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Almshouses Austringer's house Basilisk Lair Book Shop Castle Cheese Shop Chris S's house Church Cobblers Emporium Diem's house Doctor Dove Cote Dragon Prince Duck pond Earwigs Firedrake R Folly Ford Glinda Granary The Green The Grey Earwig Handything's house Herb Garden Hill house Holtacre Home Farm Hovel Hutch Jay's house Library Lost Property Office Lundqvist Arms Magazines Martin's house Megamole's house Mill Millhouse Moose's house The Mot MP's house Mule's Shed Old Bakery Old Post House Old Smithy Paul's house Pavilion Peggi's house Pict Cave Pigsty Playground Plotting Shed Rachel's House Rafe's house Sane Scientist Schoolhouse Seamstress' House Sexton's house Sexton's Shed Sharpshooter's house Squid Pond Stable Tailor's shop Toby's Lab Triangle Umbrella Workshop Vicarage Village Shop Villain's Hideout Where the wild things are Woodshed
Occupied by the Deserving Poor of the Village.
Endowed by the Squoire's eccentric semi-greataunt Dora, who is mentioned in the list of questions about the Village.
To see what my house looks like have a look at http://www.appiehouse.co.uk but in the village it is a short stroll south of the Big Woods. There is an aviary for my buzzard to one side with a weathering green in front of it.
Village Austringer and Defender of the Dowager Duchess' Website
All I need to do is add some designer scorch-marks round the entrance and put up a couple of signs:
and finally one I could get cheap from the Elder Isles:
run by ppint., who writes:
the village bookshop's red brick-built, i.e. of a range of colours varying from ruddy oranges and a few even rose pink, through browny orange to a ruddy brown; the front is double-breasted, with a couple of stone steps up to the panelled central front door, which is painted - as are the sash windows & wood surrounds of the two bays and the upper floors - in a bright, deep blue.
this is not wheelchair-friendly, nor is it capable of be- ing made so without damaging the front of what must once have been the house of a man or woman of some considerable means, though it's somewhat come down in the time since; though the woodwork is well-maintained, some of the brick is beginning to crumble, and the weather side badly needs repointing also; but there is clear access to the packed gravel path through the small courtyard garden at the back through the equally bright, deep blue gate in the wall - and that way leads straight into the warmth of the kitchen.
downstairs, the ground floor is otherwise given over to new stock - books, and board and other games, including a range of role-playing games, and posters (of fantasy art, for the most part, plus some of archaic and otherwise interesting maps); plus also the most recent second-hand acquisitions, and the second-hand paperbacks covering areas most popular with the regulars of the village and environs, and those of villages nearby. there's also a small section of books of local interest, which includes second-hand and new ordnance survey maps, one and two-and-a-half inch, as well as the new metric ones, covering the whole country - and stray second-hand maps from all over europe, africa & south & central asia, the panama canal, tierra del fuego & the drake passage & the straits of magellan, and the far & middle east. all of the "non-collectable" children's books are in the room immediately in front of the kitchen, to the left as you enter, which is also the warmest public room in winter, and which has a low table and five small chairs (more than can actually fit round the table); fang is usually to be found near the table if she's this side of the kitchen door and no over-boistrous kids're in evidence (and if she's not asleep in one of the upstairs shop windows in summer).
upstairs, rooms are divided as to subject areas contained with these being clearly displayed on neatly-printed signs upon the bookcase units' ends, as well as upon the rooms' usually open doors; the range reflects the villagers' past and present interests and those of the proprietor; these would appear to've included rocketry; poisonous plants of the pacific; the lives and careers of (presumably eminent) belgian chocolatiers; the physiognomy of oceanean peoples, and those of the pacific littoral; folk songs of western & eastern - but not middle - europe; far left (including anarchist) uk, european and merkin politics; geology; latin, italian, german, french, russian, portuguese (but not spanish), arabic, swahili, urdu, sanskrit and ancient greek; cartoons; the history of almost everything and everywhere; but although there is a "religion" section, this is one part of the "mythology and folk tales" room (rather than two-thirds of the entire stock, mostly improving christian in nature).
on the very top floor, immediately under the roof, with sloping ceilings that're much lower than those below, the shelves are lower, altogether more utilitarian unvarnished wood, and much fewer than needed: apparently unsorted boxes of books are stacked in the middle of the smaller back room to the side of the staircase, which is a lot narrower than those lower down; the larger room to the front contains approximately six thousand lps in boxes sorted as to whether they are "classical", "pop", "folk", "rock", "musicals", "brass bands", "irish", or "other"; none of these is priced (nor are the books in the boxes in the back room) & there's usually indication that one or more boxes of the first four categories is temporarily elsewhere.
- one of the windows [on the non-weather side; probably on the back, but not necessarily so] doesn't shut, and is always open on at least the first peg-hole on its stay - all of the windows on the top floor are side-hinged & stayed, not sash; this provides a minimum level of ventilation throughout the bookshop in the worst weather, and helps keep the temperature down in summer.
