Professor Erazmus’s Gifts

For sale at the SteampunkDollsHouseHigh in one of the attic rooms of the famed Steampunk-Shrunk Towers, Professor Erazmus keeps himself very much to himself.  This is partly because he prefers his own company, but mostly because he does not wish anyone to interfere with his Scrying Machine – a contraption of such sophistication and complexity that its clockwork mechanisms are built into the very walls of the building.

With this astonishing device, the professor is able to peer into the homes and lives of any of his acquaintances and – more especially – those of his many wards.  These young people have now left the safety of Steampunk-Shrunk Towers and moved on to make new lives for themselves in all corners of this world and a few others.

However Erazmus still keeps a keen, fatherly eye on each of them and uses his machine to check that all is well in their new homes.

At the approach of the festive season, the professor begins to prowl around the many workshops, inventing rooms and creative corners of Steampunk-Shrunk Towers in search of the perfect gifts for these much-loved young people to whom he has been guardian for so long.  It is with great care and delight that he selects the perfect gift for each of them.

Of course, because of the clever construction of the scrying machine, Erazmus has the added pleasure of being able to watch the reactions of his wards as they open their parcels, no matter how far away they are now living.

Here is Ruby, who moved away long ago.  For her the Professor has chosen one of these delicate holographic scrying mirrors.

He hopes that this will encourage her to keep in touch and let him know what she is up to these days, but he’s not sure that his plan will succeed.

 

 

 

a young showmanThis is young Rufus, who moved away to begin a career as an inventor and travelling showman and was a great favourite of Erazmus’s.

To this enterprising young man, Professor Erasmus has chosen to give this time machine, as soon as it’s finished.

 

Milly, the steampunk housekeeper robotYoung Henry, here, travelled to the East Coast of the United States some time ago and promptly changed his name.

The professor has decided to send him a robot to assist with the routine jobs involved in working the time machine.

 

Lost in a bookLittle Molly has, he knows, gone to an excellent new home in North Wales.  However he has decided to send her some more books, as she can never have enough.

 

 

 

 

 

The content of this post is now on sale in miniature book format in the SteampunkDollsHouse, with even more illustrations.  It can be bought either as a finished book or as a downloadable DIY page, which can be printed out and made up, with full instructions.

The Professor and his Scrying Room are also available there, at this link.

Robot Rebellion

Poor Augustus.  He looks very apologetic and slightly alarmed.  He holds himself entirely responsible for the furious beeping and light-flashing, not to mention the broken crockery and so forth, but it really isn’t entirely his fault.

You see, when one is a serial collector of all manner of unconsidered trifles, as Shakespeare would have it, there comes a time when a major clear-out must occur.  This was just such a time.

I used vast quantities of broken jewellery, charms and other pleasingly-shaped objects to create some of our Wild and Wonky seasonal tree decorations.   However there is a limit to what can be suspended from a Christmas tree.

I felt that the football boot studs, the broken plastic wind instruments, the polystyrene packaging, the various bottle caps and the two broken toy motorcycles would be a step too far, so I did what I usually do at such times.  I handed them over to the highly enterprising Augustus Robottom and suggested he make some more of his very popular junk robots.

True to form, Gus produced some little wonders.  There was a small butler bot holding a goblet of wine, a robot maid with teapot and cup, several messengers, guard bots and a very cute little handyman with screwdriver, drill and assorted useful bits and bobs.

Then the trouble started.

junk robot bikersGus began to transform the motorbikes.

They had been in a sorry state when I first found them in the 50p box of a local charity shop, but once Augustus had worked his magic and added in some rather unlikely components, he produced a couple of quite extraordinary biker bots.

The paintwork was transformed with glittery nail varnish and metallic wax.  Huge exaust pipes were fashioned from a plastic trumpet and saxophone.  An action figure’s mask became a grille on the front of one.  A plastic drinking straw became a huge steam funnel on the other.  The little robot drivers were fixed into place – one leaning forward eagerly, the other a rather laid-back easy rider.

Gus pronounced himself pleased with the result.

Then the trouble started.

the robots spot the bikerThe smaller robots caught sight of Robot G on his gleaming copper and gold motorbike.  Pandemonium broke out.

Remember R2-D2 at its most animated and loud?  Multiply that by eight and add in the smashing of household items and you’ll have some idea of the hubub caused by the consternation of the jealous little robots.

