASTEST – The prime focus for this is Valentino Rossi, number 46, known as ‘The Doctor’ [give him the bike, and he will tell you what is wrong with it and how to fix it].  This baby faced uber talented rider charms those all around him, his fans range from the 80-year old Granny to the 3-year old toddler.  Listening to them as they describe the injuries that they ride with is astounding.  Rossi broke his leg and within weeks was back in the saddle and riding hard to reach a podium finish.  Watching the race footage I required a defibrillator as well as a ventilator because I was twitching and gasping as the wheels wobbled and my heart stopped as a rider high lined it off into the air.

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I said there was something about those eyes ………….

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2013 in Films, Review

 

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Left hand right hand left foot right foot

busy

I really only have myself to blame, my procrastination and lack of motivation all self inflicted has brought about the result and it is just going to take some boot strap pulling, arse kicking and will power testing to rectify the situation.

Here we are, already into February and the things that would usually have been done by now, the things that need to be done by now have lagged and lapsed and languished lazily upon the ‘to-do’ list that sits on the desk looking all innocent.

So here we go – by the end of this month of February I WILL have …

  • organised the Residents AGM
  • prepared the end of year accounts
  • filed the tree work order with the local council
  • organised reminders regarding quotes for work to be done
  • completed the broom stick scarf
  • inventoried the wool I have left
  • begun second project, most likely doggy coat
  • listed ‘needs’ on family tree research
  • drafted letter to Aunt and Uncle
  • proofed and printed profiles
  • sourced two shoe boxes to keep stuff in
  • begun edit on movie files
  • backed up files properly
  • gotten info re iMac OS upgrade
  • finished reading The Fry Chronicles
  • watched borrowed 3-dvd set [Senna – TT Closer to the edge – Fastest]
  • blogged about them too

I know my regular readers will be thinking that I am such a busy person and marvellous with all that I do and thank you for that, but as the school report often said “Could do better”.  Earlier this week I have had the same convo with two people; when there is nothing to anchor your day around, you drift about aimlessly.  My Sister has her husband and part time work, my friend has her full time job [and a hubby] but I have nothing that tags my day.  I can [and have] lazed in bed until noon, mooch about til supper time and collapse back again never bothering to get dressed [oww-err and I sleep in the all-together-now’s too], there is no hubby that would like breakfast, there is no job I need to get ready for, no happening that requires me to be prepared.  When i first stopped work this was a luxury that was luxuriated in and blissfully welcome it was too, but after eight year, you feel bored, bothered and self….deprecating.

So in an attempt to slay a few with a single stone, the list has been published, which will add to my need to get things done because I have told someone i am going to get them done, it will also give me something to come back here and boringly blog about an by the end of the month, will be done and crossed off the list.

That is the plan ….. so come on Sod, Murphy, Fate and all you other umbuggerances, do your annoying worst to make a liar out of me

 
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Posted by on February 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Telstar : Story Of Joe Meek

Telstar

I happened by happy chance to catch this on BBC2 last week, and am happy to say it is available on DVD.  What an absolutely astounding and sometimes disturbing portrayal of the man who brought us so many memorable hits [“Have I the Right,” “Just Like Eddie,” “Johnny, Remember Me” and “Telstar.”], who worked with such names as Clem Cattini, John Leyton, Gene Vincent, Chas Hodges, names you do not realise you know until the closing credit and you see what they worked on in the decades that followed.

Joe Meek was a music-infused tone deaf, (supposidly) flamboyantly gay, songwriter and producer of the 1960’s, plagued by anxiety, paranoia, depression, possibly even mild schizophrenia (you wonder if this is another ‘genius beside madness’ person), addicted to slimming pills, not for their slimming aid but because they allowed him to think outside convention, avoid sleep, and be receptive to communication from the other side.

Meek is caught by the police engaging in a sex act with an undercover police officer and the shock and shame spirals him into even more alarming behaviour, and after a brief affair with Heinz Burt whom he lavishes suits and style grows increasingly erratic and distrusting of those around him, prone to sudden bouts of anger and threatening behaviour.

