Reach of the Meyrick: Controversies


Professor Efa Foster and the Museum curators who worked with the White Palace Scribe on the exhibition felt that they could not display certain items without a couple of notes attached to them.  The White Palace Scribe agreed with the wording of the notes, and checked this blog post before it was published.

There are numerous artefacts on display in Riversouth and Rookpot that come from Wild Wolvern Mey.  These include numerous pieces of wolvern jewellery, gems worn by Meyricks and their families, including the ruling ring, and bejewelled gifts of Musril-embossed skins from wolvern Clans. 

It should be noted that many wolvern artefacts were given as genuine gifts to the Meyricks from the Clans in Wild Wolvern Mey, and these are considered the rightful property of the White Palace.  However, several items discovered in the Palace Archives have a more dubious provenance.  These are items that were taken from wolvern Clans without permission, and in many cases the wolvern had requested that the items be returned to them.  The Museum is working closely with the Palace Archives to see if this is feasible.  At the time of the exhibition no wolvern artefacts have yet been returned to the Clans, but there are ongoing talks being held in the neutral territory of Rookpot Museum, which representatives from the White Palace and the Sperakeden Clan have attended.

The second note concerns the Musril language, particularly its origins.  We all know that Riversouth prides itself on protecting and promoting Farynshire’s native language.  Indeed, most academics acknowledge that without The White Palace’s devotion to the language it might very well have died out many years ago, amongst the human population anyway.  What has been increasingly challenged, particularly in recent years, is the long-held theory that Musril spread out to the rest of the county from Riversouth.  In fact, there is no evidence that Musril was created in Riversouth.  Despite this, many well-respected academic books, articles and theses make this claim; some of them from many years ago, but, perhaps surprisingly, some published in the twenty first century as well.  This is very much a live and current theory, as evidenced by recent podcasts and online videos that are popular around Riversouth.  Rookpot Museum distances itself from this theory.  If anything, recently discovered evidence suggests that Musril did not originate in Riversouth. 

It is important to acknowledge new discoveries and revise existing theories, however well established, accordingly.  Rookpot Museum is committed to pursuing the truth of history, rather than a version of it.

The 213th Rookpot History Conference

The Peoples of Farynshire: Challenging the Narrative

The Scribe of the White Palace, Aderyn Tooking and Professor Efra Foster from Rookpot Museum will chair the 213th conference of the Rookpot History Conference.  The theme of the conference is challenging the traditional theories concerning the Peoples of Farynshire.  The programme has been deliberately designed to be radical and provocative and many of the speakers could be considered controversial. 

The Programme

Four Peoples, One County”   Professor Roland Coombes

Our Common Language: Musril for All”   Professor Lana Evans and Doctor Peter Wallace

The Voices of our Forests”  Doctor Rhyll Jones

Following the Seafolk”   Sephus Moxley

The Meyrick, the wolvern, and Wild Wolvern Mey”   Aderyn Tooking and Professor Efra Foster

A wolvern in Rookpot”   Botolf ken Geirolf os okto

There are limited places available for the public – so book your place early!

The Reach of the Meyrick: Seafolk and Wovern

Seafolk and Wolvern

Recent research has challenged the longstanding narrative around Riversouth’s relationship with seafolk and wolvern.  This has been made possible by examining the other side of the story, and re-learning history through the memories and stories of the Peoples themselves.  We hope one day to run that exhibition.

The focus of this exhibition is the Meyrick and Riversouth, and all of the sources and exhibits used and displayed are human.  This exhibition has started to challenge the traditional historical narrative, and we will continue to explore wider historical perspectives in our work.   

The Impact of the Seafolk (begin in The White Palace, Riversouth)

These days even occasional and rare sightings of seafolk in our coastal waters are met with both extreme scepticism an obsessive theorising, so it is hard to imagine a time when seafolk were not only a common sight in Farynshire’s waters, but regularly interacted with humans.  They may be elusive, but it is important to remember that they are one of the four Peoples of Farynshire, and they created one quarter of the ancient seal that hangs on the wall in the Council Chambers in Rookpot.

Before the Seal that brought the Peoples together (for a time anyway) there was often conflict between the seafolk and the human coastal communities, including Riversouth.  There are numerous stories and tales about seafolk raids on Meyshore Bay.  One of the oldest and most fascinating records in the Palace Archive is an eleventh century book listing the loss of sea vessels to seafolk attacks.  Some boats disappeared, and the book claims that witnesses on shore observed boats being pulled underwater. 

Sephus Moxley, who has spent a lifetime researching, studying and searching for seafolk, has written a book about the history of seafolk in Riversouth for this exhibition, and you can buy How the Seafolk shaped Riversouth in the Rookpot Museum shop and The Lilac Beech.  In his hefty tome, Moxley explores the relationship between the seafolk and the growing Riversouth, postulating that the seafolk are the reason Meyshore Bay never became a bustling port like Sylnmouth, despite being a natural and safe harbour.  The seafolk raids usually targeted fishing vessels and it is believed that they were defending their foodstocks.  In response to these raids Meyrick the True through to Meyrick the Thrift-Purse oversaw the building of defences along the shoreline.  There is very little to be seen here now, although some ancient timbers have been excavated that were once part of what looked like extensive fortifications.  Stone forts were constructed on top of the Sussen Orchelflilin, and if a seafolken was spotted in the waters below a beacon was lit to warn any boats that were already out in the Bay, and to rally the defenders – though Moxley believes these had little to no effect on the seafolk, certainly none were ever captured or killed. 

But what eventually kept the Bay waters seafolk-free was the construction of the underwater defences.  Moxley spends a good portion of his book explaining the significant of this remarkable architecture.  Most of it was buried for centuries, before Diggers from Rookpot Museum re-discovered it in the 1970s.  Since then it has been carefully preserved in its underwater setting using techniques that involve coating the metal and timbers in specially created waterproof lacquer.  The defences cover the entire seabed of the Bay, and start below low tide, and so are invisible from shore.  Moxley believes that what has been discovered is but a remnant of the original structures.  He also suggests that the defences prevented the development of a port in Riversouth.  It was always assumed that the Meyrick discouraged the growth of a port because they did not want Riversouth to become like Sylnmouth, and possibly that was a secondary purpose of the underwater defences.

As part of the exhibition you can take a glass-bottomed boat trip out over some of the more stable defences.  Your guide and accompanying divers will ensure you get a good view of the marvels beneath the waves. 

