Royal couple in Alberta ... Big days for (of Sherlock Homes) and the Beatles
Freelancer Roberta Avery checks in on the royal couple's stay in Alberta.
Media reports that William and Kate stayed overnight in the honeymoon cabin at Skoki Lodge brought back memories of my own visit to Skoki in 2005.
With no electricity and no running water, the words rustic and basic come to mind, but it's also a stunningly beautiful setting on an Alpine meadow high in the Rockies and the welcome I received from managers Leo and Katie Mitzel was, well, fit for a queen.
Not sure if the Mitzels are still there – they were in 2009 when my husband visited - but if they are, I wonder if Katie cooked them her famous wild salmon with fresh tarragon.
I stayed in the honeymoon cabin on the second night. It was like something straight out of a Heidi novel. The wooden bed covered in thick duvets was soft and comfortable, but the floor of the cabin sloped so much it was easy to imagine that you would slide right out of the front door. Not a happy thought after a nocturnal visit from a grizzly tromping on the front porch.
Then there is the question of the outhouses. The Metzels did their best to keep them clean, but you still had to brace yourself against the overwhelming smell.
There are reports that the cabin was fixed up and a new bathroom was flown in for the royals If that's true, hopefully it will still be there when I next visit.
I always thought that Skoki would be heaven if it just had a flushing toilet.
Meant to get this report from Toronto Star reporter Petti Fong into the blog on the 7th. Mea culpa. But think of me as 364 days early....
Edinburgh, SCOTLAND – Had he lived and had he been a real person (not necessarily in that order), Dr. John H. Watson, Sherlock Holme's faithful companion, would have been 159 years old yesterday.
Some devout Sherlock Holmes fans have tracked July 7, 1853 as the date when Watson was born which gives the fictional character a link to his creator. On this day in 1930, Arthur Conan Doyle, the Edinburgh physician turned writer who created Holmes and Watson, died at the age of 71.
During his time in medical school, Doyle met the men who would inspire him to create Holmes and Watson.
At a current exhibit at Surgeons' Hall Museum in Edinburgh, there are photographs, letters and articles about Doyle's connections in the city and details of his relationship with Dr. Joseph Bell, his teacher in medical school and another physician Dr. Patrick Watson.
“I thought of my old teacher Joe Bell, of his eagle face, of his curious ways and his eerie trick of spotting details,” wrote Doyle. “If he were a detective, he would surely reduce this fascinating but disorganized business to something near an exact science.”
A photograph of Bell, in a deerstalker hat and cape, looks eerily similar to the portrayal of Holmes by actor Basil Rathbone (see photo) in the black and white movie versions.
In Doyle's medical school class notes, he wrote about an exchange between Bell and a patient who walked into a clinic. Using his observation skills, Bell was able to even before talking to the patient, assess the man had been in the army, a Highland regiment specifically, and had recently been stationed in Barbados.
It's the kind of assessment that Holmes would have done with startling accuracy much to the amazement of his sidekick like the time Watson returns for a visit and the detective correctly deduced he went for a walk in the country a week ago, was quarrelling with his maid and had gained seven pounds.
“You would certainly have been burned, had you lived a few centuries ago,” Watson once told Holmes.
Dr. Patrick Heron Watson, the real life counterpart to his fictional namesake, was an assistant to Joseph Bell.
Later, the Edinburgh physician who received his medical licence at age 22 went to the Crimean War where he became a war surgeon just like the fictional Watson did during a rotation in Afghanistan. The real life Watson eventually became a physician to Queen Victoria and later King Edward VII.
The Conan Doyle and Joseph Bell exhibit called The Real Sherlock Holmes include some of the author's first writings including his first published article in the British Medical Journal dated to 1879. Conan Doyle poisoned himself taking a dose of gelsemium over a period of days to see what kind of effects it would have on him.
“I determined to ascertain how far one might go in taking the drug and what the primary symptoms of an overdose might be,” he wrote.
Sherlock Holmes would have been proud.
The Surgeons' Hall Museum is located on The Royal College of Surgeons' campus on Nicolson Street in Edinburgh.
And now for something completely different. Back to Jim B...
A GREAT BEATLES MOMENT
I spotted something on Twitter the other day to say that July 6 was the day Paul McCartney met John Lennon, and that's DEFINITELY worth celebrating.
For those unfamiliar, McCartney was a young lad and went to a neighbourhood party called the Woolton Fete at St. Peter's Church in Liverpool. There, John Lennon was up on stage wearing a checkered shirt and singing for a local "skiffle" band called The Quarrymen.
Paul tells a great story about how Lennon (see photo) was singing "Come Go With Me" but ad-libbing - as only Lennon could, I think - lyrics about going "down, down, down, to the penitentiary."
"I liked that," McCartney has said in numerous interviews. "I thought that was very clever."
Lennon got McCartney to play "Twenty Flight Rock" for him and, I think, show him how to tune his guitar properly and that was enough soon after to get Paul an invitation to join Lennon in The Quarrymen, who eventually morphed into the Silver Beatles and then The Beatles.
They became somewhat popular.
Gotta get myself to Liverpool soon to check out the Beatles sites. I'm told the city has gone through tremendous changes and is now quite something to see.