Sherlockian Poetry Day!

Today is National Poetry today. I just could not resist the challenge of writing a poem today during my lunch break. It took me about half an hour to do but it was great fun

Ode To The Baskervilles

The Waxen Moon rose above the Moor

The Hound of The Baskervilles howled for more

A vagrant stalked the Land

Seeking to uphold the Law

*****

Dr Watson cries for his friend

Witnessing Seldon meet his grizzly End

Stapleton collects butterflies

But it is Holmes who nets a bigger prize

****

As the Powers of Evil are vanquished

Peace reigns across the Moors once more

Until a new case comes to the fore knocking on 221B’s door

Taking Holmes and Watson back to the grisly moor

To face The Cornish Horror  

On the way home this evening from work my mind was like a racing engine and I just could not resist writing one more poem!

 

The Landlady And The Tenants Of Baker Street

 

Mrs Hudson was busy knitting some mittens

For her favourite tenants with whom she was smitten

When burglars dared enter her room and gave her a scare

Two Angels of Justice appeared out of thin air

*******

The famous duo dispatched the blackguards to their lair

With the help of Toby who followed their scent in the air.

Inspector Lestrade arrived on the scene

Receiving high praise for a case in which he never gave chase

But Wiggins put Ferret Face back in his place

******

Holmes and Watson wearily climbed the hallowed thirteen steps

Back to their lodgings so lovingly kept

By a grateful landlady who let it be known

That there was no place like Home

Without the presence of a Great Heart and Healer of Souls

Two famous sons she called her Own.

 

I hope that you enjoyed the poems! I don’t know where the poetry comes from. It just kinds of come when I open my trusty Moleskine book which I carry everywhere with me for when I want to write or indeed jot down some Sherlockian poetry! Happy Sherlockian Poetry Day!

 

 

 

Stargazing With Sherlock Holmes!

During my school days I had an interest in all things pertaining to astronomy and I got one or two books on astronomy and the planets, and I even did a presentation on the Solar System for my English Oral exam. Even in work I could not resist the allure of astronomy when asked to research any subject overnight and give a presentation the next day during a training course. I went away and studied Olympus Mons, the volcano on Mars and presented that to the rest of the group.  I am now discovering the exciting practical side of astronomy, already having observed the Moon with a pair of Celestron 15 x 70s binoculars and I am looking forward to acquiring a telescope this year, something I have always wanted to have! I am also enjoying my membership of the Liverpool Astronomy Society as well.

http://liverpoolas.org/

Many of us will know the famous camping joke about Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson going camping and finding that their tent has gone missing when all they can see are stars. I even heard it being spoken of in a church sermon once and smiled inwardly musing to myself that the Father taking the service must be a reader of the Sherlock Holmes stories!

However what is perhaps not so well known is that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle made references to astronomy when writing his Sherlock Holmes stories.  Perhaps most memorably it is in A Study In Scarlet in which we see astronomy mentioned when Dr Watson tries to learn who Sherlock Holmes is in writing his list of attributes and observations of Holmes.  Watson cites Holmes as having no knowledge of astronomy and made the following observation of Holmes:

 “His ignorance was as remarkable as his knowledge. Of contemporary literature, philosophy and politics he appeared to know next to nothing… My surprise reached a climax, however, when I found incidentally that he was ignorant of the Copernican Theory and of the composition of the Solar System.”  (Dr Watson A Study In Scarlet)

And then follows a famous exchange between Holmes and Watson on the subject

“But the Solar System!’ I protested.

‘What the deuce is it to me?’ he interrupted impatiently: ‘you say that we go round the sun. If we went round the moon it would not make a pennyworth of difference to me or to my work.”  (A Study In Scarlet)

However there are other references by Sir ACD to astronomy. In The Hound Of The Baskervilles, we are introduced to a character called Mr Franklin who is a keen astronomer and Dr Watson is shown round his place of study when he asks Mr Franklin about the mysterious stranger on the Moor. Watson uses Franklin’s telescope to look out onto the Moor! And In The Musgrave Ritual Holmes mentions astronomy in his calculations for the sun’s position during the hunt for the missing family heirloom

“…it was unnecessary to make any allowances for personal equation, as the astronomers have dubbed it…”  (Sherlock Holmes The Musgrave Ritual)

However it is not just Holmes and Watson who have been linked to astronomy.  Professor Moriarty is also revealed to have been a keen astronomer and Holmes himself mentions the paper published by Moriarty in The Valley Of Fear

“…Is he not the celebrated author of The Dynamics of an Asteroid, a book which ascends to such rarefied heights of pure mathematics that it is said that there was no man in the scientific press capable of criticizing it…”  (Sherlock Holmes, The Valley Of Fear)

Although today the astronomical references in Sherlock Holmes are not celebrated as much as for example Holmes’s baritsu skills, swordsmanship and so on, you can find the nod to it with the existence of the Baker Street Irregulars Astronomy Society

http://www.bakerstreetastro.org.uk/

Had I lived much closer to London, I would have certainly become a member!

