The Folklore of Fossils by Hobb the Ploughboy – a read aloud version of my show at the Scarborough Fossil Festival at the Rotunda Museum 2017.

The Folklore of Fossils by Hobb the Ploughboy – a read aloud version of my show at the Scarborough Fossil Festival at the Rotunda Museum 2017.ammonite pencil flipped

 

Oh hello everybody. I am Hobb. Hobb the ploughboy. I’ve been a boy for forty five years, boy and boy, ever since I was a boy.

Ploughboy. It is a very scary job.

And I will tell you what I’ve got. I’ve got a stick.

It is my prodding stick.hobb stick flipped

What I do is this (*Jiggle, prod*) then I go along a bit, like this (*shuffle*), then I do this a bit (*Jiggle, prod*).hobb stick

You’ve got your field right and you’ve got your ploughboy. I work the fields up along the top of the cliff and it is my job to clear away the stones before the plough comes so they don’t break.cairn

So, I am going to sit down and tell you all about stones

There are big stones and there are little stones.

That’s it. That’s all there is to tell.

Well alright there might be a bit more.

The big stones are easy. And the little stones are SCARY.

I get my stick and I go like that there that there… Oh I’ve done that bit.

I find a big stone. The big ones (*clunk*) are much easier, you just have to pick them up and carry them to the edge of the field, easy. Then they are all lined up along the edge of the field and then you can tell where the edge of the field is. You will have seen them. Ah, no, in youradays, not in myadays but in youradays you have things called a fence, don’t you! Well we had stones, big ones.

The little stones, they are the scary ones.

I get my stick, and I go like that there like that there… Oh I’ve done that.cairn

And I find a small stone, I pick them up, carry them to the corner of the field where there is a mini-mountain of them, (that’s called a Cairn that is). They have scary things. You have to be careful. Sometimes they slip off the top and slide down and crack in half at the bottom – “Aaaaaaargh!”

Terrible things, terrible monsters, terrible lizards – well bits of them. Therapods, that’s monster’s footprints. Something very scary has been creeping about here.ammonite alive flipped

So, anyway, I get my stick, I go like that there like th… Oh. I’ve done that bit.

And sometimes, I dig out a stone, a perfectly ordinary looking stone. I go over to the pile, turn it over and – Aaaaaargh! – there is a hole going into it.holey

I go like that there that there and… I’ve done that.

I find a stone.

Aaaaaargh. It is stuck on my finger. Help Help pull it off (a child does so after much resistance). It has holes going right through it!holey flipped That’s magic that is! Ooooooo Witches and wizards do that magic stuff they do.wiz and holey Ah, of course, this is in myadays, not in youradays, in youradays they will say oh no there is no such thing as magic, there are no witches or wizards, that is science that did that. I don’t even know what science is but they go on to say that what actually created the holes in the stones was creatures eating it – THAT’S EVEN SCARIER!!!!

Well thank goodness the wizards turned all the scorpions to stone, that’s all I can say.

Now this scares me. Look at this. Seashells.shells pencil wc solo Do you know what is scary about these? Look how far away we are from the sea.shells water colour How on earth did they get all the way up here?! And what is really scary is – what was it that ate them???ammonite alive.jpg

And then there is these things, I ask what it is and the answer I often get is ‘Annomites’.ammonite wc left

I know what these are. Imagine we are at the top of the cliffs in Whitby up by the Abbey. There are fishermen, there are priests and there are monks, and they are shouting, “Get out.” – “Go away.” – “You are not a saint.” – You cannot be a saint – because – you – are – a woman!”

At this point I got to play the saint herself Saint Hilda (to quite mixed reactions), “Yes, I am a woman.”

“And I am a saint”, she said.world poem lady close up She went on to say, “I shall prove it to you, by the power of the four horsemen of the Lord and the Holy Ghosty Spirity Thingy (Well it went something like this I think), and by the power of the mother of the blessed babe – and all the cupids and cherubim’s as well – I shall make all Whitby safe; safe forever and for all time.