The guidebook (1974 edition), says concerning the Castle:
"Also of some slight interest is the Castle, which is to be found at the eastern end of the village. The first structure on this site, a simple motte and bailey construction, was built in 1077 by Sir Boamund de Biennes - 'Boamund Li Best Savage', as he was known to his contemporaries. Boamund's original castle was expanded and substantially strengthened in the reign of Edward I, and again during the Wars of the Roses, at which time (owing to a fundamental misunderstanding of current affairs by Sir John de Biennes) a moat, palisade and ravelin were built up through the middle of the flower beds.
"It was Sir John's grandfather, Sir Malheury de Biennes, who placed over the front gate the celebrated inscription;
"Roy ne suis,"The castle was, however, slighted by Fairfax's men during the Civil War (they told it that grey simply wasn't its colour) and lay derelict thereafter for nearly two centuries.
Ni duc ni comte aussi.
Je suis le Sieur de Abthiet"
The castle owes its present form to Sir Ranulph Biennes, the notable Victorian explorer and eccentric, who based his design on the recently-completed palace of King Ludwig of Bavaria. Shortly after the beginning of the Second World War the castle was requisitioned by the Ministry of Defence, and in 1957 it passed into the occupation of the Special Operations Executive of the Milk Marketing Board.
"Visitors may admire the castle from the perimeter fence, but are strictly forbidden to pass beyond it. Next of kin of any visitors foolish enough to disregard this injunction should contact the MMB's head office in Thames Ditton, Surrey, for the purposes of formal identification and funeral arrangements."
However, this is now slightly out of date, having been published in 1974. When the MMB was disbanded in the early 1990s, and the Last Alliance of Bears and Piglets drove the Dark Power out of Thames Ditton*, the Castle was considered as spoils of war and sold; at which point it came into the possession of the Princess' family.
It should therefore be borne in mind, when the Princess talks about the images of her ancestors in the Portrait Gallery and the Crypt, that she is adopting the Stanley Protocol, first formulated by W S Gilbert's Major General Stanley in 'Pirates of Penzance' -
FREDERIC: But you forget, sir, that you only bought the property a year ago, and the stucco in your baronial hall is scarcely dry
MAJOR-GENERAL STANLEY: Frederic, in this chapel are ancestors: you cannot deny that. With the estate, I bought the chapel and its contents. I don't know whose ancestors they were, but I know whose ancestors they are, and I shudder to think that their descendant by purchase should have broiught disgrace upon what, I have no doubt, was an unstained escutcheon
*The One Marque was, however, not destroyed but only lost; already there are signs that it has awoken, in the halls of DEFRA, where the shadows** lie.
** Among others
Proprietor: Jenny Radcliffe, who writes:
This is called a Cheese Shop, although it's not really restricted to just that. You see, Abthite not quite being the size of Edinburgh, a shop merely selling cheese would have trouble keeping going. So it's more a kind of delicatessen selling home-baked wotnots and jars of honey and lots of cheese of course and ... naturally it's not a cafe, since the Health Inspectors might visit, but if people, you know, friends, just happen to sit down on the seats that are just there for convenience while they eat the warm quiches and pizzas I've just sold them, well, I'm sure that does no harm.
And there are comfortable seats and tables, of course, because people have to wait for the warm things after they've ordered them, while I slice the cheese and pop the lasagne in the oven and things.
As well as the savouries I've got a nice line in fruit cakes made from the BB's finest Guiness-or-other-stout, and some rich chocolate fudge cake, and, oh, all sorts of goodies. At some times of year, naturally, there's Jenny's Artery-Clogging Mince Pies, with lovely rich orange pastry, and the stout-and-fruit cakes have little Christmas decorations on. And in the summer, well, there's liable to be olive-and-feta salad available, and, well, all sorts.
The only food things I don't sell are necessities, because you get those from the Village Shop. Luxury Items Only in the Cheese Shop!
Lives in the Big Woods, minds his own business, and expects others to mind theirs. Any explosions in his vacinity are entirely coincidental.
The Magazines are believed to belong to him, but nothing has ever been proved.
Provides the supplies for the village firework display.
The Squoire writes:
This is and always has been dedicated to St Sebastian; mostly so that, when bored during Evensong, my ancestors could legitimately use the triptych over the high altar as a dartboard.
There's a list of the emcumbents just inside the west door, on the right as you go in. it starts with Ugo de Wokyng in 1184, though the rude-screen, which is the oldest surviving part of the building, is certainly no earlier than 1276. No, it shouldn't be "rood". A quick glance at the second panel from the left will explain why.
It must be pointed out that the tower unfortunately remains closed to visitors, for reasons of safety and ecology; it houses the only recorded colony of death-watch earwigs south of Moseley. The rest of the building is largely unremarkable, apart from the south chantry, which vanished in 1547 when the rector sold his soul to the Devil in return for Helen of Troy, all the kingdoms of the earth and broadband.
Following privatisation, Hell Holdings plc has kindly agreed to rematerialise the south chantry for fifteen minutes on the second Wednesday in February each year, which should afford the visitor ample time to examine the perpendicular font.
Run by Guy Clapperton.
