Steampunk fiction, reviews and interviews

Posts tagged “cake

Light In The Lantern: With The Last Witch Of Pendle

Greetings! Welcome to to Steampunk’d Lancaster! My name is Mrs Albert Baker and… well yes, that’s right I am a witch, how very kind of you to notice! Perhaps it’s my magical aura… or the smell of freshly baked gingerbread that tipped you off? Officially I’m actually The Last Witch Of Pendle but, sadly, there is no Pendle any more, since The Chronic Agronauts utterly destroyed it with treacle and sprats. But I’ve set myself up quite nicely here in Lancaster, running my little underground soup kitchen for the street urchins.

Strange times have struck here in the Scattered Isles of Ire – Lord Ashton’s Flesh Eating Liver Birds plague the skies above us and hoards of Mancunian Sugar-Zombies roam the cobbled streets spreading their curse like a plague…

So some of us have decided to re-kindle the old beacon in the city watchtower and keep its flame burning each night as a way of giving hope to those running for their lives and being hunted down by terrifying monsters, or evil scarecrow landlords…

Tonight is my shift and never fear, I am well armed to protect myself with a hot cauldron of soup, a fistful of hexes and of course my trusty rolling pin, which has seen off many an Annoying Wizard, Giant Crab or Night Potato, I can tell you!

Over the coming weeks, a marvellous host of writers, artists and creators will each be taking a turn to keep the light in this old lantern burning through the dark and share with you some of their wonderful books, stories, artwork and other fabulous creations.

Now then, since I’m here I thought I would share a little excerpt from some of my own adventures with you. This is taken from The Curious Adventures Of Smith And Skarry when those two miscreant wizards had the cheek to break into my house in Pendle and frighten the wits out of myself and my husband in the middle of the night!

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The two wizards scrambled to their feet but, on cursory inspection, Skarry realised they were trapped. This was not magic that they, as mere initiates, would have any hope of disabling.

“Oh! Burglars? Thieves? Oh no!” The woman standing in the doorway, dressed in a long cotton nightdress and curlers, trembled, sending the glaring yellow light from her lantern quivering over the moon-slicked floor, serving no purpose other than to irritate the eyes of every conscious person in the room. “Oh, this can’t be happening! I…I must get Albert, yes, he will know what to do!” and she quickly spun on her heel and disappeared again. They heard her stumble back along some hidden corridor, muttering in frenzied tones as she went: “Oh blessed mother! Oh Green Goddess, why is this happening? Why? Oh this is the end, I know it is! The end of Pendle, the end of everything! Oh Goddess, if it is true, if you have really not abandoned us to the mercy of Wiz, please, please grant me the strength to deal with this! But I cannot, how can I? I am the last! The very last!”

Her ravings slowly faded, swallowed into the belly of the house, and Skarry fired a look of utter bewilderment at his friend and tapped his forehead in silent questioning appraisal of the woman’s sanity. But, to his surprise and further confusion, Mercurio’s own features revealed that he was lost in some deep private reflection which was obviously beginning to amuse him.

Before long, the woman returned, now sporting an ill-fitting black toupee, which she had hastily balanced on top of her net of tightly curled hair, a false moustache and a quilted claret dressing gown. She held the lantern high again, swinging its luminescence into their squinting eyes.

“Now, see here!” she said, failing dismally at affecting a manly baritone. “Just who, may I ask, do you think you are? Bursting into my abode and frightening the wits out of my wife like this? Hmm?”

Skarry blinked. Surely, surely, this strange woman must realise the flagrant flimsiness of her charade. He opened his mouth to speak, but the woman pre-empted him.

“Don’t move! D-d-don’t move or I’ll…I’ll…well, you can’t move, can you? Hmm? If you try to, you won’t be able to so…so just stay there while I… er… go and call the Watchers… and The Good Folk. Yes, that’s it… now just you stay there! And don’t move!”’

Mercurio held up his gloved hands and chuckled with amusement. “My dear… Sir, we have no intention of going anywhere and, as you have pointed out, even if we wished to, we would be unable to penetrate this.” He gestured to the thin blue field of magical energy which now surrounded them, regarding it with the eye of a connoisseur. “But this is quite astounding!” He gave the moustachioed woman a look of respect, mingled with curiosity, which was not lost upon its subject.

She lowered the lantern an inch.

“Surely,” Mercurio continued carefully, “surely a spell like this could only have been set in place by… and please do not take offense, my good man… by a wizard? And an extremely powerful one at that. Perhaps, even, a witch?”

To Skarry’s amazement, the woman sank down into the leather armchair and began to sob, wringing the lantern chain between her fingers.

“My apologies,” Skarry said quickly, “if my friend has upset you, please… er… here, oh damn I can’t do that,” he returned the useless handkerchief to his pocket and glared furiously at Mercurio, who gave him a withering look and then hitched up a mask of sincere compassion and sympathy and turned it towards their host.

“Oh, you’re right!” the woman sobbed. “It’s true, it’s all true!” She pulled off the moustache and toupee and flung them angrily onto the floor. “Oh, this silly charade has been wearing me to pieces! But I have had no choice! There have always been six witches at Pendle, and there always must be at least one witch at Pendle – even Wiz himself says it – otherwise the whole town will crumble to the ground; the manor, the park, the houses, everything!”

“Wiz?” Skarry looked sharply at his friend, but Mercurio hadn’t flinched.

“Yes. It is only by his will that I haven’t been forced into the caves to be hunted, like game, across the marsh, like my poor sisters. He allowed just six of us witches to stay on here at Pendle because of the curse. There have always been six and we’ve always managed to fool the townsfolk into thinking we were ordinary citizens, but I am the last! And what will happen if I am found out? Oh it has worn me so thin you cannot imagine. Of course I cannot marry – who would marry a witch in this day and age? And yet I had to marry Albert or else people would become suspicious; a woman living all alone… people have such suspicious minds… you wouldn’t believe the things they say when my back is turned…” She was beginning to rave, the pitch of her voice crescendoing with the speed of the words. If she went on like this, she would be hysterical within the next 60 seconds and if she hyperventilated and fainted, even worse asphyxiated herself, they would be trapped. Possibly permanently.

“Why don’t you have a glass of brandy?” Mercurio suggested.

The woman shook her head “I don’t drink,” she sniffed. “It’s Albert who’s the drinker.”

“Albert?” Skarry mouthed silently.

Mercurio raised his eyebrows at him. “Well, perhaps Albert would care for a snifter then? Settle his nerves?”

Skarry closed his eyes so that he would not have to witness the woman reassembling her disguise so that she could nod and stumble unsteadily out of the room in search of alcohol.

 

 

 

If you’d like to read more about my adventures with those two Terrible Wizards, Scarlet Skarry and her marvellous Land Pirate crew and of course Eightcups Max and his fabulous octopus Collin, you can find The Curious Adventures Of Smith And Skarry here:

Well thankyou so much for joining me this evening as we keep the light in the lantern burning. I’m afraid that’s my shift over for the night, thank goodness it was a quiet one! Who knows, perhaps the smell of gingerbread was enough to keep wary monsters at bay?
Stay safe good friends, whatever assails you, and when times are dark, look for the light in the lanterns of others and treasure the light in your own….


#Rainbow Snippets: Jack and Marjory

 

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Happy Saturday! Here’s my #RainbowSnippets post for this week – if you’re new to this, Rainbow Snippets is a chance to read and share 6 sentences of LGBTQIA+ fiction every Saturday. There’s a huge variety from Steampunk, like mine, to Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal, Comedy and everything in between. You can join the fun and read all the other fabulous snippets at the wonderfully friendly and supportive official facebook group here 🙂

So, here is the next snippet from Jack and Marjory – my novella-in-progress which gives two of my Bi-Gendered characters a chance to tell something of their own little side-adventure, which actually had a massive impact on the history of Ire in a ‘behind-the-scenes’ kind of way.