So next time you stare up at the stars, remember that Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty will be looking over your shoulder and enjoying the starry skies with you! Or as this poster I designed recommends….

image

A Sherlockian Holiday. Muse Excercises

It’s the summer holidays! Holidays are my favourite time of the year as it means I can get busy with my keyboard and start writing again! Having been so busy with work I have been distracted from being able to do what I enjoy most. Which of course is writing.

Having not written for a while I think it is important to get the muse warmed up before rushing headlong into a new story, especially when writing Sherlock Holmes!  So with this in mind, I have been spending the afternoon writing very short mini ficklets that are aimed at getting the muse working after a hiatus. I could not possibly share all that I have done this afternoon as it would take up too much space. But set against a limit of twenty five words, here are one or two examples of what I have written

The knife’s jaggered blade tore through his side and a hoarse scream reverberated around the cave. Strong hands caught him.  His Boswell would never Fall.

                                                          *******

Moriarty’s grip on his empire waned in his quest to beat his Nemesis.  Calculations meant nothing as he went over the waterfall to his watery abyss.

And here is one I just had to write in honour of all soldiers everywhere

Holmes remembered Watson watching Trooping of The Colour in 1894. An East Wind blew in 1914. His Maiwand Lion carried the King’s colours into war.

And finally….

 

 

A bullet was fired and penetrated a leg to match an already wounded one.  Holmes’s anger knew no bounds until the blackguard was finally found.

I wondered what both Holmes and Watson would make of my muse excercises Would Holmes have call them florrid scribblings? Would Watson have practiced the art of muse excercises himself prior to submitting his stories to The Strand Magazine?!

Art In The Blood. The Music of Sherlock Holmes

                              

Art in the blood is liable to take the strangest forms.”

                                               The Greek Interpreter

As someone who appreciates music and have played the piano and keyboard in the past, although admittedly I am now very much out of practice and really only a novice, I do enjoy seeing musical instruments being played. I have enjoyed attending the Proms for example.  Apart from the piano and keyboard I have also attempted to learn the Clarinet! Violin music however is wonderful and I have been very privileged recently to listen to some absolutely exquisite and very moving violin music played by a very accomplished and talented violinist.   It is through my love of music that I was thinking of how music relates to Sherlock Holmes.

Sherlock Holmes was portrayed by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to have been one of the foremost detectives of the Victorian era, indeed as Sherlock Holmes himself observed, the world’s first only Consulting Detective.  However Holmes had hidden depths which Dr Watson came to learn and appreciate over many years in sharing rooms at 221B Baker Street.  It is through Watson that we learn that Holmes is related to the French painter Vernet in The Greek Interpreter. Doyle is leaving the reader with a playful suggestion that Holmes was very much an accomplished artist himself. However Holmes will always be synonymous for his association with the violin. In the case of Holmes, he plays the Stradivarius violin. The Stradivarius dates back to the early 1600s. It was Antonio Stradivari who came up with the Stradivarius, and research shows he was making Stradivarius violins from around 1660 onwards. The Stradivarius violin is considered by many to be the benchmark of musical excellence.


I had the pleasure of visiting the London Museum of Film a few years ago and was thrilled to see some of the props used in the Granada Sherlock Holmes on display.  I did come across two violins! I don’t think however the violins themselves were used in the Granada series, although I like to think that the violin case was the one shown in The Final Problem!

(c) Charlotte Smith from own collection

So what does Doyle attempt to show with portraying Holmes as not just a violinist but a very accomplished one? Is it a musical extension of a Great Mind that would have appealed to the Victorian ideal of the perfect intellectual or is it further tangible evidence of a Great Heart as Watson put it in The Three Garribeds?  Certainty the many film and TV portrayals of Holmes with his violin have associated the violin with Holmes. In the Basil Rathbone films the violin is used more as a prop than a real instrument of music and is used occasionally.

       

                             (c) via Google Images

Granada’s Sherlock Holmes does take the viewer down a more serious use of the violin as we see Holmes use the violin as a means to express his emotions

       

                 (c) Picture from Google images/ITVStudios

Not even The Great Mouse Detective himself can escape the association of Holmes with the violin in a comical reference to the subject!

                    

                          (c) Picture via Google Images

Personally I think it is a combination of things. We know Doyle was drawn to spiritualism as his life went on and I think he does introduce a spiritual element into some of his Sherlock Holmes stories, as can be seen in instances such as The Naval Treaty when Holmes reflects on the composition of a rose, and in The Cardboard Box in which Holmes states that

“What object is served by this circle of misery and violence and fear?  It must tend to some end, or else our universe is ruled by chance, which is unthinkable…”

And I also think Doyle wanted Holmes to be the perfect all-rounder which he was in the field of fencing, boxing, his detective work, his gift for the arts and of course his music. Perhaps less known is his interest in archaeology, natural history and ancient history. This was evident in The Devil’s Foot when Watson spoke of Holmes spending his time alone on the moors.  And of course it is highlighted again to some extent in The Musgrave Ritual.