The Official Guardian of Gargoyles and Woodlice, who writes:
I'm at the edge of the village with a low hill rising behind my cottage, the garden to the front is extensive but covered with various gazebos follies and pergolas, for the gargies to practise lurking on. The grass is rather overgrown but the hedge is thick and I have a clear line of sight to the Mad Scientist's place and I can get the Squoire's place and the Castle with a well-aimed cannonshot. (Not that I'd ever dream of doing so, of course!)
Home of Fouler of Statues, the Village Pidgeon (sic).
aka Aquarion. This is primarily a place for ducks to live, and for Isambard Kingdom Earwig to water-test some of his inventions; it also serves as a destination for those who drive into the Village too fast from the north and fail to get round the sharp bend immediately in front of it.
One of the two dragons in the village, the Firedrake is usually found in his cave or sticking an inquisitive snout through the window of the Lundy.
During kniggit season, a stall can often be found near the ford, selling a salve guaranteed to protect against dragon-fire. Nobody has yet come back for a refund. It does smell awfully garlicky, though...
The Bats, a Village Nuisance, are currently occupying a back-section of the Firedrake's cave.
Stocked with piranha.
the nice rounded corner rooms will be wonderful to sit in and read, or craft, or...
Property of the Miller
The Wicket is Sacred Ground. Scene of the Annual Fete.
Righto - the Baroness Em Memorial Sundial and Shrubbery it is then. Now where shall we put it? Somewhere near the duck pond? Not too near, of course, strange things happen round there. We might come out one night and find an eerily glowing, mutated S & S. On the other hand that would be a source of interest and apprehensio- appreciation for the villagers.
I would suggest the south end of the green rather than the north, because the trees of the Big Woods throw their shadows over the duck-pond area and sundials rather need to have the sun shining on them, or they are not-a-lot of use.
How about us turning that bit of the green just the other side of Castle Hill Lane from your house into a miniature formal garden (about a quarter the size of the cricket square) with gravel walks, aromatic herb borders and box-hedge boundaries a foot or so high (a bit like a small maze) with the sundial in the middle in a clear circular space? Or maybe we could have thyme-walks instead of gravel, because it smells so wonderful when it's walked on and it doesn't mind being underfoot? Nothing too complicated, just a square with a circle in the middle and walks to each of the four corners, say, so that the borders are each of them a triangle with a semi-circle cut out of its corner nearest the sundial. It could be aligned so that the sun shone from one outer corner to the other at midsummer sunrise, or something.
The woodlice would probably be able to do the basic upkeep and trimming, and the herbs would vary their diet marvellously, I should think.
Sounds ideal. A bit of lavender in there too, I think. She was very fond of lavender and the woodlice always keep that nice and tidy in my garden. Maybe a few culinary herbs in there too, just in case a hungry dragon is passing by and needs something with which to stuff a kniggit for roasting.
(Whereupon no doubt the Woodlice will complain in a shrill chitinous manner and say things about "standing a little less between them and the sun".
We could plant clove-gillyflower, too, from seed, just for the glorious colour.
I happen to know a place where there are large quantities of quite unused herbs, in the garden of The Old Manor at Clopton Subedge, which has been declared unfit for human habitation and has been behind a barbed-wire entanglement for about eight years now; nobody is interested in them any more even if they could get to them easily, and when the planning permission for the Health Club, Spa and Fitness Centre is granted (which it will be, the council has no interest in blocking it and there's a limit to what can be done with petitions) the whole garden will certainly be destroyed, and probably all the trees cut down as well.
Last time I snuck in to the Elizabethan Garden there, it had about a dozen different varieties of lavender in it, and I'm quite sure that they will be running rampant, so a small bush here or there wouldn't be missed by the new owners even if it might be missed by the bulldozers. Nor would the sweet marjoram and and rosemary and lemon verbena and creeping thymus and basil and rocket and valerian and rue and dittany that are wasting their sweetness on the desert air in those parts, nor any of the other herbs of surpassing excellence. The person who laid it out in 1894 was addicted to the work of Nicholas Culpeper, I think.
I had a sort of vague idea in the back of my mind that Sergeant Major Willie Earwig might have Contacts in the Clopton Subedge area...
Would one of the Manor's chimney-pots make a good sundial-stand? They are those twisty ones like slightly demented sticks of barley-sugar.
Excellent. Though valerian tends to get out of hand, better put it where the wildlife will keep it under control.
I feel like Harriet Vane careering round the countryside with Lord Peter Wimsey, gathering forgotten chimney pots and putting them to good use.
Though I'd rather get a lift with a passing dragon than suffer LPW's driving.
Now, an important question: what's the name of the bit in the middle of the sundial that casts the shadow?
Or occasionally a passing earwig who's stopped for a rest.
Shortly after Em died, her executrix was in touch with the various insurance companies, utility companies etc. She was arranging to have bills and statements sent to her own address and finding people generally helpful and sympathetic. One young man, from a utility company, was particularly charming and kept asking if 'the Baroness had been ill a long time' or if 'the Baroness had family' and so on. The executrix felt she ought to point out that Em hadn't been a Baroness. "Oh that's what I've got down here," he said, "And we've been told to use the form of address onscreen." Bless their innocent little hearts.
