Thursday, 22 February 2007


Dear Terry,

I do apologise for not getting this missive into the post promptly but I've been experimenting with the sewing machine for this competition and what with all the exploring on the side, I kept getting distracted.

Where were we: Oh yes, after my rescue from the giant starfish you had to leave us. There are some fantastic statues in Cecropia, but also some rather creepy ones (didn't like them overly much). I wandered ahead of Alfonso and left him to study the freaky things and promptly fell down a hole in the pavement. I really must either get some eyeglasses or have my hearing checked. I'm sure clumsiness isn't a standard Pixie trait, but I do seem to trip over or fall down rather a lot since I arrived here; maybe its the constant battering by these terrible Linden winds?

Anyway, down the hole I found quite a few tunnels and a little train set. It was a bit soggy underfoot, but very intriguing. Why on earth would you put a train set underground? Humans are such funny creatures. Problem was, we didn't get much further because it was past my bed time and then there was the Mardi Gras Ball, which I insisted Alfonso took me back to Caledon for (I wasn't going to miss that after all the work Miss Rothschild had put into it; wasn't it a wonderful evening? And I got to meet Mr Hassanov, he's lovely).

All in all, socialising really put a dent in our exploration time, so after a few days of respite we dutifully headed back to our last location. I do like ballooning; its very peaceful and thankfully has fewer crashes than flying one's self. Almost.

You can imagine my confusion when I discovered that not only was the little train now a different colour, it was also imbued with it's very own powers of flight (and carriages) and someone had blocked up the tunnel in our absence.

There are some very inconsiderate people about, don't you think? Still, there were plenty of other tunnels to explore (yes, I found one of them by falling through another hole in the flagstones; pavement instability seems to be a major hazard of this region of the mainland). But look what we found when we managed to escape from the underground: a big crane with a fun tyre on the end of it. Not sure how useful it actually is, but my darling husband was certainly enjoying himself. It's always good to see him letting his hair down (metaphorically speaking of course).

We had strayed from Cecropia to somewhere known as Calleta, a very odd place indeed. I think it must be home to mad scientists and inventors as well as urchins and hobos, because there were some very funny people about. And some very funny things, but not in a funny way just a scary one. Do people normally keep vats full of eyeballs in their workshops?

There were lots of trains about as well; these seemed incredibly well behaved compared to the Caledon ones and were much brighter. There was a construction yard and a place where all the bits lived (Alfonso tells me its called a depot) and some of the carriages seemed to be lived in, presumably by the hobos.

Did I mention there are lots of hobos here? I thought I recognised the scent of Master Grut as we neared a giant fire and I do recall him mentioning this place, although I had no idea where it was. We didn't see him; no doubt he was off scrounging for gin and chips for Mary (I do hope her cough is getting better).

They were all a jolly nice bunch here and ever so generous. We talked to Miss Tizzy (isn't that a fabulous name? Although she definitely wasn't in one), Miss Wind (no picture of her sadly, Burt discovered the free stewed boot and that was him gone for half an hour), Mr Ferraris and Mr Runo for ages and they were very helpful in enlightening us about this place. Hobo Hub has a certain ring to it, doesn't it? Oh and there was a ghost there, a lady called Miss Smythe eye-eye-eye. Rumour has it that she threw herself off the top of the crane for love, but she seemed a canny enough soul and none of the over-theatrical "woo-ing" you normally get from that brigade.

It was getting late again and the discovery of a steaming bath decided the point as far as I was concerned. I do like a good soak in the bath and despite appearances to the contrary it was clean and very refreshing. We've pitched out tent here in the lee of an empty carriage and we shall continue on our way tomorrow, all being well.

How are the Steelhead Offices progressing? Please keep me up to date and watch out for giant domestic fowl....

Lots of love


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