If you missed last week’s snippet you can catch up here: #Rainbow Snippets: Jack and Marjory

If you want to start from the beginning you can do so here: https://blakeandwight.com/2018/09/29/rainbowsnippets-jack-and-marjory/

Jack and Marjory have landed themselves with an unwanted travelling companion and, in a sudden fit of paranoia possibly brought on by too much tea, they are trying to figure whether he is more than he seems…  Apologies that this one is a cheeky bit over 6 sentences to keep things neat for next week…

 

“Demerara devised a chamber in which sugar-loving microbes were fed a solution of sweetened tea (also a left-over from the tiffin tables of the elite) and kept at a constant temperature of 131 degrees Fahrenheit. He then added the resulting sludge to the rancid cream in a second chamber, where the new mixture was deprived of oxygen and kept at a constant neutral ph. In just one week, the cream had yielded over eight times its mass in utilisable hydrogen gas! Can you imagine it?!”

“Not just now.” We was too busy imagining ways of escape… garotting the infuriating cretin with his own boot laces being one of them… no one, we felt strongly, had the right to hold us in such a quandry. But what to about it ? If he really was just a pitifully boring cove, murder seemed, perhaps, a little excessive (we should make it clear, Pal, that at this point we was naive in the ways of the world, had never actually dealt death to anyone and was subsiquently quite glib about contemplating it) On the other hand, if he really was one of Her Majesty’s Good Folk, or worse a wizard in disguise , we’d little chance of besting him no matter what we tried.

He shook his head “Here we are in the age of cream – locomotives, skyway trains, what next eh?”

We shrugged, “What next?”

He laughed, “Never a bad question that is it?” There was that disconcerting smile again.

JACKANDMARJORYCOVER

being an entertaining and informative piece of travel writing by a couple of rogues on the run as they attempt to avoid the machinations of wizards, monarchs and a ruthless band of beatnik poets, deflect a civil war and deliver a priceless, historical tea set before the owner finds himself at the gallows.

 

Wishing you all a most splendiferous week and don’t forget to check in at the #rainbowsnippets facebook group for more fabulous snippets of LGBTQIA+ fiction 🙂 

 

rainbow flower image courtesy of mariah22 at http://www.freeimages.com

book cover image by Renphoto 


#inktober Necromancers and Tea

Greetings! Unfortunately there have been technical hitches abounding this week and last – laptops have died and other devices have proved unhelpful for most things other than facebook. However inktober has still happened as it’s non-tech dependent! So, here are the teabie doodles from the last few days.

The next 50 shades of tea sketch is here…

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These will be painted in tea eventually, maybe next week.

And I’ve also been doodling some silly little Necromancers who are characters in the very last (probably) novella of the Ashton’s Kingdom series (which you’ll be pleased to hear I am NOT illustrating myself! lol)  Here they are and below is the opening of that work in progress…

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Thunder, Lightening, rain, hail, ominous fog and all the other things that accompany the beginning of an iconic horror movie or damn fine novel about Tea, Cake and lashings of Untimely Death, were occurring all over the little crag of rock known colloquially (and everywhere else) as The Skull.

Douglas skidded and stumbled over the vindictively slick cobblestones, cursing the length of his disgustingly sodden red robes, the ineffectual protection offered by his floppy wet cowl, the stupid little purse that dangled at his waist and was constantly expelling all his valuables into the muck, the fact that his favourite pocket watch had broken – again – and any and everything else that passed through his mind as he finally staggered, panting and wheezing to the top of the hill.

Sheet lightening flared for a second, silhouetting the crumbling chapel as Douglas clasped the cold iron ring in the studded wooden door and, with a cautious shoulder, silently eased it open.

The eerie luminescence of a hundred flickering candles, vanished in an ebbing wave to be replaced by darkness and smoke and a smattering of accusatory choking noises.

Thunder shook the walls and lightening flashed again, gleaming on several stiletto thin blades, poised in mid air.

“Sorry,” Douglas ventured, shuffling sideways along what he hoped was the back row of folding chairs. There was an almighty crash as something large and metallic clattered to the flagstone floor. “Sorry! So sorry,  Sara, er, Your Grace…”

“Douglas!”

“Sorry!”

“Late again Douglas, we have already begun the casting!”

Douglas gulped as tapers flared on either side of him and the candles were slowly re lit illuminating hundreds of furious faces all glaring at him. He fumbled frantically with the circular tin he had been cradling…

“I…. I brought cake…”

“What?” Archcleric Sara lowered her knitting needles and the rest of the assembled necromancers did the same.

“Sticky toffee double fudge triple chocolate tray bake with crystalised ginger?” he ventured, prising off the lid and offering the tin with a trembling hand.

“oooooo!”

General pandemonium ensued as the Necromancers all abandoned their half completed cast-ons and scrambled for a slice of Douglas’s offering.

 

 

Blessings on your brew and all your #inktober endeavours! 🙂


Morning Cuppa: Small Grey Bear Adventures

Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen! Welcome back to Max and Collin’s indeterrably intrepid and frabjously furry parlour located somewhere within the irritable bowels of the splendidly scenic city of steampunk’d Lancaster.

True some have called it a devilishly delinquent dive, frequented by only the most diabolical demons, but we consider that such people are merely getting a little carried away with the festive spirit.

This morning we are feeling far too warm and fuzzy inside to be entering into the Halloween / Samhain / All Souls / Candy-fest / Thing atmosphere because we have just finished reading two of the most delightful books ever written and we would like to share those with you over a spot of Galli-Grey Regeneration Tea ( because, New Doctor and, of course, Earl Grey…)

 

 

George is a small grey bear of adventurous inclination and these two books detail two of his intrepid adventures. He is also a Ghost Bear – which is something really quite marvelous indeed!

In book one, George and his chums are kidnapped by wicked pirate squirrels and are forced to endure scathing reviews of their performances of Gilbert and Sullivan and in the second book our little furry hero pits his wits against the some sweet-toothed skulduggerists on planet Mars!

These heart warming illustrated adventures are beautifully produced and an absolute joy from start to finish. The urchins we read them to were beaming with glee throughout and there many excited squeals of delight, particularly at ‘the end’ !

We actually shed tears and the urchins literally leap up and down with excitement when we discovered the story-related recipes in the back cover of each book (you know how emotional we get about cake…) We will definitely be baking these soon and when we do we will post pictures in our elevenses slot (but not the recipes! You’ll have to read the books for those because the recipe is given as a little story which is just too, too adorable to miss!

There is enough warm-hearted, gentle but highly witty humour throughout both books to keep both urchins and adults chuckling and engaged from start to finish and they immediately became firm bedtime favorites.

If your own little urchins are of the intelligent and discerning sort who prefer A A Milne, Kenneth Grahame, Edward Leah or Lewis Carroll to the average uninspiring mass produced picture books on offer, then these are a couple of gorgeous gems to add to your storytime treasure chest.

 

As for us, we are still plucking up the courage to have those stern words with Montmorency about the flooding in here – our pig has set sail for the land where the bong tree grows and I believe we may be heading that way soon ourselves if Max doesn’t bail out fast enough. Still tomorrow we will share with you our #inktober tea painting efforts and inky things and a little bit of story to go with them.

In the meantime stay dry and warm and do remain always

Uttery Yourself


Pipe and Slippers: Tales From Steampunk’d Lancaster

 

Good evening and welcome to my awe-inspiring aethenaeum of  praiseworthy pamphlets…or as some ridiculous personages have dubbed it – my lovely library.

I am the ghost known as Perilous Wight and here in the bowels of the city of Lancaster, in the disused tunnels of an underground train system that never was, I have made it my mission to collect every book that our self-proclaimed ‘supreme ruler f the universe’ and his mincing minions have banned from the bookshelves of the new world.

But this is not a public thoroughfare! If you have wandered in here on the ill-advice of that incorrigible octopus and its unnerving  Gentleman Friend, let me advise you not to be so easily lured into a parlour by strange creatures promising  cake. Well, you will find nothing sweet and alluring down here;   here there is only the dark and the damp, the flickering of candlelight and the ceaseless toil of a man who did not re-animate from the dead to be pestered by people wanting bedtime stories!

