Page16 - Insight: Sherlock, Cattle birth, Call Centres, and only online?


Two plus one

A new book of interest to all those fascinated by historical London has been published ("Close to Holmes: A Look at the Connections between Historical London, Sherlock Holmes and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle" by Alistair Duncan, MX Publishing, 206pp £9.99).

Well reviewed in the Sherlock Holmes Journal, this is the book for me. One secret I must reveal. I am an avid follower of the adventures of SH and also a person who revels in London history. In fact, I used to take groups of friends on walks, tracing and unveiling historic tales of different parts of the famous capital. And I am a member of the Sherlock Holmes Society of London. 

What concern is this to Chorleywood? Well, Holmes has such impact that books continue to be written about him and all sorts of theories abound. Many writers take delight in mentioning him and discovering some personal connection either with themselves or their locality. It has become a favourite pastime to reveal some hidden tale.

As yet I have not found him venturing into this neck of the woods, but there's still time. After all, Baker Street Station was pretty near 221B and it is strange that many of the tales are south of the river or in London itself. Possibly Conan Doyle knew that area better.

However a film, The Masks of Death (story not by Doyle), produced in 1984 with Peter Cushing (Holmes) and Sir John Mills (Watson) was set in Buckinghamshire. And Harrow and Pinner feature in one of the stories.

Population increase 

There is a delightful story in the Friends of Chorleywood Common Summer Newsletter. Christ Watts, the ranger responsible for the welfare of the cattle during the grazing trial, found the cows had increased by one, one early morning. A calf had been born overnight! The new arrival spent much of its time lying curled up in the hedgerow hidden from visitors. Its mother stood patiently and dutifully on guard a few yards away.

Cricket delay

The parish council reports that there are still various planning procedures such as permission from the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) before the cricket club can carry out proposals for changing the position of its pitch. Full details in the parish council newsletter. 

Too many buttons

Several members have complained to me about the latest imposition by companies and other organisations. This is the button pressing procedure. Press one and you will get so and so, press two and some other miracle will occur. I have every sympathy, having suffered from this infection myself. It is less efncient than connecting with the human voice and frequently the caller gets lost in a welter of complications. The DVLA is one of the worst and the telephone number given on most of its literature through its push-button series of this and that, does not always define the particular information the caller is seeking.

Walking the line

Another complaint came from an independently minded person, who was breezily told to go on-line and told the outfit concerned that he did not have the facility of on-line and wanted a simple telephone number to connect with a human being. Not unreasonable. There must be thousands like him who do not want to be dictated to by commercial or government organisations. After the dot com crash on the stock exchange and the recent economic crisis, I would have thought that most of the people who run these organisations, who are taking away our freedoms, would have leamed their lesson. We are virtually being diverted from using "old-fashioned" methods of communication. Use new methods, but keep the well-tried for safety's sake.