43rd Birthday Wishes for Richard Crispin Armitage, August 22, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #622)

A facebook friend of mine named Sueli shared again the image (right) that I had earlier shared from EsquireUK2013--RichardArmitageinMirrorAug2214RAFranceFB-sizedRichard Armitage France’s Facebook album (From the Esquire UK 2013 Portrait shoot video).

And Sueli asked what we would do to be with Richard Armitage or any one of his characters? Eschewing the stalker and pact with the devil possibilities (Ha!), I interpreted her question to mean, what we might give him.

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????And since it is the exquisitely talented British actor Richard Crispin Armitage’s 43rd birthday today (my graphic left; RA image from www.RichardArmitageNet.com; background image http://www.dreamstime.com), below is a list of gifts that I subjectively think that he might find appealing as birthday gifts (*facetious/humor* alert)–in the Wine, Women, and Song vernacular:

1) Wine: Richard Armitage the man loves wine (image, right)–or so he tells us. It is a ArmitageWines--bottles_Aug1314armitagewinescom-sizedveritable feast for the senses for RA opening up the bottle, pouring the liquid into a glass with some sloshing to and fro (visually and aurally), sniffing the wine’s fragrant aroma, sipping it briefly as a foretaste of what is to come, and then gulping it down like lemonade (Harry/Dibley gif below courtesy of kelbel75 at her blog NoWhere in Particular’s recent sweetly funny post on RA Fanning). Just kidding–about the foretaste. Ha!).

2) Women: Hmmm. Per my friend’s challenge, I would risk getting carpal tunnel  RichardArmitage2003PromoFeetAug2214JoniasCut-sizedsyndrome by giving RA as Guy/various John’s/Lucas/Harry, etc., an all body massage from tip to toe–working every muscle group in his wonderful neck, chiseled jaw, broad shoulders, muscular arms, large and graceful hands, massive torso, equally massive back, impressive legs, and swoonworthy feet (right) of RA’s, etc. And there would definitely be my fingers running through his slightly longer than now hair. Purrrrr!

My then 93 year old granny loved my massages that I gave her when I was a teenager! Maybe RA would, too. Ha! Though RA is 50 years younger than my granny was–and he is quite a bit more …. Well, more. Sighhh! I would have to adapt my massage technique–since I wouldn’t have to be quite so gentle with him, yet, I would need to conserve my strength for the duration of the massage. *Kkkhhh!* But it would be a relaxing experience–for both of us. *wink*

3) Song:  And finally, what is a birthday without a birthday song? So for a blast from the past, below is the first RA Fan video that I ever made–for RA’s 40th birthday–a retrospective of his roles before The Hobbit juggernaut took off, and became three films instead of only two films (Ha!):

So, all I have left to say is:

Dearest Richard,

Thank you for your gifts of acting and storytelling artistry that you share with us. Thank you for your professionalism, kindness, and compassion for others–be they colleagues or fans. And thank you for setting an excellent gentlemanly example for others in how to conduct oneself as a public figure and role model.

You touch our hearts and inspire us to challenge ourselves personally and creatively. My husband and I will make a donation to the Childline charity at your Just Giving site in your honor for your birthday.

May your 43rd birthday be all that you hope it to be–however, and whenever you get to celebrate it, perhaps on your day off on Sunday, with family and friends. I wish you a most wonderful 43rd birthday–and, I wish for you every happiness that you wish for yourself.

Love, Hugs, & Cheers! Gratiana

Posted in Birthday, Blessings, Charities, Family, Fangurling, Gifs, Giving, Graphic, Harry Kennedy, Portraits, Richard Armitage, Something About Love, The Hobbit, Video | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 75 (PG-13): Finding Our Way to Loving from the Heart, Part 2, August 16, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #621)

“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 75 (PG-13): Finding Our Way to Loving from the Heart, Part 2, August 16, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #621)

aaaN&SJohnThorntonLoveLessonsFanFicCoverDec2913GratianaLovelace-256x401An original fan fiction copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace;   All rights reserved; Based on the Elizabeth Gaskell novel, North & South and its 2004 BBC adaptation; No copyright infringement intended)

[I will illustrate my story using my dream cast from the 2004 BBC production of “North & South” and other actors for additional characters:   Richard Armitage for John Thornton, Daniela Denby-Ashe for Margaret Hale, Lesley Manville for Mrs. Maria Hale, Tim Pigott-Smith for Mr. Richard Hale, Sinead Cusack for Mrs. Hannah Thornton Ogilvy, Jo Joyner for Fiona/Fanny Thornton Ogilvy, Brendan Coyle for Nicholas Higgins, Graham McTavish as Dr. Cameron Ogilvy, Holliday Grainger for Angharad Ogilvy MacIntosh, Simon Woods for Baird Ogilvy, and Emma Ashton as Mrs. Dillard, John Light as Henry Lennox, Tim Faraday as Watson, Gillian Anderson at Carlotta Quint Watson, Jeremy Northam as Dr. Miles Houghton, Gerard Butler as Lord Jamie Ogilvy, and Juliette Lewis as Lady Thistle Ogilvy, etc.] [(1) story logo]

Author’s Mature Content Note: “N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons” is a story with mature themes of love and relationships set within a period drama of the 1850’s. As such there will be heartfelt moments of love and sensuality (S)–as well as other dramatic emotions (D), including some violence (V)–and I will rate those chapters accordingly. If you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with the ratings that I provide, then please do not read that chapter. This is my disclaimer.

Author’s Recap from the previous chapter: Luncheon at Airlie Castle in Angus, Scotland this Thursday, April 9th, 1855 was a bit subdued–what with John Thornton longing for a son or sons like Lord Jamie Ogilvy has. And John still treads lightly about whether he and Margaret will adopt just the Douglas boy baby, or also the baby Douglas’ two year old sister Catriona. But this afternoon’s events will prove to be the deciding factors.


“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 75 (PG-13): Finding Our Way to Loving from the Heart, Part 2

Around one o’clock after luncheon at Airlie Castle in Angus, Scotland this sunny and breezy Thursday, April 9th, 1855, Lord Jamie and Lady Thistle commandeer the children of the extended Thornton-Ogilvy-Ogilvy family for a little outside play on the back garden’s extensive golf putting greens. There are 18 greens of varying difficulties and hazards–some hazards natural like undulating land, some hazards man made, as in small rows of boxwood hedges. It is a whimsical design based on a similar but less elaborate putting greens layout from his childhood that Cameron Lord Airlie created for the amusement of his son, the little three and a half year old Lord Gavin.

So Gavin takes his little but four months older neice’s Audrey Grace’s hand and they join Viscount Hamish, Lady Blythe, and little James to try out their luck–even as the older three to eight year old children of the Airlie Castle orphanage also join them in play. Gavin’s nanny Pims follows dutifully behind him, every watchful should his sniffles return and he needs to be whisked inside at the express orders of Hannah Lady Airlie. The air is cool, but not chilly. Gavin’s mother Hannah only relented to let him play outdoors because all of the other children were going–and Pims would bring him back inside if needed.

And the golf putters the children use are an L-shaped stick made out of a soft wood that can hit the lightweight tightly woven twig balls with ease–and greater safety. The game of golf is typically associated with Scotland and was made more popular throughout the British isles beginning in 1852 with their majesties Queen Victoria and Prince Albert built their home Balmoral in Scotland [(2)].

