Bits

I am fed up that everything I tile is collected by auto-chicken.

I realise now that my mistake was probably that I tried to type auto-check instead of auto-collect.

But it has been collected.

There is obviously a fault. At least with the auto-correct but possibly worse than that. So while we are stuck here I might as well carry on.

There’s the joke of the year from Edinburgh Fringe by Ken Cheng,  “I’m not a fan of the new pound coin, but then again, I hate all change.”

Well, things were different before the changes.

A previous year Tim Vine won with “I sold my vacuum cleaner, well it was just gathering dust.”

My son in law Spee tells me that Norwegian ships have a bar code on the side so they can Scandinavian.

On to my new look with the curls.

Now that it has grown back the way it has I don’t remember what my hair was like before I had radiotherapy, but I am sure it didn’t make mature women giggle like girls.

One Direction, they went their separate ways.

Away from humour and on to poetry with this corker from Ralph Bear (thank you ever so)

For Adrian

Me pen and paper

Me sword in hand

Me march off to unknown lands

Me get me got

Godspeed I trot

Me pen and paper

Me sword in hand

                        Ralph Bear

Here’s my big lad who has hit the big time…

This popped up again recently, created by Olivia Jayne Newton. As a promotion for the first ever stage production I’ve been in.

And my dream:

I dreamed that in the olden days what people who had excess limbs did is they joned the navy. Navy surgeons are renowned for cutting off limbs so sooner or later it is bound to happen. Neville had three legs so he joined up and a couple of years later there was an incident and sure enough the surgeon sawed one of his legs off. So he was able to come home with two.

When Mervin, (who had five arms) saw him returning looking so well balanced he too decided to go away to the navy. Eight years he was there, then sure enough there was an incident and they sawed off one of his arms. Trouble was, they sawed off the right arm, which was the only one he had at that side and left the other four he had on the left side as they were.

There is a moral to this story, or at least there was a moral to it in the dream.

NASA announced lately that they had discovered a planet that could harbour life, but it couldn’t be guarenteed that there was intelligent life there; of course there is, who do they think built the harbour.

I blogged a collection of poetry recently.

On the 27th of October I shall be performing in Scarborough Art Gallery Hobb the Night Guard and the amazement of museums. Here is Hobb’s recent stories for the Fossil Festival.

Viking Comic Inc rereleases include Oski and the Amulet, The Hammer Flies and the Greek myth of Zeus and Typhon.

There’s my travelogue of Denmark.

Turning Points in Life’s Journey.

My multi-national performances in Gudvangen, Norway; Viking Sagas in a Nutshell.

An dof course my very popular Cancer Care Capers.

For any of you who haven’t heard, I was given the all clear last week.

Feedback on my Discworld Blog;

“And, oh my! what a joy to receive your narrative on and your utterly delightful drawings of the most marvellous place to be in in the entire Multiverse.  (Tho’ I can’t help thinking your portrait of C.M.O.T. Dibbler is just a little too flattering; “unsavoury”, after all, is not just a word that applies literally to his wares, it also applies metaphorically to his person.)” Julie Speedie

Discworld blog

And here is the last magazine type blog I did…

Do buy the guy

guy-link-board

 

 

 

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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

Just call me Pied

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Just call me Piedpied-02

I know that secretly I am Adrian Spendlow the storyteller, but for the sake of this blog, and for the amazing Rollercoastival, I am Pied, yes call me Pied.pied 1.JPG I am the Pied Piper but you can call me Pied.

I was too, many coloured i.e. pied and to be honest Piper is somewhat of an honorary title. Yes when I piped children agreed that they would follow me but the truth is that is because I made a very rude noise.me pipe 02.jpg

My piping aside; what a great time we had. I was thrilled to have such good crowds of families.ellie-pink-ears-wide When you think that Coastival has around a hundred events going on, many of which are part of Rollercoastival, (the children’s and families’ activities), it was great to have such good sized groups.

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Kate at work

If everyone did as well for numbers there must have been thousands and thousands and thousands attending events.spa cut 001.jpg Well a lot.

And what great groups they were. Everyone was game for fun.beetle-creature

We told stories, we created stories we created the perfect place to live – and it was coast 02.jpgScarborough!

