Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Of Palaces and Codebreakers

"Where have you been?
I've been to London to visit the Queen..." (old nursery rhyme)

Our trip fortunately coincided with that time of year that the Queen goes to her castle in Scotland for a getaway and Buckingham Palace is opened to visitors for a tour of the State Rooms.  We decided a visit to the Palace and the optional tour of the gardens, followed by High Tea at an elegant hotel would be the perfect way to spend our Sunday in London.  

In our eagerness to be sure and be in line on time, we actually arrived about an hour early and had some time to walk around and take photographs.  (A few of the pictures following were taken the day we passed by the Palace on the way to Westminster Abbey - just in case you notice I changed clothes along the way.)

Guard on duty outside Buckingham Palace

Closeup of the detail on the Palace gates

Karen and me at the Queen Victoria memorial
in the plaza in front of Buckingham Palace

View of Buckingham Palace and the memorial to Queen Victoria 

Just to the north side of the Palace is another of London's beautiful parks, this one appropriately named Green Park.  We strolled along its tree-lined walks and wished that we had such nice parks back home.

Gates just to the north of the Palace and the entrance to Green Park
Inside Green Park

Green Park

Unfortunately, we again were prohibited from taking photographs inside the Palace, so check here for views of the interior.  There is a listing on the left side with each of the rooms we saw and a photo gallery for each.

In a word, it was sumptuous.  So much plush carpeting, so much gilded woodwork, so much beautiful art, so much muchness. The entire tour took a couple of hours. One of the attractions for this particular year's tour was in honor of the Queen's 90th birthday and included about 3 ballrooms full of dresses and hats that had been worn by the Queen during her reign. The earliest dresses included the dress she wore at her investiture and her wedding dress. As the display moved from early years to later years, many of the dresses on display were ones I could remember her wearing in pictures taken on various occasions. For the women in the tour, it was quite an interesting bonus to the tour. The men, on the other hand, began to share a common glazed look in their eyes about the time they realized the display went on for more than one room. It was crowded and the movement through the rooms was slow and there wasn't much escape for the poor guys. Once they reached a point where they could see an opening, they pretty much bolted for the large gallery of huge paintings that followed, happy to wait on the ladies to catch up. 

While I enjoyed the fashion history, I was particularly interested in listening to and observing the Brits around me. Touring the Palace is a special opportunity even for the home folks, who are as eager to get inside and get a look at how their royals live as we Yanks are.  What struck me as a bit funny and a bit touching was their tendency to talk about the Queen as if she were a member of their family. I guess if you have a continuous head of state for 60 plus years, you have a right to feel a bit like they are a part of you, unlike us Yanks who don't ever have more than 8 years to get attached to  our leader. I would hear a couple of women fondly reminiscing about how she had looked in that dress when she attended such and such event and it sounded like a couple of your aunts or cousins talking about dear old Granny at the family reunion.

At the end of the tour inside the Palace was a huge tent set up to serve tea and light refreshments. We had to postpone that experience, though, because our tour of the garden was about to depart and we had to hustle on to join it. Pictures were also forbidden in the garden until the very last, which was a shame as the grounds were huge and beautifully landscaped. You would never imagine from the outside of the grounds just how much green area exists around the Palace (about 40 acres).  And from inside, you are barely aware of the busy city bustling about just over the wall.

One of the stories our garden guide told us concerned a special planting of trees that went in after a hotel was built nearby, with upper floor rooms overlooking the Palace's gardens and the tennis courts.  The trees were planted to block the view so the royals could play tennis without an audience. (Later on when we were near Balmoral Castle in Scotland, we learned that trees had also been planted to block the view of Balmoral from the nearby road. All you could see of Balmoral as we passed was a flag at the top of the castle. Being a royal means never a moment's privacy.)

After our garden tour, we hiked back to the outdoor tea room at the rear of the Palace and enjoyed a cup of tea, then visited a very nice gift store before it was time to leave for our HIGH TEA experience.

At the end of the tour of Buckingham Palace Gardens,
the back of the Palace is just visible and the white tent
was a place to have tea and refreshments after the Palace tour.
One thing I knew from the first moment we began planning our trip was that I wanted us to go somewhere elegant for afternoon tea. I looked at every posh hotel I knew about and then found many more I had never heard of and I checked for where we could ask for gluten free and lactose free treats. I found you can even have tea on a bus while you tour the city, but that was not the experience I was looking for so that one got ruled out. I wanted to be treated like the dowager countess in Downton Abbey. We finally settled on the St. Ermin's Hotel, which met all the requirements--posh, diet restriction friendly, champagne option and best of all just a short trek away from Buckingham.