Before you do that, first visit the art exhibition, Seafolk Encounters, in the magnificent Emerald Hall in the White Palace.  This beautiful exhibition has brought together art that features seafolk from around the county.  There are vast watercolours from the Vaults of Rookpot Museum, exquisite porcelain figurines from Cowley Maggs, mixed with the vast collections from the Palace Archives.  The exhibition is dominated by mermaids, of course, as they are the most frequently sighted of the seafolk, but some older, rarer works depict distant sightings of large males or family groups.  It seems like everyone who has ever encountered a seafolken has tried to capture its likeness in paint, pottery, glass, china or wood.

Wild Wolvern Mey (the White Palace, Riversouth, and Rookpot Museum, Rookpot)

Sephus Moxley argues that it was the pressure of the seafolk on Meyshore that led to the Meyricks pushing out beyond wider Riversouth area and eventually into the territories that would become known as Wild Wolvern Mey.  In truth, it is likely that this expansion would have happened with or without the seafolk.

There is evidence of Bronze Age trade between the pre-Meyrick communities in Riversouth and early wolvern Clans, such as wolvern jewels in Riversouth graves and human daggers, axes and swords in the mountains.  There are also very rare and prized finds of joint endeavours: metalwork created by wolvern and human, human pottery encrusted with wolvern stones. 

Sephus Moxley might not be right about why the Meyricks started to expand out beyond Riversouth, but he is right about when.  Rather than the pressure of the seafolk raids being the reason, it seems as though the new sea defences gave the Meyrick confidence to turn their attention away from the sea and focus their energy inland.  One of the first developments was re-building the route network, repairing and strengthening existing tracks, and building new roads.  There is archaeological evidence of old toll stations along these new roads, particularly at the new turnpikes and bridges.

Numerous settlements were built along the new roads, and the villages and towns that are descended from them bear the Mey names to this day.  The Meyricks learned from the success of Meyshore and all of the initial settlements were designed by a Riversouth architect, Ogilby Hooke, who created one streetplan that was then applied to every new community, which makes it easy for archaeologists to identify these original settlements, even if they have been subsequently demolished or altered.  Hooke’s streetplan is on display in Rookpot Museum.

Hooke also drew up plans for a canal to run through Riversouth, out into the hinterlands to Skrudfenrion Lake, crossing a tributary of the River Spurtle, before joining the Bychan Darkflint River that winds its way from the mountains into the Lake.  It was a hugely impressive project, and Hooke did not live to see it finished.  But there can be little doubt that the Riversouth Canal (Farynshire’s only canal) accelerated the Meyrick’s expansion projects. 

The humans soon attracted the attention of the local wolvern Clans, including the infamous Sperakeden Clan.  At first, relations between human and wolvern seem to have been respectful.  The wolvern were particularly interested in trading the jewels and precious stones they mined for sheep, wool, and human textiles.  Some wolvern even exchanged tracts of land that they considered unusable, which the humans quickly settled in.  Living in close proximity it was inevitable that disagreements would occur.  Both wolvern and human are territorial, and boundaries were only respected when convenient.  Wolvern raided livestock, and humans continued to encroach and build upon wolvern land, constructing forts to deter wolvern attacks.  Most disputes were settled by jeldanas, an old method of settling scores whereby an agreed payment is given for a wrong, but resentment on both sides lingered. 

The arrival of the railways in the mid nineteenth century changed everything.  Meyrick the Third Tall paid for a line of track to run straight into Wild Wolvern Mey, at the same time as the Age of Industry enabled extensive mining in the region.  Meyrick the Third Tall’s successor is known as Meyrick the Scarrer, and is the only Meyrick to have an epitaph bestowed upon them by one of the Peoples.  Human miners were known as scarrers, and they changed the landscape in Wild Wolvern Mey forever with their dynamite and heavy machinery.

As the scarrers blasted their way further into wolvern territory, the wolvern were pushed deeper into the mountains.  The name Wild Wolvern Mey appeared at this time, attached to registered companies and materials that were mined from the area.  The industrialisation made the Meyrick and Riversouth very rich, but they did not have it all their own way.  The Sperakeden Clan constantly harassed, disrupted and attacked the railway and canal supply routes, and sometimes even the mines.

In the Palace Archives there is correspondence between the White Palace and the owners of the mining companies operating in Wild Wolvern Mey that reveal they all knew that their time in the area was not going to last long.  At this time the Peoples attended Council meetings in Rookpot, and the minutes from those meetings show that the wolvern representative petitioned the Council many times on behalf of the Sperakeden and other wolvern Clans. 

Because they knew that they had limited time to reap the rich rewards from their mines, the scarrers ruthlessly exploited as much of the area as they could.  There are early photographs of the devastation that was inflicted on the area.  Forests were burned to the ground, rivers and streams were polluted by the run-off and turned brown and toxic, slag heaps rose up in mockery of the surrounding mountains, the slopes of which were blasted, resulting in landslides and permanent damage.  Meyrick the Scarrer’s rule was short, rich, and ruinous for Wolvern Mey.

The Meyrick’s short and sudden advance beyond Riversouth shaped modern Farynshire, and you can follow in the footsteps of the scarrers via two routes.  The first is to step aboard a converted barge to make your leisurely way via the Riversouth Canal, or you can take the land train from Riversouth along the old roads to Wild Wolvern Mey.  Either route will stop to visit one of Ogilby Hooke’s villages, Norssenmey, a reconstructed settlement using Hooke’s streetmap.  From Norssenmey the tour continues over a wide stone bridge, and via a crumbling fort, and on to the modern town of Gorssenmey.  The mines still exist, though most are too dangerous to visit, but there is one that has been preserved, and this is where the tour ends. 

The Retreat of the Meyrick (Rookpot Museum)

The Meyricks left a lasting legacy on Wild Wolvern Mey, and many people assume they must have been there for centuries, but, in truth, everything that you can still see  – the mey names, the roads, infrastructure, railway, mines – all happened within the rule of two Meyricks, or less than fifty years.  For most of that time, protests were regularly raised during Rookpot Council meetings.

What expedited the Retreat of the Meyrick was the Leader of the Sperakeden Clan, Conri, who travelled to Rookpot to petition the Council to stop the mining and the occupation and expel the humans.  The Council minutes record his speech in full, both in the original Musril that Conri used, and translated into Welsh and English; you can see and read these minutes in the exhibition in Rookpot Museum.  Unfortunately nobody thought to make an audio recording, so we can only imagine the oratory power of a wolvern Leader speaking for his Clan, his home and his people.  But we know it must have been passionate and compelling because it provoked enough sympathy amongst the Councillors and the Peer Families that they put pressure on Riversouth to stop their activities in Wild Wolvern Mey. 

