Thursday 6 February 2014

The Sign of Four [1]

dateline Wednesday 5th Feb
Many chums have telephoned the fbbs, concerned about their survival chances in the excessive weather conditions. Despite being only one road (The Esplanade) between fbb's thoroughfare and the sea, all has, so far, been well. Wednesday brought very high winds and rain with substantial amounts of sea crashing over the sea wall. The Esplanade was closed all morning.

On Tuesday, fbb assembled a "garden storage bin" ...
... like this but without the extras! Cognisant of the weather, the bin was positioned in the lee of the garden wall with a large flower pot (including soil and plants) placed atop.

This was the situation yesterday at 0800; lid ripped to shreds ...
... and flower pot, undamaged, lying inside!
The house, however, is undamaged.
Conan Doyle enthusiasts may well remember the plot of this story. Briefly explained; we join Holmes and Watson in the town of Northampton searching for a ghostly bus service carrying "the sign of four"; otherwise known to omnibologists as "route number four". Although this route has officially disappeared in recent re-organisations, there are reports of its ghostly presence on misty winter mornings. Is this the work of the dastardly bus inspector Moriarty?

Where do the passengers go when they board a bus which shows the sign of four? Certainly any such passengers are never seen again. Will they rise from the eerie mist one day in the future as a manifestation of the ghastly undead haunting the site of the soon-to-be-closed Greyfriars bus station?

Dr Watson takes up the narrative.
Whilst preparing for our current adventure Holmes, I found this diagram ...
... upon which I observe that route 4 runs to Broadmead Avenue.  Our quest must perforce commence thereat, no doubt.

Watson! I sometimes wonder whether you pay attention to any of the pearls of wisdom that drip from my ever-active lips. Everything changes to satisfy the devious financial manipulation of Sir Brian of Perth. We need to delve into more recent times to explore the sign of four as once presented by Viscount Fearnley the First.

Look, Holmes. The 3 and the 16 on my map have become a 4 via Eastern Avenue.

Indeed, but Sir Brian was intent on removing all trace of Viscount Fearnely's 4 from the town, so a new operation was started using the old number 16 but travelling via an alternative route.
Of course, Holmes. Herewith, buried in your files, is a daguerrotype of  4 and a 16 in mortal combat.

And a further intrusion into the sign of four arrived, led by "You Know" who, in the very pinkness of service 19 to the University. This travelled along your much loved Eastern Avenue.

And of he ghostly 4?

The noble Viscount Fearnley capitulated.

I believe I have some physic to ameliorate such a painful condition, Holmes.

Alas and alack; too late Watson. Everything run under the oversight of the Viscount and bearing his titular emblem "First" was utterly expunged from the streets of the noble town of Northampton.

Holmes, I think I understand. The 16 became a 4; a new but different 16 was added; a pink 19 appeared as well and then the 4 disappeared.


By George, I've got it!

An incorrect literary allusion, Watson; the words, uttered by Professor Higgins in that nonsense "My Fair Lady", are "By George, she's got it." But no matter. You do appear, much to my surprise, to have grasped the background to our little one-pipe problem.

So why, Holmes, are we here?

Because of this, Watson; a note on a published handbill.

Route 4 Diversion
from 3rd March 2014 up until 7th March 2014

Due to construction works Eastern Avenue North, between Boughton Green Road and Eastern Close, will be closed from 3rd March 2014 up until 7th March 2014. The bus will be unable to serve Boughton Green Road and Eastern Avenue North between Boughton Green Road and Holdenby Road. Buses will be diverted.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused

Services Affected: 4
Northampton Bus Station - Northampton Bus Station 4
Monday - Friday (not Bank Holidays)
Operated by: ST
Stagecoach Midlands
Timetable valid from 5 Jan 2014 until 15 Feb 2014
What shameful deeds are afoot here, Holmes? An utterly removed and no longer extant bus service is to be diverted! Ghostly happenings indeed!
fbb will continue this saga in tomorrow's blog.

 Next bus blog : Friday 7th February 


  1. We bought one of the larger more expensive versions of those garden stores which you see in Argos and Homebase. It appeared to be very stout and weather proof and was fine until this winters rain. Every time we open the lid a stream of water cascades from out of the inside of the lid (moulded double skin construction) over the contents.

  2. Our version of the storage bin goes walkabout when the wind is in a certain direction despite being in the lee of the house. I had thought about putting the wife in there to slow the rate of travel but she has observed that she is not heavy enough so not fit for purpose.