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Let’s All Bimble by the Buxton Bear

Hello everybody, I hope you are all staying safe and well. Have you read the start of my adventures?

I did my clapping at 8pm last night for all those very special people called key workers. They are all working harder than ever at the moment. I clapped really loudly – and Father Gerry from the church next door was clapping too and we waved at each other and shouted hello.

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This morning, I put my Superman pants on for Fancy Dress Friday with Joe. Oops, I forgot my paws, so I washed them well and dried them. I need to concentrate for the PE and I keep thinking about a silly joke the Roman Soldier told me. I know a good way to sort this out – I will jump up and down on the spot and wave my paws as hard as I can and that will Shake the Sillies out. Tell your grown ups about this, they can do it too.

Next, I went for a walk around town and to some woods. I saw a bit of frogspawn in a pond and heard some lovely birds singing – you hear lots more when there is no traffic. Sometimes at the Museum, we get deliveries wrapped in bubble wrap. That is useful stuff – you can put it on the floor and jump on it to make popping noises and you can get a piece and draw little comma shapes on the bubbles and use it in a picture of a wildlife pond.

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I ended up walking up a steep hill. It is nice not to be rushing around and to walk slowly, have a nosy into peoples’ gardens, that sort of thing. I know a really good word for a walk like this – it is a bimble. It is a word that sounds good too – “I’m off for a bimble, like the Buxton Bear”.

So, I bimbled up the hill and saw a very interesting building. It had a colourful sign saying “Harpur Hill Primary School and Nursery”. Well well….I had a look round and saw a poster in rainbow colours saying “Learning for Life”. The grown ups there must be very kind, not just teaching maths and literacy but all sorts of other useful things. Have you found out anything useful for life today? It might be how to peel a potato, make your own bed or remember to say please and thank you.

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I bimbled  back to the Museum but one thing made me a bit sad. I was going to have a drink of the lovely warm water from the well – do you know the one I mean, where the Lion’s mouth is? Sadly it is closed at the moment. Do you know how warn the water is and how long it takes from falling as a raindrop to coming out of the well?

Near my cave in the Museum, there are lots of old glass bottles that have Buxton Mineral Water written on them – come and have a look when we are open again, and do say hello to me, please.

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Long, long ago there used to be a lady called Martha Norton – she was known as “the Well Woman of Buxton”. Perhaps you would like to find out about her?

I am going to make a wildlife picture now. I will write again soon unless I get glue on my paws.

Take Good Care from the Buxton Bear

Bear Translation by Isobel Wharton

 

Goddesses of India – the One and the Many

Hinduism can be a confusing religion to many westerners. The profusion of deities with multiple arms and who are sometimes shown with animal heads, can seem strange and exotic. Hinduism has been called the oldest religion in the world, and there are aspects of it that can be traced back to the Bronze Age Indus Valley civilisations of 1200 BC.  Many of the practices and social institutions of Hinduism that flourish today are a glimpse into a world that we have lost in the West; temple cities and schools of philosophy, elaborate public processions and festivals to celebrate the seasons, and the daily rituals to honour deities, are all reminders of life and religion in Classical Greece and Rome.

One aspect of the ancient past to survive into modern day India is the worship of God in female form. The goddess can take many forms, such as the ferocious and protective Durga or Kali, Sarasvati the goddess of learning and knowledge, Lakshmi the goddess of wealth, among many others. Although they are labelled with a specific function all of these goddesses have deeper, spiritual roles that resonate with their worshippers. Many of the more well-known and popular goddesses are known as ‘pan-Indian’ deities in that they are worshipped by any level of society and are found throughout the vast sub-continent. The goddess is seen to be one who can manifest into multiple forms for the needs of her devotees. The goddess is both the one and the many. As the one goddess she is known as Devi (Goddess) or Shakti (energy), or on a more personal level, Ma or Amma, both meaning mother.

Bronze statue of the goddess Durga on my bookcase at home

Some goddesses however, are only found at a local level and will act on the behalf of a community. India is still a predominantly agricultural country and the majority of its population live in villages. But, these local village goddesses are still seen to be manifestations of the one great goddess. In Hinduism the goddess can either be the consort to one of the male deities, or is worshipped in her own right. When worshipped on her own she is perceived to be the ultimate form of godhead and is considered to be more powerful than the male deities. In village religion the goddess is usually the most powerful and primary deity and will have a shrine at the centre of the village under a sacred tree. These shrines can either be small, enclosed temples, or open air platforms with either statues or vermillion smeared sacred stones as the focus of worship.

An interesting object that I have been working on as part of the Derbyshire School Library Service project, is a wooden head of a village goddess, known as a Gramadevata. The village goddesses are intimately connected with village life; on the one hand presiding over the fertility of the fields and animals and the well being of the community, and on the other expressing her wrath by drought, floods and epidemics; the goddess has always been perceived to be both benign and ferocious.

Wooden head of a village goddess at Buxton Museum and Art Gallery

As a goddess of nature she is omnipresent in the world, not otherworldly and distant like many of her male counterparts. She is primarily associated with fertility and the earth, and the land of India itself is seen as the body of the goddess, whose forms can be found in the features of the landscape. As a mother she protects her devotees from the dangers of the world.