The mining was stopped immediately, and over the following year the Meyrick’s authority fell back to Riversouth.  The White Palace never publicly or formally renounced its claim on Wild Wolvern Mey, but from that moment on it essentially acted as though it had never heard of such a place, and paid no attention to anything that happened there.

These were big victories for Conri and the wolvern, but they did not get the full expulsion of humans that they wanted.  The villages and towns remain to this day, and the region is still known (amongst humans, at least) as Wild Wolvern Mey.  The wolvern, like the seafolk and the foresteens, would eventually break all contact with Rookpot, the Council and humans, but the concessions to Leader Conri delayed this for a few more years.

As well as selected excerpts from the Minutes of the Rookpot Council, this part of the exhibition is a wonderful collection of maps.  Ogilby Hooke’s original streetplan for the settlements can be viewed here, as well as modifications future planners made to his design.  The Scribe of the White Palace documented in detail the expansion and retreat of the Meyrick in and out of Wild Wolvern Mey, and you can see the growing and shrinking territories on intricate maps.  It is an extensive collection, and we are indebted to the Palace Archives for allowing us to make it public.

The Reach of the Meyrick: the Rise of Riversouth

Rookpot Museum is home to countless archives, stories and finds from all over Farynshire.  Since its conversion from a glassworks factory in 1762 to the magnificent building standing today, its mission has been to explore, explain and share the rich history of our county and its Peoples.  To this end, we thought we would highlight some of the splendid and fascinating exhibitions the Museum has held over the years.

The Reach of the Meyrick was a once in a lifetime opportunity to get close to the truth and myth of the family who has shaped Farynshire more than any other. 

This is an exhibition that allows you to get up and close and personal with history as it is unearthed and reclaimed by Diggers and academics.    

The Museum had been given unprecedented access to the archives in The White Palace.  We are indebted to Aderyn Tooking, the White Palace Scribe, who granted extensive access to the Palace Archives and curated this exhibition across both cities.  We also thank Professor Efra Foster from Rookpot Museum for devising, coordinating and overseeing this vast project.

The focus of the exhibition is how the Meyrick’s influence spread out from Riversouth throughout Farynshire, with a particular focus on Wild Wolvern Mey, and then receded back again, leaving plenty of evidence of their presence in their wake.

This is the largest exhibition ever put on by the Museum – you might need to spread your visit over a few days!

The Rise of Riversouth

The Meyrick and the region of Riversouth have been part of each other since the dawn of history.

This part of the exhibition uses recent archaeological evidence and current projects to reveal new insights into this region, and how the first Meyricks established their dominance.

Explore the Dig (the White Palace, Riversouth)

By making use of the latest archaeological techniques and technology, Diggers from Rookpot Museum have begun exploring the early history of the White Crag upon which sits the White Palace of the Meyricks.  This is the first time the Meyrick has given permission for archaeological exploration in the grounds of the Palace, which has allowed us to trace the story of the Crag from its prehistoric settlements to its current splendour and influence.

The project is likely to take years to fully explore the secrets hidden within the White Crag, and these live and open excavations are part of the exhibition.  You can take a tour around the site, and speak to the Diggers as they work.  There are opportunities to take part in the dig itself, uncover a piece of history, and see some of the extraordinary fines that have already been unearthed.

The History of the White Crag (Rookpot Museum, Rookpot) 

The Diggers’ finds have been brought back to the Rookpot Museum so that they can be catalogued, preserved and studied.  The most impressive and revelatory of these have been put on display.

The earliest settlement on the White Crag dates from over 8,000 years ago.  Fragments of early seacraft, probably coracles, have been discovered, and it is thought that they were used on the calm waters of the gentle bay beneath the Crag.  From this time onwards, the White Crag’s natural resources gave early settlers the security and confidence to come together, build homes, raise families and develop their societies. 

It looked like these early people often clashed, as there is evidence of tribes fighting all over the Crag.  It is not uncommon for fossil hunters to find arrowheads, smooth missile stones, and even the occasional axe head around Meyshore Bay and Sussen Orchelflilin

At some point one of the tribes conquered the Crag’s summit and built a palisade around their community.  You can see artists’ reconstructions of the firstly timber, and later stone, walls in the exhibition.  Behind this stood what is known as the Hill Fort, which some historians claim is an early ancestor to the White Palace.  The community that lived here thrived behind their high walls. 

This was the site of the first Mint in Farynshire.  One of the most exciting finds during the excavations was a hoard of coins from this Mint, with the earliest dating from the eighth century.  Coins struck from the Riversouth Mint were used throughout the county for hundreds of years, and finds have been unearthed as far afield as the Daggerrock Mountains, Tropsog and Cwm Purne.  The Old Mint now stands on the original site, a wonderful little tea room in the public grounds of the Palace.  One of the coins in the hoard bore the name Myrreck in an old form of Musril, and is on display in the Museum. 

The success of the Mint enriched the Myrrecks (who soon after changed their name to Meyrick), who invested their wealth in developing the community on the White Crag.  The first permanent structure was a dark castle with a round tower, and the ruins can be seen within the grounds of the White Palace.  When the early Meyricks discovered how to dig the white rock out of the Crag itself the building did not stop for hundreds of years.  The founding stone of the White Palace has not yet been discovered, but experts think it was laid under the current Wessen Tower in the early eleventh century.  From then on each Meyrick used the Palace to show off their opulence and power by adding more and more magnificent architecture.  The building projects continued until the nineteenth century whereupon the attention of the Meyricks and their vast wealth turned to industrialism.  The Palace you see today, shining bright atop the Crag, has not changed much since that time.  Meyricks have modernised the interior, and there are always ongoing maintenance projects, but you can see in old paintings and then photographs and early film that the main structure remains the same.

The City (the Meyshore Tour, Riversouth)

Today both the region (boundary markers can be found on the Crag, over the cliffs of Sussen Orchelflilin in the village of Aracely Cheth, beyond the Crag on Hewmey, and in the fields that lead to Tel-Yarridge) and the city have the same name.  Those outside of the region are usually referring to the city when they speak of Riversouth, whereas those within the boundary marks refer to the large urban area around Meyshore Bay as the city.  But before it was a city it was simply known as Meyshore, and it was the beginning of the Meyrick’s influence over the wider region. 

In the written records in the Palace Archive and Rookpot Museum Meyshore is the first place name in Farynshire that includes the mey that is now so common throughout the county.  There are signs of early settlements around the Bay, and soil analysis has revealed that many of them were burned to the ground.  It is likely that these settlements were absorbed into one, large community.

