The Schleswig-Holstein question

Don’t worry. We’re not going to try to explain the Schleswig-Holstein question in detail here. This is a fun blog about a great book, not a historical treatise. And we do rather subscribe to Lord Palmerston’s view: The Schleswig-Holstein question is so complicated, only three men in Europe have ever understood it. One was Prince Albert,Continue reading “The Schleswig-Holstein question”

“Then northward to Flensburg”

September the 26th is the day it happens – Carruthers meets Davies at last, and then he meets the third character in this adventure: Davies’s boat, the Dulcibella. And the location for all these encounters is Flensburg – which means this is also our first encounter with Germany. We’ll be talking about the Dulcibella and about GermanyContinue reading ““Then northward to Flensburg””

‘I remembered, later on, the prismatic compass’

One of the last items on the shopping list of things Carruthers has to take to Flensburg is a prismatic compass. It proves to be the most difficult thing to find – and is also the one item that seems to arouse suspicion in Carruthers about what this sailing and shooting holiday is actually about. Why wouldContinue reading “‘I remembered, later on, the prismatic compass’”

‘A ticket for Hamburg in my pocket’

As has been stated previously, we are fairly sure of two things: 1. That Childers sailed his own boat to the East Frisian islands before writing The Riddle of the Sands, and thus would not need to make use of Flushing steamers and railways as Carruthers does. 2. That the action of the book is basedContinue reading “‘A ticket for Hamburg in my pocket’”

The 3rd Adventure Club Podcast: On Compasses & Timetables

This week we talk about Day 3 of the adventure – September 25. We discuss the need for a prismatic compass (2:03), and get frighteningly immersed in the world of Edwardian train and steamer timetables (10:20). Also featured: how to revive your old oilskins (20:46), the true location of ‘The Stores’ (24:52), the Kaiser’s shotgun cartridges ofContinue reading “The 3rd Adventure Club Podcast: On Compasses & Timetables”

‘the Stores’

In the last podcast, I suggested that Carruthers might have got the Rippingille stove at the Army & Navy store on Victoria Street (now part of House of Fraser). By the end of the 19th century the Army & Navy was a hugely successful operation with outposts in Leipzig and Mumbai. Its roots in providingContinue reading “‘the Stores’”

‘Pacing the deck of a Flushing steamer’

An admission – I had always imagined a ‘Flushing steamer’ to be a steamer of a particular kind, following the usual landlubber’s rule of assuming that a strange word in use alongside something ship-sounding must be a proper noun of unknown provenance. But this turns out to have been idiotic. Flushing is the English vernacularContinue reading “‘Pacing the deck of a Flushing steamer’”

The 2nd Adventure Club Podcast: On Guns & Pipes

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). Specifically, the task has beenContinue reading “The 2nd Adventure Club Podcast: On Guns & Pipes”

‘Please bring a No. 3 Rippingille stove’

Carruthers describes Davies’s instruction to bring a Rippingille stove as ‘a perplexing and ominous direction, which somehow chilled me in spite of its subject matter’. He doesn’t know the half of it – when he actually sees the thing for the first time, he says this: At the Stores I asked for a No. 3Continue reading “‘Please bring a No. 3 Rippingille stove’”

‘At Lancaster’s I inquired for his gun’

Finding a gun shop in central London is a little harder these days than it would have been in 1898. Lancaster’s is definitely no longer there, but thanks to studious research by Adventure Club members Nick and Jon, we’ve located it at 151 New Bond Street W1S. It turns out Lancaster’s was a rather historic place,Continue reading “‘At Lancaster’s I inquired for his gun’”