We’ve visited Roald Dahl’s Museum at Aylesbury since the children were little and love it every time. There were 5 inconspicuous, yet interesting, facts about Roald Dahl, all to do with bamboo canes. Each one resonates with the theme of bamboo and grabbed my attention. I took photos of them and thought I should share them with you.
1. The BFG’s Dream blower
Did you know that Roald Dahl’s idea for the dream blower started with a bamboo cane?
In his book ‘The BFG’, the giant blows dreams into children’s bedrooms using the dream blower’s trumpet.
In reality, that was what Roald Dahl did when his daughters were little – he used bamboo canes to blow dreams into their rooms.
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Extract from Roald Dahl Museum flyer, 2022
‘He would prop a ladder against the side of his house and climb up to the bedroom window as his children were sleeping, push a bamboo cane through the window, pretending to be the BFG, blowing dreams into his daughters’ bedroom.
2. Roald Dahl’s walking stick
Many of the objects used in his book were his personal collections. They have the same shapes and descriptions. Some of them are on display at the Roald Dahl’s Museum at Aylesbury, including his cane walking stick.
3. Bamboo sticks for runner beans
Roald Dahl loved gardening. Some of his work evolved around it.
The image showed him in the midst of his garden where he used bamboo canes to support the runner beans.
4. Bamboo sticks for pot plants
Today, if you visit the Roald Dahl Museum in Aylesbury, you’ll bamboo sticks in the pots.
This picture shows plants in pots supported with bamboo sticks at the museum.
Bamboo facts: Bamboo sticks are great for runner beans and supporting pots plants in the garden. The sticks are strong and durable, they can support a whole variety of garden plants. Many of the running and clumping bamboos growing in the UK are best for use in the gardens.
5. Bamboo ‘punishment’ cane
In his autobiography, Boy, Roald Dahl tells about his childhood at Repton boarding school.
He recalled that the headmaster would use a bamboo cane to flog misbehaving children.
Extract from the Boy – Tales of Childhood
‘…the headmaster sometimes used a cane made of bamboo to punish children who broke school rules. Bamboo is a light, flexible wood. When it hits people, it can feel like a whip.’
Facts about Roald Dahl
There are more than 5 facts about Roald Dahl, but the ones stated above are specific to bamboo canes and how he used them in different ways in his stories.
We appreciate Roald Dahl as one of the most celebrated children’s authors of all time. He was known for his quirky and offbeat stories, which often featured unexpected plot twists and memorable characters.
One of Dahl’s most famous books was “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, which was made into a movie starring Gene Wilder.
Dahl wrote the popular book “The BFG”, about a friendly giant who captures and protects children from evil giants, which was also made into an adventure fantasy movie in 2016, directed by Steven Spielberg.
His autobiography, Boy, is a true story of his childhood.
Also, ‘The Twits’ is about the memorable characters, Mr and Mrs Twit.
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Mrs Twit’s walking stick
When ask about her walking stick, Mrs Twit said she had a mole on her left foot and needed it. But, in fact, ‘she used it to hit the cats, dogs and small children‘ she encountered on her outings.
Extract from ‘The Twits’
In her right hand, she carried a walking stick. She used to tell people that this was because she had warts growing on the sole of her left foot and walking was painful. But the real reason she carried a stick was so that she could hit things with it, things like dogs and cats and small children.
In another twist, Mr Twit took revenge on Mrs Twit for feeding him earthworms and spaghetti. He glued a tiny piece of wood to the bottom of Mrs Twit’s walking stick every night.
The change was inconspicuous, but gradually, Mrs Twit’s walking stick was getting longer and longer.
Roald Dahl’s Bamboo Inspiration
In ‘The BFG’, Roald Dahl featured the bamboo canes that he used to blow dreams into his daughters’ bedroom.
Also, Mrs Twit’s cane walking stick resonates with his own.
His other personal items that made it into his books include the following.
- His pair of sandals became the BFG’s sandals.
- The bamboo cane became the dream blower’s trumpet in ‘The BFG’.
- His cane walking stick became Mrs Twit’s walking stick in his other book ‘The Twits’.
All in all, Roald Dahl uses bamboo canes in inconspicuous, but exciting ways, to bring stories alive. He was a master storyteller. You can see his work and learn the facts about Roald Dahl at the Roald Dahl Museum in Aylesbury.