But wait…what’s that you have tucked away under your arm there? A bottle of vintage port eh? Oh…. well, yes perhaps it is about time I put my feet up for a while, pipe and slippers and a little drop of something, the day has, after all been a long one. And I suppose I could read a very little something,

like this perhaps… I have been tirelessly working over the summer, interviewing, stalking … I mean studying… the Hex Slingers of Lancaster, compiling an anthropological study of the lives of those who use magic illegally in the curated back-alley fight clubs – why and how have they come to their present situation? What are their stories? Well, here at least, is one of them…

TALES OF STEAMPUNK’D LANCASTER

SERIES 1: TALES OF THE HEX SLINGERS 

TALE THE FOURTH:  by ALLISON SHEPHERD

 

“My brooch!” I yelled as Mariah’s twinklepuff slam hit me full force in the chest

and sent me hurtling backwards into the wooden crates at the makeshift

gayelle’s edge. I hadn’t anticipated Mariah’s last pattern and was now

scrambling to catch my breath and get back on my feet. My brooch had ripped

off my bolero as the twinklepuff spell had infused the fibres of the old velvet.

My grandmother had made that brooch for me from the cogs of a broken toy

train and an old yuletide ornament. She’d fashioned the cogs into an owl tying

them together with copper wire, and using tiny emerald crystals pulled off the

bauble for the eyes. Every afternoon after school I’d go to her rag-and-bone

shop tucked away down a narrow cobblestone alley to wait for my parents.

She’d make a pot of Earl Grey with leaves from her “secret supplier” and tell

me stories of when her mother baked double-layered sponge cakes with

strawberry jam filling, and lighter-than-air profiteroles filled with sweet gooey

cream. “Earl Grey.” “Strawberry jam.” “Profiteroles.” I hadn’t heard those

words in almost a decade. My owl brooch had become my talisman, my

connection to my past.

I tried to stand but sat down quickly as my vision blurred. Mariah? This

powerful? I couldn’t understand; she was a third-rate slinger at best, over

estimating both her charms and her spells. Something was different. The

sophistication of the twinklepuff weavings and glitter were not her. Someone

was helping raise the level of her usually amorphous, sloppily put together

concoctions. Who? And why?

It was odd when Mariah had drawn the wildcard for our slingoff but I had

missed a few of the preliminary fights when I had gone out of town. Maybe

she’d improved and been bumped up a couple garnets, I thought. This was my

livelihood, and sometimes it’s better to shut up and sling. Now, as I sat

befuddled trying to clear my head and weave my threads, I saw a glint of silver-

black emanating from Mariah’s perfectly poised hands. Mariah who could

barely make a pattern for a pink-and-gold unicorn spell slinging an

onyxmirrorpearl? With advanced finger positions? I sat spellbound and the

omp smacked me flat. Blood gushed out of my nose, ruby red against my white

pin-tucked shirtwaist. Before I lost consciousness, I saw Emily, the bookie,

collecting from the disgruntled gamblers.

Gill found my brooch, the emerald crystals winking in the twilight-find spell he

cast. The healers had tried to revive me right away but the omp had proved

beautifully formed and knocked me out for hours. I lost my deposit and got

nothing for the night. According to Gill, Emily had been apologetic but could do

nothing as an unexpected large bet against me had her scrambling for gilt. Gill

had taken me home and tucked me up in bed with a hot water bottle, three

pillows and my favourite fluffy wrap. I was still in bed when he came back with

my brooch. I tried to sit up but the wave of nausea had me lying back gingerly

on the pillows. I closed my eyes clutching my owl, my fingers tracing the

notches along the cogs, and started to cry.

My parents were wizards, of course, fighting for Queen and country. They truly

believed that magic should be controlled and out of the hands of ‘ordinary’

people. My parents were strong weavers but by the time they disappeared (of

course) my abilities were rudimentary at best. I’d become a trope: orphan,

living with my grandmother, no magic. But as with my favourite fairy tales, this

was simply the beginning of the story.

My parents had taken an assignment to escort our Queen to Boss Town for a

diplomatic sojourn, or that was what the official correspondence claimed. We

knew better: an excuse for the elite to sample new-fangled sweet marvels and

magiscience tea twists. Mum and dad couldn’t say too much but they were

more tight-lipped than usual as they hugged me goodbye and dropped me off

at Gran’s. We never saw them again. I was fourteen.

Gran moved in with me. I finished school at sixteen and tried out for the

apprentice wizard programme. I didn’t qualify even though my parents had

been senior civil servants. Apparently, according to the report, I didn’t have the

“right attitude, and my spells were nonexistent.” Gran and I eked out a living

from the shop. I met Quelin her “tea supplier,” a jovial smuggler who was able

to find the choicest leaves for us, and sometimes, just sometimes, the tiniest

silver-sprinkled cupcakes. He’d never tell where he got them but always

tapped the side of his nose with his forefinger, “It’s best you don’t know, my

darling,” he’d say, “because if anything happened to me, you might be running

for your life from some nasty bits.” He’d glance across at Gran, who would

pretend to be engrossed with a length of glitterwool handicraft, or checking

her numbers in the accounts book. They thought I never noticed but I always

did.

I had turned seventeen the year of the Youshallnevereatcake Spring, a short-

lived, half-hearted coup d’etat by a handful of boisterous youngsters. It was

quashed by the wizards within hours, the rebels marched through the streets

to the palace courts. I rushed home to tell Gran only to find her in the garden,

sitting in her favourite chair under the willow tree, a cold cup of Earl Grey in

her lap. She looked as though she were taking an afternoon nap, the breeze

ruffling her mop of curls. I clasped her inert hands, and wept.

I started hex slinging in the underground circuit soon after.

Of course my latent abilities eventually showed up, stronger than either of my

parents but without proper training and guidance, it was a mess. My early

slingoffs were either a triumph of a knockout, or me vomiting an endless

stream of bile in a dank corner, a side-effect of using pure, raw magic. Through

practice, and more practice, and much much more vomiting, I learnt to control

and weave almost beautiful hexes. I found a circle of friends who helped me in

the nine years since Gran died: Gill, Emily, Jendra. And I still ran the shop. It

didn’t make much but had become a safe place for us to meet to try out new

patterns and concoctions, catch up on gossip and, yes, of course, find a way to

bring back tea, cakes and magic: we’d been denied our right to a free life for

too long.

***

As I clutched my brooch in my hand, tears streaming down my face confusing

Gill to no end, I realised that Mariah’s win tonight had shifted our timetable. It

hadn’t been subtle, literally a punch to my gut. Someone had wanted our

attention. No longer was our light-hearted, drinking-after-a-slingoff chant of

“Tea, Cake, Magic For All!” a someday cake-in-the-sky dream; someone, or

someones, wanted us ready now. And I was terrified.

 

Allison Shepherd enjoys reading and writing speculative fiction, especially paranormal romance. She teaches at the medical school at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, and has had her work published in bmj Medical Humanities, Tales From the Fluffy Bunny, and is upcoming in Lycan Valley Press Publications “Darkling’s Beasts and Brews”. https://mh.bmj.com/content/43/3/e33 https://www.amazon.com/Tales-Fluffy-Bunny-Various-Authors/dp/1942450699

 


Elevenses: Two Spurtle Gloves

Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen! You find us this morning in a state of oaty bliss as we gleefully anticipate The Annual Wizmas Golden Spurtleglove Oatcake Championships (we understand you have something similar in your own dimension?) 

Of course cake is illegal here in Ire but oatcakes (those foul impostors ) are permitted ‘in moderation’ provided salt is used to flavour them and not sugar.

 If you are not sure what spurtle gloves are let us enlighten you – the spurtle glove is an oversized oven mitt used for oatcake flipping and a golden one is made in Lancaster every year and given to the contestant who can faultlessly flip the most oatcakes in six minutes.

 The judging is conducted by three highly trained oat flip observers and presided over by Lord Ashton himself but there are also smaller prizes for the most original oatcake creations and these are voted on by the general public.

 Last year some of the winners in the Innovative Oatcake Recipe section included Chorizoat Cakes, Plum Compoat and Chocoloat pudding.