Once the children have left the dining room, Cameron and Hannah smile at John and Margaret–gesturing to guide them up to the children’s nursery to spend time with the baby boy Douglas and his sister Catriona, Caty. As John and Margaret walk up the stairs, they begin to tense up. John is worried that he won’t be able to warm to the children. Margaret is worried that John will only want the baby boy, when she also wants to adopt his two year old sister Caty. Their family would instantly almost double in size–but happily so. John’s mother Hannah is worried that John and Margaret are worrying too much about themselves when they should be more focused on the children’s needs. And Cameron? He doesn’t worry–worrying is a useless time wasting activity in Cameron’s mind. Cameron sanguinely thinks that either John and Margaret will agree to adopt both children, or they will not. It is as simple as that.

At the slightly ajar door to the nursery, John stops and stares at the door. Margaret stops and she squeezes her husband’s hand in hers and she looks up at him wonderingly, even as he gazes down at her.

Margaret: “John?” Margaret asks hesitantly.

John: “I’m nervous.” John sighs sheepishly.

Hannah blanches, then does one of her own nervous unconscious mouth tchs as she glances over at her husband Cameron.

Hannah: “Tch!”

Cameron and Hannah have seen this uncertainty in prospective parents before.   And they know that time and interactions with the children are what help the right parents and children find each other.

Cameron: “Shall we?” Cameron fixes his indulgent, but impatient look at John. John looks at Cameron. Cameron rolls his eyes, then he tries to puncture John’s mood with an analogy. “Ach! Laddie, if god had taken this long to decide on Adam and Eve in the Garrrden of Eden, I darrre to say that the worrrld might not belong to men, but to the animals.”

Hannah: “Kkkhhh!” She coughs to get her husband’s attention and then fixes her gaze upon him with a raised eyebrow.

Cameron: “Well! To men and women.” Cameron tilts his head in acquiescence to his beloved wife. Hannah smiles at him and nods approvingly.

As they walk inside the large and airy nursery bedchamber, John feels that the room feels almost empty without the boisterousness of the three year olds. Though the room has homey touches of crocheted blankets, stuffed bears, dolls, and other toys, and a cheerful red, green, and yellow Ogilvy tartan color scheme.Catriona-imageis1860sGermanChildrensFasion-byJ_Nitschner_Portrait_F_Keban_Aug0114wiki-sized-crop

Inside the nursery, two year old Catriona is gently patting her baby brother’s tummy as he sleeps. She smiles at him [(3) right].  He is her baby brother.

Then while standing out in the bedchamber hallway, John & Margaret and Hannah & Cameron hear a wailing cry from within the nursery.

Catriona:   “Nooooo! Baby is mine, mine!” The two year old girl shrieks as the nurse attendant tries to pull her away from baby boy Douglas’ crib. Caty has lost much–her mother, her father, and her grandparents. She cannot also lose her brother if they are adopted separately.

John and Margaret rush into the nursery to see the nurse gently trying to pry Catriona’s fingers off of the crib. Hannah and Cameron also walk in, but stand back.

Nurse: “Ye must come away, Caty–and let yourrr brrrother sleep.” The nurse says softly as she pulls her away from the crib.

Catriona: “Waaaaa! Waaaa!” Caty sobs with tears running down her cheeks as she holds her arms out yearningly for her baby brother.

Margaret: Margaret rushes over to Caty and takes her into her arms as she sits in the rocking chair while John stands by. “What is wrong my little sweetheart?”

The nurse steps back to allow John and Margaret to interact with the children as she has been told by Hannah Lady Airlie earlier they wanted to do.

Catriona: Caty breathes quickly and speaks only in gasping gulps between her mewling cries and she points at her baby brother in the crib. “Baby … mine. Mama … baby mine.” Caty buries her face into Margaret’s neck again.

John: “Hhhh. Poor little thing.” John says caringly, moved by the little girl’s distress. And John tries to pat Caty’s head.

Caty’s head jerks to one side as she sees the tall and imposing John Thornton towering over her. Caty buries her face into Margaret’s neck in fright as she continues to cry.

Margaret: “John. You’re scaring Caty again. You’re too tall. Sit down, please.” Margaret shakes her head with a pleading look on her face. Margaret desperately wants this to work–she and John adopting both the baby boy Douglas and his two year old sister Catriona.

John looks around for a chair, but finds none nearby. So he sits on the end of one of the low to the floor toddler’s cot beds–thus reducing his height by half–with his knees up near his chin.

John: John mumbles under his breath. “The other children in the family aren’t afraid of me. They like me.”

Cameron: “John, They starrrted out as babies and they didn’t know any betterrr.”   John looks at Cameron, clearly indicating that he feels insulted. So Cameron back peddles his remarks. “What I meant to say is that the bairrrns gradually grew up knowing ye–such that yourrr height did na frighten them.”

John: “Very well.” John gives Cameron a half hearted nod.

Hannah: “Let me give you the baby to hold, John.” Hannah’s mother suggests helpfully. She hopes that if Catriona sees the baby being soothed by John that she will be less afraid of him. Hannah picks up the baby boy Douglas from his bassinette crib and places him in her son John’s arms.

John: “Thank you, Mother.” John smiles at her, then he gazes upon the little baby boy in SleepingBabyJun0514MSOfcClipArt-sizedhis arms [(4) right] as he gently rocks him to and fro.

Baby boy Douglas is napping after his feeding and diaper changing. He is quite the happy baby–no matter who is holding him–and he makes cooing sounds in his sleep.

Baby boy Douglas: “Mmm, mmm. Hhhhh!” A large yawn escapes the baby’s mouth and he moves his little arms as he yawns.

John: “He is so precious!” John sighs. “I remember when Audrey Grace was this small.” He smiles lovingly at his wife Margaret.

Margaret smiles in remembrance, too. Then Caty tugs at Margaret’s blouse and Margaret focuses her attention on the little girl.

Caty: “Mama, Baby mine. Give back. … please.” She pleads in a tiny voice. Little Caty had seen another baby leave in the two weeks she has been here–and she doesn’t want to lose her brother.

The adults look at each other, feeling that that are at an impasse, for now. Then they hear soft footsteps and turn to see both little Lord Gavin and his neice Audrey Rose walking toward them and wearing fuzzy sweaters. Gavin’s nanny Pims stands at the nursery doorway at attention.

Hannah: “Gavin, did you take a chill? Maybe you should stay inside and play today.” Hannah caresses her little son’s face. It is neither too warm with a fever, nor too cold from being outside.

Cameron:   “Hhhh!” Cameron sighs while standing behind his son Gavin–with his hands on Gavin’s shoulders. Cameron is the physician, but it seems that where the health of their son is concerned, his wife Hannah overrules him most of the time with her cautiousness.

Gavin: “Nay, Mama. Me niece Audrey Grrrace was chilly.” Gavin points his thumb accusatorially. He so hopes that his Mama won’t make him stay inside and miss all the golfing fun.

Audrey Grace: “Was not!” It is just that Audrey Grace had to attend to a personal matter. And, well, she was a little chilly.

Gavin: “Yes, ye werrre!” Gavin gazes at his niece with a puzzled expression. For why did she put on a sweater if she isn’t feeling chilly?

John: “Audrey Grace? Gavin?” John says in a deeply commanding yet still soft as silk voice.” “We must not wake the baby.” John continues to rock baby boy Douglas in his arms.

Gavin: Walking over to his brother, Gavin asks. “Arrre ye adopting the baby boy, John?”

Audrey Grace walks over to her Mama, Margaret’s side. She wants that question answered, too.

John: “Um?” John blanches and looks at Margaret. Then they both look at little Caty.

