Archive for Albert the snail detective

All quiet on the tweeting front

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on February 21, 2010 by Tudor Rickards

All is still on the tweeting front. The Reluctant Twitterer undertakes a period of enforced silence.

This silence is not at all sinister. Or fishy. Or anything like that. I have not been captured by a band of assassins.

There is one personal matter which I want Albert, or Little Pink Ant, or the Marmalade Beetection Agency to put an item on their TBD (To Be Detected) lists. Albert is enaged in a covert operation with his own identity disguised. So if anyone can pass this on to Albert then I will be most grateful.

“Dear Albert. Dealing with events of global reach must continue to be your priority. However, you may help in a more personal matter.

I seem to have lost my poetic voice. I had it last week, but now it’s gone. I can’t think what happened to it. Can you help?



Albert acts strangely

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on January 22, 2010 by Tudor Rickards

This is ridiculous. Albert had been acting very strangely for weeks. I can’t make any sense of what he’s up to. Anyway, here’s what happened this morning.

He was waiting outside the window this morning when I opened the blinds. But to my amazement, he seemed to have crawled through a pot of blue paint. His brown shell was streaked with blue as bright as a cornflower. And I could just see shimmering streaks of silver on his two tentacles, as if he had applied some shiny make-up. Looking more closely, I could see that he had borrowed another snail’s shell, which had the owner’s name painted in blue on it. Albert had come in disguise, as a snail called John.

I wanted to ask about his progress on the case, but I could see he was all of a quiver. He seemed for the first time to be interested in something inside the room. Albert was behaving in a very curious fashion. He was doing a snail dance, and singing a snail song, in those familiar grumbly rumbly tones.

Snaily baby
Don say maybe
Say you’ll slip outside with me

I’m not quttin
I’m so smitten
Smitten baby over you

“Albert! What’s going on? Why are you wearing a shell with the name John on it?”

My words gave him quite a shock. It was as if he hadn’t expected to see me on the other side of the window. His head disappeared right back into his shell.

“Albert! Where have you been? And what’s all this Snaily baby stuff.

But there was no enticing Albert out of his shell.

“I’m going to make a cup of tea” I said. “Perhaps when I can come back, you’ll be ready to answer some questions”. And with that I got up from my chair and went away to make the tea.

And do you know what I found when I got back? Only a message on the window, in Albert’s snail-mail writing.

“In disguise. Back on track, soon”

Now what is all this about?” I wondered to myself, sipping the warm green tea I had made.

I Have Been Very Foolish

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on January 18, 2010 by Tudor Rickards

I have been very foolish. Obsessive even. For months I have skulked in my office, fearing that I had found vital evidence of a plan with the gravest implications for the future of the planet. But my fears were turned inward. Turned to what might happen to me because of my discovery. Not to what was happening out there.

It was when I became less timerous I saw my foolishness. It’s not easy to draw attention to yourself. The internet is not so much a giant transmitter as I had assumed. Since I began this quest, I have written sixty blog posts, two hundred tags, hint after hint of real and present danger. But fewer followers have come forward than if I had rented the village hall and put adverts up in front saying ‘Meeting to Discuss the Imminent Threat of Tomato Blight at Woodford Allotments’. That would have worked better on one dry night. Al least, the allotment workers would have dropped by. The real-life detectives I contacted by e-mail never even bothered to reply. Except for Albert, nothing.

Last week, I took what I thought was a risk. I sent out a coded message. Result? Silence. In my hopes and fears I thought that the four word blog post would fly around the world. But nothing.

So let me be even bolder. It is possible that Google has come under attack by the most dangerous of enemy forces. Even Google thinks that it is the victim of a conspiracy. This is the escalation I was expecting. It fits into the pattern of attacks on Twitter and other social network sites recently. My suspicions are all confirmed.

Here’s what Google had to say:

Like many other well-known organizations, we face cyber attacks of varying degrees on a regular basis. In mid-December, we detected a highly sophisticated and targeted attack on our corporate infrastructure originating from China that resulted in the theft of intellectual property from Google. However, it soon became clear that what at first appeared to be solely a security incident–albeit a significant one–was something quite different. First, this attack was not just on Google. As part of our investigation we have discovered that at least twenty other large companies from a wide range of businesses–including the Internet, finance, technology, media and chemical sectors–have been similarly targeted. We are currently in the process of notifying those companies, and we are also working with the relevant U.S. authorities.