St Ermin's Hotel where we went for High Tea
after leaving Buckingham Palace

Looking out over the upper level of the hotel from our table

We were greeted like we looked like we belonged in this swank hotel and settled into a little alcove where we would have privacy and a view of the gorgeous architectural elements. We also had a view of the photography session of a wedding party that was taking place in the lower lobby. Our table was set with a variety of red and blue china and we were quickly provided with  champagne framboise (with a touch of raspberry liquor and a fat little raspberry floating in it).

Our table
Enjoying our champagne framboise
When our tower of tea sweets arrived, we were pleased to find that they had accommodated all of us, with an equal share of every offering - with Karen's gluten free and lactose free request honored and David and myself getting the gluten and lactose loaded versions. It was all delicious and we actually carried some of it back to our hotel that night because we just couldn't eat it all in one session. We each got our own little teapot of our personal choice of tea (and it never occurred to me that I was drinking about 4 cups of strong tea in late afternoon until I was staring at the ceiling a good part of the night with my eyes wide open - but it was worth the caffeine overload). I can't say enough good about the lovely tea experience we were given at St. Ermin's.

Our tower of goodies
Sleepless night or not, the next day we were up early and off to visit Bletchley Park. This was our last day on our own before joining up with the tour and also David's birthday. David had especially wanted to visit Bletchley Park, so we decided his birthday was the perfect time to venture about an hour outside London to step back into history a bit. But first we had to figure out how to get on the right train. We had so far been dodging the underground and above ground train system in favor of taxis, but there was no avoiding it any longer.

I actually wish we had dabbled with the underground earlier on, because I enjoyed the heck out of it.  We first had to travel from the nearby Victoria Station to Euston Station to reach an access point for the overland train to Bletchley. Thankfully the folks were fairly patient with our ignorance. Locals who use the underground regularly have a card of some sort they just tap on the turnstile to get access.  We had a round trip paper ticket that I could not figure out how to use. I stood at the gate looking confused and finally an attendant came over and showed me where to insert it. The machines are all computerized and keep track of where you are in the use of the ticket, so you insert it and it spits it back out at you for use on your return trip. (On your last leg of the trip, it eats it.)  The overland train ticket actually got checked by a conductor going through the cars, but you still had to insert it to get in and out of the turnstiles. The tube ride turned out to be a lot of fun and we were soon boarding our train to Bletchley.

Getting ready to ride the tube
Listening to announcements about station arrivals is always problematic for me, but it's even worse when you are listening to someone with a strong British accent. It was very helpful to have a diagram in our car to let us know when to expect to arrive at our destination. 

All the train stops between London and Bletchley
Bletchley Park is a little bit south of the nearest town of any size. The train station basically serves the visitors to the history center. We disembarked from the train and walked about 2 blocks to the park entrance.

David at the entrance to Bletchley Park
If you watched the tv series "The Bletchley Circle" or the recent movie "The Imitation Game", you may have some inkling of the contribution the group of people who worked here during WWII made to the war effort. Until recent years, everything that went on here was top secret and classified under the Official Secrets Act. During the war years only those who worked here had any idea there was anything other than a hunting lodge on the site. That was the story given out to the citizens in the area at the time. In fact, the government was creating a place where they brought the brightest of minds to work on breaking what seemed to be an unbreakable code apparatus being used by the Germans, the Enigma machine. The compound grew over time from the original mansion to a series of huts where different teams worked on deciphering intercepted messages. Activities were so top secret that even the people who worked on site were not allowed to talk to each other about the work they were doing.

The Manor House at Bletchley Park
The grounds were lovely and included a small lake and
several recreation areas.  

David inspecting the station of a codebreaker inside one of the
restored huts where the various teams worked on cracking the Enigma.

The Enigma machine
Eventually a breakthrough was made and the unbreakable code machine was cracked and it is estimated that this group of scientists and puzzle solvers shortened WWII by 2 years. Unfortunately much of their achievement went unrecognized for decades due to the Official Secrets Act.