Her daughter's elevation came as a complete surprise to her mother - and the rest of us- as we all knew Em's Views on the aristocracy and royalty.
I can imagine how it happened though. There she'd be, filling in a form, and, being asked for 'title', deciding that 'If they expect me to give them a title, I'll damned well choose a good one!"
So she's been the Baroness ever since. Though the memorial's name is getting longer by the day: The Baroness Em's Memorial Sundial, Shrubbery and Herb Garden. She would have approved of that.
Sage? On account of like the rosemary a few years ago it has gotten out of hand, so I have a bit on hand to root for your garden. And it smells lovely. Pretty purple flowers all over it too, and bumblebees buzzing drunkenly amongst them (too drunk to sting anyone, and too happy as well).
And Lemon Balm looks very nice in early Spring, all bright tropical green.
Um. I'll stop now, okay? Only my herb garden is gone crazy this Spring.
You can have some of the oregano seedlings we seem to have in abundance, too. All the seeds germinated, which was quite a surprise, and it's a shame to waste them.
BB dear, a bucket of TS please, I want to go swimming and not worry about any news there may be from Clopton Subedge.
Isambard Kingdom Earwig
<manic chitinous grin>
More dirigibles! More steam! Put your carapace into it!
RSM Willie Earwig
'Scuse me, just passing by, need to lay out these flares, nothing to see here, busy busy busy...
Got the flares laid out and burning. Check.
Perimeter guard to keep stray woodlice, meece, and other villagers out of the drop zone. Check.
Dirigibles in position. Check.
Right-oh, Isambard - CUT THE STRING!
<massive herbaceous rumbling>
Of course, there'll be a little work to do before it's a herb garden in the strict sense...
This might be the time to hand over matters to local labour: the Woodlice have a vested interest in getting things absolutely spot-on right, since they plan to lurk under the sundial once it is erected, and they always seem to have time on their, um,
It would keep them busy and happy and out of mischief designing the layout for the herb-garden and maze.
ooooh! <bounce squeak bounce>
<furious oniscidine thought>
and you brought lots of lovely rotting bits too!
Deep inside the Big Woods to the north of the village stands Hill House. Originally built in 1857 as a retirement home for an eccentric gentleman from Massachusetts, the building fell into disrepair after an unfortunate (and ill documented) incident involving a wet tea towel, a steam engine and an invocation to Nyarlathotep. For years the property stood abandoned, but with the recent arrival of the new owner, Innocuous Dave, a long process of restoring the building to its original condition has begun - along with the installation of a number of modernist dovecotes most notable for their golf ball-like design and tendency to go 'thrum' occasionally, and a collection of conical beehives, dug into the ground to preserve stability.
Those few visitors to Hill House who have spoken about their experiences recount a fine collection of murals by the noted American artist Richard Upton Pickman, along with an extensive library, a collection of unusual ethnographic curios and an awful lot of electronic equipment - apparently Innocuous Dave is very interested in ham radio as well as anthropology.
The grounds of Hill House are generally best avoided, as it is reported that a particularly nasty variety of badger has set up home in this area and this, along with the usual wild boar problem, has led to the hiring of a number of gamekeepers. These colourful fellows can be recognised by their cheery grins, camouflage clothing and military grade assault weaponry, along with a tendency to travel in groups of four (the badgers are particularly nasty). As such, warning notices are posted around the boundary of the property and it is strongly suggested that visitors should not attempt to explore the grounds of Hill House without a local guide (if they can find one stupid enough to go near the place).
While the house itself cannot be seem from the road, the gates and lodge are of particular interest. Constructed entirely from wrought iron, the twenty-foot high gates portray a scene reminiscent of Heironymous Bosch, with many strange mythological creatures performing a number of rather inventive and painful-looking acts to damned souls (and each other). Oddly, though, while the gates have obviously been the subjects of a great deal of work, the sphinxes that top the gateposts are unfinished, being devoid of faces. The lodge, like the gateposts, has been constructed entirely of black granite, lending it a forbidding air that seems to sit well with the gates. Constructed after the style of Hill House itself, columns surround the building allowing the gamekeepers to take rest in the shade of a porch that seems to remind one of an ancient Egyptian temple. While there are no reports of conditions inside the lodge, it is currently the focus of some reconstruction - in the hope that Hill House can once again have the imposing entrance it deserves.
Visitors are reminded that Hill House and its grounds are private property and that viewing of the collections are only available to accredited individuals by appointment. It's also worth mentioning that the gamekeepers can be a bit twitchy, and are really quite heavily armed.
It is again worth mentioning that visitors are not encouraged to go beyond the upper gate into the Big Wood, on account of the wild boar. Latest estimates put the strength of the herd at just short of the 1,000 mark, although this figure takes no account of the autumn rut. So far they have only eaten policemen, conservationists and a small team of surveyors commissioned by DEFRA, so clearly they're no bother to anybody. However, it would be wrong to impose too heavily on their good nature.
In the valley between Holtacre and Castle Hill there seems to be a Home Farm - which explains where we get our meat and vegetables from. I expect the Squoire makes a fair amount of money selling all the fruit from his extensive greenhouses and walled garden and orchard, too, in the shop in the Shambles.
