So it was that Plynkes and his Indian manservant, Sickly, slipped ashore under cover of a heavy fog and a Stade Rennais vs Olympique de Marseille footy match. Plynkes' orders were to investigate rumours that the French were planning to break the Entente Cordiale and launch an attack on the English coast, and to make detailed plans of all French installations on the Breton coast, in case a pre-emptive strike was in order.
On arrival Carlos and Sickly decided to investigate the imposing edifice of Fort La Latte.
But first to introduce Sickly. Well obviously that ain't his regular name, which is something unpronouncable in Hindoostani or possibly the savage tongue of the Punjab, but he answers to Sickly well enough, and don't seem to hold no objections to it. He has a fair command of English, and even has his own catchphrase, which ain't bad going for one his age. It is "What would Guru Nanak think?", which he generally says whenever Plynkes asks him to do anything.
But that's by-the-by. Back to Fort La Latte. Here's what we found:
Built in 1958, for the motion picture "The Vikings" with Kirk Douglas and Tony Curtis, it seems that Fort La Latte has had its defences strengthened and updated, possibly in preparation for the coming war. This is somewhat troubling.
(Don't worry, it ain't the fort that's listing to port, it's the photographer.)
Plynkes and Sickly crept past the guards and reached the imposing main tower.
Within they found this poor chap languishing in an Oubliette, with naught but a bowl of Coco Pops for nourishment. It was surely Higginbottom, the first man the Admiralty sent on this mission! How they wished they could have aided him, but the needs of the Service must come first, so they crept away, sniggering.
(I'm sure I once knew what an Oubliette is, but I seem to have forgotten.)
The view from the top of the tower. So bracing!
An interesting flag, don't you think? What it signifies we ain't sure, but it's the pattern in the top left corner of the Breton flag, if that's any help.
By my sweet Crikey! Them big guns are pointed straight at dear old England! We must get this picture back to the Admiralty at once! At once I say!
(Sickly shown in picture for purposes of scale. But best bear in mind that he's quite small for his age, mainly on account of Plynkes' regular habit of purloining his grub allowance to purchase gawdy trinkets for the lovely Mercedes of Port Mahon.)
Ah, sweet, sweet Mercy! Such a dear and lovely child. Skin kissed by the Minorcan sun and plump in all the right spots, if you get me...
Back on top of the tower and Plynkes and Sickly re-enact the final scene from "The Vikings", in the exact spot where it happened all those years ago. Only without the swords, as they forgot to bring any. Carlos stands in for Einar, and Sickly for Eric . Or maybe it was the other way around. You decide. Which one looks more like Tony Curtis?
(Either that or they are having a slight disagreement about a restaurant bill.)
Fare thee well cold winter, and fare thee well cold frost.
For nothing have I gained, but my own true love I've lost.