We paraded,

martha-pipe

by Martha

we serenaded from balconies,

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Pippa

we did art, (that’s why I am doing this blog cos of the great artwork),

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Mark (one of the dads)

we made or chose musical instruments.ins 02.jpg

There was a king,me-king

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and he was in a castle.me-castle

You have to have a horrid bit for me the Pied Piper to rescue you all from so you can end up somewhere nice.

We made up some horrid places;rainbow-mountains

all from the imaginations of children.dreams

We were kind and cuddly and that made the moody king grumpy. I will tell you how bad he is, he picks his nose! Starving we were, and we cried out, “We want sweets!” All we got was sprouts, and sprouts, oh and loads more sprouts; badly cooked. Even worse than that, he stamped on our tiddlywinks. We begged and begged for food and all we got were puddings, those really horrid sorts. His wife the queen wanted to go shopping so he stole all our money.me-tower

He even stole our teddy bears. The teddy bears got made alive and turned into monsters (they were rather silly monsters).

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This wolf is by parent called Adrian

“You should be nice!” we cried.

“I don’t like sharing! I shall send my silly monsters after you.”creature pink ears.jpg

We played hide and seek! Then we heard the sweet sound of the pipes and they led us away. The Pied Piper took us all away and we paraded through to Scarborough. It was lovely.

Footnote: the piping of course wasn’t lovely but I didn’t want to spoil the story with wizzpopping noises.

Other children complained of the king forcing them to hoolahoop for his entertainment, bouncing balls for hours and lots of fighting.bouncy-01 Worst of all being told they were funny! Naughty kings tell secrets, trip you up, sing songs about you and like fighting.

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Most horrid of all he made them go to school! Good job we all escaped upon the Skylark

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This was actually about the Sea Goddess Ran but it fits here nicely

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and followed Pied to Scarborough.pied-spa-002pied-spa-001pied-spa-003.jpg

We told stories along the way. There were magical baby horses (‘called foals actually’),

dragon-like serpents,pink snake.jpg

a hero dressed as a bear,man-bear.jpg

a beautiful young woman in a tower,lewis-tower

trolls in caves,

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by Mark’s son age 2

cattle from all over the world for the serpent to eat,snake-tower

shrunken treasure,

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by Delilah

a funny little man in a cave,

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by Ellie

spears, weddings, unicorns,

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by Matilda

mums what help, dads what tell stories,moon-star.jpg

seeing the sea, rainbow bridges,

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by Delilah

wolves,

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Greg was a helper and he lied about his age

wolf me.jpgapple trees,apple tree.jpgapple and worm.jpgme apple 02.jpg

strange but beautiful ladies of the sea – what are they called again? Merrymaids is it????tora.jpg

There were also mystery sharks appearing in Scarborough (True!) and a true love story with a message in a bottle.under-001under 002.jpgunder 003.jpgunder 004.jpgunder 005.jpg

Oh and how the goddess of love she cried, oh how she cried.

We were so glad to get away from the evil king, He had given us all bracelets with eyes in that watched you and he complained that we were whining all the time. He wouldn’t let us go near the glittering golden apples and oh how we longed to wear pink. He said we were never ready on time (which was true actually), called us Contrary Mary’s who never gave him any peace and quiet. He has got peace and quiet now, because he is all alone and we have ran away. We had to run away as he had sent tarantulas to scare us.blob.jpg

I will tell you how bad he was, he wouldn’t let our friends visit and gave us jelly that looked nice but was made with horrid things.

That is why we are happy to be in a magical land called Scarborough.evie h.jpg

A magical land. Ask us what it is like if you like and we will tell you. It is nice. We are happy and we have friends. The whole world is places to play with cushions all over the place so you don’t bang your chin when you fall. Everything is made from Lego except the candy floss trees and the candy floss grass.pink clouds.jpg

There is no school. No wait we missed school, so there is school; you learn how to wrap presents and how to make sweets, cos it is Christmas every day and there are always presents. The rullers at school are gummy bear rulers so we don’t really bother drawing straight lines much.

When you live in a candy castle all the stories have happy endings.

We live in a land where it is fine because you are with your mummies and everyone laughs at everyone’s jokes (even Adrian’s).

Come and live in tree houses with us there is bacon for breakfast and teddies hug you back.

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Mark’s son aged 2 drew this teddy and it is the first time he has done a drawing to look like something

Even pringles are chocolate and chocolate twists grow from chocolate tress. Besides the chocolate fountain is an ever filling bowl of anything you want and a help yourself forever ice cream van.

