#2 Ship’s Blog
Satnav Steven

Ahoy there, story seekers!

It’s Satnav Steven here, reporting from the observation deck of our terrific story-laden vessel.

Ooh it’s been a tense few days on board the Ever After.

Captain Jones got her medals in a muddle after I was late boarding the ship on the first day of our mission, and she spent the rest of the afternoon pacing about in the Never-ending Store. She was furious, and I suppose I can’t blame her. The Captain runs a tight ship and HATES tardiness.

It really wasn’t my fault though. I made sure I left lots of time to make it to The Story Museum, but I just kept getting lost. Every street in Oxford looks the same to me.

You see, I’ve got a bit of a problem.

You’re probably thinking my name is Satnav Steven because I’ve got an incredible sense of direction and I can track my way across the Story Universe with my eyes blindfolded. I am the navigator on board the Ever After after all.

NOPE!

My name is Satnav Steven because I really, really, really need one. I’m hopeless. I get lost looking for my hammock in my own cabin, but PLEASE don’t tell Captain Jones. I don’t think she’s figured out my secret yet, and she’ll kick me off for certain if she does.

I wouldn’t mind, except I LOVE stories and I’ve dreamed of working on board a Prattleship Narrative Ark since I was a boy.

Anyway… enough babbling… let’s get back to the mission.

After my late arrival, Captain Jones altered our course. We were supposed to be setting sail for the Land of Laughter, but she thought I could learn a lesson about good timekeeping by hearing a few moralistic fables, and changed our destination to The Spoken Isle.

I was determined to get it right. I checked the compass about a squillion times and plotted our coordinates exactly. We would take a direct route over the Final Fantasea and be in the Realm of Fables by dinnertime.

The only problem was, I’ve actually never used a compass before and I had the chronometer upside down.

I’m pretty sure you can guess what happened next. By the time dinnertime rolled around, instead of the sweeping hills of Myth and Legend, we were staring at the lop-sided, rainbow-coloured towns of Parody and Humour. Yep… after all that, we’d arrived at the destination we were meant to be heading for in the first place. THE LAND OF LAUGHTER!

I managed to convince In-The-Know Joe that Twist, our pet pig-footed bandicoot, had knocked the navigation gadgets when she was chasing a mouse and must have scrambled our coordinates. He spent the rest of the day back in the Narrative Thrust engine rooms tinkering with them. Ha!

So… somehow, I got out of that one. We ended up having a BRILLIANT time and even gathered our first artefacts whilst exploring the streets.

I stopped off in the neighbourhood of PRANKS to see my old friend, Dennis the Menace and grab a SLOPPER-GNOSHER-GUT-BUSTIN’-BURGER with him at Beanotown Burgers. He showed us all the funniest places to visit and donated his trusty catapult to the Ever After’s collection.

Then we popped over to Farmer Jenks’ field at the edge of town to spend the afternoon with Just William and his gang of outlaws, Ginger, Henry and Douglas. It took a bit of persuading, and I had to give up a large chunk of my stash of sweets and chocolate, but William finally agreed to give us his blue and white stripy cap to add to our booky treasure-trove onboard.

You might think that Dennis the Menace’s catapult and Just William’s cap were a really great start to our hunt for funny artefacts, but it didn’t end there. Just when we were about to head back to the ship, I spotted a scruffy house with a dead tree and a huge cage in the back garden. We snuck inside for a bit of a nose about and discovered two piles of clothes in the middle of the floor and all the furniture glued to the ceiling. I’m sure you’ve guessed which gross double-act the house used to belong to…

That’s right! Mr and Mrs Twit! No one wanted to stick around in that horrid place for too long, but we made our final discovery and collected something deliciously funny and wickedly hilarious.

Wait for it…

MRS TWIT’S GLASS EYE!

It’s been safely wrapped and put away in the Never-ending Store along with the other treasures. It won’t be long before they’re joined by tons of other exciting story-related objects.

Here’s hoping we end up somewhere just as fun the next time I get us all lost.

This is Ship’s Navigator, Satnav Steven signing off.

Ever After…

 

#1.1 The Launch Date
Captain Jones

We launch on an auspicious day: 10 February, Plimsoll Day, the birthday of my hero Samuel Plimsoll, a Victorian who campaigned for the safety of sailors. Gave his name to the load line that shows how deep in the water a vessel can sit.  And also to the shoes schoolchildren wear for PE which were named after him by a sales rep called Mr Lace (it’s true – Lace who was in shoes) because, being rubber underneath and canvas above, they can only be safely immersed in water up to a certain point, like a merchant ship.

There’s our first story, though a true one. Perhaps I shall give my plimsolls to The Story Museum.

#1 Captain’s Blog
Captain Jones

Call me Captain Jones. I run a tight ship and am master of a glorious mission, a quest to find the 1001 objects and moments in your favourite fictional stories, which will take us into uncharted waters. Or uncharted skies. As well as lands with fantastic maps.

Today we were to set sail at 0800 hours from the Museum in our fabulous vessel, the Ever After, a Prattleship-Class Narrative Ark, which will be our home for the duration of the voyage. I’d sent Lookout Kate on a last-minute errand, and meanwhile intended to organise a human chain to load the kitbags and hammocks and collecting gear on board, but some of the rest of the crew had gone AWOL. (I think they’re going to need a firm hand. Proper respect should be paid to my experience and my gold braid.)

The only early boarder was the bandicoot, and she’s no use. Came trundling up the gangplank on the dot with an expression of entitlement.  As if she belongs. Twist stowed away once somewhere in the Southern Hemisphere, and has been tagging along ever since. (I confess I’ve got oddly attached to the sneaky piece of work, despite her grumpiness. I suppose if all your relatives were extinct, you might get a bit glum too.)

The others showed up soon after. The Science Officer and the Ship’s Artist had gone exploring.  Too many objects of interest in the Museum, apparently.

The Navigator, Satnav Steven, turned up late because he’d got lost.

Still, just a bit behind schedule, we got everything stowed in the Never-Ending Store and were rewarded with breakfast supplied by Cook Conomos, accompanied by a loud tirade about how the timing of her Greek pancakes had been messed up by the delay.  At least this time she stopped short of throwing pans. (Though mostly she throws them at Twist.)

In case she changed her mind, I retired to the safety of the bridge with the Navigator to plot our course. It’s a tricky business.  Some directions are more specific than others: follow “the yellow brick road” or the train from Platform 9 and 3 /4; “second star on the right and straight on till morning”; “sail away for a year and a day”; “look toward the sun and walk into the sky”; “down the rabbit hole”; “through the wardrobe” … Some are very vague indeed: “one does not simply walk into Mordor”.

Am in constant contact with Mission Control at the Museum, which is collecting your ideas to beam up to us. We’ll be sucking and scooping them up through the Horton Hearing Hoover and in the Charlie Bucket, and catching thought bubbles in our Inter-net.

I gave the command to head first for the Land of Laughter. Always a good starting place for a long navigation through stories.

But Satnav Steven had wandered off again. I heard a voice saying “I have nothing to declare but my genius,” and “It is a truth universally acknowledged …” and tracked him down to the Observation Deck.

I had just given the order to weigh anchor and boost the Narrative Thrust, when Copy Kat, on First Watch, sounded the alarm. She thought Lookout Kate was still not aboard. I’d assumed she was, but she couldn’t be found.  She has a way of nipping up the rigging when not needed. Could she have slipped? Was she overboard …?