‘Cause It’s Witchcraft, Unkind Witchcraft

All Hallows Eve, Little Big Cat!, That's ONE Crooked Hen!, The 'Little' Folk

“When black cats prowl and pumpkins gleam, may luck be yours on Halloween.” ~ Anon

As the sun disappears on this All Hallows Eve, the folk from the All Hallows Hamlet are excitedly polishing shoes and dusting their finest hats as they dress to impress to celebrate the Festival of Samhain BUT not everyone wants to enjoy this special evening!

 

Sadly, there is no fabulous frock to wear or a sumptuous banquet to enjoy for Claire Eno this All Hallows Eve as this reclusive and unfriendly crone is busy pottering about and cooking up some rather unusual elixr from inside the Harum Scarum Emporium which is carefully shielded by the prickliest thorn bushes and whispering trees in this bleakest part of the hamlet.

There are no visitors here and Claire’s only friend is the ancient book that has been in her family for as long as anyone can remember

And it is from within the dusty pages of this HUGE recipe book that she concocts a vast array of nasty potions from the beautiful flowers, nourishing berries and healing plants that she gathers every day at dusk and even though they all gather dust on the cobwebby shelves waiting for the customers who never arrive – Claire is unable to stop weaving her unkind magick.

BUT could a surprise visit from that Little Big Cat change everything?

In Need Some Retail Therapy Vampyre?

All Hallows Eve, Crooked Hen Productions, Little Big Cat!, That's ONE Crooked Hen!, The 'Little' Folk, The Crooked Hen Gift Shop

The best definition I can give of a vampire is a living, mischievous and murderous dead body. A living dead body! The words are idle, contradictory, incomprehensible, but so are vampires.”

Scoffern (Stray leaves of Science and Folk Lore)

Vampires, Vampyre, Vampir, Vampyyri, Vampyras, Vampyr, Vampyras, Vampiro… It really makes no difference how the word is spelt for the meaning remains the same the world over, and for as long as I can remember, I have always enjoyed a fascination with (and a sneaky regard!) for these undead creatures of folklore and mythology.

However, as much as I appreciate that this interest of mine will not be shared by everybody and so in keeping with the ideas of ‘mischief’ and the ‘incomprehensible’ that Scoffern has attributed to the Vampyre; I have created something of a fantastical store that seeks to offer those essential accoutrements for any discerning hunter or slayer of the undead.

And so without further ado, I am now going to unlock the door of the Monsignor Suárez Vampyre Slayer’s Emporium in the All Hallows Hamlet!

The design for this fantastical world began during the dying days of an Indian summer last year and as I made a real effort to actually remember to photograph the creation of it from dry-build to completion; I am looking forward to sharing this tale with you in another post.

As the All Hallows Hamlet is a marketplace of emporiums, boutiques and other such establishments for discerning folk with a penchant for retail indulgence and a predilection for all that is extraordinary – I confess that I have been more than a little excited about this creation for not only is it a fantastical store brimming with merchandise of the magickal kind but after a lot of meticulous research, this little emporium is completely seeped in all manner of ancient folktale and superstition!

As the week of All Hallows Eve was also the celebration of the festival of Día de Muertos – I did hear a whisper that a certain feline made a debut appearance along with one or two other folk from the All Hallows Hamlet!

As Tilly is something of a creative soul, her imagination was now flying all over the place like the leaves tumbling from the old oak trees surrounding the All Hallows Hamlet and she began to wonder if the cat she had seen was not really Murphy at all but a shape-shifter in disguise or the beastly familiar of an evil witch OR that Murphy was now slowly transforming into a werewolf!

‘Vampyres, Werewolves and Zombies. Oh My!’

Follow the Tale…

And as the doors to the Crooked Hen Gift Shop have FINALLY opened; there is now the opportunity to indulge in a little retail therapy for yourself or a loved one.

