The Smallest Museum

The Smallest Museum

I spotted this tiny museum in a converted phone box just up the lane from my mother’s house in Scarborough, North Yorkshire and made a little film of it for her (I’ve tagged a bit of footage of her garden on the bottom too).

And a snippet of Mum’s garden

 

Dream Village of the Viking Lore

Dream Village of the Viking Lore

I never imagined the darkness of this wooden house when I first dreamed myself here; in this night now of being here I never expected such a dread as there is – frozen to the edge of a bench bed. No sleep. No waking. No listening. I know the sounds are there and I know which beings reside in my mind.

It is morning. I am spinning from the bed and bouncing towards the new light. Hrimfaxi’s dew wetting my feet as I drop clothes down to the waist and drench myself in the mountain’s waters. They well back up naturally from this man-drilled hole. Dark depths echo in the torrent I bathe with. I am awake in this ancient life force like I never have been in wakefulness. Beings sent me these feelings and I am braver in a day.

I shall leave the embrace of being a Viking in the Viking hut in this Viking market in this Viking village in this Viking history. Leave the sense of becoming for a while and go dress up as a person. Adrian is going fishing, a strange mix I have planned of this dream in this moment. Not being a fisher before I have planned yes, for in the store back in the real Scarborough was a telescopic rod and reel which would fit in a suitcase easily; the collection of additions life-collected by my brother-in-law who has neither never fished either are with me in this adventure too. With thanks to him I pick up my knapsack.

I have walked this riverside path of the steep-walled fjord before in a realer reality and in this there was more light then than in imagined semi-anxious realities of now. Then I had walked high from the surface along cliff edges and looked down. There was a ripple in a circle as if a fish had jumped, this was a powerful ring however, it had a white water wave as a wall, ever growing across the waters, until the whole circular wave was as wide as the wide river itself. There was something large down there. There was somewhere very deep where something lived and breathed. There was a very real creature in here.

I headed there now, if one looks back at this point they see along the line of the slender river with its clearer shallower waters that feeds these deeps that there in this world and not so is the serpent being. It drifts in and out and weaves in and among and looks at me from its slow journey down wall-side way and knows I recall its visitation to my mind. When a winged serpent speaks inside your brain you recall well its words that I would be safe, safe within my very real fear; well-deserved fear would serve me well but I should not yield to it for I would return from my adventures with success in my heart. “Go young soul,” the wyrm bellows, “Go hunting deep.”

So it was that modern man me journeyed some way from sight of dwellings, away for sounds of morning, away from this dreamed up reality of Viking worlds and before anything of man could sail its large journey up these fjord waters I had them all to myself – and it was fearful.

Others have clambered down this narrow rocky cutting to be closer to the waters and others had seen the depths. I was in timelessness and sat upon a rock.

I decided to dredge-fish, this was a term I probably had dreamt up, but I wanted something big. I telescoped out my compact fishing rod for the first time and the line spun up along its length as it stretched and hung there ready. I drew out quite a length and fixed a sizable lead weight to the line. Then at the very end I tied a lure; a large plum creature of rubber with its curled barbed teeth of hooks – sizeable indeed. I was after something large. Something fat. For I had myself to feed and I had people to greet and welcome. For serpent whispers had foretold that I would return.

I held on to this prediction for the fears of my imagination were welling up from before time and threatening to become real for me.

I cast. There was a dull thrum as if Nidhogg’s entourage were driving the air with their wings. Ploop. The line was far from me and it drilled down. When I felt that it was at mid-depth I started to steadily wind. The strong weight held the line at this depth and the lure was moving.

There was movement, there was impeding darkness, it was a gloom of age and ancientness not of anything of difference between day or night. This was a thickening of the air a density of existence and I was engulfed.

Substantial silhouettes were forming in the drowning flow and things were coming up towards me. I felt a presence behind me. Huge stretched high-eared shapes were mixing around each other and lankily looking down towards me in awareness. Live stone was thumping the path and filling all senses. They were right behind me. The water broke.