Music is as timeless as time itself and like his deerstalker and pipe, the violin will always belong to Sherlock Holmes. Perhaps the last word should therefore remain with Holmes in A Study of Scarlet  as he sums up his feelings about music..

“Do you remember what Darwin says about music? He claims that the power of producing and appreciating it existed among the human race long before the power of speech was arrived at. Perhaps that is why we are so subtly influenced by it. There are vague memories in our souls of those misty centuries when the world was in its childhood.’
That’s a rather broad idea,’ I remarked. (Dr Watson to Holmes)
One’s ideas must be as broad as Nature if they are to interpret Nature,’ he answered.”
 

                                         

 

 

 

 

 

Listening To The Master Detective!

I had been both surprised and thrilled to learn this week that my book Sherlock Holmes And The Murder At Lodore Falls had been made into an audiobook which can be bought via Audible.com on Amazon.

                                        

Audiobooks are fun.  I have in the past listened to several audiobooks via my iPod. They are very nice when you want to go on holiday and sitting by the pool and too lazy to read you want something to listen to instead.  Or perhaps when one is in bed, a throwback to the days of being read a bedtime story!  

My iPod audio book library holds quite a few Sherlock Holmes stories. Several years ago I had discovered the Sherlock Holmes canon was available as audiobooks and was read by Edward Hardwicke who as we all know played Dr Watson in the Granada Sherlock Holmes series. I listened to one and was hooked! I have several of the audiobook Sherlock Holmes stories read by Edward Hardwicke, and he really did read it well. I just adored his superb voice narration and acting the characters in the stories.  He played the part of Holmes very well, and I must confess in The Empty House when he played Holmes the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end as it was so very close in atmosphere and in character of the famous Granada version of The Empty House.  These audiobook collections do cheer me up when I am feeling low, and it is a real treat to be listening to them in bed on my iPod in the dark!

                                   

I have yet to listen to other audiobook versions of Sherlock Holmes books other than the ones read by Edward Hardwicke, with the exception of The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz which was an exciting read and was impressive to listen to as well

                                            

I also have The Secret of Sherlock Holmes to listen to as well, and that makes for a wonderful few hours of listening time!  However I have my eye on the BBC Radio collection of Sherlock Holmes stories though which I ought to listen to at some point!

Audiobooks are an exciting medium to explore, and with the popularity of e book readers such as the Kindle and Kobo which features the ability to listen to audiobooks, it is one that I enjoy exploring though admittedly not often enough.

Several new e books from MX Publishing have recently been released in addition to mine, these being

Sherlock Holmes and the Dead Boer at Scotney Castle  Tim Symonds

 

The Outstanding Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes  Gerard Kelly

 

The Detective and the Woman: A Novel of Sherlock Holmes  Amy Thomas

 

Sherlock Holmes and the Whitechapel Vampire  Dean P. Turnbloom

 

The Lost Stories of Sherlock Holmes by Dr John Watson  Tony Reynolds

 

 

More will be released over the forthcoming weeks and months. I do have all of the above titles in paperback format and exciting reads they are too!

 

Happy Sherlockian Valentine’s Day!

Inspired by the fabulous St Valentines Day Sherlock Holmes tweets today I thought I would add two contributions of my own. They are nothing spectacular as I wrote them during my break at work, but I do hope they add of bit of cheer to the St Valentines Day festivities!

 

 

No Greater Love

 

Mary Morstan is My True Love through and through.

Sherlock Holmes is my Anchor

I will take any arrows or bullets thrown his way

Because what is Forever True

Greater Love hath no man than this,

 That a man lay down his life for his friends

 

**********

 

The Woman

 

The Science Of Deduction is Cool

The Great Detective was seduced by The Woman

Who gave him The Slip

Whist Playing The Game

Breaking All Rules

The Sanctuary of 221B filled with the music of the Strings

Declaring I Love You.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Pryamid Of Time

 I love writing and I wanted to exercise my muse back into shape with writing my first crossover fiction. It is not meant to be taken too seriously. Just some fun which I thought I would share.

Title: The Pyramid Of Time
Author: Charlotte Smith
Summary
: A Sherlock Holmes, Star Trek TOS and Dr Who crossover. Our heroes meet in a pub. You have been warned!!

