Author Archives: Beryl Maughan Hankin

About Beryl Maughan Hankin

Guru is an independent fair trade boutique that has been active since 1972 in Darlington, UK. I work there with my best friends Tony and Colin. In addition to my other duties, I manage social media for the shop and spin-off activities and for myself. Growing up back in the 1940s I never could have imagined such a thing as being able to communicate with people all over the world via the internet but here we are doing just that. To quote Jerry Garcia of The Grateful Dead, "What a long strange trip this has been" - and for us at least, it's not over yet! #gurutribeforever

Beryl’s blog – Not sure how this will work out, so wish me luck!


I’m currently trying to add a second blog (for my own use) to the one I already manage for Guru Boutique. It’s driving me even more bonkers than I already am. Fortunately, I have a brilliant friend who with a bit of luck might help me to get it up and running.

This second blog will deal with things I personally find to be important,  interesting, enlightening, worthwhile, beautiful or amusing.

In it, I hope to include a few of my own (and other people’s) scribbles, sketches, songs and snaps. I also hope to link it to Guru’s little publishing and events sideline and include some of those things and also include posts about the arts, personal history, the importance of our sense of place and society in general.

I’ve called it Honesty (hence the header image showing the old fashioned plant of that name). If I do get this personal blog going I’d love a few friends to join it and follow its progress. Here’s the link just in case you want to take me up on that…




Guru’s Giggles: Loofah


A parcel arrived at Guru Boutique addressed to Beryl. Colin, one of the Guru lads asked her, “What’s in it?” “A loofah,” she told him. “Ah, right,” he said, “Isn’t Idris Elba in that?”

Just so no one gets caught up in this confusion, there are two images below. One is of Beryl’s LOOFAH. The other one is of Luther (played by Idris Elba).

It could only happen in Guru Boutique. 



Vernon (master of pies and so much more)


Three years ago today, we sadly had to say our last goodbyes to this amazing man and true friend, Vernon Levy. I may add more about him one day (as there is so much to add), but right now I just want to say how much all of us at Guru miss him. He was a true friend and a great teacher to so many. We (and I suspect all who had the pleasure of meeting him), think of him often and always will.

Memory Lane: Lucky


The picture below is admittedly a bit cheesy but it puts me in mind of the wonderful bond I had with my best doggie friend, Lucky. He was a rescue dog and in a bit of a state when I first met him. I sat on the floor and put my arm around him (just as the girl in the image is doing), and that was it… We bonded and I just knew he and I were going to be friends for life. Due to his paws being in a terrible mess (from trying to tunnel his way out of the filthy locked pen where he had been kept with several other quite aggressive dogs), I had to carry him most of the way to the vets. That was no mean feat (as he was an Alsatian cross and quite large), but it was worth it as they fixed him up and he was soon physically on the mend. Mentally he took longer to heal. He never even barked for almost two years and would cower if anyone so much as raised a hand or rolled a newspaper up in his presence. Eventually, he learned to trust us and became the most lively loving dog one could imagine. We shared our lives for over fourteen happy years. I used to say he was a dog with a split personality as, because of his ordeal, when he was out on the lead he got extremely agitated when he saw other dogs – BUT when we were walking alone or when he was at home, he was nothing short of an angel and a truly fabulous member of our family.


Stunning Crystals & Minerals


I’m inclined to drool over some of the stunning examples of natural crystals that we stock and so I’m sharing some of them here so that our friends can see what I mean. What a wonderful artist Mother Nature is. I think she is beyond compare… The image speaks for itself but if anyone needs some more information just add your comments or questions to this entry in our blog…


Some larger pieces of crystals, mineral and agate slices which were in Guru Boutique a few days ago at the time this snap was taken. I don’t think it will be long before some of them have gone to new homes so if you get the chance pop down to have a look for yourself. The rainbow light was sourced from Kelly’s Smellies, a lovely Facebook shop.



Guru’s Giggles: Crystal gazing…


We once had a lovely Saturday girl named Caroline. One day a lady came in and announced she was a clairvoyant and could she look at our crystal balls. Caroline showed her to the glass cabinet where they were on display and the lady took them out one by one and carefully handled each in turn before suddenly crying out, “This, this is the one!” Then turning to Caroline she continued, “look carefully dear, and tell me if you can you see something in this crystal?” Caroline stared into it for a while and then declared, “Yes, I can.” Delightedly the lady asked, “What can you see?” Our honest girl replied, “I can see your shopping. It’s down there by your feet!!!”



Wonderful Whitby on Easter Bank Holiday…


Well, it was definitely not busy with shoppers in our lovely Darlington today but, who can blame people for bypassing towns for once and getting away from it all for the Easter Bank Holiday. There is one local town that bucked the trend, though. Just look at Whitby in the photo that goes with this post!
I can totally understand the attraction of that place. So many interesting features to find out about and explore. It’s a real gem on the North Yorkshire coast. The place where Captain Cook the great explorer served his apprenticeship, the spiritual home of the good ship Endeavour. Famous whaling port in the days when that was a huge industry (although I don’t really dwell on that). The Dracula/Bram Stoker connection, the 199 steps. Whitby Abbey, the place where the great Synod of Whitby took place and holy men from all over the world travelled great distances over long lengths of time to converge there in order to form the laws of Christianity. Whitby jet (made famous by Queen Victoria when she insisted on it for her mourning jewellery after the death of her beloved Albert). A history of smugglers and smuggling. Folk festivals. Regattas. Home to Sutcliffe, a pioneering photographer. Scenic views, fine harbour, beaches, pier, the setting for many movies and TV series. Museums, the world-renowned Goth Festivals, fabulous fish’n’chips, olde worlde taverns, interesting shops, amusement galleries, lots to see and do on a great day, or longer, out and I’m sure there is more. No wonder it’s a popular destination, no wonder it is so successful and no wonder we all love it so much.