Saturday, 14 December 2013

Who Dreamed it?

Dearest Em,

GIGI stared at the cat, who was still grinning from ear to ear.

She scooped him up from the table and stared him straight in the eyes.

"I see now, Mr Storm-Cat- all this mischief has been of your making, hasn't it?"

The cat didn't reply, and wriggled out of GiGi's clutches. Heading out of the French windows, GiGi followed him. He stopped at sat down opposite the Purgatree.

GiGi stood next to him. As they watched, the Cautionary Tale faded until it had completely disappeared. Harpy Lapette was shrieking at the Slithey Tove. "It's no use- you ca'n't go back. You've shown your true colours- you ca'n't teach an old Tove new tricks you know. You're mine! All Mine! Oh look at you all in the Tangled wood- come here so I can put out your eyes properly!"

Ethan Safertie was no-where to be seen.

The cat then got up, and headed off towards the Bay, GiGi joined him.

"You know what's happened here, GiGi?"

GiGi was frowning. The cat went on "No. You don't do you?" The cat paused, and shook his head. "Well then, just as Mrs Cameraman did, I shall simply have to spell it out for you too."

He sighed and muttered to himself as they carried on towards the Bay.

"You remember earlier on when we were outside in the garden, and you were wittering on about this being Heaven on Earth? Well sometimes, dear GiGi, you DO gettit. So, Ithought perhaps you might understand nonsense better, so then you'd be able to make sense of things for yourself.
I overestimated you- you rather let us all down- it took you a whole eight Chapters GiGi for you to know what to do!
Thankfully, you got there in the end- but goodness me- we came rather close to giving up on you!

You see the Purgatree?

It's there for those who don't see what's good for them. It's there for reflection, and contemplation, but it is not a good place to be.

However, sometimes it is a necessary place to be. When you ca'n't see Heaven on Earth. When you ca'n't make your own Sunshine. Once they've suffered there, most come out with some knowledge of the laws of the Universe. But GiGi, some don't. Hear me well GiGi, because you- you walk about thinking that everyone will see the Good eventually. But no, dear GiGi, some don't, you may as well wake up and smell the Coffee here. Some don't, or won't or ca'n't.

The Harpy's prey on these. Once the Harpy's get their eyes, well there's nothing anyone or thing can do. You ca'n't reach them, they are too busy entertaining their own Demon to care or notice anything beautiful.

But. You need to remember yourself here GiGi. You do know your place. We called you loud enough after all. Phew that was hard work! We left you quite a lot of messages. Still, you gottit in the end.

But you MUST remember your place. Sometimes it's not easy. But you'll never have to spend any time in the Purgatree if you do remember your place. You must not waiver. Ever, GiGi.

If you want Heaven on Earth, then you must have faith in it.

You had to clean Mrs Cameraman's house- change the air around a bit- because some stain had left an attraction for those who should have been in the Purgatree at the time, but they kept coming back in.

So, you've done that, and now it won't seem attractive to those who are not like-minded. Just wait, it'll play out. So thank-you for doing your little bit in the story. We may call on you again, if there's anything else to be done.

I'm off- there's someone else I need to reel back in."

All at once- Storm disappeared. GiGi suddenly felt rather tired and sat down at the Bay, gazing out over the sea.

*     *     *    *     *    *     *      *     *     *     *      *      *      *      *     *      *        *         *        *

It was a lovely, vast night. 
That strange harmony which is not sound, which is not silence, was vibrating everywhere.
The moon was slowly winning a silver victory 
and conquering realm after realm of Sand, Down and Sea.
Anne Thackeray Ritchie at Freshwater Bay.

In the stillness, GiGi remembered later, that it was at this time when she noticed a feeling akin to waking up from a dream. A Looking Glass Dream, she dubbed it to herself. As though this was some kind of Fairy Story take on her own life? Or is that nonsense- she thought to herself- as she watched the moonlight- which wasn't a moonlight, but actually a sunrise!

"Oh, it's all topsy-turvy round here! Well at least it's day-light, and I can get on with some real things I need to do...."

As she was about to head home- she caught sight of something on the horizon, which zig-zagged about, but appeared to be heading in her direction. As it got closer- she slowly made out a boat named 'P.GREENE' and then she saw Grumpa and Storm inside! 

Her boat was coming in. Had Grumpa realised his own way back to Heaven on Earth?

Or, was that a Pig flying above her head?

She then realised that she was still wearing little Alice's Angel Wings. "Oh my", said GiGi "Am I dreaming this, or is this dreaming-me!?"

Well dear Emily and Annabel- which do you think it was?

That's all for now,

Your ever-loving Grandmother, GiGi xxxxx

Saturday, 7 December 2013

A Fit of Peake.

Dearest Emily,

Whilst the rather eerily similar drama of reality here plays out alongside the writing of your little sister's book- we shall pause a while- and take a little Dodgson tangent.

As I am now doing the Winter stint at the Bookroom, it's sadly down to one day a week for me here- but ooh Emily, I do rather relish that day! As we know- something always comes up- and today was no exception. Except- that as there were very few customers about- spending most of my wages on a book I spied on the shelves, probably wasn't wise. But look!

A Mervyn Peake 'Hunting of the Snark' all in mustard boards, the same size as your little book- and ooh just so pleasing to my eye! I had to have it Emily- you'll understand. After all, once I've finished Annabel's book- it's all about Dodgson again and his flip over to the East-side of the Wight for me! I'd put those thoughts away, as I don't even start my research degree until next September. However, in between times, some fabulous bits and bobs for the topic have found their way to me (thanks to Mark, and Elisabeth notably.) I shall add this to my muse-board. My reason for this is- just look at the character that Peake has drawn Em...

We know Dodgson's ruse of cariacature- did Peake gettit and do the same some seventy years later? Here's a cariacature of Mr D that I've got- think it was by Bentley, but I'm not sure as I scanned it from a book- and five minutes later sold the book to a customer...hrrmph!

