The Social Butterflies are a quasi chaotic quasi efficacious committee comprising seven snooty patootie generally well groomed dolls and their fourteen equally snobbish and primped poodles. Each doll parades around with a pair of pooches mostly chosen from a vintage collection of poodles hand made with air dried plasticine and faux fur aka "claynines". The ring leader of the group of dolls is Madame Betsy Butterfly with her pair of claynines Fifi Filigree and Trixie Tracery, then there are the the six other dames: Lady Lydia Lepidoptera with the adorable Suzy Geranium and Hilary Hydrangea; Lady Priscilla Caterpillar with the sweet Amelia Camelia and Azalea Dahlia; Lady Felicity Flutterby with the uppity and highly strung Phillipa Foxglove and Fiona Foxtrot; Lady Agatha Cockscomb-Coccoon with the mischievous Curlicue Sue and Convolution Lu; Lady Barbara Candelabra-Chrysalis with the pompous Percy and Pinot Noir and lastly Lady Prunella Papilon-Pupa with the rambunctious Fraise and Framboise. The Social Butterflies spend lots of time fussing around with socials and socialising and are mostly seen overloaded with bouquets of flowers, pot plants, packages, parcels and gifts cascading with ribbons, cards, rosettes, pot pourris, pompoms and floral doof-dangles.
The Social Butterflies head the Lepidopterous League and attend to any matters pertaining to butterflies and moths. The highlight of their social calendar is to arrange the grand sad annual occasion of The Butterfly Ball Your Eyes Out. This is an opportune event where the propinquity of any butterfly or moth nearing death is invited to have one last celebration before bequeathing their wings and antennae to the court to be recycled into thick velvety furnishing cloth and wicker work. The dolls attending the ball will dress up in magnificent winged outfits emulating butterflies out of a sense of occasion. Some of the more frail insects, truly on their last legs, may be worn as fascinators or back packs by the dolls and therefore engender the geisha look of fashion to the evening. Poetry readings dedicated to the butterflies and moths written soulfully by the poets Trystine Amouraffaire and Flaubert Flourishfont and panegyric prose by the writers Syllabine Semanticular and Wordbert Sesquipedalian are movingly delivered. The spectacle du soirée is routinely an epic and OTT operatic rendition of "Madame Butterfly" featuring the Social Butterflies with Madame Betsy in the lead role as per usual. The dolls spend months and months planning each year’s performance. Some of them aren’t as good singers as they imagine themselves to be and that is when Florentine Ariaecho and Yodelbert Alpinecho have to tactfully override and out vocalize the off key offenders.
Another duty of the Social Butterflies, in their capacity as the Lepidoterous League, is to sit and comfort the butterflies and moths as they expire, their little lives sung out by the hauntingly beautiful requiems of Florencine Nightingale and her magnificent black lace tail. Florencine, a real nightingale bird, had had her tail tragically lopped off by a wild woodcutter’s axe when she was preening herself on a tree stump one fateful day and it never grew back, so Queen Marcheline had had a prosthetic one made for her by modifying an antique black lace Spanish fan into a tail. It is as long on her as a Princess’ wedding train and sweeps behind her like a lavish undulating peacock tail. She also permanently wears a black lace veil over her head out of respect for the dying. For the most part the The Butterfly Ball Your Eyes Out Ball is a solemn and ceremonial affair, but you must know that when the ladies and their snooty poods are assembled it can be a ripe royal recipe for disaster. Especially since those claynines suffer attention deficit traits and aren't good at sitting still. So when all the Social Butterflies are all together it can be altogether chaotic. The shenanigans may become so farcical and funny that some of the butterflies and moths have been known to end up laughing to death.
Royal Doll Town has its fair share of dreamy greeniness on account of the electric verdant luminosity of the trees surrounding it during the summery months and the continual haze of the glow worms and fire fox mushrooms which predominantly linger in the gardens on the theatre level and occasionally the Royal Lighting Department run by Illumanine and Fulbert, who take charge of special lighting, will create fantastical light shows on the roof levels superbly mimicking aurorae borealis. The residents of RDT have a penchant for keeping fireflies as pets and they keep these treasured twinkly blinkly pampered critters in jars, as mollycoddled as the fussery of poodles, and of course there are oodles of poodles equally indulged and abounding. The glass firefly jars are by no means ordinary, as the dolls go out of their way to commission elaborately blown jars from the Glass works Studio in an assortment of hues and styles but all especially beautiful and glowing with the radiant worms inside them.
