Tuesday, June 05, 2007

From the Gasogene

From the Gasogene:

I recently traveled to London on business. My stay was a brief one, only four days, and business took me to a non-descript office complex on the outskirts of Heathrow Airport. But one must eat (and drink) after work, and one evening, my travel companion (i.e., a non-Holmesian) and I traveled to the small city of Windsor. Some of you may recall that a castle may be found in Windsor often occupied by The Queen and her progeny. As we walked the main street, a winding, meandering lane, the 1200 foot wall of the castle towered on our left. On the right, a variety of shops, pubs, and restaurants. And, about midway down the street, we found the Royal Windsor Theatre. On the marquee, “The Hound of the Baskervilles” starring Peter Egan and Phillip Franks (!) no less. The advertisement poster suggested that it was “Sherlock Holmes Greatest Adventure”. Further, we were informed, the play was “The theatrical event of the year”. Certainly, I would not challenge either statement.

Two days later, after our business was concluded, we traveled by fast train to central London. A brief Tube ride took us to Piccadilly Square. And there is was…The Criterion (Bar). We, of course, entered and enjoyed a drink at the bar. I was not allowed to take pictures of the interior as the unique mosaic ceiling has been copied from (unauthorized) photographs in the past. However, I did copy the words on the famous plaque near the front of the restaurant:

Here, New Years Day, 1881
At The Criterion Long Bar
Stamford, Dresser at Barts
Dr. John H. Waston
And Led Him to Immortality
Sherlock Holmes

Properly inspired (and lubricated), I convinced my friend to travel cross-town to The Sherlock Holmes Public House and Restaurant. I’ve described the pub in past articles, so I won’t bore you with the details again. It is a joy to visit the eclectic pub, and on this Friday, it was jammed with patrons. My travel companion and I had a sandwich and a pint. The atmosphere was vibrant, certainly reflective of the energy and fame of the pub’s namesake, Sherlock Holmes. I highly recommend the ale named after him and served only at this establishment.

Finally, may I recognize our former Tantalus, Ray Mandziuk. Ray recently resigned from the position so he may more fully enjoy other aspects of his busy life. Ray was one of four inspired people (i.e., the others are Roy Pilot, Walter Young, and Ed Stein) that resurrected the Amateur Mendicant Society from its last hiatus. Our scion had been dormant for some time, and Ray helped breath life into our little organization. Further, he served as Tantalus (i.e., secretary) for seven years. His articles, presentations, and letters were distinguished by style, wit, and reverence. Ray will continue to attend meetings as Tantalus Emeritus. The mantle has been passed to Rob Musial, a professional writer by trade, and we have high expectations for Rob.

Yours in Holmes,

John Kramb, Gasogene.