I had saved this as one of my card designs for later Emily- but look at the face- you can see where I'm heading here. The next two are Gertrude Thompson's portrait of Dodgson, and finally a photo of him. 

Scan from the top illustration Emily and we aren't a million miles away from concluding the Peake may have done a 'Tenniel' so to speak, and cariacturised Dodgson here!

Anyway food for nerdy thought! Back to GiGi's week here at Wacky-Bay...

Nice to see that an article in the County Press picks up on our Ann Thackeray 'Commonplace' quote. Talking of which- I gave Mummy the tea towel with the quote on when Annabel was born- do you think she might like this one too?

I got this design manufactured this week, I do love Anny's quotes! The sentiment is great, and she was so daintily pithy in her writing sometimes. Even reminds me a little of Moliere in feel.

Anyhow, back to the drawing board- enough dalliance Dodgson-wise again- up to my neck in setting up our on-line shop right now.

Ok, one last musing...

If our Mrs Cameraman (in Annabel's book) had a notice-board on her kitchen wall Em, with some Letterpress fridge magnets to play with- do you think that on one of his visits, whilst standing there rather bored as Mrs C chatted away to all unsundry- he might just have arranged the letters like this??

As we say here Em- 

Until next time,

Your ever-loving Grand-mother, GiGi xxx

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

'On With their Heads!"

Dearest Emily,

Well it's three whole weeks since you were promoted to the 'Big Sister' role in life. Hope you are settling in to it well. It's a tough call Em, I'm one too- and what happens is that your siblings look up at you- and actually- they get the better deal- coz they get to learn from all your mistakes! Still, always be gracious about this, and then you can always retort to "I made that mistake so you won't have to". That way you retain the moral high ground and save face at the same time. Just ask your Granny, anytime for these little wise-cracks- it's what I'm here for- apart from knitting, sitting by the fire and baking you cakes...

Anyhow- back to reality- or not in this case.

The reason that I haven't written over the last week- is a rather curious tale. It was the Olde Bookroom Serendipity at work again- but this time it rather stopped me in my tracks! I shan't go into it too much here- the potted version will suffice.

Chap comes in and searches the Local History shelves. He's been in before, so I know his face. Somehow- upon choosing his purchase, we get chatting about Dimbola. The long and short of it Em, is that he tells me a story about a Medium or two- and what he is telling me- mirrors the theme of my tale. SPOOKY! - Keeping details to myself- as requested, but it sent me into a bit of a 'Writers Block' until dear Prof. Bob, upon hearing what I've said to you- told me it's an 'ism type thing. Got a name- like Factor X, or something similar. Will look up when I have time- and when you are older, will tell you the back-story.

For now, it's back to business....

THE SIGHT OF the smiling cat, stopped GiGi in her tracks, after all, she had been trying to remember the cat, without success until now.

Storm stepped back, as if greeting GiGi, and entreating her on with her business.

Clasping her broom, GiGi leapt up the stairs. Beginning with the Attics, she rolled up her sleeves, and swept as though her life depended upon it. She opened all the windows as she went. The wind seemed to pick up in the process and rustling sounds accompanied the whirl, as she went from room to room, feverishly sweeping. Dust, sparkled in the half-light, the wind howled, and she thought she heard human-like voices, though she couldn't make out any words.

The rooms seemed energised by the sweeping, she thought- and continued her mission- and as she descended the main staircase- voices from the Tearoom reminded her of the Trusty's and her Bored Meeting. She swept the ground floor- and rested a while on her broomstick. Storm passed by, and in his new role of Butler- he led the way to the meeting.

GiGi entered the room, just as the Chairman called for 'Any Other Business'. GiGi went to take her seat, muttering apologies. The french windows opened, and in the half-light- GiGi made out Mrs Cameraman, and little Alice descending from the sky, opening a gate, and all at once they were by her side. GiGi giggled. There didn't seem to be anything for her to say.

Then, Mrs Cameraman spoke-

"Hello". She looked around the room, at the upturned faces. I'm glad you are all here. I've been trying to get back in- but for various reasons it has all proved rather difficult. Now, with Alice's help and a rather tedious plea to this particular lady (she jabbed GiGi in the side at this point) I am here. Let us get some things quite straight!"

" A certain Mr Carroll, whom I knew as Dodgson, wrote a book or two. In the second one- he placed me, as a Queen- and I need to set the record straight! In my book, my 'type' never says 'Off with their heads!" Not my style. The opposite is true."

At this point, she laughed her husky chortle, and little Alice giggled again.

"Those of you who know me, understand that I did what I did, because I had to. I never wanted to leave this place. My darling Charles wanted to go, eventually, so I went with him. But I came back- and the difficult 'seam' that runs through these houses, got dark again- and I was 'exercised'. And though all the great efforts in saving the house culminated in its becoming a museum to my work- it never could get rid of a bad smell.
It was there when we lived there. We saw it- this began before us.
But, it didn't reckon with me, and what will happen tonight."

At this point, the mixture of tea-time and evening meal (it had been a looong meeting), flew together off of the table, and the candlesticks shot shooting stars into the air...

"The negatives, have gone to the Purgatree. Those who see what is what, will come back- and those that do not- will seek out other Pearls, before their Swine."

GiGi looked out of the window at the Purgatree...

More next week, ma petite. Looking forwards to seeing you all for Christmas!

Your ever-loving Grandmother, GiGi xxx

Monday, 11 November 2013

A New Broom

Dearest Emily,

Well, we welcome your little sister Annabel at last! Best get this last chapter drafted for your perusal then- so we can get on with her book!

'But the rose was awake all night for your sake,
    Knowing your promise to me'
Tennyson- Maud

AT THIS PRECISE MOMENT, GiGi sensed that somehow everything had turned back into the way it was before (surely?) She was outside the house again, and could hear the bickering Trusty's at the Bored meeting, and she was just wondering if she had been dreaming all this time, when she was all at once interrupted by the sound of laughter- the chuckling of a baby girl, accompanied by the chortling husky laughter of a woman- who then spoke...