The grass was moving! There was a slithering, a shining, a weaving, a glistening, a wending, a bending, a lifting, a slithering – The whole of the field was moving. It was… It was… It was snakes! Millions of billions of zillions of lots of them. Snakes. Did I say? There were snakes.

Her arms were upheld and she prayed and every single snake slithered off, slithered off the cliff.world poem lady cliff top

They went down and down and down and, (is that enough downs or should there be more? “More!”) down and down and down and (is that enough downs or should there be more? “More!”) down and down and down and (is that enough downs or should there be more? “More!”) (How about on long ‘down’ all together? “Doooooowwwwwwn”)

As they fell they coiled up, as they coiled up they turned to stone ‘Aaaaaaaaaargh!’

In youradays, not in myadays, in youradays you will say they are ammonites (or you might be one of those that says annomites), but I will tell you something you didn’t know, what they did in myadays and what they still do in Whitby in youradays. And this bit is true, it might be the only bit that is, this bit is the truth. A Whitby person, a fisherman or someone who lives there like, they are walking along the beach, like this…. And they spot an ammonite,ammonite wc left flipped what they do is they pick it up, get out their knife and they cut a mouth and two eyes in. Then it looks like a snake and they put it back on the stones for all to see. Then me, or you, are walking along, like this…. And we are like, ‘Look it is a stone snake, it must be true what they say about Saint Hilda after all!’ Well that’s what we are supposed to say anyway.

That still happens today.

The Vikings are scary. But they were frightened of snakes. Frightened of ammonites. ammonite pencilThey would see snakes on the beach and in the sea but they would also see them in the sky; in the night, in the north, in the winter. They would see the twisting green writhing around the night and they would say, “Look, it is Jormungand the serpent!”

He was huge. He would crawl around the land, biting people’s heads off! Crawl about the land biting people’s heads off! “Would anyone else like to volunteer to have their head bitten off? Many volunteer.

Even the gods themselves were frightened of him, well fed up of him anyway – biting people’s heads off!

So the big boss god of all the Viking gods, Odin he was called, except we don’t say it like that in my stories we say Ooooooooooooodiiiiiiin. What’s he called?

He was right fed up, so he went and he grabbed Jormungand and he held him up in the air and he went to the sea and he threw him in!

Splash.

He grew so big that he went all the way around the world until he met his tail. Now they do say that he swims around the world with his tail in his mouth like this….

But I say that is daft. He would swim around with his head above his tail, like this….

Then he can look around and see what he is doing.

Let’s say there’s an elf on the beach. There’s an elf on the beach. There.

“Ooooo hello, I  am a little elf it is nice to meet you,” he squeaks. Grumpth Gruffle Gulp. Gone.

See, a lot more sense.

(this next bit is actually an outtake from the show, so I have put it back in here as an easter egg – a special gift for you.)

Then sometimes I pick out a rock and there is a tooth in it, a huge great big tooth, a tooth from a black panther. “Aaaaaaargh!”

Technically, actually, they are a puma, but there are hundreds of reports of Black Panthers a year in Britain. Some say it goes back to when we hid in trees. You are up at the top and you are look out and along comes a black panther – “Aaaaaaaaaargh!”

Everyone hears and climbs the tree, (if they don’t then – “Aaaaaaaargh!”)

Nowadays in youradays when people see shadowy shapes the mind turns the shapes into a black panther so we can scream out a warning just to be on the safe side. So they say don’t worry if you think you have seen a black panther you have just seen shadows. That means to me that when you go out if there are any shadows whatsoever, which of course there will be, then you will definitely see a panther – “Aaaaaaaaaargh!”panther

But really it is a Belemnite they say, which means that it isn’t a tooth at all, it is just a seashell, that isn’t exciting at all is it, just a great big granddad winkle.

Others though say it is an elf bolt. That it fires from the elf’s bow and when it hits you – you fall in looooooove.

