We are pleased to announce that Sir John has been relaxing at home and enjoying his respite from adventures as Mr Michael crafts the memoir of the Paris escapade. These pictures show Sir John “relaxed” and “in good humour”.

The Omega Device

Recently one of our household devices decided to “give up the ghost” and break down on us. It was rather a nuisance as, despite our obvious literary success, we have no Miss Henderson to step in when things go wrong (or indeed get violent). So the errant appliance was despatched to be repaired. On its return we were rather surprised to discover the faulty component had been left inside. Once past our initial shock, we looked at the object in question with eyes of writers and artists….

It needs a few gears I suspect, some paint perchance, but I think you can expect to see this appear in a story in the not too distant future. But what, we wonder, will it be?

Well, Hello Sir!

This charming chappy came to visit us today. He was around the size of a gentleman’s thumb.


With his handlebar mandibles and waistcoat wings, he really does look smashing!

Thanks For Dropping By…

Thanks for coming…you’re welcome…come by again…

Yes, sadly The Benthic Week is all over. There has been laughter and tears, music and dancing and an overconsumption of jelly (or jell-o if you will). But, we are stacking the chairs, sweeping the floors and handing out goodie bags (1 slice of cake, 1 plastic octopus, some wakame flavoured sweets and a “Clackprattle and Pook” colouring book).

Normal service, such as it is, will now resume. Stories will be back to Tuesday and our usual posts on a plethora of topics will be at the weekend.

We only have time to leave you with two more things. We are now fully into the modern way of things by having joined something called Twitter @thebenthictimes

And finally, a lovely combination of shops I discovered round the corner from our new house. One featuring a painting of an octopus and the next with the sign “Be unique”. I could barely think of anything more Benthic. (With the possible exception of this book of course…)



Be Unique

Have a wonderful weekend!

Absinthe Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

One of the joys of writing a novel about historical Paris is having to do research into historical Paris. I’m discovering that fin-de-siecle Paris is even more interesting and bizarre than I’d imagined. The air seemed to be filled with esoteric ideas, nouveau musique and the aroma of exotic beverages. I had no idea, for example, that Debussy was a Rosicrucian.

The pictures today are from a hotel we stayed in last year in Paris. Lovingly rendered by Ms Pichette, they show the small bar in the lobby with the painting behind it and an absinthe dispensing device on the counter. One could almost hear the chatter of insurrection and decadence, of art and aesthetics, coming from the corner…

Skeletons in the Booth

bird-skeleton“Entertainment in the Days Before Television” 

Dear Reader

We were recently intrigued by an interesting tidbit we found whilst researching Joy Mallum’s reading material. It was in the restricted section of the library, in a book which also had some information about a rare bit of magic. But our interest in this instance was drawn to something called, rather poetically, the Skeleton Army.

These vile hordes, were, it seems, the sworn enemies of their near namesake, the Salvation Army. Appalled at the notion of tee-totalism, they organised counter demonstrations where they subverted the Army’s songs, shouted foul slogans, and even engaged in violent opposition to the Army. After some unfortunate fatalities their activities petered out, but one can’t help thinking they should appear in some fictionalised form somewhere. Who could write such a thing…

The picture we have chosen to illustrate this little nugget is a skeleton of a bird from the marvellous Booth Museum in Hove. The most tenuous link is the skeleton of one army and the founder, Booth, of the other. We understand neither are related.

Should you ever find yourselves in the Brighton and Hove area (and many people do find themselves in this area) then we recommend a visit. The collection of preserved birds, insects, skeletons and more curios is enough to entertain adults and children with strong stomachs for a couple of hours. One may then find a local hostelry to repair to and, in defiance of the other Booth, restore one’s spirits with a stiff drink.




Name This Automaton

name-this-automaton“No automatons were harmed in the making of this post.”

Whilst enjoying luncheon at one of our favourite haunts in our hometown, our eyes were drawn to the curious contraption above which was affixed to the wall. Speculation flowed imminently as to its origins and purpose. After a protracted debate over a delicious fish soup, the conclusion was that it must have been the head of a serving automaton. Debate One terminated, the next topic of conversation was on what might possibly be the automaton’s name. Sadly, the bill and complementary liquor arrived before we could conclude, and other matters took up the day. So we invite you, dear Reader, to consider this topic and comment if it pleases you.

Remember, Remember the Fifth of November

And ironically we forgot that today we were due to post a chapter of our latest thriller. We can only apologise, mumble something about Nanowrimo taking over our life and offer this picture of us projecting a shadow onto a 16th century Venetian wall in Crete by way of recompense. Rest assured, your fresh chapter will arrive tomorrow.

Benthic Gardens

Despite the extraordinary demands of NaNoWriMo, we at the Benthic Times still find time to indulge in the pleasures of gardening. Or should we say challenges… Our new home has presented us with a spectacular assortment of weeds and exotic native plants. We’ve given up on the idea of recreating an English country garden and have settled upon an array of alien-looking cacti.

Shewing Stone


Todays picture was taken at the British Museum about a year ago. It is the collection of objects used by John Dee and Edward Kelly for their famous “spiritual conferences”. We won’t attempt to list their exploits here, but safe to say they are worthy of a little research. It was quite a thing to look into the obsidian mirror and wonder what else had been “seen” in it. We were also moderately amused by the little headphone symbol and wondered if the information was in Enochian.

This collection of interesting artefacts was one of the inspirations for our current story, but for the sake of clarity we should point out that Elizabethan conjurer John Dee is not Elizabethan alchemist Diarmuid Mac Dubh.

Due to some necessary travel and merrymaking, we shall be forced to post Saturday’s chapter tomorrow, as we shall be indisposed. We hope that this change to your weekend does not discombobulate you too greatly.