Once Meyshore had been established it grew quickly.  It is the perfect place for a community to thrive.  It sits between the ocean and the Sussen Orchelflilin, with the White Crag to the south and the rocky cliffs to the north, and the Rivers Spurtle and Darkflint end their journeys through Farynshire here, providing a plentiful and reliable supply of fresh water. 

The first town of Meyshore was planned in advance before a single stone was laid.  What would shortly become the Promenade on the shoreline was the starting point, and from here straight streets were constructed up the slopes under the cliffs, until a network of narrow roads, avenues and thoroughfares spread parallel to the Bay.  Unfortunately the plans for this new town have not been found in The Palace Archives.  There are later schematics that map the streets and parks, and it is assumed that these were copied from the lost original.  These are fascinating in and of themselves as they very clearly show, stage by stage, how Meyshore grew into Riversouth, but it would have been a true insight into an early genius to see the idea and shape of the town before it had even been built.

There are two main theories for the creation of Meyshore.  Since the Bronze Age, traders wishing to sell their wares would trek up the Crag to The White Palace.  This was where the Meyrick’s people – fishers, blacksmiths, millers, tailors, carpenters etc. – lived and worked with their families.  The community grew to large for the Palace grounds, and were re-located to their town.  Meyshore attracted more trade than the Crag had done because it was easier to get to.  The Meyrick stayed in the White Palace, overlooking the ever-expanding town of loyal citizens.

We know the exact time that Meyshore became Riversouth.  In Volume 45 of the Year One thousand and Ninety Two of the Chronicle of the Scribe, it is written (in Musril):

The Meyrick has designated the city Riversouth.

That is all there is.  It is the first time that the area is known as a city, and as soon as it received that accolade Meyrick the Lonely changed the name.  The new Grand Hall had been completed in this year: a formidable grey and white square tower at the far end of the Bay, and it is possible the name change deliberately coincided with this.  Of course, the new city was not known as Riversouth but its Musril name, Kelsussen.  Much like today, the Meyrick encouraged the use of Kelsussen, but it was the English name that took hold and became widespread.

The best way to experience the history of Riversouth is to take the Meyshore Tour.  Specifically designed for this exhibition, you will start at The White Palace so you can see the early maps of the town, and then travel down the Crag to the Promenade.  Your expert guide will show you all the historical secrets hidden all over the city.  You will need a whole day for this one, but don’t worry – there are plenty of planned teashop stops along the way, and you will finish the day by attending an elegant meal in the Grand Hall.

This is certainly not the end of the Meyrick and Riversouth’s history.  We have not even mentioned the Peoples yet …

Travels through Farynshire: Soup by the Sea

The title is not misleading, – this is a very soup-focussed entry.  If you do not care for soups, broths, pottages, bisques or chowders, feel free to skip this one!

When planning our trip we made sure that we would be in Tel-Yarridge on the second Thursday of the month so that we could take part in a tradition that can be traced back to the fifteenth century, now known as The Soup. 

Tel Yarridge is best described as pile of very large rocks that overlook a beach of dark orange sand.  Embedded in the rocks is a village.  If you were on a boat on the sea and looked toward shore it would appear as though the houses were squeezed into the nooks and crannies between the boulders, or perhaps that they were survivors of a terrible rockslide, but once you are in the rocks themselves, you can explore the hidden network of narrow streets that winds throughout the village. 

Tel-Yarridge now sits outside the Riversouth area, but it was the historical connection between the places that gave us The Soup.  The festivities are said to originate from an idea a philanthropic Meyrick who enjoyed the broths and pottages the fisherfolk of Tel-Yarridge survived on throughout the winter months while their boats remained tethered in the harbours, sheltering from the wild storms.  This Meyrick often left the White Palace to travel around Riversouth to speak to their people, and they realised how hard winter was for anyone who did not live in a palace.  These people had to pray for good harvests, and then store any surplus to see them through the cold months.  The Meyrick became fascinated by the winter dishes the people made, each area producing unique food depending on what they grew or reared in their fields and farms.  The Meyrick decided to hold an event where everybody could show off and share their winter dishes, and it would be held on the beach at Tel-Yarridge because … well, why not, I suppose?  The dishes people brought were simple so that they could be easily transported, and this usually meant they were broths, soups and pottages.

For a few years this was known as the Winter Feast, and usually took place at the end of January.  And then they became more frequent, starting in early autumn and occurring regularly until Easter. 

There is no need for such a Feast these days, of course, but rather than dying out, the event has become very popular and has been re-purposed as a celebration of the original simple food: soup.  It is now a monthly event, attracting visitors from around the world. 

You can just show up empty handed, and you can be confident that there will be many soups that you can sample, but to really enter into the spirit of the occasion you should really bring your own soup.  Or, at least, ingredients you can use to make a soup, which is what we did.

I already had numerous soup recipes on my phone, but you do not even need to be this prepared.  Tel-Yarridge is Soup Central, and they take it very seriously.

The stalls start on the outskirts of the village; lines of tables groaning under the weight of every conceivable ingredient, as well as recipes, ladles, spoons, bowls – everything you would need to make, cook and eat a soup!  We counted at least seven stalls that just sold bread: rolls, crusty cast-offs, flatbreads, baguettes.  One bakery just sold bags of croutons made from their day-old bread.  Another offered only dumplings in various sizes.

You have to have a purpose, we decided.  If you just wander in with an open mind and a curious nature you will very quickly succumb and become confused and lost.  We encountered several such poor souls, aimlessly meandering through the crowded streets, carrying bags of vegetables, bones for the stock they were convinced by some enterprising stallholder that they needed to make from scratch, four separate cooking pots, and a small bag of fish-heads.  The most tragic are those that inadvertently find their way into the Eat Streets.  They are drawn there by the delicious smells coming some the many-sized pots bubbling away on the tables of the official stalls, as well as kitchen tables outside open front doors, and on the windowsills of the terraced houses.  If you are not strong-willed (and this alone will often not save you) you can be here for hours, sampling concoctions from all over the world.  It is not uncommon to see people lying in doorways, their lips stained with tomato, too stuffed with dumplings to move.

Felix and I had already agreed on our plan: we were heading straight for the beach with our ingredients.  Nevertheless, and despite our resolute determination, the Eat Streets did delay us for an hour or so.   

Progress through the Eat Streets is hampered by people thrusting spoons full of varied coloured and interesting smelling at you as you try to walk briskly past, or trying to stuff bread into your mouth.    

