Wednesday, 14 February 2007

The Long Night

Dear Diary,

This entry finds me sitting in a tent on a small, flat plain. All in all, its been a rather trying day.

It started, as these things do, with an informal gathering in the Cabinet. Terry was there, as was my lovely husband and I was delighted to find that Miss V. Tombola had also joined us. We had another visitor, too: Mr O'Toole, who we had last seen at the Valentine's Ball. It was good to see him still in military garb; gentlemen always look very fetching in their regimentals.

Alfonso wanted to explore the safety of the known passage to the Northern Continent, to ensure that our gallant comrades in adventure would not find it populated by pirates and brigands as so much else of the Northern coastline appears to be. Everyone agreed, so we set off into the unknown.

We arrived at a most unprepossessing place. Apparently it is called Purple, despite the lack of any violet inclinations in the decor or statuary. There reside a lighthouse, a tug boat, a train station and some very large buildings of unknown purpose.

Shortly after arriving, we all fell victim to a most peculiar and violent weather phenomenon known as a lag storm. Whilst several of us were pinned to the spot, Miss Tombola and Oolon both blacked out and Mr O'Toole vanished for a considerable amount of time. I should have known that this did not bode well for the rest of our visit, but at the time I attempted to remain stoically optimistic.

It became obvious that although the locals we encountered (a Miss Audina and a Mr Acropolis) were friendly, the buildings were not. At least it would appear that I am not the sole focus of animosity in this region, as neither Mr Mesmer nor Mr O'Toole could gain access to the majority of the edifices. In a display of pique at his continued exclusion, Mr Mesmer (who had appeared most unexpectedly) displayed a talent for biting social commentary I had not hither to thought him capable of. At least he was no longer looking aged and wizened by this point. He's a very odd chap.

Several of the group decided to carry out their own investigations of these buildings, whilst those of us cruelly excluded began a search of those areas we could access. The Lighthouse was most interesting, with a stunning view from the upper chamber. Sadly, there was no sign of the Northern Continent on the horizon.

An attempt was made to start the tug boat that stood beside the lighthouse, but even Miss Tombola's mechanical genius failed to coax the beast into life. It was becoming clear that this part of the mainland was both judgemental and obstreperous and everyone's nerves were becoming a little frayed.

Oolon, Terry, Mr O'Toole and Miss Tombola decided that there was little of interest here and decided to return to Mayfair, leaving only me and my darling strongman to continue our investigation. Hence the tent.

We will continue on tomorrow by balloon to the structure that Alfonso believes lies in the centre of the channel (we had hoped to cajole a lift from Oolon, but he had apparently lost all interest in the venture) and then on to the Northern Continent. Let us pray that there is more there of note and less prejudice against certain members of our community.

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