wellinghall: (Martians)


"The midweek London Flyer dirigible airship service, arriving late at its Alexandra Palace mooring due to heavy storms, has been the scene of a police investigation. It appears that one of the passengers did not disembark, and we understand that he was found dead in his cabin. Foul play is suspected! However, the London police force have been called in, and are confident of making an early arrest."
wellinghall: (Martians)
"Observe, Hastings! First, there were many leaks from the water pipes on the dirigible; this we know from the good, if somewhat lecherous, Dowager Duchess, and also from the young man we met at the Hare and Hounds in Alexandra Palace.

"Second, the weather on that trip was very cold; literally freezing, as the Duchess said.

"And what do you get when you have leaking pipes and freezing weather?"


"Well, ice, I suppose."


"Bravo, Hastings! Your little grey cells are working well this evening.

"Third, there were pipes for the ballast water above the false ceilings of the cabins. Again, the young man told us this.

"So, suppose there was a leak from one of these water pipes, with the water coming out drip by drip, and freezing as it did so. An icicle would form below the pipe. And then, as the dirigible lurched upward, the icicle was dislodged, and fell into the cabin below ... straight into the chest of pauvre Mr Habbakuk Jepherson. And then, on the descent to warmer airs, the icicle melted ... leaving nothing but the damp patch on Mr Jepherson's clothes, noted by the Times."


"But Poirot, what about the leak? Wouldn't the water start to come out again when the dirigible descended?"


"No, Hastings, it would not; for the simple reason that there was no water left; all of the ballast had been discharged.

"It was merely a series of unfortunate events. One fears that the Vinland and Norumbega Rail Road's business will take some time to recover; indeed, their stock price has fallen since the accident, while that of the Polar & Occidental steam ship company, and of the Cambridge, United Norfolk, Aldeburgh, Rendlesham and Dunwich transport company, has risen markedly."


"But Poirot, I've got stock in the VNRR!"


"Really, mon ami? Then it is fortunate that I have stock in the Polar & Occidental, as that means I can afford to buy you dinner at Le Bon Bourgeois. And I think it is one of the evenings when your favourite red-headed waitress will be working there ... "
wellinghall: (Martians)
Monologue at the Hare and Hounds pub, Alexandra Palace

"What a job. What a job. First there's a leak in the bathroom in cabin 3B, and the old biddy there is making eyes at me, and trying to get me to stop for a drink. Then I had to go onto 5A, to the bathroom there; at least the lady was younger, but I knew her husband was on board, so I wasn't taking any chances.

"Not that I was surprised about the leaks; the VNRR won't spend any money on maintenance if they don't have to; which means that muggins here gets twice as much work to do with the old emergency repairs. Still, they do pay well, I'll give them that.

"Then when I got out of there, I had to go down to the engine compartment; one of the main engines was giving problems. I reckon those Rutland Reindeers are a lot older than the VNRR say there are, the way the secondary steam valves keep failing. Probably got a job lot of 'em cheap somewhere, if you ask me.

"At least I didn't have to go up into the crawlspace above the cabins this journey. Apart from the fact that it's bloody cold up there, it really is a crawlspace; and you've got to crawl on the joists, and not step on the false ceilings of the cabins, or on the cracks between them; and keep ducking to avoid the ballast pipes.

"I dunno. Give me another pint, will you?"
wellinghall: (Martians)
"Did you discover anything at the scene of the crime, Poirot?"

"There has been no crime, mon ami."

"But Mr Habbakuk Jepherson is dead, isn't he? I mean, we saw the newsreels and everything."

"Not every dead man means that a crime has been committed, Hastings. If it did, there would be an extra forty thousand crimes every day, and that is more than even Poirot could deal with."

"So what did happen, Poirot?"

"Ah, Hastings! You have read the same newspaper reports as I have; you have seen the same letter from the good Dowager Duchess; you, too, have travelled on the London Flyer in happier times. It is true that I have visited Alexandra Palace today; but that merely confirmed what I already suspected. The only difference, Hastings, is that you do not apply the little grey cells.

"I tell you again, Hastings, no crime has been committed. Yes, Mr Habbakuk Jepherson us dead; yes, he died a sudden death; and yes, that death occurred when something pierced his heart. But no hand was behind that blade; and no-one will hang for it; no-one will be held to account. It is true that there has been a regrettable accident; and it is hoped that there will be changes. But a crime? No, mon ami.

"And now, have the goodness to keep quiet and let me drink my sirop in peace."
wellinghall: (Martians)
My dear Cecily, what a journey! First there was the plumbing. A leak is not what I needed. Still, the young man who came to mend it was very nice, especially when he took off his shirt. I tried to get him to stay, but he had to go onto another cabin to fix the pipes there. Maybe they had more luck with him than I did!

And then there was the cold! One does not expect a heat wave over the north Atlantic in September, but really! I had my shawl, of course, and the steward came round with extra blankets; but it was literally freezing!

