If it were not for the extended period of snowy weather, I might begin to think that this island was somewhere in the Mediterranean. Certainly, there seems to be a fairly relaxed attitude to getting things done, even business. I guess one day I’ll actually find His Majesty in his office when he isn’t on his way somewhere else. He was sitting in the garden as I made my way across to the tavern, talking to Aoibheann. I swear he was trying to reassure her he wouldn’t bite her or something like that. I guess that confirms he isn’t a vampire, not that I ever thought that. I made the usual greetings and he seemed pleased to see me, indicating there was something he wanted to talk about, saying that I had been holding out on him. I couldn’t think of what that might be, other than my pointy teeth, which I wasn’t about to talk about, at least, not in front of Aoibheann, not while she is in her current state of mind when it comes to her attitude to me. I made some joke about whatever it was that happened in some tavern in Rotterdam, but I’m not sure he understood. Whatever it was he wanted to talk about, I never found out, because he suddenly remembered something he had to do and disappeared off, allegedly for a few minutes, but he didn’t return.
Meanwhile, a strange fox-like creature appeared, if you can imagine a fox that is dark blue with bright blue swirls. Oh, and walking upright and carrying some kind of bow-like weapon. She apparently doesn’t speak the language. We got as far as “Elwah”, which appeared to please her, even if I had no idea what it meant. Isabella then turned up, so I asked if she happened to have her language spell about her person; the one she used on Seven and Marida. She replied that she could, but only if our foxy friend wanted to understand. Curiously, Hadley seemed to have no problem communicating, but then, she is still at the “ab ab ab, ki ki ki” stage, so it probably all sounds the same to her.
Sophia turned up while all this was going on, so I made introductions, at least, to those I knew. Aoibheann perked up, possibly at the sight of potential customers, and with characteristic subtlety, dropped a very heavy hint about it having been a long time since Their Majesties had dropped by for a drink. I heartily agreed and continued heading towards the tavern, while asking what people wanted and miming drinking in the direction of the blue fox.
I don’t think it worked. Only Sophia followed me into the tavern and ordered a Bloody Mary. I think she was hoping to confuse me with her fancy drinks, but this was one I had at least heard of. I did double-check, though, saying that this was a somewhat ambiguous order where I came from. She decided she wanted one without “medicine” in. We chatted for a bit and she asked about grocery shopping. I told her that the stall in the courtyard could do most things, but I thought asparagus might be trickier and promised I would look into trying to get some for her. She was only passing through, as she still had her errands to run, so she finished her drink and left. That was the only drink I served. I don’t know what was going on out in the courtyard with Aoibheann, Isabella and our new friend, but none of them got round to coming in and buying a drink. I went to do some tidying up and cleaning in the kitchen and when I came back, they were gone.
The “Black Friars” project is still at the notes and ideas stage. I have some idea of the plot, but since it seems to be turning into a type of detective story, I have to work out what actually happened, and then try to work out how our heroes find the clues and work it out. At least, I guess that is how it happens. I assume that’s how the likes of Mr Conan-Coyle do these things. He decides who did the crime and how, and then decides what clues to leave and how Holmes discovers them. I suppose it is a bit like accounting, at least, what I have heard called “creative accounting”, i.e. knowing what the answer is and then trying to make the figures come to that answer. Not that I ever did anything like that, of course. Save for facilitating “trading agreements” with some of my suppliers back in the day. Which is perfectly normal business practice, or so I tell myself anyway. Sadly, no amount of creative accounting is going to make the bottom like at the tavern look any healthier. We are still afloat, but if we don’t start getting some more paying customers in soon, it might get tricky. It’s not as if I can cut my salary to help out.