 The best part by far, though, was the riot which began when the voted winner of the Oatcake Sculpture section (a truly gargantuan oatcake with a smiley face put on with raisins) was declared by Lord Ashton to be “An offensive and infantile attempt at insubordination and mob-rule.” He then proceeded to disqualify the oat face (an irony which will probably only be appreciated by our British friends) and award the prize to a detailed oatcake sculpture of Lord Battenberg, the noted explorer, instead.

 Lord Battenberg’s donations to Ashton’s extensive collection of arthropods is no secret and the furious crowds stormed the stage, seized the judges and began hurling lumps of the hated Battenberg into the River Lune. In the end Ashton had to call his man eating Liver Birds and we all fled for our lives… but it was worth it. All jolly good fun!

 It is frankly difficult to imagine a scenario that would upstage that little fiasco but we are keen to see if Penny is up to the task. In the meantime we wish you a delightfully oat-free elevenses, crammed with illicit sponge and belligerent fancies and we leave you with this little message from our festive parlour companions, the dust cats…

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Elevenses: Flowery Fayre

“AND THAT, COLLIN, IS WHY I NEVER SHOULD, NEVER DO, AND NEVER SHALL AGAIN WEAR DRESSES IN PUBLIC!  … oh, I think that’s the door, would you get it? I need to wash the seaweed out of my hair…”

Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen, is it really that time already? Well do please come in and pull up a crate of lemonade to sit on. Please excuse my irate friend, and the superfluous amounts of cake… what’s that? No amount of cake can ever be considered superfluous? Well you could well be right! Our lovely werewolf butler Klapka has utterly outdone herself using up the last of the bounty from our deflowering exploits last week and I have to say that cake is perhaps a safer use for them than magical-cure-alls ; although Max does seem to have made enough cash to meet the rent this month he certainly doesn’t appear happy about this method of monetary acquisition.

But where are my manners? Please, help yourself to some fabulously floral fayre (click each picture to visit the recipe) …

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SAMSUNG CSC

flower biscuits

 

And of course we mustn’t forget some music to accompany us as we tuck in to these delightful treats…

We wish you all a delinquently delicious afternoon where all your deflowering endeavours pay off and no amount of social or financial pressure forces you into or out of a dress. Mrs Baker will be in her soup kitchen tomorrow but I’m afraid we will not be at home next week as we are visiting your dimension for the delights of the London Comic Con, but we will be back again the week after so, until then, please be always

Utterly Yourself.


Elevenses: Spies and Tarts

Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen I hope you are all feeling extremely eleven o clockish because the time is of course eleven o clock and we have some audaciously awesome elevenses to share with you all, but whilst our lovely werewolf butler Klapka is dishing it up, let me take a moment to inform you of some developments in our subletting cushion enterprise… this note was delivered to Max on the corner of Baker’s Row at midnight…

Dear sirs

Hmmm… what sort of a gentleman requires manacles? Perhaps we would do better not to enquire… in fact perhaps we should endeavour to be out when he calls… mind you, manacles would come in useful around here, Montmorency certainly needs locking up, and Klapka too has her off days… ah well, best not to berate the cook before we have eaten eh? Let us see what she has cooked up for us this morning…

 

 

 

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This gorgeous rhubarb tart is the brain child of Allie at Baking A Moment click on the picture to see her lovely recipe and bake this amazing spring time treat for yourself…or have your butler make one for you…

Now then all we need to do is tune the Spirit Radio in to some delightful steampunk music to while away the morning…

 

Ah,steampunk spies by Derek Fiechter We wish you a delightfully unfettered afternoon and until we see you again, please be always,

Utterly Yourself


Elevenses: The Clockwork Collection

Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen I hope you are all feeling extremely eleven o clockish because the time is of course eleven o clock and our lovely werewolf butler is simply straining at the leash to batter down our parlour door and assault our table with her culinary creations…

Oh dear Goddess just look at these jammie dodger bites from Katie Cakes they remind us partly of Dr Who (Tardis destruct button?) and partly of Alice in wonderland! Click on the picture to go to Katie’s recipe.

jammie dodger

 

But just before we fill our faces with these divine treats, let us tune in our spirit radio and find some awesome audios to usher in the afternoon…

The Clockwork Collection – Alexander James Adams

Splendid! We wish you a truly scrumptious afternoon filled with tasty treats and until we see you again please, be always,

Utterly Yourself


Elevenses: Utterly Hopeless Music

 

Good morning ladies and gentlemen I hope we are all feeling extremely eleven o clockish because it is of course time for elevenses and our tentacles are all of a tremble with excitement because we have received a very wonderful present from our dear friend Mrs Nimue Brown …

Colin (1).jpg

 

Obviously she was aware of my recent ordeal at the mercy of that psychotic scarecrow and sent me this stunning portrait to cheer me up, I just adore the colours and details, especially the little spoon tucked into my top hat, it has absolutely made my day! And because we are hopelessly besotted with Mrs Brown’s gloriously gothic island of Hopeless Maine, let us tune in our spirit radio to listen to some of their glorious filk music right here….

Utterly Hopeless Music

And to accompany it I see our lovely werewolf butler, Klapka , has brought us something mouth-wateringly sumptuous this morning.. lavender honey cake from the wonderful kitchen of sprinkles for breakfast, this looks absolutely divine and you can find the recipe by clicking on the picture link.

lavender

Now there is nothing left to do except wish you all a most delicious afternoon filled with all your favourite fancies and we hope you will join mrs baker in her soup kitchen tomorrow when she will be joined by steampunk creator, Kaydance Heggarty, so until we see you again please be always

utterly yourself

 

 


Elevenses: Mad March Hats

Good morning ladies and gentlemen I hope we are all feeling extremely eleven o clockish because the time is, of course, eleven o clock and we are ferociously armed to the back teeth with tiffin but, before we launch our assault upon our stomachs, let us take a moment to perform our sacred tea ceremony for the month of march…

March was invented by The Powers That Tea, so that all honest tea fiends might have one sacred month in the year when we can inflict massive amounts of joy and jubilation upon the rest of humanity and try to convert them to our divine cause.

The Sacred Tea for March is ALL TEA.

Ceremonial Garb:  The Mad Top Hat

The Scared Ritual for the first of March is as follows:

The Chant:

 

There is only one leaf, and its name is ‘all leaves’

            There is only one kettle, and its name is ‘all steams’

            There is only one pot, and its name is ‘all pots’

            There is only one cup, and its name is ‘all cups’

            There is only one brew, and its name is ‘all brews’

The Oath:

I solemnly swear to accept the gift of the month of March as a month for spreading mischievous amounts of joy and tea-inspired jollity to those around me. I will honour the Powers That Tea by drinking All Tea with respect and acknowledging that tea is a divine gift to all, not to be hoarded or monopolised by one group of greedy guzzlers. As a mark of this vow I will wear my Mad Top Hat every day during the month of March.

 

There, now that we have the formalities out of the way we can indulge our true motive which is of course to get all punked up in fabulous hats! So we have scoured the aether far and wide for the best Milliners available and here is a selection of the delights we have found…

Maison Decantern

The Hatz Meow

Black Pin

Lucy Steampunk

Liver and Monk

Rose Lace Pearl

 

And right on queue here comes our delightful werewolf butler with this amazing top hat cake tutorial from Bake King… because there’s no batter way to celebrate the month of madness that with a mad hat cake!

 

And finally all we need is some awesomely audacious audios to usher in the afternoon, so lets tune in our spirit radio and see if we can find sort something hattish …oh here we are, here’s a fantastic tune for any Potter fans out there…

 

We wish you a marvellously mad afternoon filled with as many millinery delights as you desire and until we see you again please, be always,

Utterly Yourself

 

 


Morning Cuppa: The Quest Of The Prodigy

Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen and welcome to Max and Collin’s Temptingly Temporal parlour located within the splendidly scenic city of Lancaster.

True, some have called it a anachronistic abomination and an scandalous misuse of time and space but we consider that such people are merely embittered that they have not yet received an invitation.

You find us this morning deep in philosophical debate with our dear friend Dodge Charleston on the possibilities of time travel.

If you are a Parlour Regular you are no doubt aware of Dodge and his fabulous theories however if you are rather new to our little world, let us offer you an introduction..