The Hovel is, of course, the rather fine neo-Classical folly, inspired by Le Petit Trianon, built by Sir Eglantine Bines in 1738 on the site of the disused 14th century lime-kiln.
Although the passing years have not been kind to it, some portions of the original fresco ceiling are still visible, just to the left of the acroprop kindly donated by the present owner of Bines House.
residence of Matthew Francis, the Village Guinea Pig.
Not so much a hutch, more a Guinea Pig Palace, this superior warren has *no Tunnels*, since all the runs within it are technically on the surface. It does however have the world's first GuineaPigapult, carefully designed to convey the Village Guinea Pig from his desirable residence straight in through a window of the Library, so that he suffers no legstrain in his journeys to return books he has borrowed. For the return trip an equally careful chute descends gracefully from a first- floor window of the Library building to the entrance of the Hutch. On fine days the Village Guinea Pig can occasionally be observed taking books to and fro one at a time, and the sound of delighted Village Guinea Pig Squeaks filters over the Green as he slides at high speed down the chute, followed by loud cries of "wheee!" as he takes off once more on his partially controlled flight back into the building whence he has but recently emerged.
If the wind is high, the excited cries may be followed by *THUD* "ouch" as he misses the open window and hits the wall to one side or the other.
Matthew may be the only Village Guinea Pig in the world with a custom-built crash-helmet.
During the cricket season, whenever a match is in progress the spare sight-screen is carefully placed between the Hutch and the wicket. to reduce the risk to those parts of life and limb not adequately covered by the crash-helmet if some enthusiastic batsman has a go at breaking a Library window.
The Library has a commodious flat above the administrative office and music section, and this is occupied by the Librarian, her husband and an occasional college student. How to phrase that correctly, a college student who occasionally visists his parents. He had better not be an occasional student, I want him to graduate.
Nick Boalch, Keeper of the Sacred FAQ, lives in the Stacks, as the library annexe is familiarly known.
For those unfamiliar with same, the Stacks is a vast cavern where the library's reserve stock is kept, and is linked to the library cellar by underground railway. Once described as a cross between Khazad-Dum and Versailles as designed & built by the Time Lords, the Stacks is actually larger than the superterranean Village. In keeping with the One Rule, the Stacks owns at least one copy of every book ever printed anywhere in the world, except the works of Him We Do Not Name.
The Warden's Lodgings are situated at the west end of the main cavern. They were originally designed by Indigo Jones (which accounts for the colour scheme), with rather over- ambitious hydroponic formal gardens laid out by Incompetence Brown. The secondary drawing-room is said to be capable of accomodating over 1,000 guests to sit-down tea.
Licensee: Melody the Buxom Barmaid (she of the 50,000,000 Earwigs), who writes:
The pub is an old coaching inn, untouched by designers or the ravages of time, due to a spell being cast upon it many years ago by a passing faery.
Said faery (Georgina) stopped for a drink of water and had her wings nearly detached by the then owner's 8 year old son, Lucas.
Georgina was mightily miffed and cast a spell saying 'Age will not pass within these walls for as long as there is a Village of ..erm ..ah ...what's this blasted place called again?...Oh yes, thank you, Abthite'
Unfortunately, due to the interruption of the spell it did not *take* as she hoped. The walls, floors, ceilings and exteriors stayed in perfect condition but the people inside were able to come and go and grow old gracefully (or not in the case of Lucas - but that is another story). Thus the Lundy flourished ..white walls, black paintwork, oak beams and floorboards. Ivy grows up the outside wall. There are horse brasses hanging alongside the bar and there is a nook for the olduns to drink in.
The Lundy never has a delivery ....we just never, ever run out of anything :)
There are roses AND ivy outside the Lundy, deep red climbing roses to the left of the heavy black oak door and ivy to the right. There is an unusual pub sign hanging outside...can anyone guess what is on it ?
The Giraffe has now removed from the floor of the Bar. Zodski, the Man From The Milk Marketing Board, resides at the Lundy.
There is a large kennel in the Lundy courtyard for the use of the Weredog of Abthite... not that he sleeps there of course... he tends to not get any arguments wherever he flops down, except when his Juvenile Assistant Delly the Belly feels like a quick wrastlin' match.
Some kind of disused military depot, long-since disposed of by the MOD. Consists of a magazine complex and some testing ranges (the latter are used by the sharpshooter occasionally, so do not go there if the red flags are flying). Much of it is surrounded by barbed wire which (strangely) does not seem to be going rusty.
In the area behind this and up as far as Hill House there are signs that say
Beware of the [ahem] 'Gamekeepers'
run by the Miller (now there's a surprise)
property of the Miller, rented by the American Tourist
Elizabeth Fusina writes
"I am renting the Mill House, so that I can go out and stitch while cooling my feet in the mill stream, so nice on hot days in the summer. I have put in a nice little herb and vegetable garden near the mill house (slightly south and east), and the tomatoes and peppers are coming on nicely. I am hoping to put in cucumbers and zucchini next year, as I have a bumper crop of dill already this year, and making pickles seems in the forecast for next year.