And then the dirigible had to climb to get above the storms, and then it had to claim even higher. The captain announced that he was discharging his ballast (have I got that right? - it sounds rather rude), and it made a dreadful noise as the water drained away, so we could go up above the storm; and we all had to stay in our cabins, so that we could use the oxygen.

And that poor Mr Habbakuk Jepherson! Such a shame - he was always so polite, and with that fine beard of his. Much nicer than the other gentleman from the Vinland and Norumbega Road - you know, the one we met at Lady Severn and Thames' party - uncouth, I call it, and his north Iceland accent just made it worse.

And the police say they are confident, but they don't seem to be doing anything. My brother says that they haven't found the stiletto yet; and they aren't even trying to find the air pirates, when everyone knows they must be behind it.

But still, I am here now, and a few days at Claridge's have set me right. We are so looking forward to your dinner on Friday, and to meeting the happy couple.

With all good wishes

wellinghall: (Martians)


"The midweek London Flyer dirigible airship service is still detained at its Alexandra Palace mooring*, following the discovery of a dead body in one of the cabins. The body is believed to be that of a passenger, Mr Jepherson Habbakuk of Salt Lake City, Utah. In his capacity as an agent for the Vinland and Norumbega Rail Road in both continents, Mr Habbakuk was a regular traveller on the dirigible service, and will have been a familiar sight to those of our readers who frequented the Alexandra Palace terminal.

"We understand from the London Flyer offices that the dirigible had been forced to fly at a greater altitude than normal, in order to pass above the storms encountered over the Atlantic Ocean last week. In common with other passengers, Mr Habbakuk was confined to his cabin during this period, to make use of the oxygen provided. However, Mr Habbakuk did not leave his cabin when the dirigible descended towards the coast of England, and was found there when a search was undertaken after the other passengers had disembarked.

"Beyond this, no official communications have been issued. However, we understand from a senior employee of the company that Mr Habbakuk had been stabbed in the heart by a stiletto. The only other clue is that Mr Habbakuk's clothing was a little damp, although this could have been caused by rain entering the porthole of the cabin at an earlier stage of the voyage.

"One's first thought is naturally to blame the notorious air pirates. However, the service had a full complement of gunners on this occasion, and even those gunners defending the second-class passengers were fully trained. It is, therefore, difficult to see how the pirates could have gained access to Mr Habbakuk's cabin without being observed.

"Others may suspect the renegade Jarl of Akureyri. It is true that he has confined his attentions of late to raiding the submersibles of the Danish federation, frequently using his specially trained attack-narwhals. However, such a dangerous criminal can never be ignored for long in any sphere, and we urge our government to re-double their efforts to bring this miscreant to justice.

"The London police force are actively engaged on the case, and are confident of making an arrest."

"*Details of the revised timetables being operated by cross-Atlantic dirigible, surface, and submersible services can be found on page 12."
wellinghall: (Purdeys)
I dragged myself upwards from the deep sea of sleep, through the lightening green and blue to the shallows, and then to the surface. As I did so, I saw Ned's face as he bent over me, boater at the most perfect angle, smiling and then pursing his lips for ...

And I woke, and I was in my bed in Holywell Manor, alone. Damn! Still, it was only another three weeks until the wedding; and Lady Schrapnell had promised to hide the bishop's birdstump entirely with flowers.

"Perrt? PERRT?" And there was Penwiper, wanting strokes, and cuddles, and breakfast.
wellinghall: (The Inn)
A follow-up to http://wellinghall.livejournal.com/647187.html

Two days later, Stanford was shown up to our rooms, and bore good news; he had arranged an appointment for me the following morning. He assured me that the interview would be little more than a formality; the company was in great need of engineers, as there was much tunnelling work with the expansion of the underground railway, together with the growth of the pneumatic and hydraulic networks. As long as I could prove my credentials and show that I only had one head - it seemed that the managing director had some prejudice against Betelgusians - I would be assured of a position. Still, I thought it prudent to polish my boots, and to ask Mrs Taylor to sponge and press my suit.

Read more... )
wellinghall: (Gyrfalcon)
"Oh very well, Jeeves"; or, another drabble

Overheard in Mid-Yorks CID

Father forgive me, for I have committed fiction (part one)

In which I start a new job, and get to know a little more about Swannage (part two)

The Wanderer's lament for a cooked breakfast

The Stake; with apologies to Saki (HH Munro) and to Lois McMaster Bujold

Steampunk (part one)

The VNRR strikes back (part two)

I have contributed to the three-sentence ficathon
wellinghall: (Battleship)
The Vinland and Norumbega Rail Road are proud to announce their new dirigible airship service, the London Flyer. The inaugural voyage will depart L'Anse aux Meadowes on Thursday next, the eighth of August, at 11am. Passengers who desire it will be let down at Dublin, and the service will arrive at London on Tuesday the twelfth of August.

The service will be Fast! The service will be Reliable! The service will be Comfortable! Passengers will be accommodated in luxury* suites, fed on the finest** delicacies, and given every*** facility for enjoyment.