That is how great it is.stars.jpg

We didn’t want to live in the king’s castle any more as he had stinky feet and made us always be busy. If we didn’t work hard enough he chased us with ninja turtles.

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This is Libby’s beetle not a ninja turtle

They were very naughty and played tricks on us all and called us cheeky monkeys.

No wonder we are happy in magical Scarborough with its candy castle.

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by Kate

Sweetie land has toffee apple trees and it is sunny all the time. It is great to be all families together and we even like the blue sheep. Flying on foxes and magical unicorns are our favourite hobbies and everyone has a bicycle, and a tricycle and a unicycle what they can ride easy.

Peaceful it is and always warm and everyone can swim.

We play pass the parcel and hokey cokey and hopscotch and twister and football too.

Come with us, let the Pied Piper lead the way to where everything is sunny and warm.

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(If i have missed anybodies name off or anything do please let me know)

 

 

 

The Pied Piper of Scarborough needs your help

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The Pied Piper of Scarborough needs your help

Join us on the rollercoaster of children’s events at Scarborough’s Coastival. Come to the Spa, come to Scarborough, come to Yorkshire, come to Britain.

Saturday and Sunday 18th – 19th February.

https://www.facebook.com/coastival/?fref=ts

Join me.pied 02.jpg

Help me. Have you an idea for instrument making, instrument decorating; to help us to parade.ins 03.jpg

Tell us also of what you would want from the perfect place to love. (Typo alert) *to live.

I shall take you away.me pipe 02.jpg We shall decorate our simple instruments. We shall welcome your real instruments. We shall make fun instruments. dreams

We shall tell stories. We shall go on a story walk. There will be a quest. Come with us on the quest for the perfect place to live. What would a perfect place have? Tell us of what is needed to make a home town perfect.coast 02.jpg

Funny. I think we shall find what that place is like – (spoiler alert) – The perfect place shall be…

Yes.

Scarborough.

The Nosegay Blog Too

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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).

If you haven’t read the beginning of the Nosegay Blog it is strongly recommended that you tap this link The Nosegay blog

We will begin our journey, not in Barley Hall at all but in Whitby. abbey

The wonder of Barley Hall transported a family there. A love of oak and craftsmanship in wood in general brought recollections of a few places, one of which is the swing bridge in Whitby. Fine old oak props were being admired when a plaque was noted: someone had bequeathed in their will one oak; this tree being for the repair of the bridge as required.

Mention of Whitby brought us the meeting of a man in Whitby who claimed to be the first person born in the town whose parents were from opposite sides of the river. At one time in this coastal town which is split in two by the river Esk the people of the north side of the river would have nothing to do with the folk of the other side and vice versa. So separate were they that at one point the locals of this split in two town were practically two distinct races. Then a young couple dared to meet upon the bridge, and of course, they fell in love. When this was discovered they were chased out of their meeting place on the south side of the river, were not accepted by the other side and for a while were stuck upon the bridge.

From Whitby we return to our topic of wood craft where we are told of Alfred the Great. He saw a man coming out of the forest and stopped and asked him what he was about. He was a house maker and he saw a part of a house in every tree ‘That’s not a forest to me, it is a town’.

A landscaper who manages an arboretum verified this. She worked her eye across the Barley Hall beams seeing how they had been selected for their shape. Tree which are allowed to seed and grow naturally tend to shape more than the closely planted trees of modern woodland.

When you saw a light ahead of you it was to be sure you were about to be safe, safe in the centre of the great vale, safe within the walls of the great cathedral city itself. For there were risks along the way. If asked, your list of concerns would be a jumble of the real and the mystical; creatures, vagabonds, spirits – all looked upon equally. There were other worlds and one could step through to them, or fall through or possibly be lured. Scarborough Fair sings of the herbs I have here. The older version of the song advised stuffing your pockets or pouches with them as a protection, a way to avoid being lured away. Small wonder that one upon arriving at the great city was willing to step through the hoop.

It is all well and good saying the walls kept you safe but on arriving you would be fore warned of the dangers by the leak! The stream flowing out from the walls was a sewer and a rubbish dump; a hint of the stink and the suffering within.

Rumour would also warn you of the plague-ridden nature of the world within the stone. At the city gate you would be offered an alternative. No, two alternatives. Many believed in the power of the nosegay but for others the way to keep well was to experience the bad smells. You might not want to join then, as every morning, so I am told, they gather by the stream of leakage and take a good deep breath.

