Tuesday, 10 July 2012

The Melton Stay-cation

You'd be forgiven for thinking there's nothing else to Melton Mowbray but pork pies. I've spent 29 years believing the same. So, having escaped for a week and having no cash to splash on an adventure or a holiday, I thought I'd have a look at what else, if anything, my home town has to offer.

Melton Carnegie Museum

I live a short walk from the Melton Carnegie Museum and yet I haven't set foot inside it since a primary school trip some time in the early '90s. The fact that it's free to have a mooch around made it a good place to start, but it also houses Melton's second most well-known item - a taxidermied two-headed calf. Although admittedly this may just be a locally known thing.

Melton Carnegie Museum used to be a library 
back in the old days. Fact.

The two-headed calf

Born in Braunston, Rutland, around 1900, these female twin calves lived for just a few hours. They were taximdermied by the vet that delivered them and put on display in his practice in Melton, later putting in appearances at the cattle market, where the public would pay to have a gawp at the two-headed freak show.

I remember seeing this exhibit as a child, but it's funny how your imagination can warp memories over the years. The two-headed calf I thought I remembered was smaller and posed differently, but then I have been to Ripley's Believe It Or Not and they have a fair amount of animals with extra heads and limbs there, so this may have skewered my memory slightly.

Melton's two-headed calf.
I named them Bessie and Buttercup in my head.

Other stuff of note

Cheese. Stilton cheese to be precise. Melton's Tuxford and Tebbutt is one of only five cheese producers in the world that make Blue Stilton. I've never eaten any though because it smells worse than my feet and looks a little like a fat lady's veiny legs. Umm. But you go ahead and indulge.

 Stilton cheese making stuff

Stilton inspired hat that isn't made of real cheese
because that would be silly. And smelly.

A photo of the 1922 Melton flood makes me
think we've only had a little rain in comparison this summer
This game kept me entertained for ages.
You have to stamp on all the clouds to turn them into sunshine.
If you do really well you also get a rainbow.
It's the simple things in life.

Dan looks smug here because he just won at dominoes.
I'm taking the photo while also sticking two fingers up at him.

The phrase 'painting the town red' was coined in Melton.
Oh yes.

Melton Country Park

Stepping out of the museum, we was shocked to discover it wasn't raining, so a trip to the park to feed the ducks and have a walk seemed like a good idea.

Attempting a pull-up.
I'm going to blatantly lie here and say I just did the 20
because I didn't want to show off too much.

I'm also going to lie here and say Dan didn't manage any
 at all, because I'm very competitive and don't
 like to lose at things. Especially to boys.

Feeding the ducks.
Note how they've started creeping up the bank.

That awkward moment when you run out of bread and
the ducks start chasing you...

Trying to make a getaway while feeling a little
like the piped piper.
Even after this pic was taken they carried
 on following us.


On his hometown of Blackwood, Richey James of the Manic Street Preachers, once remarked: "If you built a museum to represent Blackwood, all you could put in it would be shit... rubble and shit."

When I was younger, I thought this could easily describe my hometown, where nothing ever happened and there was never anything to do. I'm a little more forgiving nowadays and have grown thankful over the years that I didn't grow up in a city, but I do often wish there was more to do here that doesn't involve gambling or perusing charity shops.

Having said that, I don't think I fully appreciate what there is here - I hadn't been to that museum in about 20 years and probably visit the park about once a year. So I think next time I feel the urge to bad mouth my home town for being a little on the dull side, I'll bite my tongue and think of all the things it has to offer that I don't fully appreciate.


  1. That two-headed calf is pretty creepy. At least you have something in your hometown. My hometown is out in farm country and all that's out there is a church, a general store, and a hardware store. Back in the day when things were really thriving there were two gas stations too, but those closed down when the owners got too old and really no one bothered to go there for gas very often.

    1. Oh no, how do you survive that?? I thought Melton was pretty boring, but that sounds awful. Maybe you could start a dirt museum or something?

      I'm interested to know whether you still live there or if you managed to escape? I'm still trying to escape.