Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Secret of the Silent Submarine

The following information was collected by Leon Karff, a German spy, and was luckily intercepted by Raymond and Jacox who were working together to isolate and disrupt the workings of the German spy agencies.

"Report by Leon Karff, late foreman-fitter at Kiel Dockyard, on Submarine 'F 2,' now building in Shed No. 4, Portsmouth Dockyard.

"This boat would appear to me to be of about 700 tons displacement when complete, possibly rather over. She is, as far as I am able to measure, about 180 feet long with an extreme beam a little forward of amidships of 20 feet. She is fitted with three propeller shafts with three small four-bladed propellers on each. As she is provided with what appear to me to be some kind of turbine engines, I imagine that the centre shaft is for going astern only. The propellers on this shaft seem to be attached in such a way that they could be 'feathered' by suitable gearing on board so as not to retard the vessel's way when going ahead. The engines of this boat are of a type which I have never before seen. I imagine that they are a combination of the new 'gas-producer' engine and the turbine system, the explosion of[55] the combined gas and air being split up and passing into the turbine through a number of different channels simultaneously. This would be a very economical system if the necessary power can be obtained, and would be much safer for use below than petrol engines.

"The boat is evidently intended to operate a good deal in an 'awash' position, for there is fairly thick armour-plating over the greater part of the upper side of the bow, while the fore end of the superstructure is made of two 6-inch Krupp steel plates meeting at an acute angle, and so forming a kind of stem when the boat is moving in this way. The space enclosed between these two plates is evidently intended to be used as the conning-tower. Here there are a periscope, steering-wheel, voice-tubes, and everything necessary for the control of the vessel. There are two horizontal propellers or fans, which seem to be driven by electricity derived from an installation of accumulators, and which are certainly intended to secure horizontal immersion, so the vessel will not plunge or dive, but immerse herself horizontally by means of these propellers, which, by the way, work in vertical shafts running completely through the boat, one forward and the other aft, as was the case in the Nordenfeldt, Waddington, and other early submarines.

"Forward there is an air-lock and diving-chamber, as in the 'Lake' boats, so that divers can get in and out of the vessel whilst under water. It would also afford a means of escape for the crew in the case of accident. This is further provided for by a detachable boat or caisson at the after end of the superstructure capable of holding ten men, I should say, or[56] possibly a dozen. There are also appliances which I suppose are telephone buoys for communicating with the surface. There are six torpedo tubes fitted, one forward, one aft, and the others two on either broadside. And there seems to be provision for six other torpedoes of the 18-inch type.

"There is a long rudder for ordinary steering, and four horizontal ones or planes which are placed abreast the horizontal screws and which, I imagine, act automatically in conjunction with them, as they seem to gear up with the shafts for these propellers. There is a big safety detachable weight which fits loosely into a recess amidships, and four broad wheels with ball bearings which do not fold up as in the 'Lake' boats, but always protrude nearly half their diameter. After all they would not obstruct her way when water-borne more than a keel—or very little more. They are quite independent and unconnected with the interior of the vessel, which while resting on them would receive forward impetus from her propellers. In the 'awash' position she would offer a very small and almost invulnerable target."

Chapter 2 The Secret of the Silent Submarine, Spies of the Kaiser-Plotting the Downfall of England, William Le Queux

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Spells of Summoning

Over the centuries in Merry Olde England there have been thousands of spells of summoning created, but few perfected. Paris Ormskirk a schoolmaster from the village of Clerkenwell wrote several expositions on magic. He may not have brought anything new to the profession, but he was very diligent and compiled a list of thousands of spells of summoning. These spells were, to the best of Ormskirk’s ability, shifted through and attempted to cast these spells. Eventually, a spell of summoning created by Ormskirk, became very popular. It was this spell that Jonathan Strange perfected and used to bring Maria Absalom into his dream.

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke.

Friday, September 15, 2017

The Peril of England-A War of Words

"Who Is Right?

Sir Edward Grey

In the House of Commons, March 29, 1909.