The Pyramid Of Time

                                                           Part One

Sherlock Holmes looked worriedly at his Boswell and friend. The case had been an exhausting gruelling affair when Holmes had gone after a particularly vicious murderer named Keefe who liked to torture his victims before killing them.  The chase had ended with both Holmes and Dr Watson chasing their quarry down a myriad of London dockyards.  Keefe cornered turned towards his pursuers and fired his revolver, felling one who had pushed the other out of the line of fire.  A cry by an audible crack of bone followed. Keefe fell unceremoniously to the floor, holding his broken jaw groaning in pain and then succumbed to unconsciousness. The blood was seeping through his fingers as he fought to staunch the flow caused by a bullet that had been meant for him.  Knight Errant indeed! Thought Holmes as he carefully began to lift Dr Watson into his arms.  He recalled how he had tried to convince Watson to stay at Baker Street being mindful of the danger that this case presented. Watson of course was stubborn in his resolve to stand by Holmes no matter what the danger was. A formidable friend and colleague and loyal to the hilt thought Holmes as he stood up with his ailing load a blueish mist enveloped the pair and they melted away from the gas lit cobbled street into nothingness.

                                                     Part Two

Captain Kirk sighed as he finally lay down on his bed. It had been a long and exhausting day and the fight with the Zee’tha warlord in order to save Spock from certain death had left him mentally and physically exhausted. He flinched as the newly mended broken rib Dr McCoy had repaired earlier was determined to get in the last word despite Bones’s ministrations.  He smiled as he recalled McCoy’s words

Now Jim boy don’t go doing any of those damn fool Vulcan excercises in the gymn over the next few days, I am a Doctor not a magician, and your body is not invincible”.

He knew full well that despite the harsh sounding words coming from his chief medical officer, he had been desperately worried about both Spock and himself. Spock would recover within a few days McCoy has assured him, “that green blooded pointy eared walking computer could survive Dante’s Inferno!”  Kirk smiled at those words as his eyes slowly began to shut and was startled awake as his door chime interrupted his thoughts.

“Hello Jim, I brought you a nightcap, you looked as if you could do with one” said McCoy as he invited himself inside Kirk’s cabin.

Kirk looked up to see McCoy standing there with a medikit in one hand and a tray in another.

“Bones if you are going to give me a sedative, I don’t need one, I just about to sleep!” protested Kirk as he struggled to rise from his bed.

McCoy laughed as he placed the tray on a nearby table and removed the cloth covering it to reveal two glasses of Saurian Brandy.

“No Jim, not a sedative, just a little something I thought you might enjoy…”

Kirk laughed as he took the glass from the tray.

The two friends began to drink their Saurian Brandies as the blueish mist came out of nowhere and descended upon them

“What In blue blazes…” cried out McCoy before his protests of surprise and shock were winked out in an instant as both Captain Kirk and Dr McCoy disappeared from the safety of the USS Enterprise and into the unknown.

                                                  

                                                      Part Three

The Police Box looked out of place in the room it materialised in. The tall figure emerged from it with a mallet in one hand and another on the frame of the blue door with a look of confusion and surprise. He had been trying to fix his misbehaving time machine for some hours. Being stuck on Skaro, home planet of the Daleks was no place for the Tardis to breakdown and was furiously banging a control lever when he was engulfed by the blueish mist that had filled the Tardis and had thought it was just another fault that had developed and within a blink of an eye he found himself here. Wherever here was thought the tall lean figure as he hung the mallet on a nearby hook and straightened his red bowtie and stepped out of the Tardis to explore.  He had not explored far when he came across a solitary man cleaning a glass with a cloth who looked intently at him and smiled.  

“Ahhh hello I’m the Doctor. Do you mind telling me where I am?” asked the Doctor authortively holding out his hand in a gesture of friendship.

The Bartender’s smile widened as he put down the glass and cloth and shook the Doctor’s hand.

“You are in The Pyramid Of Time.  You are the first to arrive and have been expected…” replied the Bartender egmatically.

Before the Doctor was able to answer that question he heard a groan and commotion of noise in an adjacent room and turned to investigate. The Bartender would have to wait.

                                              

Sherlock Holmes found himself  sitting in an alcove with Dr Watson cradled in his arms  and facing him  were two strangers in strange clothes staring at him and Watson with a look of incredulously.  A groan from Dr Watson broke the tension and Holmes looked down to see Watson struggling to come back to consciousness but clearly in pain from where the bullet had penetrated his side. Holmes pressed down on the wound and tried to reassure his friend.  A gruff but kindly voice interrupted his thoughts.

“Sir I am a Doctor, please, let me help Dr Watson, I can have him fixed up in no time at all” said Dr McCoy gently trying not to let his voice betray his disbelief that he was speaking to the Great Detective.

Holmes looked at this strange but kindly fellow. The clothing he and his companion wore were clearly work clothes of some sort. The braiding on the sleeves signified some sort of military role, the Navy perhaps and the one in gold had more braiding than the one in blue. He must have rank over the man in blue deduced Holmes as he quickly took note of where he was and who these people might be. Holmes came to a decision and allowed the man in blue to aid Watson and by mutual consent they lay Watson out on a more comfortable chair.  Dr McCoy got his tricorder out and examined his patient. 