"Her besum broom went snicker-snack,
Through hall and parlour, and out to the far-door,
Sweeping house from the front to the back!

Well go-on! 
What's stopping you Dear?"

GiGi looked around her for her broom, which she must have left somewhere along the way. She looked up to the sky where the voice and the laughter had come from- but all was dark, except for the faint outline of a smiling black cat.

"Now, no excuses please- here take these!"

 A new broom then appeared hurtling down from the night sky accompanied by a pair of goose wings. They landed on the grass in front of her. "The wings are Alice's" said the voice- she puts them on as a prop- try them- they can only do good! Now, it is high time you went back in and did your cleaning for me."

GiGi decided to do as bidden, and looked at the shop-door which was closed fast shut- with no light on inside. She put on her wings, and went round to the front of the house to the main door, where through the stained glass she could make out a light inside and to the left the voices of the Trusty's in the Tearoom. She knocked, rather hopelessly as the Trusty's din drowned out the possibility of the Warden hearing anything from the back of the house.

A young man appeared on the step beside her, dressed in jeans, hoodie and top hat, carrying a walking cane. He wore Wellington Boots that were several sizes too big for him.

"What do you want, and what is your Business here?" he asked.

"I want to be let in." said GiGi, "I'm late for a Bored meeting, for which I am a Trusty, and also I need to clean the house first."

"Well you won't get an answer knocking like that." he said "You need to rap, harder, and with a cane, like THIS!" He approached the door, twirled his cane, and rapped three times. 

The door swung open, and there on the doormat, was the cat.

Concerning which, dear Em, we shall hear more next week. For now my little one- enjoy your new baby sister. Soon she will grow bigger and then you can play together. In the mean-time, be helpful to Mummy, give Daddy a hard-time, and I shall make you some goose-wings of your own for when you come at Christmas!

Your ever-loving Grand-mother, GiGi xxxxx

Monday, 4 November 2013

It's my own Unintention.

Dearest Emily,

Well, my journey to work at the Bookroom this morning became rather an adventure in itself- and I started to feel rather like GiGi the character in your little sister's new book!

It all began as normal- 'Rush Hour' hereabouts actually means me rushing because I'm late- free-wheeling down the lane, around a corner then so on downwards to meet the old railway line. Then it's a bare ten minute cycle along the leafy old track, with the odd interruption- a hello to a man and his dog, or a stop and let a horse-rider go by, and heigh-ho there I am opening up the shop for the day.

Not today though.

There I was cycling along amidst my own thoughts- admittedly vaguely noticing a few more puddles to navigate than usual- when I was suddenly caught short by a proper big flood barring my way. The house next to what used to be a crossroads, but was now a river- had been deserted. I must have been stock-still, mouth agape for quite some time. Late as usual, I pondered my choices. If I went round the road-way, which would also require turning back the way I came- it'd take me a good additional forty minutes. So, I decided to go 'off-piste' and walked through what I'd wrongly considered to be a large puddle leading to a field. Ordinarily the road must have dipped down quite a bit there- as I found my padded boots covered, and now rather heavy as they soaked up as much water as they could hold. My jeans reciprocated the favour, and I was reminded of conscious exercise sessions taken in Hyde Park in years gone by, when I would run its perimeter weighed down by choice with ankle weights. Not to be deterred, I spied a field, with a gate and without a Bull in- and traversed across this diagonally to ( I thought common-sensibly ) rejoin the railway track post-flood. I hadn't reckoned with the field also being water-logged. But, my trusty old 70's bike and I squished across this- and met with a small bracken-covered valley- a four tier barbed wire fence, and my beloved rush-hour normality beyond this. So- bike lifted over, I just about managed the fence myself- and with a rip on the seat of my jeans- rejoined the track, smoked a celebratory Camel, and continued as normal.

But still, a good two hours later as I begin to write this, with my boots drying on the radiator beside my desk, my socks past caring about in the bin- and two thirds of my days wages spent on a natty pair of red over the knee socks at a nearby establishment, my soaking jeans leave my feet rather cold- and I'm sneezing up a storm.

What a palaver Em! Back to our story methinks...


 " I heard no sound as I stood,
 But the rivulet from the lawn,
Running down to my own dark wood,
Or the voice of the long sea-wave as it swell'd,
Now and then in the dim gray dawn"

AFTER A WHILE, the noise seemed to gradually die down, till all was dead silence, and GiGi lifted up her head in some alarm.

There was no-one to be seen, and her first thought was that she had missed something- as though something had happened but she didn't see it- with a feeling like a dream you cannot remember upon wakening- she thought later. She also remembered later, that it was at this point in her adventures that the sky was at its darkest, and that looking up into it- she had seen no Mrs Cameraman, no little Angel Alice, but she had thought she made out the face of a black cat, and that it was smiling from ear to ear at her. 

Just then, her thoughts were interrupted by a loud shouting of:- "Ahoy! Ahoy! Mrs Middleton, I presume?"

This greeting came from a White Knight, who drew up at GiGi's side, and promptly tumbled off of his horse, head-first, into a ditch. 

Mumbling away to himself, he stood up, re-mounted his horse, and put back his shaggy hair with both hands.
His armour was quite ill-fitting and GiGi thought he looked like quite the most unlikely soldier that she could ever imagine.

"Hello. Are you all-right, can I help?" she said.

"No, no, it's quite all-right" said the Knight "I am here to help you. I shall see you safe to the edge of the wood".

At this, he smiled gently, and slid sideways off of his horse.

Climbing back on, both horse and rider continued alongside GiGi repeating a series of unfortunate events along the way. This began with the horse stopping (which it frequently did) and then the Knight tumbling off either over its head, its back-side, or to the left or the right. GiGi learned quite quickly that it was best to walk at a fair distance between herself and the White Knight- just to be on the safe-side.

"Ahem, you appear to have quite a bit of trouble staying on your horse. Have you not had much practice?"

