For Queen And Country - A Steampunk Fantasy Romance Novella (Shimmy And Steam Series Book 1)

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So now, before him, in crest-fallen shame on the fourth tier, was this majestic wax angel with two broken wings and a scuffed and deeply scarred left cheek. Henry had never seen a more imperfectly beautiful thing in all his Christmases past. Locked in a gaze with his angel for 12 days had awakened something inside him, and he yearned to be just a little closer to her; to protect her from the sudden gusts of wind that came and went with the opening of the door. He wanted to admire the soft rouge daubed on her non-scuffed cheek; to raise his wooden hand and stroke her soft blonde hair; to catch her, should she ever fall again.

Henry tried his utmost to maintain eye contact through each passing hour, never allowing her to catch him looking at her facial disfigurement. Her exquisite soft lips and large blue eyes stared right back at him. Oh, how he ached to comfort her. He stopped briefly, wiping away with his sleeve the beads of sweat that peppered his brow. The few precious hours after dusk had been the most cherished, as the house was filled with joyous laughter and choruses of song, the aroma of sweet meats and glazed cherries. Brightly coloured packages were exchanged between family, torn open with fervour and delight, and streams of paper and string had littered the floor.

But a tiny golden light deep in the forest beckoned to him and he found himself again running, dodging thick tree trunks and uneven ground, eyes caught between watching his footfall and finding the origin of the ever-growing bright light in the distance. On and on he ran for what felt like miles, until the light grew in intensity and he was forced to shield his eyes with the back of his hand. Occasionally, the flames threw just enough light to make it almost appear as though she was whispering silently to him, a sad little secret bundled and cast across too wide a divide, her messages lost in the pine fronds.

Henry wished he had been able to impress upon her how truly exquisite she looked, bathed in the orange and golden hue. He felt his arms and legs heavy at first, noticing for the first time that he could look down at his own gloved hands. He was alive! He burst into a run, he jumped and skipped. Tearing off his cumbersome hat and coat, he sprinted through a tall grassy field stretching forever left and right.

He ran and ran with determination, arriving at the edge of a dark forest. Looking through the slits between his fingers, he was now able to make out a dark silhouette against the brightness and he stumbled forward, racing sometimes on hands and feet to keep from tripping. After passing just a few more thick branches and trunks, he stopped completely motionless as though caught in a giant spiderweb.

Henry was completely frozen on his feet. He fell to his hands and knees, his heart stopped beating, he stared silently in disbelief and watched in horror as his beautiful angel, his one true love, the perfectly wonderful silent companion, burned brightly, her entire body engulfed in flame.

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Waking abruptly, Henry tried with all his might to leap forward across the void and save her, but found his body once again carved in wood, and he was left with nothing more than the last few precious seconds with his waxen love. And as the fire surrounded them both, her delicate features began to warp and drip, her hair falling in clumps, arms silently drooping before collapsing against herself. Henry smelled the burning pine needles and felt the hot embrace of the fire consuming his hands and feet. Of all of my treasured items, I have, with a little difficulty, narrowed it down to three.

They all keep alive the aura of a magic time, and also capture my peculiar history. It was, and still is, the high end of s portable music and I would much rather watch a stack of records play through than switch on the television. As a child I remember playing with it — my main fascination being that the large tuning dial named many of the exotic locations around the world including Scotland that the BBC World Service broadcast to and from.

That, and the fact that the dial is exquisitely balanced and can be used to tune very accurately. My MB60 is a five valve radio and weighs over 3kg.

It was the first radio to use an Ogle cabinet designed by David Ogle. The company was very successful during the s in household and industrial product design. It is still in working order, although I have a modern replica that I use to take out and about. Like my parents, they make a grand couple.

