Today OAP Percival Angstrom was welcomed back to Glastonbury Tor at a reception arranged by Chief Gatekeeper Titania Bonham-Smythe. This followed his dramatic airlift in January when he was discovered unconscious in St. Michael’s Tower.
Angstrom was presented with a basket of new age products from the National Trust gift shop at the tor, including a delightful selection of lentil tea and Hobgoblin Marmalade.
But the highlight of the event was when the plucky pensioner was given the Vortex Award – a special cut-glass trophy in the shape of St. Michael’s Tower inscribed with his name. It means he joins a very prestigious club that only has eight other members.
Bonham-Smythe explained; “We have now deployed each of the thousand hand-painted signs we received as part of the annual shipment from head office. When Mr. Angstrom visited the tor last month there were still some signs that were not in their correct place, and the particular No Entry sign he encountered on the wrong side of the main door to the tower almost caused him to come a cropper. The St. Michael’s vortex is something that members of the public shouldn’t be too concerned about though. It is very rare, and usually there is a member of staff on hand to step in and help using the special anti-vortex equipment.”
Before leaving the Tor, Mr. Angstrom was shown the display Making Toast Through The Ages that was installed in St. Michael’s Tower as part of the cleanup operation following his vortex. Unfortunately the event was cut short when a slice of toast became wedged in a Toastmatic 4000, setting off the smoke alarm.
A new display Making Toast Through The Ages opened today in St. Michael’s Tower on Glastonbury Tor. This follows the cleanup operation that was necessary following the recent no entry vortex encountered by Percival Angstrom.
This fascinating display charts the development of toast since medieval times. Delicious toasted wholemeal bread has always been part of Glastonbury’s history – indeed it appears in the town’s coat of arms. The Domesday Book refers to the toasted sustenance that pilgrims enjoyed in the town of Glastonbury before making the final barefoot ascent to the tor summit. Visitors to the display learn that no mention is made of butter or marmalade in those early times – these innovations were to arrive in the early fourteenth century during Edward II’s reign.
Sponsored by Breville, the display includes a variety of gas and electrical toasters that have been used since 1912.
The most compelling part of the display is the lecture in one corner of St. Michael’s Tower by Uther Henge, the top mystical consultant at the National Trust who leaves his duties at the gift shop twice a day to fascinate visitors.
The lecture titled Toast, the Tor, Past Present and Future leads visitors through the historical artefacts on display, and includes advice on modern toast-making techniques. For example, visitors are taught the “double-insertion method”, in which they learn how to set the intensity level for their toaster to half its normal value, and flip their toast half way through the process, leading to an incredibly evenly browned surface.
Such techniques are not necessary when using the Breville Toastmatic 4000 which uses modern technology to dynamically brown the surface of bread and deliver a perfect slice of toast every time. This is one of the models of toaster available in the gift shop as you leave the tor.
Uther Henge commented “Obviously safety is first and foremost for us. When they enter the display area we issue visitors with safety goggles so that there is no risk of toast popping out of toasters and causing an injury. We also confiscate any knives we find during our routine search because there have been incidents where people have inserted them into the display toasters to try and remove bread that gets stuck.”
Following the dramatic rescue of pensioner Percival Angstrom yesterday morning, staff at the National Trust gift shop at Glastonbury Tor were surprised to learn today that they have been landed with a huge bill.
Rushing to their defence the Glastonbury Pilgrims Union have pledged to boycott the Air Sea Rescue service until agreement is given that the Trust doesn’t have to pay.
Hundreds of members of the Glastonbury Pilgrims Union have climbed the tor barefoot every week since ancient times, so it was natural they should be the first to hear about the unwanted bill. Because they are such an active and close-knit community they were able to arrange an extraordinary union meeting in Glastonbury town hall and quickly agreed a motion to boycott.
Keen to get an explanation we called the Air Sea Rescue service and were patched straight through to Pilot Officer Graham Gillespie who was flying high over the nearby Bristol Channel; “This is the fifth airlift we have performed on Glastonbury Tor this year and we have decided enough is enough. Glastonbury is so far inland that other users of our service are suffering. Every time the National Trust call us out to rescue someone from the tor we are putting sailors lives at risk. By the way, I would like to thank the lovely Titania Bonham-Smythe because she packed us off with a tasty jar of Hobgoblin Marmalade from the gift shop yesterday when we picked up Mr. Angstrom.”