“A singular set of people, Watson”
It was twenty years ago today – the 29th February 1992 (although it was a Saturday not a Wednesday) – that a group of otherwise disparate individuals were drawn together for the first time here in Belfast by a shared interest in the world’s greatest private consulting detective Sherlock Holmes and his friend, companion and biographer Dr. John H. Watson, M.D.
And so it came to pass that the aforementioned group found themselves transformed into sailor folk and all at sea, on board the reincarnation of a Victorian steam packet – the S.S. May Day. The rest, as they say, is history.
Last Sunday, the 26th, those on board marked the occasion of this anniversary in an appropriate manner by getting entangled in a quiz on Card, the only story in the Canon to mention “Belfast” or indeed “the north of Ireland,” watching loops of Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce till our eyes nearly glazed over and reminiscing endlessly, as we do. We also managed to seriously deplete the stock of rations in the ship’s galley, not the first time that this has happened either.
Having made it through our first twenty years we can only now speculate, and we’re also dab hands at that activity, on what the future holds for The Crew of the S.S. May Day. Time, as they also say, will tell.
These iconic illustrations were drawn by Sidney Paget for The Adventure of the Cardboard Box, which was first published in the Strand Magazine, January 1893.