That message shook me out of my foolishness. I decided to act. First it was with the four-word code, now with this open message.

There must be other people out there who have also woken up to what is happening. And if so, we must do something together. At whatever personal risk from Google’s “highly sophisticated and targeted attackers” . But what to do?

Albert’s Christmas Cracker

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on December 12, 2009 by Tudor Rickards

Something bright caught my eye in the garden early this morning. A Christmas Cracker no bigger than your little finger. There it was, underneath the Holly bush.

So, no ordinary Christmas Cracker. When I got closer I could see who had left it. Albert. He had also left a e-trail on the path, which said Hpy Xms. He must have been in a special hurry. Maybe he was delivering presents on a Christmas crawl.

When I got even closer I saw that Albert had found an empty sweet wrapper, crinkly red and shiny gold. And in it was a riddle, The sort you get in a real Christmas Cracker. Only it wasn’t. I couldn’t see what it meant at all.

Q: What do you call the Queen Bee?
A: Marmalade

Why can’t Albert ask proper riddles? And is it more than just a weird joke. I don’t think I remember Albert telling a joke before. Perhaps he hasn’t understood that a riddle is supposed to give you an Aha! moment when you see the answer.

Like: Why is Ulrika so creative? Answer: because she is always having Ulreka moments.

So come on. Can anyone answer Albert’s riddle?

O.K. A very small Xmas prize for anyone who sends best answer before Albert gets back in touch.

Albert and the Magic Towel

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on November 1, 2009 by Tudor Rickards

Magic Towel

Albert left another snail message last night. He prefers to work at night. His snail trail appears on the window in the morning. As the message fades, if I close my eyes I can hear Albert’s rather raspy rumbly voice outside.

Today his message was


I shut my eyes and listened carefully

“I found a magic towel” Albert said “A long way away. It took me three snail days travel to get there. I don’t think even little pink ant or the bee detective could have found it. They move more quickly. But speed isn’t everything. Oh, no.”

“Tell me about the magic towel?” I asked. “What’s it got to do with anything?”

Albert sound pleased with himself because I was so puzzled. “It’s another bit of the jigsaw. At first, you had no one to help you. Now you have the best snail detective in the garden snailiversery.. and the pink ant, and the Queen bee. And maybe now there’s the magic towel”.

“How can a towel help me”

“I’m not sure yet. The towel lives with a family where there is boy and his big sister. And before they go to bed, they creep into the kitchen and look at the towel. The big sister takes down the towel and unrolls it a little to read the story. The story always starts Once upon a time in twitterland. The little boy and his big sister read the story and go to bed and go to sleep, thinking about the story.

“How can that help me?”

“I am going back to find out”. Albert’s voice was fainter. “I just know the magic towel has a story to tell me, as well as the children”.

I opened my eyes. It was nearly light outside. Albert was nowhere to be seen. Is even the best snail detective in the snailiversery going to help me find out what is happening in Twitterland?

Albert reports in

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on October 16, 2009 by Tudor Rickards

Picture 020

Did I dream it? A recorded message from a snail? When I tried to play it again it had gone. Had I deleted it? Was it ever there in the first place? I can only write down here what I thought I heard

This is a message from Albert the Snail Detective.

You may think it has been a long time since you last caught sight of me

Perhaps you think I have been wasting time

Oh no.

Snails don’t waste time.

It just seems that way.

On no. We use time. We relish it. Our slow progress means we take full advantage of time.

Now, where was I? No humanrushing about from us. That’s what makes us good detectives. We digest the facts. We detect causes and culprits.

That’s how I work. Quietly. Carefully. The foot of snail is a fearsome weapon against bad people. Oh yes. And a snail trail often beats a beeline.

Now, where was I?

Oh yes.

Pertaining to the case of The Reluctant Twitterer.

This is a very tricky case indeed. There are dark forces at play. You are right about that. You are worried that if you speak up and warn people you will be in danger from your enemies. But you also fear what will happen if you do nothing. If you say nothing.

I am following several promising lines on enquiry.

Oh yes.

But following and not being followed if you take my meaning.

I will not be leaving any more messages like this.

But I know how to contact you


It’s an old Snailcraft trick

You won’t find me

But I know how to find you

The message ended. I replayed it. Nothing. Another bit of snailtrickery?

And as I looked out of the window
I saw the faintest of silvery snail trails there.

Following and not being followed

Wasn’t that what Albert had said?

I looked again.
And as I looked
the rain came down
And washed the trail away.