‘an Englishman in disguise’

It turns out that Carruthers has a talent for disguise (as if, perhaps, he were some kind of real spy…). The rough marine garb he bought in a slop-shop in Amsterdam has served him well. Having successfully fooled a guesthouse owner in Esens and a drunk in Dornum that he’s some kind of German merchant sailor, he’sContinue reading “‘an Englishman in disguise’”

‘An armada of light-draught barges’

And so, as a stowaway in a ‘small tug’ in the evening of October 25th, or perhaps the early morning of the 26th, Carruthers discovers the Riddle at last. The secret plan is not defensive one, but offensive: To neglect obvious methods, to draw on the obscure resources of an obscure strip of coast, to improveContinue reading “‘An armada of light-draught barges’”

‘no simple Frisian, but an ill-looking rascal’

Is it me, or is Carruthers rather enjoying his sojourn on dry land after three weeks trapped on a small boat at sea with Davies? First, he heads off on the train for a night at luxury hotel in Amsterdam. The next day he returns to the region to breakfast in Esens, explore the BensertiefContinue reading “‘no simple Frisian, but an ill-looking rascal’”

The 25th Adventure Club Podcast: Dornum, Disguises, Ditches & Duck Soup

After weeks of sailing and suspense, ‘The Riddle of the Sands’ explodes into action on October 25. At last we discover what the ‘Riddle’ is. Sadly, as you will hear, Lloyd notDavies and Tim notCarruthers fall out quite badly – and loudly – about the basic credibility of Erskine Childers’s premise in describing the imminentContinue reading “The 25th Adventure Club Podcast: Dornum, Disguises, Ditches & Duck Soup”

‘Sending goods by the tief

M’learned colleague notCarruthers has thrown down the gauntlet in his post on the Benser Tief. He argues for the navigability of the East Frisian ‘tiefs’ – the stretches of water which are in fact drainage channels, not designed for navigation at all, though Tim does point out in his post on the subject that someContinue reading “‘Sending goods by the tief”

‘A submarine engineer I knew him to be before’

Calling Böhme a German submarine engineer in 1903 is a bit like calling him a North Korean nuclear scientist or a Premiership football club owner today. Immediately, he has the whiff of corruption and danger. Club member Adrian sums it up nicely in a recent comment: “It might not be clear to us now, butContinue reading “‘A submarine engineer I knew him to be before’”

‘the quiet cobbled streets of Esens’

The book tells us to look for the ‘very humblest Gasthaus’ in Esens on October 24, where we can partake of beer, bread and wurst. But we’re not allowed to stay the night. Instead, we have to go walking with Carruthers along the Bensertief in the dark, and then snuggle down for the night in aContinue reading “‘the quiet cobbled streets of Esens’”

‘the ‘Tief’; which was, in fact, a small canal’

It’s taken ’til October 24 in the book for Lloyd notDavies and I to fall out. We’ve done well to get this far. But how strange to find that the cause of our rift is, of all things,… canals! Canals – or ‘tiefs’ – are important in this book. Without canals there are no barges,Continue reading “‘the ‘Tief’; which was, in fact, a small canal’”

The 24th Adventure Club Podcast: Esens, Canals & Submarines

Finally, on October 24, with only two days to go in the book, we get to discuss the actual riddle of ‘The Riddle of the Sands’. Lloyd notDavies uses his train timetables to get us to Esens. Minus a moustache, Tim notCarruthers points out the cultural highlights of this ancient Frisian town. And then bothContinue reading “The 24th Adventure Club Podcast: Esens, Canals & Submarines”

‘a perfect bed in a perfect hostelry’

I’m starting to think that October 23 might be my favourite day in the book. Why? Because I, as notCarruthers, get to abandon notDavies, the tiny boat and the foggy Frisians for a day, and, instead,  travel to Amsterdam for one glorious night in a luxury hotel. The book stipulates that the hotel needs toContinue reading “‘a perfect bed in a perfect hostelry’”