"At the back of the vegetable garden is a very gnarled old apple tree, and under it is a beehive-or possibly two, depending on whether the hive would have split by this time. It is close enough to the hollow tree with the swing and library exit to be able to hear the humming of the bees from the swing, a very comforting sound in the summer. It has led to the donation of the odd bottle of honey to whomever asks for some, not to mention when the courgettes (zucchini to Merkians) come ripe the donation of them to anyone who doesn't run away fast enough."
When gardening is forbidden by the weather, Elizabeth stops in and embroiders, and reads, and cooks...
When she moved into the Mill House, she asked the Village Handything to build her a nice boobytrapped bookcase for her favorite books, and her landlord's wife (for such the VH is), having established that the boobytraps were to be non-lethal so there would be no problem getting blood off the books, threw herself into a re-design of the house to suit the tenant's needs.. The bookcase soon became a book *room* behind several boobytrapped doors:
"I want it somewhat room-safe-like -- doors on front of room, nice little comfy chair and good lighting, and shelves all round the walls. Friends who want to read can sit in the comfy chair, and the books will never leave my premises.
"I don't plan on having windows, so it won't matter that I can't. Besides, then I could have the phone booth lift/elevator to get in. Which would be reason enough, I think. And we could put the room at the end of one of the non-existent tunnels that aren't anywhere in the village."
The Handything asked: "Do you want standard book shelves or those ones that roll away into a stack like in the British Library? A large comfy seating area with daylight bulbs and a log fire at one end of course (I like a nice wood fire to read by I do) with drinks and nibbles available. The tunnel can come off the phone booth in the hall, ex-BT conversation piece. Do you want it under the front or back garden and how many doors?"
Elizabeth replied: "Back garden, I think. Definitely a fridge, and a spot for snack food, and a fireplace sounds wonderful. There is a nice comfy chair and ottoman, a largish sofa in front of the fire, with a nice thick fluffy rug in front to sit on if you like, another sofa with a couple tables to each side over by the sideboard, which has a small fridge and cupboard with the necessities of life (chocolate and TS, most notably) in it.
There is always a place beside the fire on one of the sofas for the Village Beggar, when he wants to read in the warm.
"Can we make the hook thingie so I can heat a kettle over the fire for hot chocolate? As far as the bookshelves are concerned, so long as they hold lots of books, whichever is more fun to make."
A decision was promptly reached by the Handything: "The paperbacks can go on the rolling shelves and the hardbacks on display. I'll get the woodlice to make some fancy carved bits for the front of the uprights. They can go at the end with the fireplace, which can be set so that the chimney provides an extra heat source for a greenhouse or potting shed, disguises it nicely if we do that.
"The paperback shelves will be motorised with the same kind of sensors that stop lift doors shutting on you, and pressure sensors if that doesn't work. If they bump into anything before the floor sensor tells it to stop rolling it -will- stop.
"Five doors spaced for the length of the house and then the library itself can start just under the back garden. Less propping for the foundations doing it that way. It's a long, thin cellar."
For an auxiliary escape-lift in case of very determined book- borrowing relations, Rafe Culpin suggested: "How about a hollow tree trunk, as long as you make sure you fit it properly?"
Elizabeth: "That could be fun, esp if there is a swing hanging from a convenient branch so that on nice days I could come up and sit in it and read."
Handything: "OK. I can make that one one way so you can come out of it for reading but have to go back in the phone box entrance to get more books. Works as an emergency escape hatch as well that way in case of invading relatives..."
For the actual work of excavation and construction on sound engineering principals, someone came forward for the first time:
Isambard Kingdom Earwig
<emerges from pile of earth>
<dusts off frock-coat>
"If engineering is your need, perhaps I can be of assistance?
We specialise in long narrow cellars under rivers, and very small bridges..."
Tends to goodwill (except where spammers are concerned).
Lives in a strange dwelling in the Big Woods known as Moose Yard. Purveyor of cocoa-dusted truffles to the village. Is believed to rent some of the Magazines (because they're kept cool) to keep his chocolate in.
a tumulus. Probably. Or else it isn't....
It's a deceptively small house that I share with Tessa (those of you that #afp will know her), which nevertheless has a rather large library, and quite probably has a secret tunnel or two connecting it with the main library and the second-hand bookshop. It has a porch, with large parcel dumping space, and a rather battered looking drive (I'm sorry, I haven't had time to mend it). A rather less battered VW Golf sits on the drive - this is Tessa's. There is a shed to one side of the house, in which sits my manky black bike which you can still strangely lift with one finger, and Tessa's flashy blue one, which induces hernias by merely pushing it. The roof is done in the borders style - a combination of slate and tile - and the walls are covered in some mysterious plant, which resists all attempts to remove it. There is a small pond in the garden, covered in some green stuff. I have tried to remove it. It grows back in a day.
This house is at the south end of the Green, which is quiet, apart from the occasional unfledged gargoyle plodding past after getting lost. And sometimes a passing Prince on his way up to the fairytale castle on Castle Hill to try his luck with the Princess (who has a tradesmen's entrance specially for them...)