One of the scientists working here was Alan Turing whose work provided the foundation of our modern computer system. His story is told in "The Imitation Game" and many of the props that were used in the movie were on display inside the Manor House. (This gave me another Sherlock connection visit since Benedict Cumberbatch starred in the movie as Alan Turing. I figure the mannequin that was dressed in the suit he wore in the movie is as close as I will ever get to actually being in the man's presence.)

We got to witness one of Turing's code breaking machines at work in the museum and we toured several of the restored huts where the workers labored in blackout conditions working on their deciphering tasks. The story of the work done here is truly amazing and we considered that our day had been well spent.

On the train back to London, I couldn't resist getting a photo of the train station at Leighton Buzzard. One has to wonder what prompted the founders of that town to choose such a name. The photo also includes one of the many reminders to "Mind the Gap" between rail car and platform. The signs and audio reminders are everywhere.

On the way back to London, the train stop for Leighton Buzzard.
"Mind the Gap"
Our intention for evening supper was to eat at a pub that David wanted very much to visit,  but we had not counted on his birthday having been declared a "bank holiday", which as far as we could determine just happens every so often to give folks a day off for no particular reason. We took a taxicab to the pub only to find it shut up tight and almost everything around it closed as well. We finally strolled down the street until we came across Ye Olde Cock Tavern, which was doing a booming business from all the tourists who were looking for a place to get a bite to eat. We had supper and a pint or two of refreshment.

Enjoying a Birthday pint at
Ye Olde Cock Tavern

Our time on our own in London at an end, we moved to our new hotel to meet up the next morning with our tour group. We already had our plans ready for our last night in London after the tour returned, because we had definitely not had enough of London.  


Thursday, October 06, 2016

London's Multiple Personalities

One attraction we all agreed that we needed to put on the London agenda was the British Museum.  We slotted it into our first full day of sightseeing and planned on spending the entire day there.  We knew that the sheer magnitude of the treasures on display would be more than we could manage to see in just one day, but we planned on seeing as much as we could.  We also figured that the long day of traveling and the skipping around town we had done on the day of arrival would make a single focal point a nice change of pace, especially since the next day was going to be a long one with many different sights to see.

We walked into the museum a few minutes after opening time and we left a few minutes before closing time.  We didn't begin to see everything, but what we did see was amazing.  The building itself is awe inspiring, with huge hall after huge hall covering every part of the world, with exhibits on Africa, the Americas, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece and Rome, Asia, Europe (10000 BC to the present), and the Middle East.  Some of the wonders they have on display are the treasures from Sutton Hoo, the Lewis Chessmen, the Parthenon Sculptures, and the Rosetta Stone.  And that is just the tip of the iceberg.  One of the last things that David and I stumbled across was the Enlightenment Gallery which was initially created to house the library of King George III.  It was a fascinating place and I wished we had discovered it earlier in the day.

The British Museum

The interior courtyard of the museum.  Just up that curving
staircase was the delightful Great Court Cafe where we
enjoyed an elegant lunch.

The Anglo-Saxon helmet from Sutton Hoo, the centerpiece of the exhibit.

The Rosetta Stone
The Rosetta Stone is a major destination for visitors and it was difficult to get close enough to it to take a photograph, and even if you managed it, the glass case was so reflective that a clear picture was impossible.  I went back several times and it was always 3 people deep all the way around.  To get this photo, I just had to be stubborn and push my way through the crowd.

David in a corner of the library of King George III.  The
sheer volume of books contained in the Enlightenment Gallery was
mind-boggling.  I really missed my calling; I should have been
a librarian or at least an archivist.  Being in this kind of
exhibit makes me downright giddy.

In contrast to King George III's book collection, I found the
Ashurbanipal Library (the oldest royal library in the world on
cuneiform tablets, dating to about 630BC), absolutely
If you ever have a free day in London, I highly recommend the British Museum.  Your jaw will drop repeatedly.

The next day was packed full of activity and highlighted many different sides to London.  We began by walking to Westminster Abbey, which meant we walked right past Buckingham Palace where we had to stop and take some photographs and ooh and ahh over the magnificent gates and the monument to Queen Victoria.  (That will all get covered in the next post.)

We were running a bit early, so we decided to take a detour through St. James's Park.  This was our first experience with London's green spaces.  There are several parks in central London and when you enter one, it isn't long before you are completely surrounded by tree lined walkways and you totally forget you are in the middle of a huge city.  You don't even hear the traffic noises.  St. James's Park even has a large lake running through the center.

