Saturday, 27 July 2013

Musings at the Museum

Sixty children from Awliscombe C of E Primary School came to visit Fairlynch to celebrate the end of term.

They met Jack Rattenbury in the Smugglers’ Cellar. 

“Is he dead?” they asked, feeling his cold and clammy fingers.

Do they mean the 19th century smuggler or the eerily lifelike figure with piercing brown eyes and computer-generated voice?

Who knows what kids think? Do they want to be reassured? Do they suspect there are more Jack Rattenburys out there in Lyme Bay?  

Is she nervous of him, or a bit uncertain of the photographer? 

After some explanation they thought that he was probably ok. Dangerous though. A smuggler. “Yes, he did escape from the police. Yes, he probably was violent.”  

Sir Walter Raleigh was not so frightening. “Or could that be the man on the bonfire? A penny for the guy, a penny for my thoughts. Were those barrels of gunpowder in the Smugglers’ Cellar?  Was there a candle to light him to bed, and then a big chopper to chop off his head?” 

“But I liked the other stories about Sir Walter: puddles, pipes and potatoes. And he was a Devon boy like me.  Maybe I’ll cross the oceans and find the Orinoco and El Dorado, go to America one day, find some rivers paved with gold, come back home and be knighted by the Queen. Or the King?” 

“Did they speak and think and dream like me in the Bronze Age? Millions and millions and millions of years ago?”  

“We’ve learnt all kinds of things at Fairlynch. We’ve even learnt about Victorian science, about sponges and surgery, Arabia and India and how they made salt in Budleigh Salterton in the Middle Ages.” 

“With plenty of fun, feathers and finery from the dressing-up box in the Costume Room.” 

“We had a great time. And the sun was still shining when we came out of the Museum. Off we go to the Creamery for ice-creams.” 

And no, for those kids who asked as I took the photographs: “I’m not a Victorian!”

To find out more about Awliscombe School, click on










No comments:

Post a Comment