By George – so pleased to make your acquaintance.

We may have met before, but permit me to introduce myself anew.

Steampunk-Shrunk tinker

I am George Entwistle, tinker and general handyman to the gentry.  Yes, I have resigned from my post as patents clerk and become a full time tinker.  Indeed, I would venture to say that my time machines are very much sought after by ladies and gentlemen of discernment with an adventurous temperament.

I like to consider myself something of an adventurer, too.  Very recently I travelled in a railway carriage to a steampunk spectacular in the delightful town of Shrewsbury.  What an experience it was!

customers at Steampunk-ShrunkThe purveyors of our products were the most splendidly attired persons I had ever encountered.  Even Mrs S, who is quite used to these affairs, was impressed and kept taking photographs of them, a few of which I will reproduce here.

We had scarcely opened before Alice announced that she was changing her name to Olga and heading off to become an opera singer with her new patron.  I think Sir William was sad to see her go, but he soon began to chat in a very friendly manner to Miss Delilah.

Steampunk-ShrunkI confess I was quite delighted when a charming lady and gentleman agreed to purchase my latest time machine.  I often wonder where my customers will end up when they head off on their temporal journeys.

My greated delight, though, came when a distinguished looking gentleman stopped to admire our wares.  There was something familiar about him and I was quite taken by his military bearing and immaculate appearance.  He chatted for a while about our room cases to his good lady, and it was only after he left that Mrs Steampunkle told us it was none other than the great Icabod Steam!

How I regretted not having removed my stained and grubby leather apron or straightening my tie!  I even had the honour to view his trailer at close quarters, although Mrs S wouldn’t permit me to leave the stall to watch one of his performances.  I noticed that she was mysteriously absent at that time, however…

Upon our return to Steampunk Towers (and mainly, I suspect, to quieten the complaints about the journey from Lady Christabel) Mrs Steampunkle announced that some of us would be heading to a new residence.  I was fortunate enough to be chosen, along with Lady Christabel, Sir William and the lovely Miss Delilah, to inhabit a glass display cabinet at a quite charming Emporium in the Somerset town of Street.  We have five of my friend Mr Robottom’s robots with us, as well as several cabinets of curiosities and the Looking Glass rooms Mrs Steampunkle quite recently completed.

It feels quite strange to be away from Steampunk Towers, but our creator visits us regularly and has promised to pop in and check that we are all happy in our new surroundings.

Do come along to pass the time of day, should you be in the vicinity.

 

 

A Touch of Fortune

So here’s the thing.

A week or two before I was due to move from my temporary lodging back to Glastonbury, I sold the Fortune Teller’s Table.  It sold to a customer in New York.  I had a million things to do, so I raced down to the post office first thing, sent it off tracked and signed for, as usual, pocketed the receipt and went off to get on with some of those jobs.

You’ve guessed, haven’t you?  When I came to mark the item sent on my Etsy site, the receipt – with that all-important tracking number – had vanished.  I turned out my bag, all pockets and looked inside anything I’d used that day, but it was nowhere to be seen.

“Well,” I thought to myself, “Let’s just hope the parcel doesn’t go missing.”

The day I moved – while I was actually on the journey, in fact  – a message came through from the buyer.  Where was the table?  Why hadn’t I sent the tracking number?  It hadn’t turned up.

I went cold and clammy all over.  Never before had a parcel been lost in the post, so why this one?  All those lovely five star reviews would be worth nothing if just one customer posted a rant about what a careless and unreliable supplier I was.

I came clean, apologised profusely and asked her to wait another week, just in case it was languishing in customs.  After that, I promised, I’d either send her a full refund or attempt to make a close copy as a replacement.  ‘OK,’ she agreed – one week, and she’d prefer to have a replacement to a refund.

SteampunkDollsHouse on EtsySo, with suitcases and packing boxes still unopened, I hunted through my 12th scale furniture stash and – I could hardly believe my luck – found an identical sized desk.  It was brown, rather than black and, unlike its predecessor, it still had some drawers.  Over the following days I studied the photos and worked to reproduce the dowsing pendulum, the tiny pack of cards, the candle, dream divination book, aged scrolls, tray of crystals and fortune telling boards.

It was nearing completion, when another message from the customer arrived.  “It’s here!” she said.  “I haven’t even opened it yet, but it was delivered today!”

Phew.

So I looked at the replica I’d been working on, decided the table top didn’t look mysterious enough, and covered it with a deep blue velvet cloth.  And now, there is another Fortune Teller’s Table for sale in my Etsy shop.

You can take a look at it by clicking this link.

 

 

 

 

Diary of a Tinkerer: The Final Steps

Finally my furnace was burning away merrily and Inferna the Twisted Firestarter was safely ensconced in her cage (with a large DO NOT FEED sign in case anyone felt tempted to give in to her endless wheedling and eyelash fluttering).

Huge clouds of steam billowed from the copper pipe my assistant and myself had fashioned from something called a ‘jumbo drinking straw’ and a supply of copper tape normally sold, apparently, to deter slugs from entering plant pots.  The twenty-first century will forever remain a puzzle to me.

“So what do we need now, Henry?” enquired my companion.
I made a list of the items required for the machinery, valves, gauges and pipework and a rough sketch of the way I intended to fit them together.
“Shouldn’t be a problem,” she nodded. “I’ll do a trawl of the charity shops on the High Street. If we have to spend money, at least we can be sure it will go to a good cause.”