A display we passed in the park appealed to the reader and
the miniaturist in me.

Crossing the bridge over the lake, we had a beautiful view of the Eye
in one direction...

and a beautiful view of the Palace in the other direction.
Leaving the park, we strolled past the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben and David and I got the requisite photos of ourselves with the iconic red phone boxes.

Big Ben

I include the next photo to point out another of London's personality quirks.  To the right of David and Karen you will notice a pile of litter on the sidewalk.  As clean and neat as the green spaces are kept, we were continually seeing piles of litter on the sidewalks.  Our hotel had a small pub/cafe on the opposite corner and every morning there would be a fresh pile of litter where the late evening crowd just dropped their trash.  I found it an odd contrast to the orderly way local folks seem to live their lives.  Every day we were there it seemed there was a garbage collection made and most of the houses put out their garbage in small plastic bags rather than bins.  It made for a somewhat discordant note in an otherwise pleasing environment.

David, Karen and Big Ben
I had been looking forward to our visit to Westminster Abbey and it certainly lived up to my expectations.  Interior photographs were not allowed, but you can find a virtual tour here and a picture gallery here.  Every church we visited on our trip was breathtaking inside.  Westminster Abbey was the ultimate in breathtaking beauty and history.  Almost every square foot of the floor and walls would contain a memorial or tomb.  Several queens and kings have elaborate crypts in antechambers, including Queen Elizabeth I, Mary Queen of Scots and Henry VII.

Outside the entrance to Westminster Abbey
The highlight for me was when we reached the Poets Corner where many of the early poets and writers I admire are entombed or memorialized.  I managed to behave myself as I had toured the Abbey and had not touched anything...but I was unable to resist touching Chaucer's crypt.  It was the first time that day I would remember my classes with Professor Hutmacher at Mary Hardin-Baylor.  He was a Chaucer scholar and I clearly remember the day he launched into old English as he introduced us to The Canterbury Tales:

Whan that Aprille, with hise shoures soote,
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote
  And bathed every veyne in swich licour,
  Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
Whan Zephirus eek with his swete breeth
  Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
  The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
  Hath in the Ram his halfe cours yronne,
  And smale foweles maken melodye,
  That slepen al the nyght with open eye-
  So priketh hem Nature in hir corages-
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages
And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes
To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry lindes;

But I digress.

We decided we had to lunch in the Cellarium Cafe near the Abbey's cloisters and I think the picture of me there is my favorite from the entire trip.  (The food was excellent and I was envious of the tea service taking place at the table next to us.  We were tempted to grab some of the untouched leftovers when the ladies left.)

Next on the agenda was a visit to Trafalgar Square.  I was not really prepared for the hub bub of activity that is Trafalgar Square.  There were people everywhere, even though we were experiencing off and on shower activity by the time we arrived.  We spent some time getting photographs of the lions on each corner of the monument to Lord Nelson.  (They are a whole lot bigger than you would think they are.)

Lord Nelson's column, Trafalgar Square
The skies suddenly opened up, so we dashed inside the adjacent National Gallery.  We had hoped to get an hour or two to visit here, but weren't sure we would be able to fit it into our plans for the day.  The rain did us a favor because it would have been a shame to have missed seeing this wonderful place.

National Gallery
One of the galleries inside

Van Gogh's Sunflowers

I made sure to see the Van Goghs in their collection, which included "Sunflowers", an old favorite.  There were paintings from nearly every old master you could name and the building itself was a work of art.  The National Gallery is another place I would like to return someday for a more leisurely visit.

We had to speed through the galleries quickly because we needed to head to an early supper, since we had theater plans for the evening.  A short walk from the National Gallery brought us to the Church of St Martin in the Fields, where we ducked inside for a quick look before heading to the Cafe in the Crypt where the food was very good, even though served cafeteria style, and the dining atmosphere was amazing, located as it was in the under passages of the complex.

Our last adventure for the day was to attend a performance of MacBeth in the reproduction of Shakespeare's Globe that sits on the banks of the Thames.  The theater is open air and performances are held rain or shine.  We got lucky that the rain had dissipated by performance time and our seats were excellent.  It is a unique venue, with attention to authentic detail, so the benches are wooden gallery style and leg room is limited.  The "cheap seats" (which aren't) are on the floor surrounding the stage and you either sit on the floor or stand throughout the performance.  Our seats were in the second gallery and almost center stage, so we had a perfect viewpoint.  The performance was outstanding, although some modifications that had been made to the original play still have us scratching our heads a bit.  (Again, I found myself wondering what Professor Hutmacher would have had to say about the unique interpretation.)  There was no denying that it was a powerful experience even so and a highlight of our London stay.