I’m not sure what that butler was offering me in his jewelled goblet, but it looked rather more like a poisoned chalice than a glass of wine.   Beaded arms and fists were raised and each mouth spewed unbridled fury.  They encircled poor Augustus, each demanding a shiny set of wheels for themselves.  Alas, I had to admit I’d only been able to aquire two bikes.

We both felt it best they didn’t meet Robot I, the second biker.  Fortunately, he was quickly snapped up by a collector in the United States, so their paths will not need to cross.

“Perhaps,” I suggested later, “it would be better to make your next batch of robots without emotion chips.”

Sadly, Augustus agreed.

The remaining robots will be on sale at the Folk Art Market in the Assembly Rooms, Glastonbury, Somerset on Saturday 16th November 2019.  Any who are left will move to one of our Somerset outlets – Magpie Vintage in Midsomer Norton or Street Emporium.  Interested customers who live further afield can contact us via the form on the home page of this website.

 

A Visit to Brasston, Chapter 3

This is all becoming a rather intriguing co-production…

Some long-standing readers of our little blog may recall a post a while ago in which some of the residents of Steampunk-Shrunk Towers discovered a large book about a steampunk city constructed of Lego bricks.  Jan Miller – the author’s mother – who shares our fascination with steampunk and all things miniature, acquired some of the characters who appeared in the original story and then wrote a sequel as a guest blog.  You can read the story so far at this link.

I’m most happy to say that she has now penned a further intriguing chapter in this saga, which I include below.

A visit to Brasston  Chapter 3

Lady Josephine was just taking afternoon tea in the Conservatory when a blinding flash of light and a loud whirring noise made her jump to her feet, knocking over pots and tea things. There materialised in front of her Mr. Ashley G. K. Miller in a strange contraption with whizzing disc and coloured lights. As it came to a halt he called out, ‘Phew, that was a little hairy!’

‘My dear Mr. Miller!’ exclaimed Josephine ‘What a surprise! – how did you get here?’

‘This is my new Time Machine,’ Ashley explained.  ‘ Following the ideas of the esteemed author, Mr. H.G. Wells. I have experimented with it only once before.’

‘Good Gracious! You mean you have travelled through time?!’

‘ Not exactly on this occasion.’  Ashley climbed stiffly out of the chair squashed behind the driving mechanism. ‘No, I did experiment with that last week, but it was a bit weird – I ended up down a rabbit hole with some very strange characters like an hallucinating caterpillar and a mad hatter.  But talking to them and a little girl called Alice, also from the Larger World, I was interested in her experience of changing size in order to be there. As you know, I am from the Larger World, where I wrote my original Traveller’s Guidebook to Brasston. When you and your friends asked for my help in visiting that extraordinary city, I hit upon the idea of trying to use the machine to shrink myself to your size so that we can all go on this trip to Brasston together.’

‘It seems to have worked- and here…’ Ashley rummaged behind the seat, ‘should be a miniaturised version of that very guidebook for you!’

‘Oh thank you!’ exclaimed Josephine. ‘That will make it a lot easier for us to use, and I was wondering how we were going to get the original guidebook inside our Dirigible.’

‘Exactly.’

‘Will you be able to return to your own size when you go home, however?’

‘Well I did when I got out of the rabbit hole – but I’m not quite sure how I did it!’ mused Ashley.

‘Oh dear, you need to write everything down exactly how you did it to get here, before you forget – would you like to join me for tea while you do that?’

‘What an excellent idea’ agreed Ashley, rummaging for his reduced sized notebook, but then realising he had forgotten the pen to match the size to which he had now shrunk. But Lady Josephine furnished the right size of pen.

‘So do you think the Time Machine adapts to the size of the world into which youtravel?’ she asked.

‘Yes, it seems to adapt to whatever the ambient conditions are,’ replied Ashley.

‘How extraordinary!’

‘Yes, I’m just beginning to explore the possibilities.  But I’m not sure if this will help us when we get to Brasston – they are even smaller than you, being Lego! However, my Time Machine, unfortunately, can only take one person at a time.’

‘Oh! How did you find out about this extraordinary Lego city of Brasston?’

‘Well I was reading the esteemed author, Jonathan Swift, about Gulliver’s Travels, and contacting him through my Time Machine, I found he had discovered this place, as well as Lilliput.’