Money.

I must confess that much to my chagrin, I am reduced to relying on the kind lady’s charity, since my own – not inconsiderable – fortune remains locked in my own time.  Even if I had managed to bring some with me on my time-travelling adventure, it would doubtless have suffered the same fate as myself and been reduced to one twelfth of its natural size, rendering it quite useless in my present surroundings.  The dear lady is quite phlegmatic about the expenses, however.  She insists that the total cost of building my engine room has been less than five pounds.  That seems quite a large sum to me, but she insists it is a paltry amount in her age.
” Besides,” she smiled. “Once you’ve powered up your device and headed off into some other dimension, or whatever you do, the engine room will still be here and I can sell it at a profit.”
I agreed that this would be an excellent solution and would prevent me from feeling aggrieved at causing her to be out of pocket.

Beaming broadly, she returned from her shopping expedition and tipped a collection of items on to the table.  I had to admit she had done well.  There were narrow gauge steel tubes, various jewellery beads and fittings, a wooden memo box with a picture of two children and a rabbit peeling from it (excellent housing for the machinery, once the picture was removed and it had been painted and burnished), some metal devices for inflating footballs and a heavy-duty metal nut and bolt set.

I began work at once.  Within a few hours my engine was chugging merrily and the machinery was in perfect working order.

So – if all goes to plan – this will be my final entry in my diary for the year of 2017.  I have said fond farewells to my able and accommodating full-sized assistant.  I have made all the necessary calibrations and am shortly to plug my heavily rebuilt portable time-machine into the engine to charge it.  Hopefully, I will then depart for my own world and be restored to my full size, with many a tale to tell.

Farewell.

Assistant’s note:  I am pleased to report that Henry’s departure was successful – although I do rather miss him.  By some strange space-time anomaly, a lifeless but otherwise perfect version of Henry, as he looked when he first arrived in my cottage, has remained behind and is offered for sale at the Steampunk Dolls’ House (click for link).  The engine room will also be offered for sale, either at the shop or on my Steampunk – Shrunk! stall at the Glastonbury Craft and Vintage Fairs held once a month.  Contact me for details.

Diary of a Tinkerer – Part 3: Firestarter

I recall that last time I penned an episode of my adventures as a one-twelfth scale explorer, inadvertently lodged in the year 2017, my normal sized assistant and myself were pondering a method of combustion for the steam engine we were building, to allow me to power up my Machine and escape to my own dimension – in every sense of that word.

By a piece of great good fortune, I myself was able to solve that particular conundrum.  It occurred when I noticed, in a nearby city, an establishment named Whitherspoons.  It had a most favourable external aspect and, hoping that I might have stumbled upon a high quality gin palace, I eagerly made my way towards it.  No sooner had my foot alighted on the threshold, however, than I was pushed backwards by a person carrying a cage almost as large as himself and being propelled from the building with considerable force by a burly and irate landlord.  The language which passed between them convinced me that this was in no way the kind of establishment I had anticipated, so I turned my attention instead to the evicted individual.

“Honessly,” he was mumbling, “it was only a puff o’ smoke.  Nuffin’ to make a fuss about.  This no smokin’ rule is ridickilus.”
I assisted him to his feet and righted the cage which, I then noticed, contained a greenish yellow reptilian creature with a baleful expression.
“It’s ‘er fault!” the man said angrily, gesturing towards the animal. “Reached out an’ grabbed a bit o’ coal from the scuttle by the log burner, didn’t you!”
The creature attempted to slink further down the cage and averted its gaze.
“All I wanted was a quiet pint! Wos a bloke s’posed to do, eh?”

“What manner of creature is it?” I enquired.
“She a fire starter,” he replied. “Twisted fire starter. Best sort. They fit better in the cages, see? Cost me an arm an’ a leg, she did. But that’s the nature of the beast, innit? Give ’em a bit of coal and they start a fire, don’t they?  An’ when they go nickin’ coal that’s been left lyin’ around in scuttles, well, stands to reason she’s gonna start smokin’, don’t it?  An’ wot wiv pubs all bein’ no smokin’ hestablishments these days, little madam only been an’ got me slung out, didn’t she?”
“I understand your predicament,” I responded.

That was when I had my enterprising idea.
“I don’t suppose you’d be willing to allow me to take her off your hands, would you? I can promise her an excellent home and plenty of coal.
He regarded me solemnly. “Well,” he began slowly, “Like I said, she cos’ me…”

At that moment, though, the door of the inn opened and two exceedingly merry gentlemen emerged, bringing with them a distinct odour of cheap ale.  The temptation was too great for my companion to resist.
“Go on then.  Take ‘er, an’ welcome.  Jus’ don’t feed ‘er unless yer want a fire startin’.  She’ll try anythin’ to get round yer.  ‘Arden yer ‘eart, mate.  Don’t say I didn’t warn yer.”

And without further ado, he handed me the cage and returned to his beverage, while I headed back eagerly to my assistant’s cottage with my new acquisition.

 

Henry’s Engine Room, including the twisted fire starter, will be on display at the Steampunk-Shrunk! stall at Glastonbury Town Hall on Saturday 25th March 2017.