Since ‘The Riddle of the Sands‘ is so specific about dates, we’ve decided to tackle the book a day at a time. In this podcast, it’s all about September 24, in which Carruthers has the task of responding to the various requests in Davies’s letter (listen to last week’s episode for full details).
In this episode, we discover the addictive delights of pipe smoking, track down a place where we might all go and learn how to shoot, discuss the portability of Rippingille stoves and mourn the fate of Dresden – and then, bathed in a nicotine haze, we cover a range of ‘Club Business’ items. From Hugh Childers setting us straight about his grandfather through to the near-universal love of Arthur Beale (although Aunt Liz prefers ‘The Welsh Harp’…?) and on to themed biscuits, membership badges, the sizing of rigging screws and the delightful offer of day’s small boat sailing in the Dengie peninsula. Surely you want to join the Club now.
Missions for next week – members assistance required.
1. Flushing steamers and European train timetables for 1894. We need to be accurate about how Carruthers gets to Flensburg. Can you match Lloyd’s impressive (if not to say obsessive) interest in timetables and transport? Can you confirm what a Flushing steamer is and where it would have set sail from?
2. A prismatic compass. It’s the trickiest and most unusual thing that Carruthers has to find and take on his adventure. But why is it needed, how does it work and where would we find one today? In particular, we’re interested to know if this is a normal nautical item, or is Childers trying to drop a hint that there’s something more militaristic going on here…?
3. Oilskins. We’re going to need the old-fashioned orange kind. Anyone out there got any? And what exactly do they smell like?
4. The Store. We think this is the Army & Navy on Victoria Street. Do you think any different?