During recent years, several scientists have tried to create a theory to explain and understand the universe using the analogy of cake. The most promising and widely accepted of these has been Universal Fruitcake Theory, because it adheres most closely to the rule of Occam’s Slice, which states that ‘the theory which gives one the same comfortable satisfaction as a large slice of Victoria sponge is usually the most correct.’

Universal Fruitcake Theory states that the universe is like a fruitcake and was first formed when the All-Mother added all the necessary universal ingredients to her enormous cauldron and stirred it all together with a big wooden spoon. The ingredients came together in places and formed matter, which Dodge likened to the sponge parts of a fruitcake. This formation of matter left holes in other places which were immediately filled by high-energy, pan dimensional currants. Lastly, and this was perhaps what made the theory so comfortably satisfying, Dodge suggested that aether was like the half teacup of Earl Grey topped up with one part cherry brandy and one part ruby port, and poured over the top of the cake, thus soaking through the entire universe and pervading everything.

This gorgeous mouthful of a theory was first proposed in Dodge’s fictional children’s book written in 1835 and titled ‘Sallis In Plunderland.’ The story tells of a group of street urchins who are adopted by an elderly but destitute baker, who teaches them to make cakes and sell them on street corners and in Tiffin Dens, whilst skillfully avoiding capture by The Good Folk and The Watchers. The orphans accidentally manage to create a new universe in their large copper cake cauldron and are immediately sucked into a world where logic and reason appear not to exist.

Max’s mother was so outraged by the book that she ordered every copy to be confiscated and burned. Needless to say, this has made Sallis In Plunderland many times more popular than it would have been without the queen’s stamp of disapproval and bibliophiles and young men wanting to impress their sweethearts will go to any lengths to procure one of the few copies which have survived the flames. We believe even old Peril has a copy in his Lovely Library, alongside Dodge’s later work ‘Through The Cooking Class; an analogous approach to understanding the universe.’

Enthusiastic fans of Dodge have even gone so far as to make hand-written copies of the book and sell them for exorbitant sums of cash, but, sadly, Dodge has never seen a penny of the profits and, although his social calendar overflows with invitations to dine in the student quarters of various universities he has never heard of, or give speeches at various Tiffin Dens where the clientele were always so reluctant to let him leave that he has taken to carrying a Nock’s Sugar-Bowl Revolver, his finances do not reflect the popularity of his work.

Still here he is, lapping up our milk ration with the impunity of a Parlour Cat and devouring all our ill-gotten tiffin at a most ungentlemanly rate as he raves about his latest ideas for building a time machine out of a giant teapot…

I think I shall leave Max to do the polite nodding and smiling and instead attempt to lose myself in a good book…

prodigy

 

We first read this book a few years back under its first edition and we love the new look of the cover design on this one. This fast paced adventure is classic steampunk scrumptiousness with a cast of larger-than-life characters we instantly fell in love with.

When Mimi discovers a mysterious book in her local library she finds herself pursued by the ruthless Ambassadors Of Time who will stop at nothing to retrieve the book and gain its secrets for their demonic king.

Fortunately Mimi and her brother are saved by the adorable time-travelling thief Sebastian ‘Bas’ Barkley who introduces them to his marvellous space-time-dimension machine the ‘Bas House’ and a world of alchemical and scientific wonders where Mimi begins to unfold her wings, growing in self confidence and belief in her own worth and abilities. Ever looming is the threat of the king and as Mimi and her brother become more involved in Bas’s world Mimi discovers that only she has the power to protect the people and keep the secrets of time safe.

There are a lot of laughs in this adventure from some very witty character interplays, but be prepared for some tears too and even a little romance as the rich story line develops. We really really hope the series will continue with another instalment soon but in the meantime you can keep up to date with Claire E Smith’s news and writing tips via her blog at  https://lifemusecoffee.wordpress.com/  and youtube channel

 

Oh my goodness, Dodge is still ranting on, plastering the walls with cake crumbs in his frenzy and poor Max has fallen asleep, face down in a pile of cats and cream… Hm? No no I said cats… I suppose I had better put the kettle on and prepare our tea, which this morning is Blue Box Time Lord Tea (what else?) from Amiteaorganics 

The cephaloperois has hidden under the fainting couch and so there seems nothing left to do except bid you a very splendid morning and invite you back to join us tomorrow for elevenses (when we shall be hopefully free-loader-free) so, until then,please be always

Utterly Yourself.

 

 

 

 

 


Elevenses: The Language Of Tea

Good morning ladies and gentlemen, I hope you are all feeling extremely eleven o clockish because the time is, of course, eleven o clock and no doubt our lovely werewolf butler is just itching to break our door down and shower us with tiffin.

You find us this morning pressing on with revolutionary business-  which in this case means writing covert communications using Tsaiography (or as some uneducated folk call it ‘Charlatin’) .

That’s right, last week we showed you the Victorian art of coding with flowers, this week we are using tea (which is much more environmentally friendly and also better if you happen to have hayfever).

time-for-tea-2-1328952.jpg

Tsaiography is extremely versatile and if you were ever forced to learn Latin at school, or if you grew up anywhere near East London, you will have no trouble at all as it bears a striking resemblance to the noble cockney street-slang known as ‘pig latin’

The basic rules are as follows, however there may be regional variations:

First select the word you wish to speak (or write) and, very carefully, slice away the first consonant and anything that was unfortunate enough to come in front of it ( So, for example, TEA would become EA and BUFFOON would become UFFOON ) Keep those letters in a safe place now, we’ll be needing them again in a jiffy.

Next open your larder, pantry or picnic hamper, remove your trusty tea caddy and choose any type of tea you fancy. Carefully insert the name of this tea after the next consonant in the word. If there is no other consonant, simply insert the tea at the end of the word. (So if we used ASSAM; TEA would become EAASSAM  and BUFFOON would become UFFASSAMOON)

Now, remember where you left those first few letters that you cut away earlier? Scoop them up, being careful to keep them in the correct order of course, and place them right after the name of the tea. (Sticking with our examples, we now have EAASSAMT and UFFASSAMBOON)

Now you may be stuck with an unhappy circumstance in which the new word you have created doesn’t sound quite the ticket. (EAASSAMT for example) Don’t panic. If this occurs simply act swiftly and haul another tea from your caddy to add to the end of it. (EAASAMTOOLONG, for example, is vastly preferable to EAASSAMT )

Last but not least, if in doubt make it up. No true lady or gentleman would ever ridicule or berate another for improvising around the rules where necessary and there is plenty of fun to be had by combining meaningless multisyllabic ploynons with various brands of tea without worrying too much about whether or not you are spouting anything meaningful. (Children catch on to this much more quickly than grownups – follow their lead.)

To start you off, here are some useful phrases:

Hello – Ellassamho

How are you? – Ochaihwearlgrey aredbushegreentea ouchaiyoolong?

Would you care for a cuppa? – ouladygreywld ouchaiyoolong arassamec orchaif a uppingshuica?

Quick! Put the kettle on before I pass out! – Uigreenteaqck! Utoolongpearlgrey herooibust ettassamkle on efchunmeebore I assyunnanpoolong oukeemuntsouchong!

Now, if you are feeling brave, here are some phrases to translate yourself:

– I think that cake may be laced with laudanum, better let me try it first.

– Excuse me, Sir, did you happen to see an airship parked around here?

– Is that a flame throwing parasol by any chance?

 

Now hopefully our tongues aren’t in too much of a twist to enjoy our elevenses which this morning is a traditional fruity Yorkshire Teacake to compliment all this tea themed nonsense and you can find the recipe for it here

And now all we need is some inspiring music to keep us going through the afternoon…

Splendid, we wish you a totally tea-tastic afternoon and until we see you again please be always,

Utterly yourself

 

 

 

 

 

 

teapot image from http://www.freeimages.com


Elevenses: The Language Of Flowers

Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen I hope you are feeling extremely eleven o clockwise because the time is indeed eleven o clock so please, Hang up your top hat of imposing mental prowess, fold down your pugnacious parasol and pull up a chair (or lemonade crate)

 

This morning our lovely werewolf butler has been out picking flowers for us… hm? Oh no, no, no don’t worry, nothing like that… we need them for the revolution. Sorry? War of the roses? Oh I see, you are trying to be amusing! Oh well done, yes…hm… but seriously now, please, these flowers which Max is diligently dismantling over there are going to play a vital role in overthrowing the queen and taking our first tentative steps towards world domination…. Hm? Oh yes, sorry, you’re right of course I did mean world liberation. Liberation from the tea time tyranny of Wiz.

