Well there’s always a story. The Case of the Balloon Journey had one, naturally. Harvey Cholmondeley, the intrepid and rather dishevelled traveller had been a minor, though pivotal, character in the story of The Vital Chapter.
It was he who flew from somewhere in Africa, at the bidding of his sister-in-law, to rescue his brother Algernon from a bout of depression. Quite what he did, we never discovered. After his visit, however, Algy became the Lord Admiral of the High Skies and hero of our proud nation.
So what did Harvey do after that mysterious intervention? Well, to be honest, he trailed around many Steampunk-Shrunk stalls, where he often took pride of place at the centre of the displays. He drew people in. They admired his case, complete with clouds, balloon basket, flickering burner, hip flask, map and other necessities. They often wished they had the funds or the room in their crowded houses for his case, but departed instead with some smaller trinket.
All this changed last weekend, though. A delightful gentleman, with a twinkle in his eye, gazed at the case for some time, then announced, “I rather think I need to buy that.”
“I rather think you do,” agreed his good lady.
The gentleman had, it transpired, been an aviator in his younger days and it was clear that Harvey was off to an excellent new home.
Imagine our surprise, though, when an illustrated message reached Steampunk Towers a few days later.
The ladies and gentlemen gathered around eagerly to discover news of their erstwhile companion. Algy was, understandably, particularly interested.
Harvey had, it appeared, changed his name to Bertie, hoisted a Union Flag on one of the ropes, acquired an anchor and a travelling companion in the form of a seagull, which had made itself quite at home in a coil of rope. The hip flask, we noted, was still in the pocket of his greatcoat, but perched on the side of the gondola was an almost certainly alcoholic iced drink, complete with curly straws.
Algernon spoke for us all when he announced, “I see that my brother has found a home with a true British eccentric who shares our taste for the minutely absurd. How perfectly delightful.”
And it was so very thoughtful of the gentleman to think to share with us the further adventures of one of our own.