Never, in a million years, did I believe that there would ever be gnomes in any garden of mine.
For the uninitiated, garden gnomes are ceramic or plastic statues depicting miniature men (mostly) of a certain stature and with generally ‘gnome-like’ characteristic, such as a profusion of facial hair and ruddy complexions. You can buy them in all sorts of places these days, from garden centres to supermarkets. You may have seen a few in the Harry Potter films (possibly in The Chamber of Secrets and also in the Deathly Hallows, part 1) – they are definitely featured in the books.
I used to think that gnomes were ridiculous objects that deranged, deluded and plain daft folk doted on, filling their gardens with questionable bits of plastic or pot ornaments.
I USED to think that gnomes were tacky, indicating that the garden’s owner was clearly, by definition, utterly star-staring bonkers for giving these little, slightly maniacal mannequins house room – or rather garden room of course!
I laughed loud and long when I heard, maybe thirty years ago now, of a gnome who had been kidnapped from his elderly lady’s garden by some undoubtedly well-meaning pranksters and then ‘sent’ postcards home from a wide variety of places whilst clearly on a Grand World Tour. It made the act of vandalism seem less vicious, especially when the gnome was returned safe and sound some eighteen months later, none the worse for his glorious gadding-about. A little tired perhaps, with sore feet. Well, it’s a very long way ALL around the world you know, especially when you are only twelve inches tall!
Gnome-goading was not my bag, but I not-so-secretly judged gnome-infested gardens and their owners as being the kind of people I would nevermore entertain, far less consider joining.
However, to re-phrase Britain’s only female Prime Minister, ‘The Lady’s IS for turning!’.
It started small, a year or so ago.
My son came home from a shopping trip with his dad and with a terribly pleased expression produced a gnome. Instantly, he was named ‘Gnomeo’ – possibly inspired by Toby’s love of the animated gnome film ‘Gnomeo and Juliet’, which unsurprisingly is an *interesting* take on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. And having placed Gnomeo in the front garden, I found I wasn’t quite as irritated by its presence as I thought I perhaps should have been.
In the absence of any strenuous objections from me, several other jolly little chaps ‘appeared’ in fairly quick succession.
One of these was an un-painted gnome, with the general idea being that Toby would enjoy completing the artistic activity of applying paint and then allow his newest acquisition to join his friends in the garden.
Toby is not a boy who *enjoys* painting. He did have a go, but by his own admission this gnome ended up looking like a Picasso’d version of Chuckie, the evil doll from the horror movie, ‘Child’s Play’. Brrr! (even the thought of that character gives me shivers!). And then, to make matters *worse*, he dropped it and the statue split into three pieces. I was having all kinds of nightmares about the significance of this event, imagining zombie gnomes invading my lawn by the thousand. I told you before, I have a very active imagination!
But he turned his little face towards me (Toby, my son, not ‘Chuckie-Lookie-Likey’ the cracked up gnome!) and pleaded with his eyes like Antonio Banderas’ Puss in Boots… ‘Please fix him Mum!’ and how could I refuse that? So, I glues the body back together, which of course now meant that he looked even MORE like Chuckie, with poorly executed glue lines showing all over his tiny body. Brrr! Again!
Over the winter these diminutive pucks have begun to look very sorry for themselves. Their colour faded badly.
When Spring finally arrived, I took pity on them. One by one, I took them indoors and spruced them up.
I love painting, especially onto three-dimensional objects.
Toby came into my studio last week, grinned broadly and declared that I was now the proud co-owner of a gaggling gang of gnomes.
I think their appearance is definitely improved!
And so, this evening as I photographed each portrait, I have finally given them each a name. here they are for your perusal – Will and Gnomeo are already featured, so here’s the rest.
And finally, there’s Joe, the re-incarnated (repaired) Chuckie as was…
Gnomes may indeed be magical – let’s hope they bring me some good luck!
Thanks for reading!