When a French composer accuses Meek of plagiarism of Telstar and starts a lawsuit in 1963, it results in royalties and all revenues associated with the track being frozen until the court case is heard.  With such funds being locked, Meek’s business is thrown into cash-strapped hell, this alongside his behaviour, means fewer people will have anything to do with him.

Sadly in an episode of paranoid hysteria he shoots his landlady and then himself with a shotgun registered to Heinz Burt, who is extensively questioned by the police but is release uncharged.

Three weeks after Meek’s death, the Courts ruled in his favour regarding the ownership of the track “Telstar” releasing the revenue to his estate which he left to his assistant and quite possibly only friend, Patrick Pink.

EDIT  ::  Further reading online shows many who knew Mr Meek are/were shocked and angered by how the film portrayed him and over dramatised some of the elements of the period in his life.  There is an open letter from Patrick Pink for all to read http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/joemeek/message/5888

 
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Posted by on June 16, 2012 in Films, Review

 

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The Tempest

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I watched this 2010 version of The Tempest and must say I found it rather enthralling.  Usually when trying my best to follow some of Shakespeare’s plays I get lost translating and interpreting the language, but I got it!  There were some noteable names amongst the cast, Helen Mirren, Tom Conti, Alan Cummings, Alfred Molina and the surprising addition of Russel Brand as Trinculo.  His gangly movement and presentation of his words added to the mirth and silliness of his character brilliantly.

In this, Julie Taymor’s version of ‘The Tempest,’ the main character is now a woman named Prospera. Going back to the 16th or 17th century, women practicing the magical arts of alchemy were often convicted of witchcraft. Thus Prospera is usurped by her brother and sent off with her four-year daughter on a ship. She ends up on an island; it’s a tabula rasa: no society, so the mother figure becomes a father figure to Miranda.

By chance, or witchcraft the brother and his associates are ship wrecked upon the island many years later.  Some slight engineering of circumstances sees the young heir fall in love with Miranda, decreeing to marry her.  The reunion of the banished sister and usurping brother leads to the power struggle and balance between Caliban and Prospera; a struggle not about brawn, but about intellect.

 

 
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Posted by on June 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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The History of Mr Polly

Mr Polly

Last night snuggled under the duvet I swiped to the itv iplayer and watch this delightful film.  An adaptation of HG Well’s novel, a quiet, easy watching, beautifully portrayed piece.

Alfred Polly is a well meaning dreamer, good with words, eager to learn, wanting better in life.  After the death of his Mother at an early age the change of attitude i his father causes an estrangement that continues until his Father’s death where Mr Polly discovers his Father’s life was insured and he was to receive £325, quite the rich sum for the early 1900’s.

Alfred Polly marries his cousin Miriam Larkins and they open a gentleman’s out fitters shop, but, as the years go by, the marriage becomes stale and Polly feels trapped. He decides to stage his own death by cutting his throat and clearing debts by burning down the shop but becomes an accidental hero when he saves a deaf old lady from the flames. Seeing the opportunity to make changes he leaves the insurance cheque on Miriam’s pillow and goes walkabout and gets a job at a country pub, the Potwell Inn, run by a kindly landlady, Nancy Potter. However, her violent nephew Jim is driving the customers away and Polly reluctantly faces up to him.  He loads the shot gun, even though his practise firings have been abysmal, he places his jacket on the back of the chair and sits waiting for the dastedly Jim to arrive.  Of course the hapless fellow falls deeply asleep enabling Jim to wake up and take the gun out of his arms, when Polly wakes he tries to out run the buckshot, falling to the ground just grazed.  Jim steals his jacket and heads into the Pub to steal and scare Nancy.  Looking out the window he sees Polly is not where he fell but has crawled to the chicken coup and seizes to finish the fellow off but the gun back fires injuring him and Polly passes out.

Polly feels safe that Jim has gone for good, but as time passes his mind wanders and wonders about how Miriam has faired since his disappearance.  He returns to the shop, now a tea room, and asks about her and hears that years before Mr Polly’s disfigured body was pulled from the sea and only identified by the tags in his clothing.  When Miriam arrives she is shocked and first then fearful how she can afford to repay the insurance pay-out but Polly asks if she is happy and that it might be best to leave things as they are and he slips away back to the Potwell Inn and the idyllic life he has always craved.