" No, no, yes, yes- I have had lot's of practise. Lots of time with horses, indeed its my own Unintention, that is the problem- always has been!" said the Knight by way of explanation. "Anyhow, the important thing is to see you safely out of the wood. My Unintention will always be the same, as ever!"

GiGi was just about to venture that she didn't quite understand, when the horse startled again, stopping short quite suddenly- which projected the Knight straight over its head and he then fell on top of his own head exactly in the path where GiGi was walking.

She was quite frightened this time, and said so in an anxious tone as she picked him up "I hope no bones are broken?"

"None to speak of" the Knight said, as if he didn't mind breaking two or three of them.

"As I was saying. My Unintention has always been like this- which is why I put a bell on his Bridle". So, GiGi gleaned, that the horse's name  was Unintentional, and that he had always been like this. However, GiGi did not quite get the bell-bit.

"So, how does the bell help?" she said.

"Ah, well- that was a stroke of genius" said the Knight. 'He kept stopping you see. I decided that the bell would help keep him focussed on where he was going- rather like a carrot with a donkey- what is more- the sound of the bell would make him continue to look at it! Clever- huh?"

GiGi bit her lip- as she was about to say that it was not working very well- but the Knight carried on.

"And, it works! You should have seen him before. He was never able to walk more than five paces without stopping short and throwing me off.Now, as well, he has an audible early warning system- so others know he is coming!"

At this, he smiled and looked so pleased with himself that GiGi thought better of response.

There was a short silence after this, and then the Knight went on again. "I do have clever ideas you see, I daresay you noticed, last time when you picked me up, that I was looking rather thoughtful?"

"You were a little grave" said GiGi.

"Well, I was just inventing a new song- one which answers questions, you see. Would you like to hear it?"

"Ye, es" said GiGi hesitatingly. "Is it very long?" as she had heard a good deal of poetry already that hadn't really made an awful lot of sense to her ears.

"It's long" said the Knight " but, it is very, very beautiful. Everybody that hears me sing it- either it brings tears to their eyes, or else..."

"Or else what?" said GiGi, for the Knight had made a sudden pause.

"Or else it doesn't, you know. The name of the song is 'Past Forward', but that's just what it is called for now. I think it has a better name coming soon 'Ways and Means'. No, I changed that- better is 'Portals of Fate' or not, it could just as well be 'Passing through the Gate'."

So saying, he stopped his horse, and let the reigns fall on its neck, and then slowly beating the time with one hand, and with a faint smile lighting up his face, as if he was enjoying the music in his head, he began...

"I'll tell thee everything I know. There's little to relate.
It's all about Mrs Cameraman,
A-passing through a gate.

Where are you Mrs C, I said,
And why not in your crib?
And her answer trickled through my head,
Like water through a sieve.

She said she was among the skies,
And couldn't reach the gate.
Those in the House who couldn't see,
Had helped to seal her fate.

But while in uffish thought she stood,
A soul came gallumphing through,
And tallied in the Tulgy wood,
Giving hope as to what it would do.

So, tell her once, and tell her twice,
When they are in the 'Purgatreeeee!' 
To get her broom, look twice at the moon,
And sweep the house 'thrice cleeen!'

( at the end of each second line in this verse, his voice got very shrill )

And now, if 'er I put,
My fingers into glue,
Or madly squeeze my right-hand foot,
Into a left-hand shoe.
I weep for it reminds me so,
Of the Mrs C, I used to know.
Whose look is mild, whose speech now slow,
Whose fame is whiter than the snow,
Whose eyes, like cinders all-aglow,
Who seemed distracted by her woe.
Who rocks her body to and fro.
And mutters mumblings sweet and low,
As if her mouth is full of dough,
And snorting like a Gruffalo,
It now seems like long ago,
She told me how she should be shown."

At the end of this ballad, he gathered up his reigns, and turned the horse's head along the road by which they had come. "You've only a few yards to go," he said "down the hill, and over that little brook, and then you'll be back at the house. But, you'll stay and see me off first?" he added as GiGi turned with an eager look in the direction to which he had pointed. "I sha'n't be long. You'll wait and wave your handkerchief when I get to that turn in the road! I think I will be encouraged you see."

"Of course I'll wait," said GiGi: "and thank you very much for coming so far- and for the song- I liked it very much."

"I hope so," the Knight said doubtfully: "But you didn't cry as much as I thought you would."

So they shook hands and the Knight rode slowly into the forest. "It won't take long to see him off, I expect," GiGi said to herself, as she stood watching him. "there he goes, right on his head as usual! However, he gets on again pretty easily- that comes of having things here and there so much." So she went on, talking to herself, as she watched the horse walking leisurely along the road, and the Knight tumbled off, first to one side and then the other. After the fourth or fifth tumble he reached the turn, and she waved her handkerchief to him, and waited until he was out of sight.

"I hope it encouraged him" she said, as she turned to run down the hill; "and now for the last brook, and back at last to the house, and my Cleaning! How grand it sounds!" A very few steps brought her to the edge of the brook "Home, at last!" she cried, as she bounded across.

And so we end tonight, dearest Em. lovely to chat with you yesterday. Shame your Magic Wand couldn't conjour up more fireworks!

Sleep tight,

Your ever-loving Grand-Mother, GiGi xxxx

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

GiGi and the Cat- Don Churchillion and the Litany Bird

Dearest Em,

Well the week begins with a great big storm! You bumped your head, and we are still awaiting the arrival of your new baby sister. So let's divert ourselves and get another chapter drafted- over to you Em for your perusal...

BY THIS TIME, GiGi had given up being surprised at anything that happened here-abouts, as she walked away from the shop and her older self and Emily who continued their chattering and laughing.
She walked down a hill in what she considered a likely direction back towards the house and the Bored Meeting. Suddenly the Champagne bottle came rolling down the hill, knocking her off her feet and shouting 'whooahhh!' as it headed towards a tree. There it stopped, and was promptly joined by a Magpie, who pecked away at the top until it had managed to get the bottle upright. GiGi now saw that the bottle was a sort of man- well, it had a man's head anyhow. The bottle-man was laughing and looked straight through her.