David, at right, just before the play began

During intermission later in the evening.
Our long day came to an end about 11pm.  We got lucky and caught a taxicab just outside the theater who had had his scheduled fare canceled, so we were home and in bed quickly.  Tomorrow would be another busy day.  We were scheduled to have tea at the Palace.


Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Things Sherlock

Sherlock Holmes and I have been friends a very long time.  I was about 12, I believe, when Mother recommended I order a copy of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and The Hound of the Baskervilles from Scholastic Books.  (Remember back in the day when you could order wonderful books from Scholastic through your school?  I still have a number of those books in my collection, old favorites I met through their mail order services.)

I was a big fan from the first page I read.  It wasn't long before I persuaded Mother to order a 2-volume Complete Sherlock Holmes from her membership in the Doubleday Book Club and I probably read the entire canon over the next year.  I've always felt an affinity with Sherlock Holmes.  He walked a bit out of step with the rest of the world, was something of a loner, noticed things nobody else did and had hobbies everyone else thought peculiar.  Added to that, the Holmes/Watson dynamic has to be the all-time greatest literary friendship and I've always been a sucker for a good bromance.

I've read and devoured the canon several times now, plus read dozens of pastiches (novels and stories by later writers using the characters and hoping to recapture the magic).  I've watched many, many Sherlock Holmes movies (not a big fan of Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce, but they are still worth watching) and I was glued to the tv on Sunday nights when PBS was showing the Granada series starring Jeremy Brett back in the 1980s.  That series really stands out because not only were they attempting to dramatize every story in the canon, it was the first time I had ever seen Watson portrayed as I envisioned him in my mind, instead of portraying him as the bumbling sidekick.

When the new series Sherlock came along in 2010, I was initially resistant to the idea of bringing the characters into the present, but I was quickly hooked and became a diehard fan.   Even more so than the 1980s series, I felt they really capture Dr. Watson perfectly.  I always saw him as an equal to Sherlock, not a subordinate, and this series does an excellent job of putting them on even footing.

The Sherlock fandom is a thriving community online and I keep plugged into the fringes of it so I can keep track of what's going on with the production of new episodes.  One site, Sherlockology, has a lot of background on the filming locations used in the series and while I knew I wanted to definitely visit the Gower Street location, I was hopeful that I would get to see other places that figure in the episodes.  I turned out to be more successful in that than I had expected to be.  A couple of places we saw by stumbling over them and a couple of places I did not even realize were filming locations until I got back home and was indulging in a full re-watch of the episodes.

At the Sherlock Holmes Museum, me and my literary hero

One of the accidental visits occurred near Buckingham Palace.  Buckingham Palace itself figured prominently in the episode "A Scandal in Belgravia" and we actually got to tour the Palace while we were in London.  Karen wouldn't let me recreate the experience of heading to the Palace dressed only in a white sheet, but oh well.  The day before we toured Buckingham, we walked from our hotel to Westminster Abbey (to be covered in another post).  We had to walk right past the Palace on our way to the Abbey and as we were running a little bit early, we made a slight detour through St. James's Park.  About half-way through the park, a bridge crosses the lake and we strolled across and took pictures.  As I was re-watching "The Sign of Three", I suddenly realized that Sherlock and John were walking across that same bridge.   Accidental location visit number 1.

Screen capture from Sherlock, The Sign of Three

Looking toward the Eye from the bridge across the lake in St. James Park

Accidental location visit number 2 occurred in conjunction with the high tea we enjoyed after our tour of Buckingham Palace.  Just around the corner from the hotel where we had tea, was New Scotland Yard.  Before we hailed a cab home, I insisted we walk back around the corner and get a few photos.

New Scotland Yard
Accidental location visit number 3 had also slipped under my radar until I was watching "The Blind Banker" and realized that Sherlock and John were striding across one of the Golden Jubilee footbridges near Victoria Embankment.  I took this photo as we were walking across that same bridge, crossing the River Thames on our way to ride the Eye.