Mantatee creatures were milling in the water, filling all space. In my mind they were climbing and changing as they rose out. Bellowing painfully to the ears and opening toothed maws these Draugen-beings were filling my awareness. The stone things pressed from behind. There was one short moment of life left to me in which both sides considered their actions and their reactions to each other when snap the rod twitched suddenly and dove downwards. Another reality of dream was with us; the catching of the fat thing from the depths.

I was alone in my battle, and battle it was, I feared I may lose the rod, or the fish at least.

I had to let it swim, let the reel spin. I slowed it, held it, reeled it, let it spin. I slowed it, held it, reeled it, let it spin. As I tired I felt the beast did.

Oh how the air burst as it was filled with fish. The thoughts of the presence of other beings was dispelled and I was along in a battle of death.

It was round and tall and fat and golden green in a pale sheen. Even its exhausted flips in the air were almost enough to pull me from the rock. I flipped back and it shot over the rocks to land in a hollow a mere rock away from the waters. Thrashing it was. With line still attached I dripped my rod to the bank and hurriedly put on my strong thick gloves.

I grasp its gill. My Njardar knife is in my hand and I stab downwards, the neck is pieced, I twist down and sever the head.

As I got the thing I consider using these remains for deeper fishing bait to catch an eel to later jelly. I decide this is for another journey.

Partway back along the ledge I think to stop and hide the thing. I return in Viking garb and travel back to the village with it hanging over my shoulder.

There is a crowd round as I fillet. Half is hung over the fire to smoke and the other two fillets are in a pan to cook.

Will there be more I am asked from the crowd. I tell them, as I also tell you, that yes. The bees crowd around my head and whisper darkly that I must share with you all again and tell you of bees and beings and life in the dream of being a Viking in a Viking hut in a Viking village.

For it will come to pass.

Viking Dream life II and Viking dream Life III

Storytelling is…

Viking Gods and Goddesses

 

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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

 

 

Quay Street, Scarborough

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Quay Street, Scarborough

It is quaint is Quay Street, let us hope I do it justice. I write this for a neighbour. For a short while back there she thought she had lost her family in that terrible night at Manchester Arena.

So for all those who did lose loved ones and for all of us who suffered through that disgusting tragedy this is a tribute, a sense of belonging, in the way of praise of; the street where you live. – For us, here, that is the historic easy-going Quay Street in Scarborough.

The narrow lane of fishing boats and fisher people has widened along most of its length yet it starts and finishes as a cosy cobbled alley. Quay Street (Pronounced ‘key’). press old pic.jpg

Cobbled its full length still, set just a little back from the ‘Cobles’ in the bay.

harbour whale
That time a whale visited

We are the bottom-enders. There is a large grass bank behind us built up of the rows of fisher people’s houses; stacked rows of tightly placed dwellings all rubble now. Rubble.bank

Above the grass banks of long gone kitchens and bake houses is the most prominent feature of the town: The Castle.castle

Down below Scar’s Burg our row survives. The Bottom-enders.

I have stayed here on and off for many years with my parents; now, I live here, with Mum while I recuperate – stitch-knitting time.sunhouse.jpg

Fishermen from the street told us when Mum and Dad first got the place of living here man and boy, as did their father before them and his father before that.

A house just a little further down from us still has its bake house out the back, (a few of them do). The lady there, three doors up from me, passed away recently and the moving eulogy to the packed church just up Dog and Duck Steps for here, a step beyond Paradise, spoke of her skills; smoking, baking and sousing the herring, roping the mussel, and dressing the crab; she could dress a crab in less than fifteen seconds.

I chat across the wall to our neighbour, but she has another friend. neighbours garden.jpgHer back garden is in two levels; two walled terraces. Her new friend lives on the roof and spends his time on the top terrace – He is in love with her. He has built a nest and comes down to the upper patio to tap on the glass of the French windows with his beak to attract his love. He knocks very loudly. As loud as a large fisherman knocking.seagul

She says it is not her he is knocking for. She says he is knocking for the love of his own reflection.

But you know what they say about albatrosses, perhaps it is true about seagulls too.