Holmes looked on in fascination at the strange device being used. Clearly these people are not from my time thought Holmes as he supressed a smile at the early days of his friendship with Watson when they had argued over the science of astronomy.

“But the solar system!”

It seems now to Holmes that his old adage when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth was applicable in this situation and turned to face the man in gold.

 

“You are in charge of him?” asked Holmes which was more of a statement than a question

 

Kirk looked up from where McCoy was working on who he realised was Dr Watson, and replied

 

“Yes, I’m Captain Kirk from the USS Enterprise, that’s my ship. You are Sherlock Holmes and he is Dr Watson. I have read all of the stories but never imagined I would get to meet you both like this!” exclaimed Kirk who was still coming to terms with the fact that his childhood literacy heroes were here in this time and place, wherever here was.

 

“Ahh you must have read Dr Watson’s florid romantic writings in the Strand Magazine” said Holmes sardonically.

 

Before the Captain could reply they were interrupted by a third party

 

“Well I never! Hello I’m the Doctor… Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson! Nice to meet you. Loved your stories and played you once when I had a nasty encounter with some bad tempered snowmen…and Captain Kirk and Dr McCoy! Where’s the Vulcan? Not here? Oh very disappointing, I rather liked him.  Still I expect a Vulcan would not enjoy sitting in an English pub in the early twenty first century…”

 

The Doctor paused and looked at one doctor treating another and dug into his pocket for his sonic screwdriver.

 

“Ahhh! I see we have a Doctor treating another Doctor, well now you have another Doctor in the house, I can be of assistance here, that is a nasty wound..” said the Doctor as he took in the gravity of the situation.

 

Dr McCoy looked up his eyes betrayed his worry as he looked up at Captain irk and then glanced at the Doctor with what incredibly looked like a screwdriver.

 

“Jim, I can only do so much here, I need to get Dr Watson back to the Enterprise,  the bullet is in too deep for me to get out with these tools and I don’t have enough sealant to stop the bleeding…and you, if you think that thing is going to be of any help then forget it. I’m a Doctor, not a mechanic!”  exclaimed McCoy in frustration.

The Doctor looked down at his screwdriver and then back up at McCoy with a look of forlornness and hurt pride.

“My sonic screwdriver has got me out of far more difficult situations than this and is a multipurpose tool, no one ever criticises my screwdriver! Replied The Doctor dismissively as he pushed McCoy to one side and with the dexterity of a Timelord proceeded to heal the wound that cause Watson so much pain.

“There. All done.  Doctoring the Doctor! Ha!” said the Doctor triumphantly

Sherlock Holmes, Dr McCoy and Captain Kirk all looked at Dr Watson in surprise and wonder as they saw the wound was no longer there and Dr Watson himself began to stir himself back to consciousness.

“Holmes?” asked Watson groggily as he struggled to get up only to face a heavy but gentle hand pushing him back

“Easy Watson, you were injured but thanks to the Doctor here you will be alright now” Holmes said softly. 

Watson looked up and saw the strangers around the room and shook his head in puzzlement and disbelief

“But Holmes, how did we get here? We were chasing Keefe and had him cornered, I saw a flash of something and pushed you out of the way when I realised Keefe had a weapon and I don’t remember much after that….” Watson placed his hand to his head as the strain of trying to remember caused his head to ache.

Holmes smiled grimly and faced the others.

“Watson is correct. How did we get here, and where is here. I remember seeing a blueish mist and the next I was here. And then so were you. It is reasonable to suggest that there is a greater force at work. Watson my dear fellow, I owe you an apology. It seems that the Solar System is important after all!”

Watson smiled at Holmes’s words and the reference to their early days in Baker Street.

“It’s alright Holmes, think nothing more of it, but just how are we going to find out what is going on?”

Kirk decided to take command of the situation.

“I suggest gentlemen we explore and get some answers. I don’t like mysteries; no offence intended Mr Holmes, Dr Watson…”

“None taken” replied Holmes “I concur wholeheartedly with the plan” said Holmes nodding his assent.

“Capital idea Captain!” came the reply from the Doctor who straightened up and placed his sonic screwdriver back in his coat pocket.

As the party began to move away from their chairs, the Barkeeper appeared with a tray of various drinks.

“Gentlemen ahhh! I see you have become acquainted with each other. How do you like my pub? You cannot leave yet… I have just brought over some drinks. At least share a drink with me before you do go! After all it has been thirsty work in bringing you all together and I have been very much looking forward to meet you all”

The barkeeper placed down his tray on a table and handed a non plussed Captain a beer and proceeded to do the same with the others.

It was Holmes who spoke first as he took the beer and sipped it, finding it surprisingly pleasant.