The Golden Jubilee footbridge 

To be covered in the next London post (pictures will be included there), we also visited Trafalgar Square, another filming location for "The Blind Banker".  Sherlock and John walk briskly across the square and bound up the steps of the National Gallery.  On one of our taxicab rides, we  passed through Piccadilly Circus (it figures in the opening montage) and on the way to and from the airport we passed the old Battersea Power Station (site of an important sequence in "A Scandal in Belgravia"). I also realized after we returned home that I had walked right past the Wellington Barracks from "The Sign of Three" where the guard was on duty who almost died from the "invisible knife" wound.  It didn't catch my eye for a picture, unfortunately.

I almost got to see Irene Adler's residence from "A Scandal in Belgravia" and we did see many houses of a similar style.   That street was just a short distance from the Lime Tree Hotel, and when we initially arrived at the end of the bus ride to our hotel,  we turned the wrong way and came to within a block or two before we realized our mistake.  Unfortunately we never got the chance to go back and see the actual location.   We also never passed St. Bart's hospital on any of our sojourns around town and we only saw St. Paul's Cathedral from a distance.  Next time I'm in London, I'll have to go see both.

We actually visited a site connected to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle on our last night in London when we had drinks at The Old Cheshire Cheese pub on Fleet Street.  Doyle was known to frequent the pub.  And Fleet Street turns into The Strand a short ways from the pub and The Strand gave its name to the magazine that first published many of the Holmes stories.

Later on, after we joined the tour, we would visit Dartmoor (more on that later) which was the setting of The Hound of the Baskervilles and we saw the former lodge where Doyle stayed while he did his research and absorbed the atmosphere for that novel.

So even though I only deliberately planned two places to visit in honor of my love of Sherlock Holmes, we ended up seeing quite a few other places that are tied to some incarnation of the character.

At the Sherlock Holmes Museum, I did add a few items to my Sherlock Collection, which now inhabits a large barrister bookcase in my living room (and threatening to spill over into a second one).  I picked up a T-shirt, a couple of booklets and a small statue of Holmes.  It was that day at the museum that I made up my mind that when I got back home, I would order a pendant offered through the Sherlocklogy website as my big souvenir of the trip.   I had had my eye on it for a long time and kept denying myself, but once I had stood on the doorstep I decided I had earned it.

Sherlock souvenirs

The pendant is a custom made piece by Honeybourne Jewellery (who specialize in bespoke jewelry) and can only be ordered through the Sherlockology website.  What I didn't know at the time is that the website acts as a liaison to the jewelry store and it was produced for me on order at the Honeybourne facilities on the Isle of Wight.  I received an email from the designer herself on September 15th that it was on the way and it finally arrived today (October 4th).  It spent about 3 weeks sitting in Chicago, apparently creeping its way through customs, so be warned if you dabble in international mail order.  Patience will be necessary.

I love the pendant.  It's a replica of the door at 187 North Gower Street and has gold plated accents. It's heavy and a good size (Yvette agreed to model the Sherlockology T-shirt and the pendant so you would have a good idea).  I'm delighted to finally have it in hand.

221B Door Pendant by
When I got back home, I began checking eBay for some books that I spotted in the bookshelves at the Sherlock Holmes Museum and that I had not ever seen.  I stumbled across a guy offering a dozen volumes as a set and the surprising part was that none of the twelve volumes was yet in my collection.  So, I quickly added another 12 to my collection.

A dozen new additions to the Sherlock Collection
Another seller was offering an antique book of Scottish songs and happened to highlight one entry in the book entitled "Sherlock Holmes", so since I also collect antique music, I indulged again.

Vintage sheet music
My Sherlock Collection is now bulging at the seams.  I have about 150 volumes that include various editions of the original stories, some children's editions, some miniature editions, a few stories in Gregg and Pitman shorthand, some plays, reference books, audiobooks and numerous pastiches.  I have all of the Granada tv series and Sherlock on DVD, plus a Russian tv series (with English subtitles) and several early British series, the Basil Rathbone movies, numerous other movies (including the Robert Downey movies that I am not too crazy about), and the Elementary series all on DVD.  I'm never at a loss for something to read or watch when prime time tv has nothing to offer.

The bulk of the Sherlock Collection
Add to that the assorted figurines, bookends, dolls, ornaments, and other unique items and I think you can tell that I'm a serious Sherlock fan.  Plus, there's that roombox of the Sherlock sitting room that is in development in my craft room upstairs that I hope to get moving on this winter.

When I say I like Sherlock Holmes, I'm not just talking through my deerstalker.