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All posts for the month July, 2012

Things To Do – Hamnet’s Secret Code Quiz.

Published July 23, 2012 by loonyliterature

CAN YOU FIND THE MESSAGE?

Will Blyton and The Stinking Shadow have something hidden in the trunk.

Hamnet the boy trapped in the stone cannot speak properly because the evil magician Master Corpsehound has put a spell on his tongue.  He needs to tell Will Blyton something but has to use a code.  Look up the answers to Hamnet’s clues and then work out the message.

 

CLUE 1.

Where was Ann Boleyn imprisoned?  Use the first two letters of the first word to make the first word of the message.

 

Ann Boleyn was Henry VIII’s second wife. Where did she end up?

CLUE 2.

This monk belongs to Robin Hood’s band of Merry Men.  Use the first two letters of the first word of his name.

 

It is said that he really liked his food.

CLUE 3.

An apple fell off one of these onto Sir Isaac Newton’s head.  Use the last two letters of this word and join them onto the two letters from clue number two.

 

Sir Isaac Newton gained clarity when an apple fell onto his head.

CLUE 4.

Another word for “I”.  This is the next word in the message.

 

CLUE 5.

Jack came across one of these when he got some magic beans.  Use the first letter of the word.

 

Well, he certainly ate all his vegetables.

CLUE 6.

If you look up the Moor of Venice, you will find the name of a very famous Shakespearean character.  Take the first letter of his name and attach it to clue number 5.  This will make the next word in the message.

 

The Moor of Venice – but what is he called?

CLUE 7.

A country in South Asia – Take the first two letters.

 

Bombay is a very famous place, but which country is it in?

CLUE 8.

Take the letters from clue number 1 and attach them to clue number 7 to form a word.

 

CLUE 9.

This famous Scottish queen was beheaded for allegedly planning to assassinate Elizabeth I.  Take the first and fourth letter of her name to form a word.

 

Who is this famous queen?

CLUE 10.

Mary Shelley wrote a very famous book about a man who made a monster.  Take the first letter from the name of the book.

 

Who created this monster?

CLUE 11.

What is Garfield?  Take the last two letters and attach them to clue number 10.

 

CLUE 12.

What do you have growing on your head?  Now change the word slightly so that it’s a female pronoun.  Attach it to clue number 10 and 11 to form a word.

What’s that stuff sticking up like a sore thumb?

CLUE 13.

In Greek mythology, Medusa had something in her hair.  Take the first letter of what was in her hair and attach it to the end of the word which you have made from clues 10, 11, and 12.  Put them all together to form a word.

 

Medusa by Caravaggio. And we think we have hair problems today!

CLUE 14.

William Shakespeare wrote many of these.  Use the full word.

 

Hey, that Shakespeare guy looks really suspicious – I’m beginning to wonder if he has something to do with all this stuff.

Well, Blytonians, if you’ve followed all the clues correctly – you should now have a secret coded message written by Hamnet for Will to follow.  What does it mean?  More will be revealed soon.

Things To Do – Creating and Acting – “The Finding of the Stone.”

Published July 19, 2012 by loonyliterature

 

The video goes into greater depth but just in case you need reminding here are the main pointers.

When I write a book or a play, I love to encourage my readers to be inspired by what I have written.  So to help you along, I will be making short films which suggest fun things for you to do.  Today’s activity uses the beginning of the book and is called “The Finding of the Stone.” 

 

Will Blyton has had his glasses ripped off and thrown onto the beach by the dreadful bullies, The Toad, Ferret and Snot.  Whilst feeling in the sand for them he hears a strange voice saying disturbing things to him.

 

Here are some of the things the voice says:

 

“Thine intestines wilt be mine!”

 

“Thou wilt regret this warty nose.”

 

“Leave me be, thou fetid old skanky breath.”

 

“Thou art nought but a worm eating corpse.”

 

Will finds that the voice is coming from a stone he picks up off the beach.  It is no ordinary stone, for the stone turns to glass and inside is:

 

A boy, the size of my palm, is in the stone and scowling up at me.  He is in a prison cell.  It has bars on it and there is a small bed at the far end, a desk and a chair.  There is a writing quill sitting on the desk.  The boy has long, dark hair with black piercing eyes.  He is dressed in a green knickerbocker suit with a frilly ruff around his neck.  Huge, shiny buckles sit on the front of his shoes.  I stare at him like a goldfish.