 

You may be aware that Max and his fellow revolutionaries communicate with each other using coded poetry books and an unnecessarily complicated language of stamps? Well now we are attempting to incorporate Floriography (the language of flowers) as well. If you are plotting a revolution, you may wish to consider using this marvellous coding method yourself and so here, for your convenience, are some commonly used flowers and their traditional Victorian meanings to get you started…

Yellow Marquerile – I come soon

Canterbury Bell  – Your letter was received

Iris – I sent a message

Red Fuchia – I like your taste

Pinks – Yes

Wild Rose – Pleasure and pain

Poppy – I am not free

White rose – I cannot

But goodness, all this flower arranging tires one’s tentacles to the extreme, let us break for a while and see if Klapka has not been too busy flower picking to to make us something delicious for our elevenses… mmm, lemon and lavender tea cookies! They are her own recipe, and here it is…

Lemon and Lavender Tea Cookies

150g plain flower

100g butter or margarine

50g caster sugar

1 lemon zest finely grated

1 tsp hot earl grey tea

1 tsp lavender flowers

Mix all ingredients together to form a soft dough, adding a little more flour or tea as needed. Roll into a sausage shape, wrap in cling film and chill for 1 – 24 hours. Slice into cookie rounds (each about the thickness of a pound coin) and bake on a greased tray on gas 4 for about 10mins until pale gold. Leave to cool down and firm up then serve with a cup of jasmine or lady grey tea.

Delicious! And now there is nothing left to do but find some soothing music to tap our tentacles to as we nom …

 

Marvellous, we hope you have a very lovely afternoon and we invite you back to join us for our morning cuppa on Monday, until then please be always

Utterly Yourself


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.

 


Elevenses: Strolling the Frost Fair

Good morning Ladies and gentlemen, I hope you are all feeling remarkably eleven o clockish because it is, indeed, eleven o’clock and hope that you will come and join us as we stroll around the Lancastrian Frost Fair, taking in the sights and looking for dainty delicacies to nibble on.

I say strolling, which implies a leisurely pace, but my Very Quiet Gentleman Friend is doing an embarrassing amount of huffing and puffing and gasping for breath which is quite off putting I can tell you and leads me, once again, to question exactly what constitutes ‘Very Quiet’ in the realm above the waves.

I say strolling, but perhaps that is a misnoma for the exercise as in fact my tentacles are all still in splints from the ice skating affair and Mrs B has kindly rustled up an old wheelchair from somewhere and we have strapped a couple of floor board planks to the wheels so that Max can push me through the snowy cobbled streets and over the icy river with ease.

Oh the joy! I cannot tell you how immeasurably more enjoyable it is to experience a winter’s walk from the cozy comfort of an armchair…there are fire eaters and jugglers, oh my goodness is that an elephant thy have over there?! It is! I’m amazed the ice does not crack! Mind you, they are roasting spit an ox with impunity over there and I am certain it is going to lead to disaster.

There are so many things for sale, most of which are double the price one would expect to pay for them because they have the word ‘souvenir’ and a date scratched onto them. Luckily Max is a bit of a Finger Smith and we manage to procure some excellent spiced buns and treacle toffee before slipping away into one of the ‘fuddling tents’. These are made of the barge sails propped up haphazardly with poles and inside you with find some of the most lethal chai-cocktails to be mixed this side of a Tiffin Den.

We sampled ‘Purl’ (a steaming black brew made with lapsang and wormwood) which the vendor told us would have a man gibbering for days, and ‘The Spiky Mother’ (A pungent Assam with chilli and dark chocolate) which had apparently already hospitalised a crowd of eight, but we must be candid and say that, even after four or five cups of each, Max still had the wherewithal to hot foot it out of the tent and away before the angry vendor could catch up with us an extract his payment.  (no mean feat pushing an octopus in a make-shift sled)

He almost cornered us but luckily Max employed a pocket full of escapological marbles (if you naive to the uses of escapological marbles to thwart a pursuer just ask the nearest five year old) and we left him cursing in the gutter.

So here we are again, back in the parlour, and after all that excitement we had better have something weird and wonderful to hum along to while we devour the rest of our frosty fayre,

 

We wish you all a very splendid afternoon and hope you will join us for more frosty fun on Thursday so, until then, please be always,

utterly yourself

 

 

 

 


Pipe And Slippers:The Gospel Of Betty Martin

Good evening my dears and welcome to Perilous Wight’s Lovely Library (which we are keeping safe for him until he returns from his ‘business trip.’) I am Mrs Baker (otherwise known as The Last Witch Of Pendle) and Peril has kindly allowed me and my little street urchins to shelter down here from the flesh eating Liver Birds and Wizmas Witch Hunters until he returns.

Tonight I will be reading to the orphans from The Child Gospels, which we discovered on our expedition to Siberia. The chronicles were chiselled onto ice tablets and had been preserved inside a lead lined soupophagus for centuries before we smashed it apart and salvaged them for all humanity to enjoy.

Sadly, our return journey took us through the heat of the Jentacular Jungle and so, as the ice tablets began to melt (and even though it was three o’ clock in the morning and nobody had any tea)  our quick thinking octopus, Collin, speedily copied their contents down onto banana leaves with his own ink, using only his tentacles for a pen.

This desperate act of heroism, he claims, should excuse the rampant spelling mistakes, technical inaccuracies and absence of all  artistic merit which glare out from the manuscript like the foul raisins  in that cookie you thought was chocolate chip.

Peril has of course preserved the banana leaves as only a pedantic book-fetishy ghost can, but Collin asks  that we all bear in mind the manner of their construction and the great suffering he endured and risks to his life and mental well being and so forth and send him extra packs of medicinal biscuits whenever he indulges in…I mean suffers from, a bout of psd over the whole affair. Poor Collin.

So, are you sitting comfortably? Good, then I shall begin…

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Elevenses: Festive ways to annoy your landlord!

Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen,  welcome to Max and Collin’s fabulously festive and expertly extravagant  parlour located within the spledidly scenic city of Lancaster, Mor Ire.

True, some have called it an offensively ostentatious affair, filled with frivolous flamboyancy but we consider that such individuals are tasteless and we would never consider having them for supper.

You find us this morning turning the parlour into a veritable Wizmas Wonderland…

 Apparently the final battle between Wiz and The Goddess took place on the snowy peaks of Siberia. (Having visited Siberia ourselves recently we are, to be candid, a little sceptical of this assertion.) and so it is traditional to cover one’s self and immediate surroundings in as much snow as possible throughout the Wizmas season. The more snow you are seen to sport, the more you likely to convince The Good Folk of your allegiance to our supreme ruler.

 

Of course there is always the small problem that snow in The Scattered Isles is not the most common meteorological phenomenon. Still there are ways to fake snow and we have pushed the iceberg out this year on that front!

 

We have carpeted the entire floor in sheets of cotton wool batting (We did try white crepe paper initially but it wasn’t nearly as messy, irritating or difficult to remove).

 

The window sills, we have piled high with a mixture of baking soda, white and blue glitter, a few drops of vanilla and peppermint oil and a tsp or two of water just to get it to hold together.

 

Upon the tea table, we have carefully sculpted a pyramid from ‘snow balls’. These were made by mixing glitter (again) with coconut flour and a little cold water.

 

Sadly we no longer have any glass in our windows after a close shave with a couple of Liver Birds last week, otherwise we could have stuck baking parchment over them to make them look ‘frosted.’

 

As for our own attire, we have given eachother a fairly good dusting with white glitter and talcum powder and can safely say we look perfectly abominable.

 

We simply can’t wait to see the look on Montmorency’s face when he sees the effort we have gone to…true it is difficult to read the facial features of a psychotic scarecrow, but we tend to guess that when his head is leaning to the left he is in a better mood than when it is leaning to the right, he looks a little friendlier like that you see.