‘Good Gracious! Do you think they will see us as undesirable giant aliens and pin us to the ground also?!’

‘I hope not, but nothing is achieved by being afraid!’

 

We hope you enjoyed that and are looking forward – as we are – to the next instalment.

The steampunk figures and time machine were made by Steampunk-Shrunk and similar items are available at our etsy shop at this link.  Miniature versions of the Brasston book, as featured in this story, are available to order from this site.  Please use the contact form on the home page.

Ashley Miller’s delightful Brasston book can be purchased in a ‘Larger World’ (full)size version from the Brasston Facebook page by clicking here. It would make a thoughtful gift for anyone, including children, interested in Lego and/or steampunk.

The Clockwork Entomologist

It puzzled me… but I enjoy a good puzzle.

I have this pile of vintage clockwork parts, as many of you will know.  Time hasn’t been kind to them, left as they were to rot in an attic for decades.

for sale on Etsy at SteampunkDollsHouseThe ones I can clean up and get working are either sold as they are to automaton makers or turned into pretty clockwork twittering birds that sell as fast as I can make them.  The ones that have seized up completely are taken to pieces, the parts being upcycled into our miniature gizmos and contraptions.

But there was this one.  It defied all reason.  The spring had snapped, the rubber bellows had perished, the little band that turned a few cogs in the middle had disintegrated, and yet, when I turned the key, it whirred into life.  I had no idea how parts of it were still working.

It most certainly couldn’t be sold or turned into a singing bird.  I removed the broken bellows and whistle.   Stubbornly, the part that was left continued to function.  Admittedly it was rather primitive, but each time I gave the key a few turns, the brass bit in the middle zoomed around at a rate of knots and the arm which should have moved the bird waved up and down unevenly, controlled by the blue steel cam.  I presume one of the broken parts had once regulated the speed.  The other mechanisms move relatively sedately.  This one, though, buzzed like an insect as it spun around…

…and that gave me an idea.

I hunted in an old box of bracelet charms and found a few dragonflies, a butterfly and a bee.  These were painted in jewel colours and most were stuck to the casing.  Another was threaded on to a length of copper wire and fixed to the wheel in the centre.

Next I turned my attention to the arm.

Arm!  That was when the idea of the Clockwork Entomologist came to mind.  Somewhere I had…  yes… in one of those boxes of junk-I’ll-find-a-use-for-one-day…

There it was – a 12th scale butterfly net!

Constructing a pair of arms and hands from epoxy putty was relatively easy.  One held the net and was molded to the flailing metal arm.  The other held a diminutive magnifying glass, cobbled together with a few bits from the stash.  It fitted neatly into the now empty housing from the bird whistle.  A pair of small black sleeves and cuffs dressed the arms in a suitably formal fashion.  My entomologist might lack all other body parts, but those he had were at least well attired.

The mechanism was housed in a small cardboard box, decorated with an assemblage of suitable images.  A few coffee stirrers were sawn up to make a cover for the spring, so that the sharp, snapped steel edges would be safely covered.

So there it is – my rather inept clockwork bug collecting automaton, swiping ineffectually with his net at the buzzing insect each time the little brass key is turned.

The vintage clockwork mechanisms (in full working order) can be bought from this link at the SteampunkDollsHouse, in case you’d like to try your hand at making an automaton.

The magical mechanical birds are available on Steampunk-Shrunk stalls (see home page for dates and venues) or from this link.

As for The Clockwork Entomologist – I’m not sure that I can part with him at the moment, unless someone makes me an offer I can’t refuse…

 

Professor Erazmus’s Patented Holographic Mirrors

Good day to you.  Apologies for the long absence.  I’ve been holed up in my garret at Steampunk-Shrunk Towers and rather engrossed in watching over my many wards, who are spread around the world these days, by means of my clockwork powered holographic global viewing lens.

Fortunately, most of them seem to be settling down now, and require a little less attention than was the case a year or so back.  That means I’ve been able to turn my mind to other things.

Several of my steampunk colleagues here have expressed interest in my holographic viewing technology (although a few are uncivil enough to call it ‘spying’).  They have asked whether I can provide them with a version of my viewing lens that does not involve such a cumbersome system of levers, pulleys and cogs as my own device.

