Yes the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay, Wisconsin invited me along to tell spooky stories for their Pumpkin Train event. Here are a few films and pics of our time there – and some of my spooky poems below.
We were thrilled to be invited aboard the locomotive engine, a diesel, models of which are still in production or are being renovated for industrial useage.
We were thrilled when Kerry the engine driver invited us aboard the engine. We were there for the Pumpkin Train day so were on our way to the pumpkin patch. The train journey is normally twice as long but is shortened to allow time for everyone to get a pumpkin. Parents and children would all get a pumpkin, so a family of five would gather five pumpkins; and them pumpkins were pretty huge. There were around 1500 of them on the day we were there, and most of them went. They were set out in the shape of a bulls face and it was pretty scattered by we got there in the afternoon.
Kerry is a retired army general who gave forty years of service. Throughout that time he maintained is interest and involvement in museum. He tells me that he was fascinated by the railways from the age of three, and continued to volunteer while he was a general. His workmates told him this was pretty unusual. Most army members who fly accomplish around 2000 hours, Kerry loved to fly, and managed over five thousand hours flight time, plus over five thousand hours flying helicopters. He only stopped flying when he became a general with several thousand under his command.
As you can see, Heidi is an active member of the board, and all the fascinating people I met that day are enthusiastic and give of their time. In Britain if a museum is described as ‘national’ then admission is free and the place is funded, not so here in Wisconsin. This wonderful museum is kept alive by that enthusiasm and the price you pay at the door; your support is what makes the place thrive.
There were giant spooky inflatables everywhere, this one was a favourite for us. Besides Packman we also found ourselves wondering what would Scooby do?
The Little Isle; An Illustrated Tale of the Realms of Faerie – this magical collaboration is slowly building towards becoming a publication and will feature these words below with the marvellous artwork of New York-based artist and designer Toni DB. For this first edition you will need to content yourselves with my illustrative scribbles which are in here for fun and to help get the process started. Toni’s illustrations will be appearing increasingly in future drafts as I blog the piece in a few stages of development so you will be able to experience the growth towards being ready for a publisher’s consideration. Wish us well on this exciting adventure.
Please support us by veiwing, liking and most of all sharing wherever you feel it will be appreciated.
The Little Isle
Let Snowdrop Fairy flutter,
A crumbling pixy utter,
Does no one now believe?
No one now believe
Rock troll in mountain melds
Where elf-lore was upheld
No longer real belief
Oh, you who once believed
Bumbling Hobb is sadly gone
Where Titania is frowned upon
Doubters scoff belief
Where doubters scoff belief
The fabled ancients say,
As tall tree people sway,
You no longer believe
No longer believe
Jackie Paper blows
With Samwise to goodness knows
The land of disbelieve
Land of disbelieve
Eritrea altered course
White waves leaping horse
Die as you disbelieve
As you so disbelieve
Will o the wisp will splutter,
Wish Fairy dying stutter,
Death of belief
Death I believe
Dragon-heart, Camelot, clover
Flower-painter, cobbler, prince; all over
In doubt you lost belief
All gone, oh yes, believe
Sleepy hill or hidden meadow
Timeless tower or treasured bower
Forgotten to believe
Too modern to believe
The turn of page, the nod of dream
The whirl of pool, the trickster’s scheme
Are all beyond belief
Belief beyond we leave
Let dandelion fly, or white fluff sail
Let all cream curdle, each story fail
Die without you; disbelieve
You do not now believe
No stones open, no princess dance
A swan is just a swan, a frog will not advance
A foolish past believe
They used to all believe
Go sweep the moon, go skip the primrose
Smash the tooth, the lost morose
Forget all once believed
To dwindle we believe
Dwindle we believe
For those of you still wishing
The fey are all diminishing
No matter how you weave
No matter how you weave
Or does a little glimmer stubborn
Provide a tiny isle to live on
In the way that you perceive?
In the way that you perceive
So still the faerie weave
In the way that you believe
In the way that you believe
Say, faerie live today
In the way that I believe
In the way that I believe
Toni; the images are just to fill the spaces for now, I don’t expect they will inspire too often. One thing I realise I have not been too good at is the ‘recipient’; like I’ve done someone blowing the dandelion but not having the dream or looking disbelieving or imagining the white horse etc.
I have very little idea as yet on page layout or font type or font integration.
Footnote: I have been a year thinking of a suitable tale to match the magical work which is to come; I am tremendously excited and fittingly thrilled.
I know that secretly I am Adrian Spendlow the storyteller, but for the sake of this blog, and for the amazing Rollercoastival, I am Pied, yes call me Pied. I am the Pied Piper but you can call me Pied.
I was too, many coloured i.e. pied and to be honest Piper is somewhat of an honorary title. Yes when I piped children agreed that they would follow me but the truth is that is because I made a very rude noise.