Then there is the devil’s toenail. If that is what it is. I didn’t know he had such big feet.devil

But I did know he has a big thumb. When he built Filey Brigg he dropped his hammer and picked up a haddock. Filey Brigg is a long sharp rock that sticks out into the sea. The devil built it, it should have been three times as long. Then it would have stuck out into the sea and speared ships. The devil was hammering away and he dropped his hammer. He reached into the sea quick to grab it and grabbed a haddock by mistake. If you go look at fish you will know which is a haddock because you can clearly see a thumb print on it (this bit is true). Look at that thumb mark and think to yourself, it is right about the devil dropping his hammer! “Aaaaaaaaargh!”

The Vikings loved a good fossil find, a sign from the gods if ever there was one. The Vikings long long ago, in theiradays not in myadays or in youradays carried them about. And sometimes as you know the Vikings would go to war. Sometimes, as you know, they would die. When they did, as you know, they were buried. Sometimes, as you didn’t know, they were buried in a ship. With their fossils and all their weapons and everything.buried

Well, they said that the ship would rise up, into the air. Yes it was a gggggggggghost ship; a ghost ship. There might be one underneath you right now, right where you are.ghost ship

If you do find one in the ground ever, the Vikings in it wouldn’t look too good. They would look like that Gristhorpe man, and bits of the wood that were left would be petrified. And that is your ghost ship so now I am petrified.

The ship rises up into the sky and flies all the way up to the holy mountain up there look. No don’t look, unless you have washed your face.

The dead Vikings land on the holy mountain and come back alive in a ghosty kind of a way and walk down the mountain, like this….

They travel through the hunting fields and all the way to the Viking heaven – What’s it called? Yes that’s right – Valhalla.

To the big boss god of all the Viking gods, what’s he called? Ooooooooooodiiiiin. Yes that’s right.

And they fight all day. Yes that’s what Vikings think of as heaven; fighting. All day, “Hey you’ve chopped my arm off, never mind, carry on.” “Hang on you’ve chopped my head off I will just balance it back on.” They go on like that till teatime, and then they have fish and chips or something and they get better ready to start all over again tomorrow.

They go on like that till the end of the world. What’s that called? Ragnarok. Yes that’s right.

(Gritting of teeth is required during this next paragraph.) – The gods and the monsters rise up against each other and they fight and fight until everybody is dead, dead. (ungrit now.)

The seas rise up and wash everything away. Lightning strikes the great tree and it will fall, eeek creak eeek crash! Fall, bumphf dumphf boom boing dumphfffft.yggrassil falls

Splash.

Just one branch remains, sticking up out of the sea. The debris of the old world will gather around the branch and form a new land.

From the branch will climb down Lith and Lithrasia to start the world anew.

From the edge of the sea the power of the old gods will rise up like a globe of light and the world is alive.

Listen, listen for the healing songs of Odin.

Ooooooooooodiiiin.

What if there is one of those gggghost ships right underneath us right now? – “Aaaaaaaargh!”ghost ship

But Ragnarok hasn’t happened yet. What hasn’t happened yet? Ragnarok.

You can still see the tree, look up, with your eyes in a certain kind of a way, look, a huge tree with a different land along every limb. That’s what the Viking say.iggdrassyl

I went to a Viking camp. Not in theiradays, in youradays, yes not in myadays, in youradays. A Viking camp.

I bought this amber, this is amber, real amber, it cost a lot of money. This is very special amber, so the Viking market man with a Viking market stall told me. He said that these are the actual tears of Frejya. I paid fifty pound each for them.

Freyja is the goddess of loooooove. What is she the goddess of? Loooooooove. That’s right.

There she was at the top of the tree and she was, in a live performance you would get to see what a good actor I am, because she is beautiful!!!!

I possibly do better at acting the next role, because she met a handsome man….

She fell madly in love with him, she said, “I have falling madly in love with you and I want to be with you forever.” He cleared off and never came back.

They do say that if you listen carefully you can still hear her crying now. Because, yes, she started to *cry* and the tears rolled out of her eyes, dripped down her face and fell all the way down through the sky into the sea, turned into amber and get washed up on the shore. Then that Viking market stall Viking man gathers them up and sells them to fools like me, I mean people like me!freyjas tears

Who believes me? Are you do believe me that these are the actual tears of Frejya. I might get some of my money back. Who would like to buy a piece? It is £55 each. £60. £65……………..

