Twists Within the Ups and Downs

They say the first step is all it takes to launch the future of your dreams. They also say that first step is the hardest.

It isn’t only steps into the future that prove difficult. Trying to get up to the rooms in the top of the Right Turret is just as hard – if not more so.

The Right Turret (pictured here on the left as the photo is from the back of the Mansion!) has an unusual Spiral Staircase that runs up (or down, depending on the way you are going!) with an added twist. Yes, you read that correctly. A Spiral Staircase with a twist. Two twists, actually. The first twist is that the rotation swaps over halfway up/down. You start climbing the stairs in a clockwise direction, and reach the top going round anticlockwise. The same with the descent. Anticlockwise to start, clockwise to finish. It’s as though the Staircase has a one-way policy top and bottom.

If that wasn’t odd enough, when you reach the halfway point, up or down, the bottom step moves itself up to become the top step. so you can end up taking the same step over and over again and not really going anywhere. It took me a while to work that one out. Half a day, actually. It can be an uphill struggle climbing and not going anywhere. Going down is much easier. You can stand where you are and let the steps carry you. Round and round, clockwise of course.

Now, it’s obvious to miss out the middle step, and reach the top quicker, but sometimes the climb is more fun than actually reaching the top in the quickest time.

At the top, however, that’s where the room is. Beyond the heavy wooden door lies the corridor. Yes, a corridor at the top of a Turret with several rooms off each side, and a final staircase at the far end leads to the Very Top.

The Very Top. The room that feels quite daunting to approach, with ominous shadows lurking where shadows shouldn’t. Whispers echo – possibly from the lurking shadows – or more likely from the vastness of the room at the Very Top.

Some ask if it is worth going through all the exertion of climbing to the top just to get to such a room. Sometimes it has to be done.

Even rooms at the top need dusting.

Abandoned Lookout

I’ve just upgraded my Artrage program and doodled the above digital oil painting of an abandoned building that looks as though it is about to topple into the turbulent sea.

I have no idea what the building is, nor why it is so close to the water’s edge, although maybe it was used for boats to come and go in calmer times. Perhaps it was an early lighthouse or lifeboat station. Don’t know.

I just swirl the colour around and see where it takes me! I suppose that is another way of saying I go with the flow.

A Long Long Time Ago Miles From Anywhere

“Rimaykullayki!” waved the strangely garbed visitor as he approached King Rabletop III whilst doing his morning exercises. The king stared forward without uttering a word.

“Rimaykullayki!” said the stranger again, not sure if Rabletop had heard him the first time. “I’m Alan. My ass and I are lost. I think we took a left when we should have took a right back there. We’re heading to Machu Picchu.”

Rabletop stood properly and looked at his strange visitor. “You’ve made me lose count now”, he grumbled.

“Sorry, my strangely dressed friend. Do you know if I’m heading in the right direction?”

“Strangely dressed friend? You can talk. What’s that bird growing out of your head?”

“Bird out of…? Oh, you are referring to my regal feathers. I am Apu Alan, King Alan, Son of the Sun.”

“King? I am the only King of the Land. I am King Rabletop III of this Great Egyptian Empire.”

“Shouldn’t you be an Emperor then? Of an empire?” Alan was genuinely confused.

“Never mind that!” Rabletop didn’t like being questioned, so decided to ask another question. “Son of the Sun? Does that mean Great Ra is your father?” Rabletop bowed respectfully and raised his hands up to the sky.

“No,” Alan replied. “My father’s name is George. I was appointed Apu Alan last week, and have since then been looking for a site suitable for Machu Picchu. I was told to search the lands for a well-hidden site deep within a rainforest. Obviously I’m lost as there’s only a couple of trees here. Do you know of any rainforests?”

“There’s an oasis just up the Nile,” Rabletop pointed back in the direction Alan had approached from. “Back that way. Way back. There aren’t any rainforests around here. It’s not very often we have rain.”

“Wait a minute.” Alan had a moment. “Egypt? The Nile? Land of the Great Pyramids?”

“Spheres.” Rabletop corrected. “Great Spheres. I take it you’ve heard of us?”

“Oh yes, but I thought you had pyramids.” Alan’s eyes widened. “When I find the site of Machu Picchu, I shall construct some of the greatest pyramids ever built there, and then construct more in the lands all around. Our great civilisations will differ because of your spheres and our pyramids. We will be known the world over for hundreds of years to come! Yes, the signs are all there!”

Rabletop pondered the pyramids, but still decided his spheres would be the way forward.

“I shall leave you to your sunbathing then.” Alan said cheerily. “I shall head back the way I came, and look for this oasis of which you speak. If it isn’t suitable, I shall continue on my journey. Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Once again Alan waved.

“Rome?” Questioned Rabletop. He watched his visitor and his donkey walk back over the triangular sand dunes and away into the distance, where they first became tiny dots and then disappeared from view completely. “Why does everyone want pyramids?” He bowed, looked up to the sky, and then restarted his morning exercise.