I don't mind the gargoyles, and they can sit on the porch for a rest should they require one, but if I find any princes there... Consider this a friendly warning...
residence of Mule (from whose head hang jewels and binoculars)
Property of Firedrake R, who bakes. Bread, too.
Near the Spreading Chestnut Tree
Have we got a ford? Please say we've got a ford! I want my house to face it - so that when the cheeful types who speed through villages with nary a thought for the inhabitants going about their unnatural business (as it were) attempt to drive straight through it with the hope of spraying all and sundry with brackish water, I can giggle and point at them. For the ford will be deeper than they expect, and occupied by an interesting variety of freshwater electric eels, not to mention the ever-so-friendly piranha...
Otherwise, my abode resembles Lamb House in Rye - but WITH the Garden Room. (A nice Queen Anne sort of house) There's a bit of cobbled street in front, some steps up to the front door (which, with the frontage, is at 90 degrees to the bay window of the Garden Room) and a good view of everything that goes on in the village. Plonk it anywhere, as long as it's within staggering back distance of the Lundy.
Ah! The flowing waters of the Abon! Given the ban on fish puns, and the fact that the Abon is full of likely candidates for such puns, does that mean I'm the Barred of Abon?
Has a cellar for the Busker to perform in when it is raining
I live in a little cottage, surrounded by garden, facing east.
There's a sun room at the top (mostly a little tower, with windows on all sides) so that my cats can sit and watch the birds in the trees around the house.
The garden is full of carefully cultivated weeds (takes a lot to cultivate them right, you know), and there's wild roses in bushes by the front and back doors.
There's a little picket fence, painted bright blue.
And there's a "Quilts for sale" sign hanging out front.
for grooving in with several species of small furry animals whilst the wind cries "Mary!"
This Palatial Pigsty is the residence of Patricia, who is always happy to stand gazing dreamily into the middle distance (that is, the other end of her sty) gruntleing in a thoughtful way as she contemplates the secrets of the universe and the arcane lore of the early Welsh canon, whilst Denizens feed her potato peelings, scratch her back with the small garden rake provided for the purpose, and tell her their troubles. This has benefit to Patricia, whose girth as a result of the peelings is great and whose skin is smooth and free from itches, and therapeutic value for the Denizens: there's nothing like telling it all to the Pig for cheering one up.
Since Patricia could not be technically termed enormously fat, though she's a good size even for a pig, it would be utterly beneath her dignity to enter for a fat pig contest, so we shall never know whether she would have won one. She is a Learned Pig.
Between the Schoolhouse and the Library, is full of unsafe but delightful equipment such as a very high slide, two roundabouts, and a climbing frame that presents a real challenge to children. Funnily enough, no child has suffered any injury more serious than mild bruising when playing there - could be because they are not mollycoddled in Abthite, know how to fall and how to avoid the seesaw when it springs up at them, and have enough sense to stay clear of a fast-moving swing....
Manager of the Lost Property Office.
A moderate sized dwelling attached to an immoderate sized personal library.
Being squozed into an odd angle gives it an unusual shape complemented by the various odd twiddly bits (OMT) of architecture sticking out at various places.
It has a pleasant outlook over the stream from the south-facing glassed-in reading room / conservatory.
The large cellar is entirely soundproof, thus avoiding any annoyance to the neighbours from gatherings of those members of the community with a filkish tendency.
It has convenient access to the big woods.
There is of course no access to the 'secret tunnels' since these do not exist. Definitely. Similarly the direct line of sight from the whatever-that-gothic-turret-thing-is-sticking-out-of-the-roof to the earwigs signalling post is entirely coincidental.
At the top of a hill overlooking the village with the Squoire's Hall in the distance opposite. Andrea the Schoolmarm lives in the School itself because as everyone knows teachers are put away in a cupboard at night and brought out each morning for assembly. (I do sneak out of there though in my alter ego as the ghost of teachers past) The school is naturally a cross between the old board school type buildings and a gothic mansion and has a bell tower with a bell that is rung and not just for show. ....and the school house is on the hill looking over the village (well we have to ensure the kids lose some of their daily energies running up hill to ensure they aren't late when the bell is rung at slightly different times each day - wicked aren't I <g>)
Since seamstressing is such a.. adult activity I think it best if I were not overlooked.. The property at the intersection of Castle Hill Lane and Holt Leas looks large enough for my.. specialist requirements.
As always visitors by appointment only. All darning to be left in the front vestibule. Any noises you may hear are figments of your imagination..
residence of Sandriana, the Singing Squid
integral part of the arrangements of the Handything; safer not to ask further. Possibly now contains the machine that goes ping, if the boyscouts have returned it. Or if that isn't in the Woodshed.
Just south of the cobblers, the Tailor's shop offers a wide range of clothing, and there are many different garments for sale. Some for fashion, some to keep the weather off and some enchanted with protection spells to keep Bad Things away, some, to be given as gifts to enemies, are enchanted with spells to make Bad Things come the way of the wearer. If ever The Tailor himself is not present, DO NOT ENTER THE WARDROBE (there's a sign on it to say as much). It may look small and innocent, but it is ludicrously big, and full of Bad Things. You should wear (buy them, or borrow from the shop) protective garments at all costs when entering The Wardrobe, even when entering with The Tailor.