“I can but conclude that you are not who you say you are. A Barkeeper’s hands would be rough and muscular from moving barrels and pumping out beer at the bar.  Your hands are smooth and are more used to work of a more delicate nature. It is logical therefore to conclude that you are not the person you would have us believe to be”  

McCoy stifled a laugh and turned to Kirk whispering.

“The only thing missing from Holmes are pointed ears, he and Spock would get on famously!”

Kirk smiled at McCoy, he knew that underneath the humour laid a very real concern and affection of Spock and he too hoped that Spock was alright and wished he were here with them. He could use Spock right now who would no doubt find this fascinating.

Meanwhile the Doctor had been examining the walls and let out a triumphant cry as he found a switch that would never be found in a pub.

“Ahh Barkeeper, perhaps you would care to explain to us all, if we are in a pub how come there is a translucent polarity drive in place which is keeping this admittedly wonderfully created illusion in place. All I would need do is reverse the polarity drive and the true reality would make itself known!”

The barkeeper cried out in horror.

“No! Please don’t! I did not mean any harm. You are all my literacy and childhood heroes! I just wanted to bring you here to have some fun and see you all come alive! I promise I will let you go.  Just stay for one drink and sign your autographs in my books!”

There was a stunned disbelief as all participants took in this revelation.

“What in tarnation is going on!” exploded McCoy whose patience had now run out.  “I’m a doctor not an actor and I am dammed if I have to listen to any more of this!”

Kirk placed a restraining hand on his chief medical officer and sat down. He needed a drink. Maybe this is all a nightmare.  Perhaps I will put in for shore leave after all!

Dr Watson likewise sat down and joined Kirk in helping himself to a glass of beer.

“I’ll never complain about The Strands deadlines again” grumbled Watson.

Holmes joined Watson with his head in his hands and shook his head

“And I thought facing the Napoleon of Crime was hard enough” said Holmes mournfully as he too helped himself to some beer.

The Doctor saw how his new companions had taken the news and the Barkeepers revelations and strode over to join them.  He took up his glass of beer and raised his glass.

“Cheer up gentlemen. I have my Tardis and will have you all home in no time” announced the Doctor playfully as he rubbed his hands in excitement and proceeded to swallow the beer.

Before long everyone was enjoying each other’s company and signing books and laughing. It was the only thing they could do. The Barkeeper kept his word and everyone left in good natured spirits.

Holmes had been fascinated with the Tardis as he stepped in and approved of the Victorian theme inside. The Doctor smiled and replied to Holmes’s unanswered question.

“I always had been a huge fan of yours myself and just had to have a bohemian interior for my Tardis! I believe the readers of the late twentieth century and early twenty first century referred it as steampunk. But I think it is nice”.

Watson had laughed at the irony of being taken home in a Police Box. Inspector Lestrade would never have believed him.

Captain kirk and Dr McCoy were somewhat inebriated when the Tardis arrived in the cabin of Captain Kirk on the USS Enterprise. They were unused to real alcohol having only been used to synthehol.

“Thank you Doctor for the ride home and nice to meet you, Holmes and Dr Watson. I shall remember you” said Kirk, before tripping over only to be caught by McCoy and they both landed on a bed.

Holmes and Watson exchanged looks and smiled.  A last service they could do for the two drunken starmen was to make them comfortable for the night and Holmes proceeded to undo Kirk’s boots and placed a blanket over him, whilst Watson dragged McCoy into a nearby chair and likewise placed a blanket over him.  The entered back into the Tardis with the Doctor. The Tardis shimmered out of existence leaving them behind. Both Kirk and McCoy would wake up the next day with a headache and hazy memories of the whole affair.

The Tardis materialised back in the street where Holmes and Watson had chased Keefe. Keefe was still lying unconscious on the pavement. Holmes hauled him up and placed some derbies he had in his pocket onto Keefe and secured him.

“Thank you Doctor for all that you have done. Both Holmes and I will remember you” said Watson with some sorrow at the prospect of parting the ways with this strange enigmatic Doctor who had two hearts instead of one.

The Doctor smiled and presented Watson with a fez.

“A parting gift from a friend to my literacy hero” exclaimed the Doctor.

Watson laughed and dug into his pocket and took out his pocket watch.

“Here, since you are a Time Lord as you call yourself, you might want to use this pocket watch, and perhaps remember us whatever time you are in”. said Watson quietly.

The Doctor looked down at his gift and looked up back at Watson smiling

“I will treasure this always, thank you” said the Doctor who proceeded to place the watch and chain on his waistcoat.

Holmes exchanged words of farewell with the Doctor and watched with Watson as the Tardis disappeared from view.

“A most singular man indeed” said Holmes to Watson as they turned to walk down the cobbled gaslit street with their quarry towards a waiting cab which would take them to Scotland Yard.

