You find us this morning in a state of oaty bliss after a weekend spent at The Annual Wizmas Golden Spurtleglove Oatcake Championships (we understand you have something similar in your own dimension?)
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.
This 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 subordination and mob-rule.” He then proceeded to disqualify the oat face 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!
But now we are quite exhausted and simply dying to kick our tentacles up on the table with a nice pot of tea and a good book and, fortunately we have both…
The Earl Of Brass (Ingenious Mechanical Devices #1) by Kara Jorgensen
We very much enjoyed this fast paced book. Lord Sorrell is a free thinking adventurer but when he loses his arm he risks having his wings clipped and becoming trapped in the hum drum life he hates. Hadley is a strong minded young woman who is struggling to keep her prosthetic business afloat but when she meets Sorrell she is suddenly caught up in adventures beyond her wildest dreams.
This is a gripping and very original steampunk adventure story, well written with just a splash of romantic sub plot; enough to engage without becoming too heavy. It’s the first in the series and we will definitely be getting our tentacles into the second one shortly.
Now then, I suppose we really ought to have an extra special Earl Grey to accompany our Earl Of Brass and here it is…
Duchess Earl Grey from Junkicreations – we cannot praise this divine tea highly enough, more than just your average Earl Grey, The Duchess combines cornflower, rose petals, citrus peel and lime leaves with luxurious bergamot oil to make this a cup that sets out tentacles trembling at just the very thought of it.
Hm? ….Max says ‘steady on old chap’ … I have no idea what you are talking about Max I am perfectly steady. Steady enough to pop out Oracular Cephalopterois into his cup and see what wizmas cheer it has to offer us this morning….
Oh that’s marvellous, how we wish we had been able to sing that at our Spurtle riots!
Ah well, the tea is brewed and there is nothing left for us to say except ‘chin chin pass the tin open the book and lets begin.’ We wish you a spurt-tacular morning filled with wholesome delights and we invite you back to join us for elevenses tomorrow when we will be souping up our wagon and heading for some dreadful wizmas shenanigans so, until then please be always,
Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen! Welcome to Max and Collin’s diligently defiant and marvellously Machiavellian parlour located in the splendidly scenic city of Lancaster, Mor Ire.
True, perhaps, some have called it a ramshackle old relic inhabited only by the lowest and most desperate fiends that even Hull itself refuses to harbour, but we consider that such people are merely embittered that they have not yet received an invitation.
Well, October with all its deadly delights is now behind us and we are about to enter the month of November, or as we are going to call in from now on Poe-vember. Yes, that’s right, tea time in the parlour this month is going to have a decidedly Gothic flavour, helped along by numerous naughty references to the master of Gothic Fiction, Edgar Allan Poe. (Any Poe-related puns, links or other whimsies are welcome in the comments section)
And so to kick things off in the parlour this morning, we will be listening to a recording of our favourite short story, Ligeia, read by Peter Yearsly as part of the Librivox project which is currently looking for volunteers to read and record books in the public domain….
Hm, is it true we wonder? Can one really defy death just by wishing it so? Surely having the right coat comes into play at some point? Hm, what’s that? Oh, Max says that boots are the deciding factor; apparently one can evade death entirely if one is wearing the right pair of boots… well that doesn’t help an octopus like me much does it?
Still, nevermind, we are hardly dealing with jeopardy here this morning, Montmorency is not even awake yet and thanks to our enterprises last week we did manage to pay the rent on time so we can get on with more important things like our First Of The Month Tea Ceremony! If you would like to welcome in the month of Poevember with a lot of sillyness then please feel free to join in…
The Sacred Tea for Poevember is Yerba Mate.
The Sacred Ceremonial Garb for Poevember is The Warming Tea Scarf
Poevember was gifted to us by The Powers That Tea, so that we could stand outside in the cold and the dark, drinking bonfire-flavoured Yerba Mate and reflecting on the fact that it is probably not very nice to burn people on bonfires or blow each other up, or shoot at each other with guns. Important messages which, like a nice flavoursome Chai, need mulling over, lest we forget.
The Scared Ritual for the first of Poevember is as follows:
Red the poppies of the field
Red the blood that has been spilled
Green the tea this day we make
Green the life, not ours to take
I solemnly swear to accept the gift of the month of Poevember as a month for contemplating endings and beginnings, for comforting those who grieve, for celebrating and enriching the lives of those around me. I will honour the Powers That Tea by drinking Yerba Mate with respect and acknowledging that its life-giving goodness is a divine gift to all, not to be hoarded or monopolized by one group of greedy guzzlers. As a mark of this vow I will wear my Sacred Tea Scarf every day during the month of Poevember.