 

A huge thank you to Libby and Wendy and the team from Create, and to Julie of the Fossil Festival for putting the fantastic Scarborough Fossil Festival together at and around the Rotunda. And of course to Tim the Geologist who supplied just the right fossils and really got the idea of what I was doing. Thanks all for doing the lifting and shifting too.

I will see you all there next year.

Oh yes and to the highly imaginative participants, I reckon around a thousand people saw my show and contributed with comments, input, reactions and feedback.

 

See also

Pied Piper Show for Rollercoastical Festival Scarborough

Quay Street a history

Viking Sagas in a Nutshell

Hobb the Pigman at Cliffords Tower

 

 

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Living the Viking way

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Living the Viking way

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These are the Viking Experiences which led to the creation of Viking Comics Inc.

The recent Viking-related experiences of Adrian Spendlow and team member Chloë Anderson…
As Personal Skald to the Chieftain for Viking Valley, Gudvangen in Norway I am known for multi-national stories with participants speaking in as many as twenty languages. Storytelling courses, including at Lygra and Gudvangen markets are always an uplifting experience and I have performed at several Scandinavian events for Vikings, tourists and children. Story circles for children and young adults usually also draw out the child within the adult too.
I was recently very honoured to be tour guide for a week in York for students of the famous Seljord Folkehøgskule and am often asked to coordinate visits.
My opening speech for Gudvangen Market was filmed for Norwegian TV, and at Njardar Vikinglag’s Jolablot I did a story presentation for Belgian TV. As part of our campaign to win the right to build a Viking town I was portrayed across all Norwegian media, I also hosted Viking Rock Festival.
My double CD Andvari’s Gold is for sale on jelldragon.com the foremost online shopping site for Vikings, I also narrated Jorvik: York and the Vikings CD as part of the Spendlow’s York history series, which is also for sale on jelldragon.com
I am very proud to be a member of Njardar Vikinglag, Bjørgvin Vikinglag and an honorary member of the University of York Medieval Society’s Vanaheim Vikings group.
As a full-time storyteller, actor and poet I frequently working to commission (See general CV in links), as a result I have worked as poet in residence for many places including the Jorvik Viking centre.
The York Museum Trust, the York Archaeological Trust and the Jorvik Group for such as the Jorvik Viking Centre, Barley Hall and the Jorvik Viking Festival are among the many establishments that often use my skills.
Recent invitations include Borre Market and the thousandth anniversary of the gathering at Sarpsborg, and to create dramatised stories involving the audience which then lead into staged battles by a trained crew. I was surprised while compiling this to see just how widely travelled and how lucky to be part of the Viking world.
As a blogger I frequently write on the topics of Vikings, History, Storytelling, Poetry and even Viking cooking. As part of my blog I set up Viking Comics Inc. with Chloë Anderson and our first presentation features the work of some 18 artists; The Hammer Flies was very well received. This came about following a Jorvik Group commission which involved presenting Viking stories in the form of Comic book heroes: an especially written Viking Comic book display and the children’s resultant story formed a comic book display throughout the Jorvik Viking Festival venue.
As project manager for community work I have worked many times with Chloë Anderson mixing music, drama, storytelling, dance, reminiscence, on-screen presentations and publications. We recently created a ‘Spendlow’s TV’ series for sale as a download presentation. Chloë Anderson and I are currently working on a panoramic story and image download which will be available online this year based on the themes of a boat burial, Rolo in France, the different views of Viking afterlife, stories for the Viking world and the Ragnar clan in Valhalla. We are currently in discussion to create walks around fjords where you add to the story and accompanying arts as you go.
Our next Viking Comics Inc. will be a Graphic Novel presentation on the theme of The Horned God and the Wild Hunt. The theme for this and the draft script form the basis of our presentation to Follow The Vikings.

Back to the proposal

Back to links

Adrian the Viking Tour Guide

 

As I approach a thousand views I thought it would be a useful idea to do a blog summary

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As I approach a thousand views I thought it would be a useful idea to do a blog summary, so you can browse through the blogs so far. Catch up and enjoy…

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The Nosegay Blog

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The many interesting things told to me while I was working at Barley Hall.

