Holmes returns, an early Christmas and African adventures in Second Life

Seanchai Library, Holly Kai Park

It’s time to kick-off another week of storytelling in Voice by the staff and volunteers at the Seanchai Library. As always, all times SLT, and events are held at the Library’s home at Holly Kai Park, unless otherwise indicated.

Sunday, July 9th

13:30: Tea-Time at Baker Street

Tea-time at Baker Street returns with the opening of The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes, the final set of twelve Sherlock Holmes short stories first published in the Strand Magazine between October 1921 and April 1927.

This week: The Adventure of the Illustrious Client.

The year is 1902, and Sir James Damery visits Holmes and Watson on behalf of his mysterious and illustrious client. The latter never actually directly revealed to the reader, although it might well be the king himself.

Damery’s client is concerned about the relationship between Violet de Merville, daughter of General de Merville, and Baron Adelbert Gruner, from Austria. Gruner is viewed as a rogue and a sadist and – in Damery’s and Holmes’ opinion – a murderer.

Despite the matter of his last wife’s mysterious death and his reputation, Violet de Merville will not be dissuaded from her determination to marry Gruner. So secure is the latter in his position that he is unfazed by a visit from Holmes – indeed, he warns the latter that a French agent who once confronted him with similar accusations finished-up a cripple for life after receiving a beating from thugs shortly afterwards; a veiled threat if ever there was one.

So, lacking obvious proof, how do Holmes and Watson prevent Violet de Merville from marrying Gruner and possibly facing the same future as the Baron’s last wife?

Find out more by joining Cale, Kayden and Corwyn.

18:00: The Wind in the Willows

Meet little Mole, wilful Ratty, Badger the perennial bachelor, and petulant Toad. Over one hundred years since their first appearance in 1908, they’ve become emblematic archetypes of eccentricity, folly, and friendship. And their misadventures – in gypsy caravans, stolen sports cars, and their Wild Wood-continue to capture readers’ imaginations and warm their hearts long after they grow up.

Begun as a series of letters from Kenneth Grahame to his son, The Wind in the Willows is a timeless tale of animal cunning and human camaraderie – although some in current times unkindly see it as a kind of allegory for the privileged ne’er-do-well upper class (in the form of Toad) with the aid of the middle class (Badger, rat and Mole) to keep the proletariat (weasels and stoats) in their place.

I suggest you join Caledonia Skytower for Magicland Storytime, and go with Mr. Grahame’s intention with the tales – as a ripping yarn for young hearts and minds.

Monday, July 10th 19:00: A Boy Ten Feet Tall

Originally published in 1961 under the title Sammy Going South, and then later Find the Boy, W.H. Canaway’s novel is often referred to a “The Huckleberry Finn of Africa.” It became the basis for a 1963 British film Sammy Going South, starring Edward G. Robinson, which was released in the United States as A Boy Ten Feet Tall – hence the revised title for the book.

Born in the Suez region of Egypt, where he is orphaned, Sammy learns he has an aunt living in Durban, South Africa, and is determined to travel south to be with her.

Already distrustful of adults – he was told immunisation shots he was given at a young age would not hurt, when of course they did – Sammy sets out on foot uncertain of how he will complete the journey, but determined that he will. Along the way his distrust of adults is reinforced thanks to encounters with those who seek to profit from him and due to his witnessing the cruelty humans can inflict upon one another.

But also along the way there are those who do seek nothing more than to help him. One of these is a poacher and diamond trader – the kind of person you’d believe only to willing to take advantage of a young boy alone in the world. But it is compassion that rules this man’s heart (played in the film by Edward G. Robinson), and he takes the boy under his wing, helping him to heal from his emotional wounds …

Tuesday, July 11th 19:00: In the Words of Stephen Vincent Benet

Short stories with Corwyn Allen.

Wednesday, July 12th 19:00: The Girl Who Drank the Moon

Caledonia Skytower reads Kelly Barnhill’s 2017 Newbery Medal winner.

Every year, the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest. They hope this sacrifice will keep her from terrorizing their town. But the witch in the forest, Xan, is kind and gentle. She shares her home with a wise Swamp Monster named Glerk and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon, Fyrian.

Xan rescues the abandoned children and deliver them to welcoming families on the other side of the forest, nourishing the babies with starlight on the journey.

One year, Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight instead of starlight, filling the ordinary child with extraordinary magic. Xan decides she must raise this enmagicked girl, whom she calls Luna, as her own.