I’m pleased to say, I have been able to oblige.  As I’m sure you are aware, we inhabit a holographic universe, and once an initial connection has been made, we are free to visit any part of it that interests us.  My device is the master machine and it has been a relatively simple task to clone the technology to handheld devices.  These are very attractive hand mirrors (available in our Etsy shop – The SteampunkDollsHouse) and wall mounted mirrors which will soon be available on our stalls at upcoming events.

Now anyone who purchases one will be able to use my technology to connect with any location – past, present or future, through staring into the holographic mirror with sufficient concentration and focus.

I, of course, will be able to follow all their observations from my master machine, but that is a small price for any customer to pay.  Their data will, of course, be quite safe with me…

Time – Running like Clockwork

Up in the dizzy heights of Steampunk-Shrunk Towers, things were getting somewhat overcrowded.  We pride ourselves of being able to upcycle and repurpose just about anything that comes our way, but there are limits.

“We’ve repainted and upholstered all these odd dining chairs,” explained Jeremiah, but to be honest, nobody is going to want to buy them.  Everyone wants chairs in sets of four, preferably with a table.”
“I know just what you mean,” replied Charles. “My problem is all these not-quite-working clockwork mechanisms. Take this one, for example. It purrs along beautifully, but the rubber bellows has perished, so there’s no sound. We can’t make a silent songbird automaton, but it’s too good to throw out.”

Young Jasper, Jeremiah’s son, was listening intently.  He started to stroll round the clockwork machine.
“Excuse me, Mister Charles, Sir, but don’t you and Mister Henry make time machines?”
“Yes, Jasper, indeed we do,” Charles smiled.
“And what do they need to make them work?”

Charles laughed. “Perhaps a bit technical for a young nipper like yourself, but basically a valve and piston to build up a huge amount of pressure and a temporal modulator to control the time travel.”

“So if you took out the bird whistle and used its piston in a cylinder to build up the pressure, could you maybe use the arm that should move the bird to do the time modulation?” the boy enquired.

Charles’ jaw dropped open and he stared in amazement at the child.

“‘Cos I’m thinking Mrs S has those working watch faces kicking around somewhere – the ones that wouldn’t fit in our grandfather clocks, and we could let you have one of our spare chairs.  Oh, and I’ve been working on a camera that’s controlled by a foot pedal. I was going to use it to take what I call ‘selfies’, but I’m sure it could be adapted to fit a time machine, so that the time traveller could provide proof of the places visited…  Um…have I said something wrong?”
The boy blushed crimson, as he noticed that quite a crowd had gathered and all were staring at him with the most curious expression.

Charles took a deep breath. “No, Jasper, you have done nothing wrong.  Indeed, you have just had the most stupendous idea.  What a remarkable boy you are!  Would you care to help Henry and I to build the prototype, if your father can spare you, of course?”

Now it was Jeremiah’s turn to blush, as his heart swelled with pride.  “I’d be happy to release my son from his work with me for a while, Charles.  He’s a remarkable lad and I’m sure he’ll learn a great deal from you.”
“And vice versa,” muttered Henry, Charles’ brother and co-inventor.

And so the work began.  Henry tinkered, Charles created the elegant canopy and young Jasper buzzed around making wise suggestions and helping to attach the parts.  Even Henry just stood and scratched his head when the boy suggested installing a plasma screen above the motor, so that the traveller could see the view from the back-facing camera.
“Where do you get your ideas from, young Jasper?” he asked. “Are you sure you haven’t been time-travelling yourself and visiting the future?”
“Don’t know, Sir,” the boy shrugged. “They just sort of pop into my head somehow. Shall I fetch you the plasma screen I was working on last week?  It should fit nicely inside Mister Charles’ canopy there.”

Eventually the machine was finished.  Henry took his place on the velvet-upholstered chair and turned the brass key.  The piston began to pump, while the clock swung around on its steel arm.  Cams and cogs whirred cheerfully.

“There’s room for a little ‘un by my feet, if you can spare him, Coggleford,” Henry called to Jeremiah.

Jasper looked longingly at his father, but the man shook his head.  “Not today, my friend.  There are some things even Jasper is too young for yet awhile.  One day, though.”

“Soon,” muttered Jasper, hopefully.  Then, “Safe journey Mister Henry, Sir.  And please take lots of photographs for me.”

“Certainly will, young man,” grinned Henry, as he reached across and started the clock.

