Sunday, October 29, 2023

Strange Gods at Gargrave

The village hall at Gargrave in the Dales has an active calendar of events, including book fairs and flea markets, and I quite often find odd pieces of literary ephemera there, some of them recorded on this blog, such as the issues of Practical Wireless with contributions by SF author F.G. Rayer, and the pamphlet of The Prophecies of N’Gai.

There was, as it happens, nothing to hand today, but in ambling around the village afterwards there was compensation in the sheer surrealism of the Hallowe’en and other decorations in windows and gardens.

The giant inflatable Mummy at the café (above).

The wild-eyed knitted cat in the children’s clothing shop:

The fish in cap and jumper at the chip shop:


The by comparison sedate owl in the antiques shop:

The inflatable ghost at the kitemaker’s cottage:

The dressed witch’s broom above a cottage lintel;

And here in a literary flourish is the gatepost of Kenilworth, one of two Arts & Crafts style houses named after Walter Scott novels:

As a child I used to think such stone globes might turn into heads and grin.

A stranger unaware of these burgeoning October customs would surely find all this a bit odd, as if the villagers were each appeasing their own particular god.

(Mark Valentine)

Photographs: Jo Valentine, except 'Kenilworth', Mark Valentine.