Margaret:   “Actually, we would like to adopt both the baby boy and his sister Caty.”

Margaret looks caringly at her young daughter, Audrey Grace–and she can see the wheels turning in her daughter’s mind.

John: “Do you like that idea, Audrey Grace?” John hesitantly asks his daughter. Though John and Margaret dearly want these two children to join their family, they must also consider their daughter Audrey Grace’s feelings.

Audrey Grace: She thinks for a minutes, then Audrey Grace responds resolutely. “I do, Papa. Thank you!”

Audrey Grace [(5) right] then leans against her Papa’s arm and smiles up at him–lays her AudreyGrace-almost-four-image-is-Tête_d'Etude_l'Oiseau_(1867)-byWilliam-Adolphe_Bouguereau_(1825-1905)_Jul2614wiki-crop2head on his shoulder–as he holds the baby. John turns his head and places a kiss on the top of Audrey Grace’s head.

Little Catriona has been watching this exchange with widening eyes. And she makes one last attempt to stake her claim to her baby brother as she reaches out her arms to touch him. And John leans toward Catriona to allow her to do that. This is closer than she has allowed in the past. Gavin walks over to little Catriona. He has played with her from time to time during her two week stay.

Gavin: Gavin gives little Catriona a hug. “I’m glad forrr you and yourrr brrrotherrr, Caty. Me brother John is a nice boy.” Gavin pats his brother’s cheek.

Cameron: “Kkkhh!” Cameron guffaws at his little son Gavin calling his brother John a boy.

Catriona:   With a spark of curiosity, Catriona quizzically asks Gavin. “Brother?” For she knows that the baby is her brother.

Gavin: “That’s right. Gavin takes Catriona’s hand and places it on the baby’s cheek. “The baby is yourrr brother.”

Catriona nods in partially understanding that the word brother means she has a connection to the baby. Then Gavin places his hand on his brother John’s check–in the same way that Catriona’s hand is on her brother’s cheek.

Gavin: “John is me brrrotherrr.” Gavin smiles up at his big brother John, who smiles right back at him.

Catriona: Catriona looks thoughtfully at Gavin. Then she looks questioningly at Margaret. “Mama?”

Margaret: “Yes, sweetheart?” Margaret inquires of little Catriona.

Catriona still can’t quite comprehend what is happening to her, to she and her baby brother–that they are about to be adopted by a family. But Audrey Grace understands–and approves, wholeheartedly.

Audrey Grace: “Yippee!” Audrey Grace squeals with delight. “Thank you Mama! Thank you Papa!” Audrey Grace hugs her parents equally. Then she hugs Caty and kisses her cheek. “I always wanted a sister and a brother. We will be sisters.”

Catriona’s face brightens with seeing the other children’s cheerfulness. Something good must be happening. A small smile threatens to appear on Caty’s face.

Having stayed silent for a little while–to let Catriona get used to him–John now speaks to his wife, then to his daughters.

John: John stands up from the cot. “Margaret, please take baby Douglas for a few minutes.” Margaret nods and she stands to receive the baby from John, then she sits on the cot next to the standing Catriona. Catriona looks at her sleeping baby brother and pats his tummy. John sits down in the rocking chair. “Audrey Grace, Please come sit on my knee.”

Audrey Grace: “Yes, Papa!” Audrey Grace eagerly complies and sits on her father’s left knee.

John: “Caty?”   John opens his other arm wide.

Audrey Grace: “Come on!” Audrey Grace motions eagerly.

Gavin: “Come on Caty. I will lift ye up.” Gavin takes Catriona’s hand and walks her the few feet over to John. Then he lifts Caty up onto John’s knee. Caty sits there awkwardly at first.

Audrey Grace leans back into her Papa’s embrace as he begins to rock. Then Audrey Grace reaches across her Papa’s vest and jacket covered chest to guide Caty to lean back into her Papa’s embrace.   Then Audrey Grace smiles at her new sister and continues to hold her hand as their Papa rocks them gently in the rocking chair. Both girls soon fall asleep to the steady rhythm. And John and Margaret exchange relieved gazes at each other. Gavin nods his head and his Mama and Papa guide him back to his bedroom for own his afternoon nap.

About thirty minutes later, John and Margaret decide to take all three sleeping children to their guest bed chamber. And the Airlie Castle staff help with moving the children’s crib, cot bed and belongings into the Thornton’s guest bed chamber. They want Caty to see John-isRichardArmitage-andMargaret-isDanielaDenby-Ashe-inNorth&South-Epi4-17h54m34s7_Nov1013GratianaLovelaceCap-hi-res-brt2-cropvisually that both she and her brother are being adopted by John and Margaret–they will stay together. And John and Margaret both feel like they are on the cusp of new beginnings for their family as they kiss [(6) right] in loving tenderness as they sit on the sette in their bed chamber and sweetly holding each other’s hands.

The newly expanded Thornton Family spends the next few days at Airlie Castle getting even better acquainted in familiar surroundings for Caty before they all return home to Milton. Caty is less fearful and shy around John now that she sees him interact with other children. And in partially renaming their newly adopted children, John and Margaret want a way for their baby boy and toddler daughter to retain part of their Scottish heritage, while also embracing their new family. So it is a newly expanded Thornton family that returns to Milton the following Sunday–John and Margaret, Audrey Grace, Catriona “Caty” Maria Thornton, and baby Douglas John Thornton.

To be continued with Chapter 76


“N&S: JT Love Lessons”, Ch. 75 References, August 16, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #621)

1) “N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons” story logo: Richard Armitage as John Thornton and Daniela Denby-Ashe in the 2004 BBC period drama North & South, was found at richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/nands/album/episode3/ns3-110.jpg ; For more information about this wonderful 2004 BBC miniseries adaptation of Elizabeth’s Gaskell’s story North & South, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_&_South_%28TV_serial%29

2)  The History of Golf was found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_golf

3) Catriona Douglas image illustration is an 1860s child painting found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1860s_in_Western_fashion#mediaviewer/File:Joseph_Nitschner_Portrait_Francisca_Keban.jpg

4) Image representing 1 month old baby boy Douglas sleeping is an MS Office Clip Art stock image.

5) Audrey Grace Thornton almost four year old image is Tete d’Etude l’Oiseau by William Adolphe Bouguereau found at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/William-Adolphe_Bouguereau#mediaviewer/File:William-Adolphe_Bouguereau_%281825-1905%29_-_T%C3%AAte_d%27Etude_l%27Oiseau_%281867%29.jpg

6) John is Richard Armitage and Margaret is Daniela Denby-Ashe in North & South- Epi4 _17h54m34s7_Nov1013 Gratiana Lovelace cap.


Link to Previous Ch. 74:


Posted in "N&S: John Thornton Love Lessons", Fan Fiction, Fangurling, John Thornton, Love and Relationships, North & South, Portraits, Richard Armitage, Romance, Something About Love | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

8 days until Richard Armitage’s 43rd birthday!!! RANet is collecting your messages by August 19th! August 14, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #620)

Dear Friends,

Today is a multiple family member shared birthday–we have three of these in my ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????family. And my birthday later in the year is one of these shared birthdays. And then it hit me!

In 8 days, the guy (little g) whom we all so admire will celebrate his 43rd birthday!  (right, original RA image)

The exquisitely talented British actor Richard Armitage is turning 43 on August 22nd!!!!

And 43 is a prime number for a man hitting his prime!  Like fine wine, Richard Armitage just gets better with age.

