Steampunk fiction, reviews and interviews

Elevenses: Welcoming the White Lady

Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen, I hope you are all feeling extremely eleven o clockish because the time is, in fact, eleven o clock and we, tentacles laden with scones of good will and bakewells of cheer, are ready to meet the hour!

You may sense an air of joviality in my address this morning, in truth I am bubbling over with excitement because the thaw water has all drained away, the parlour is warm and cosy again and tomorrow, here in the Scattered Isles Of Ire, we will be celebrating the first day of spring.

There is an ancient myth (far pre-dating the tyrannous reign of Wiz)  that tonight, The White Lady, Silver Needle, will begin her walk across the land, warming the earth with the gentle steam of her breath, watering the soil from her swinging kettle. On the first of February, she stops at the house of every Good Tea Fiend and leaves a small present. What will it be? Earl Grey? Chamomile? Darjeeling?

It is polite to leave The White Lady a cup of  white tea in return, to strengthen her on her long journey around the world.

Max says that if you have been very wicked, Lady Silver Needle will leave you a jar of instant coffee instead. Hopefully this is just his failed attempt at being amusing.

Nevertheless we have been diligently practising our songs of welcome ….

We all come from the White Haired Lady

Poured from out her sacred pot

Cup and spoon, saucer and cube

Cup and spoon, saucer and cube

Silver Needle stirs her cup and the year turns round

She will warm the earth and water the ground

The seeds we sow, the tea will grow

The seeds we sow, the tea will grow

Silver needle stirs her cup and the year turns round.

and have even been persuaded to go to some strange vigil thingy that Mrs Baker is holding in Peril’s Lovely Library at midnight. Hm? What’s that? Oh no don’t worry about the Liver Birds, Max will take his aether-colliding energy ray pistol to fend them off. And some lemon-grenades…

But goodness all that singing is exhausting, let us see what our lovely werewolf butler, Klapka, has nosed out for us this morning…

Mmm… Silver Spring Tea Bread, it’s her own recipe apparently…


silver spring tea bread

225ml freshly brewed white tea

juice and zest of 1 lemon and 1 lime

50g of butter

100g white sugar

1 egg

225g SR flour

Melted white chocolate for drizzling

Crystalised flowers for decoration


Mix together all the ingredients except the chocolate and flowers. Pour into a 2lb loaf tin and bake at gas mark 4 for about an hour. Cover with foil if it starts to brown too quickly.

Cool the cake in the tin then turn out and slice. Serve each slice drizzled with melted white chocolate and sprinkled with crystallised flowers (primroses, rose, violets, jasmine or lavender would all work well).

We will be leaving a slice out for The White Lady along with a lovely cup of Silver Needle tea and our calling card. Now then, all we need I think is something zesty to tap our tentacles to as we kiss goodbye to the rancid old hag of winter and usher in the buxom bosom of spring….


We wish you a delightful day filled with tea, cake and magic and until we see you again please be always,

Utterly yourself.


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