Robert Hall - Chinese Snuff Bottles

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Irish Mist

In 1987, the Snuff Bottle Society Convention was being held in London. As a side trip, we had organized a day trip to Dublin for the whole society. A Boeing 737 had been chartered to take our group of collectors and scholars especially to view the Chester Beattie Collection, then little heard of, and it was with great excitement that the details were planned with the Museum to accommodate us.

The evening before the appointed date there were fierce winds and the possibility of a stormy evening. What we were not to know was that the storms turned into some of the worst hurricanes London and England had known. I clearly remember standing on the roof of my house in London, with my wife, Lindsey, and being blown around wildly as we tried to keep secure the scaffolding and fabric of the temporary structure on our house. We could see trees opposite, waving madly and looking as if at any moment they would crash down onto our home.

We survived the night, but the news was clear - we had experienced a hurricane. Early in the morning of October 16th we drove to the Carlton Towers Hotel in Knightsbridge to meet the Snuff Bottle Society members who were huddled on chairs in the lobby. On our way through Hyde Park we had been some of the first Londoners to witness the many beautiful ancient trees that had been torn from their roots and were lying down in a resigned but graceful manner. What a scene!

Sadly, we never did make it to Dublin, as all flights were grounded. But good comes from bad, and we, the London committee members, have worked hard not to let it rest. And at last here we are in Dublin for our convention!

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