43rdRABirthday2014LogoforBdayMessagesPageAug1314ranet-sizedWhat to do?   Throw a party?  Send gifts?   Make a donation to RA’s Charitable Just Giving site?

Or, send birthday wishes through RANet (image left)?

If you choose the latter, here is the website link for leaving birthday messages for Richard Armitage that Ali will forward to him:


Please be mindful that you have to enter your message(s) earlier than his birthday, if you want it to be included in birthday messages that Ali sends to Mr. Armitage:

“This page will close at 9pm (UK) on Tuesday 19th August.”

If you would like to also share your birthday wishes for Richard Armitage in a comment below, that would be lovely–helping the rest of us figure out what to say. Snap!   But please note that you still must enter your message at RANet in the link above for it to get to RA.

Cheers! Grati ;->

P.S. And for fun, here is an earlier wallpaper that I made that I don’t believe I have shared here on my blog yet:


Posted in Birthday, Black Sky, Charities, Fangurling, Graphic, Richard Armitage, Sexy, Something About Love | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 74 (PG-13): Finding Our Way to Loving from the Heart, Part 1, August 12, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #619)

“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 74 (PG-13): Finding Our Way to Loving from the Heart, Part 1, August 12, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #619)

aaaN&SJohnThorntonLoveLessonsFanFicCoverDec2913GratianaLovelace-256x401An original fan fiction copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace;   All rights reserved; Based on the Elizabeth Gaskell novel, North & South and its 2004 BBC adaptation; No copyright infringement intended)

[I will illustrate my story using my dream cast from the 2004 BBC production of “North & South” and other actors for additional characters:   Richard Armitage for John Thornton, Daniela Denby-Ashe for Margaret Hale, Lesley Manville for Mrs. Maria Hale, Tim Pigott-Smith for Mr. Richard Hale, Sinead Cusack for Mrs. Hannah Thornton Ogilvy, Jo Joyner for Fiona/Fanny Thornton Ogilvy, Brendan Coyle for Nicholas Higgins, Graham McTavish as Dr. Cameron Ogilvy, Holliday Grainger for Angharad Ogilvy MacIntosh, Simon Woods for Baird Ogilvy, and Emma Ashton as Mrs. Dillard, John Light as Henry Lennox, Tim Faraday as Watson, Gillian Anderson at Carlotta Quint Watson, Jeremy Northam as Dr. Miles Houghton, Gerard Butler as Lord Jamie Ogilvy, and Juliette Lewis as Lady Thistle Ogilvy, etc.] [(1) story logo]

Author’s Mature Content Note: “N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons” is a story with mature themes of love and relationships set within a period drama of the 1850’s. As such there will be heartfelt moments of love and sensuality (S)–as well as other dramatic emotions (D), including some violence (V)–and I will rate those chapters accordingly. If you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with the ratings that I provide, then please do not read that chapter. This is my disclaimer.

Author’s Recap from the previous chapter: It is Thursday, April 9th, 1855 and John and Margaret Thornton are to celebrate the fourth birthday of their beloved daughter Audrey Grace in 2.5 months time. They are gloriously happy as a couple and as a family, but for one aspect–they wish to have more children. However, childbirth is too dangerous forMargaret to contemplate becoming pregnant again. But John and Margaret both want at least a son to join Audrey Grace. So they have talked at length about adoption. They hesitated about a boy baby two years ago and the child ended up being adopted by Lord Jamie and Lady Thistle Ogilvy. And now, when John and his family travel to Scotland where Cameron and Hannah have organized a small orphanage in AirlieCastle, there is a complication. John is caught off guard to discover that the boy baby they are to consider adopting now, also has a two year old sister that Margaret wants to adopt with the baby. John becomes furious at Margaret for her keeping this information from him. John desperately wants a son of his own, so he doesn’t know if he can accept an adopted child.   However with Cameron’s guidance, John realizes that in loving and nurturing a son John feels that he can make right what was done wrong to him by his late father’s early death. So John is calmed down and he and Margaret make up. Luncheon is next.


“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 74 (PG-13): Finding Our Way to Loving from the Heart, Part 1

John and Margaret Thornton regain their composure from their argument–over her not apprising John that the baby boy they are considering for adoption has a two year old sister–in their tender reconciliation over their mutual need to nurture and be nurtured. They will be parents of more children. And each of them realizes–especially John now–that the children they adopt and bring into their home will be their children. Because it is their loving hearts that cause John and Margaret to choose adoption.

Their tears dried and their faces splashed with water to refresh themselves, John and Margaret walk down the grand central staircase in Airlie Castle to greet their little four year old daughter Audrey Grace holding the hand of her grandmother Hannah Lady Airlie, and John’s little three and a half year old brother Lord Gavin holding the hand of his father Cameron, Lord Airlie–the children now also having clean faces and hands courtesy of Gavin’s nanny.

Audrey Grace cannot contain her excitement as she bubbles over with enthusiasm and dashes to her parents’ sides. They lean down and embrace her.

Audrey Grace: “Oh! Mama!   Papa!   Uncle Gavin told me about how fun it is to play with the other children staying here! May I play with them too?” She gazes up at her parents gleefully.

Margaret: Caressing her daughter’s cheek, she smiles lovingly. “Yes, my Sweetheart. We will have lunch with the family, then you may play with the children after.”

Gavin: Little Gavin turns to his much older brother and Audrey Grace’s father. “John!   The childrrren we have now have only been herrre for a little bit, but we have fun togetherrr.” Gavin smiles broadly. And Gavin’s Scottish brogue is somewhat tempered by him also having an English mother.

John: “Is that so, Gavin?” John asks impishly.

Gavin: Taking his brother John’s hand, Gavin squeezes it. “It is, because I said so. I do not lie. Mama and Papa say lying is bad.” Little Gavin intones seriously–with no prompting from his parents.

Hannah: “Ha ha ha! Yes, Gavin, dear. You do have fun with the children! And you do not lie.” She smiles warmly at her little son for being so welcoming of the children, and for him not minding that they also receive his parents’ attention.

Gavin: “Thank ye, Mama.” Gavin smiles hard at his beaming Mama. Then Gavin looks at his father Cameron Lord Airlie who gives him a small nod with a twinkling eye.   Gavin likes being a good boy and earning his parents praise.

Cameron: “Ha ha ha ha ha! Me wee bairrrn is an honest laddie–sometimes to a fault.” Cameron finishes sotto voce to John with a bemused and blushing smile on his face. John smiles in recognition of his little brother’s cute earnestness about honesty.

However Cameron is thinking more particularly about the time that he forgot to bolt the master bed chamber suite’s bathing chamber door, and little Gavin walked in on Cameron’s bath with his wife Hannah–them embarrassedly clinging to each other to cover their nakedness in front of their son. But little ones’ attention is usually focused on themselves.   And Gavin wondered if there was room in the tub for him, too, as he began to remove his trouser suspenders. Unlike most little boys, Gavin loves having a bath–especially since the tubs at Airlie Castle are so huge, and he is still so little that he can lay flat and float in them. But his parents bade him wait for his own bath, since their water was now cold–only a slight fib. That seemed to satisfy Gavin’s interest and he walked out and toward his own bedchamber for his bath. Though to Cameron and Hannah’s chagrin, little Gavin recounted the bathing incident to the elderly Dowager Duchess of Argyle the next day at tea time. Mercifully, her hearing isn’t what it used to be and she only understood that Gavin likes warm bath water. Thereafter, Cameron always made certain to bolt his bathing and bed chamber doors–to prevent their littlest bairn from interrupting them unexpectedly.

