The breathless jogger rounded the last bend and over the finishing line and scuttled inside his bachelor pad just beneath the roof, for this was no ordinary athlete, this was Oliver Scudsbarrow, an arachnid who lived in the museum after hatching in Clara’s Cottage and remaining there with his family as a spiderling. The two biggest things in his life were keeping fit by jogging every morning, and visiting the gym two or three times a week, where his acrobatic prowess on the trampoline was much admired.
Oliver first became interested in history and genealogy when he traced his family tree back to the 16th Century, and found a cousin of his, a certain Jeremiah Scudsbarrow simply going about his business at Hampton Court had terrified Cardinal Wolsey. Since that time his species had been known as “Cardinal” spiders and are the largest house spider in Great Britain. (Cardinal spiders can be scary to look at, but rarely bite and even if they do there is no pain.)
Oliver was really looking forward to the opening of the renovated museum at the end of August, and began to remember all the good times he had enjoyed there. He thought the new roof to be very special with windows that opened and closed automatically when the temperature was too hot or too cold or when it was raining. There was a new heating system also which would make the place very cosy in the winter. There was a new “lift” and so now everyone who found the steep stairs difficult, including his Great Aunt Molly, would be able to access the upper gallery. The shop and café would also be returning and of course there would be some new technology in the galleries – excellent he thought.
Oliver would often take his niece Lulu and nephew Caspian to various events, History week during the February half term, Easter to make cards and decorate eggs for the family, not to mention the craft days. Oliver and his family had learned everything from “throwing” pots to Origami and butter making. These days had been an absolute “boon” to his family, though Lulu was now doing a course on fashion at Weston College in an attempt to improve her spinning and weaving technique and Caspian was on some kind of computer course, though Oliver doubted that Caspian understood the true meaning of the “World Wide Web”, a willing lad, but not as bright as his sister. Halloween was always fun especially as a false hooked nose or pointed hat was unnecessary, Oliver could send people running in all directions simply by putting in an appearance. However, it was the season of Christmas that Oliver loved most, especially the museum’s Christmas Fayre. There were craft stalls, raffles, mince pies, Father Christmas and a brass band playing Carols. Oliver enjoyed a good brass band and in particular hanging by a thread from the roof and joining in a rumbustious chorus of “Ding Dong Merrily on High”.
Of course, although this first stage of the museum was almost complete there was still the need to raise money for the second phase. Oliver would need to put his thinking cap on. He thought the “Buy a Block Campaign” was a brilliant idea, a chance for the general public to purchase wooden blocks engraved with their names which would form part of the new museum floor, there for posterity. In fact Oliver himself would have liked to purchase one with the “Scudsbarrow” name on it, but upon arrival at the Council Offices and before he was able to utter a word, he was gathered up in a duster and flung through the nearest window!
A lot to look forward too thought Oliver, as he lit his pipe and settled down with the “Times” crossword. So, if you see a little face peeping out from a crevice, it will only be Oliver Scudsbarrow joining in the fun and after all there is plenty of room and everyone is welcome at Weston’s new museum.
See you there!
Pauline Colsey (museum volunteer)