My piping aside; what a great time we had. I was thrilled to have such good crowds of families. When you think that Coastival has around a hundred events going on, many of which are part of Rollercoastival, (the children’s and families’ activities), it was great to have such good sized groups.
If everyone did as well for numbers there must have been thousands and thousands and thousands attending events. Well a lot.
And what great groups they were. Everyone was game for fun.
We told stories, we created stories we created the perfect place to live – and it was Scarborough!
we serenaded from balconies,
we did art, (that’s why I am doing this blog cos of the great artwork),
we made or chose musical instruments.
There was a king,
and he was in a castle.
You have to have a horrid bit for me the Pied Piper to rescue you all from so you can end up somewhere nice.
We made up some horrid places;
all from the imaginations of children.
We were kind and cuddly and that made the moody king grumpy. I will tell you how bad he is, he picks his nose! Starving we were, and we cried out, “We want sweets!” All we got was sprouts, and sprouts, oh and loads more sprouts; badly cooked. Even worse than that, he stamped on our tiddlywinks. We begged and begged for food and all we got were puddings, those really horrid sorts. His wife the queen wanted to go shopping so he stole all our money.
He even stole our teddy bears. The teddy bears got made alive and turned into monsters (they were rather silly monsters).
“You should be nice!” we cried.
“I don’t like sharing! I shall send my silly monsters after you.”
We played hide and seek! Then we heard the sweet sound of the pipes and they led us away. The Pied Piper took us all away and we paraded through to Scarborough. It was lovely.
Footnote: the piping of course wasn’t lovely but I didn’t want to spoil the story with wizzpopping noises.
Other children complained of the king forcing them to hoolahoop for his entertainment, bouncing balls for hours and lots of fighting. Worst of all being told they were funny! Naughty kings tell secrets, trip you up, sing songs about you and like fighting.
Most horrid of all he made them go to school! Good job we all escaped upon the Skylark
and followed Pied to Scarborough.
We told stories along the way. There were magical baby horses (‘called foals actually’),
a hero dressed as a bear,
a beautiful young woman in a tower,
trolls in caves,
cattle from all over the world for the serpent to eat,
a funny little man in a cave,
spears, weddings, unicorns,
mums what help, dads what tell stories,
seeing the sea, rainbow bridges,
strange but beautiful ladies of the sea – what are they called again? Merrymaids is it????
There were also mystery sharks appearing in Scarborough (True!) and a true love story with a message in a bottle.
Oh and how the goddess of love she cried, oh how she cried.
We were so glad to get away from the evil king, He had given us all bracelets with eyes in that watched you and he complained that we were whining all the time. He wouldn’t let us go near the glittering golden apples and oh how we longed to wear pink. He said we were never ready on time (which was true actually), called us Contrary Mary’s who never gave him any peace and quiet. He has got peace and quiet now, because he is all alone and we have ran away. We had to run away as he had sent tarantulas to scare us.
I will tell you how bad he was, he wouldn’t let our friends visit and gave us jelly that looked nice but was made with horrid things.
That is why we are happy to be in a magical land called Scarborough.
A magical land. Ask us what it is like if you like and we will tell you. It is nice. We are happy and we have friends. The whole world is places to play with cushions all over the place so you don’t bang your chin when you fall. Everything is made from Lego except the candy floss trees and the candy floss grass.
There is no school. No wait we missed school, so there is school; you learn how to wrap presents and how to make sweets, cos it is Christmas every day and there are always presents. The rullers at school are gummy bear rulers so we don’t really bother drawing straight lines much.
When you live in a candy castle all the stories have happy endings.
We live in a land where it is fine because you are with your mummies and everyone laughs at everyone’s jokes (even Adrian’s).
Come and live in tree houses with us there is bacon for breakfast and teddies hug you back.
Even pringles are chocolate and chocolate twists grow from chocolate tress. Besides the chocolate fountain is an ever filling bowl of anything you want and a help yourself forever ice cream van.
That is how great it is.
We didn’t want to live in the king’s castle any more as he had stinky feet and made us always be busy. If we didn’t work hard enough he chased us with ninja turtles.
They were very naughty and played tricks on us all and called us cheeky monkeys.
No wonder we are happy in magical Scarborough with its candy castle.
Sweetie land has toffee apple trees and it is sunny all the time. It is great to be all families together and we even like the blue sheep. Flying on foxes and magical unicorns are our favourite hobbies and everyone has a bicycle, and a tricycle and a unicycle what they can ride easy.
Peaceful it is and always warm and everyone can swim.
We play pass the parcel and hokey cokey and hopscotch and twister and football too.
Come with us, let the Pied Piper lead the way to where everything is sunny and warm.
(If i have missed anybodies name off or anything do please let me know)