They were all originally produced in olive green with the exception of those used by the GPO which were bright red. I enjoy it so much because of its hugely understated beauty, simple mechanics and reliability. If only people could be more so. Take it greasy,. By Claire Gormly Welcome to the first instalment of a brand new column, where editor Claire Gormly delves into the history of New Zealand pubs and samples the local hospitality. Pub accommodation used to be the only option if you were in search of a cheap bed in provincial New Zealand.

Glory Days aims to highlight these gems and remind people that the opportunity to stay at a cheap, character-loaded New Zealand icon is right under their noses. Eketahuna may sound like a song from an old Disney movie, but it is in fact a sleepy little farming town 20km north of Masterton. The Commercial is a squat, unassuming s pub, run by the lovely and industrious husband and wife team, Lynn and Colin, who have run the pub for 16 years.

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Colin says that pubs are a dying breed, and this one survives mostly due to the TAB thanks to the fact that Racing NZ now has a race every day. Tonight is pool night, a friendly competition between the Commercial and the pub down the road that was shut down because of a painted-over sprinkler system. The accommodation wing is a delightful trip to the s, the signs on the bathroom are original and the Axminster carpet has a worn strip right down the middle of the corridor. Lynn remembers a movie being made here, in Room Three. It was a romantic movie that focused a lot on the bed.

Shooting got in the way of her laundry duties and coughing fits were met with annoyance. Excitement ensued when she revealed that a horse was buried under the bar. However, on questioning, a patron revealed that it was simply a hoof print embedded in the concrete foundations. A fitting beginning to a thriving TAB, but not as good a story as a whole horse resting in peace under the floorboards. I was made to feel thoroughly at home, a roaring fire was made for me, and an electric blanket readied. It was a little spooky as I was the only guest, and the corridor is long and dark.

I had a few worried thoughts about the patrons of the bar knowing I was here alone and coming to find me — maybe to destroy my photographic evidence, maybe worse — but I rallied and had a fantastic sleep. In previous issues of Glory Days, Hopped Up has featured four-wheeled machines capable of taking a few people for a spin.

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David has ridden penny farthings for more than 20 years, founded the New Zealand National Championships, toured the length of New Zealand on his hand-built penny and even cycled one in the Parliament buildings! Rose Jackson spent an afternoon wheeling around with David in Oamaru, to understand the nuts and bolts of an ordinary bicycle. When did you first discover penny farthings? Oamaru has been working on the restoration of its original town centre, now known as the Victorian Precinct, since We discovered there was a penny farthing club in the town in , and I.

How fast can they go? How fast have you ever travelled on one?

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Fast — our top New Zealand riders have recorded speeds of over 35km an hour. Are modern penny farthings still made to original specs or have you modified them with the help of modern-day innovations? A new club, the Oamaru Ordinary Cycle Club, was formed a few years later. Why do they appeal to you? Do you build your own? That expedition was over 2,km and I travelled as a modern day swagger— with only the gear I could carry and no back-up vehicle. The bike alone weighed 57kg! We remain true to the original specifications, using the latest welding equipment and machinery. Ten machines of varying sizes are under construction now at the Oamaru Cycle Works workshop, under the direction of Oamaru master bike builder Graeme Simpson.

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Each bike is pre-sold and the owners are building their own. What do you say to those who believe penny farthings belong in the past?

Knowing and understanding our past and conserving our historic and cultural heritage is an important part of establishing a strong sense of community and local and national identity. Why should someone have a go at riding one? Are there any technical difficulties to overcome when assembling a penny farthing?

This determines the size of the front wheel. The rider must also be able to comfortably sit on the seat and peddle. Ensuring the spoke size is correct, along with the backbone connecting the small wheel to the front forks, is important and intricate work. The front forks require careful measurements, and intricate welding. During the s, blacksmiths did a lot of this work in their forges.

Words and photography by Rose Jackson In one of those difficult pick-a-path moments in life, if you chose to veer right at the fork in the road at Oamaru down State Highway One, you would completely bypass one of the most outstanding examples of living history in New Zealand, and possibly the world.