Thursday, September 17, 2009


Since I've been back from Whitby I've had emails from my granddaughter Matilda, and hopefully we will begin a dialogue that will continue. One of the things that was important going up North was to introduce my new partner to the family, well everything went well, Matilda got to be given a little special treatment, and my partner got to see the rather marvellous interaction of my four grandchildren. Surprisingly his favourite impression was when we all walked up to Whitby Museum, when little Lillie asserted her right to be 'first' and raced down the steep path on her short legs and the others all kept behind her. When we were in the museum, there was a quiz paper to fill in, two teams, Tom and Ben, me and Matilda, Lillie and her mum (she also had a pretend quiz paper), the boys won just about, though there was a certain cheating as we followed each other from display case to display case.
Captain Cooke set off from Whitby, and we had to find him in a fight with a polar bear which took ages, the commonest gull was easy but the 'hand of glory' was difficult. This grotesque, I think wax lifelike hand lay in its case, from what I gathered it was used by burglars, when they went into a house, they burnt it to frighten the occupants away? I never quite got the hang of the story.
Museums are strange place, cases full of long dead stuffed birds, boringly old fashioned ships galore, the local artist's gallery, someone called Weatherhill in the 19th century, old clothes, doll houses and dolls, this museum trip was voted for by Matilda, who is a great doll fan.
Funnily enough when we got back home, we had to go to the storehouse of the museum there to look at a large print (I went along for the ride). It was quite a large place out in the countryside, with great racks of print and paintings that are not on show, but as we wandered around the store, there was rocking horses, old 19th century clothes, carefully wrapped in plastic, a coarse cream smock hung up, beautifully stitched and lots of uniforms for the military side of the museum.
One of the things that brought some memories backs were the books I used to buy the children; today at the Oxfam shop I saw the Steven King my son read at one stage, James Patterson is Tom's favourite. But seeing Lillie I was reminded of Shirley Hughes 'Lucy and Tom', so they have been added to my wish list on Amazon. Also The Whitby Witches by Jarvis and the mice tales by the same author.
Managed to buy a couple of books at Oxfam, but the Stone Circles of the Peak by John Barnatt at £20 was too much, so I ended up with a book by John and Caitlin Matthews an Encyclopedia of Myths plus another druid book. And, feeling deprived of books, also ordered Christopher Tilley The Materiality of Stone, and with another book being sent by a friend Ritual and Religion by Tilley should have some reading material for a while.

1 comment:

  1. The hand of glory was basically magic. The hand of a gibbetted criminal was stolen, made into a candle somehow, and the idea was that the inhabitants of the house would fall into a deep sleep as soon as the candle/fingers were lit, leaving the burglars with plenty of time to loot the house!

    I enjoyed The Whitby Witches when I read it (a bit of a sad ending, though, I seem to remember). I did think that the old lady was based very firmly on Margaret Rutherford!