|Synopsis||In the heart of the Isle of Man, surrounded by the Irish Sea, is one hundred and sixty-seven hectares of up and down land that has its own wood, stream and cave. Above, the sky is blacker and the stars brighter than anywhere on the mainland, and far beneath long-abandoned lead mines bob and weave for miles around. On this land is the farm run by the Boulsworth family – a mum and a dad, a daughter and a son, hundreds of sheep, countless cows, dozens of chickens, three dogs called Rio, Fletch and Wayne, two ducks and a horse who goes by the name of “Big Cheryl”.
And if that wasn’t more than enough, each month, each week, sometimes each day, it gets bigger and smaller, gaining and losing brothers and sisters one after another. The Boulsworths are a foster family offering emergency and short-term care and these children are taken in on a temporary basis until permanent arrangements can be made. Children from the town, children without friends, children without family, children from different worlds with problems aplenty.
But the junior Boulsworth’s, Rocket (11) and Alli (14), never signed up to this. They were never asked if they wanted to open up house and home to all and sundry. After all, some days just one sibling feels like one too many. But even if growing up is harder than ever, there are countless kids who are willing to testify that this farm is a place with a truly transformative power, a place that changes lives forever: a farm without a flat screen telly, and where mobile phone coverage is patchy, but where there are cows to milk and sheep to shear, and calves and lambs to deliver; a school where half the kids arrive by quad bike or on horseback; a coastline with castles and fortresses and lighthouses where the myths of Norse gods and Irish giants still surround you. Here, the village store is said to be run by a nine hundred year old man who tells of a cave that makes wishes come true, and a phone box that isn’t just a phone box but an Oracle too. The island is a haven where children with all sorts of difficulties and backgrounds can finally feel free; a place where chronic asthmatic Rocket can always breathe.
It may not be the biggest land mass, but this place is Rocket’s universe – this is.. Rocket's Island. |