Her late husband was a Skipper, I am sure he has worked widely in the sea trade throughout a life of Scarborough, it is as a Skipper that I remember him. Skipper of the ocean-going pleasure cruiser the Caronia, or at other times the Regal Lady. Many a cruise with glass in hand and majestic creatures just off the bow I remember. Many remember and the fiddle plays in our souls as we think back.

There they await you among the 300 plus boats betwixt the three piers of no peer; Scarborough harbour. They have been called on from here before at times of great need as you will hear in the accompanying blog linked to below.

I awake early, it may be the sea birds, it may be the operation scars re-knitting, it maybe is the boot segs, ready to grip the sea boards, clattering the cobbles still.

I hear them I swear. For the street is narrow and the bottom-enders are an endless march along here all through time.

“My father before me, man and boy as I was, as his father before him: Fishermen.”

Yes they were, but something doesn’t quite ring true. After living here a couple of years my dad suddenly realised what was wrong with this claim. The hosues weren’t old enough; they were about 70 years old and the chap living in the one to our right was in his eighties man and boy.

Turns out, the fisher families have always lived here just not in the same building. When the old timey Quay Street was demolished, along with all the lines of houses along the bank above, this road was widened.quay photo 01.jpg All this side now housed luxurious semis and lots of the fishermen moved back in, back into a new house, back in to the very same spot man and boy man and boy.

The old street is still there, winding through the centre of the wider road; there are the cobbles.cobbles.jpg

One can well imagine this narrow street filling as rowing boats are lifted off the bake-house roof and carried through the narrow passage and out onto the street towards the sea.carry boats 01.jpg

When I first came here I was surprised to discover that my neighbour at the other side of Dog and Duck Steps was the great uncle of a good friend in York; well-known singer/songwriter Dan Webster.dan He sings of his relatives: of his grandfather, “I have always loved the sea, but fishing not fighting was for me.”dan in boat.jpg And of his great grandfather who bravely lost his life; Frank Dalton.

There are rumours among locals around the tea stall that when the seas are real rough and the life boat call comes some rotaed crew are hard to find; rumours. The older seasoned seamen are there and ready.

So it was with two who were in their late fifties and early sixties; Jenkinson Mainprize and Frank Dalton.

Thomas Jenkinson Mainprize was best known as Denk and was a relative of the Mainprizes who run a wet fish shop in Scarborough today.

He and Frank were the brave ones who went aboard.lifeboat It was the Dutch coaster Westkust. The skipper had delayed accepting assistance and had survived eight hours in heavy swell before requesting assistance.

All of the crew were aided by our two heroes who lowered them all one by one down to the life boat deck.

Then Denk and Frank. They swung over the side. The Westkust rose up. Denk made the leap and was down safe. Before Frank could join him a huge wave parted the craft and he was left high up hanging from the Westkust.frank hangs.jpg The coaster dropped, the life boat was pushed up and in, they met in a sickening crunch. The Westkust again lifted and Frank fell, to lay dying on the deck of the life boat.

At his funeral, well, just after his funeral, the Second Mate of the Westkust stepped alone from the crowd to stand at the grave.

He took off his cap and he knelt, “Frank Dalton, as soon as I saw your smiling face climbing over the side of the Westkust I knew we would be saved. Frank Dalton thank you.”grave.jpg

All the more reason for fellow fishermen the next day to have a Cobler’s  Monday.coble cropped.jpg That is when there has been a hard time of it and just a weekend is not enough time to ‘recover’. So the crew of the coble agree between them they will all claim a sickie and spend the day ‘recovering’ together; most likely in the Golden Ball or the Newcastle Packet.mutiny back

Scarborough is known: for these few old buildings here on Quay Street, for its two bays with its harbour between and of course being looked over by both Olivers Mount and the Castle.

It is the natural spring near the end of the south bay which brought people here; 3000 years ago this way a sacred spring was visited and adorned. It was much later that these waters caused an expansion of grand buildings. We came here to take the air, (we still do, just watch the walkers up and down), and we came to take the waters too. Spa town.

The Spa was built and people came in their droves to go down the steps to draw the magical waters.

Trains helped. Workers starting to get actual holidays also brought more trains and very busy patches.