To keep young Luna safe from her own unwieldy power, Xan locks her magic deep inside her. When Luna approaches her thirteenth birthday, her magic begins to emerge on schedule–but Xan is far away. Meanwhile, a young man from the Protectorate is determined to free his people by killing the witch. Soon, it is up to Luna to protect those who have protected her–even if it means the end of the loving, safe world she’s always known.

Also presented in Kitely (hop://grid.kitely.com:8002/Seanchai/108/609/1528).

Thursday, July 13th

19:00: Christmas In July

With Shandon Loring.

21:00: Seanchai Late Night

Caledonia continues the Christmas in July theme with several quirky Christmas tales including The Polar Express and Red Ranger Came Calling.

Both of these sessions also presented in Kitely (hop://grid.kitely.com:8002/Seanchai/108/609/1528).


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

The featured charity for May through July is Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, raising awareness of childhood cancer causes and funds for research into new treatments and cures.

An oriental Collins Land in Second Life

Collins Land, Collins Land; Inara Pey, June 2017, on Flickr Collins Land – click any image for full size

I was stunned to realise that it has been almost four years since I last visited Collins Land, the home of Cerys Collins (Cerys Celestalis). In fact, it has been so long that in the intervening time, Cerys has moved from at Homestead to a Full region. The current build has been in progress since May 2017, with Cerys noting it is now “95% complete”.  Having learned of the Japanese-themed redesign by way of my favourite region hunters, Shakespeare and Max, Caitlyn and I had to leap over and have an explore.

Following the region landmark will deliver you to a shaded spot south and west of the region’s centre, and the grounds of a large traditional Japanese house, built over the cooling influence of a large pond. The latter is an indication that water plays a subtle but important role within the region – keep an eye out for how Cerys makes use of it throughout. The house is situated to one side of tiered gardens and grounds, all of which tend to form a good starting point for explorations.

Collins Land, Collins Land; Inara Pey, June 2017, on Flickr Collins Land

Wooden paths wind and fork their way through the grounds, offering a number of points of entry into the house as well as leading to other points of interest. Follow these board walks with care: just when you think you’ve found them all, the likelihood is you’ll find another leading you to a little scene, a part of the whole whilst also feeling entirely secluded. One route, for example, leads way to a little shaded summer-house to the south overlooking a beach; another route offers access to another little group of buildings in the south-west corner of the island, where a Koi house sits over another pool of water.

Close to the landing point lay stone steps climbing up into the region’s highlands. These are, like a number of the major paths around and through the region, marked by a torii gate. The steps wind their way up to a high plateau, where sits a Buddhist shrine protected by a moat and walls. Along the way, you’ll pass through bamboo groves and past a Machiya house. As well as offering a break from the climb, the gardens of the house offer a view west and north, emphasising the verdant nature of the region.

Collins Land, Collins Land; Inara Pey, June 2017, on Flickr Collins Land

The shrine isn’t the highest point on the island, however. That honour goes to the pagoda in whose shadow it might sometimes sit. This pagoda can be reached by scrambling over the rocks, but there is a fabulous climb via wooden walkways which winds its way up the side of the cliffs, after also starting from the gardens of the landing point. This route – its start denoted by another of the torii gates – should not be missed, and offers more views out over the surrounding mountains.

On the north side of the region, sitting under the massif, is a small village, reach by following yet another wooden footpath running northwards from the main house near the landing point and along the west side of the region – watch for the pleasing little detours off of this again along the way. This path gently climbs down the rocky shoulder of the island to reach the village by way of a bridge separating another inland pool from the waters surrounding the region. Built over cobbles and stones, the village appears to be devoted to farming and fishing, and visitors are welcome to try their hand at Greedy, Greedy if they so wish.

Collins Land, Collins Land; Inara Pey, June 2017, on Flickr Collins Land

The lowlands of the northern village are matched by the beach to the south, once again reached by steps leading down from the gardens and house at the landing point. Follow the stepping-stones here and you’ll uncover one of the region’s secrets. As noted, there are others awaiting discovery, as is a hidden place – although I’m not 100% certain that is intended to be open to the public.

I really cannot over-emphasize the beauty of this iteration of Collins Land. The colours are rich and vibrant, the landscaping beautifully and painstakingly done, the beauty spots numerous, the hidden places intimate, the use of space exquisite – as is the way the paths and climbs naturally follow the contours of the land. Keep an eye out for the little touches of humour to be found dotted about in the ground in the water. This humour offers a nod to the fact the work is still ongoing: a group of artisans working (and resting!) as they ready the final bits…

All told, an absolutely gem of a region – as is always the case with Cery’s designs. Click the image below and scroll around the landing point in 360o. If you’re a Flickr user and take shots of the region, please consider sharing them with the Collins Land Flickr group.

SLurl Details