I saw a lot of varieties from Farynshire Broth by Irayna Gromer (an ongoing effort to bring together all of the county’s soup-related recipes into one tome, currently on its forty-second edition), including:

  • Tiny crab brew, from up the coast in Prydferth,
  • Tropsog sludge (a thick grey gloop made from mushrooms)
  • Thorn pottages (these can be made from any thorns, and they are often sweet because they include thorns from roses and brambles)
  • You can also get root soups, which are lovely and earthy, and can be made from the roots of any vegetable though parsley roots and celeriac are big favourites.
  • Honey veg, from Over Pippleford
  • Green soup, which can be made of any combination of green vegetables or fruit.  We saw  – broccoli, carrot tops, and cabbage; cauliflower leaves, peas and kale; green pepper, green apple and rocket; and gooseberries, watercress and celery

The Eat Streets also boast soups from around the world.  Some like scotch broth, cawl cennin, and cock-a-leekie are from quite close to home, whereas others such as gumbo and kimchi have come from thousands of miles away.  Basically, you can find every kind of soup here, no matter if you prefer them sour, sweet, spicy, hot, cold or bitter.  Just don’t try all of them at once.

The Eat Streets are just above the beach, and that is where everywhere makes for, even if some get side-tracked and don’t make it.

The narrow streets end in a pile of rocks, and here the smell of the sea, open fires and cooking hit you.  There is another stall once you have clambered down the rocks, and we did make purchases at this one: two small iron cooking pots, a tripod and some firewood and kindling.

The whole beach is filled with groups of people crowded round fires, and over the fires hang the cauldrons.  We were escorted through the throng to our piece of sand, in the centre of which was a shallow ditch with a ring of stones around it. 

We made our fire and set up one of our small pots.  We were making different soups, and I helped Felix with his first.  He had chosen a thick cream soup made from scallops, haddock, milk and parsley, and he was going to garnish it with some fried onions, which he made a good attempt at in my unused pot.  I washed it out to make my soup which was a simple apple and parsnip, and I was hoping it would be thick and sweet.

It is a fantastic atmosphere on the sands.  Everyone is so closed together that you are soon chatting with your neighbours and swapping ingredients (I added a couple of chestnuts to mine at the insistence of the man at the next pot).

The best part of the whole thing is the evening as the sun sets.  We all sit on the sand and watch the sun sink below the sea, slurping on the soups we have just made ourselves (or bought in the Eat Streets), and eating warm, stale bread.

By Mabel Govitt (with special permission from Ammaceadda)

Travels through Farynshire: on the Coastal Path

Farynshire’s Coastal Path runs (as you might expect) alongside the county’s entire coastline. It is a great way to see all of Farynshire’s faces, because it runs from the wild Maw Cauldron, through the beautiful countryside, above Riversouth, and then passed the coastal villages on the wide sands, and right up to lonely Tropsog (Farynshire’s least appealing town, and not a place that will feature in these Travels). One day I will follow in the footsteps of those who have walked the entire route.

But I will have to save it for my retirement. 

We planned on walking the Path from Riversouth to the seaside resort of Tel Yarridge, via the village of Aracely Cheth.  Once at Tel-Yarridge, we could easily have strolled onwards to Tor Calon, where the rest of Felix’s ap Hullin clan live, but he insisted we swing inland up the River Spurtle and then make our way to Oes.  I’m not complaining – that will take us through some of Farynshire’s most stunning countryside, and we’ll get to Tor Calon eventually.

From Riversouth you can easily join the Path across a small bridge that sits at the base of the Zag.  There is no sign, but everyone knows that the shingle you step onto is part of the longest path in Farynshire.  The path is much more gentle than the Zag, meandering up the green sward and onto the clifftop meadows.

The cliffs are known as the Sussen Orchelflilin (rough translation: the Southern Cliffs that overlook the Ocean – but it sounds more melodic in Musril) and they rise up and away from the White Crag, a long white wall behind Riversouth, that continues beyond Meyshore Bay, and ends up sloping down to Tel-Yarridge. 

It is one of the most beautiful stretches of the Path, as it passes through the Bremey Meadows.  The Meadows are not officially a Natural Park, but they do not need to be because they fall under the protection of the Meyrick and the White Palace.  We can thank Aracely Tookley for this.  I do not think he is much known over the Daggerrock Mountains, but he is the county’s most famous poet.  You will see plaques and monuments to him in most towns and villages, because he did not call anywhere home until late in life, and he roamed Farynshire’s roads and highways, accepting hospitality where he was offered it.  The White Palace never refused him a bed, so he understandably spent quite a bit of time in Riversouth.  And he particularly enjoyed wandering in the Bremey Meadows.  His musings on the Meadows are considered some of his most exquisite verse, and his words were so powerful that they persuaded the Meyrick of the time to place the Sussen Orchelflilin under the White Palace’s protection.  Had this not happened they would no doubt now be known by the much less romantic Bremey Housing Estate. 

To be fair, anyone would want to live here, overlooking Riversouth and the wild sea beyond.  It would be glorious.  But it is even more glorious to walk through the wildflower meadows that shiver in the salty winds whipping up from the waves.  I wish we had bought a book that listed all the different kinds of flowers that grow there, but as we didn’t, all I can say is that most of them seemed to be yellow when we were there, and it was like walking through sunlight.  In the summer the meadows are full of people enjoying picnics or sunbathing or just wandering, lost in their thoughts.  There are also hikers, of course, walking determinedly along the Path, a destination in mind, map in hand, backpacks secure.  We were in no rush, so we slowed down and let the power walkers pass us by. 

There are no trees on the cliffs, not even any shrubs, and the only structures are the remains of seven round stone forts situated near the edge.  They are known as the Stones, and they have watched over Riversouth for hundreds of years.  Their true origins are lost in history, which many scholars have found strange considering the White Palace’s fastidious record-keeping.  The Lilac Beech has shelves rammed with books and pamphlets containing theories, arguments and discourse on the origins of the Stones and why they do not appear in any official records.  Some of these tomes are … fanciful, to say the least.  The one I am most convinced by (one of the core texts on the reading list for my Understanding Riversouth and its Places module) is that they were built sometime during the sixth century.  The stone the fort is made of has been dated back at least that far.  The theory also explains the lack of any records because there is a suspicion that the Meyricks in the fifth century were at war with the seafolk, and either the records were destroyed in a battle, or there was no opportunity to keep any.  The theory goes that the Stones were built as lookout stations, manned outposts that could warn the then small settlement of Kelsussen under the White Crag of an impending attack from armies from beneath the waves.

