Pigeon Post at Holker Hall, June 2012
This Temporary Mooring included introductory information about Arthur Ransome and the Swallows and Amazons series, as well as more detailed information about Pigeon Post. It included a number of illustrative items relevant to the book, such as a dowsing fork, a pigeon basket, a fire broom, an acid bottle and the nearest reconstruction we could make of a crushing mill (if anybody has an original crushing mill as used in the book, we’d be very interested to hear about it!) Pride of place went to our reconstruction of the Swallows, Amazons and D’s home-made blast furnace. We left this half-finished, to show the way that Ransome’s characters fixed their crucible in place.
Our dromedary (for the loan of which we thank Cecilia Flint) proved unexpectedly popular. We can only assume it is the first time anybody has tried to attract attention at Holker with an ancient, rusty bicycle.
In addition to our information display about Pigeon Post, we had information about the Trust. We also had sample items from a new range of products, based on the classic Jonathan Cape book cover designs, which will be going on sale soon.
Sadly the weather proved cold, wet and windy for the first two days of the Festival. This appears to have affected both the numbers of visitors, and the amount of time they could stop to look at the individual stalls. However, the final day was both warm and sunny, producing the best crowds of the weekend.
This was the Trust’s first “staffed” display. It was therefore a very useful experience for us. It also gave us the opportunity to meet with a lot of interesting people, many with personal memories of Arthur and Evgenia Ransome, or links to the people and places they knew. These included: Arthur Ransome’s GP’s grand-daughter, to whose grand-father Ransome gave a bookplate on one of his (numerous) house visits; Peter Altounyan, one of Roger Altounyan’s sons, who part owns Mavis (on display at the Ruskin Museum, Coniston), and a gentleman who grew up at Low Ludderburn in the 1950′s. A number of our visitors, including Lord Cavendish, recalled Ransome as an irascible man who didn’t like children. Many people have noted this about Ransome, especially during his last few years of failing health living at Haverthwaite.
For more details about future Holker Hall Garden Festivals, please visit the Festival website.