There is a collection of four hand made glow worm dolls at Royal Doll Town not too dissimilar to the ones above, but with legs appended of course, who constitute The Royal Firefly and Light String Quartet. They are routinely occupied collaborating with the glow worms and playing around with lengths upon lengths of spider silk string fairy lights made by the more technical Illumanine and Fulbert. The Quartet goes to whatever lengths necessary to create the most amazing fairy light symphonies wrapped around trees and edifices, follies and dollies and they simply relish showering Libertine in a spaghetti of lights when it's her Birthday. She's not too partial to this idea as it makes her feel trapped and inhibited and prickly for most of the day, but she's a star trooper and plays along anyway, surviving mostly by nodding off and having a good forty winks whilst immersed in the good forty hundred twinkles and blinkles!
There is another legion of lighters at Court used as fire lighters as opposed to illumination. This populace of little lady and butler vintage tin plate robots has been adapted by the Royal Metal Works Department to incorporate tinder box type tummies, kind of like coal burning ovens in their midriff regions and they're programmed with sufficient AI to bumble around the place assisting any doll requiring their coal irons lit. You see, when it comes to ironing and starching, which most of the dolls find quite therapeutic and relaxing, they don't use electric irons, but employ the old fashioned ritual of coal irons. The Tinder-bots have the very responsible full-time occupation of warming up and refilling coal irons for ironing and go door to door with their little hot coal tummies offering their services to the dolls. There are so many of them it’s way too complicated for them all to have individual names, so all the Butler Tinderbots are named Tim and all the Ladies are called Tinderella. Naturally they abide by stringent fire safety rules for fire prevention as the Queen, being wooden and all has major conflagration phobias.
Cleanliness is paramount in the Queen’s books. Civic pride is non-negotiable, the tower and town must always look beautiful. Filth, squalor and blatant disregard of one’s environment are grounds for instant deportation. Everything must be ship shape, orderly and straight, although one may be forgiven for a sporadic bout of dishevelment or disarray particularly on a gusty windy day, a lazy day, a downright dismay day or when one embarks on a wild woolly out ride through the woods on a Polish Frizzle hen or if one is in the midst of the throes of a creative spree which calls for mounds of scraps, piles of wool, tubs of paint and tubes of glues but other than that orderliness is the order of the day by order of the Queen and one may not stray too far off. There are a variety of enterprises and concerns dedicated to the joyful art of cleaning and preening. It's not that the dolls suffer the ill misfortunes of body odours, it's more to do with pesky dusts and grime and mess of wayward creative sprees. For the dolls are endlessly engaged in arts and crafts, baking and making and gardening window boxes, terrariums and miniature bonsaii. For public use, on the open air level of the roof top surrounded by dolly folly installations, there is the Wash House pavilion supervised by Faucetine and Eaubert of The Royal Clean Water Works and Crapaudine and Pughbert of The Royal Waste Water Works. Incidentally all waste waters are recycled into horticultural projects. The Wash House is primarily dedicated to the laundering of clothes. While it's true dolls don't have to wash their garments as regularly as humans as they're not as sweaty they still need to cleaned. Special airing and drying compartments have been strategically designed against the faces of the chimney stack as the Queen isn't very partial to having everyone's under wears and unmentionables flapping wildly about in public, not to the mention the aesthetic jumble of it all. So the drying of wearables is a thoroughly discrete affair! Then there is the Bath House pavilion monitored by Aquamarine and Loofabert. For the most part dolls simply dust themselves clean in their boudoirs and apartments, however if they feel so inclined they may attend the Bath House and stew in a luxurious long hot bubble bath. The more fragile skinned dolls tend to just lie in a mound of foam, rather than water as they don't want to cause further skin damage. There is an array of wonderful Victorian styled cast iron ball and claw bath tubs in differing doll sizes so one may select the most ergonomic.
Apart from the washing establishments dedicated to personal hygiene and hand washing there are also other commercial businesses committed to cleaning and preening, such as: ‘The Lawn and Laundry’ run by the Savon Sisters Launderine and Glycerine, ‘The Soapery and Topiary’ run by the Soapwort Brothers Sudsbert and Scrubbert and ‘Buds and Suds’ run by the wooden peg dolls called the Guerlaine Girls. Peggy Sue, Peggy Lou, Peggy Jean and Peggy May who are the littler wooden pegs while Peggy Lin is the biggest and bossiest one. As you can gather, personal primping and environmental pruning go hand in hand so nothing and no-one escapes a regular good grooming! The miniature box hedging, bonsai trees and topiaries are all kept immaculately neat and trim by the Imperial Sumo Silkworms. And then possibly the most groomed of all at the Court of Royal Doll Town are the poodles so The Royal Poodle Parlour run by Poudreline and Poodlebert is a continuous hubbub of burgeoning foam, billowing talcum clouds, spritzing scents and sonorous sentiments of squeaky clean pleasure.