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Clearing the desk [mental & actual]

messydesk

About three weeks ago I reached a mental point where I felt like the desk above, and my desk felt like the desk above, as too did the draw that pending paperwork gets stuff into.  Too much going on, nothing in its place, none of the tasks were focused, deadlines were approaching, more stuff was threatening to engulf the desk space etc, so I just had to drop everything and go step by step.

Now I am trying to remember what it was that kept me away for, cripes 26 days!!  Somehow the list and paragraphs will sound so weak, lol.

Let me see, a great deal of the time was spent working on the ESA form.  Everyone who currently received Incapacity Benefit is being reassessed and migrated to the Employment Support Allowance, nothing wrong with that, I think that regardless of someone’s medical history regular reassessment is a good thing.  The difficulty comes in a one-size-fits-all form that is going to be read by someone who knows absolutely nothing about how struggling with things affects the writer.  Everything is down to interpretation, which inevitability leads to error.  The questions can be so vague.  Lifting something, they use the example of the small carton of milk, well, I could struggle with that, if the top is on tightly, there is a handle, it is not wet to make it slippery to handle, so how can you put ‘yes’ or ‘no’ when you need to explain.  Is the correct way “yes, but not if …” or “No, unless …”.  I know that reason for the form is to do with viability for seeking work, if I could I would I was financially better off if not totally knackered all the time.  There is little to no connection with aspects of disabled living, as my Sister [who is also my carer] pointed out, I could work full time, but they’d have to pay my carer to come too to move me around, fetch and carry, and take me to the loo etc.

The company contracted to process all these forms, apart from having record numbers appeal and overturn their decision are also approximately four months behind, so I have a lovely four months to wait to find out if I am being forced to look for a job that is not there that I cannot do, while appealing their erroneous decision while managing my usual daily struggles at existing.  The great bulk of all this hassle is squarely at the feet of those who intentionally mislead and fraudulently claim – thanks.

The musician’s web site I care-take has had a busy time.  He performed at a couple of gigs in February, so I was seeking and searching for reviews and blogs, as well as contacting fans and photographers for the necessary permissions to host some of their photos and reviews.  It is surprising how long all the back room work takes, even to staying up past midnight so I could skype with a photographer about the site and photos.  Then there is the putting together of the new pages and photo albums and testing to see that they are correct in the major 3 or 4 web browsers before sending them to the musician for final say, uploading them to the serer and publishing them.  There is an issue, which I may post about another time, to do with some people’s attitudes to web site content, which has me miffed, all riled up and general irritated by.

It is that time of year for the annual residents meeting where I live.  That involves me putting together the financial report and finding the relevant info for the coming years works [that reminds me I need to telephone the local council tree officer about our preservation order tree maintenance]. I am also the sucker I mean secretary who checks all the service charges are paid properly, between Banks cancelling some and double paying others, some people not paying at the right time, it is a nightmare!  Plus, guess who has to do the invites and get them mailed out to the landlords, yeap, me.

There have been some interesting things though, I have seen a number of films and always say to myself afterwards, must blog that but alas and alack, it doesn’t get that far.  A friend asked for my help in selling some items on eBay, it was fun if time consuming researching details of the vintage items for the sales blurb, some sold, some did not.  We were very surprised that her Blythe Kenner circa 1972 doll in original box did not sell, considering its valued at over £2,500 and we were asking £1,500.

So, lets recap the projects list.