Audrey Grace: “So, the children here haven’t found their parents yet, Grandpapa Cameron?” She asks sweetly as she holds her Mama Margaret’s hand lovingly and gently squeezses it.

Cameron: “Nay, me dearrr.” Cameron exchanges a hopefully look with John and Margaret–and then his wife.

Audrey Grace: “Well, maybe some of them they will like us and want to be our children. We have a big manor with many bed chambers. Don’t we, Mama and Papa?” John and Margaret nod sheepishly. “Why do we have so many beds and bed chambers if they aren’t going to be used?” Audrey Grace shrugs her little arms in confusion for her family’s wealthy accoutrements. And Audrey Grace wanting to be welcoming to others is so very like her Mama, Margaret’s kind nature. “And I should very much like to have a brother and a sister, please.” Audrey Grace suggests breezily as the adults raise their eyebrows in amusement.

John: “Kkkhhh!” Audrey Grace’s father John stifles a cough with his hand over his mouth. Then he wonders if his daughter’s request is merely a coincidence with Margaret wanting to adopt the Douglas children–the baby boy and the little girl Catriona. “Is this your own idea, Audrey Grace?” John asks his daughter curiously, wondering if she has been coached.

Audrey Grace: “Oh Yes, Papa! And I have been a very good girl. So I should like to have many brothers and sisters.”

Margaret’s head is bowed and her eyes looking at her clasped hands [(2) right] Margaret-isDanielaDenby-Ashe-inN&Sepi3-198JTandMHOct1413ranet-croptoMargaret-hi-res-flip-crop-to-ovl2to avoid looking at her husband John.   But then, she smiles to herself with her daughter speaking in the plural about siblings–hyperbole being rampant amongst youngsters. But Margaret manages to steal a sideways glance at her husband John–who seems to be soberly considering the matter, but not looking at his wife at the moment.

Gavin: After thinking hard about it, little Gavin takes Audrey Grace’s hand and replies. “Alrrright. Ye may have some of the childrrren.” Gavin sighs resignedly. “But please leave me a few childrrren to play with.” He pleads as he leads her into the family dining room, with the adults trailing behind. His three and a half year old mind has still not quite grasped that the children waiting to be adopted are not his children.

Margaret leans over to her mother-in-law Hannah.

Margaret: “It seems that Gavin quite likes the children in your Airlie Castle Orphanage. That is a blessing.” Margaret nods caringly.

Hannah: “Yes. But is difficult for Gavin to part with the children whom he has become closest to when they are adopted and go to their new homes.”

Cameron: Then Cameron inserts himself into the ladies’ conversation. “Aye!   If Gavin gave the orrrderrrs, we would fill the castle halls from the dungeons to the tower vault with bairrrns for him to play with. Ha ha ha! But I think that he is beginning to underrrstand that the childrrren want to find theirrr own families.” Cameron gazes pointedly at John.

John: John nods his head and gives a small wan smile. “Of course.” And John wonders distractedly about the history of the castle’s dungeons that Cameron mentioned.

Then little Audrey Grace walks up to her Papa, John Thornton, and clasps his large hand in her small hand and she looks up at him with a gleaming smile. John gazes down upon his little daughter. Audrey Grace is such a joy in his and Margaret’s lives–and they in hers. And John thinks that adopting one child, or maybe two children, will very probably be in their future.


With Lord Jamie and Lady Thistle Ogilvy and their three children arriving late to the extended family luncheon due to a sheep shearing debacle–Jamie was teaching his twelve year old son Viscount Hamish how best to go about it, but the poor wee animal looked positively wild when Hamish was finished shearing due to his haphazard cutting of the poor sheep’s hair–they rush into Hannah’s Family Drawing Room Salon and Dining Room. Jamie and his sons are dressed in traditional kilts–which makes their rushing around rather daring in terms of their kilts flapping around them. It is only the littlest two year old Ogilvy boy for whom providence has provided a diaper who might be deemed sufficiently dressed with his kilt, by Hannah Lady Airlie’s English standards–compared to his father Lord Jamie and his brother Viscount Hamish. However, accustomed as she has become to her husband Cameron’s Ogilvy cousins and their kilt issues, Hannah Lady Airlie merely averts her gaze with a small smile.

Lady Thistle and her eight year old daughter Lady Blythe are dressed comfortably in traditional daytime dressy Scottish Peasant dresses with sturdy tapestry fabric vest like ThistlesNicerPeasantDress--orangedressfront_Aug1114weescotlasscombodices tying in the front and skirting with a single petticoat underneath their dress length cotton blouses [(3) right], rather than them wearing restrictive corsets and large hoops. They warmly greet Hannah and Cameron with Gavin and John and Margaret with Audrey Grace with cheek kisses and embraces. Margaret is especially glad to see Lady Blythe getting on better with her latest shoe adjustments for her unevenly lengthed legs–barely a limp is detectable because Blythe also exercises her weaker limb regularly to give it more strength for balance and for walking. Lady Blythe’s good friend Lissa Dillard is very helpful in that regard.

The Ogilvy extended family luncheon table is both lively and sumptuous. They use their third best china and silver so that the little ones may practice using them without Hannah being too upset if a china plate gets chipped or a crystal goblet cracks. And they eschew being served and place the serving dishes around family style–something Hannah Lady Airlie picked up from Lady Thistle when invited to her home. It suits the children and the adults better. And though some of the castle’s long term servants merely shake their head in amusement at the informality, they do so enjoy the gregarious life that the current Ogilvy extended family has breathed into Airlie Castle.

Cameron gestures for the family to sit down at the expanded dining table for luncheon. And since formalities are not observed, seating protocols are abandoned and the men and boys sit at one end–Cameron and Gavin, John, and Jamie and his sons. While the ladies and girls–Lady Hannah, Lady Thistle and her daughter Lady Blyth, and Margaret and her daughter Audrey Grace–and sit at the other end.  When normally, they would be seated alternating male and female–with wives not sitting with husbands.

The littlest Ogilvy son at two years old is perched on his Papa Lord Jamie’s lap at the dining table and eats with him. He is a good natured child–not taken to tantrums–and he dotes upon his big and strong Papa who carries him high up on his shoulders when they are outside in the open air. Lady Thistle smilingly watches her husband Lord Jamie’s careful tending of their youngest son. John looks longingly at the wonderful sight of father and son in such happy communion with each other. For this little boy was the child that John and Margaret hesitated about adopting two years ago. So Lord Jamie and Lady Thistle adopted him as their second son.

John: But John regroups and gestures to Lord Jamie’s eldest son, Hamish. “I see that Hamish is growing tall like you, Jamie.”

Jamie: “Aye! We will need ta fit him forrr a new kilt soon, so tha his knees arrre coverrred. Ha ha ha ha ha!”

Hamish: “Oh, Papa! Must ye talk aboot me knees all the time–even at luncheon?” Hamish whines like the 12 year old young man he is. His voice has not settled yet.

Cameron: “I darrre say therrre will be morrre than exposed knees to worry about if young Hamish keeps grrrowing at this pace.” He states wryly.

Cameron, Jamie, and John: Chuckling. “Ha ha ha haha!”

James: Clapping his hands together, the two year old and littlest Ogilvy exclaims while sitting on his Papa Jamie’s lap. “Sneeze!”

Hamish: “Nay, James.   Kneeeeees.” Hamish draws out the word’s sound for his little brother.