There was another fame, a fish, a big fish which brought the rich. A tough fish: the tunny. Strongest fish in the sea so they say: the North Atlantic Tuna.

Not that there are many now; the mackerel and the herring runs diminished massively in the 30’s through to the 50’s as more intensive fishing techniques developed unchecked (before my 17 year old niece became the fear of the unwise and the inspector of nets).

Interest in the tunny was intense, but on a much smaller scale – Which is strange for such a very big fish.

They say now they are returning and are up to 500lb but the records say far bigger.

Very rich pickings indeed, for the very rich. They came in their droves, filling the best hotels, finding fame and indeed further fortunes.

One poorer catcher of a tunny got rich by charging for photos with it.tunny weigh

Fame came with the danger, small boats, small crews and fishermen in ones or twos. Some fought for hours, only to lose the line and the monster in a sudden snap. Some might be relieved at such a result as the boats were hardly large enough for the big big strong strong fish.

The record holder wasn’t a rich visitor, well he was a Lincolnshire farmer, so he probably was reasonably wealthy. Lewis wasn’t a fisherman, he was taking a break after being discharged from the RAF and was talked into having a go.

Some say he doesn’t hold the record. He caught a fish a full pound heavier at 852lb than the previous largest but someone complained later that the rope was extremely wet. What a wet fish! What a slime! I say, “Pah!” I won’t have it, I hereby award the record to Lincolnshire farmer Jack Hadley Lewis for his amazing 852lb tunny.

Go see the impressive statue on the Northern pier.

You might try finding the entrance to the Three Mariners Inn while you are on your way from Quay Street.3 ms

The RAF are responsible for one eyesore on Quay street between two of the three beamed buildings in the street;mutiny pic.jpg an ugly flat-rooved intrusion between the Mutiny (formerly the Lancaster) and the Three Mariners Inn. Them bombers they had disposable petrol tanks, like bombs attached to the wings. When they were empty into the sea they went. They weren’t at sea on this occasion, they were above a beautiful old building – gone now.bomb

I think the horrid flat building should be covered by a commemorative mural.

The devil brought his revolution here. His Brigg at Filey pierced a ship or two. Perhaps it stabbed at John Paul Jones. The American revolution came to this coast and his sword was left here.battle So the legend goes. It is said that he ‘safe harboured’ at the Three Mariners Inn across from me. I’ve seen the sword, that missing sword. It was said to be his and I saw it when the oldest complete building in the area (circa 1430) was a museum.

What a cranky museum it was, everything was everywhere, stuff heaped up, jewellery, toys, weapons, clothes – piled on every surface.

Rummage away visitor, ride the toy vehicle children, steal away visitors. Well some did. The sword somehow went one day, that was the last straw for them and the museum is no more.

You might want to buy the house though.

Sit on the bed, look in the mirror. Well, that’s what my young daughter did. Incidentally there is a long running (now suddenly exacerbated) family argument about which daughter it was.

As we left she said, “I didn’t like the man in the woman’s hat.” I asked where this was. “When I was sat on the bed.”

I was in the room, in fact I lifted my little girl up onto that bed. There was no one else there. So I told her I had seen no one. She looked up at me and with a serious face said, “Oh, you could only see him when you looked in the mirror.”mirror man.jpg

You might want to buy the house though.

I wonder if Dr Strange would? My mum has a claim to fame and I utilise it whenever I do publicity for my story-walks over in my home city: son of York’s first ghost-walker. It is true.

So it is a shame for her that after a lifetime of telling ghost stories, now in her retirement, she has to listen to loud ghost stories outside her window. Yes, Dr Strange of Scareborough Ghost Tour stops right outside to tell his screamer tale (which mum tells me is quite tall).

mums garden.jpg

There is another fame to be experienced in this street, and I don’t mean just international blogger Adrian Spendlow (me), There is a great fame in Quay street, wait for it; Quay street is the home of the most famous vehicle on Scarborough.

The Carawagon.cara 01

A truck and a caravan welded and melded into one stupendous vehicle.carawagon.jpg The ornate homely transport is to be home to some of my stories – the side opens to provide a raised patio stage; my stage.cara 02

We will be appearing at various venues with Travelling Tales.

