This is the log of science officer In-The-Know-Joe. We eventually left the whizz-banging craziness of the land of laughter no thanks to that dastardly Bandicoot Twist. I have it on good authority that it was because of her that our sensitive ship, The Ever After went off course. The Ever After is a delicate machine, it needs to be treated gently and not have a pig-footed bandicoot going cock-a-foot all over its finely tuned instruments. I spent all day feeding the narrative thrust drives ‘feel good’ stories and happy endings to get our Prattle Ship back on track and now we find ourselves on the island chain of Bardland.
Bardland is a strange group of islands where nothing is quite what it seems. We landed on a salt marsh where we overheard nymphs talking to Goblins of green glass beads and red ruby rings though no matter how hard we looked we could not find the owners of the voices. Kate Rundell, the ships boy was convinced of treasure and ran off over the salt marsh only to disappear into a gathering mist.
We called for her to no avail, Satnav Steve was sure he could track her but after following him for several hours we found ourselves back where we started, that’s when we heard a bang, a crash and a clatter. We had chanced upon the Onomatopoeic Forests.
The wind was whooshing,
the leaves rustling
every stick we stepped on snapped!
Every log we went around cracked!
We snapped and cracked
past gurgling rivers
through bubbling brooks when we heard
a clanker, a boink and a bump coming from a big red box!
A big red box
sitting out in the wood
I did not like it
no smart person would
it banged and it clattered
it boomed and it swelled
“Don’t go near it!”
came a shout from a girl.
She was up in a tree
so very high,
a girl in a tree
swaying up in the sky
with our binoculars out
it was Kate, the ships boy
on the look-out.
“There are Things
in that box
that will jump everywhere
I barely escaped them
I trapped them in there.
They are Things that are crazy
that juggle fishes and stews
they call themselves silly names
THING one and THING two.”
It was only after we got the big red box safely packed on to The Ever After that we realised we’d been speaking in poems – these islands truly are magic.
Once we’d eaten our lunch of alphabetty spaghetti we headed back out to explore hopping on dream boats to the near-by island of Lullaby where ship’s artist Copy Kat gathered several jars of the “sleep” gunk that gathers at the corners of your eyes when you dream. On Lullaby there are mountains of the stuff smelling faintly of malt and hot cocoa. She said she had been looking for just that shade of yellow for her pictures. We took a brief nap on Lullaby before finding a bridge made of bunting, of various coloured fabric triangles, joining the Island of Lullaby to the near by Isle of Limerick. Swinging across this bunting were loads of very active smiling babies.
“If babies can do it so can we.”
Exclaimed Captain Jones and so we joined the babies hand over hand over the bunting bridge. We did wonder where the parents of these brave babies were, there were lots of rabbits on the island so maybe they were hunting or milking the cows we could hear mooing in the distance.
As soon as we landed in Limerick…
we met an old man in a wheel
with an orange he was trying to peel
he got covered head-to-foot
in orangey gloop
that poor fruit-starved man in the wheel.
He said his name was Edward Lear as he rolled off in search of more fruit to peel.
We left the rolling hills of Limerick with just enough time to see the
fun sun set on the jungles of Rhyme with its…
and small, half-giraffes
nibbling from the low leaves
of the knee trees.
We gathered some bags of rhymes to add to our big red box containing THING one and THING two.
As we sailed away on The Ever After we could hear battles being fought on the last island of the chain – the island of Ballad where great poetic battles are had between knights and dragons and kings and queens. As the thrust engines thrummed Look Out Kate was in the Prose Nest shouting down to us who was winning the battles on Ballad Island until it became too dark to see and all we could hear was the splishing and splashing of the waves.