'We have been informed verbally, but quite definitely, that Germany will not accelerate her naval programme of construction, and will not have thirteen ships of the Dreadnought type, including cruisers, till the end of 1912.'

Prince Buelow

In the Reichstag, March 29, 1909.

'Great Britain has never made any proposals which the German Government regarded as a suitable basis for negotiations. Germany regards the question of limitation of armaments as outside the range of practical politics.'

What The Kaiser Says:

His Imperial Majesty the German Emperor declared:—

'The prevailing sentiment among large sections of the middle and lower class of my own people is not friendly to England.—Daily Telegraph, October 28, 1908.'"

Spies of the Kaiser-Plotting the Downfall of England, William Le Queux

Thursday, September 14, 2017

A Cryptic Memorandum

Chapter II: The Secret of The Silent Submarine, Spies of the Kaiser, Plotting the Downfall of England, William Le Queux

The story portrays an alternative history of England. The year is 1909. Authors like Le Queux were writing these pieces of fiction to try to get the public and government officials to see menace of Kaisers Germany. This story’s message is similar to a few others that I have read. One in particular, The Riddle of the Sands, by Erskine Childers is of, about the same time period.




Other Titles by William Le Queux

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Sierra West 1/87 (HO) Detail Parts

Sierra West is a maker of fine craftsmen style structures for model railroaders in HO and O gauges. It seems that I should have purchased more than three of these highly detailed castings. At one time, Sierra West used to sell a whole line of these resin detail parts. Although they still cast their own castings, these casting are only offered in their craftsmen kits.

Workbench with Shelves

1 inch wide by 7/8 inch tall

Shelves full of Stuff

1 by 1 inch

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Book Two: Jonathan Strange (preamble)

“Can a magician kill a man by magic?” Lord Wellington asked Strange. Strange frowned, he seemed to dislike the question. ‘I suppose a magician might’, he admitted, ‘but a gentleman never wood.’ ”

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke

I have read the first part of this nine hundred plus page novel and have just started the second part or book two and what a glorious read it has been…

Monday, September 11, 2017

The Pineapple Ale-House-February 1808

“The Pineapple had once been the refuge and hiding place of thief’s and murderers. The current owner thought that its notorious past was somehow advantageous to his business and decorated the walls of his establishment with pictures of those criminals that had been hung and of those who had yet to be. You entered the establishment from a street door and then down three greasy steps. These steps led to a gloomy parlor decorated as previously mentioned.

The Pineapple had its own character and aroma. Its character from the assorted throng that frequented the place. Many were without scruples and notorious characters. The aroma was a combination of the smell of stale tobacco and spilt ale, the natural fragrance of its unwashed cliental, and from the unholy stink of the Fleet River, which had been used as a sewer for countless years. The Fleet ran beneath the Pineapple’s foundations and the Pineapple was generally supposed to be sinking into it.”

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke

Saturday, September 9, 2017

More of the Raven Kings Three Kingdoms

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell heading toward the castle “Last Hope” in the land of Faerie, BBC’s Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, TV series.

It has previously been reported of the Raven Kings three kingdoms. I intend to expand on that theme. The Raven King did undeniably rule over three kingdoms. “Firstly, the Raven King ruled over the Kingdom of Northern England, which included Cumberland, Northumberland, Durham, Yorkshire, Lancashire, Derbyshire, and part of Nottinghamshire. The other two kingdoms were often referred to as the kings ‘Other Lands’, which included part of Faerie and a country on the far side of Hell, sometimes referred to as the ‘Bitter Lands’.”

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke

Friday, September 8, 2017

My Lament for Barcelona Universal Models

How often have I visited the Barcelona Universal Models blog to view their new offerings? How long have I searched for these offerings via my regular and un-regular channels all without the satisfaction of my being able to purchase a single set?

Recently I did find a few of these BUM models being offered online and ordered a copy of BUM’s 1/72 New Zealand army figure set w/tank and gun. There are forty-four pieces including twenty-eight figures, two razor-wire sections, a tank and a field gun of some sort. The figures are relatively flash free and I look forward to assembling the tank and gun and put these soldiers to task.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

The Ravings of Vinculus

Vinculus is the magician of Threadneedle Street, a theatrical magician. He has broken into Mr. Norrel’s home and has found his way to Mr. Norrel’s library. He startles Mr. Norrel with the following fragmented quote from the book of the Raven King.

