Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Travels of Shelley, Bride of Frankendecken - part 1

Some time ago, I hosted a Travelling Tarot deck called the Frankendecken (or Frankie), who was cobbled together, Frankenstein-style, out of spare parts and given a life of his own. Well, he was lonely, so we created another patchwork deck as a bride for him, named Shelley after Mary Shelley.

The story of her stay with me starts here.

Well here we go - Lutestring's last part-day with Shelley and my first part-day.

I met them both at Tuggerah train station, which from Sydney was easiest for everyone, and Shelley sat demurely in Lutestring's luggage as I threw them both into the Incredible Hulk (a rusting car I'm currently driving) and raced off to Mojo's Cafe at The Entrance. Mojos is blessed with delicious coffee, a good menu, and Bianca, my Pet Waitress. The shape of my life has changed in recent months, and now, far from ending up there a couple of times a week as a matter of course, I have to make a real effort to get there. Shelley was the perfect excuse. The Pet Waitress not only remembered me but remembered my subspecies of coffee, and welcomed both of my guests.

Shelley was very hungry after her journey, so I ordered her two meals, the John Dory off the specials board and the Mediterranean salad, a main course in itself, and she scoffed the lot whilst Lutestring and I looked on ravenously and sipped our drinks (Photo 1).

Lutestring had brought along a few decks for me to salivate over, and the Glastonbury flaunted its stuff whilst Shelley knocked back the food (photo 2). I begged Lutestring to pose for the camera, so she showed me her best side (photo 3).

This is a seaside town, and there is a lighthouse that lives on the cafe's windowsill (I have a regular table in one of the windows that is magically vacant for me every time I turn up, and which didn't disappoint this time), and after a few years of sitting with the lighthouse it finally consented to be photographed ... (photo 4) ...

... but Shelley was immediately jealous, and leapt between the lighthouse and the camera (photo 5). Then the Pet Waitress came over and had a look (photo 6), and consented to pose with Shelley (photo 7). Later over lunch, we introduced Shelley to Son-of-Frankie, a clone of the original travelling patchwork deck, and they chatted companionably for a few minutes, but didn't get naked as the original Frankie insisted on doing around the Anna K when he arrived at mine all that time ago (photo 8). Perhaps he is more coy around stepmothers than around buxom female strangers.

Afterwards, when I asked the usual screening question designed to find out if she would run screaming into the street if I let her into the house, it seemed as if Lutestring wouldn't be *too* horrified, so warning her about the many natural hazards in the subdivided shoebox that I am pleased to call home, I dragged her back there. I took no photos as she poked around among my collection and fell in love with the Herbal Tarot and the Whispering Tarot, nor did I take photos as I failed to interest her in my single roof-cleaning flatmate who might just have clambered all over her roof once before (professionally, not as a burglar, I hasten to add). Instead, I made my very first comment on this journal thread as she sat there, salivating.

I *could* have dumped her, later, at the train station, but something made me offer to drive her home, so we piled into the Incredible Hulk again and headed off to what my flatmate (talked-to on the phone) remembered as a "crumbling mansion", a rather romantic description from someone who, like me, loves eccentric things.

To me, Lutestring's house wasn't so much a "crumbling mansion" as a veritable Aladdin's Cave (or perhaps an Aladdin's cave-system). Rooms led romantically into other rooms full of wonderful ancestral and flea-market artifacts. Tarot decks, her handmade Tarot bags (all gorgeous) and fabric for making more bags were everywhere. I was given a cup of the nicest mint-tea that I'd had in ... oh ... ages.

And then I climbed into the Incredible Hulk and drove home again, a happy girl.

Thus endeth day 0.5.

My second day (or perhaps, my one and a halfeth day) with Shelley is ending as I sit here journalling. It started with my taking her to where I read Tarot, after promising myself that I would bring no other decks to read for clients with all week, only Shelley. (I couldn't quite divorce myself from the habit of having the Granny Jones and the SOL riding silently in my handbag, though). Here is Shelley in the morning, on my reading table (Photo 9).