Periodically a doll becoming resident at Royal Doll Town would arrive with a certain claim to a modicum of fame like Lady Georgine Japonine of Giverny. She swore she had spent time living in the Blue Room at Giverny (the home of Impressionist painter Claude Monet) fraternizing with Monet’s stepdaughter Germaine Hoschede and her other dolls circa 1877. “Surely you know about zee portrait of Germaine wiz her doll completed in 1878 by Monet? Well I knew her extreeeeeeemely well… zee doll I mean…” She explained to Queen Marcheline with an air of importance. She considers herself an expert on Monet, Impressionism, Japonisme and Kimonos and therefore believes she's extreeeeeeemely cultured especially because she was accustomed to attending fête champêtres (garden parties/picnics) with people and dolls of great erudite stance in her day. So, instead of Queen Marcheline finding a place for her at Court, she placed herself. “I shall be zee Lady of ‘Aughty Culture and 'Orticulture,'” she insisted in her forthright French accent, “because I am so supreeeeeeemely culchuuured and j’adore growing seengs! I spent ages in Monet’s jardin superbe studying ‘ow he grew zee most amaaaaaaaazeeng flowers!” It is true, the artist Monet created the most impressive and spectacular stellacular garden at his property in Giverny. There are not many characters who leave the Queen at a loss for words, but Lady Georgine Japonine of Giverny is one of them, and she got away with personally appointing herself to her position and conducting herself in a manner she felt befitting her title. She arranges fête champêtres, art evenings, flower shows, fusses over the Japanese dolls, supports all the Kokeshi Dolls’ displays around the rampart and strategically cultivates an amicable cultural alliance with the Lord of Flowers and Chihauhaus.
The Lord of Flowers and Chihauhaus is Lord Georgiobert Chihauhauhair. He hails from Mexico and claims he was the great love interest of a doll belonging to the formidable artist Frida Kahlo’s niece Isolda. Like Lady Georgine Japonine of Giverny he will insist: “Haven’t you seen the photograph of November 26 1935? Well I knew her extremely well… the doll I mean…” He claims to be an expert on Mexican culture, the vibrancy of colour, the brilliance of flowers and of course the cha cha cha of the chihauhau. Chihauhaus originate from Mexico so naturally he adores them and culturally embraces them. The petalcoats, capes or kimonos he is wont to wear (thanks to the influence of Lady Georgine Japonine whom he respects as ‘una chica moderna’) are religiously lustrous, gaudy and garish as though he'd made a pit stop in Hawaii en route to the Tower of Royal Doll Town. He adores his mariachi suits and wears them under the coat, cape or kimono he is wont to wear to cultural functions and gatherings. He has adopted every single chilli pepper chihauhau that ever came from the Live Produce Homing Home, i.e chilli peppers exactly resembling chihauhaus and have been vivified by the Count Mandrake. These tally up to six actually, three green and three red and he befittingly named them Jalapeño, Habenero, Ancho, Serrano, Poblano and Rocoto. Apart from these boisterous hot pepper boys he has one very pampered little lady potato Chihauhau called Chi Chi who has a penchant for wearing pink wigs. On the subject of hair, Lord Georgiobert’s is actually made from the fur groomed from a long haired Chihauhau (causing no harm whatsoever to the animal as it was mere summer shedding) and even his body is stuffed with it so he loves boasting: “I am wow-wow Chihauhau through and through!” and while the line has become old and corny he will not let up repeating it. He and Lady Georgine are on a similar pluck, and got along famously, which is just as well as Queen Marcheline finds their cultural intensities quite overwhelming not to mention Lord Chihauhauhair's pack of peppers which are prone to wolf whistling the prim poodles of the Social Butterflies when they sashay past (much to the indignation and consternation of the Ladies I might tell you!) “Those chilli dogs of yours need more etiquette lessons Lord Chihauhauhair! Send them to Etta Kitt post-haste!” the Queen is serially compelled to insist. “Propriety is prime!” Furthermore, a tristed love triangle seems to exist within this tight cultural nest. It's evident Lord Georgiobert Chihauhauhair fancies Lady Georgine Japonine of Giverny, but she is evidentally too wrapped up in her cultural pursuits to really realize this. In the mean time the very old colonial Josefa Jaramillo doll from Mexico is madly, and deeply in love with Lord Chihauhauhair since her previous companion, the Kit Carson doll was lost way back when on the wagon trail in the pioneering days. Unfortunately for Josefa Jaramillo, Lord Chihauhauhair is too wrapped up in his cultural pursuits and pursuit of Lady Japonine to notice her. She will avidly walk his chilli chihauhaus for him, volunteer to help with any of his floral enthusiasms, have portraits of herself painted in the Frida Kahlo style as those are his favourites or offer to dust and clean his sombrero and mariachi collections but unfortunately to no avail. Oh the tortured tormented unrequited loves of dolls!
