Murder, magic, sisterhood and war

It’s time to kick-off a week of story-telling in voice, brought to our virtual lives by the staff and volunteers at the Seanchai Library. As always, all times SLT, and events are held at the Library’s Second Life home at Bradley University, unless otherwise indicated.

Sunday, May 22nd

13:30 Crazy Eights: Tea Time At Baker Street

Crazy Eights sees Caledonia, Corwyn and Kayden reading from The Return of Sherlock Holmes on Sundays from the living room of 221B Baker Street. This week: The Adventure of the Abbey Grange.

Sherlock Holmes in “The Adventure of the Abbey Grange.” (Sidney Paget / Strand Magazine, 1904)

Inspector Stanley Hopkins, who sought Holmes’ help in The Adventure of the Pince-nez once more appeals to the Great Detective for assistance. Sir Eustace Brackenstall, late of the Abbey Grange near Chislehurst, has been most foully murdered – and Hopkins believes it is the handiwork of the infamous Randall Gang, a family of burglars thought to be responsible for a number of robberies in the area.

Brackenstall had not been the most likeable of individuals in life; prone to heavy drinking and violence – Hopkins reports him as having once poured petroleum onto his wife’s dog and set the poor beast alight. Nevertheless, he has been murdered, and Hopkins would like Holmes’ input on the matter.

Travelling to Abbey Grange with the Inspector, Homes and Watson meet with Brackenstall’s wife and examine the scene of the crime. Other than the fact the robbers departed with very little, everything appears to be much as Hopkins has told them and Lady Brackenstall described when they interviewed her. Clearly annoyed at being called to attend what appears to be an open-and-shut case, Holmes departs for London with Watson. However, during their journey, Holmes has a change of mind and hauls Watson off the train at a suburban station with the announcement that they are returning to Chislehurst.

15:00 LEA8: More from Pride and Prejudice

Caledonia shares additional selections from Jane Austen’s well-beloved story of Elizabeth Bennett and Fitzwilliam Darcy.

Monday May 23rd, 19:00: The Alchemyst (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel #1)

Faerie Maven-Pralou reads Michael Scott’s mystical magical novel.

AlchemystAccording to the records, Nicholas Flamel was born in Paris on 28 September 1330 and died in 1418. Only his tomb has forever lain empty, because Nicholas Flamel is the greatest Alchemyst of all time. Entrusted with the care of the Codex – also known as the Book of Abraham the Mage – Flamel found within it the secret of eternal life.

But there is much else in the Codex which, if used by the wrong minds, could very well bring about the end of the world. So, for 700 years, Nicholas Flamel has guarded the Book, keeping it from all those who might otherwise seek to abuse its secrets.

Until John Dee steals it. And John Dee has the desire to unlock the Codex and bring about the very cataclysm Flamel has always feared. Without the book, he and his wife, Perenelle, will age and die, whilst with the book, Dee can thwart all attempts to recover it.

Enter 15-year-old twins, Josh and Sophie Newman. Prophecy has foretold of a time when the world would be threatened – and of the two youngsters gifted with extraordinary powers who will save it. Flamel recognises the Newman twins as those youngsters, and sets out to awaken their magical talents. So it is that Josh and Sophie find themselves cast into the middle of the greatest tale – the greatest confrontation – of all time.

Tuesday May 24th, 19:00: When Sisterhood was in Flower

sisterhoodThe writings of Florence King return to Seanchai Library as Trolley Trollop continues reading When Sisterhood was in Flower (1982),

Isabel, a conservative southern writer living in Boston, finds her life taking a number of strange turns. After an explosion brings down the wall of her apartment she is forced to share her living space with her neighbour, an ardent, humourless feminist called Polly Bradshaw. Then, between them, they take in nutty Gloria, who is fixated with all things medieval, including the lute, which she constantly plays, and the death of Edward II.

Things start unravelling further when Polly inherits a house in California, and unilaterally decides they’ll form a self-sufficient feminist commune there. Along the way, they collect Agnes, who is trying to escape her survivalist husband, and Martha, a widow whose estranged husband died after an unfortunate incident with an inflatable rubber doll.

Then Isabel has the opportunity to earn a living as a writer … of pornography …

Wednesday May 25th 19th 19:00: Crazy Eights: The War that Saved My Life

War savedCaledonia Skytower concludes Kimberly Brubaker Bradley’s children’s story.

It is the Second World War, and when nine-year-old Ada’s little brother is evacuated from London to escape the blitz, she is determined not to be left behind because her mother is too ashamed to allow her to be seen in public with her twisted foot.

So it is that Ada, experiencing her first time in the world beyond the house in which she has always lived, finds herself on an adventure, adapting to life with Susan Smith, the woman charged with caring for Ada’s little brother, and who unexpectedly finds herself with a second ward in her care.

