The Platinum Ticket by David Beynon

The Platinum Ticket by David Beynon
Shortlisted for The Terry Pratchett Anywhere But Here, Anywhen But Now First Novel Prize

Monday, 2 November 2009


My favourite holiday.  Just as the air turns crisp, the leaves fall from the trees and snow starts to peak around the corner, you really need something to celebrate.  Hallowe'en has always done that for me, so today I'm talking about Hallowe'en followed by a little rant about laziness.

In what has become an annual pilgrimage for the Beynon family, we headed on the Thursday before Hallowe'en to Tim Murton's Twilight Zoo.  My daughter and I attended Tim's workshop this year and made Trixie, the albino black cat.  Each year the trip to the Twilight Zoo is a treat as we get to see perennial favourites and there is always something new to delight.

This guy has greeted us at Tim's front gate ever since we started visiting the Zoo.

He hangs menacingly off the building, sneering at all who pass through  the gates.  Inside the gates are a host of witches, sharks, skulls, mushrooms, ghouls and cauldrons.  This rock group - I'm assuming they're the Grateful Dead - makes me laugh every time.

Every year there is something new and impressive.  I was most impressed by this:

The Unicorn is my daughter's new favourite.

On to Hallowe'en.  Pumpkins and Jack O' Lanterns are always fun, but consensus on what ought to be carved can be difficult for a family of four.  Through discussion and compromise we came up with this cyclopean vampire.

We mounted him on the carport roof for better street appeal.  Here he is lit up:

Next were costumes.  My daughter loves Garfield and my son is taken with Ninjas lately.  Their little buddy looked great as a particular square-panted character.

My wife gave out candy this year and looked fabulous as the neighbourhood witch.

I, of course, had to do something with some back story.  I got to wondering...what would happen if Toy-land's happiest couple, Raggedy Ann and Andy, broke up?  How would the divorce weigh upon Andy?  How would he deal?  I figured he would leave and join a carnival and, as everyone knows, the carnival life can be a rough one.  After years on the road, filled with bitterness over the idyllic life he'd squandered, I figured Andy would look a little like this:

I present, Really Raggedy Andy.

And, yes, I did scare a few children.

Now on to the rant.  During the course of this blog post I have typed out the word Hallowe'en six times so far and guess what?  Every time I type Hallowe'en the spell checker tells me I've typed it incorrectly.  But I haven't.  The spell checker wants to see "Halloween" - look at that, no red squiggly line underneath but without the apostrophe, Hallowe'en is spelled wrong.     And where the hell does the spell checker get off telling me that "Hallowe'en",  spelled completely and correctly, is wrong?

Have we become so lazy with our 144 character text messages and our r u ok and lol's etc, that to add a simple apostrophe is too much work?  I shudder to think of the day one of my kids comes home from school with a spelling test where they've had a point deducted for including the time-tested and true apostrope in Hallowe'en.

Maybe next time I'll talk about why Pluto is still a planet, regardless of what some astronomers think...

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