The goddess often takes on a primary role as a healing deity and offerings are left at her shrines to ask for help. Hinduism is not a static religion, and is constantly developing all the time. New deities appear in response to new needs; established goddesses undergo change. For example the goddess of smallpox, Sitala, underwent such a change when this disease was eradicated in the 1970’s. She is now supplicated to protect her devotees from measles, chickenpox and other diseases.

As one devastating disease is eradicated, another rears its ugly head! In the 20th century HIV/AIDS became one of the most insidious diseases to affect the world, and in India AIDS-amma appeared in response to the growing threat. This modern day goddess was installed in a small shrine in the village of Menasikyathana Halli, in rural Karnataka. She was created by a civic-minded schoolteacher as part of an AIDS awareness campaign.

With Coronavirus raging across the globe the response to this threat in India has again been expressed through the goddess. Images are starting to appear of the ferocious warrior goddess Durga, weapons in hand fighting a personification of the virus. She also holds in her numerous hands a face-mask and bottle of hand sanitiser; it must be remembered that many in India are still illiterate and so symbolic images such as this are a way to get important messages across.

Display of goddesses at Buxton Museum and Art gallery

The head of the village goddess is currently on display in the Wonders of the Peak gallery at Buxton Museum and Art Gallery. Once we are open again to the public, and some sort of normality returns, we hope, by the blessing of the goddess, to see you soon.

Mystery Object of the Week 2

Did you work out the purpose of Mystery Object of the week 1?

The next artefact is not only a puzzle to you, but to the museum staff ! Whilst Buxton Museum and Art Gallery was closed for refurbishment in 2016/17, we toured a pop-up museum, offering the public the opportunity to handle objects from the collection and venture a guess as to what they were. This object provoked some chin stroking / head scratching.

Unfortunately, when museums inherit collections, they don’t always get the documentation to go with it. The only fact we have on this oddity is that it’s from the Dorset coast, which is a big clue. Answer revealed next Friday (hopefully).

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Answer to last week’s object: The chair was used by Derbyshire police to keep suspects in position for a photo fit, the wedge in the middle marking (somewhat uncomfortably) where your bottom should go. in the early days of photography, exposure was not instant and you were required to keep still for a few seconds. Dignity was obviously not a consideration.

Clay Cross Treasures – one volunteer’s quest through the archives

Derbyshire Record Office

It seems logical to have an introduction. I’m Phil, I’ve been volunteering now at the Record Office for 4 ½ years. Prior to this I had worked here for 2 ½ years and got very attached to the place! I couldn’t be got rid of that easily!

Over those 4 ½ years I have helped out by working mainly with first hand archive documents, which have ranged from First World War soldiers’ diaries, planning applications in Long Eaton, the Sheepbridge archive (which I have only half completed!) and the current ‘task’, which I seem to have been engaged on for many months… More of this in a minute. First some background…

I believe it was one of the archivists, who set me off on, what has for me, become something of an obsession! Becky first asked me whether I would be prepared to do it- it might take a while…

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School’s in the Shed

MANY RAINBOWS

If you are allowed out you will have noticed homemade rainbows painted or stuck inside people’s front windows. Kids and adults alike have been making them to share brightness and cheer. The idea being that those walking by can spot them on route giving a feeling of solidarity during this difficult time.

This little project will help you make a number of rainbows in one go. You can then send to friends and family in isolation and to brighten your own window.

 

What you’ll need:

  • Wax or pastel crayons.
  • Pen or pencil.
  • Six or seven sheets of plain paper the same size.
  •  Glue.
  • Scissors.
  • Sellotape.
  • Textured surfaces- we used some texture wallpaper from pattern books. But you could use your wood floor, flag stones, patio, bark, bubble wrap, sandpaper…etc

What you do:20200326_130547

  1. First we chose crayons in the colours we wanted for our rainbow – we chose 7. In this case make sure you have at least 8 sheets of paper, more if you want more rainbows.
  2. Putting the plain paper over the texture surface rub the crayon over, colouring the whole sheet and capturing the pattern beneath.
  3.  Repeat this for all your rainbow colours. Mix and match the textures if you like.
  4. When you have all your colours done stack them up and turn them over.
  5. On the back of the top one, draw your rainbow stripes with a pen or pencil.
  6. Then, holding them all together cut along all the lines. It doesn’t matter if this comes out wobbly- that will make it more interesting!
  7. Once cut out you’ll have a whole load of different sized rainbow stripes in all the different colours.
  8. Now glue them onto your spare plain piece of paper. Start with one of the biggest stripes and work your way down, fitting them together the best you can.20200326_135839
  9. All done? Wait for the glue to dry and cut the whole thing out and sellotape it up into your front window.
  10. Make more for your friends and family. Stick them in the post for grandparents or pop them through the doors of your neighbours with a cheery message to give them a smile.20200401_143901
  11. Now kids- go have an ice lolly or something and GO AWAY!! Parents- you’ve done your home schooling for today- pour yourself and G and T and have a lie down!