Saturday: According to a Google Alert Kat
from Big Brother 9 would be appearing in the Christmas
Panto at the Mills and “The
renowned historical re-enactment group ‘Grymm Tooms Travelling
Museum' will also be on hand” well, I must say we have never
been ‘renowned’ before so we were very excited…I think.
Of course one of the other things we noticed in this article was
the time, we are used to The Mills starting at 11:00, but
suddenly we realised that we should have left at 08:00! We don’t
like being late but as it happened we were on time, the first that
Brian heard about a 10:00 start was when we told him!
As we travelled to the Mills I noticed a road kill fox by the
side of the road, then a few hundred feet on was a dead rabbit;
it was one of those instant scenario moments for me – rabbit chased
by hungry fox along road, fox fails to see the looming shape of
a lorry, rabbit looks backs, “Ha! That’ll teach you to mess with
Totochtin!” and thus failing to see the next car! The moral
of this sad little tale is: don’t chase dinner along the road and
don’t mock your defeated enemy when you too are still in the road.
Tricia and Jeremy were there as usual, they were,
in fact overseeing the panto what she wrote…Today also saw the unveiling
of some new exhibits for my department; a female angler (Melanocetus
sp) complete with attached male, my Easter Island kava-kava
man based on specimens collected by Captain Cook
and the ultimate of the Victorian collector – a Peruvian mummy.
‘Esme’ as she has been tentatively called, is a head and
left forearm, which is placed within traditional wrappings to give
the impression of a complete body…it could be the world’s first
flat packed mummy! Esme was positioned in such a way that she was
the first thing visitors saw as they came up to the theatre. Well,
it stopped Liz in her tracks!
We had another visit from Her Majesty who was once more
amused and fascinated by our exotic collection. Kids were equally
fascinated by the new exhibits; Esme caused a combination
of awe and, possibly, disgust while they could relate to the fish
because they had seen one in ‘Finding
Nemo’. (It’s a rather odd title as it literally means ‘Finding
Nobody, it is what Odysseus
calls himself when Polyphemus
asks his name, thus giving us what is probably the
only funny bit in the ‘Odyssey’) While I was showing
a group the hideous benthic being, I noticed something more horrid
– the polymer clay around the jaws had cracked! It had taken me
several attempts to salvage hake
jaws to use as they are the closest set of dentures I could find,
I suspect that they had swollen slightly and popped the plastic
despite my efforts to seal them, there was no problem with this
the first time I popped it into water. Like all the models this
is a one off so it is always a case of trial, error and experimentation
Preacher had donated a little deer skin pouch with four
bones in it, two plain, two marked; this is the Indian bone game
to give it its proper name. Played avidly amongst the natives of
the Pacific north-west the bones got the attention of two sisters
who were eager to try out the guessing game – the trouble was they
both cheated! Even their mother cheated when she played against
them! One of them, the cheeky one, noticed the kava-kava
and the fact that “He’s got a willy…”oh dear, must remedy that.
When I showed it to them I made sure that my hand was wrapped around
it to hide the appendage!
In the afternoon our regular fan turned up with her mum, apparently
she refers to me as the ‘Weird Man’, and then again in school she
is called the ‘Weird Girl’. She wanted a photo taken with me, possibly
to prove to her mates that I exist, so we posed with the mummy.
I managed to get Bek to hold the mummy’s hand and for some
reason her enthusiasm waned a little!
Sunday: There was no rush this morning, all our stuff was
set up and we could chill out for a while before opening time. There
was only one set back…my voice had almost disappeared during the
night; this was going to be an interesting day.
While we waited for the gates to open we had a look at the armoury.
This is an awesome collection and some of the weapons can be handled
so I played with the PPSH-41,
that famous Russian weapon of WWII; for its size this is such a
heavy weapon. The abbreviation stands for: Pistolet-Pulemyot
Shpagina which sounds like a rather decent pasta dish! “Ppsh!”
is also the sort of sound, known as pishing,
one makes to get rare warblers to pop out of a bush to see what
is going on.
Somehow I managed to gasp and squeak my way through the day, at
one point I sounded like that
penguin in ‘Toy Story’. When Her Majesty came
by she observed that the kava-kava man was now wearing a
leaf! Yes folks, for the sake of Victorian dignity I tied a silk
leaf around his waist.
Amongst the folks I met today was a kid who does not believe in
dinosaurs and, as a contrast, a chap who talked about evolution
deniers and, throughout all this my voice got further and further
It was almost the end of the day and when the panto was finished
Kat came out and had her photo taken with our collection;
each brief pose was followed by a rapid shift to another position
leaving little more than blurred images…she would have been a Victorian
photographers nightmare! And so we finally packed up and headed
This is ‘The Renowned’ Prof Grymm in search of vocal chords.