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The Nosegay Blog Too
The nosegay experience continues, and as promised in the first instalment, we will be visiting alternative realities, plus jumping hoops and drinking mud (participation is optional)storyteller-4 accusing

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No Title
A haiku which perhaps isn’t a haiku

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Poem: For someone close
Intended to inspire, encourage and praise; perhaps it will affect you too?

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There are such things as elves
Exciting news featurecosta-rica-national-parks-rio-celeste-waterfall-1024x652

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Poem – For a friend and realisation

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Recipe blog – The Courgette Bake Recipe
By popular demand

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New Viking Heaven uncovered
shipBig news! (and I’ve discovered three more since.)

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Gudvangen Opening 2015
A very proud moment in my life.opening 2015
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Be Our Statesmen
A plea for a peaceful Politian

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Pancreatic Blog – a travelogue reblog
Quite comical if you like to read about me panicking.

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Memory of Otternesimage
A truly wonderful experience

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A Glimpse (poetry)

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Reaching out to my own heart in art and poem

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Introducing Farmer (Adrian) Giles
I think this might be my fave.image
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Will Not Do (The World)
You have been warned; I plan to move out
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Sparkling Words: A call for artists, a call for artistes and for Vikings plus recipe tips what more could you want? Oh yes, and free books.

me ot
No no no this is my favourite!
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And it was dance
An inspiring memory (actually I was listened to at The Cavern as a result)

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So I Can Read Minds

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All about my secret powers!!!!!

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The Dress
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Thought it was time I added a short story for a change.
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Squash in a Recipe Adrian, Add a Dash of Mystery, then Feed Vikingsharl side label
Yes it is a mystery.
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Salt Rant

Perhaps this counts as part of my recipe series, perhaps.

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chloe back
This is not a Blog – it is a practice – and a call for artists too
Gosh this one is exciting and it is my most recent blog. Oh no. This is my most recent blog.

New Viking Heaven uncovered

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New Viking Heaven uncovered

Yes there is another place to go when you die. It is real. It was believed in. It has come from my imagination. Shall we say; it has been posited so therefore it was so.

I do a story, ten places to go when you die, in fact contributions from onlookers has increased the number. I think we came up with fourteen at one course session (over a beer). There is another one. I may be the first to document this, or make it up if you prefer. Logic has it though.

Let us call this Viking heaven The Hunting Lands. A believed in land or island across a great sea. Here there were mountains, rivers, lakes, forests, dwellings and loved ones.

How do I know this when it has never been mentioned by anyone before? There is evidence. There is proof. The boat burials make it so.

You are put in a boat so you can rise up and sail to somewhere. The contents of the boat show what you are expecting to find when you get there.

jewels

You are all dressed up in your finest with your wealth adorning you; so there will be people to meet you. They most likely will be your family and loved ones. There will definitely be friendly people awaiting your arrival because you are carrying gifts of fine quality. There may be others who are not so friendly because you are wearing your armour and weaponry.

If you are well respected for your skills you will have your tools and equipment with you so you can continue crafting for the others who are there.

Longboat Gudvangen

You will be in a dwelling and trading and visiting others, you will be living. You are going to need your servants to look after you and there they are rising up out of the boat alongside you. You may need your warriors so their essence has been brought along within these servants; presumably to rise up alongside you. We do after all, in the Viking belief system, have multifaceted souls, some of which stays in those left behind, some of which goes back to the animal it was from, and some is you up there in the afterlife (or down).

What will it be like upon this coast? There are wild lands and waters. You have your sledge, your boats and your hunting dogs. You will be sitting upon your horse and racing after wild and dangerous creatures with your hounds running along. You will travel far in snow and rain and through deep forests. You will camp and sail and ski.

Evening Trail

The Hunting Lands are where the boats were built for. They were equipped to go there. The souls were believed in and expected to rise up.

The Hunting Lands.

My full blog selection

Now try my Haunted House blog

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