For the month of July a few of us have challenged ourselves to make a map. Dinah has already started, so I thought it only polite that I join in. Of course I am going to make a map of my fictional village, Mogwash, how could I not? But where to start?
Because Mogwash was created by my own fair hand I decided to take a photograph of my palm. After cropping the picture, and adding a few filters to make the lines darker [yay, that worked well, why did I bother?] I had this image:-
So I simply printed it off and traced over the lines…. and yay, I have something that could be mistaken for a map!
Yep, I went a bit wrong in places, my eyesight is wonky, like this blog, but it is the first preliminary sketch and it will change an awful lot through a process of decisions. The next thing I do have to decide is how big I want it to be, and what type of surface to use.
I wonder where the scout hut is where Mago the archaeologist dug up the carpark? Where is the Onion Gallery? WHERE IS THE PUB??? Where does Moonchild Etherington-Smythe live? Where is Mrs Fitzpatrick’s hand built alpine rockery? All should be revealed over the coming weeks! I kind of think I’ve got a lot of reading to do, and a hunch that I’ll still be tinkering with this map cum December…
….flew across the room when I flicked on the light switch in my studio. The lightbulb had exploded. I sighed and went to the kitchen for a dustpan and brush. Thankfully no glass had become precariously lodged in the ceiling. Those days were long gone. Or were they? Were these frequent near death experiences related to a bygone era? A long-lost plot? An unfinished paragraph that I had begun in 2006? I gazed into the middle distance and looked thoughtful.
Some hours later, after I had finished thinking and looking pretty at the same time, I ascended the stairs to my purpose-built garret at the bottom of the garden. They were still there where I had left them some years previously – a large cardboard box, and an old thick notebook stuffed with diagrams, maps, menus and all manner of paper ephemera. There was nothing more in the garret other than these items. I lifted the flaps on the box, faded, dry, and dusty, and counted the bottles within, there were two missing, which was no surprise. I pulled out the smallest, the first one I’d made. It contained a wax effigy pierced with pins. I rolled my eyes, how stupid of me to make the effigy using my own hair and clothes.
On my mantelpiece today….
“I had misguidedly seen fit to use my own hair and clothing to produce the wax effigy, all silly superstitious fears had been pushed aside as I dispassionately pierced the effigy of myself with pins.”
No wonder I have tinnitus….
It seems I had unwittingly cursed myself with misfortune. Thankfully during my long spell of thinking I had had a couple of interesting thoughts. Perhaps all was not lost. Perhaps I was taking these explosive mishaps a little too literally? Perhaps the mishaps were merely signs? Signs to tell me that I was on the wrong track; signs telling me to return to where it all began.
“Whatever happened with the messages in bottles? I am new to this blog – so the answer may be posted somewhere – but I’m not sure what direction to go to find it.” Asked Jean, several posts ago.
As I read the question on my screen a single tear rolled down my cheek from my left eye. My right eye is somewhat lazy, not so prone to gratuitous displays of emotion and thus remained dry. I often think about the bottles and wonder if I should dust them down, discover what they were all about and follow the direction they were taking me. Even Charmaine is now burning with curiosity after she stumbled over them in a blog post way back in 2015. Thankfully her stumbling didn’t cause any breakages. No cuts. No grazes. No electrocutions.
Perhaps it is time to publish some explanatory notes? Perhaps now that everyone has lost interest, now that everyone is fevered with the evils of politics and buffered by the occasional hurricane, perhaps now it is time to examine the bottles in more detail?
Anyhow, it is something to ponder on…something to face.
Moonchild Etherington-Smythe, owner of the Viridian Venus gallery, gathers the post from the doormat as she breezes into her colourful domain causing the tassels on her sequined scarf to fly in her wake. She is no longer just a small time gallery owner; thanks to her huge online profile [13 million followers on Instagram and 50,000 Likes on her Facebook page] she is now also responsible for running a network of crafty workshops across the UK, and Malta. Workshops include: Whittling Abstract Spoons [spoons without handles and vice versa]; How To Express The Sound Of A Vacuum Cleaner Through The Medium Of Paint [ever popular]; How To Write Like A Two Year Old [inky fun, no previous experience necessary, only £60 per head]; AND, Generic Retailing [how to sell new-found skills online within five minutes of learning them]. Moonchild is proud of her artistic success. She is proud to be such a creative inspiration for so many people and, she is proud to be at the apex of the crafting pyramid.