And here she is on my little Altar at work (actually, just a glamorous way of concealing some *very* messy storage shelves) (photo 10). She got comfortable in my space (photo 11).

Then she suddenly realised just *where* she was: the Bookworm Kafe, a second-hand bookshop, and realised *who* was her host for the week (an addicted book-buyer), so she showed her Devil card in front of one of my addictions to indicate that there are financial dangers inherent in letting my addictions run rampant (photo 12).

I told her I was an Earth sign, so she threw a card in amongst my work-collection of stones (photo 13). We had just about exhausted the possibilities of my reading-room without a client, so I brought her out to the front counter (photo 14) and showed her to Melissa and her friend (photo 15). Melissa seemed quite taken with her (photo 16).

The two girls had some up-close-and-personal time together ...
... and Melissa discovered a card-back which she wants as a future tattoo, so I photographed it for her (photo 17). But to give Miss M her due, she liked some of the card-fronts, too (photos 18 & 19).

And despite the glamour of the proper cards, we cannot forget my gift of the title card, shown front-on here (photo 20) courtesy of the MRP people, who sent me a signed one with a replacement card ...

... and its reverse, which the previous hosts of Shelley have been kind enough to sign (photo 21). Sadly, I suspect that a Mary Greer signature trumps a Karen Mahony signature slightly - I was briefly tempted to swap them, but womanfully resisted. Notice the little, demure Nisaba-signature, so typical of my shy, self-effacing persona which Lutestring assures me is common to both AT and the "real world" whatever that is.

Then Lynne from the local library turned up, with a lovely thank-you card for me, for doing a Tarot presentation at the library a few weeks ago. "What's that about?" Shelley asked (photo 22).

"Well," I told her, "Some people are still backward enough not to know about Tarot, and the library was casting about to engage with the community a bit more, so Lynne rocked on down here some time ago and invited me to speak. The story is here, Shelley."

"But I don't have fingers," Shelley whined, "and in any case you're hogging the laptop."

"Later, later," I told her, and changed the subject.

I did this by walking her a few shops down the road to our local new-age shop, "Avalon by Nature", run by the lovely Jo (photo 23). Shelley was impressed by some of her crystals (photo 24) but I refused to listen to her shrill little voice trying to persuade me to buy them.

Jo spent some time with Shelley too (photos 25-27) and pulled a card for herself, the Magician (photo 28).

Jo then shocked me profoundly by holding a rather ... er ... phallic crystal cluster up with the King Pentacles. Really, I didn't know where to look! (photo 29) And Shelley was mortified, too. I coped with that by running away from Jo, to a shop between our two very fine establishments, called the Happiness Hut. They sell colourful, useless things. For over a decade (casually) and a few weeks (seriously) I've been looking for a tongue-drum, and the boys there found me one.

So I photographed Shelley there on a blue chair with an almost Three Swords type cushion, drumming on my tongue-drum with a banana in lieu of drumsticks, but in retrospect, after the previous snap, this too looks a little rude (photo 30).

After I went home, Shelley and I took my roof-cleaning flatmate's dog for a run in the park, and she investigated Shelley as thoroughly as possible without involving saliva (I was growling menacingly) (photos 31 & 32).

It is, of course, Wednesday, and Wednesdays I always go to the local club, to down some chips'n'gravy with my Wednesday Friend, and watch her knocking back the moselle-and-limes. For some reason she was dry for the first time ever tonight, so I couldn't use her as an excuse to give Shelley a sternly maternal lecture about the evils of mixing wine with cordial (photos 33 & 34).

<whispering> I can hear thin, papery snoring from somewhere behind me, so obviously I exhausted her, and she has crashed out after her thrill-filled first full day with me. I should creep off to bed myself, and refresh myself for some more adventures tomorrow.

My tentative schedule with Shelley includes a few things: Pagans in the Park at Budgewoi on Sunday, the meditation group on Monday night, and quite possibly a trip without me in the evil clutches of a certain roof-cleaner to a public ritual on the weekend. But who knows what will happen? <airy wave>. After all, the world - or at least the Central Coast - is the mollusc-of-our-choice!

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