Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Monthly Meeting Minutes - 12th September 2018

The Shingle of Southsea Holmesian Society
Monthly Meeting Minutes

Date of Meeting: 12th September 2018

Location of Meeting:
The Sherloft, My House, Portsmouth, UK

"The Entire Canon" (Paul Thomas Miller)


The Toasts:

"The Entire Canon" (Paul Thomas Miller) gave the following toast to the Indian Swamp Adder who featured in the Speckled Band:

I'm the snake that cannot exist
For there're things which Sherlock Holmes missed;
Us snakes don't drink milk
Or climb ropes made of silk
And we're deaf so the whistle's amiss.


1. "The Entire Canon" (Paul Thomas Miller) suggested that any member who has attended all meetings to date should be excused from paying their membership fees. No one seconded but "The Entire Canon" (Paul Thomas Miller) pointed out that there are no membership fees.
2. "The Entire Canon" (Paul Thomas Miller) suggested that we should introduce membership fees so we could excuse "The Entire Canon" (Paul Thomas Miller) from paying them. No one seconded but "The Entire Canon" (Paul Thomas Miller) agreed to mull it over for further discussion at the next meeting.


"The Entire Canon" (Paul Thomas Miller) presented the following essay on chemical elements to the meeting:

The Periodic Table of Elementary

The most natural question for any Holmesian to ask themselves is "If all the elements of the periodic table were characters from The Canon, which characters would they be?" And yet, so far, no one seems to have tried to answer this question. I felt it incumbent upon me to finally provide an answer. Below is my attempt at matching each element with a Canonical character.

Hydrogen = Kitty Winter (ILLU). Hydrogen is the most common element in the universe. Kitty Winter is the most common person in The Canon.

Helium = Mycroft Holmes (GREE and others). Mycroft is just as inert as helium.

Lithium = Mary Morstan (SIGN and others). Like the mood stabiliser, lithium, Mary Morstan's arrival in The Sign of Four dealt with Holmes's low mood and had quite the cheering effect on Watson too.

Beryllium = Mary Holder (BERY). Sir George Burnwell used Mary Holder to get his beryls. He could just as easily have used beryllium.

Boron = Young Master Rucastle (COPP). Given a slipper, Jephro Rucastle's son is just as effective an insecticide as boric acid.

Carbon = Charles Augustus Milverton (CHAS). Crude oil is principally carbon and there is no one with principals more crude and oily than the master blackmailer.

Nitrogen = The Baker Street Irregulars (STUD and others). Making up 78% of the air and having no smell or colour, nitrogen resembles the Irregulars' ability to go everywhere without being noticed.

Oxygen = Professor James Moriarty (FINA and others). Moriarty, like oxygen, can be found in water.

Fluorine = Mathews (EMPT). Nowadays, fluorine is as essential in dental care as this dentist (presumably) who obligingly knocked out Holmes's left canine in the waiting-room at Charing Cross.

Neon = Johnathan Small (SIGN). Small adds Signs of Four to corpses. Neon lights up signs for ads.

Sodium = Jim Browner (CARD). Sodium and Browner are both old salts.

Magnesium = Dr John H Watson. Watson and magnesium are both good at settling people. Although the good doctor tends to use brandy rather than any antacid qualities he may have.

Aluminium = Killer Evans (3GAR). Like Evans's plough, Americans also cannot spell aluminium. And like Evan's pronouncement of a hunt for other Garridebs, the American pronunciation of aluminium is also wrong. Not different. Not correct because it is the way it was first named. It is just wrong. Wrong wrong wrong. There is nothing more to say on the matter. 

Silicon = Sherlock Holmes. Computers are based on their silicon microchips. As Watson pointed out, Holmes really is a calculating machine (SIGN). Therefore, Holmes' really is, principally, silicon.

Phosphorus = Jonas Oldacre (NORW). Phosphorus match heads are almost as good at starting fires as scheming Oldacre when he is creating his own murder scene.

Sulphur = Baron Adelburt Gruner (ILLU). With its distinctive odour, sulphur has to be Gruner as they are both stinkers.