Moonchild flicks through her mail before taking off her velvet coat and flinging it on the counter. A grey envelope draws her attention, she turns it over and caresses her name and address with her stubby ring stuffed fingers. The address feels raised, as if embossed.
A Peculiar E
Moonchild is familiar with the craft of calligraphy, she smiles and nods approvingly as her eyes settle on a distinctive, wonky ‘g’, and the curvy, very peculiar ‘E’. Someone after my own heart, she thinks. She pauses and decides against tearing the envelope with her fingernails, instead she takes a pair of mini pinking shears from beneath the counter and carefully cuts a shark tooth row across the top of the envelope. She tries to guess the nature of the invitation, because surely this has to be an invitation?
Within the envelope there are two pieces of brown cardboard taped together to protect the inner content. Moonchild snorts and expertly makes short shrift of the tape, she tosses the cardboard into the bin and places a black and white photograph of a bottle on top of her velvet coat.
What sort of game is this? She wonders. She turns the photograph over to reveal a scribbled time, date, and address: 8pm, 21st November 2045, Mogwash Village Hall, Mogwash. As a squally wind causes the gallery door to swing open, a memory recollects, and Moonchild is chilled to the bone.
Aunt Scarlet is refusing to write a post and has told me to do it. She said to say that she is lanquishing on a chase lounge and MUST not be disturbed. Apparently she is writing a long letter to a bloke she refers to as Moogo, or Moorgo, or something like that. She has lots of other people to write to too, such as Princess, and some calligraphy people. She keeps getting in a huff because she is trying to write in her best calligraphy but it keeps going all wrong and she is surrounded by screwed up bits of paper. She is making a mess and is causing a potential fire hazard because she is drinking gin and smoking her horrible fags. She is also swearing a lot.
Aunt Scarlet said that when I write a post I MUST include some photographs. She said to take some pictures of her screwed up balls to show that she is trying to make an effort.
Screwed up balls
Whilst being locked in the attic and fed nothing but gruel, I found these bottles. I asked Aunt Scarlet what they were supposed to be. She flew into a rage and did more swearing and told me to never ask her about them ever again. I think she is a bit mad.
Aunt Scarlet’s empties that aren’t so empty…
A bottle in a bottle
By the way, Harold and I don’t eat the gruel that Aunt Scarlet makes us. We throw it out the window and go up the chippy. We have the spare key to the attic.
…smashed the bottle open only to find a message that read:
To whom it may concern….
Please Mind The Gap.
St. Johnson was adamant that this message proved beyond doubt that the Bottle of Greed was merely a result of Blue’s imagination, and her affection for pseudo-intellectual flimflam. When confronted with St. Johnson’s accusations regarding her subterfuge, Blue was reported to have smiled wryly and hinted at the possibility of there being numerous Truths.
With the benefit of hindsight it is easy for us to mock the doubting St. Johnson, he was, after all, a catalyst character for many of Blue’s improbable plot twists, which saw him drunk and slumped in a bus shelter; performing robust Abba impersonations in the Mogwash Arms, or being arrested for assault. It is easy to understand why St. Johnson has spent so many years trying to discredit Blue, and why he was inspired to write the best selling pantomime script Please Can You Make it Wear Big Pants. And a Knitting Pattern Would Be Nice. Considering the animosity between the pair it came as something of a welcome surprise to see them reunited for the first time in more than 20 years at last night’s opening show.
Peripheral characters at the event included Taramind Dewhurst, Moonchild Etherington-Smythe and Mrs Fitzpatrick, who elbowed each other for paragraph space, and were as eager as the rest of the gathered crowd to hear….