As Anne said, and you may still hear her voice if you visit her grave just above our house, “But he, that dares not grasp the thorn. Should never crave the rose.”

Anne Bronte

 

From Scarborough with love

Ales and Tales stories from York pubs

Mum’s book

Cliffords Tower, York

The Music of Dan Websterdan tin

Quay street’s famous Carawagon

cara 02

Pictures of the Past

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bunty pic

More on this below but you may have seen this hamper before, it featured in my (highly entertaining) Christmas blog. I have opened it since. The results are shocking.

We shall also be roaming through Ireland, Finland, Norway and a few other spots via intriguing pictures of the past.

Here first though is me!!!!

farm step

Yes this is quite a while back. The inscription on the back states; Adrian on the front steps of Farberry Garth Farm near Warter Priory where Nana and Pop lived.

Yes we lived in Warter.

coracleSo did these guys by the looks of things.

The coracle, this old picture from the west of Ireland shows how portable these boats were, although the old text says they were used for fishing in rapid-running rivers, I think perhaps they would be put to much better use in stable waters. It also says that ‘Caesar’ adapted them for his Iberian campaign. They are much older than that, , well into pre-history I would say. These pictured where said to be made of split birch and canvas, I am sure over all leather would have been the most used surface.

The photos here (with the exception of the Bunty pic) were taken between 1890 and 1935. There were no credits with them and some are rather grainy, I felt they would be of interest to reenactors, costume makers, historians etc.

Of interest to folklorists too. This one intrigued me. We are still in Ireland. With some sort of rebel gang, which is now largely forgotten: The Straw Boys…straw boysYes the straw hats were a disguise as well as making them look terrifying, what scares me most is that they would dress in women’s clothing.

I am reminded of the Cat People, much feared in Celtic lands, but not now recalled who – or indeed what, they were.

Now this one, clearly, isn’t from way back then, as I have just painted it…

ice cities -01colouredIn fact it is a blatant attempt to get you to read more of my blogs by clicking the link through to my Viking Comics Inc. Graphic Novel written with older school children – Oski and the Amulet.

(Do come back here though! The best is yet to come.)

We are off to the Pyrenees Mountains now, for a folk dance.folk dance The rather disparaging text says, that as well as a flute and a violin, the piping chap also played a primitive form of wire piano struck with a piece of metal. Hang on! He is playing both at once. The ‘flute’ is some sort of one-hand pipe and the wired thing looks like a wonderful old traditional instrument. I want to know more! I want to hear theses guys (and I want to hear whoever sang with them!).

We are off to old Esthonia now.esthonian croppedWonderful old costumes. I wonder how much of this is recollected and still worn today in the form it is here from over a hundred years ago.

We are looking here at style of dress from the Petseri district; Unique costumes were popular on the many islands around the coast too.

Come to think, I want to know more about such people’s lifestyles and interests.

The stories…

Now this feller told stories…tellerNebulous shapes of a bygone age weave and drift from the telling of this Guernsey teller, who went so far back that all of it was true. All of it was believed in the moment of telling, for there are things to the world which are other than we know. If only we knew now; perhaps if we go to Guernsey there will be someone there who remembers him, and remembers his tales.

Mayhap he knows of the elves.

His companion has clearly shifted all that straw in the huge bale behind her. I note she has a hay bailer rather than a pitch fork, if my memories of the days I would sit on that step and watch the Wolds farm workers are correct. For it has two prongs not three.old-pitchfork-isolated-over-white-25223928

I am transported now to Russia. I am planning to do a blog on strange and quaint sayings and proverbs from around the world, and my favourite is perhaps the Russian one I read:

‘Beware of pitchforks, for they make three holes’ – Discuss.

(Do please send me ones you know.)

He doesn’t have string round his trouser legs though like Awd Mr Bott.

Off we go now to the Sheep Islands, better known perhaps as the Faroe Isles. It says in the blurb from over a hundred years ago; ‘belonging to Denmark’, is that still the case?fearoe coupleDescribed back then as an optimistic people, I hope they are all feeling as jolly now. I particularly like the feller’s hat – can you still get them?