(p4-5 Will Blyton and The Stinking Shadow.)

 

The whole of chapter one can be found under Will Blyton and The Stinking Shadow here on willblyton.com

 

What would you do if this happened to you?

 

I think it would be great fun to get together with a friend and create a whole new scenario – here are some ideas for you to use as a springboard:

 

You go to a car boot sale/ jumble sale and buy a locked box which can’t be opened.  When you get it home there is a small boy/girl trapped in a pebble inside.

 

Your friend has been on holiday and has brought some stones back from the beach so that you can paint them.  Strange noises emerge from the box, you open it and guess what?

 

You are lying on the grass with your eyes closed dreaming of discovering a secret room in your home when your dog sits at your feet holding something in its mouth.  A small, shrieking voice can be heard – weirdly coming from the dog’s mouth. 

 

Okay, you get the idea.  You can use one of the scenarios from above or you can make up your own.

 

What do you need to find out?

 

How is the person in the stone dressed?  This will give us clues as to the time period they are from.

 

Is the person in the stone going to be nice or nasty?  Or even pretending to be nice but really nasty?

 

Why is the person trapped in the stone?  How did the person get there? 

 

When you have decided all this, you can start to improvise your scene.  This means acting it out without a script.  It can be really exciting because all sorts of creative ideas can emerge from you quite naturally as you pretend to be The Stone Finder and The Person in the Stone.  Of course, you can give your characters names.

 

If you are happy with what you do, you could try to get a friend or family member to film you.

 

Have fun.  Happy creating.

 

How a Dead Man’s Hand Inspired Me!

Published July 11, 2012 by loonyliterature

“It doesn’t frighten me in this room.”  Bongo stands in front of the full blown photograph of Boris Death, the horror movie star, on the wall.  The room gives me the willies, but it’s private.  Bongo bends over to peer into the glass case which holds The Hand of Glory and stares at it.

It stinks!” He starts coughing as if he is going to vomit.

I remind him that it is a three hundred year old hand.

(page 34 – Will Blyton and The Stinking Shadow.)

 

When Bongo is overcome by the smell of the hand, the fictional character is actually reliving something which happened to me, which subsequently ends up in the book.

About six years ago, we decided to have a trip to Whitby, home of Saint Hilda’s Abbey and part inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula.  If you have never visited Whitby, it is an enchanting fishing village with a maze of alleyways and an atmosphere of ‘something is about to happen.’  Go at Hallowe’en weekend and you will think you have been transported onto a Gothic film set.  I will say no more on that point, as I believe, everyone should discover this event for themselves.

St Mary’s Church Graveyard – Oh those steps!

We decided to visit The Whitby Museum.  It is a most interesting place with wonderful curiosities to inspire any writer.  These include: a hangman’s locket; clogs worn by a school truant and spurs used in cock fights. 

Hangman’s Locket at Whitby Museum.

As we approached a large glass case, I became overpowered by the sweetest odour I have ever smelled.  It was a mixture of overwhelming sweetness mixed with the smell of musty furniture.  I thought I was going to be sick.  We peered into the glass case and saw a mummified, shrivelled hand. 

The Whitby Museum states:

“The mummified severed  human hand in Whitby Museum was discovered in the early twentieth century hidden on the wall of a thatched cottage in Castleton by a stonemason and local historian, Joseph Ford. He immediately identified it from popular stories of such objects as a “Hand of Glory”. It was given to Whitby Museum in 1935 and is the only alleged Hand known to survive.

There is interesting folklore behind the Hand of Glory.  Apparently, a Hand of Glory is supposed to be cut off a felon who is still hanging from the gallows and then the hand is pickled.  Somehow, this is supposed to give the hand magical properties.  Thieves would use the hands to help them do their jobs in that, if they entered a house with the hand, all the occupants would go into a deep sleep resembling a coma and be unable to awake until the burglars leave.  There are different versions of this story and can be found on The Whitby Museum website.

If the Hand of Glory had been lit, the householders would fall into a coma like sleep – Whitby Museum.

There were three other people with me in the museum and the smell came at varying degrees to us all – I was the only one who felt overpowered by it.  The only other time I have smelled a similar smell was in a holiday farmhouse we rented in France in the master bedroom.  The sickly sweet odour seemed to emerge from a locked cupboard in the bedroom.  We were supposed to stay there three weeks.  We left after a week of strange and unexplained happenings.  I will say no more – for now.

 

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