Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen and welcome to Max and Collin’s delicately dazzling and glamorously glitzy parlour located within the fantabulously frost spangled city of Lancaster!
True there are those who will say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but we consider that such people are merely embittered that they have not yet received an invitation.
You find us this morning enjoying what may well be the last week of the frost fair as our Oracular Pet has assured us that the ice will begin to melt over the weekend and the Barge Folk will be able to get their craft dislodged soon afterward, which will be perfect timing really as, here in The Scattered Isles Of Ire, we celebrate the commencement of spring on the first of February.
People are beginning to carve things into the ice now – at first it was just the odd name or profane comment – “Victoria was ere” and the like – but now the whole river resembles the Cameo Libris in the Burlington Arcade and it seems every drunk and lunatic is determined to leave his mark…
“Whereas you J . FROST have by force and violence
Taken possession of the RIVER
I hereby give you notice to quit Immediately
A . THAW”
“Behold the Power of WIZ! Which locks,
In close Confinement, under pond’rous Rocks
Of dreadful Ice and Snow, our famous RIVER;
Whose matchless Glory doth the world make shiver!”
Even the stall vendors have taken to the sport, ‘pitting their limited wits against the noble tongue’ as Max put it …. here are some of the worst we have read….
To the Print-house go,
Where men the art of Printing soon do know,
Where for a Teaster, you may have your name
Printed, hereafter for to show the same:
And sure, in former Ages, ne’er ‘was found
A Press to print where men so oft were droun’d!
Behold the liquid RIVER now frozen o’er
That lately SHIPS of mighty burden bore.
Here you PRINT your name tho’ cannot write
‘Cause numbe’d with cold: ‘Tis done with great delight.
And lay it by: That AGES yet to come
May see what THINGS upon the ICE were done.
Kind master, drink you beer, or ale or brandy?
Walk in, kind sir, this booth is the chief,
We’ll entertain you with a slice of beef,
And what you please to eat or drink, ‘tis here,
No booth, like mine, affords such dainty cheer;
Another crys, Here master, they but scoff ye,
Here is a dish of famous new made coffee.
And some do say a giddy senseless ass
May on the LUNE be furnished with a lass.
I was sincerely hoping that Max would join me in setting our sights a little higher and agree to stop and watch the Parlour Poets in their ‘Sparring Salon’ but he suddenly became uncharacteristically Quiet, mumbled something about dogs, and has now skulked back to the parlour claiming a sudden urge for a cup of tea and a good book.
As I am still wheelchair-bound I had absolutely no say in the matter and so here we are, feeling a little perplexed and out of breath (it is no fun being rattled along the cobbled streets at speed in a bone shaker like that I can tell you), but with an excellent tea on the brew (Most Ardently – a delightfully fresh citrus blend from Wick and Fable) and an excellent book to read…
We’ve been waiting a while to get our tentacles into the next Viola Stewart adventure (after falling head over suckers for Dr Jack) and we were certainly not disappointed.
Eye of the beholder is a paranormal mystery steeped in the mythology of Ancient Egypt; Dr Viola Stewart and her adorable fiancé, Dr Henry Collins, are back and this time it is Viola herself who is danger.
But the true nature of that danger is unclear – an ancient curse? An old vendetta? A lunatic on the rampage? Or is the greatest threat of all in Viola’s own mind?
This adventure was even more gripping than the first with a more intricate plot that kept us guessing throughout as to who the villain actually was and how the murders were being committed… and although Dr Jack did not resurface this time (we’re certain he’s not dead and far from done with Viola yet) there was enough mention of The Men In Grey and Violet’s missing sister to keep that over-arching plot alive and kicking.
Karen J Carlisle maintains that comfortable style with a distinctly ‘gas-lamp’ feel that just reminds us so much of sitting down with a good Sherlock Holmes mystery or one of Agatha Christie’s short stories – perfect atmospheric reading for a cosy afternoon on the couch.
Or in our case, the lemonade crate.
Now then, Max’s frosty mood appears to have thawed and, although I cannot say the same for the tea which is still frozen solid in the pot, I do believe it is time to consult our Oracular Pet and see what it has managed to pluck from the aether for us this morning…
Ah, splendid! That was poet Stephanie Dogfoot at The Steampunk Opium Wars Poetry Slam in your dimension, you know a lot of what she says rings true here as well, although we have sugar and caffeine instead of these pots and poppies you people go in for… we’re not really sure how that works…but we wish you a very beautiful morning with your vices and invite you back to join us for elevenses tomorrow so, until then, please be always,