Before anyone gets too excited (like my first year seminar group did) I will point out that there is no archaeological, record of any conflict whatsoever around Riversouth.  Plenty of ancient wrecks and archaeology have been found all along Farynshire’s coastline, and especially in Meyshore Bay, but there is so sign of any war from anything that has been recovered so far. 

Although their purpose may not be specifically seafolk-related, it is likely that the Stones were built as outlook stations, even if it was only to guide ships back into the Bay’s calm waters.  Three of the Stones are now just rockeries overgrown by weeds and flowers; one has only three of its walls standing, its roof has long since caved in; and the two furthest from the White Palace are the most intact.  We went up the one called Norssenhin just because there were fewer picnickers scattered around it.

Someone has thoughtfully wound some rope around the crumbling central column that supports the spiral staircase – I’m not convinced this really makes it safe, but it’s the thought that counts. 

Once you are standing on the weathered battlements you can see the incredible panorama of Meyshore Bay, the White Crag and Riversouth, the ocean beyond, and looking back, the vast shimmering expanse of wildflowers.  You don’t even think about how it came to be there, you’re standing on top of the world, seeing the best of the world.  Of course what you’re really looking for, what everyone looks for, is a glimpse of a seafolken in the waves.  Maybe just a head or two, bobbing above the white surf, or even the flash of a tail as a mermaid dives back into the depths, or maybe possibly even the rare sight of a seafolken leaping right out of the water and performing an acrobatic marvel before disappearing into the ocean with hardly a splash.

We didn’t see any of that.  We stayed for quite a while because I was sure a seafolken would appear at any moment.  If you believe the graffiti carved into the ancient stone the sea is alive with hundreds of seafolk.  There are doodles of mermaids, the names of those who have stood where we were, and dates of seafolk sightings.  The most recent one that I could find was 2014, which gave me hope.  In the end Felix had to insist that we leave if we wanted to make our reservations in Aracely Cheth.  If we had thought about it we would have booked overnight accommodation in Riversouth and stayed on Norssenhin to watch the stars come out, and the city below come alive with illuminations.  Something else I will need to come back to Riversouth for!

By Mabel Govitt (with special permission from Ammaceadda)


Musril is not technically classed as a dead language, but its prospects do not look good.

It is Farynshire’s native language, and it has never been spoken beyond the Daggerrock Mountains in the rest of England.  Even within Farynshire’s borders it is considered a niche language: both English and Welsh are spoken more widely and are generally more prevalent in everyday life. 

Keeping it on life support are the Riversouth Scribe.  The Scribe is situated in the White Palace in the city of the Meyrick, and is a collective of Musril scholars, academics and experts.  The head of the group is also, confusingly, called the Scribe.  The Scribe’s self-defined role is to preserve, defend and promote the integrity of Musril.  Riversouth is the only place where Musril is spoken widely, although even here it is spoken as more of a patois with plenty of English and Welsh in the mix.  Schools in Riversouth teach Musril, but few students opt to carry on learning the language passed secondary school age. 

The spoken language may be on the wane, even within the county’s borders, but written Musril is more widespread, particularly in geographical names: towns, villages, and natural features such as rivers, mountains and woods.  The Scribe in Riversouth has campaigned to have Musril on all road signs in Farynshire, with mixed success.  In the area around Rookpot, English is usually the only language on a sign, unless a place name has Welsh or Musril elements (such as Wessentor or Cwm Purne).  In the mountains, Peaks and foothills all the signs are written in English and Welsh, with a smattering of Musril in Wild Wolvern Mey where Riversouth’s influence was once dominant and now lingers in place names that include the Mey element (Meyvale, Bremey, Mistymey etc.).  In Riversouth itself the signs are written in Musril, with a small English translation included on the most important and life-saving ones. 

Musril’s survival and future may lie in a surprising place.  One of the most interesting revelations that has come from the re-emergence of the wolvern is the confirmation that Musril is spoken by the other Peoples. It appears that Musril is the only language spoken by the wolvern, and it has enabled clear communications between the Bloon Peaks Clan and the expeditions sent from Rookpot to learn about them. The expeditions have brought back many wonderful and intriguing objects (many on display in Rookpot Museum’s Cold Earth Exhibition), and these have included fascinating examples of wolvern Musril writings.

This revelation has had a dramatic impact on the Scribe.  They have believed themselves to be the guardians of the purest form of Musril, forever battling the corrupting influences of the foreign invaders, English and Welsh.  Mischievous and provocative academics in Rookpot University have pointed out that the wolvern version of Musril must be more pure, because it is completely uncontaminated by other languages.  To their credit, once they had gotten over their initial indignation, the Scribe’s curiosity took over, and they sent representatives to join the Museum expeditions to the wolvern clans in the Bloon Peaks both as translators and in order to learn about the wolvern Musril.

There has not yet been conformation that the foresteens or seafolk speak Musril, but Diggers from Rookpot Museum, and academics from Rookpot University, are engaged in research projects to investigate this further.  The implications of the research are very exciting: Musril could be the common language between the Peoples, and it could be the key in reaching out to establish good relations.  It also raises questions, the main one being how can the Peoples speak the same language?

Travels through Farynshire: The White Crag

I suspect that the White Crag is the reason there are so many poets in Riversouth; it has been said that the sight of it stirs the soul.  I’m not a poet, but even I can see that it is beautiful.  It looks like a giant wave, rising up over Meyshore Bay, jutting out into the sea that crashes into the rocks at the bottom of the hundred foot chalk-face.  The White Palace sits right at the top of this cliff, gleaming white but presumably not made out of chalk.  Its gardens sweep back down the slopes of the Crag, and some of these are open to the public.

The Zag starts at the end of the Promenade, winding its steep way up the Crag.  When you start off it’s not too bad: just a nice pleasant slope that’s quite wide and dusty, and there are a few benches on the grass verges where you can sit to watch the sea.  But then the path becomes narrower and steeper as it cuts through head-high gorse bushes.  We had a couple of unpleasant moments in the gorse as we stood aside to let people coming down the Zag passed.  The gorse ends quite abruptly, and it’s best to be prepared when it does, because you are suddenly at the edge of the cliff.

I had not realised how far we had climbed through the gorse, but suddenly we were in a blustering sea breeze, and the open ocean stretched to the horizon in front of us.  When we looked back toward Riversouth, I could not believe how small everything was; the Ferris wheel on the Promenade looked like a toy.  That at least gave me something to focus on, a distraction from the unexpected drop that just opens up right in front of you.  Well, that’s what it feels like anyway.  You don’t actually fall, but I wonder how many did before the inadequate “fence” was put up – a fence that consisted of three parallel wires that would not bear the weight of a falling cushion.