GiGi stood up, dusted herself off, and thought she might just be ready for an apology. She waited, arms crossed.

"It's very provoking" the Bottle Man said, after a long silence, looking away from GiGi as he spoke "to be stared at, with crossed arms as well, very!"

"I", began GiGi... "Well; I just thought you might perhaps be about to apologise for knocking me over!"

"Some people", said the Bottle Man- looking at a tree "expect all the wrong things. No common-sense- none whatsoever!" GiGi didn't quite know what to make of this last sentence, or how to speak further with this 'person' whose glance suggested he was addressing a tree rather than her. However, he, and the Magpie, were rather crossing her path, and she deliberated going around them perhaps, whilst standing a while in thought.

Whilst doing so, the words of the poem she had first started reading at the house, came back to her and she pieced them together and spoke them out loud;

Twasn't brillig, as the Slithey Toves,
All growled and gambled, and were grave.
All whimsy were her Borogoves,
And the Home-Rath's dismayed.

"Beware the 'Ware-of-All" my Girl!
The mouth that snipes, the claws that snatch,
Beware the Monstrous Crow, and Shun,
The frumious Can-all-Snatch!"

She took her Besum Broom in hand,
Long time the vexome for she sought-
So rested she, by the Purgatree,
And stood a while in thought

And as in faffing thought, she stood,
The ware-of-all, with eyes aflame,
Came baffling through the tulgy-wood,
And murmured as it came!

One-two! One two! And through 
The besum-broom went snicker-snack!

Just then, the man looked her straight in the eyes, and said:-

"Oh, that's not the end of that poem you know, there are a clear two and a half more verses, and- don't just stand there chattering away to yourself, pray tell us your name and state your Business here!"

" My name is GiGi, and I have no Business here that I know of, at least, I don't think so".

"You don't think!" said the man. "Well, that's rather stupid! One ought to think, at the very least. What is more- of course- you have Business here, else you wouldn't be here! Why, I am Don Churchillion, and I know my Business, and so, my girl- should you!".

Just then, the bird decided to stop pecking at Don Churchillion's head. He spoke-

"I am Litany Magpie, and I; know my Business, and Don Churchillion's Business, and your Business, and Tweedleton's Business, and the Business of Franklin D Rarebit, and Business concerning Harpy Lapette. I also know the Business of the Slithey Tove, and Ethan Safertee's Business is known to me. The Business of the Cautionary Tail is second to none in my knowledge. The Business of the Lily, and the Rosebuds and the Daisies are all of my known. Mrs Cameraman's Business and that of Alice in her helping, are of my own deep regard. I, make it my Business to know about the Business of all about here. Business information is shiny and like treasure. Each pearl, I could string into a necklace of wisdom about your throat!"

GiGi interjected here. "Excuse me, but did you say that you knew my Business, and Mrs Cameraman's Business? Please tell me what they are?"

Litany replied, "No. I said- ' I am Litany Magpie, and I; know my Business  and Don Churchillion's Business, and your Business, and Tweedleton's Business, and the Business of Franklin D Rarebit, and Business concerning Harpy Lapette."

Don Churchillion cut in here with a polite cough. "You shouldn't encourage him to repeat himself you know- he does this quite often. THANK-YOU LITANY" he said "That is quite sufficient for now".

The bird looked rather crestfallen, and continued repeating its discourse though quietly to itself now.

"Now, let us get back to your last remark".

"I am afraid that I don't remember it" said GiGi.

"Well, that's no good at all" said Don Churchillion "Being afraid of remarks, is quite simply something that Churchillion's DO NOT DO. Now, just take a good look at me. I am one who has descended from a Great Leader. You know I am, mayhap you'll never see such another, and to show you I'm not proud, you may shake hands with me."

He smiled, and looked rather pleased with himself, but no hand appeared.

"Yes, I have Churchillian ears, you know. If I need to get the answers to anything at all then we all get together and we decide what to do about it. Only the other day, we were all in a cabinet, and discussing the ways of this and that, and how the numbers didn't add up, and we decided that it just was not good enough- and that something should be done, and all in all we decided that it was a funny Business".

At this, the Bird piped up " You see, that's what I said. I know Don Churchillion's Business, and your Business, and Tweedleton's Business..."

"EXCUSE ME PLEASE BOTH OF YOU" GiGi interrupted "I apologise for cutting in, but perhaps both of you would be so kind as to enlighten me as to what exactly my Busines is?"

They both looked at each other, and Don Churchillion spoke...

"But, you already know this- you said it yourself in the poem!"

"I did?" said GiGi.

"Oh, dear me". Don Churchillion shook his head, seconded by the Litany Bird, who then whispered in his ear.

Don Churchillion spoke. "If you had all of the numbers and then took one away, what would you have?"

"I'm sorry, what numbers?" said GiGi.

"The numbers. The ones that don't add up." said Don Churchillion.

"But, that doesn't make sense" said GiGi "If the numbers don't add up, then how can you ask someone to take one away?".

"Well there you are, that's what I said. " said Don Churchillion "You are a clever girl- we agree with each other!".

GiGi tried another tack "You mentioned that I said it myself in the poem?" They both nodded at once.

"What, exactly, did I say in the poem?"

"Oh, dear me!" Don Churchillion and the Litany Bird shook their heads in tandem. "Shall I repeat myself? " said Litany "NO!" said Don Churchillion. "I shall SPELL IT OUT FOR HER".

"GiGi, Dear Girl. Your Business is to enable Mrs Cameraman to come back home."

They looked at each other and sighed ("She's picked a dim one here") was said as an aside.

"You have a broom, don't you?"

GiGi did, and she said so-

"Well, the 'Ware-of-All' needs defeating quite clearly, and what is more- all the nay-natterers are in the Purgatree right now- so you can go about your Business freely! Now, we don't think that you intend to stay here the rest of your life; so, Good-Bye!". Don Churchillion promptly shut his eyes tightly.