For on offer and measuring just 2.5 cm or smaller is a collection of miniature vials from the shelves of this Vampyre Slayer’s Emporium here in the All Hallows Hamlet and which are the exclusive remedies created by the Monsignor himself with a guarantee to see off the most determined of Vampyres!

With a pinch of ‘Silver, Herb, Seed, Root and Werewolf Fur’ suspended in resin, labelled in parchment and finished with paper tied with jute, raffia or silver wire- these little vials will add a perfect finishing touch to YOUR fantastical miniature world… OR could YOU discover another use for it?

However, before I disappear for the time being; I shall leave you with a few lines from the divine Lord Byron:

But first, on earth as Vampire sent,

Thy corpse shall from its tomb be rent:

Then ghastly haunt thy native place,

And suck the blood of all thy race;

There from thy daughter, sister, wife,

At midnight drain the stream of life;

Yet loathe the banquet which perforce

Must feed thy livid living corpse.

Thy victims are they yet expire

Shall know the demon for their sire,

As cursing thee, thou cursing them,

Thy flowers withered on the stem.

The Giaour (1813)

Go On, Crow ALL You Like!

A Tutorial, All Hallows Eve, Little Big Cat!, The 'Little' Folk

Yes, dear reader, it IS true – the Yorvik Faerie is now NO More!

I have never really been happy with the name I created for my fantastical brand and a few weeks ago after several days of too little sleep and too much cake – I decided to unfasten her wings and once free, the Yorvik Faerie then flew away for the final time…

However, in her stead, comes the Crooked Hen!

The ‘Crooked Hen’ I hear you ask?

However, before I explain myself, tell me does the name NOT bring a smile to your face?

And even though I live in the ancient City of York with an entertaining family which includes a tetchy spouse, an moody black Persian cat with attitude and a very sociable Persian who thinks he’s a small dog – I also keep chickens!

And although my lovely ‘Little’ and ‘Large’ were murdered by an urban fox last year; I still have three poultry pals who answer to the names of ‘Snowy’, ‘Florence’ and ‘Allie’ AND I do mean answer – particularly if they see me clutching a handful of meal worms or a piece of croissant – to which they are very partial!

However, it was ‘Allie’, pictured top-left who inspired my name change when one weekend having heard an unmistakable sound, I rushed outside and there she was with her head thrown back and crowing like a cock and later that afternoon when we saw her trying to ravish poor little ‘Snowy’ – well, we realised that we had a chicken who was now possibly ‘gender fluid’.

But when I think of that very early morning when we literally rescued her from the jaws of that fox; it’s perhaps NOT surprising she’s more than a little confused about who she is.

So there you have it – the inspiration for the name of the Crooked Hen!

NOT a bird bent out of shape or deceitful BUT a bird of two contrasts and of much entertainment value!

Also of much entertainment value was the evening I spent with the members from the York Photography Network last month.

I had been invited to take along some of the models from the All Hallows Hamlet on what was possibly the worst evening for moving – anything!

Torrential rain, high winds, fog – you name it and armed with acres of bubble wrap and my deep breathing exercises, I battled across town with the ‘Monsignor Suárez Vampyre Slayer’s Emporium’ and the ‘Harum Scarum Notions & Potions Emporium’ in tow.

Despite the rush to unpack and dress the shelves as several camera lens were focused on me and my hands as I arranged those bottles of ‘Holy Water’ and other assorted notions and potions – it was a very insightful evening and amazing to see how the other photographers sought to capture my work.

And given the hurricane that occurred inside ‘Harum Scarum’ during transit with snippets of dried flowers and herbs scattered everywhere – I was rather relieved that I had left the grumpy proprietor at home – although she was the subject of much interest!

As the two ‘Davids’ have kindly given me permission to share these images – you can see more of their incredible work on this site AND you can also discover how I transformed a piece of wood and and broken pieces of Twisted Willow into an enchanted forest clearing for you never know who you might just find there one sunny morning!

Bye for now!