The Clockwork Time Machine, with working clockwork motor and quartz clock is for sale at http://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/SteampunkDollsHouse.  Click here or on one of the photos to go to the listing.

Icabod Cogbottle’s Inventing Room

Forgive me if I appear to complain.  My wife Dorothea is the most charming of women and exceptionally skilled, not only at running a household and entertaining our guests, but also as a highly accomplished parasol duellist.  However I do not feel that she fully understands the struggles of an inventor.

Why, she has just entered my workspace once again and remarked – quite harshly, I felt – on the quantity of litter strewn across the floor.  Does she expect that every design will result in a successful invention?  Applying for patents is a most costly and time-consuming process, so I restrict it to only the most promising designs.

If (as I have explained to her on many occasions) she would permit me to create my prototypes in this room, I could adjust them as I go along and the drawings would be far more productive.  Alas, she insists that any tinkering must be restricted to the cellar!   She complains that the smells, dust and general mess involved are unacceptable within the main body of the house.

So why, I can imagine you asking, do I not do my drawings down there as well?  The answer, dear reader, is that the cellar of this house is particularly damp and cold.  That hardly matters when I am actively sawing, soldering or otherwise constructing my machines and gadgets, but it is not an atmosphere conducive to long hours sitting at a desk engaged in meticulous draughtsmanship.

Thus it comes to pass that many of my designs, so painstakingly drawn, end their days screwed up on the floor, from whence (as I explained to Dorothea) it is but a moment or two’s travail for the maid to sweep up and dispose of them.

Nonetheless, I feel I am making great progress, notwithstanding my perplexing situation.  The Swanopede (patents pending) which I am currently working on is of such ingenuity and obvious charm that it will almost certainly bring me the fame and fortune I so earnestly seek.

In the meantime, my first book (Gadgets for Life by Icabod Cogbottle – available at all good booksellers) is bringing in modest royalties and allowing me to continue to pursue my life’s work.

 

The Hybrid K Time Machine

Well Mrs S was somewhat displeased when her aged printer finally gave up the ghost.

Charles was delighted, though, and had soon extracted something called a circuit board from the defunct machine.

“Take a look, Henry,” he said. “Spiffing base for another time machine!”

I had to agree, so we have a new model incorporating this futuristic technology with good old steampunk tradition.

Instead of a steering column, there’s something called a control deck. It pulses with multicoloured lights, naturally, and has a clock and time warp repeat button. (Well, someone might understand why…)

I left Charles to fiddle with the pod things that power it, but I insisted on installing a traditional safety valve.

For the comfort of our customers, we added a padded velvet cushion and a steel luggage rack. There is also a handy claxon which sounds automatically to warn anyone in the vicinity when the vessel is due to stop.

Not our most aesthetically pleasing craft, perhaps, but an intriguing machine, nonetheless.

The Time-Traveller’s Companion

Well ‘excited’ is putting it mildly.  Henry and Charles have been leaping around Steampunk Towers all day, slapping each other on the back, chortling, yelling and banging their fists triumphantly on the workbench.

Henry and Charles' first bookI really can’t blame them, though.  First, they sold another of their time machines – and to a university lecturer in the United States who teaches time-travel, no less – and secondly, they have published their first book!

It’s a slender volume, comprising just twelve pages of text, but it constitutes an essential guide for any time-travellers who wish to journey through London’s past and future.

a fascinating readOh, there will be those who purchase the book and then complain that its print is too small to read.  So as is our custom, we will reproduce the text here in its entirety.

However we strongly suggest heading to The Steampunk DollsHouse and downloading a copy for yourself.  Not only is it a delightful little item to own, but if you do so, our little authors here will be quite ecstatic.

 

THE TIME- TRAVELLER’S COMPANION
London Edition
Charles and Henry Fortescue

Preface

Having travelled extensively through time from our workshop in the city of London, we humbly offer this volume to fellow temporal voyagers, in the earnest hope that they may avoid some of the pitfalls and experience some of the delights which we ourselves have encountered. We feel that this will quickly become an indispensable aid for all serious time-travellers.  London 1885

Section One: Dangers

Clearly, one of the most useful services we can render to our readers is to provide warning of times to avoid, when calibrating your time machine.

As all serious time travellers will be aware, your geographical location will not change – only your temporal one.

Consequently, this volume will be invaluable, should you be located in London or its environs.