  • FAMILY TREE – Had a break through on one twig , need to do one more check on another branch before typing up profiles and sending letters to my Aunt and Uncles and Mum’s cousin to see if they remember any snippet.
  • CROSS STITCH – Still not started anything, not even a four hour mouseloft kit.
  • WEB SITES – The stcgibb.com one is fine and dandy for now, got some video work to do for release in a couple of months.  Mine, could do with up-dating the ‘Doing Now’ page, again.
  • JEWELLERY – Not started, but its not like there is any hurry.
  • CLOTHES SORT – yeahhh, this is done, but the charity things have not gone out yet, keep missing them envelope collection days.
  • BOOK OF MYSELF – Not started, thought I might do this alongside the next two items.
  • UPLOAD VIDEOS – I have got the device, just need the chunk of free hours to hook up vcr and record the vids to dvd.
  • UPLOAD TAPES – I have the cable, just need the hours etc.
  • HANG PICS – Yeahhh My Super Sis did this Monday
  • CRAFT STUFF – I have not gone through the stuff to junk what is not needed, tidy and store properly the hibernated projects and related supplies and equipment.
  • CROCHET – Just four last rows to do and all the squares are done.  They, along with the yarn, can then be packed away until my friend visits and ‘we’ start stitching them together.  I can start the broomstick crochet I want to try, which should be incentive to get them last rows done!
  • BOOKS – I have not even moved the beside books to dust around them.
  • iPAD – Well … if all goes to plan … next week I will have an extended demo and hands on have a go and if I can use it, then I intend to buy one, just depends when my Sister can take me to the Apple Store.

 

I am hoping over the coming weeks I can be better organised and less in demand to be able to spend more time here with my blog buddies.

Hope everyone is enjoying the Spring-like conditions, I may have to turn the heating down a notch, again.

 

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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The Lost Prince

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I bought this DVD as part of my Sister’s christmas presents.  This was a two-part BBC drama by Stephen Poliakoff about the life of “Prince Johnny”, fifth son of King George V and Queen Mary of Teck [and thereby Uncle to HM Queen Elizabeth II].

Johnny was born at York Cottage on the Sandringham Estate [now used as the Estate office and flats for estate workers], the beloved home of his father for countless years until his Mother Queen Alexandra died at Sandringham, he was homed here away from the public scrutiny of London, as well as the numerous dignitaries and visiting personnel associated with the Royals.

At the age of 4 he was diagnosed with epilepsy, the medical establishment at that time often used the diagnostic term “imbecile” to denote mental health issues, which differs from the dictionary definition and the myriad of modern day medical diagnostic terms.  At the time, it was a general understanding that only the poor, diseased and low working class people bred “imbecilic” children, therefor for an aristocrat to have borne a child with epilepsy would imply that some improper goings on had gone on, and such scandalous gossip could never be allowed to escape about a Royal.

He had his own Nanny Lalla [Charlotte Bill], tutelage from Henry Peter Hansell, but never attended functions as is brothers and sister did.  He joined the family on occasions and was thus less restricted by the necessary propriety expected of a royal prince.  At 12 he was settled into his own house hold at Wood Farm near Wolferton [3 miles from Sandringham], partly because it was expected that the Romanov’s would live at Sandingham when exiled.  Often visited by his brother Prince George Duke of Kent [not to be confused with prince Albert, Bertie, later King George Vi].  The adaptation does not show the companionship of Winifred Thomas a girl close to his age, who suffered acutely with asthma.

He is portrayed as a contented child, enjoying gardening, bicycling, horse riding, art and music but was sheltered from the worries and tensions of a changing world as War approached and rooted itself in history.

He died on the morning of January 18th, 1919, his Mother wrote in her diary

Lalla Bill telephoned from Wood Farm, Wolferton, that our poor darling Johnnie had died suddenly after one of his attacks. The news gave me a great shock, though for the little boy’s restless soul, death came as a great release. I brought the news to George & we motored down to Wood Farm. Found poor Lalla very resigned but heartbroken. Little Johnnie looked very peaceful lying there… For him it is a great release as his malady was becoming worse as he grew older and he has thus been spared much suffering. I cannot say how grateful we feel to God for having taken him in such a peaceful way, he just slept quietly… no pain, no struggle, just peace for the poor little troubled spirit, which had been a great anxiety for us for many years ever since he was four.

I found the adaptation to be most sensitive and moving, sad in that if it had been a different era he would not have been so hidden, yet he was the free-est of the family in so many ways.

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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