John: Slightly astonished, John inquires delicately. “You named your … second son after yourself, Jamie?” Of course, John’s halting implication is that it is unusual for an adopted child to be given a family name.

Jamie: “Aye.” Jamie intones deeply with a loving smile for his youngest son–who continues to eat the raw carrots with his hands, oblvious that he is being talked about. “Thistle and I had given up hope of expanding ourrr family–because of herrr delicate constitution.” He says sotto voce about her having a difficult time with childbirth–as Margaret did. Cameron nods. Then Jamie smiles at Cameron, and they exchange a knowing look of understanding. “So it was a trrrue blessing when cousin Camerrron and Lady Hannah opened Airlie Castle to house little ones needing families. It was like fate interrrvened to send us ourrr son, James, herrre.” Jamie smiles contentedly. And Jamie might have been a bit more circumspect in his remarks about his youngest son, but he was not made aware by Cameron that John and Margaret had considered adopting the boy at one time.

John: “Yes.” John remarks soberly, realizing that James could have been his son, if he and Margaret had offered for him two years ago. But John acknowledges that the child is happy with Jamie–and that he even possesses some dark blond curls like Jamie. And John can’t help noticing how young that Lord Jamie seems when with his sons–even though Lord Jamie is a few years older than John. Then John brightens. “Seeing the two of you together with Hamish, I think that little James was destined to be part of your family.”

Cameron: “Aye.” Cameron raises his eye brow at John, wondering what John and Margaret will decide about this new baby boy and his two year old sister Catriona Douglas.

John is silent as he continues to eat and sip his coffee. John [(4) right] looks down at the John-DrinkingTea-isRichardArmtiage-inNorth&Southepi1-106Oct2013ranet-hi-res-brtother end of the table to see Margaret eating and chatting happily with the other ladies and the two girls. Then John’s reverie is broken by Lord Jamie.

Jamie: “We have a manor full of children now. But Thistle and I feel in our hearts that there is room for one more. So we plan to adopt the wee baby gerrril orphan upstairs in the nurrrserrry.”

John: “Oh!   I did not realize that you were adopting as well.” Thus John unintentionally telegraphs that he and Margaret are planning to adopt. Though John does not state a time frame for it.

Hamish: “Yes! Anotherrr baby!” Hamish rolls his eyes for feeling that they are overrun with little ones. “I would much preferrr the little gerrril Caty–she is almost out of diapers being a bit older than our James herrre. But Mama says that Caty should stay with her baby brrrotherrr–since they arrre family.” Hamish shrugs. Jamie caringly smiles at his son and pats his back.

Cameron: Glancing at John quickly and seeing him flinch, Cameron quickly tries to smooth over the matter while also being sensitive to Hamish’s tender years. “Naturrrally, keeping the brrrotherrr and sisterrr togetherrr is prrreferrrred. But whether they are adopted together or by two families, whomeverrr adopts the baby boy and the little gerrrril Catriona must love them each unconditionally.”

Those are Cameron’s terms for every adoption he facilitates–that the children go to loving homes where they will be nurtured and cherished. And not all of the children are placed with wealthy or titled families. The only household income stipulation is that the adoptive family has the financial means and continuing prospects to adequately care for each child’s needs, short term and long term.

Cameron looks over at John who seems to be deep in thought. Jamie also notices that John has become quiet and he leaves John to his thoughts as Jamie continues eating his meal with his sons. John is carefully weighing the adoption decision in his mind. But it is not solely his decision. John gazes at the other end of the dining table where his beloved wife Margaret sits with their daughter Audrey Grace. As if Margaret can sense that her loving husband John is looking at her, she glances up at him, smiles and tilts her head as if to ask him what he seeks. John nods his head once and smiles encouragingly to her. Then John turns to Cameron sitting next to him.

John: “Cameron? Margaret and I would like to spend some private time with baby boy Douglas this afternoon, after lunch. And …” John pauses. “… we would also like to visit with his sister Catriona.   Might that be arranged?”

Cameron: “Aye.” Cameron nods once at John in agreement.

John is making no promises, but he is opening a door that will possibly alter his and his family’s lives forever.

To be continued with Chapter 75


“N&S: JT Love Lessons”, Ch. 74 References, August 12, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #619)

1) “N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons” story logo: Richard Armitage as John Thornton and Daniela Denby-Ashe in the 2004 BBC period drama North & South, was found at richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/nands/album/episode3/ns3-110.jpg ; For more information about this wonderful 2004 BBC miniseries adaptation of Elizabeth’s Gaskell’s story North & South, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_&_South_%28TV_serial%29

2)  Margaret Hale (cropped to oval) is portrayed by Daniela Denby-Ashe in the BBC’s 2004 production of North & South as found at richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/nands/album/episode3/ns3-198.jpg

3)  A depiction of what I envisioned for Lady Thistle’s dressy Scottish Peasant day dress is found at http://www.weescotlass.com/clothing.htm

4)  John Thornton was portrayed by Richard Armitage in the BBC’s 2004 period drama North & South and was found at richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/nands/album/episode1/ns1-106.jpg

Link to Previous Ch. 73:

Posted in "N&S: John Thornton Love Lessons", Creative Writing, Family, Fan Fiction, Fathers, John Thornton, Love and Relationships, North & South, Period Drama, Richard Armitage, Romance, Something About Love | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Stormy Monday: Grati’s “Into the Storm” Review and RA Fans Meet up in Chicago, Etc., August 11, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #618)

Into_the_Storm_Blue_INTL-pooster-horiz_Aug1014ranet-sizedYou may have heard that a certain not so little Warner Bros. Pictures tornado film called Into the Storm (poster left)–produced by Todd Garner, directed by Steven Quale, and written by John Swetnam–was swirling into towns across America and Canada this past weekend (other countries’ opening dates are here) and starring (in IMDB order, with most of the characters appearing in the image below):

* the rocking the stern dad of teenaged sons Gary Fuller portrayed by British actor Richard Armitage,
* the lovely and fierce scientist working mom portrayed by Dr. Allison Stone Sarah Wayne Callies,
* the annoyingly cocky lead storm chaser Pete portrayed by  Matt Walsh,
* the next tween heartthrob shy elder son Donnie portrayed by Max Deacon,
* the adorably wisecracking younger son Trey portrayed by Nathan Kress,
* the smart and pretty high school it girl portrayed by Alycia Debnam Carey,
* the only sensible storm chaser portrayed by Arlen Escarpeta,
* and the worried for a good reason storm chaser portrayed by Jeremy Sumpter,

Heck! I gave them all descriptors so they wouldn’t feel left out. *wink*
And below is a pseudo family grouping of the lead actors (l to r: Kress, Callies, Armitage, and Deacon) taken at the August 4th, 2014 NYC Premiere of Into the Storm:


The general Into the Storm film plot is that half a dozen or more tornadoes devastatingly converge on the Middle Plains state town of Silverton, Oklahoma–wreaking havIntoTheStorm-1SNEAKPEEK-MOV-62983740-RichardArmitage-and-SarahWayneCallies_Mar2414usatoday_Aug1014ranet-sizedoc and destruction everywhere. Storm chasers are racing toward the tornadoes to film a documentary about them. Townies are trying to get away from the tornadoes to save their lives. And during the timeframe of the film, ordinary people–in the person of dad and Asst. Principal Gary Fuller and scientist Dr. Allison Stone (right and others–become everyday heroes, because they have to. And there is a plot element alluded to of planetary climate change not being well understood as it relates to more severe storms happening.