The twin sisters Aubergine and Brinjaline are Japanese vintage pose dolls, something like the cute stylish girls in the vision board above. They are supervisors of the Royal Vegetable Hide Tannery, which uses the secret technology of petal preservation to make vegetable hides. Imagine how delectable it would be if you could wear weatherproof coats made from the intense deep pinky-puce-purple colours of red cabbage (but without the aromas of course!)? Well at RDT they do have vegetable hide leathers and they are amazing. As for Aubergine and Brinjaline, they persistently tried to outdo each other. If one arrived at the Hide Works donning a spectacular heirloom plum coloured capsicum hide pant suit the other would return next day emulously attired in a magnificent indigo mushroom leather cat-suit. Their sibling rivalry was unrelenting until the unfolding of their most infamous and outrageous competitive spree. It wasn't to do with garments but with a current social trend of the day. Firstly, Brinjaline arrived at work sporting a little mauve vegetable toddler on her hip.
“Who on earth is that?” Demanded Aubergine curtly.
“Eddy Eggplant. Isn’t he adorable? I’ve just adopted him.”
“What the?” Flumoxed Aubergine quite agitated, as Brinjaline had always emphasized she was a working girl and not the mumsy type and they'd both spent plenty of time ridiculing the notion of looking after young'uns. They did not consider themselves the Nana Mamacitas of the world.
“Because it’s the trend these days don’t you know?” Snapped Brinjaline.
Aubergine shot Brinjaline a calculating look smothered in smug silence and arrived at work next day with the sweet Beet Boy stuffed into a mod backpack on her back along with cute Carrot Cat. Not to be outdone Brinjaline turned up the following day with Eddy Eggplant, Kumquat Kitten and Bunny Beetroot in tow. So Aubergine arrived with Beet Boy, Carrot Cat, Radish Rabbit and Majool Date Dachshund. Highly annoyed, Brinjaline added Celery Sausage Dog to her menagerie plus the Shiitake Mushroom Quins. Naturally Aubergine was so incensed she didn’t bother to wait until the next day, she dashed off to the Live Produce Homing Home of Nana Nanamacita to gather up the Portabellini Mushroom Quads and just as she looked around to see who else she could adopt in stormed Brinjaline. The show down reached fever pitch as they simultaneously spotted tiny Tommy Tomato and lunged to grab him. Each latched onto an arm and pulled. Tommy squealed with fright:
It seemed to take an eeeeeeeeeeeeternity for them to register what their manic behaviour was doing to poor little Tommy. Horrified, by their embecility they immediately released him and regarded one another speechless and panting until Tommy’s pitiful whimpering at their feet distracted them and they peered down into his huge tomato saucery eyes welling with watery red tomato tears.
“Oh my hellish naughty knickers!” blurted out Brinjaline “How could we?”
“I’d say it was slightly more you than me?” retorted Aubergine.
“You should both be ashamed of yourselves!” erupted Nana Mamacita, trying to comfort the tomato toddler “When eez zees crezeeeness going to end?” she bellowed in her strong French accent. “Zee Vegetable Hide Works eez being overrun weez all zeez adopshuns! C’est fou! Mad I say!” She bent over and picked up Tommy. “Look what you do to poor Tommeee. Ee eez a GMOooooo. Ee eez a special needz child not a fashON accessoreeeeeeee!”
The sisters blushed then gushed: “So sorry… really… sorry… YES really really sorry!” and sidled out surreptitiously shovelling back all their eclectic adoptions back into the Homing headquarters. All except for Carrot Cat and Kumquat Kitten that is, as Nana Mamacita insisted they keep them because cats hold their own, or rather, hold their owners and would keep those girls in check and from that day forward the sisters agreed to wear only bog standard issue pink petal fabric overalls with gingham head scarves to work to curtail any more insane fashion rivalry and resolved to pay more attention to their cats, who promptly ignored them because that's the kind of thing cats do ;-)
The Cybiography of Queen Marcheline CLICK HERE:
AND HE SAID:
"Truly I tell you,
You're NEVER too old to be young at heart
P l a g i a r i s m is
a plague D O N ' T
S P R E A D I T ! ! !
R e s p e c t