Saturday, 11 June 2016

Sunday Times Where Was I? Holiday Competition

Near as I can figure it, through the possibly flawed perceptual filters of my own reality tunnel, the most likely answers this week, seem to me to be:

Q1. Fowey

Q2. Arthur Quiller-Couch (aka Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch)

The initial clues appear to place us at the Iron age fort of 'Castle Dore', which is around a click or so to the south west of the thirty mile long 'Saints Way' hiking trail, in one of the most beautiful countries of the big British island, which is known as Cornwall. The fort was originally thought to have been constructed post Roman period but according to some references sources I checked, has now been dated to around 4th or 5th century B.C. and like many such fortifications, is associated with king Arthur. The Parliamentarians used it as a gun emplacement c 1644 but lost the position to the Royalists, when some of their men deserted.

The puzzle author is likely walking south on the west bank of the river Fowey, towards the small town of the same name. The railway there looks like it is still used to transport China clay to the docks and seems to have stopped carrying passengers c 1965. The line opened c 1869 and used to have a branch which passed through the one thousand, one hundred and seventy three yard long 'Pinnock Tunnel' and probably terminated at Par or the docks in Biscovery.

'Q', does not in this case, stand for 'Quartermaster' but is the nom de plume of Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch (born c 1863). A prolific writer and scholar, he seems to be most well known for a work called 'The Oxford Book of English Verse'. Q was friends with the author of one of the Eastender's favourite books ie 'The Wind in The Willows', which featured a proto-road rager called 'Toad of Toad Hall' (the 'Poop! Poop!' reference). Kenneth Grahame (born c 1859) was also secretary of the bank of England for a time and a disgruntled customer, according to some of his biographies, may have taken a pot shot at him with a revolver while he was working there one day. The titles and themes of some of his works, suggest that he may also have been a bit of a dabbler in the 'esoteric arts'. Grahame married Elspeth Thomson at St Fimbarrus's church in Fowey, c1899.

The third author referred to in the hints, is probably Daphne Du Maurier, who from some of the photographs I saw in her biographies, was a strikingly beautiful woman. Du Maurier lived in a house called 'Ferryside' at Bodinnick, on the east bank of the Fowey and her first novel appears to have been called 'The Loving Spirit' (published c 1931). She is also responsible for the story behind a marvellous old Hitchcock film called 'The Birds'.

The OS map shows a castle (St Catherine's) to the south west of Fowey and English Heritage claim that this was constructed by old 'Enry the Eighth oi am', c 1530s, to defend Fowey harbour. They installed some more guns there during the Crimean war and a triple A battery during world war II.

N.B. Due to the number of people who normally write poison pen letters in green ink posting on his page, the Eastender has moved to moderated comments but rest assured, if you have a non abusive comment or quip relating to the puzzle and its solution, he will endeavour to publish it....

1 comment:

  1. Last week's and this week's "on-line" competition details and entry forms appear to be working o.k. Perhaps the recent problems experienced by some may be a "local" phenomenon? No doubt those in charge will ensure that such matters become resolved after the 23rd?