Grymm Tooms Travelling Museum
Royal Gunpowder Mills Victorian Christmas - 16th December 2007



Dr Tooms and I arrived early at Royal Gunpowder Mills, where we were met by Liz and Brian, who was looking dapper in his Santa hat. Unlike our last visit the weather was fantastic and very cold; lucky for us it was going to be a short day.

It was to be another great day at RGPM for us with the usual array of eager visitors; we have become such regulars now that we often see the same people so it is always nice to have a couple of new things lined up. The trouble with this is that every new thing made needs a home and at some point we are going to run out of room.

My latest acquisition is an Ifugao bulul; this dark, squatting figure is a rice guardian deity from the Philippines. I found it in a charity shop in North London, sitting there, looking at the world waiting for Prof. Grymm to come by and suddenly exclaim “I know what that this! I’ve been after one for ages!” Originals go for a considerable amount of money so at £7 this was not just a major find but real bargain. Next season it will hopefully become the central figure in the tribal section.

We had a visit by a reporter from a local paper, she wanted to get a photo of me, something I dreaded, and especially since a few minutes earlier a little girl asked me if I was Guy Fawkes! The reporter also managed to press gang a young lad into posing with one of the mermaids, I am not entirely sure what sort of memory that will be for him!

I was impressed that at least two girls who not only identified the hand axes but could also tell me how they are made. One of our visitors was a lady who had worked with a wide variety of wildlife including the [platypus] and a young lad kept us all entertained with lots of cheeky questions, doing the usual trick of asking about one item and then asking about another before I had finished. As I talked to a lady about the intricacies of Victorian collections I spied a hand slowly rising…I was starting to dread the next question.

As the almost mid-winter sun headed for the other side of the world we started packing up our stuff, it had been a short but intense session and we were looking forward to a hot meal.

This is Prof Grymm wishing everyone a very prosperous 2008 season