Grymm Tooms Travelling Museum
Royal Gunpowder Mills Multi-period Event - 5 & 6 July 2008



Saturday: The weather did not look very promising this weekend, but Saturday was not bad, which meant that quite a few folks must have crammed in that BBQ moment and stayed home to enjoy the scent of charring burgers tainted with a hint of lighter fuel! We were also competing with the tennis.

We shared hut L168 with the Home Front folks, they had some excellent little items including packets of 5 stones, that brought back memories, I loved the feel of those little clay cubes when I was a kid, but that is another story!

This was to be a great unveiling of several new exhibits and a few refurbished old ones: Waterton’s Non-descript had been given a total make over and now looks more like the original created by Waterton and mermaid No2 had been given a face lift – and is still ugly.

New items include a stereoscope, a box Brownie and the long awaited duck billed platypus. I had been searching for a decent substitute fur to make the body, rabbit would have looked just like rabbit and in the end I used some muskrat. Having had some 6 months to work on this I ended up finishing it two days before the event! I also had a new display for tribal weapons, attaching several pieces to a board. This included the repro Fijian war club (Gata type) that I picked up at Detling last year, now stained to look like an original.

While we did not get many people we did get the usual quality of visitors, one young man seemed to have considerable knowledge of almost everything that we had and beyond, he talked about things like the Ica stones which are alleged proof that dinosaurs were chasing people around long before ‘The Lost World’ was penned. One thing of interest that he mentioned was that in some circles the brow ridges on the Neanderthal skull are considered signs that these people had lived to a great age…like hundreds of years. That is all well and good but how does it explain the brow ridges of great apes? I seem to remember reading a book, possibly by Larry Niven, in which the hero is an ape-like being travelling through space and eating a transformational root vegetable…then again I might have dreamt it after too much cheese and biscuits. [Editors note: That would be Protector – by Larry Niven]

One of the lovely things about Gunpowder Mills is that we get to go home and have a hot meal that I don’t have to cook…

We returned on Sunday, the Home Front had had a little party and had donated a couple of items to our collections, some fossil shark’s teeth and a container for an Edison wax cylinder, although somewhat battered by time, this packaging was complete with lining to protect the delicate recording.

The weather today was pretty rubbish and turnout was even lower, I actually took a proper break several times over the weekend and even got to see the rocket exhibition. Many of our visitors were other re-enactors and while I was chatting with one chap in a German uniform, he suddenly asked what has got be the best question of the weekend “So is your platypus male or female?” I proudly picked up my specimen and turned it over to show the poison spurs on the hind feet.

Toward the end of the afternoon we were visit by two family groups whose children were keen and well behaved. Lots of pictures got taken, in fact one of the daughters posed with some of the most unlikely exhibits, including Charlie the Shrunken Head – that must have made his day!

And so our first event of the season came to a close, it had all been a bit slow but it had, as usual been a good show.

Prof Grymm