The path twists sharply along the cliff edge, and although it feels precarious walking so close to the brink, you can cling to the wall of grass on your other side.

The path hugs the side of the cliff as it winds its way up the Crag.  It widens out at certain points, and there are benches where you can rest and take in the view.  My favourite part of the Zag is a wildflower rockery where delicate pink and purple flowers grow out of  an old rockfall, carpeting the boulders in delicate blooms.  It looks like someone’s garden, but apparently it is completely natural.

The Zag is a good place to birdwatch, and there are always a few brave souls stationed at various vantage points, usually right on the edge of the cliff, their cameras pointing at the sky.  We heard the screeching of the gulls and kittiwakes from the colonies on the cliff walls, and saw birds hanging in the wind over the waves.

When the path starts to wind away from the cliff edge you know you’re reaching the top – well, as close to the top as the Meyrick will allow the public to get.

The path opens up, there are fewer rocks and wild flowers, and then the first cottages appear.  There is a small village just outside the Palace gates that house whatever support staff the Meyrick needs that do not live in the Palace grounds.  At least, that was their original purpose, but these days one of them is a pub, another a souvenir shop, and the tea shop used to be where the stablehands once lived.

The Ice Parlour is the first place anyone who has climbed the Zag goes too.  Its tiny courtyard sits opposite the Tall Gates, the gold-tipped, white iron gates set in the wall that circumvents the Palace Grounds, protecting the Meyrick from their people.  Every morning the blast of a horn wakes the entire city and signals the opening of the Tall Gates to let tourists wander into the public areas of the Grounds.  We watched the comings and goings whilst sipping on our ice-cream, which is the only way to consume frothcream, Riversouth’s own ice-cream.  It really is the lightest, frothiest ice-cream ever, with a hint of salt in every flavour.  Felix used a straw to devour his pink froth, whereas I was able to drink my blue holly sparkle after it quickly melted under the summer sun.

There is a face in the Tall Gates’ intricately wrought white iron, the smiling face of the Meyrick who opened the gardens to the public, Meyrick the Goodly.  There are debates as to whether she opened the gates due to her generosity and love for her people, or whether it was a more cynical move to silence the anti-Meyrick factions in Riversouth.  It certainly achieved the latter (for a while), and earned her the epithet of Goodly.

The Palace Grounds are immaculate.  There are no “Do Not Walk On The Grass” signs because nobody would dare tread upon the perfect lawns.  The borders are a riot of colour, each divided into regimented solid blocks of one colour, and there is a small plaque beside each one explaining what kinds of flowers it contains.  There is not a weed in sight nor a stone out of place.  The borders lead to the Parade Lawn, a sunken field used for the many ceremonies and events.  Surrounding the field are life-size statues of past Meyricks who supported the local arts in their lifetime.  I think the sculptors were going for dramatic or contemplative for the poses they chose for their illustrious subjects, but Felix thought that Meyrick the Seventh Tall’s expression conveyed that he could permanently smell his own farts.

There are two permanent exhibitions in the Great Sussen Hall, a Gothic building with Meyrick-faced gargoyles looking down from every gutter.

The Scribe of Riversouth is a must-see for any student of Musril (Ammacaedda edit: more info on Musril here).  The Scribe (there is actually one person who carries the title of Scribe, but The Scribe also refers to a whole department of scholars and academics) is seen as the guardian of Farynshire’s language, Musril.  The exhibition contains documents from around the county that show off how widespread the language is, with exhibits ranging from legal documents from Rookpot, diaries from Riversouthern fishermen, elaborate scripture written at the command of Meyricks by past Scribes, to modern road signs.  I think I’ll be spending a lot of time here in my final year, sifting through the documents in the Scribe’s archives.  I haven’t quite decided on my dissertation topic yet, but I know it’s going to revolve around Musril.

The second exhibition is the more popular one because it focuses on the Meyrick.  It is quite a good broad history of the Meyrick, an unbroken line that has lasted for over a thousand years in the White Palace, and who knows how many centuries before that.  A portrait of the current Meyrick welcomes you in, and as you pass the information board the tour guide or pre-recording explains the current duties and expectations of the incumbent.  But most people hurry passed this to the best bit of the exhibition: Nick-Namer’s Corner.

The Nick-Namer is an official and very serious role, for they bestow the epithet upon each Meyrick.  Before the Nick-Namer role it was left to popular opinion to bestow an appellation upon a Meyrick, which is how we ended up with five Meyrick the Shorts, nine Talls, fifteen Goods and three Fleshy-Lips.  But if the Meyrick thought that an official appointment might result in fewer embarrassing epithets they were sadly mistaken.  I particularly enjoy the Nick-Namers who employed a theme, which have resulted in successive Meyricks being named after garden tools (the Spade, the Planter, and the Shears), the condition of their hair (the Balded, the Curly, Bush-head, and Silky-locks), and virtues (the Noble, the Fair, the Magnificent, and the True).  The epithet rarely describes the attributes of the wearer, they are just a useful way of distinguishing between Meyricks.

Everything beyond the Great Sussen Hall is private land that only those who live in the White Palace can enjoy.  You can glimpse the back of the White Palace through the always-closed, ivy-covered gate that blocks your way, but that is as close as you can get.

There is a lovely walk back to the Tall Gates along a low wall right on the edge of the cliff.  The views over the ocean, the still and glittering waters of Meyshore Bay, and the pristine city of Riversouth, are breath-taking.  If you wait long enough you will see dolphins leaping from the waves.  And some believe that if you wait for a really long time you will see seafolk.

When we passed back through the Tall Gates, we got the bus back down the Crag to Riversouth.

By Mabel Govitt (with special permission from Ammaceadda)

Travels through Farynshire: The Silver Loop

I always feel like I have to be on my best behaviour in Riversouth.  It feels like the people really love their city, and put huge effort into caring for it.  The streets are scrubbed clean and free of rubbish, and baskets of bright flowers hang from every lamppost.  Each house is white-washed and has a different colour roof from its neighbours.  If we had had enough money, we would have taken one of the popular balloon rides over the city and look down on the colour and crowds.  It takes pride in being a welcoming place to visit, and this goes back to the Victorian era when the new railway brought the rest of Farynshire to the seaside for their summer holidays.

I should probably explain a bit about the Meyrick for those of you who don’t live in Farynshire, because there is no Riversouth without the Meyrick.