As time passes, Ada learns to ride a pony, watches for German spies, and finds a bond forming between her and Susan smith, a bond shared with her brother, but over which hangs the shadow of what will happen when they have to return to London and the cruelty of Ada’s mother.

Thursday, May 26th, 19:00: King Kong – Eighth Wonder of the World

With Shandon Loring.

Saturday, May 28th, 13:00: Crazy Eights: The Final Story Forest Tour

Crazy Eights: the Story Forest path includes 20 story stations to be be discovered by visitors
Crazy Eights: the Story Forest path includes 20 story stations to be discovered by visitors:  discover more about some of the stories from Caledonia and Kayden

This final tour, with Caledona and Kayden, will concentrate on the larger stories represented on the winding Crazy Eights book path: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; The Lord of the Rings; Don Quixote; The Snow Queen; and the Legends of the Kraken.

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Please check with the Seanchai Library SL’s blog for updates and for additions or changes to the week’s schedule.

The featured charity for May / June is Habitat for Humanity, with a vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live – a safe and clean place to call home.

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A picnic in the Park Second Life

Holly Kai Park: the old watch tower
Holly Kai Park: the old watch tower

Much of my time in-world over the last week has been taken with the Holly Kai Park remodelling, some of which I’ve previously blogged about. Since then, Caitinara Bar has swung back into action with our weekly DJ sessions on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, and the work of quietly swapping out high render cost trees and shrubs with more modest alternatives has been continuing.

We’ve also been carrying out further refinements to the woodland paths through the park, re-working the west side beach a little following the move of Caitinara Bar, and continuing to generally tweak and refine, without disrupting the main art exhibition area on the art hill – although this has been quietly extended whilst no-one was looking 🙂 .

Holly Kai: the new pools, looking towards the tower ruins
Holly Kai Park: the new pool, complete with koi, looking towards the tower ruins

In particular, the latter part of the week has focused on creating a new part of the park sitting between the west side beach and the curve of the river. This used to be the home of a series of hump-backed hills which, while they broke up the land quite well, tended to be too much of an abrupt break in the landscape.

To change this, the hills have been lowered to form river banks, and the space they occupied has been turned into a picnic area with a new pool of water fed by a little set of waterfalls, and an old ruined watch tower. The pool offers several places to sit and to snuggle, while up on the banks behind it, there’s another little sitting area, and there’s also a picnic blanket and basket in the shade of the tower.

Holly Kai Park: picnic area
Holly Kai Park: picnic area

Aside from some nips and tucks here and there, and a re-working at to the op of the art hill, which we’ll complete once the current exhibition has run its course, this should be the park pretty much in its new look.

I would like to offer love and thanks to Caitlyn for being so patient while all this has been going on, and for coming up with some excellent ideas that would otherwise have been missed. Also, very warm thanks to Alex Bader, who has been a marvellously supportive and generous friend.

Holly Kai Park: pool and waterfall
Holly Kai Park: pool and waterfall

Please feel free to visit Holly Kai Park any time, and keep an eye on the Holly Kai blog for news on events and activities at the park.

Holly Kai Park Revised SLurls

Holly Kai Park is rated Moderate.

The art of nature in Second Life

Art By Nature
Art By Nature

Ani (Anibrm Jung) is an award-winning photographer in the physical world who has been active in Second Life since 2006, where she has a gallery, Art By Nature, displaying her own work. And if you enjoy natural photography, then I can say up-front this is a gallery you’re going to want to visit.

Based in the Netherlands, Ani specialises in photographing nature, many of her images captured from her own garden, and all of them recorded using only her Nikon D60 camera and natural light. Everything is framed directly through the viewfinder, and no cropping nor image manipulation is used after the fact. In this way, we are able to see each picture exactly as she did when taking it, allowing us to share her own sense of closeness with her subjects.

Art By Nature
Art By Nature

The result is a stunning series of images, spread across the gallery’s two floors, offering a fine show case of the photographer’s skill in using macro, soft focus, depth of field, lighting, framing, etc., to produce works of art.

Not that any of the images on offer are in any way clinical or technical in look or feel; quite the reverse Ani’s skilled touch and eye with her camera really do enable us to share in the natural beauty and wonder of her pictures, some of which incorporate a unique approach to framing which can add to their depth whilst also again enhancing that feeling we are witnessing the scene with Ani as she captured it with her camera.

Art By Nature
Art By Nature

From the delicate touch of a bee collecting pollen through to the majestic power of rolling surf, going by way of the usually unseen intricacy of a single barb within a wire fence or the playful delight of a cat, there is so much here to capture the eye, making a visit more than worthwhile.

All of the images displayed are available to buy, and if you do visit the gallery, please consider a donation towards its upkeep.

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