Safely back in Baker Street with the coal fire crackling Holmes looked at Watson who was writing in his notebook

“Watson, I beg of you not to print this story, it is a tale for which the world is not yet prepared!” warned Holmes

                                                                                                       

Watson smiled playfully.

“I was going to call this story A Stitch In Time, it seemed like a good title…”  Watson was cut off by a flying pillow. Another pillow flew back at Holmes and before long the famous consulting rooms of Baker Street were covered in duck feathers. Mrs Hudson would be charging double rates for chaos that ensued!  But one thing remained constant. Holmes and Watson would be friends immortalised in time.

The Doctor sat in his Tardis alone once more. He took out his new pocket watch and playfully open and shut the watch cover.  For him he had no home. He was destined to travel in time and space forever.  For him the Game would always be afoot.

 

                                                     Part Four

The last page of the book was turned and the Reader closed the book and placed it down on the table. The cover of the book read simply The Pyramid Of Time. A most entertaining read, He thought as he finished the last of His beer.  One of my better ideas He thought wirily. Perhaps there will be a sequel who knows He thought. The Reader got up and proceeded to walk out of the pub and looked at the sign that had attracted him in the first place, it read simply, The Stargazer. He would come back here someday. But for now it was time to go. People to see, worlds to save. A Universe to look after. 

 

159 Years Of The Game Being Afoot

Happy Birthday Sherlock Holmes! Today is the 6th January and marks 159 years of Sherlock Holmes featuring in books, tv, films and on stage.  The world’s first Consulting Detective has certainly lasted well over the last century and now in the 21st century.  But what is it that makes Sherlock Holmes so appealing to so many generations? It’s an enigma that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle himself would be hard pressed to explain!

I first recall reading Sherlock Holmes when I was a child when I one day picked up a copy of my parent’s copy of the canon. I was transfixed and took great pride in being able to solve two of the stories before the end! These being The Empty House and The Naval Treaty.  As a child I loved the action and adventure aspect of the stories and had some appreciation of the friendship that existed between Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson.  In later years I came to appreciate the more subtle side to the canon with references to religion for example.

I don’t think Doyle could have ever have envisaged that Sherlock Holmes would be as popular now as it was when he died in 1930.  I wonder what he would have made of today’s interpretation of his Sherlock Holmes stories?  Would he appreciate the steampunk adaptation of Holmes? What would he make of BBC’s Sherlock?  Personally I prefer the canon stories as they were meant to be told.  Sherlock Holmes will always be a bohemian fellow, forever belonging to 1895 with Watson at his side whilst investigating new cases. 

So Happy Birthday Sherlock Holmes! I have every confidence that his enduring appeal will last another 159 years and that the Game will continue to be afoot. In celebration of this milestone day I thought I would share a poem I wrote which was inspired from a reading of The Naval Treaty.  I can only but hope both Holmes and Sir ACD would have approved!

 

The Rose Of Friendship

What a lovely thing a rose Is

The red of love, its petals open out

Like the hand of friendship

The complex pattern interwoven

Like the feelings of love and warmth

That is in my heart for you

*********

I see a rose and think of you

An oasis of rich colour and beauty singing

The Song of Life

And I smile, knowing that you are never far away

Eternal, everlasting, and never fading.

Your memory and friendship forever blossoming

Until The End Of Time

(c) Charlotte Smith June 2009

Picture taken from Google images

The Empty House: Our Disappearing Heritage. A National Scandal

Regulars readers of my site will know by now, how close to my heart Southport is. I went to boarding school there, and the school main building is a Grade II listed building. So I was thrilled yesterday to be able to combine two things I love so very much on a day trip to Southport. Signing copies of my book Sherlock Holmes And The Murder At Lodore Falls and also spend some time in visiting my old school as well. The book signing itself went well. I was privileged to have with me a friend and former pupil who was kind enough to take some photographs of the book signing and subsequent visit to my old school.

Some of the photos are mine and the book signing photos are taken by the wonderfully talented Susan Tinsley whose has kindly permitted me to use her photos in this journal. Please do take a visit at her website and view her stunning work in her capacity as professional photographer!

http://www.bespokecardsandprints.co.uk

The visit to my old school reminded me all too well the need to fight for our heritage. And of course I have in mind Undershaw.  I can see parallels between Undershaw and my old school. Both are listed buildings. Both have a rich historical heritage.  And both buildings have been the target of property developers with the misguided blessing of local councils who cannot see beyond the greed and total lack of regard for our rich cultural heritage.  My once proud school building has met with a tragic fate. Under the “care” of property developers it was subject to an arson attack and some of the Grade II listed building was lost permanently.  I look at my old school and I see all the good work done in the campaign to save Undershaw. The latest situation on that front from what I understand is that the property developers are submitting some form of appeal against the recent appeal win with the council. Clearly they cannot concede defeat gracefully and allow for the real work of saving Undershaw and restoring it back to it’s old glory to begin.

