Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Compliments of the Season from the staff at SHSSC!

I am going out for shoulder surgery tomorrow, so will only be able to type with one hand.

So before the message would only read, "C         ents  f t e Seas !" I want to wish all. . . .

"COMPLIMENTS IF THE SEASON!"

 Whispering he says; "I hope to work on my Sherlockian Opus while I am off."

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Sherlock Holmes at his most jocular - BLUE

BLUE has always been one of my favorites. BLUE and HOUN. Both are full of atmosphere and settings I can relate to.

Each year at about this time I reread BLUE as part of my Sherlockain Christmas tradition.
It never becomes stale or fails to satisfy with our only filling of Sherlockain Christmas cheer.

I also get the feeling that Holmes is, for some reason, Canonically, at his most cheerful.
Was it Watson's visit? Was his career at it's peak? Although I am sure Holmes is sincere in his glad tidings in seeing his old friend, I feel there is more to it than we will ever know.

But throughout this case Holmes is simply in a great mood. And in good humor.
Almost every paragraph of Holmes' dialogue holds some little moment of light-heartiness;

". . .a(n) most unimpeachable Christmas goose.”

". . .to fulfil the ultimate destiny of a goose, . . ."

For answer Holmes clapped the hat upon his head. It came right over the forehead and settled upon the bridge of his nose. “It is a question of cubic capacity,” said he; “a man with so large a brain must have something in it.” 

When I see you, my dear Watson, with a week’s accumulation of dust upon your hat, and when your wife allows you to go out in such a state, I shall fear that you also have been unfortunate enough to lose your wife’s affection.” 

We don't often see Holmes explain his deductions and observations in, I feel, such a light-hearted way.

“Eh? What of it, then? Has it returned to life and flapped off through the kitchen window?”

“Very glad to see you. I dine at seven. There is a woodcock, I believe. By the way, in view of recent occurrences, perhaps I ought to ask Mrs. Hudson to examine its crop.” 

With the exceptions of James Ryder, Holmes deals with everyone in this story in an almost whimsical way; " Chance has put in our way a most singular and whimsical problem . . . "

"If you will have the goodness to touch the bell, Doctor, we will begin another investigation, in which, also a bird will be the chief feature.”

Some chronologists but Watson marriage before BLUE, so for those we assume Watson was with Mary for the Christmas Holiday.

Holmes we will never know how he spent his. But however, it seems to have lifted his spirits.

I can't help but feel this was a good holiday season for Holmes, even if we don't know what brought on his good cheer, and while John Horner may not have had a good Christmas day, at least his New Year was looking up.




Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Did you have dinner or supper?

“Then I suggest that we turn our dinner into a supper and follow up this clue while it is still hot.” Sherlock Holmes.

Although we now use the words dinner and supper interchangeably to mean the same thing, our largest meal of the day. It has not always been as such.
Well, at least in certain cultures.

Most of us have grown up in a society that now runs on three meals a day; breakfast, lunch and dinner.
At least that is the way my family has always done it.

Breakfast, usually oatmeal or cereal (with bacon and eggs on weekends). 

Lunch, what ever mom packed for school or the lunch ladies cooked.

And dinner, when dad got home from work, and our biggest meal of the day.

I don't remember us ever having a distinction between the use of the words dinner or supper, although I seem to have been called to more 'dinner times' than 'supper times'.

For much of the English speaking world dinner is the biggest meal of the day, usually taken sometime between noon and early evening.

Even the now traditional Sunday Roast is sometimes called Sunday Dinner or Roast Dinner.
In the USA we usually eat our Thanksgiving or Christmas meals early in the afternoon and they are usually referred to as Thanksgiving Dinner or Christmas Dinner.

And supper would be a lighter meal taken later in the evening. The etymology of supper is usually seen to come from some form of soup. Which would suggest a light meal.

For much of it's modern history the time of 'dinner' seemed to keep getting pushed back, until what had been a meal taken at two or three in the afternoon, to now easily taking place much later, at say six or seven. One survey by an Australian winemaker found that the average time in the UK for the evening meal is now about 7:47 pm.

Throw into the mix 'Tea Time' and what time that could take place, and what is served with 'Tea Time' and it can get real confusing.
Where I have always assumed 'Tea Time' was at 4pm, source suggest it can also be taken some time between 5 and 7.