Riversouth is not a separate city state or anything, but the Meyrick exerts an authority unlike anyone else in Farynshire (even Rookpot Council has to share powers amongst the elected Councillors).  I suppose the Meyrick’s position could be likened to the mayors in some English cities and regions, except that the Meyrick is an unelected, hereditary, lifelong role, so it’s also reminiscent of royalty – especially with the palace.  The White Palace sits high above the city on the White Crag at the southern end of Meyshore Bay, looking out over the ocean.  Meyricks have epitaphs like royalty too, in order to make biographers’ live easier.  They started out with numbers, but got bored around the time of Meyrick CXXIII.  His daughter was known as the Unnumbered, and thereafter an official Nick-Namer was appointed to devise a more imaginative designation system, with decidedly mixed results.

Both Felix and I had been to Riversouth many times before, but as this was our Grand Tour where we had given ourselves licence to act like tourists, so we decided to follow the advice in Meyricks, Musril and Mermaids and ride the Silver Loop.  This is the tram route through and around the city, and it’s the best way to get a flavour of Riversouth in one day.  There are four silver trams that follow each other on a continuous circuit.  You can get on anywhere, but the circuit’s official starting point is the Meygrace Gate at the entrance to the city, and your day ticket allows to you to hop on and off as many times as you like.  Each tram is named for a past Meyrick, and has a plaque on the side with its name and a unique design; the Sea-Rider, the Goodly and the Sabre were already en route, so we jumped on the Curly.

The plaque on the tram depicted a face with a broad grin and red cheeks, framed with black, bushy curls, so I assume that Meyrick the Curly’s only notable achievement was his magnificent hair.

The Meygrace Gate is a formidable wrought-iron structure that looms over the pedestrinised area.  Once through the gate, the tram moves downhill through the Sussenparaw Park, the largest park in a city with many.  In early summer the extensive gardens are filled with roses.  From the moving tram we could see bright reds, delicate violets, rich yellows, bright and soft pinks, and blazing oranges.  The rich, sweet scent from the sculpted trees wafted in through the open windows, making everyone smile.

We left the park via the Old Market Bridge – a wide arched bridge that does not look like it was made for trams, but we rattled across with ease.  Riversouth has quite a few bridges, spanning the two rivers that run through it on their way to the sea.  The River Spurtle is the source of the the city’s fresh water, that you can collect from every fountain and water pipe; we had re-filled our water bottles at the pipe by the Meygrace Gate.  Rookpot’s own river, the Darkflint, also ends up here in Riversouth, though it is much slower down here by the coast than it is in the capital’s gorge (where those who enjoy such things go white water rafting, and often get out alive).

We emerged on to the Promenade via one of the streets between the Victorian terraces.  This is where the guest houses are situated.  We dumped our bags in the blue-washed Waves View and went to explore.

The tree-lined Promenade follows the long curve of Meyshore Bay, starting at the foot of the White Crag, and finishing up by the rocky point that stuck out into the sea at the lonely end of the Bay.  In-between the terraces and the beach there are well-tended gardens, amusement parks and a creaky Victorian fairground.  The shops and boutiques are full of every kind of souvenir, from tacky niknaks through to unique local artworks.  We hopped off opposite the fairground to buy some sticks of rock, before jumping back on the next tram, the Goodly, to take the short trip to the pier.

Riversouth is a very different place in the summer months compared to other times of the year.  This is the time when tourists descend upon the city, packing the streets, the beaches and the pier.  The fairground and the amusement rides are full of families, and the screams from the rollercoasters mingle with the cries from the resident gulls that have grown to monstrous sizes thanks to their addiction to chips, ice-cream and candyfloss.  If you want to see another side to the city, visit in autumn when the tourist attractions are closed and you can often be the only person on the Promenade and visit the lonely, windswept beaches outside of the city.

But you do have to come during the summer months if you want to step on the pier, as it is only open between May and September.  According to Meyricks, Musril and Mermaids Riversouth has two piers, but this is really only technically true.

The Long Pier is one and a half miles long and extends out into the sea at the end of the Promenade farthest from the White Palace.  It has two Victorian pavilions that host numerous shows, cabarets, and other entertainment morning, noon and night during the summer season.  The performances often spill out on to the pier with no prior warning, and audience participation is compulsory – you have been warned.  We got off the tram here, but just admired it from afar.

The Siren Pier sits under the White Crag, and is nothing more than a few rotten timbers that are barely visible above the water when the tide is in, and look like the skeleton of a long-dead creature from the depths when it is out.  There are persistent rumours that it is the remains of a seafolken, but researchers from Rookpot Museum have carried out extensive tests, and it is definitely made from wood (so maybe it’s the remains of a foresteen?  Don’t worry: it’s not).  There are many stories connecting the pier to seafolk: maybe it was a place where bygone Meyricks watched or even spoke with seafolk when they frequented Meyshore Bay, maybe mermaids sat on it to comb their long, blonde hair and sing seductively to sailors.  If they had ever indulged in such well-worn clichés, they don’t any more, as no seafolken has been seen in the Bay within living memory.

It was a day for ice-cream, so we each bought one to eat as we strolled close to the beach, where there were plenty of people sunbathing or playing on the warm sands.  Swimmers, paddlers and inflated toys bobbed close to shore, and further out there were dinghies and small boats on the calm Bay waters.  Beyond the White Crag, in the rougher waters outside of the protected Bay, we caught an occasional glimpse of a larger ship on its way to Sylnmouth further down the coast.  My favourite Meyrick has a statue overlooking the water.  There are numerous statues of past Meyricks striking various dramatic poses on top of plinths or in the middle of gardens throughout the city.  Meyrick the Old became Meyrick at the age of seventy-five, and during her three years on the job, the most important thing she did was to introduce a decree which stated that all dolphins, seals, sharks and whales have right of way in Meyshore Bay.  The decree lasts to this day, and it is not uncommon to see a queue of luxury yachts waiting outside the marinas under the White Crag as a seal passes by.  Her statue sits just above the beach, a permanent smile on her bronze face.

There is something about sea air that makes me hungry, so once we had finished the ice cream, we bought fish and chips from a small stall called Poss and Bucket (poss being Musril for fish; bucket being … a bucket) and made our way to the foot of the White Crag.  There is a bus service to the top, but Felix decided that we should walk up the Zag – the road that winds its way up the vertical cliff, to really appreciate … something – presumably how unfit we were.  At least the chips would keep me going.

By Mabel Govitt (with special permission from Ammaceadda)