I saw Into the Storm this weekend with some fellow Richard Armitage Fans in Chicago (more about that further down in this post). No plot spoilers here, other than to say that there are several tense rescue efforts moments–the outcomes of which were not predictable by me. I flinched a couple of times at the appropriate moments of cgi mayhem in the film–yet I appreciated that they were not gory. And yes, as we have seen from previously released trailer footage and stills, Richard Armitage has to dive into water yet again–poor guy. And finally, there are some really annoying idiots who seem to have beer induced stupid antics serving as the movie’s unnecessary comic relief.   Since this film is rated PG-13–to court teen audiences–I just want to add–kids, don’t try those antics at home.


For my overall review of several key features of the film, here is a quick checklist (5 stars = Best):
* Tornadoes and other special visual/CGI and sound effects were awesome and money well spent:   4.5 stars
* Photography, Set Design, Costuming, etc., complemented the scenes nicely: 4 stars
* Acting performances were credible, except for the annoying idiots mentioned above: 4 stars
* Middle West/Plains States accents by the British actors Armitage and Deacon were credible: 4 stars
* Plot/story were okay, but the film could have developed character motivations a little bit more before the tornado mayhem began, instead of giving film time to the annoying idiots: 3.5 stars

* Overall rating: 4 stars (It’s a nice little Summer movie.)

(N.B. On an unrelated note, the schlocky gory and violent horror story film trailers that we were subjected to before the film began:   no stars and 2 thumbs down)

But the potential box office success of Into the Storm is really due to the large and concerted marketing campaign by Warner Bros. Pictures that has helped make Into the Storm’s opening weekend a respectable success with a projected $18 million take for August 8-10th (graphic below), as noted by Perry at her Armitage Agonistes blog. Into the Storm will make its movie budget and marketing monies back quickly–which is a win-win, considering the tornadoes were competing against turtles and guardians, among other films. And yet, Into the Storm ranks a respectable third in a sea of heavy hitters, according to Box Office Mojo. So congratulations to the Into the Storm filmmakers, cast, and crew!


P.S. And my hubby is rather an amateur weather geek–he gets up at 4:30 am every morning to read the temperature and precipitation instruments installed in our backyard by the regional National Weather Service office.   So he looks forward to seeing Into the Storm, too. But since he rarely goes to the movies, he will wait for the dvd. So, there are also the dvd sales that Warner Bros. Pictures has to look forward to with regard to increasing Into the Storm’s overall gross. Ka ching, ka ching.


Back to Grati’s RA Fan Girls Group adventure in Chicago this past weekend for OpeRAtion “Into the Storm” 2014:

So when Richard Armitage’s new film Into the Storm finally got a release date of August 8th for the U.S.–three years from the start of filming in 2011 due to special effects suppliers issues–like a lot of RA Fans I made plans to see the film. Though my plans mushroomed into an RA Fans meet up called OpeRAtion “Into the Storm” 2014. Ha!

I co-planned (with SahRAobsessed and Obscura, Thanks!) and attended the Saturday August 9th Chicago gathering, while Marie Astra planned and attended the NYC gathering, and the Richard Armitage US Facebook folks in Atlanta were able to see the film early through preview tickets–thought I think they also plannedto see the film again Friday night. Other fans around the world have also expressed their interest in attending a screening during their country’s opening weekend–whether or not there is an RA Fans gathering event paired with it.  But if you are planning an RA Fans meet up, please let me know and I will create an event tab and publicize your event news that you send to me (via the OpeRAtion Into the Storm 2014 site’s Contact Form).

So what I and others envisioned as a little grassroots campaign to encourage RA’s fans to see the film it’s opening weekends around the world to encourage box office sales–which is so important in movie success ranking comparisons–has taken root.

And this past weekend, a tidy group of eight diehard Richard Armitage fans new and long term made our way to Chicago for a RA Fans meet up and film viewing–which in my case, and a few others required an overnight stay since the film has no day time screens (the turtles got those). So for a reasonable $12 movie ticket (right) and upwards of $350 in travel costs–I told my hubby my trip covers me for birthday and Christmas gifts this year, and then some–Grati trekked to the big city of Chicago via Amtrak train.

The appeal of meeting with other RA Fans–including one lady whom I have visited with for other RA films or just for fun–was the additional bonus. Though RA Fans chat with each other over social media, to me it is still a little bit of a surreal experience–forming what I consider to be real friendships with some people on line without having ever met them face to face. So it is so lovely to meet ladies in reality whom I have chatted with virtually.   I will give away no identities of our Chicago attendees–real or virtual. The ladies who attended may out themselves if they so wish. Ha! Lunch was a lovely sharing of our thoughts about RA–with a few of the ladies recounting meeting him briefly after a performance or for an event, or who are yet going to see Richard Armitage as John Proctor in The Crucible at The Old Vic in London. Lucky ladies!

Then as we split into interest groups, site seeing ensued to various places like the Art Institute or the Chicago Cultural Museum. Though I opted to fully check into my hotel and rest my legs (arthritis) and lungs (asthma) in the hotel air conditioning a bit. Chicago was slightly warm, but the weather was really beautiful with a cooling breeze with only a touch of humidity. And one of the gals joined me in my suite and we chatted and caught up with each other. Lovely!

I must say that the suite was gorgeous with a separate sitting room with a small kitchen (I HomewoodSuites--sitting-roomAug1014grati-revretrieved my pix, but it is still fuzzy, sorry) suitable for business and extended stay travelers, and a comfy king sized bed bedroom (essential for my 6 ft four inch tall hubby) (my pix right)–at a really great price (half of what some other centrally located hotels charged for just a bedHomewoodSuitesbyHiltonAug1014grati and bathroom). I recommend it highly–the hotel was the Homewood Suites by Hilton at 160 E. Huron St., Chicago.

And I promise the ladies that I will email them the group picture we took at the movie IntotheStorm--movie-ticket_Aug0914Grati-crop2theater as soon as I can figure out how to get it off my new smart phone. Ha!   The files seemed too big to email to myself. But here’s the thing, there were no Into the Storm movie posters at the AMC River East 21 movieplex for us to stand in front of for our group picture. So Warner Bros. Pictures should think about sending them some for display–and/or, reminder their movie theatre distributors to display the movie poster that they have already received.


After the movie, our RA Fan Gals group hopped on a city bus or walked from the movie theater to Chicago’s Navy Pier–there is also a free Navy Pier Trolley that runs in a circle from State Street down to Gateway Park at Navy Pier and back again.   But it was packed. I opted for the cta due to my leg issues. And thanks to one of my RA Fan Girl friends for her using her cta pass for me, too! When we arrived, I finally realized how huge Navy Pier is (below). Just imagine ten cruise ships of varying sizes–including a beautiful 4 mast sailing yacht–moored end to end-with even more pier left after that.


And wouldn’t you know that the restaurant we chose was near the other end of the pier from the entrance–and with no alternate mode of transportation in sight. Frankly, it seemed like a daunting prospect to me as we wove in and around the shops and the crush of people inside the building before we made our way to the outside to complete our long long journey. I have been trying to increase my range with some golf over the Summer–although we use a cart. However Navy Pier is a whole other level of long walking–blocks and blocks of it.


But I have to giggle because when I get into a mindset of I need to reach my destination so I can sit down mode, I plow ahead with dogged determination and I walk at rather a fast clip–or so my RA Fan Friend with me told me that I walked fast. Somehow, amazingly, I eventually made it to the restaurant’s location on foot and we secured two four person side by side tables on the veranda. And we had a lovely view of Lake Michigan (image is also stuck on my smartphone). More amusing RA Fangirl discussions ensued as we waited for our food and then later our dessert.