It is associated with the working class and is typically eaten between 5 pm and 7 pm. In the North of England, North and South Wales, the English Midlands, Scotland and in rural and working class areas of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, people traditionally call their midday meal dinner and their evening meal tea(served around 6 pm), whereas the upper social classes would call the midday meal lunch or luncheon and the evening meal (served after 7 pm) dinner (if formal) or supper (if informal). Source 

So, with all that said, there doesn't seem to be any firm set rules of when you call what, it just depends on where you grow up.

With that said; what prompted this inquiry was when Sherlock Holmes says, “Very glad to see you. I dine at seven. There is a woodcock, I believe. By the way, in view of recent occurrences, perhaps I ought to ask Mrs. Hudson to examine its crop.”

And then a few minutes later Holmes and Watson have the following exchange; “It is quite certain that he knows nothing whatever about the matter. Are you hungry, Watson?” 
“Not particularly.” 
“Then I suggest that we turn our dinner into a supper and follow up this clue while it is still hot.'

This suggests that, one; dinner was going to be Holmes big meal of the day. Two; it was going to be rather late, seven. And three; super would be a very late, a much lighter meal (maybe cold woodcock sandwiches?).

We must also remember that this habit of assigning times to meals can also be considered an industrial age habit and mostly, as suggested, a middle and upper class tradition. Poor countries and rural workers were more likely to take the meals when time and abundance allowed.

These are the Canonical discussion that made me wonder how we use the words dinner and supper.

BLUE ends with Holmes saying to Watson, "If you will have the goodness to touch the bell, Doctor, we will begin another investigation, in which, also a bird will be the chief feature.”

So, we know their little expedition didn't even start till at least seven. Probably took at least an hour or so. So supper was sometime after 8 or 9pm.

I hope Mrs. Hudson wasn't keeping things warm all that time.

At this point in the story I see an image of the long suffering Mrs. Hudson more as she is portrayed in 'Sherlock' than in Granada's Sherlock Holmes.






Okay, you asked for it.


Friday, December 8, 2017

And just to cap things off. . . . .

The bowler, not the cowboy hat or sombrero, was the most popular hat in the American West, prompting Lucius Beebe to call it "the hat that won the West".[

Source

Back by popular demand!


This may turn into a small monograph soon . . . . .

“Then I suggest that we turn our dinner into a supper and follow up this clue while it is still hot.”


Sherlock Holmes makes a joke.

“Very glad to see you. I dine at seven. There is a woodcock, I believe. By the way, in view of recent occurrences, perhaps I ought to ask Mrs. Hudson to examine its crop.”

And while we are at it 'Billycock'

History of Bowler Hat

Bowler
hat is a hard felt hat with a narrow brim and a rounded crown. It was also known as bob hat, billy coke, billycock, bombin and derby. It was first made in 1849 for Edward Coke, British soldier and politician and the younger brother of the 2nd Earl of Leicester. He ordered it from the hatters Lock & Co. of St James's as a sort of hard hat, to be close-fitting and to have a low crown so it can protect heads of Coke’s gamekeepers so when they ride they don’t hit their heads in braches of the trees that hang low. Before bowler hat, gamekeepers wore top hats that were too high, got knocked off a lot and used to damage when they hit the ground. Bowler hat was designed to solve these problems. Lock & Co. gave job to its chief hatters Thomas and William Bowler (hence the name). Story says that when bowler hat was finished, Coke came to London on 17 December 1849, placed it on the floor and stomped on it two times. When he saw that it withstood the test he was pleased and paid 12 shillings for it. Until recently, it was believed that it was William Coke who ordered and designed the bowler hat but a nephew of the 1st Earl of Leicester presented research that proves otherwise. It is now common belief that it was Edward Coke who designed and commissioned the hat. Lock & Co. called it “Coke” hate (it reads as “cook”) after its common practice to name hats after the one who ordered a custom hat. That explains why after that, the hat was called “billy coke” and “billycock”. In years after that it was call bowler hat after the Bowler Brothers who produced it.

Patent date (it is always) 1895

 “Here is the foresight,” said he putting his finger upon the little disc and loop of the hat-securer. “They are never sold upon hats. If this man ordered one, it is a sign of a certain amount of foresight, since he went out of his way to take this precaution against the wind."