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mike
Professor part 45
Sat Dec 2, 2017 18:09
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Professor Chapter 45
IN WHICH:- THE PROFESSOR LETS TOLBERT KNOW THAT THE COLONEL IS NOW IN CHARGE - TOLBERT DECIDES TO LET THE TRAIN TAKE THE STRAIN - POETRY & THE DELIGHTS OF DINING CAR SILVER SERVICE - LOOKING FOR A NEEDLE IN A HAYSTACK

Next day the telephone rang before my alarm clock, blearily I rolled out of bed and caught the handset on the third ring.

"Tolbert? Sorry to call you so early but I have good news. Last night when I got back to the Club I was met by the Colonel who informed me that our work is now in his hands. You were quite right my boy, your words must have had the desired effect. Sir Thomas is no longer in charge of either of us, you will continue checking out the names on your list and I am returning home on the first train this morning. So stay in touch and call when you have something new to tell me, otherwise you are on your own.

The Colonel told me to tell you that there's no need to report to him, he will let you know when he needs a word. Write down this number, it will reach him if you need to make contact or should find yourself needing assistance for any reason. Got that? Good, well I must say I feel much better now, I think Sir Thomas had too much on his plate hence his less than enthusiastic reaction to our achievements to date. Keep your wits about you Tolbert, my impression from our meetings was that there's danger lurking nearby that they are unwilling to talk about."

After I put the phone down I'd decided that I might as well get the other distant inventor dealt with because the other four were more or less local to me and should prove a relatively quick and easy group of fellows to befriend, if possible.


DAVID JONES Towyn, Merioneth, Wales. What sort of person would he be I wondered? Possibly another eccentric person who preferred a hermit like existence or perhaps a perfectly ordinary researcher who had been born and brought up there. Ah, yes, according to my RAC Guide, Towyn is a large town and seaside resort, home to the Marconi company's long wave transatlantic wireless telegraph service. That is quite likely what attracted Mr Jones. It would be a long drive but at least there would be no shortage of places to stay.

On second thoughts perhaps it would be best to take the train. Much more comfortable, certainly faster and if need be I could always rent a car. The RAC book provided the addresses of three garages that offered hire services, all things considered going by rail was my best bet. Better still there was a Railway Hotel immediately opposite the station. So I made a few phone calls to book my ticket and reserve a room at the hotel. It was sheer luck that my ticket was for a fast train because apparently that service is greatly reduced for winter which wouldn't have occurred to me.

I love going for long distance train rides (though not in slow trains) because its both soothing and stimulating. The stimulating part is the sight of the countryside flowing by, the unexpected vistas, the brief glimpse of other peoples lives such as a woman hanging up her washing or a boy in a sailing dinghy heeled over going hell for leather. The soothing part is the sound of the wheels clickety clack clickety clack over the rail joins and all of the above was summed up eloquently by Robert Louis Stevenson's poem, 'From a Railway Carriage' which I had to memorize in school :-


FASTER than fairies, faster than witches,
Bridges and houses, hedges and ditches;
And charging along like troops in a battle,
All through the meadows the horses and cattle:
All of the sights of the hill and the plain
Fly as thick as driving rain;
And ever again, in the wink of an eye,
Painted stations whistle by.

Here is a child who clambers and scrambles,
All by himself and gathering brambles;
Here is a tramp who stands and gazes;
And there is the green for stringing the daisies!
Here is a cart run away in the road
Lumping along with man and load;
And here is a mill and there is a river:
Each a glimpse and gone for ever!

I had skipped breakfast anticipating having it in the Restaurant Car, I've yet to be disappointed by the railway's qulity of food and service and this proved to be no exception to the rule. Tea and coffee served in gleaming silverware, the best kippers you'll find anywhere I wish I could find where they get them, they're always Arbroath Smokies but the best of all, succulent and delicately flavoured. Its the same for their sausages and even the eggs are more flavourful than one normally finds.

The waiters are fast and attentive, changing the toast for fresh without needing to be asked, yet completely unobtrusive. One can only imagine how cramped the kitchen must be and yet very few places with much better facilities can match the railways. I was told by a friend of mine who works for an employment bureau that the Savoy Hotel specifies that potential waiters must be railway trained.

It wasn't until I had arrived at Towyn, got comfortably settled in at the hotel and asked the front desk to send me up a telephone directory that it dawned on me that trying to locate a Welsh man with no known address and no known occupation rejoicing in the name David Jones, that my search made looking for a needle in a haystack a piece of cake in comparison. The Jones occupy several pages and there's no shortage of Davids or Dafyds or D's either!

At dinnertime I was surprised to find the hotel restaurant was almost full, apparently bird watchers descend on the town at this time of the year. They were certainly an enthusiastic and voluble crowd, I couldn't help overhearing various snippets of conversation as they discussed the avian treats in store and where the best vantage points were. I'd only glanced briefly at my gazeteer to get some idea of the geography of the area but Bird Rock would seem to be the obvious choice!

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