Grymm Tooms Travelling Museum
Priory House, Dunstable - 18 July 2009



The wrong post code – Quack! – Bodger – a label lost & found – Tabulae & the Mayor – nondescripts & coprolites – a lady trepanned – stereoscopes & raptors – Exit Dunstable.

Saturday: When you take into consideration the number of times that we have travelled through Dunstable you would think that we would know where we were going…however we relied on Sybil the Sat Nav to take us to the Priory and the result was that we ended up in a quiet little close at the wrong post code. Thankfully we were only 15 minutes away from our destination and the natives were still asleep so managed to get away before we got the torches and pitchforks treatment.

We arrived at the Priory about 08:15 and found that after years convincing people that we are a museum we had been listed as Quack Doctor and Explorer – someone had not read our front page! Ho hum! We set up on the high ground amongst the trees in the hope that this would give us some cover from the gusting wind.

The organisers wanted all three tents up so up they went and once set up we chatted with Bodger who told me that he collected antlers and donated a rather fine piece of amber with insect inclusions to the museum.

Every now and then the wind picked up strength and we decided to do a quick check each time just in case any item ended up at the fence a couple of hundred feet away. On one occasion I noticed that a label had disappeared, it could have gone anywhere but, using my tracking skills I spotted it, way off, sneaking into the long grass and returned it to duty.

We met Karen and Tony of Tabulae and had a nice chat with them despite some rather odd metrological observations…and then the Mayor of Dunstable turned up and we chatted with her about platypuses and other curios. We also had lots of photos taken…I often wonder where those pictures end up…

We had some fantastic visitors; a couple of young lads asked lots of questions, although one of them snuck behind his mum when I asked him if he knew how shrunken heads were made. His brother inquired about the nondescript’s green eyes then I noticed that this boy’s eyes were almost the same colour!

One girl was obviously overwhelmed by the curios as there were lots of “Oh my word!” as I named the items she pointed to. When she told me that part of her school project was on dinosaurs I spent a bit more time going through the specimens…she was holding the coprolite for about five minutes when I told her what it was! Another boy asked me how it had become iron and, for possibly the first time, I talked about the fossilisation of poo!

Tooms told me that he met a lady who had been trepanned many years ago; she had gone for an eye test and ended up with two holes in the back of her head to relieve blood clots. We certainly meet a lot of interesting people at these shows.

It was soon time to pack up; as I started getting my stuff into the box we were still getting visitors amongst them was a photographer who having seen our collection of stereoscopic slides went home and brought some of his collection to show us. Some of these were on glass and looked truly amazing compared to the card ones. I also got to talk to a young Korean couple who had taken part in a falconry display; she flew a golden eagle and he flew a goshawk.

Around us the day’s encampment dwindled rapidly and then…we too were also gone…well, that went well.

This is Prof. Grymm doing interesting things with bugs in amber