At this, both turned around, and waved in unison stating again "Good-Bye!".

GiGi thought about speaking, but at that moment was interrupted by the deafening sound of stomping feet...

And that's the end for tonight, dear Emily. 

Sleep tight, dream nice dreams,

Your ever-loving Grand-mother, GiGi,   



Tuesday, 22 October 2013

GiGi and the Cat- "Somebody's shawl is being blown away"...

Dearest Emily,

Whilst we patiently await the arrival of your baby sister, and the storm-clouds gather over your Grandmother's house- let's have a bash at chapter five, before you go to bed...

Now half to the setting moon are gone,

    And half to the rising day;

Low on the sand and loud on the stone
    The last wheel echoes away.
Tennyson- Maud

SHE CAUGHT THE SHAWL as she spoke, and looked about for the owner. In another moment, the lady in white who had appeared before in the sky- now became visible up high above the wood. GiGi rubbed her eyes, and blinked- but there she was- and it may have been her fancy- but she didn't look quite so pale and ghostly. The woman looked straight at her- and GiGi made up her mind to address her, lest she dissappear again,

"I'm very glad I happened to be in the way" she said, and held out the shawl.

The lady just looked at her. GiGi began, haltingly once more.

" Are you, pardon my asking, but might you be the lady who lived in the house I came from today- the Queen of the house, perhaps?"

"Well, yes" answered the woman "If you call that a Queen. It isn't my notion of the thing at all".

GiGi thought it would never do to have an argument at the very beginning of their conversation, so she smiled and said. "If you'll tell me how to address you, I'll do as well as I can."

"But that is simply neither here, nor there!" groaned the poor lady. "What I want, is to get back in!".

"In the house" ventured GiGi.

"Yes" said the lady "After all, it is my house." All at once her cheeks got redder, she flickered, and then became pale again. GiGi started "Oh, now don't get upset, don't disappear again- I do understand!"

"No, you do not!" said the lady "It's the house you see- it's all out of temper, it's happened before, and it's happening again, and so it will keep on, until someone does something. I've listened, I've heard them all saying so, but what's the use? Eh, what's the use?" At this she flickered and got redder and paler again "You don't understand, nobody understands, it's really not on"  She carried on mumbling and GiGi cut in.
" I don't quite understand what's to be done" she said, "but I do see that you need some help getting back in." With that, she looked down and realised she was still holding the shawl, and her broomstick.
"Umm, would you like your shawl back?"

"No, no, not as it is- it used to be red you know, but after the exercise it faded. You put it on, it's getting quite chilly". And so it was, an easterly wind was whipping up- and GiGi heard a sort of giggle from somewhere.

GiGi wrapped the shawl around her shoulders, and turning her gaze back up to the sky, she saw a little Angel.

"Who" said the lady "Is that, and what is she doing here?". GiGi knew the answer to this one.
" Her name, is Alice. She's here to make things better. I met her parents. That is what she is here for!"

"Better?" the woman almost shrieked "Better, eh?" With this her cheeks got at once red, pale and flickered, her eyes became clearer, and bright in the moonlight, as the little angel joined her above and just to the left of her in the sky. "Beeetter, Beetter, beetterrr...." With this both dissappeared.

          *     *     *     *      *      *      *     *      *     *      *      *     *     *      *     *      *     *      *

As GiGi wrapped herself up in the shawl, and used the broomstick as a walking aid against the wind, she came across a sign saying that she was in 'Middleton'.

As she walked towards the sign, she found that she was all at once looking at the inside of a dark shop- and watching two people talking to each other. The two people seemed familiar, as though the one on the left was herself in some years to come, and the one on the right, was her Grand-daughter Emily.

GiGi stopped still, and tried to listen to what they were saying. The Grand-mother was telling a story, and the little girl was enjoying it, and suggesting bits of her own, which the Grand-mother added in to her tale, whilst she carried on knitting a shawl.

" And so, the poor lady was stuck. Up in the sky, and couldn't get down, and back to her own house!"

" But that's because everyone in it, needed to have a good clear up!" said Emily.

" So, what did they do next Emily?"

" Well...." Emily thought. "I'm not really sure yet, but there was that poem, wasn't there..."

"Ah, yes, and there was another verse, or two. It went like this..."

And as in faffing thought, she stood,
The ware-of-all, with eyes aflame,
Came baffling through the tulgy-wood,
And murmured as it came!

One-two! One two! And through 
The besum-broom went snicker-snack!

Emily cut in here. "I know, it was time to do some sweeping up! The house needed cleaning! All those creatures were out in the Purgatree sorting themselves out. So, she should just get on with the cleaning!"

The Grand-mother just laughed and went on with her knitting.

GiGi just stood still for a minute more, as the shop disappeared, and on the ground before her were two eggs and a bottle of Champagne. She hardly noticed these, her thoughts , were as perplexed as her brow.

Time for bed, Emily. Help me next time with chapter six, sleep tight.

Your ever-loving Grand-mother, GiGi xxx

Monday, 14 October 2013

GiGi and the Cat- Tweedleton's Wilderness

Dearest Em,

Chapter Four begins;

For nature is one with rapine, a harm no preacher can heal;
The Mayfly is torn by the swallow, the sparrow spear'd by the Shrike,
And the whole little wood where I sit is a world of plunder and prey.

SHE VERY SOON CAME to an open field, with a wood on the other side of it. A finger post appeared stating 'The Wilderness-This way',. "Well, all right then" said GiGi to herself, as she made up her mind to go on "For I certainly won't go back just yet, not while the Queen needs me to be her Messenger".
Having no idea whatsoever where that thought had formed itself, along with some nonsense about the cat would agree, and that her knitting was to be a sleeve of care- she trampled on up the down whilst wondering what on earth was this all about anyway, why was she here and what was her purpose exactly?
And so went her rambling thoughts in this way, as she tramped up the Down and through the field towards the Wilderness. Her muttering thoughts seemed to become audible as she stared at the ground along the way- until at once she realised the mutterings weren't hers now, but someone elses entirely. She looked up to see a Rabbit (at least that's what she thought it first) marching backwards and forwards, whilst tapping and shaking a pocket watch, which didn't seem to be working. "Hurry up- hurry up- we haven't got all the time in the World!" she heard.

