What better way to celebrate the launch of the The Riddle of the Sands Adventure Club than with our first pilot podcast.
In it you’ll hear us – Lloyd and Tim – discuss what we’re up to with this adventure, how you can join in and why The Riddle of the Sands is such a great and inspirational book.
We focus on the events of the first day in the novel – 23rd September – when a bored Carruthers receives the letter from Davies that triggers the whole adventure. Lloyd talks us through the ‘low music halls’ that Carruthers might have frequented in East London. Tim explains the joys of taking a book on an adventure out into the wilds (as he’s done previously with R L Stevenson’s Kidnapped) – and the two adventurers together track down the last nautical chandlers in London in search of oilskins, a stove and galvanized rigging screws of a peculiar size.
Call for assistance: Stoves, screws, guns, tobacco and people called Nesta
Here’s a few things we’re hoping to talk about in our second podcast. If you think you can help us, do get in touch – we’d love to talk to you.
- The Rippingille No 3. We’ve found a few photos of the stove Davies asks for on the web, but we’re particularly interested to talk to someone who’s actually seen one and tried to pick it up. Our main concern is that it looks ruddy heavy – not the kind of thing that Carruthers could take with him in his luggage when he sets off for Flensburg. Do you know how much a Rippingille stove weighed?
- Galvanised rigging screws. There’s a slight conundrum about the sizing of rigging screws. A screw with a diameter of 1 and 3/8-inches would be huge. Alasdair at Arthur Beale thinks it might refer to the circumference of the rope that passed through the screw. Anyone out there know about the sizing of rigging screws?
- Raven mixture. Davies asks Carruthers to bring out some pipe tobacco. We can’t find any real-life reference to Raven mixture, but we are aware of a very popular brand of the day called Cravens Mixture. Anyone out there got any of this, and want to smoke it with us?
- Lancaster’s gunshop. there’s no point heading off on a spying adventure without a gun – but where can you find Lancaster’s gunshop these day? Was it a real place? Anyone own a genuine Lancaster gun that we can talk to you about?
- Cousin Nesta. Nesta writes to Carruthers to taunt him slightly about missing out on the shooting party. We’ve never met anyone called Nesta – and would like to. Get in touch, all you Nestas out there.
3 thoughts on “Ahoy! – The Riddle of the Sands Pilot Podcast”
From rigging to guns: Charles Lancaster did indeed have a shop in London, as he was a noted gunmaker. His shotguns are still found on auction sites, as they have ‘best London’ status: his barrels were considered some of the finest around, and he even supplied them to Purdey.
There’s a great story here of a pair of Lancaster guns, bought in their original case:
I think his shop died with him back in the 1850s, so your characters would already haven been inheriting these guns (a sign of their class or social standing?) the last being made 50 years or more before the story starts, as far as I can tell. The choice of make is significant, I think: Lancaster made functional, good quality guns, including rifles for the military, so the author is indicating men of action, rather than social game shooters.
That’s a great link. I (Tim/Carruthers) have been doing a bit of gun research of my own. I’ll have a full post done later today and there’s quite a lot of gun talk in the next podcast too – coming soon!
For now, let me point you in the direction of http://www.agl-uk.com/. I think Grant & Lang took over Lancaster’s at some point in the early 1900s. Perhaps a Club outing is in order?
Excellent detective work – I couldn’t find the trail of who owned Lancaster past Dave Perkins (a rifle maker) some years back. If we can somehow arrange it, a shoot with an older side-by-side against my modern over-and-under (a Browning 425) would be fun.
The choice of cartridge is revealing, too – did you ask AGL about that? No. 4 cartridges have a smaller number of larger shot in them than typical game shells (like a no.6 or 7). I assume Carruthers would be planning to shoot bigger birds (ducks, geese?) at a distance.