The second alternative by the gates is much sweeter, cute almost. There by the King’s Way stands a girl, who for a small fee, offers a cure which is quite entrancing. She holds a large hoop all gaily decorated with garlands. If you were to choose to step through it would be to a better world, an alternative world where there is no plague. A perfect way to keep safe.

Once you are through the gates you might benefit from the guided tour that I have been on; one provided for me in the comfort of Barley Hall parlour. My guides are my visitors who tell me favourite places; one of these being Duttons for Buttons, the top floor is medieval with beautiful beams, others strongly recommend the House of Trembling Madness, up in the bar above the beer shop you are transported back in time. I cannot say which is the better experience, but I do recommend that if you visit you buy something, so from one you may buy a button and from the other a glass of ale – you choose.

Barley Hall is of course by far the favourite, yet a visit to the pearl of York is also a high priority. St Margaret is said by some to be still present in her shrine on Shambles and may well whisper sage advice.

Others tell us of the Castle Museum, one lady who knew a great deal about medieval cookery volunteers there doing demonstrations so she knew a lot of the herbs. Gingerbread was her current activity, although not exactly bread: ginger, rosewater and marzipan – very good for sculpting edible roses.

Looking at the area of medieval gardens brought reports of enormous orders of seeds; twenty pound weight per seed type. When one visited a royal palace a huge travelling retinue was needed, around three hundred. They all needed to be fed and many such groups would visit. There was postulation that the idea that the rich did not eat vegetable was brought into question. If they were growing that many then it seemed logical that they were eating them too. That would be a lot more healthy than a cooked peacock put back in its raw skin!

One of the things they would not be eating at that palace was Morne bread. You could only get that in York, we were famous for it. Kings would return especially for the bread, or write to say they would not come unless there was some on offer. What was this bread? What was the recipe? I think we should bring it back. Let us have a campaign to discover the recipe.

It was not, as described at Barley Hall at one time, a spice bread we are informed. There was a council proclamation that bakers of the city must start baking it again and it had gone into decline since the in-coming of more modern spice breads. So it must have been a plain bread, and presumably the wonder of it was in the baking technique.

That would be nice with your live frog or your elephant’s horn, well maybe not. Both I am informed are cures for pestilence. There is talk of people swallowing frogs in old wives tales, and claims that this is where the expression having a frog in your throat came from. A visitor tells us they were not for eating in medieval times, they were for wearing in a gay (Gay meaning ornament). A live frog in a container on a chain round your neck would keep the plague away, so if you are afeared of turning purple or developing buboes in the lymph you might want to give it a try.

As for the elephant’s trunk, don’t try it. It’s a trick. As you come through the King’s Way there will be an apothecary and they will call you in. They will desperately seek to sell you a cure for the plague; ground elephant’s tusk in honey wine. Don’t drink it. Not because it is bad to eat their tusks. Don’t buy it. It is a fake. This is just mud in beer! That won’t do the trick surely.

Besides drinking beer might qualify you to visit the hound of hell. There he is right above us in the parlour. Up high is the Madonna and child but at the bottom of the lamp is that hound. He is baying for your soul.

The underworld is guarded by a hound of some sorts in a few cultures. In medieval times he was the gateway to hell. Theatre of the time was very often in the round. So round in fact there was hardly room for the audience. As well as a space in the middle to step forward to there was a circle of scenarios. Here was heaven, here a tavern, here an orchestra, here the hound, They were stationed all around looking inwards, so presumably you moved around to look across at the action. There was also the Jongler with his cane; like a baton and he would read from the script and point. When the cane pointed at you it was time to take action; play music or scream in a hellish way.

The screams came from the hound’s mouth. Deep inside were the lost souls and they would scream and wail in an eerie way. There are reports of many demons too. Often known by name. One, who made an appearance and who has been reconstructed as a costume was terrifying indeed. As well as being a demon with the horns and redness etc etc he also had demons all over him, his whole body was angry nasty fierce faces all screaming at you to follow him into the pit of vanities. There you would burn for sure.

All a jolly good show.

(On a lighter note in Nosegay Blog Three there will be a gift of flowering herbs from Uther Pendragon himself, the Lancelot of gardening will also make an appearance, Iranian and Native American history will join with Viking sagas and you will be warned about leaping into bed with your lover…)

a little bit more in this new blog

You may also enjoy New Viking Heaven Discovered

storyteller-4 accusing