 GiGi looked at the Rabbit more closely- his voice, and surely his appearance? was known to her. This seemed to GiGi a little strange, as she wan't aware that she knew any six foot tall Rabbit-people who wore Dinner jackets and Top Hats. But the familiarity prompted her to call out to him, and interrupt his pre-occupation.
"Hello there! Hello there!" she said, as if to an old friend, and held out her hand for a greeting. Instead, the creature waved and smiled and addressed her directly.
"Do you know where you are going?" he said. "If you don't, then any road will take you there".
"Yes, no, I mean, not really. I wish I did, but then, maybe I do".
"Think again" he said "That won't do".
"Please would you tell me what you call yourself?" GiGi said, as she found that she suddenly really wanted to know.
"Franklin D.Rarebit" he announced with a sweeping bow, and doffing his top hat to her.
She heard herself giggle and found herself curtseying, and should have been polite enough to introduce herself, but there seemed to be no need. She felt that she knew him already, but that his appearance was all at once a Dickensian Artful Dodger, all mixed up with a Centaur, albeit with Rabbit legs- but familiar or not- she made her mind up not to comment about this. He spoke-

'She took her Besum Broom in hand,
Long time the vexome for she sought-
So rested she, by the Purgatree,
And stood a while in thought'

"Oh, Really!" GiGi burst out, as she was getting rather frustrated with all the nonsense today. "And what EXACTLY does that mean?"
Mr Rarebit, merely tapped his brow. "I give you this" He said and then gestured her along her way. " Watch yourself, be careful what you wish for, and HURRY UP- we don't have all the time in the World you know!" At this point he remembered his watch, shook it, and seemed to realise that it wasn't working. With a cheerful wave, he skipped away.

Two finger post appeared  "To the Middle of the Wilderness where DBH Tweedleton lives", and the other "The Right Way to the Wilderness where DBH Tweedleton lives", but as they both pointed the same way, there was nothing to be done.

"I do believe" said GiGi to herself "That all this nonsense just means the same thing! Well I'll go in, but I won't stay long, as it is getting dark, and I really should get to the Bored Meeting. I've lost sight of the Cat, or the plot anyway..."
Her thoughts trailed away as she turned a sharp corner, where she came upon a strange little man, so suddenly that she could not help starting back. In a moment she recovered herself- whilst noticing that the man appeared to know her.

"Ooh, ah, yes!" was all he said as a greeting. "Now, I needed to speak with you quietly." With this, he glanced at the book in his hand, which now gained his attention. He made a tutting sound, and turned the pages admiring the contents and shaking his head all at the same time.
"You wanted something?" GiGi said.
"What?" the man seemed distracted by her question, and returned to his book "Nohow, no- ooh just look at this. I shall add it to my collection!"
GiGi tried again. " You said that you wanted to speak with me quietly"
"Yes, yes yes." He turned gilt edged pages. "I just bought this one. Couldn't help myself! Had to get out of the Tulgy Wood for a bit, and visit Cecil Court. Poetry, Poetry!!! Let me read you a little!"
GiGi tried once more. "You did say, that you wanted to speak with me quietly?"
"A poem, now where is it. You like poetry don't you!"
GiGi said she did, but that it was getting dark, so perhaps not a long poem, and perhaps he could be so kind as to show her the way out? 
"Hmm, it's the other you know, he's at it again. We're all for it some bother again. I remember all the bother before!" With this, he tutted and pulled at his beard, and looked rather sorry for himself.
"Perhaps I can help- If you will tell me how?"
This seemed to fall on deaf ears- as the man turned page after page, until satisfied. "AHAH, now!"
He cleared his throat and declaimed.

"The sun was shining"

Here, GiGi ventured to interrupt "If it's very long" she said as politely as she could "Would you first tell me which road-"

DBH smiled gently and began again,

"The sun was shining on the sea,
Shining with all its might,
He did his very best to make
The billows smooth and bright.
And this was odd because it was
The middle of the night.

The moon was shining sulkily
Because she thought the sun
Had no business to be there
After the day was done-
'It's very rude of him' she said
'To come and spoil the fun"

The sea was wet as wet could be
The sands were dry as dry.
You could not see a cloud because
No cloud was in the sky
No birds were flying overhead
The Monstrous Crow had gone.

The Plumber was a Lifeboat man
Who walked about this land.
He wept like anything to see
Such quantities of sand.
If this were only cleared away,
He said, it would be Grand..."

At this point, GiGi turned and began to walk off- with DBH calling to her;

"Your Broom, here, don't forget that! It's what you came for after all. Take it, and get on with your cleaning. We're all waiting you know!"

GiGi shook her head in bewilderment, and headed off without any idea of the way back in the dark.
Consoling herself with the Rabbit's advice- she didn't know where she was going- so today it seemed quite sensible- that any road would get her there. The words from the rhyme that the Tweedleton spoke came back to her 'The Plumber was a Lifeboat man' sounded at once odd, but familiar, and as she looked down across the way, she thought she recognised the Bay. Screwing up her eyes, she thought she saw Grumpa and a Cat, in a boat, heading out to sea.

"It's Grumpa and Storm!" She said out-loud, and yelled and waved at them- but they paid no attention whatsoever, and headed off wherever it was they were going.

"Oh well", she said to herself- "I suppose something will make sense at some time or another. Best just get on- the Bored Meeting won't go on forever- I hope!"

Using her broom as a walking stick she turned left and sort of knew where she was going now. Just them the wind whipped up and GiGi's hat flew off of her head and away.

That's all for tonight my little one! Until next time, be a good girl for Mummy and Daddy,

Your ever-loving Grand-mother, GiGi xxx

Monday, 7 October 2013

GiGi and the Cat- The Purgatree and what GiGi found there.