It is a shameful national scandal that our heritage is being lost this way. In the case of Birkdale by an openly wanton act of criminal damage whilst under the so called care of the current owners, these being the property developers and in other cases under the auspices of legal trickery and a failure to meet legal obligations to maintain the property in a good state of repair.  It is a moral crime that even Professor Moriarty himself would be appalled at.  Time does move on and I accept things change. But to allow our heritage to crumble before us is unforgivable.  There are many guilty parties in this sad story. It is not just the local council and local politicians, but failure of central government too and I am sorry to say national heritage organisations who have not done enough to help places like Undershaw which is certainly a place of national importance.  In a world where computers, smart-phones, video games and mobile tablets and so on are central to our lives nowadays,  it seems we are forgetting our cultural past.  We must reclaim our heritage. It is part of who we are as a country. Birkdale has no future now, it’s fate is sealed. But I don’t want to see Undershaw meet the same fate at the 11th hour. Nor do I wish to see other buildings suffer in the same way. I have done what I could to save Birkdale. I gave a press interview, tried to help in a belated campaign to save the building. But it was not enough.  I just wish there was more I could do to save both buildings. If I won the lottery, I know that after securing my own future out I would give good money to restoring them both to full glory! It is a three piped problem that would have Sherlock Holmes himself stumped. But I believe despite everything we must stand up for justice and what is right. In a world of corruption both morally and economically, and where integrity is woefully absent, fighting for justice is the only thing left.  I did what I could for Birkdale. I am sorry i was not able to do more. I sincerely hope and believe that those campaigning to save Undershaw will achieve that.

Holmes Is Where The Heart Is : My Thoughts On Undershaw’s Legal Win

Undershaw has been saved! At last, common sense prevails in a country where for too long our heritage has fallen victim to the bulldozer and property developer greed.

 

Undershaw Today ©Undershaw Preservation Trust

Undershaw has been close to my heart, not just because it was where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle lived but also I had a great deal of sympathy with the situation as another building close to my heart has fallen victim to property developer greed. My old school Birkdale School For Hearing Impaired Children had a very similar fate to Undershaw. Property developers wanted to turn the whole site into flats. It is an old building dating back to Edwardian times. As you can see from the picture below, a once magnificent building has been deliberately neglected and left to run down to this state. Some of the damage has been caused by an arson attack on the building as well. The grey overcast weather matched the mood and my feelings about the situation

Photograph taken by Charlotte Smith. All rights reserved.

So it was with much anticipation and enthusiasm that I followed the campaign to save Undershaw from the beginning. I even submitted a story regarding its fate which was published on the Save Undershaw’s Preservation Trust website for a while; such was my strength and feeling over the matter.

I am very pleased that the property developer’s appeal against the High Court decision has been turned down.  Brilliant news for Undershaw and a blow to greed! It’s about time.  But what now for Undershaw? So much needs to be done to restore Undershaw to restore it to its former glory. I know there will be some out there who will say, but it’s only a building, why spend what will probably take a good million pounds or so to restore.  Yes it is a building. Of that there is no doubt. But Undershaw is much more than that. It is part of our cultural and literacy heritage.  It is vital that in an ever-changing dynamic world that we remember our past and heritage. We are also caretakers. We owe it to future generations to preserve what was past for others to enjoy in the future. That is the significance of winning the legal battles. No longer can local councils and property developers turn a blind eye to what is just and proper.  It is a victory for buildings of cultural significance everywhere in the UK.  I for one will be quite happy and willing to come down with a bucket of paint and roll up my sleeves and help out, even if it is only symbolic. It will require much more skilled labour and building know how to do an effective job.  But a Sherlockian Big Build does sound quite entertaining and fun the more I think about it!

But what will happen to Undershaw? I don’t honestly know. It will be for those running the Undershaw Preservation Trust to determine how Undershaw will be restored, for example into a liveable dwelling, a museum etc. But I believe that just because the legal battles have been won, that the spirit to save Undershaw must keep going. There is so much more work to be done and will probably take several years. However I contend that Sherlockians and those with any interest in saving our cultural heritage must see this through to the end.  I have a dream that one day we can all converge on the grounds of Undershaw in a celebratory meeting, a summer picnic perhaps, some even dressed in Sherlockian attire and enjoy the fully restored Undershaw and perhaps an open air screening of Hound of The Baskervilles and fireworks at the end. I think that is a dream we must all work for.  To make events like this come to fruition 

The battle is won but the campaign goes on! Now comes the real hard work! But in reflecting on what is to come for Undershaw, we should also take stock and thank those who have been deeply involved in bringing Undershaw to this stage in its journey to full glory. If it had not been for the dedicated members of the Undershaw Preservation Trust than Undershaw would not be where it is today.  So thank you to all those at UPT for all the hard work you have done. Long may your success continue!