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mike
Professor part 5
Sat Oct 7, 2017 19:09
108.26.70.237

Tolbert Lanston was deeply interested in what he had learned so far during the long evenings explanation of Professor Thistle's work. He, Tolbert, had enough to think about already. Being a reporter by nature as well as by trade, he had an orderly mind that needed to record and evaluate his findings but there was a limit to how much he could absorb in one sitting when he didn't have his shorthand notebook to jot down the salient details. So he said "Excuse me Ronald but the hour is late and I'm already swamped by the implications of all you have recounted so far.

"It's been a long day for me too" the Professor replied "Let us adjourn for the night. May I hope that you have been sufficiently intrigued to want to stay here for a day or two? There's a telephone in the entrance hall if you need to place a call to your editor or whoever it is you need to inform as to your whereabouts."

"It's too late to call anyone now" I replied "I'll do so in the morning. I'm an early riser as a rule."

"I most certainly am not!" The Professor replied firmly "So I invite you to help yourself to my kitchen facilities and if you require something to pass the time I invite you to read the book and look through the correspondence I mentioned. Good night Tolbert."

I awoke at 6:30am as I almost invariably do and made myself the customary morning cup of tea before deciding to put down some notes whilst the previous days observations were still fresh in my memory. I carry a portable typewriter in my bag as a matter of habit but decided that the unusual chattering sound might disturb the Professors repose.

During his exposition I had mentally tagged several points of interest to be considered carefully. Soon I was deeply immersed in writing a long hand description of my impressions gained first from the lecture and then from the long evenings talk. This required quite a lot of thought during which pauses in writing I also looked about the unusual octagonally shaped room which was the sturdy brickwork base upon which the windmill stood.

I had failed to notice during the night just how thick the walls were which was now evidenced by the light streaming in from two deeply inset windows on either side of the entrance hall, itself an arched construction of brickwork which was obviously built to reinforce the structure of the heavily beamed ceiling joists that would not have looked out of place on a ship of the line from the previous century. I had seen the gun deck of HMS Victory during one of her restorations having been sent there to write an article about it for a provincial news paper.

I couldn't help but wonder at what sort of mechanical forces were exerted upon a windmill not least of which would have been the torque reaction from the massive sail assembly. One felt almost obliged to acknowledge the skills of the craftsmen who built these important machines which are nowadays regarded with nostalgic affection for quaint pastoral scenes of tranquillity when in fact they were for their time as up to date, functional and productive as any modern factory.

The Professor had mentioned during our train ride that his home was a windmill converted to suit his needs amongst which were changes to the machinery to suit modern requirements such as a generator and a few machine tools for his workshop laboratory.

"What's in a name?" he had guffawed "a workshop by any other name would be as sweet! If one is a scientist then of course ones workshop must be dignifed by the title of laboratory. Think of the public reaction to something one said was made in his laboratory versus the same thing made in my workshop? Semantics, as you should know, play a vital role in conveying the right impression. A cannon can be as destructive as a howitzer, which would you rather hear your army is equipped with?"

Meanwhile, as the Professor slept, I continued my examination of the large room which apart from its natural reinforcement arches of which there were four, had been further subdivided by partition walls built between the three remaining arches and internally as well to create two bedrooms each with its own bathroom. Even so it was still a large room and the kitchen facilities were placed against the wall to one side of the doorway and the other side had been turned into the study we occupied the previous evening. This left a large clear space in the centre that was occupied by a table and chairs.

It was a well thought out conversion with numerous interesting details not least of which were photographs, maps, sketches and illustrations and some intriguing artifacts presumably of the Professor's invention since they resembled nothing with which I had any previous experience but possessing an eccentricity that was echoed in some of the sketches.


    • Where inspiration originated - mike, Sat Oct 7 21:42
      The story so far. Lavish praise and unadulterated adoration gratefully received...yeah, right! As an aside, I have often wished I could include the illustrations that provided the inspiration for... more
      • Oddly enough... - Sarge, Sun Oct 8 09:09
        ...I felt "helpful comment" was unwelcome from the off, hence the one or two word acknowledgements of receipt are all you've seen from me. One the one hand, be assured those sorts of responses are... more
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