Grymm Tooms Travelling Museum
Royal Gunpowder Mills Victorian Weekend, 19th 20th June 2010



Saturday 19th: As usual we arrived bright and early, there were quite a few tents up, mostly belonging to the Diehards. Chris from the Heilbron was also there, I got chatting with him about WWI German military in Africa, strangely enough a good source I found for this period is ‘The Young Indiana Jones’ series which has been revamped for DVD along with an extensive collection of documentaries. Some rather odd characters pop up throughout including Frederick Selous and Richard Meinertzhagen, while the former was a renowned hunter and author, the later was quite a different kettle of herrings. Although another author and naturalist it was discovered that many bird skins that he submitted as his own had, in fact, been collected by others. Sadly Meinertzhagen’s underhand dealings were not covered in the series, although in one episode he sees a red breasted hoopoe – even the dastardly Meinertzhagen would have known that there is only one true hoopoe (goes by the delightful name of Upupa epops) – come on Hollywood, buy a field guide!!

We also met Gerry the Rope and Carol; they were as clueless as us about where we were supposed to be. We eventually found out that we were going to be in the café. It must be said that our collection has ended up in some rather odd places but the café was a novel concept. Any ideas of hot cocoa and a captive audience were quickly dashed when we found that the café was in a state of refurbishment and an empty shell. There was loads of room and while we utilised the back and several windows a couple of ladies set up children’s activities and a laundry near the door.

It was a lovely day but football, BBQs and a traffic backlog kept visitors away. Not even the presence of Queen Victoria and John Brown could entice the public into the Mills today. We had a great time with Her Majesty; when she asked me if my exhibits are real I replied that “They are as real as you see them Ma’am” I think she was amused! Knowing that we were in for a Royal visitation I cheekily put out a photo of a slightly younger Prof. Grymm standing next to a Younger Victoria. When she saw this, The Queen remarked that in the photo she appeared to be looking at me in the same way that she used to look at her dear Albert.

As quiet days go, today was…well…really, really quiet. Let’s hope that tomorrow has a bit more in store for us.

Sunday 20th: Hard to believe that it is almost Longest Day and a very pleasant morning it was too. When we arrived Gerry told us that he had seen a badger on both nights, the only live badger I have ever seen was through night vision goggles so I am not really sure that a green blob badger trundling across a field really counts as a sighting.

Graham had joined Chris at the Heilbron outpost; they were actually portraying Boers who had guided the British during the time of the Zulu War. I watched a couple of displays that the Diehards put on during the day and not once did I hear “you were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!”

We had a visit from a group of cubs…or puppies, can’t remember what they actually were, although I did end up with three very attentive members who would have hung around for more info had they not had a schedule to stick to.

Why is it that parents with kids who grab at everything say “he/she always does that” instead of actually stopping them? Well, please stop them – it is not their property they are going to break.

Despite a flow of people there were plenty of empty gaps so during one of these I popped over to see Gerry, there was a visitor there we had not seen for some time; Simon the puppet man. Simon had suffered a stroke last year and his recovery has been remarkable, although his speech is impaired thankfully his mind and sense of humour are not – he was still picking on Gerry! Simon told us that although the words are clear in his head when it comes to speaking he feels as though he is speaking with his mouth full. I reminded him of the time that we were at Cliveden when he was talking to me about Tabulae while a somewhat agitated horse was backing its way toward The Grymm Tooms Picture Co and the completely oblivious Mrs Grymm! Hopefully we will be seeing more of Simon in the future.

This is Prof Grymm…off to tea with Mrs Brown