Tuesday, 27 November 2012

BACK FROM THE DEAD!

I was idly chit-chatting with my friend Zoe the other month when I strayed into the realms of 'confessional'...

As a kid back in the 'fifties, I told her, I collected plastic dinosaurs given away in packets of Shreddies breakfast cereal. However, on entering that period of life laughingly referred to as 'man's estate', I was – like so many others – urged to 'put away childish things'. The result? I was forced to donate my paleontological collection to some distant, uncaring younger family member!

I occasionally ease the hurt of this loss, I admitted, by viewing surviving dinosaurs roaming e-bay and seeking to justify the notion that I might, one day, expend the effort and expenditure required to resurrect my collection...

A few weeks later, courtesy of the saintly Zoe, this FABULOUS MONSTER arrived...


It is, as all dino-fans will know, a Dimetrodon and its homecoming has been amazing when one considers that it is, in reality, only a 4 cm-long piece of plastic!

I can vividly remember carrying home the Shreddies packets from our local grocer's shop and excitedly rummaging amongst the little malted squares in search of the prehistoric denizen: would it be a Brontosaur or a Plesiosaur or, that most-desired-of-all, a Tyrannosaur? 

When I had assembled a reasonably-sized zoo, I took inspiration from the dinosaurs dotted around the nearby Crystal Palace Gardens, and created my own Jurassic Park in one of my Mum's soup tureens, using bits of plant and stones from the garden. You can read about the Crystal Palace dinosaurs (and the fate of my prehistoric landscape) here!

The complete set of Shreddies monsters looks like this...



 So... only nineteen more to go!

13 comments:

Woman on a Raft said...

You've just reminded me of Blackgang Chine on the Isle of Wight and how the erosion has carried away parts of the dinosaur world which used to be on the cliffs.

I notice from the website that some of the old - or maybe replacement - dinosaurs are still there. It wouldn't be Blackgang without them; it is the jurassic coast, after all.

The amusement park is celebrating its 170th birthday next year. The term dinosaur was coigned in 1842, just the year before the site began to be a tourist attraction.

There is an 1831 engraving, though, which shows all the cliffs which aren't there now and even then it was being visited by day trippers - this was why George Brannon made the picture to sell to the tourists.

Boll Weavil said...

I remember watching those dinosaurs being winched into place (around 1974 I think) on Blue Peter.Ive visited them many times since then :-)
I thought I was alone in trawling Ebay to get my childhood toys back again but you just have to !

Eudora said...

I miss my old toys, perhaps because I had few. My favorite toys were always the cheapest, a big collection of plastic armies... yes, I know, but I never liked very much dolls, I only remember one, a little one, and a little monkey and I preferred the monkey.
I dont't know where are the plastic armies, the doll and the monkey... good material for a therapist..;)

Brian Sibley said...

W-on-a-R – Fascinated to read about Blackgang Chine; I've never been to the IoW, but I know there is a 'story' that the Jurassic landscape contributed to the inspiration of Lewis Carroll's island in The Hunting of the Snark with it's daunting prospect of "chasms and crags". Here's some great pictures of the Blackgang Chine Dinosaurs.

Boll – You are right! 1972, apparently; and here's a YouTube slide-show of photos from the Blue Peter Annual.

Eudora – Therapist? I guess so, but I'm not sure there's anything too 'wrong' (or, perhaps, that unusual) about an attachment to early memories of fun and happiness. I bet your armies are camped out somewhere in eBayland!

Eudora said...

Oh, my dear Brian, my armies are not in eBayland, I am afraid that the armies ended up in the trash... don't ask me why, we let that question to the therapist...;(

Now, seriously; I love this thought of the writer Jose Saramago: "We always walk hand in hand with the child we were".
Of course for me toys are very good memories... like this:

http://www.bluebon.net/victreas/exincastles.html

Woman on a Raft said...

What a gem, Brian, thank you.

The adjoining post there also links to the Blue Peter 1972 clip which shows the models missing the 2 o'clock ferry.

Round here we play a game called "Made in Yorkshire" wherein Mr Raft scored double points for making me believe that Shakespeare came from Rippon. Now I will be able to even up that score by showing that dinosaurs were born in Yorkshire which, remarkably, is where they were constructed, then brought down on a lorry.

I wonder Blackgang Chine knows of their connection to the Snark? There really ought to be one there. Given that Dodgson visited the Tennysons several times and knew Julia Margaret Cameron over at Dimbola Lodge, the sailing of the Solent and the island's geology is very likely to have furnished materials to his imagination.

I'm determined to go back for a visit, probably in September.

Boll Weavil said...

1972.... that long ago ! Scary !

Eudora, perhaps I could offer my services. My rates are very reasonable :-)

Here's a freebie though. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar

Eudora said...

Thank you Boll, very kind of you. And yes, you are right and Freud too..:)

Anonymous said...

I can't remember cereal dinosaurs, but I have vivid memories of cereal Thunderbirds! (And of how I was vaguely upset that they weren't consistently scaled.)

Flying off at a wild tangent, has The Blog been too modest to draw the attention of Hobbit-loving Brian fans to the presence of an extremely interesting Hobbitty Brian interview in the current issue of "SciFi Now" magazine?

Brian Sibley said...

Missed out on the Thunderbirds... :(

I DID give an interview to 'SciFi NOW, but haven't seen the result, so less to do with modesty than ignorance!! Hope it's OK...

Phil said...

I don't remember those exact Shreddies dinosaurs (before my time, I imagine), but I've always been quite amused that popular depictions of dinosaurs often used to show them as smooth creatures - the Shreddies box makes them look as if they're made of the same skin as a seal.

Nowadays, they're shown to be as scaly as you like.

I wonder when it changed?

(To ramble on further, I seem to recall that the earliest pictures of dinosaurs tended to show them crawling on their bellies like alligators. (Isn't there a dinosaur illustration in Alice in Wonderland like this, or did I dream that?) Only later did anatomists or artists realise that they just might be able to support their own body weight.)

Brian Sibley said...

I think the depictions of dinosaurs have been undergoing revisions ever since they were first discovered! In recent years the notion of FAST dinosaurs has replaced the concept of plodders and dull-coloured monsters have given way to gaudily tarted-up beasties. No Dinosaurs in Alice, but there is a Dodo (and, courtesy of Tenniel, a Darwinian monkey) in the Caucus Race!

Clive Hicks-Jenkins said...

Oh my heart goes out to you. You and I are of the same times, and my parents not only deemed it right to put the things of childhood aside, but re-homed them on my behalf when I wasn't looking. To this day I grieve for my pressed-metal rocking-horse, exchanged for a bicycle that I thereafter despised and refused to ride, and the beautiful toy farm with windmill and a painted duckpond as blue as a summer sky, which simply vanished when my back was turned. It was the way of things back then. Your Shreddies dinosaurs stirred memories of them tumbling marvellously out to splash in the milk awaiting them in my bowl. What simple pleasures we had back then. Thank you for this splendid stroll down memory lane.