The proprietor and Tailor in-residence, Harry (The Tailor) also has a range of less legal goods in the extensive section of the shop known as 'Out Back'. Dodgy goods can be bought here; any goods for any price. He only has one rule, and one rule alone: No second hand books where they are still in production and/or the author is still alive. The wrath of the Lemming Co. is a strong deterrent in such matters. If you do wish to purchase less-than-legal items, you could always use your cellar which could be handily adjacent to one which connects with another which leads to The Tailor's cellar. (Bear in mind that this is NOT secret tunnels, there is no tunnel network).
The Tailor lives on site.
residence of Toby the Mad Scientist and Igor, his cat
As with all true Villages, there is a side-turning which forms a triangular patch between the main road and the two branches of side-turning, in which triangle there is a bus-stop with bench and rubbish bin, a telephone box, a mysterious concrete pillar about three feet high and three feet long by eleven and a half inches wide with a slightly tilted top and four letters and a number on a cast-iron bit on the front, and of course a spreading chestnut tree under which the Village Blacksmith (doffs hat respectfully) stands, when he is being Incognito and keeping an eye on things.
Almost close enough to the Lundy for the tunnels^Wcrypts to reach the cellar. 
The vicarage is one of those rather beautiful brick-built houses, low and comfortable and basking in the sun, a bit like a cat. the sort of place that has pictures taken of it in May or June, when the flower garden is looking its best, the holly-hocks and roses are blooming marvellous, and the Vicarage cat is sunning herself on the front doorstep. It is not thatched, as that can be a bit of a hazard, in kniggit hunting season. . Unless you can get fireproof thatch, that is.
Inside, there are rooms that are cool in summer and warm in winter, and there are old terracotta tiles on the kitchen floor. The furniture is a bit faded and squidgy, having come from different members of the family, or auctions. There are some open fires, for the cat to lay herself down in front of, and for everybody else to stand in front of, enjoying that curious pleasure of a hot backside and a cold nose.
And there is a grandfather clock.
 bit scary coming back that way in the dark if the lantern blows out - all dusty and dark and full of bones. Staggering into the stone coffins can really make bruises on your shins. Nice patterns engraved on the stone though. Historians think it might be Roman. Real atmosfear - do you think I could do guided tours, or is that already in hand?
 And looking photogenic herself, right up until the moment that you focus the camera, where she either scowls, gets up lazily, or starts cleaning her bits
Those kniggits are no respecters of a person's roof, and will run over them in their attempts to run away (retreat gracefully [greasefully?])
 It is entirely possible that there is something nasty in the woodshed, now that the Behemoth is in residence in the Other Woodshed.
Selling atonal apples, and amplified heat, and Pressed Rat's collection of dog-legs and feet. Coffee mornings a speciality, since the occasion on which owing to a misunderstanding about whether the wood in the back quarters of the shop was or was not rotten, a complete reconstruction became necessary. The woodlice continue to assert that this was an accident, and in no way their fault. The owner of the premises continues to have grave doubts about the advisability of allowing the woodlice anywhere near the shop. That the result has been a pleasant room in which friends and neighbours can sit on comfortable seats mouth- carved by the Woodlice as an apology for their error, with plump cushions, and drink coffee near the Aga, is fortuitous.
As well as those things mentioned above, the Shop sells all the staples of life: dragon kibble in 1cwt sacks, mousetraps, rolled oats for making porridge, washing-up bowls, milk, instant coffee including "Rocket Fuel", cake-tins of various sorts and sizes, wool, frozen foods, buttons and zips, pickaxes, strange but delectable sweeties from large jars, cigarettes, tobacco (and papers for rolling same), wholemeal flour ground by the Miller, looroll, dustbin-liners, custard powder... If it isn't in stock, it can be ordered at a day's notice. The shop's Storeroom is believed by the locals to occupy a slight warp in the space/time continuum which allows it to be a great deal larger inside than would appear possible from the external size of the shop.
In addition to Beetle, the shop is occupied by a large, comfortable-looking dark-tabby longhaired cat called Cassandra, who sits in the top of the open sack of dogbiscuit by the counter, and by a green parrot called Albert Bawbee Clauswitz Decibel Esperanto Fillibuster III (or so he claims) generally known as Alfie for fairly obvious reasons, who sits in a ring hanging above the counter and passes occasional Remarks.
This entrance conceals a multitude of sins, schemes and mantraps. The Village Villain has 248 Henchgirls in Spandex (TM) who pander to his every whim and leap to obey his slightest behest -- or so they would have him, and us, believe.
Behind the schoolhouse there is a Place Where The Wild Things Are, to give the children inspiration for their imaginations.
residence of (we think) the Behemoth, and also possibly of The Machine That Goes Ping. Or one of the MTGP. The Boy Scouts certainly had one for a while, and there was also one in Beetle's cellar before the Collapse of the Kitchen.
Map produced by a Beetle, converted by Isambard Kingdom Earwig and hosted by the Sinister Firedrake Conspiracy.
Last updated: Mon, 17 Jul 2006 13:28:23 +0100