 Anyway, now that we have enough snow to infuriate our landlord we can sit back with a nice cup of tea and see what delightfully festive treats our lovely butler Klapka has prepared for us… mmm, frosted gingerbread cake with caramel cookies, click on the picture to go to the recipe…

gingerbread-cake-with-caramel-biscuit-icing.jpghttp://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/gingerbread-cake-caramel-biscuit-icing

 Now all that is needed is some suitably snow spangled audios to usher in the afternoon so let us tune in our Tesla Radio and ….

 

 Marvellous! We wish you all a very splendidly snow filled afternoon, and we invite you back to join us on Thursday when we will be finding out where the fun is happening this weekend. So, until then please be always,

Utterly Yourself

 


Elevenses: Cats for tea

Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen, you find us ravenously eleven o’ clockish this morning, which is grand because the time is, indeed, 11’o clock. So, step inside, take off your Top Hat Of Imposing Mental Prowess, hang up your Pugnacious Parasol and make yourselves at home  in  Max and Collin’s voraciously verve and quintessentially quixotic  parlour, located in the splendidly scenic city of Lancaster, Mor Ire.

True, perhaps, some people have called it a mange-ridden menagerie crawling with cretinous creatures of condensed conscience, but we consider that such people are merely embittered that they have not yet received an invitation.

Today you find us spitting fur balls as we try to relieve ourselves of our unwanted feline guests. We have stopped feeding them, we have stopped naming them, we have barred the door and we have banned them from the choicest cushions but still they keep on coming! There are cats on the balcony and cats on the stairs, cats on the table and even in the teapot.

Maybe that is because we are enjoying Witch Of The Woods from The Malfoy Tea Emporium? Those witches are all about the cats aren’t they eh? Perhaps this is Mrs Baker’s doing? Perhaps she is sending us cat after cat in some cruel and unusual attempt to make us mend our ways? Hm. What do you think Max? ….Max?…

Oh goodness no stop eating them I’m sure that is not the solution!!

Ah, not to worry, those are not real cats that my Very Quiet Gentleman Friend is devouring but these delicious black cat cookies from Gesmack which our smugly sadistic werewolf butler has inflicted upon us no doubt in some diabolic attempt at dark humour.

black cat cookies.jpg

Still they are delightfully delicious and so she is completely forgiven – never wise to hold a grudge against a woman with teeth like that. So, we have our tea, we have our fancies, all that we require now is some splendid sounds to usher in the afternoon…

 

 

Marvellous, and of course Max and myself will be ‘suiting up’ in our own fashion on Thursday and looking for the most prestigiously punked-up places to spend the weekend. Meanwhile our catastrophic witch, Mrs Baker, will be interviewing Kylie Dexter tomorrow in her soup kitchen and Peril will be back on Friday with some Wonderously Witty Fiction…or so he claims…hopefully it isn’t his resume…

so, until we meet again please be always,

Utterly Yourself

 


Pipe and Sippers: Nevermore?

Good evening and welcome to my awe-inspiring aethenaeum of  praiseworthy pamphlets…or as some ridiculous personages have dubbed it – my lovely library.

old-library-1571043

I am Perilous Wight and here in the bowels of the city of Lancaster, in the disused tunnels of an underground train system that never was, I have made it my mission to collect every book that our self-proclaimed ‘supreme ruler f the universe’ and his mincing minions have banned from the bookshelves of the new world.

But this is not a public convenience! If you have wandered in here on the ill-advice of a pun-happy octopus and its alleged Gentleman Friend,you had best turn yourself around and wander out again! You will find no dreary double entendres, no pathetic punning or ridiculous riddle-rendering down here; here there is only the dark and the damp, the flickering of candlelight and the ceaseless toil of a man who did not re-animate from the dead to be pestered by people wanting bedtime stories!

But wait…what’s that you have tucked away under your arm there? Amontilado? A whole cask you say? Oh….well, yes perhaps it is about time I put my feet up for a while, pipe and slippers and a little drop of something, the day has, after all been a long one. And I suppose I could read a very little something,

like this perhaps…

teafiend2

 

THE WYVERN – an unscrupulous piece of skulduggery By Penny Blake 

 

Once upon a teatime merry, as I set my table heavy

Laden up with scones and crumpets, florentines and cakes galore

Whilst I sat, my tea a –lapping, suddenly there came a tapping

As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my parlour door

‘Tis some visitor,’ I muttered ‘tapping at my parlour door

Wanting tea, oh what a bore!’

Up I leapt, I well remember, flung the tea into the fender

Grabbed the table, newly laden, cast its contents to the floor

Eagerly I sought the dustpan, with its brush and so I began

To erase the scene of plenty, lest this guest from me implore

Sustenance. I, diligently, swept each last crumb from the floor

Evidence was there no more.

Still the tapping came, now ruder, heralding this bold intruder

‘Gods above’, thought I, ‘a teatime never suffered thus before’

So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating

‘Let them in, tis merry meeting, not a crumb sits on the floor.

Chat a while and then, politely, show them once again the door.

Then begin the tea once more.’

Presently my soul grew stronger, hesitating then no longer,

‘Sir’ said I ‘or Madam truly your forgiveness I implore;

But the fact is I was lapping tea, no, sorry, I was napping

And so gently you came tapping, tapping at my parlour door

That I scarce was sure I heard you’ – here I opened wide the door: –

Darkness there and nothing more.

Feeling vexed, my temper miffin, at this wanton waste of tiffin

And unfounded fears that caused me to cast all upon the floor,

Silently I stood upbraiding, all my senses and degrading

Every cell which had imagined rapping at my parlour door

‘Fool’ I muttered ‘now the table must be spread as was before.

What an utter bloody chore.’

Back again to spread the table, just as fast as I was able

Soon again I heard a tapping, somewhat louder than before

‘Surely,’ said I ‘tis no fancy, this time and I must happensee

What it is that so insists on plaguing thus my parlour door

Let my teacup rest a moment and this mystery I’ll explore

Then I’ll sup in peace once more.’

Open here I flung, with meaning, parlour door and, brightly gleaming,

In there stepped a clockwork wyvern, hot breath crackling the air

Not a single greeting gave he, not a moment stopped or stayed he

But, as I cried ‘some god save me from this beast oh I declare,’

Perched himself upon the silken cushion of my favourite chair –

‘Look here, sunshine that’s my chair!’

Not forgetting I was British, though I felt a little skittish

At the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore

‘Sir,’ I said ‘Would you partake, with me, in having tea and cake?

As you can see a finer table never was there spread before –

But the creature shook its head and, pointing to me with a claw,

Quoth the wyvern ‘One cup more.’

Much I chuckled this creation to hear hest, as if libation,

One more cup of this sweet nectar for myself I should now pour

‘sure’ said I ‘some fiend hath sent thee, For amusement he hath leant me

Tempter sent to thus torment me, with this mantra ‘one cup more’

Sent this brass abomination for amusement to implore

Me to drink ‘just one cup more’

But the wyvern, sitting brazen, on my cushions it had taken,

Fixed me with its burning eyes and, once again, it did implore

Nothing further then it spoke – till I said ‘tis some bad joke

But to appease thee I’ll oblige’ and so a cup I then did pour

Drank and thought the matter ended, rose to show the thing the door

Then it chanted ‘one cup more.’

‘Be that phrase our sign of parting, Hullish fiend!’ I shrieked, upstarting

‘Take thy talons from my teapot, and vacate my chair once more

Thou hast made a grave mistake in thinking I would certain break

My will and meekly thus partake, at your demand, this ‘one cup more’

Certain your corruption I will not endure a moment more

Quoth the wyvern ‘One cup more.’

‘Villain’, said I ‘thing of evil – sent from Hull and certain devil

I will lap this tea at leisure, and if I chose now to pour

For myself another cup, it’s only for myself I sup

And not a shred of credit to you, fiendish thing that doth implore

Wicked wyvern, by your words I’m putting neither stock nor store,

Still, I will have one cup more.’

