Thursday, 22 November 2018

Monthly Meeting Minutes - 22nd November 2018

The Shingle of Southsea Holmesian Society
Monthly Meeting Minutes

Date of Meeting: 22nd November 2018

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

"The Entire Canon" (Paul Thomas Miller)

"The Entire Canon" (Paul Thomas Miller) apologised for the screaming. It stopped after a while.

The Toasts:

"The Entire Canon" (Paul Thomas Miller) wrote the following poem in honour of The Great Hiatus

Sherlock Holmes went away
At the falls of Reichenbach.
Then just three years later on
Sherlock Holmes came right on back.


"The Entire Canon" (Paul Thomas Miller) suggested we get some heating in the Sherloft. No one seconded the idea, so I have to stay cold.


"The Entire Canon" (Paul Thomas Miller) presented the following presentation:

The Game is Some Feet

While re-reading A Case of Identity recently I was drawn up short by the following comment on Holmes’ posture:
“Holmes stuck his feet up on the corner of the mantelpiece and, leaning back with his hands in his pockets, began talking…”
Previously I had always imagined this referred to a reclined detective, sat in a chair with his legs raised. But when I visualised this, the idea became preposturous. As the following highly detailed diagram shows, this could not possibly be a relaxing position:

My mind turned to possible alternatives. Could he be standing on the mantelpiece? Unlikely; he is a tall man and would have had his head uncomfortably pressed against the ceiling. Could he be a collector of the feet of different animals which he stowed upon the mantelpiece? Again, unlikely; I feel certain either Watson or Holmes would have mentioned this to the naturalist “Stapleton”. Perhaps he was referring to several measuring rulers each 12 inches in length? I can’t imagine why he would be handling these given that he had just finished conducting chemical experiments.

Eventually my mind turned to the details of another story; that of The Gloria Scott. It will be remembered that Holmes became friends with Victor Trevor after the latter’s bull terrier bit the former’s ankle. Clearly then, to spare Trevor’s blushes, Holmes did not tell the whole story. The dog did not merely freeze to his ankle, it savaged his ankle. With a fury that made it unstoppable, the dog continued in it’s frenzied attack until it had chewed it’s way right through all bone and flesh. How Trevor and Holmes must have sighed in relief that the embarrassing faux pas was over. But what’s this? No! Naughty doggy! Not the other ankle! The dog was not sated until it had chewed off both Holmes’ feet and happily devoured them.

Suddenly Holmes’ bizarre posture makes sense. He had removed his false wooden feet and placed them on the mantelpiece. Perhaps they had begun to chafe, prosthetics then not being what they are now. Clearly, he required comfort to tolerate Mr Windibank and his objectionable personality. A comfort that can only come from balancing on the stumps of one’s chewed up legs and threatening a man with a whip.

Any Other Business:



  1. Thank you for this important contribution to Sherlockian scholarship. I, for one, will be making significant adjustments to my understanding of the Canon.

    1. No worries! It amazes me how much of this stuff has gone unnoticed. But I'm here now.