Chlorine = Mrs Hudson. Chlorine and Mrs Hudson are both good at cleaning. And, being the 19th Century, that's pretty much all she was allowed to do.

Argon = John Openshaw (FIVE). John is the son of Joseph Openshaw. And "J's son and the argon ought" to go together.

Potassium = Hugh Boone (TWIS). At the denouement of the story, Hugh Boone reacts as violently to water as potassium ever did.

Calcium = Sir Robert Norberton's brother-in-law's ancestor (SHOS). When he made room in a coffin for his sister, the ancestor Sir Robert disturbed was all skellington. And all skellington is, mostly, calcium. It's a shame we don't know the more about the skellington as it would be nice to know how much being called a skellington would annoy the skeleton.

Scandium = Tarleton (MUSG). Like the briefly mentioned Tarleton, who might be a person or a place or anything, no one remembers Scandium or what it is.

Titanium = Leonardo(VEIL). Titanium is strong and lightweight. Leonardo was a strong man who turned out to be a lightweight when it came to bravery.

Vanadium = Peterson (BLUE). Vanadium can be used to produce purple sapphires. Similarly Peterson, the commisionaire, produced an incorrectly coloured gem in The Blue Carbuncle.

Chromium = Jefferson Hope (STUD). Like Hope's effect on the blushing cheeks of Lucy Ferrier, chromium is what turns rubies red. Which is weak. But it's the best I could come up with.

Manganese = Athelney Jones (SIGN). Mr Jones, like manganese, can be relied on to produce a lot of fertilizer, as demonstrated by his theories in The Sign of Four.

Iron = Jabez Wilson (REDH). Nothing compares to the russet of oxidised iron better than the fine crop of russet hair possessed by London's stupidest pawnbroker.

Cobalt = Von Bork (LAST). Cobalt has a remarkable ability to turn ceramics blue which can only be matched by Von Bork’s ability to turn the air blue when Holmes apprehended him.

Nickel = Birdy Edwards (VALL). Nickel and Birdy Edwards (in the guise of McMurdo) are both incorrectly believed to make American money. A five cent "nickel" coin is actually only 25% nickel and should really be called a "copper". And "McMurdo" never forged a coin in his life.

Copper = Mr James Smith (SOLI). Working with the orchestra at the old Imperial Theatre, Violet Smith's father is a good conductor. Just like copper.

Zinc = Nathan Garrideb (3GAR). Mr Garrideb's home contained everything but the kitchen zinc.

Gallium = H. Lowenstein (CREE). Like H. Lowenstein's gland serum, Gallium has no known role in natural biology.

Germanium = Isadora Klein (3GAB). Germanium is so named because it was first isolated by a patriotic German scientist. Isadora Klein was also first isolated by a German. However, he wasn't a scientist, he was a sugar king and instead of using chemistry, he used marriage.

Arsenic = The Indian Swamp Adder (SPEC). Both the adder and arsenic are great at poisoning people.

Strontium = Cadogen West (BRUC). He might not do it in a nuclear way, but after he was done in, West did "fallout" a window. Sort of.

At this point I was getting to the stupid elements like Niobium, Molybdenum and Technetium so I sort of lost interest.

Any Other Business:

"The Entire Canon" (Paul Thomas Miller) drew attention to the fact that he had a second essay accepted for publication in The Watsonian. "The Entire Canon" (Paul Thomas Miller) pointed out that this was all well and good but he had had his essay published in the Baker Street Journal, which trumps The Watsonian. Further discussion of the merits of either journal were interupted by "The Entire Canon" (Paul Thomas Miller) boasting that he had had a story accepted for publication in The Sherlock Holmes Journal. When "The Entire Canon" (Paul Thomas Miller) asked him when it was due to be published "The Entire Canon" (Paul Thomas Miller) replied sheepishly that it would not see print until 2022. At this point "The Entire Canon" (Paul Thomas Miller) got fed up with the argument and left to write an article for Canadian Holmes. The meeting had to be closed because "The Entire Canon" (Paul Thomas Miller) refused to converse any further with himself.