Reverence Ep.5: Road Trip

Æthelstan squirmed and fidgeted at his side of the carriage. Hempsty sat open legged in the centre as Katherine squirmed on the floor between them. Gemevere twisted her back on her portion of the seat, cracking a few bones as she stretched. Hempsty rolled his eyes which caused Katherine to giggle. Æthelstan twisted once more.

“Enough!” Æthelstan declared. “Stop the vehicle. This is ridiculous. I would sooner walk to Nottingham than travel in such cramped style. How can you manage with such a tiny carriage?”

“We wuz doin’ just farn!” Gemevere answered, “‘Til you two stopped us. By ‘eck, weyave loadsa room in ‘ere when you arn’t ‘ere.”

“At least youse can sit sorta properly” Katherine moaned. “I’ve got four knees in me face.”

“And your garment, cousin, takes up enough space for another person.” Hempsty had to join in the collective moanfest.

“There’s nowt wrong wiv me frock, ‘Empsty.”

“It is slightly old-fashioned.” Katherine lifted some of the dense material. “It must way a tonne.”

“This, deary, is the latest fashion.” Gemevere glared frostily at the woman crouched between Hempsty’s legs. “I dunno what that is what your wearin’, but it looks bloody awful.”

“Gemevere! Please! Language! We are still in company!” Huffed Hempsty.

“The wench certainly has a unique tongue.” Æthelstan remarked.

“Oi! ‘Oo are you callin’ a wench?” Gemevere squirmed. “King er no king Ah’ll show you just ‘ow much of a wench I am as soon as ahcun move!”

“Remain calm, cousin.” Hempsty pulled on the reins to slow Sentinel a little. “We merely have to go over this bridge, around the following bend, along the road a short while, and then we will enter Skundersthorpe. We shall bid farewell to our travelling companions there.”

“Skundersthorpe?” Æthelstan questioned. “Where on Earth is Skundersthorpe?”

“It’s on the road ter Nottin’am.” Gemevere snapped. “A long walk away, but on the way.”

“I thought you wanted to help people, cousin.” Whispered Hempsty.

“Depends on the people, ‘Empst. She tried to rob us,” Gemevere nodded to Katherine, “An’ ‘e could be a town vagabond fer all we know.”

“Vagabond!” Æthelstan repeated slowly and extremely loud.

“That’s done it!” Katherine giggled. “His face ‘as gone a bright shade of red.”

“Stop right now!” Æthelstan demanded once again.

“Verily you cannot expect me to stop whilst traversing a bend, Æthelstan?” Hempsty pointed out of the open window ahead of him. “This road is littered with chancers and peasants.”

“An’ we’ve met the same one twice!” Gemevere wasn’t letting Katherine off lightly, “and more’n likely a new ‘un an’ all.”.

“Now cousin. We shall be bidding farewell to these people shortly. Don’t you think we can do it fondly?” Hempsty really wanted to restore a little tranquillity to the cramped conditions.

“Ah’ll fondly bid farewell to ’em, Empst. Glad to. Sooner the better.”

Hempsty pulled the carriage over to the side of the road, where it joined a small gravel pathway that led through a small wood. “I shall let thee walk into to Skundersthorpe from here. It is much quicker along this path than following the main highway which takes us around the entire town before entering it for some reason. And there is no toll on the path either, so you can enter without paying.”

“Paying?” Katherine asked. “I’ve never paid to get into town ever.”

“I doorn’t doubt that.” Gemevere opened her door and stepped out of her side of the carriage. Hempsty moved himself around on the chair slightly so Katherine could slide herself along the floor and then leave the carriage herself. Æthelstan waited for someone to open his door for him, but soon realised that wasn’t going to happen, so stepped out through his door himself.

“Looks like we’ve picked up a stowaway.” Katherine commented as she noticed a woman sleeping on the roof of the carriage. Gemevere looked up and saw the curly-haired woman wrapped in a tattered blanket.

Hempsty stepped out of the carriage. “It’s no wonder Sentinel struggled, pulling the calash and five of us all by himself. Verily cousin, I think we too shall visit Skundersthorpe to enable Sentinel to receive a thoroughly good rest.”

“Saw we’re spendin’ more time wi’ these two, then?” Gemevere’s face filled with dread.

“Not if you don’t want to, deary.” Katherine smirked. “Oi! Missus. What do you want up there?”

The woman stirred upon the roof, and looked at the three faces looking back at her. She made a move to jump off the carriage the other side, and saw the bearded man looking at her from that side. She muttered something which none of the four travellers could understand, before becoming cloaked in a swirling black cloud. The cloud faded, and the woman was gone, replaced by a raven that flew into the direction of Skundersthorpe.

“Well, that’s summat yer doorn’t see every day.” Gemevere remarked, totally puzzled.

Hempsty tethered Sentinel to a resting station and water trough at the side of the path, and then ran to join the other three who walked together towards the new town… somehow putting their differences behind them.

This is the fifth part in the Reverence storyline. The previous four parts can be found in my Storylines menu.


Imagination stretches beyond the boundaries of all that is possible. The imagination is unlimited, but it is the mind that sets limits. How far out must we go to be able to tap into the freedom of the vast and great unknown?