And, alas, I still am sitting, still am sipping, still am sipping

On bequest of this grim wyvern, one cup more, just one cup more

And his eyes have all the seeming, of a demon’s that is scheming

And his scales, still brightly gleaming, I have come now to adore

As I, dutifully lift the teapot and again outpour

For myself ‘just one cup more…’

Hmm, one cup more? Don’t mind if I do…oh, what’s that you say? Getting late? You really ought to be going?  Oh dear, surely you can stay for just a little while longer, I mean it is after dark and Lord Ashton will have unleashed his flesh-eating Liver Birds by now, you really don’t want to be mistaken for a vagrant out there on the Lancaster streets and there’s still plenty left in the bottle…


Elevenses: Fairly Fragile

Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen, I hope we are all feeling extremely  eleven o’clockish because the time is, indeed, 11’o clock. So, step inside, take off your cloak, hang up your fangs and make yourselves at home  in  Max and Collin’s veritably verve and queasily quixotic  parlour, located in the splendidly scenic city of Lancaster, Mor Ire.

True, perhaps, some people have called it a mere figment of some lunatic tea-addict’s over-active imagination, but we consider that such people are merely embittered that they have not yet received an invitation.

Today you find us trembling in our boots after a night full of dreadful disturbances and utterly appalling apparitions, which we are certain has nohing to do with our over indulgence in fairies yesterday morning. Still we will be glad when this season of ghoulish ghostiness is at an end and we can settle back into the company of more everyday monsters such as psychotic scarecrow landlords and hybrid vampire squid.

Now then, we are both feeling a little delicate and thankfully our lovely werewolf butler has nosed out some dainty and delicate delightfulness to ease us into the afternoon, Betty Crocker Style…

witches broom cookies.jpg

Ah, witches, maybe they aren’t so bad after all? They’re broomsticks are certainly tasty and they seem to make good soup… which reminds me that Bellabeth will be joining our own Kitchen Witch for Soup Of The Day tomorrow, so don’t miss out on that will you? And we will be back in the parlour on Thursday with some tremendous Tea @ Three but for now let us tune in to something soul stirring while we nibble on these tasty treats,

 

Splendid! We wish you a most enchanting afternoon and until we see you again please,

be always, Utterly Yourself

 

 


Elevenses: Bad Apples

Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen, I hope we are all feeling extremely  eleven o’clockish because the time is, indeed, 11’o clock. So, step inside, take off your hat, hang up your parasol and make yourselves at home  in  Max and Collin’s perfectly polished and chichi-to-the-core  parlour, located in the splendidly scenic city of Lancaster, Mor Ire.

True, perhaps, some people have called it a rattling death wagon filled with bad apples and other forbidden fruit but we consider that such people are merely embittered that they have not yet received an invitation.

You find us this morning going dippy over apples –  yesterday our afternoon stroll was intercepted by a band of oiks who thought it would be great sport to pelt us with the rock-like rounds of a nearby tree.

Fools.

Never go up against myself and Max in a hurling match.

Of any description.

The cowards soon fled for their lives, dropping their fruity load, which we gathered up and are now having enormous amounts of fun dipping them into every sweet or sticky substance we can get our hands on.

If you find yourself the sudden owner of superfluous fruit and need some inspiration check out the link below, we really don’t think life holds greater pleasure than a plate full of huge glittery pink apples.

candy apples.png

And whilst we wait for those beauties to dry and our delicious pumpkin pasty tea to brew – All that is needed now is some eleven o’clockish music to tap our tentacles to as we tuck in, No Lodging For The Mad? That seems appropriate, still, not for the faint heart ed perhaps…

Ah, awesomely audacious audios to usher in the afternoon! We wish you have a very sweet and sticky one, filled only with the very best apples, and hope you will join our dear witchy friend Mrs Albert Baker and the marvellous Karen J Carlisle in the soup kitchen tomorrow. Myself and Max will be back on Thursday with some tantalising Tea @ Three so, until then

Be always, Utterly Yourself.


Elevenses:Frightfully good

Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen, I hope we are all feeling extremely  eleven o’clockish because the time is, indeed, 11’o clock. So, step inside, take off your hat, hang up your parasol and make yourselves at home  in  Max and Collin’s privately perfect and exclusively expansive parlour, located in the splendidly scenic city of Lancaster, Mor Ire.

True, perhaps, some people have called it a ramshackle old shrimping shed, suspended by a rusty chain above the turbulent waters of the river Lune, liable to plunge its inhabitants to their icy deaths at any given moment, but we consider that such people are merely embittered that they have not yet received an invitation.

Upon this curiously clement autumnal morning, you find us in a quandary, you see Klapka, our werewolf butler, has found for us these beautiful little ghosties to go with our tea this morning…

Happy-Little-Ghost-Sugar-Cookies-01C-SM2.jpg

…but honestly they are so adorable we’re not sure we can bring ourselves to…oh…oh well it seems that Max has got over the adorability of them and eaten twelve already. I suppose I had better catch up…the advantage of having eight tentacles of course becomes apparent when rampantly cake-scoffing.

And to wash it down we have this frightfully good Zombie Hunter blend from Fandom teas!   All that is needed now is some eleven o’clockish music to tap our tentacles to as we tuck in, something spine-tingling and macabre is in order I think…

 

Ah, perfectly atmospheric audios to usher in the afternoon! We wish you have a very splendid one, filled with adorable apparitions, and invite you back to join, not us I’m afraid, but our dear witchy friend Mrs Albert Baker and her special geust, Chariy Tahmaseb, in the soup kitchen tomorrow. Myself and Max will be back on Thursday with some tantalising Tea At Three so, until then

Be always, Utterly Yourself.

 


Tea @Three: All Punked Up With No Place To Go

Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen, and welcome, once again, to Max and Collin’s perpetually private and extensively exquisite parlour located in the splendidly scenic city of Lancaster, Mor Ire.

True, perhaps, some have called it a Hull-spawned roach-hole unfit for human habitation which contravenes every health and safety law in the history of The New World, but we consider that such people are merely embittered that they have not yet received an invitation.

Our teatime today is plagued with slime. As an octopus, one is of course used to a certain amount of fluid seeping from one’s glands, however an octopus with a cold, as Max has quite rightly pointed out, is simply ‘not amusing.’

Fortunately our tea today is none other than ‘Kiss My Crossbow’ by Fandom Teas– a super strength oolong that should blast away all traces of this wretched cold. Our Oracular Cephalopterois (That’s a hybrid cross between a lion fish and a vampire squid…in case you were wondering) tells us we should expect a heatwave in the next few days. A heatwave? I ask you! The things that creature would have us believe…

But enough of that nonsense! It is Thursday afternoon and Max and I are ‘all punked up with no place to go’ so, while the pot is brewing, let us peruse the society papers and see where we should be heading to this weekend….

The National Tramway Museum in Critch, Derbyshire is holding a Steampunk Theme Day from 10am until 5pm on Saturday 8th October. There will be tea duelling, dancing dolls, storytelling, steampunk weapons display and beautiful market stalls selling all kinds of crafts and curiosities.

Or, looking further ahead, (always advisable where tickets have to be booked) I see that The League of Splendid are planning another Splendid Day Out–  on the 22nd of October in Morecambe, Lancashire. It looks set to be a smaller but just as marvellous event with artisan market, tea duelling and entertainment from Cauda Pavonis, Professor Elemental and more.

And on the 24th of October the monthly Newark Steampunk Meet are holding their Halloween Event as well so, all good things to look forward to.

Ah, but now I think our tea is brewed and it is time for us to recline back amongst the crates and cushions and wait for the sun to set and the hoards of flesh-eating birds to descend upon the streets of Lancaster. There’s something rather comforting about having your tentacles wrapped around a warm mug of chai, listening to the screams of all those poor unfortunate souls who tried to break their curfew… mmmm…

We will not be back in the parlour now until Monday but we hope you will join Perilous Wight for Pipe and Slippers in his lovely library tomorrow, when he will be sharing something of ‘superfluous literary magnitude’…or so he informs us…hopefully it isn’t something dreary he has penned himself…

So until then! Be always,

Utterly Yourself.