Dearest Em,

And now for the draft of the third chapter of your little sister's book...

Is it peace, or war? Civil war, as I think
and that of a kind
The viler, as underhand, not openly
bearing the sword.
                                       Tennyson, Maud

"WHAT IS IT ABOUT A CAT, that I ought to be able to remember?" said GiGi, more to herself than anyone else, as anyone, or anything for that matter didn't seem to be there- it was just this big tree- straight in front of her.
Just then, she noticed the book that she was still clutching, and she did remember that she had been reading a poem, one that somehow sounded all at once familiar, yet not quite the same. GiGi opened the book and read the second verse.

"Beware the 'Ware-of-All" my Girl!
The mouth that snipes, the claws that snatch,
Beware the Monstrous Crow, and Shun,
The frumious Can-all-Snatch!"

All of a sudden, the sky became dark, and the sound of flapping wings filled the air- but GiGi could not see what it was that was flapping- it somehow didn't seem real- which was an odd thing to think right now, GiGi reasoned. As she looked towards the house- she caught sight of something slipping out of the Tower, and then slither down the wall, just as a creature flew out of the tree, and plucked up another from the ground beneath it. All three headed for the Tree, and all at once stopped there, one clinging to the trunk, the other two disappeared up onto the branches.

The creature who clung to the trunk was breathing heavily and sweating. He stared at GiGi for a minute, whilst trying to catch his breath.

"It's the Monstrous Crow, it's the Monstrous Crow!" The creature wiped his forehead with his hands (well GiGi thought that's what they must be, he used them as feet to run with too- but hey, what's normal today?) "You must listen to me-or it will get you, go, or they will get you in the end! It's always been the same. It won't change. I should know, better than anyone here."
With that, his eyes darted right, then left, and his head turned a full circle, before he dived head-first into a murky 'puddle' it looked like, right there under the tree. 
Almost immediately, a toad hopped up from a branch of the tree into a higher one in a clearing, and fixed a lidded eye on GiGi, who felt rather chilly all of a sudden. The toad rocked, and it too had a rather heavy sort of breathing she noticed.

"Get out you, get out while you still can!" GiGi wasn't sure if she actuall wanted to speak with the toad- so she stood still and folded her arms and just looked him in the one eye he stared at her with. All was quiet for some time, whilst he rocked and stared. He then made a sort of gutteral belch which wasn't at all pleasant to witness and opened his slithey mouth again;
"I told them all. I told them. It's curtains for them. HAH! They think they'll be there for Christmas, FOOLS! I told them once, but they wouldn't listen, so I have come back to tell them again. FOOLS!"
Satisfied by this, he lowered the heavy lid of the one eye that stared and turned his back on her.
At this point, a cackling crackly laugh was to be heard from within the tree, accompanied by some rustling and scratching, and a head appeared out of the branches.
"And who might you be? " asked GiGi- as she had now met three creatures of a like she had never before come across, and she thought them rather bad-mannered in not introducing themselves at least, what with their warnings of doom and gloom and telling her to get away.
"Harpy Lapette, my pretty. Harpy Lapette."
"Isn't he lovely, my Slithey Tove? He's mine, all mine...Not Ethan Safertie Pseudolar, I don't mean him dear- he doesn't even come up here. He just hides in the murky waters, no good to me there."
She muttered to herself, and put out a claw to search the branch where the toad was last, and satisfied that he was still where she wanted him, she cackled and continued...
"Come here my pretty, come up into the Purgatree. All you need to do is see things differently". GiGi rather thought she was seeing things differently today, and started to say so.
"No, no, no, NO!" said Harpy. "I'm not going to listen to this! Don't be as stupid as you look. that is NOT what I am talking about. You need to listen to all the warnings, all the grumbles, all the difficulties. You need to listen to it all, until it makes your head spin. Then, you must be very fed-up with it all, very fed up indeed. Then, you must decide that they are all right, you are wrong, and there is no hope at all! That's the way. And it is all the better if you start telling the others too. Tell them they are wrong, tell them thew Monstrous Crow is coming. Tell them, it's all hopeless, and no good can come of it, none at all".
GiGi did rather feel as though her head was spinning listening to all this gloom, but felt no compulsion to join Harpy in the tree. Harpy resumed her discourse.
"Come here my pretty. Come up into the Purgatree, if you have anything to offer me of course. Because if you have, I shall break your skin and have you for my supper. I start with the eyes, they are really quite all that I need. Mustn't put on too much weight you know!"
GiGi shuddered as the Vulture cackled, and GiGi caught sight of a tail, with an arrow-like point on the end, which flicked around the trunk, and disappeared behind it.
Just then, Ethan Safertie popped up from the murky waters- and shouted at her;
"Don't you go talking to the Cautionary Tale whatever you do! His words are worth a thousand pounds a minute. There'll be nothing left in the bank if you do that, and then what will become of us" He wiped his brow again.
"You're wasting your time Ethan. She's got nothing to offer us! No new eyeballs for supper tonight. At least I shall keep my figure." Harpy then called to her Slithey Tove, telling him not to move too far from her, as she may need something from him presently.

GiGi realised that actually there wasn't much point in talking to this miserable bunch, no wonder they were all in the Purgatree, she thought. Looking up at the sky, she couldn't see any Monstrous Crow- just the lilacs and blues and pinky orange hues of the sunset- and the Woman's face which appeared again and looked straight at her, and then down towards a gate.

It may have been GiGi's fancy, but the Woman appeared a bit less pale this time. In an instant she was gone, but GiGi now felt she was a kind of Queen. "Yes" she said to herself "That's it! She wants me to let her in to her Castle. The cat knew that all the time, wherever it has gone. I must tell the Bored, when I go to the meeting". But GiGi didn't think that it was quite time for that yet, and opened the gate and set off up the hill towards the Wilderness beyond.

So there we are Emily, better get on with the next chapter now- Mummy looks rather ready to bring you your sister quite soon!

Your ever-loving Grand-Mother, GiGi xxx