No: not in this case Vice-Admiral John Poo Beresford. I’m still working up to that one.
This is more personal.
I spent an extended weekend in the cold of Prague. Hadn’t been there since 1994; and — wow! — how things have changed. Mostly for the better. Little changed —praise be! — is one of the most effective, efficient and cost-friendly public transport systems anywhere.
The first “problem” was leaving behind my teccie.
After some weeks and some thousands of pages of Neal Stephenson, I needed light refreshment.
A chance encounter with a first edition (well, “reprinted from the Westminster Gazette“, 1896) of Anthony Hope’s The Dolly Dialogues was just what was needed. Yes: that is Anthony Prisoner of Zenda Hope. And, no: this was not something I had read previously. But above all, light, tight and wickedly amusing.
Then The Hanging Tree, Ben Aaronovitch’s latest in his Rivers of London sequence. Nice one; but I’m out-Granted by Pert Young Piece who has the graphic novel, Body Work; and I need to catch up with the significance of a particular car. Still, I have the experts at York’s Travelling Man working on it.
A passing encounter with RLS’s (no relation, different spelling) unfinished St Ives. Another one of which I was only “aware”
Finally, and the “problem”: Lindsey Davis’s The Graveyard of the Hesperides. I used to follow the Falco series assiduously, and then moved on. I haven’t been plugged into this Albia spin-off in the same way, so this is something of a return for me. The problem being this is a mystery novel. And I left it behind on page 367 (of 4o3).
Another unfinished story
This is not fiction; but it is a mystery.
We came out of Prague on the 2130 Easyjet flight into Gatwick.
Yeah. Yeah. EasyJet, punctuality, end of the day.
So the incoming flight didn’t arrive on time. The crew did a heroic turn-around in half-an-hour. There was a delay for some theatrical de-icing. Arrival at Gatwick just before 2300.
Then an unaccountable hold-up at the arrival pad before disembarking. We were held on board for a long 15-20 minutes. At first the captain was announcing that the reception wasn’t ready. The steps arrived at the rear; but the air-bridge at the front seemed to be the hold-up. Eventually a name was called: could Mr X (and the name escapes me) make his way to the front of the cabin and make himself known?
Now: imagine. As if. A full load of walk-on freight. Cabin bags out of overhead lockers. A couple of hundred passengers either out of seats, and getting that way.
This arcane utterance was immediately followed by another: would all male passengers have their passports and identification ready for checking by the police on the airbridge?
And we were then released.
Sure enough: immediately past the cabin door, a posse of police, including the dog handler.
Since I was to the rear of the aircraft, I was one of the last off.
Whoever was the target, he apparently hadn’t emerged. But with one eye-flick the police officer was able to pass me on my way, and addressed me by my first name.