Archive for July, 2011

Beekeeping for Beginners

It has always been very difficult to persuade Holmes to put pen to paper and relate his own stories. He always seems to prefer to complain about my romanticising of his investigations instead!

So it is quite a shock when I find that he has decided to put the record straight about his first encounter with Russell back in April 1915 when there was a darkness in his own mind that she, quite literally stumbling upon him, extinguished (how can you extinguish darkness?).

He did not realise the danger that was shadowing Russell in those dark months following his own little victory in August the previous year (His Last Bow).

He had, of course, moved to Sussex and taken our housekeeper Mrs Hudson with him away from the dangers of London, and I remember him telling me the story with laughter in his voice. This must have been only a few weeks after the actual meeting as it was shortly before that the Lusitania was sunk by a German U-boat and Holmes was concerned about my planned trip to America the following day.

It was therefore a while before I met the young lady who did so much to cheer up Holmes and keep him away from his darker moods and even darker practices.

But I am probably rambling on a little too much when you could read this exciting tale for yourself!

You can find this Kindle book here in the UK and here in the USA.

You can find out more about Russell here.

I have some knowledge of baritsu [EMPT]

As Holmes explained to me, after I had recovered from my faint, on his sudden return that spring of 1894, he was never in that awful abyss at the base of the Reichenbach Falls. He had used his knowledge of the Japanese system of wrestling, known as Bartitsu to escape from Professor Moriarty. My literary agent had incorrectly transcribed it from my draft as “baritsu”. I might suggest, as a doctor, he should have been better at reading another doctor’s scrawl!

I was unaware until very recently that although bartitsu is derived from Japanese methods it was the invention of an Englishman, Edward William Barton-Wright and it is through his book on the subject which he has thoughtfully entitled “The Sherlock Holmes school of Self-Defence – The Manly Art of Bartitsu as used against Professor Moriarty” that I am able to write these few words.

Barton-Wright was an engineer and his work took him all around the world. He spent a period living in Japan where he became fascinated by jujitsu and took lessons in the art. In his return to London he began to develop his own system of self-defence, publishing two articles in Pearson’s Weekly. He named his system “Bartitsu” this being the first four characters of his name “Bart” and the remainder being the last four characters of  jujitsu “itsu”.

The two articles are entitled “How a Man may Defend Himself against every Form of Attack”. Part I appeared in March1899 and Part II the following month.

He opened his own Bartitsu Club in at 67B Shatftesbury Avenue in London’s Soho in 1899. Amongst its patrons was Herbert Gladstone, the youngest son of William Gladstone, the Prime Minister.

The book is a neat pocket-sized volume (so that you can have it handy at all times) with chapters entitled:

  1. How to deal with undesirables
  2. How to escape when attacked from then rear
  3. How to escape when seized by an item of apparel (such as your belt or the pocket of your coat)
  4. Defence against an unarmed opponent
  5. Use of the stout stick
  6. Use of the short stick or umbrella
  7. How to throw and hold a man upon the ground
  8. Self-defence from a bicycle

It is available from the publishers and from Amazon in the UK and USA.

One puzzle remains. If Barton-Wright’s system only became widely known in the late 1890s, how did Holmes know about it in the early 1890s?


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