“I reached out my hand, thought and memory flew out of my enemies heads like a flock of starlings; my enemies crumpled like empty sacks.

I came to them out of the mist and rain. I came to them in dreams at midnight; I came to them in a flock of ravens that filled a northern sky at dawn. When they thought themselves safe I came to them in a cry that broke the silence of a winter wood.”

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Three Kingdoms

A Glimpse of Fairyland

Mr. Norrell, BBC’s Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, TV series.

“The rain made a door for me and I went through it;
The stones made a throne for me and I sat upon it;
Three kingdoms 1 were given to me to be mine forever;
England was given to me to be mine forever.
The nameless slave wore a silver crown;
The nameless slave was a king in a strange country.”

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke


1“The Raven King is said to have had three kingdoms; one in England, one in Fairyland, and one in a strange country in the far side of hell.”

Monday, September 4, 2017

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell

Mr. Norrell, BBC’s Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, TV series.

"He hardly ever spoke of magic, and when he did it was like a history lesson and no one could bear to listen to him."

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke

It is not often that I get to read a novel and watch the video adaptation at the same time. The book by Susanna Clarke is thick volume that depicts an alternative history of the English Napoleonic wars. It is a story of two magicians, one Mr. Norrell who reveals his powers by making the stone statues of the York cathedral speak and by reviving a young woman promised to be married to Sir Polk, from the dead. I have only read up to the end of the first book of this volume, so I will not introduce the other magician Jonathan Strange now.

So far in my reading Mr. Norrell, although a bit out of the ordinary, seems like a decent fellow, but in my viewing of the BBC TV series, Mr. Norrell, in his want of total control of his medium in England, and to see his plans come to fruition, has taken on some unscrupulous methods.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

The Language of Birds

“There is nothing else in magic but the wild thought of the bird as it casts itself into the void. There is no creature upon the earth with such potential for magic. Even the least of them may fly straight out of this world and come by chance to the Other Lands. Where does the wind come from that blows upon your face, that fans the pages of your book? Where the harum-scarum magic of the small wild creatures meets the magic of Man, where the language of the wind and rain and he trees can be understood, there will we find the Raven King.” 1

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke


1Thomas Lanchester, Treatise concerning the Language of Birds, Chapter 6.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

In the Hall of the Dead

In that great emptiness the voice of the man beside the altar sounded hollow and ghostly:

'... And so the word came southward. The night wind whispered it, the ravens croaked of it as they flew, and the grim bats told it to the owls and the serpents that lurk in hoary ruins. Werewolf and vampire knew, and the ebon-bodied demons that prowl by night. The sleeping Night of the World stirred and shook its heavy mane, and there began a throbbing of drums in deep darkness, and the echoes of far weird cries frightened men who walked by dusk. For the Heart of Ahriman had come again into the world to fulfill its cryptic destiny.’

'Ask me not how I, Thutothmes of Khemi and the Night, heard the word before Thoth-Amon who calls himself prince of all wizards. There are secrets not meet for such ears even as yours, and Thoth-Amon is not the only lord of the Black Ring.’

'I knew, and I went to meet the Heart which came southward. It was like a magnet which drew me, unerringly. From death to death it came, riding on a river of human blood. Blood feeds it, blood draws it. Its power is greatest when there is blood on the hands that grasp it, when it is wrested by slaughter from its holder. Wherever it gleams, blood is spilt and kingdoms totter, and the forces of nature are put in turmoil.’

'And here I stand, the master of the Heart, and have summoned you to come secretly, who are faithful to me, to share in the black kingdom that shall be. Tonight you shall witness the breaking of Thoth-Amon's chains which enslave us, and the birth of empire.’”

Chapter 19: In the Hall of the Dead, The Hour of the Dragon, Robert E. Howard.