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Donald Campbell’s mission to set Florence Nightingale upon the path in history we know her for has got off to a solid, if unspectacular start.



1st Report from Donald Campbell in 1844:

It being a Friday I decided to abort the schedule as nothing good ever happens on a Friday. I’ve clocked up too many miles on the odometer to be caught by that one.


2nd Report from Donald Campbell

My admiration for these machines is unbounded and I heartily appreciate that holograms of Bluebird K7 and Bluebird-Proteus CN7 have been allowed to accompany me. I can show, now, what the Bluebirds are really capable of. The proud old name of Bluebird has the opportunity to show these Victorian boys what a fabulous piece of British workmanship both vehicles are. I shall achieve this by breaking both the land speed and water speed records in the same day. An achievement to scotch the mangled thinking of my detractors before I am even born, ensuring a smoother ride when I am physically occupying the cockpit.

I’m sorry, but I cannot buy this Campbell bad luck, disaster, what have you. Just look at the scene here. All so slow. Rather pedestrian. If I cannot break records here I would need shooting. As I just meander around I have a mind to think I’m probably breaking a few records without even trying. I’ve been briefed that a few fledgling trains are topping the 50 mph mark. Sorry to sound a Charlie Bighead, but my Bluebirds would drive themselves to the scrapyard if they couldn’t do six times that.

What will make these records a devil to set is the need to keep it under wraps. The Victorians have no idea of automobiles, yet. A super powered Bluebird-Proteus CN7 capable of 500 mph would totally blow their minds and provide history with a bigger bash than had Florence Nightingale not latched on to this nursing lark.

I will enlist Nightingale, with her statistical leanings, to bend my way and assist my attempt. I will get her mathematical brains on board to devise how to measure my speeds and her knowledge of rural Hampshire to locate secluded spots that meet my strict criteria where my records can be set. While I am here the old meter is ticking over the whole time.

The hologram Bluebird-Proteus CN7 will encounter none of the problems I faced at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah where the tyres were cutting up ruts up to an inch deep and even more in places. On that last run it was absolutely neck or nothing. But that’s all for the distant future. As I won’t be in physical contact with the old terra firma so no friction there. But the lake we choose will have to be smooth as glass. Any slight chopping and the hologram will appear to be cutting through it.

I approached Mission Nightingale with the same diligence I would tackle a record attempt. The right way to go about it, of course, would be to win her over to my side and way of thinkingby utilizing my playboy charms. The ladies fall for that like speed records do to my Bluebirds. She’d have a love of speed by the time our encounter had run out of gas and would ditch her thoughts of curtailing it and leave her clamps floundering in the wake. I had been briefed she was a tough nut to crack, however, so the watch word was caution. Keep it in low gear with no thought of a later thrust is my mantle for this show, the correction of history is a far greater game than satisfying “The Skipper’s libido”.

Young Florence was a rather pretty thing. But reminded me of Bluebird K7, fairly stern. I could understand why Old Monckton Milnes had made little leeway with his poetry. I knew that once she seen Bluebird K7 at full throttle over the measured mile she’d consider that poetry of far greater significance. As it was, Bluebird-Proteus CN7 was at my rear when when first she viewed me in her gardens.

‘What’s that behind you?’ she asked in the poshest of voices.

‘Craig Breedlove, I hope,’ I replied. But the reference to my great speed rival was lost on her.

So I am now sat in the cockpit, so to speak, the engine is ticking over nicely and I am in a position to achieve my goals. Further reports will follow. Over and out from now from The Skipper.


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