This weekend we were very privileged to be invited to visit the Roald Dahl Museum once again, along with several other bloggers and their families for a special VIP event. On arrival we were greeted by marketing manager Isabelle who introduced us to Museum Director Steve. We also met the other bloggers: Kelly from Mammy, Wife and I, Louise from https://littleheartsbiglove.co.uk/ and Emily (?! I think I’ve got that right but I’m so sorry if I’m wrong!!) from https://minitravellers.co.uk/
The adults enjoyed a glass of prosecco and nibbles while the kids quickly demolished the strawberries. After getting to know each other a bit we explored the museum galleries. We then spent time with Steve looking at a few items from Roald Dahl’s archive. This for me was one of the highlights of our day. We chose a chocolate each from Roald Dahl’s own original chocolate box.
We tried on the prosthetic ears worn by David Walliams when he dressed up as the BFG for an event at the museum.
We looked at the original first few pages that Roald Dahl wrote for ‘The BFG’. In this version the child in the story was a boy called Jody. Roald later changed this to a girl called Sophie after his first granddaughter. ‘The BFG’ was originally going to be named ‘A Ghost Story’. His first thoughts were of the BFG being a ghost. It was fascinating listening to the history behind the stories we all know and love so much. ‘The BFG’ in particular is my absolute favourite Roald Dahl book!
Another BFG related artefact was Roald Dahl’s sandals. Originally Roald Dahl had written that he wore black boots but when Quentin Blake did the illustrations Roald felt it didn’t look right. He posted one of his very own sandals to Quentin Blake for him to copy instead! Roald Dahl was over 6 foot 5 and his shoes were a size 12. They really are huge!
The final item from the archive was a notebook that Roald Dahl made into the first version of ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’. Originally just named ‘Mr Fox’, the book contains cut outs of the story and Roald Dahl’s own pencil drawings to demonstrate what illustrations he wanted on each page. It was so fascinating to see how the book came together.
After seeing the archive items we were treated to a tour around the village of Great Missendon with Museum Director Steve. Roald Dahl lived in the village for 36 years. He wrote all his books there in the writing hut in his back garden. The hut now lives in one of the galleries in the museum!
Steve showed us spots around the village which inspired Roald Dahl in his books, such as the library from ‘Mathilda’, the pump station from ‘Danny, The Champion Of The World’ and the house that he imagined as Sophie’s orphanage in ‘The BFG’.
We then headed up to the cemetary where we spent some time at Roald Dahl’s grave. There is a beautiful tree with a bench all the way round it bearing the names of Roald’s children. Carved into the floor is a verse from ‘The Giraffe, The Pelly And Me’:
We have tears in our eyes, as we wave our goodbyes,
We so loved being with you, we three.
So do please now and then, Come and see us again,
The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me.
I’m not going to lie, it really brought a lump to my throat reading those words. So poignant for his graveside and so meaningful for everyone who knew him. There was a basket at the head of his grave filled with hand written notes from visitors. Stone BFG footprints lead from the cemetery entrance and the tree to his grave. Again, a lovely touch and reminder of the gentle giant himself. He is laid to rest in the countryside he adored.
On our return to the museum we were greeted by lunch. Delicious cakes, sandwiches and nibbles. Well earned after our walk! Cody tells me his favourite part of the day was eating ‘Bogtrotters’ cake! Mummy’s favourite part of the tea was the yummy homemade scones. You can purchase these cakes from Cafe Twit next door to the museum. I highly recommend that you don’t miss this. Forget the diet for just 1 day – its so worth it!!
As we left we were kindly given a goody bag each which was so lovely. One thing that always strikes me when we visit the museum (not just at special events but any time) is how lovely the staff are. Everyone is always so happy and full of smiles. The place has a great fun-loving atmosphere. It’s just how I imagine Roald Dahl would have wanted it. To read our full review of the museum itself follow the link here: Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre
If you do plan to visit the Roald Dahl Museum (and I highly recommend that you do!) then take a look at their summer programme. It’s literally crammed full of special events included guided village tours, craft activities and even special guest authors visiting! If you want to inspire your kids with their reading and writing this really is the place to be. The shop is also AMAZING! I could happily buy everything in there. If you are a true fan of Roald Dahl visit the shop before you leave. So many things there I NEED in my life!
Many thanks to the museum for inviting us to be part of this special day.
Disclaimer: We were hosted by the museum free of charge for this special event.