(The shoe fastening style is of interest too.)

Is it time for a break from the black and white?

Yes!dads car croppedThere’s mum all dressed up ready for another adventure. There is the car! They got stopped everywhere they went – by curious coppers.

For those of you who are into the details of such a thing, it is a Mini sub-frame with a boxed steel outer frame welded on and a single wheel axle at the back. They went everywhere in it.

Oh yes and plywood.

Back to black and white. A totally different place to the Faroes, but just as flat – Holland.hollandAnd yes there are flowers on the whip. It was their wedding day you see.

Northern Holland we are in (perhaps that is a bit steeper). What you do is, you drive around all the local villages with your engarlanded whips and throw out sweetmeats (as we used to call goodies) (as we used to call chows) (as we used to call sweets)… As you might call candy. Phew, we got there in the end.

When we arrived at the end of the Forth Bridge (they still haven’t built the fifth one) Dad still had all the takings from the raffle he had ran the night before. As best man at a wedding he was informed of a similar tradition to above. This was the sixties, so I am not sure if it still goes on. He was told they had been collecting coppers (great big pennies and ha’pennies) and gave him a bag full. He was instructed that as they drove around the villages he had to throw a few out whenever he saw children congregated. So he thought, ‘Well, I’ve sent a cheque (‘check’ in the US, if you still use them), so I might as well add in all this silver’; tanners, bobs, two bob bits and perhaps a two & a sprat or two. IE quite a lot of money.

Gosh what an uproar there was. Never forgotten. They still discuss the generosity of Yorkshiremen up there.

(Between the third and fourth bridges somewhere I think.)

(One of my little geographical jokes there did you see?)

Moving on…

They have even stranger customs in Finland…finsAnd I have no more to say about that.

This isn’t an island…speech blob 001

But Stromo is (please add your own two little dots to the top of the last letter O).stromo girlsAnd these are the Stromo girls.

Apparently Faroe was one big island till Norway went and dropped a bit of it’s coast by mistake. See Geographical joke no. 1.

After that Thorshavn was the central island of 21, 17 of which were inhabited just over a hundred years ago, (Is that still about right for nowadays?).

These girls where described as speaking a dialect version of the Norse (Is that still the case?)

I like the different headress thingies.

Now.

It is Bunty time.

I used to steal my sisters Bunty comic as soon as she put it down. mainly because of the cut out dolls – free in every issue.

cut out(Note the little tags – that’s what it was all about.)

But shock horror…

Well, shock horror 01

I opened the hamper.bunty pic

I opened the comic. There wasn’t a cut-out dressing up section!

I recovered.

I read the comic.

Shock horror 02.

I read it.

Well, I only read the front. It was enough.

bunty  coverHow horrendous! How funny it was back in ’84. Oh Bunty chats so. In she comes to the lesson on first aid. Oh how she chats. Nobody can learn a thing. Then Teacher has a great idea. Bandages wrap like this, she ties Bunty’s arms and legs to the chair. Band Aid sticks like this; she clamps shut Bunty’s mouth. Oh how they all laugh. Learning first aid and gagging and tying up the over chatty Bunty all in one lesson., Ho ho. Ha ha. Ho oh my god, have we changed that much! Its only thirty years ago.

Let’s run away to Sweden.sweden girlsThese happy Leksand girls were described as well-built and prepossesing. It is a shame we cannot see the multi-coloured nature of their aprons. I also think their hats are really cool.

This one said they were disappearing.lappsThe Lapps that is. I don’t think they did disappear, but perhaps the tents did. It is described as a Kota and I want one.

There are plenty more to come in the future, but for now, here is the last picture of this edition. I like this one.norway window croppedIt says that the Hardanger people are staunch advocates of the femine orthodox garb. It also decribes them as modern Norwegians. There is a suggestion that this is a farm house; although it is noted that the old log cabin farms are few and far between as they are being replaced by farm houses built of brick and stone – I haven’t seen too many of those either.

More from me soon. I am always glad to receive input.

adrianspendlow@gmail.com

I thought the next edition of this series might focus on the Americas and Australia.

But my next blog will probably be favourite quotes, so do please send some…