At one point, we erupted into such a cacophony of prolonged laughter that we were easily the most fun tables to be at. Ha! As to the source of our merriment?   All I will say is that there was a very amusing and unauthorized Into the Storm gif that provoked our giggles. There is something about seeing movements repeated over and over again out of context–suck, release, suck, release, suck, release–that lends itself to other interpretations. *wink* We were naughty saucy ladies–but very tame ones. Ha!


Then we wished each other farewell, hugs all around, as we headed off into our different directions–some to their homes nearby, others like me to their hotels. It was delightful meeting each one of my RA Fan Girl companions on Saturday. And I was thrilled that we had all traveled to be together. Enjoying Richard Armitage artistic projects is definitely better when shared.


Of course, I now had to traverse the length of Navy Pier again to get out of there.   And by this time of the night, my left hip and my right ankle were toast–my arthritis is no respecter of RA Fan girl outings. So my means of locomotion could not charitably be called walking–more like pivot, drag, pivot drag, pivot drag. Igor from Young Frankenstein comes to mind–but I have better hair. Snap! Yet, I pushed onward–with one of my RA Fan Girl friends walking with me, keeping an eye out for me.   Bless her heart!.  And then my finally reaching a taxi that took me to my hotel where I managed to shower and then collapse onto my hotel bed to read some North & South fan fiction a bit until I had to try to go to sleep and ignore the constant ambulance sounds emitted from a nearby hospital.


I was doing no more walking Saturday night. Ooh! And it turns out that my ankle is still wacked today/ Sunday–even with a 2 hour train ride where I was off my feet. So I have iced and elevated it all day–with more tomorrow/Monday. It’s a good thing that I had also taken Monday off from work–I may even invoke my crutches to get around and not have to put weight on my ankle. But the moral of my story is not that I’m in pain and hobbling around. This too shall pass is how I feel about it.

And though I don’t talk about myself much, I feel that my sharing that I forged ahead with the Chicago trip –despite its known physical limitations challenges for me–will hopefully help others who are wondering if they should try to do something. You can do it–adapting as needed. And you’ll have fun.

"Into the Storm" New York City Premiere - Arrivals

But maybe a little bit like the characters in Into the Storm, who find that they must do more than what they think they are humanly capable of, I do that as well sometimes. And I draw my strength from enjoying the artistic projects of the exquisitely talented Richard Armitage (at the NYC Into the Storm Premier August 4th, right; Purrr!) and from my RA Fan girl friends. And I will walk or hobble to support RAs artistic projects any time.


Thanks and Cheers!





Posted in Black Sky, Drama, Family, Gary Fuller, Gary Morris, Into the Storm, Portraits, Review, Richard Armitage, Something About Love | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Reblog: Reminders for Chicago August 9th–Richard Armitage’s Fans Gathering & Film Viewing for OpeRAtion Into the Storm 2014, August 8, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #617)

Hi RA Fans joining us in Chicago on August 9th for our gathering together for a fun day–capping it off with seeing our favorite exquisitely talented British actor Richard Armitage’s new film, Into the Storm,

We are looking forward to seeing you in Chicago, dashing around town, and enjoying Richard Armitage’s new film, Into the Storm!

Please print out our final event itinerary graphic below (click on the image to enlarge it and save it to your phone or computer first). Our itinerary summary will help you find us at any given time on Saturday if you are delayed in joining us–or if we split up for some of us shopping and some of us site seeing in the afternoon.

For links for the venues mentioned in the graphic above, please refer to this earlier post: “Stormy Sunday: Chicago Itinerary Checklist …” (on August 3rd).   But note that we are no longer eating lunch at the Walnut room because they are catering a wedding, we are eating at the lower level food court.

For additional 470 words, visit: http://operationintothestorm2014.wordpress.com/2014/08/08/reminders-for-chicago-august-9th-richard-armitages-fans-gathering-film-viewing-for-operation-into-the-storm-2014-august-8-2014-gratiana-lovelace-post-17/

Comments over there, please.

IntotheStorm--RichardArmitageasDadGaryCradlingsonDonnie_byRonPhillipsAug0814WarnerBrosPicturesRABulgaria-crop-sizedP.S. At right is a lovely edit/crop of a Ron Phillips image of Richard Armitage as Gary Fuller cradling his son Donnie in his arms. You might recognize it. *wink* Thanks to RABulgaria FB for the image, and thanks to Teresa A for pointing me to it:

Posted in Black Sky, Drama, Family, Fathers, Fiction, Gary Fuller, Gary Morris, Graphic, Into the Storm, movies, Operation "Into the Storm" 2014, Portraits, Richard Armitage, SpReAd the Love | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Thespian Thursday: Stunning Johan Persson Portrait of Richard Armitage Raging in Chains as John Proctor in “The Crucible”! August 07, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Posts #616)

Photographed by Johan Persson, this stunning character portrait at right of the exquisitely THE CRUCIBLEtalented British actor Richard Armitage raging and wailing as John Proctor in chains is riveting and evocative in The Old Vic Theatre’s production of The Crucible that runs through September 13th.

My not having seen this production of the play gives me leave to interpret this image somewhat out of context–or at least, make an educated guess. The costume and makeup alludes to the scene being near the end of the play when John Proctor is imprisoned–not for what he has done (adultery) but for not being willing to falsely accuse his neighbors, many of whom have already been executed.

And therein lies the dilemma. Can a person live with himself for one lie–as John did for a long time before being discovered as an adulterer–but he can not live with himself for another lie (were he to make false accusations)? Or can a person be resigned to his own fated death by doing right–in John Proctor’s case, him not falsely accusing others–because in telling the truth, it makes up for him doing wrong (his adultery)?

Though John Proctor confessed his and others’ sins out of weakness in a vain attempt to save his own life–by falsely accusing the others of witchcraft and devil worship–he now denies that confession and his accusations out of strength. The heartrending wail that issues forth as John Proctor strives to convince the Village Elders sitting in judgment of the rightness of his choice–and possibly, to convince himself as well–shatters the illusion that his death is noble when his life is to be taken from him.

What does John Proctor’s death prove, but to silence Proctor’s solitary voice of truth and reason? The Village Elders need John Proctor to lie and accuse others in order to salve their own consciences of any wrong doing in the deaths of their neighbors. But as the old saying goes, “two wrongs, don’t make a right”.

And poignantly, we still hear echoing in our minds, John Proctor’s almost final words of truth (in Act four) before TheCrucible--RichardArmitageasJohnProctorCryingOut_Aug0614byJohanPersson-viaenikoniTweet-GLmask-sized-enl-quote2he is executed by hanging  (right and below):

“Proctor, with a cry of his whole soul: Because it is my name!   Because I cannot have another in my life!   Because I lie and sign myself to lies!   Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang!   How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!
I fervently hope that Richard Armitage and The Old Vic bring The Crucible (with the full cast) to Broadway in New York City! I would be there in a heartbeat! Because as all the wonderful reviews state, this production of The Crucible is:

Finally, here is a brief interview with The Crucible star Richard Armitage about his character John Proctor:


Posted in Drama, History, Honor, Interview, John Proctor, Period Drama, Portraits, Review, Richard Armitage, Social Justice, Something About Love, The Crucible, The Old Vic Theatre, Theatre, Thespian Thursday, Video | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments