It was with some slight trepidation that I decided to join the CCS gathering at Marton in 2008.
I wondered whether my limited knowledge of James Cook would make me feel out of place and if my wife, Jean, who is not a Cook follower, would fit in or be bored to tears. Anyway, we made our way north east on what is a relatively short journey to Marton, calling at Great Ayton on the way and just missing Alwyn Peel at the Captain Cook Schoolroom Museum. Then up to the Blue Bell Lodge Hotel, which was easy to find.
My fears were immediately quashed. From the word "go" the early arrivals made me feel so welcome it was as if we had known each other for years. Everyone was so friendly and helpful. The pleasing thing was at last meeting Cliff Thornton, Alwyn and Ian Boreham for the first time. When Alwyn eventually managed to sort out his bag of name tags, everything was "plain sailing". After a good meal and a few drinks in the evening we all got around to exchanging ideas and interesting bits and pieces which had been brought. It was really nice to meet some German members and one from the USA.
Saturday morning brought a short journey to the Captain Cook Birthplace Museum where the Endeavour Room was absolutely full of people awaiting the day's presentations. After Cliff's welcome we settled down to Andrew Lambert's first-rate discourse on "Hard Tack, sauerkraut and pneumonia: adventures in the wake of Cook".
Then Ruth Boreham gave a really informative talk on Ednam in the 17th and 18th centuries, raising some interesting questions that her research had revealed. I really enjoyed this one.
During lunchtime we were free to make a trip round the museum. As usual the displays were excellent. There is always something new to see. Well done all those responsible.
The afternoon session followed with Vanessa Collingridge giving us a relaxed and informative revelation into the making of her film on Cook. It had been shown in the UK a few weeks beforehand.
She was followed by Ian Stubbs, who gave us a pictorial view of the different faces of Cook, whether on paintings, stamps, etc.
Unfortunately time ran out before Dan O'Sullivan could give his presentation so I look forward to hearing it next year.
Returning to the hotel, we were able to view many auction lots. These were sold with a great deal of flair by Harry Ward, ably assisted by Mike Surr. Naturally, Mike Read the treasurer was in charge of collecting our money. After a formal dinner we were able to exchange views again and enjoy the hotel's hospitality.
Unfortunately for us, on Sunday Jean and I had to leave early for home to attend an annual family gathering, so we were unable to join other members in touring the Captain Cook sites around the area.
We had a great weekend and it is already pencilled in for 2009. Any CCS member unsure of attending, make a note to try and make it this year. You will have a great time, whether you are a serious Cookie fan or not. New friends can be made, views and ideas and information freely exchanged. We are certainly looking forward to renewing acquaintances.
Photos by Ian Boreham, Alwyn Peel and Robin Stenhouse
Originally published in Cook's Log, page 46, volume 32, number 1 (2009).
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