 

A List of Dates to Avoid

AD 43   Moderate risk. Roman military invasion underway.  Pretty ruthless bunch.

AD 61 Extreme danger. Iceni tribe sacking the city.  Slaughtering everyone they see.

1066 Moderate risk. Unsettled times as Normans take control.

1381 High risk.  Gangs of peasants rampaging.  Some chap called Tyler in charge.  Avoid.

1642-9 High risk. Civil war.

1664-6 High risk.  Plague is rife.  People dropping like flies.

1666 Extreme danger.  London is ablaze.  Do not attempt to stop in early September.

1888 Low risk.  A spate of grizzly murders taking place in the capital.

1915 High risk.  War! Airships and futuristic flying machines dropping fire bombs on London.

1940-41 Extreme danger. London ablaze and virtually destroyed by fire bombs from flying craft.  Do not stop.

 

N.B.

Having seen the devastation of 1941, we have chosen not to travel further into the future, since we feel there is a very real possibility that some dreadful post-apocalyptic times lie ahead and that the world will indeed end in the year AD 2012.

Should any readers dare to venture into those uncertain times – and survive – by all means notify us of your findings upon your return and we will incorporate them in a future edition, with due credit to the authors, obviously.

 

Section Two: Highlights

Whilst it is only prudent to take due care, we wish to emphasise the uplifting and informative experiences that can be gained through judicious time-travelling.

In this section, therefore, we will outline some of the most fascinating and instructional journeys which we ourselves have experienced within the historic and fascinating city of London.

c.600,000 BC: We have found this to be a surprisingly warm and pleasant period in our capital’s history.  The astonished traveller can expect to encounter herds or mammoth, hippopotamus, deer, wild horses and much other wildlife strolling around the banks of the Thames.  A remarkable experience.

c.200 AD:  Should you wish to view London’s origins as a city, this would be an excellent time to stop.  A golden age of prosperity exists as London is being laid out by its Roman leaders.  They appear more mellow in this age.

c.884: The chance to see King Alfred the Great setting London up as his capital should not be missed.  The traveller is warned to avoid any encounters with the warlike Danes, but it is most instructive to see the Roman city being expanded and improved upon by a truly enlightened monarch.

1588 -1600:  It would be foolish, in our humble opinion, not to visit London at the time of the flowering of the world’s most esteemed playwright – William Shakespeare.  One of us was fortunate to watch a performance of Macbeth at a playhouse, with Mr Shakespeare himself taking the role of Duncan.

1838:  Should you be able to calibrate your machine to arrive in London on a specific date, why not attend the coronation of our beloved Queen Victoria on June 28th?  A stunning occasion.

1920-30:  For those requiring a relatively safe journey into the future, the wonders of this era should not be missed.  You will find locomotives running in tunnels beneath London’s streets, astonishing vehicles travelling at great speed on said streets and wonders which we can barely dream of.

Perhaps, in the far future – should the world survive – there will again be halcyon days of great splendour and achievements.  We earnestly hope that this will be the case.

Let us end this slim volume with a short, and by no means exhaustive list of items it would be wise to take with you on any adventures into other times. 

Reading about time travelUseful items for time-travel 

A supply of candles and lucifers.

A tin of dry biscuits.

A hip flask of brandy.

A supply of fine gold chains to exchange for currency.

Spare breeches and hose.

A firearm for self-protection.

This volume!

We wish you safe journeys.

 

 

A Visit to Brasston – Extended Version

Something a little different this week:  Jan Miller, who purchased both Algernon and Josephine Cholmondeley from our Etsy shop, has added a further chapter to the story of their impending visit to Brasston, The Most Cosmopolitan City Award winner in 1850.  Delighted to know that the Lord Admiral of the High Skies and his wife are in such excellent hands.

We hope you will enjoy reading both chapters here:

Chapter 1

It was, not surprisingly, young Molly who found the book first.  She’d read her way through everything in the Steampunk-Shrunk library  – even the Suffragette newspapers – and had been on the lookout for something new.

“Excuse me, Lady Cholmondeley,” she said, dropping a pretty curtsy to Josephine, “But do you think your husband, seeing as how he’s the Lord Admiral of the High Fleet, could take me on one of his sky ship machines to Brasston?  They’ve got a perfectly splendid aerodrome and I’m sure they’d allow him to dock there.  Let me show you the pictures.  They’re in colour!”
“Why I’ve never heard of the place, my dear. Are you sure you’ve got the name correct?” smiled Josephine.
“Oh yes, Your Ladyship, Ma’am. I think it must be very famous. It won the ‘Most Cosmopolitan City Award’ in 1850.”