You can be assured that every precaution will be taken against air pirates and the renegade Jarl of Akureyri. We have an experienced**** team of gunners, who will employ the latest beam projectors in defence of passengers.

In the event of bad weather, we will be able to rise above the winds and rain. Our airships can cruise at an altitude of five thousand ells, which will enable us to avoid the North Atlantic storms. And oxygen will be provided***** for passengers, should nature force us to fly at this height.

So why wait? Book your tickets now, and be the first to travel on the London Flyer!

Coming Soon!!! Onward connections to Muscovy and Archangel! Enjoy your favourite tea from its source!!

*Second-class passengers may not experience the same level of luxury.
**Second-class passengers may not be able to eat such fine delicacies.
*** Second-class passengers may not be able to avail themselves of some facilities.
**** Second-class passengers may be defended by trainee gunners.
***** Second-class passengers may have restrictions placed on their intake of oxygen.
wellinghall: (Purdeys)
In this busy modern world, we all need to send urgent messages from time to time. Maybe you need to instruct your broker in Leifsbudir to buy shares in this season’s hot stock tip, the Vinland and Norumbega Rail Road. Or you might want to place an order with the Muscovy and Archangel Tea Emporium for your favourite blend of Russian Anachronist Gundpower tea, “The Tea that goes with a Bang,” and Lunar Apennine Broken Orange Pekoe. Or perhaps it is that most important of personal missives, a birthday wish to your nephew, toiling away on the family’s behalf at your Narhwal-training establishment in the Barents Sea.

In such important circumstances, why entrust your vital correspondence to that outmoded form of communication, the dirigible airship? Prone to delay from contrary winds as well as attack by the dreaded air pirates, you can never be sure that your order will reach the tea emporium in time; and if it doesn’t, they might run out, and you will be condemned to the horror of drinking a naive domestic Earl Grey from the tea-slopes of Jan Mayen. If your instruction to your broker is delayed, the market may have turned, and the VNRR’s expansion into the North-West Spanish Confederation’s lands run into some serious faults. And if your nephew’s birthday letter goes astray, he will think you have turned your back on him, and may defect to the Jarl of Akureyri – with his valuable trained Narwhals!

So instead, use the latest means of communication available – the Arctic* Heliograph! Flashed from signal station to signal station, your message can be in Leifsbudir in as little as eight hours, and in the Barents Sea in only four! Your message will be sent on by highly-trained technicians, each equipped with the most modern equipment and warmest of clothing, and assisted by skilled squads of arctic foxes** and barnacle geese**.

Send your messages the safe way – the secure way – the fast way – and above all the modern way. Be the envy of your neighbours, and use the Arctic* Heliograph!

*In the winter months, messages will be sent through our southern associates, the Antarctic Heliograph. Message times will be increased by a factor of ten.

**Applications welcome from anyone with a proven talent for keeping arctic foxes and barnacle geese apart.
wellinghall: (Northey)
Where is the egg gone? Where is the bacon?
Where is the sausage that was sizzling?
Where are the beans and the fried potatoes?
Where is the slice of fried bread?
Alas for the greasy frying pan!
Alas for the cooker of sausages!
Alas for the well-laden breakfast table!
Now that time has passed away,
Dark under the cover of night
As if it had never been!
wellinghall: (Beech marten)
"Reg? It's Pete Pascoe. How are you?"

"Good, good. Anyway, remember that counterfeiting ring we broke up a few years ago? Well, the word is that they've reformed, and are looking to move in on your territory."

"Yes, Wieldy got a hint from one of his snouts. And Wieldy says he's usually pretty reliable."

"Yes, I'll let you know if we hear anything else."

"Not at all. I owe you one - well, more than one! Take care now. Oh, and Ellie asked me to pass on her love to Dora."

"Okay, see you next time I'm in Kingsmarkham. Bye now."
wellinghall: (New keeper)
From this post:

2. In the 1970s, an investigation being conducted by Superintendent Dalziel and Sergeant Pascoe encroaches onto UNIT territory. The presence of the third doctor is essential; that of an assistant is optional.

4. In the mid-1920s, JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis, Anthony Eden and Alec-Douglas Home find themselves having dinner together in Oxford. Fictional characters who were also in Oxford at the time may be introduced.


A. A Sir Gawain story as written by Jane Austen

B. For that matter, Richard Sharpe, while back in England, gets mixed up in a Jane Austen story!

C. James Bond intrudes on one of George Smiley's operations
wellinghall: (Wimsey)
"I'm going to lunch at the Ritz with Aunt Dahlia, Jeeves."

"In that hat, sir? Besides, Mr Fink-Nottle has just rung to say that Miss Bassett has called off their engagement."

"Crikey, Jeeves! You know what this means, don't you?"

"Indeed, sir. May I suggest a long trip to the south of France? I have taken the liberty of booking two tickets on the boat train."

"Well done, Jeeves!"

"There is just one thing, sir. You will need to remain inconspicuous while on the beach. I am afraid that the hat will have to go."

"Oh very well, Jeeves."


wellinghall: (Default)

April 2017

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