I solemnly swear that I am up to a lot of good… although it may not seem like it at the time.
Splendid! And later we will be hitting the streets of Lancaster in our Warming Tea Scarves to bring joy and happiness to all the little street urchins by giving them … things…not quite sure what yet we haven’t planned that far… but sure we’ll think of something. In the meantime we are just going to enjoy a lovely cup of Yerb Mate along with this amazing Poe Tribute Cake by Sprinkle Bakes (which is fast becoming one of our favorite baking blogs, the recipes are simply blowing us away!)
Mrs Baker will be in her soup kitchen tomorrow with Heather White and we will be back in the parlour on Thursday with some treacherous Tea @ Three so, until then, be always
Hello! Mrs Albert Baker here, otherwise known as The Last Witch Of Pendle. Obviously 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 this little soup kitchen for the street urchins. There certainly are a lot of them and I’m always looking for helping hands to cook up and serve something delicious!
Well, did you know that today is Austrian independence day? And coincidentally I have talented Austrian youtuber, musician and songwriter Bellabeth with me in the kitchen today! You may have heard her fun and fabulous version of the spoons song featured last week on our Monday Morning Cuppa. Good morning Bella, thankyou so much for coming to help me in my soup kitchen today! Tell me, have you brought along some soup to share with us?
“Pancake soup or “Frittatensuppe” is a very traditional Austrian soup and probably my favourite – though we have a lot of good soups, so it was hard to choose!”
Mmm, it smells delicious, what a wonderful recipe! Now while that is simmering away nicely, why don’t you tell us all a little more about your music, have you always wanted to be a musician?
“Yes, ever since I can remember I’ve been fascinated by music and dreamed of being a musician one day. I’d had recorder and piano lessons for about 10 years each and have always chosen musical branches in school when I had the choice. I’ve annoyed the people around me a lot by non-stop singing constantly. And I do mean constantly. It drives people crazy, believe me.”
You have a wonderful voice, I can’t believe you drive anyone crazy with it! What inspires or influences you most when you’re composing?
“When it comes to coming up with lyrics: Mostly my own experiences, especially in my older songs. Listening to songs I enjoy also inspires me tremendously to write new songs – it just gets you in the mood to be creative. Sometimes I may think of a melody while cooking or when I’m about to fall asleep – then it’s important that I find my phone quickly enough to record those ideas, otherwise I forget them.”
You’ve worked on some exciting projects, which ones have been your favourites?
“Whenever I’ve worked with HolFix – a young producer from Sweden – I’ve always been very happy with the process and the results (Eg. “Pretty Lady in Black”), as he’s a very talented producer and very nice guy. Also my recent collaboration with Spiros Maus on his Armada Named Sound album “Electronica” has been a highlight, as his songwriting and producing is very exceptional and thoughtful.”
And do you have any new projects or releases planned before the end of the year?
“Within the next two weeks I’m going to publish a very interesting cover of “Still Alive” from the game “Portal” – it’s in a much darker sounding minor key than the original and it’s gonna be accompanied by a very spooky live version video. I could pretend it’s gonna be spooky because of Halloween but if I’m honest, I would have made it a creepy video either way – it just fits the atmosphere of the song.”
We will certainly look out for that release it sounds very exciting! And now the all important question which inspires you more when you’re making music, coffee or tea?
“Even though I used to drink more tea than coffee when I lived in England I have to say: coffee with milk and two sugars.”
And have you got a song you would like to share with us before we serve up this lovely soup?
“Sure, this is a live version of one of the songs from the album “Electronica” that I mentioned earlier.
That was wonderful Bella and thank you so much for coming to help out in the soup kitchen today it’s been lovelyto chat with you and your music has certainly cheered our little urchins up! That pancake soup smells delicious so shall we start dishing it up?
Well while Bella dishes up her lovely soup to our hungry hoard there is just time for me to say goodbye, Max and Collin will be back in the parlour tomorrow with some terrifying Tea @ Three and Perilous Wight will be sharing some Frightful Fiction on Friday from his Lovely Library, I will be back in the kitchen next week with Steampunk author Heather White so, until then
Blessings on your brew my dears