Josephine started to look through the book – a most difficult process since, unlike the inhabitants of Shrunk Towers, this book had not been shrunk to one twelfth of its original size.  She had to obtain assistance from several other members of the community and they in turn became mesmerised by the splendours of Brasston.

“Good lord!” Barnaby Balsover exclaimed, “There’s a chap there having his shoes polished by a clockwork automaton!  Quite remarkable!”
“Certainly,” agreed Ava Brassfeather, “And it says they do tours of the clock factory and provide cake and tea.”
“I believe it says you have to pay extra for cups and saucers, though, Ma’am,” Molly whispered, jumping in alarm when Ava made a loud tutting sound.
Molly wasn’t sure whether this was aimed at herself or the facilities available at the works, but she didn’t venture to speak again.

A touching moment for the valiant coupleWhen Algernon returned from a successful raid on a troublesome bunch of sky pirates who had been terrorising the airways above Penge, he was met by a mass of pleading faces.
His wife took his arm, gazed alluringly into his eyes and purred, “My dearest…”

“Hmm,” he said finally, once he’d had a strong cup of gunpowder tea and an opportunity to peruse the book.  “I strongly suspect that this is a work of fiction, created by this rather splendid gentleman on the back cover, Mr Ashley G.K. Miller.  I’m not convinced that the city exists.”

“Well if anyone can find it, it’s you, Old Boy,”  announced Lord Horatio Backgammon, and the others joined in a chorus of agreement with his Lordship’s sentiment.

And so, as I write, the entire group is busy packing and preparing for an epic journey in one of the fleet’s most capacious dirigibles, while Algy is earnestly poring over his charts, in search of the city of Brasston. Unfortunately the trip was delayed – but that is another story!

Should you wish to discover this remarkable location for yourself, dear reader, I suggest visiting Mr Miller’s Facebook page, where you will find all the details you need.

Chapter 2

After several months, Algernon Cholmondeley, Lord Admiral of the High Fleet, was finally re-united with his dear wife Josephine. He had been captured by Sky Pirates before he could take his friends on the planned trip to Brasston.   Josephine was so relieved to see him again.  But they had been communicating by means of the steam telegraph while he was captive.

 

It seems the Sky Pirates extracted a large ransom from the Admiralty before releasing Algy unharmed. He, meanwhile, had secretly been inspecting the Sky Pirates remarkable Airships and learning as much as he could about their design.  Of course Algernon was used to high powered airships in his normal day job, but the Sky Pirates had adapted some new ideas from other countries they had plundered.  Algy was now determined to make a new airship of his own.  It would have all the latest technology for the 1850s, including a pigeon-guided location finder.

Some of Algy’s pictures of the Sky Pirates’ airships

 

As his wife and friends were so interested in visiting this Brasston, he could use that trip as an experimental run.

 

 

Lady Cholmondely had also been in contact with Mr Ashley G. K. Miller, the author of the esteemed volume; ‘A Traveller’s Guide to Brasston’ which had started the whole thing, and he had sent  pictures of himself on one of his recent Hot Air Balloon Flights.

 

 

He said he would be delighted to help them make the Airship and take them to Brasston.

Lady Cholmondeley soon got the local enthusiasts together to collect all the bits and pieces they could find to make the new Airship. Having Algy’s colleagues in the Admiralty look through the old sheds, and with Mr. Miller’s collection of past pieces they had quite a good start.

 

 

Josephine and her friend Penelope set to work right away to make a comfortable day-bed for the passengers inside the Airship, while Young Algy played with his own model one. ‘Oh these feathers are going up my nose!’ exclaimed  Josephine.

They were happily employed in this activity while Lord Algernon thought about his new Airship design. More about how he is getting on with it another time!

 

Jan Miller is a writer and publisher on the conservation of native plants. She also has an interest in miniature plants and crafts.  

Lord and Lady Cholmondeley and the Steampunk artifacts were upcycled and made by Jan Stone at Steampunk-Shrunk. Victorian dolls’ house and conservatory with real plants by Jan Miller.