Karl has moved. For twelve years he stood upon the black marble plinth of the fireplace in our dining room but now he's in an alcove in the front room - standing upon a cabinet that an old friend called Colin Tohill made for us twenty five years ago.
Above Karl there's Fred Fox in his frame. I painted that picture myself after several trial attempts. I am rather happy with it and each day he reminds me that I should get painting again. I have a particular project in mind and have even purchased the required canvas. It's way past time to get cracking but procrastination has its delicious attractions.
We visited Goa on the west coast of India in 2008 and that is where we spotted Karl in the midst of a veritable army of carved elephants. Here's what I wrote about him in September of that year:-
Karl the Mahogany Elephant. He stands about eleven inches tall. He's smooth and chunky. He has little white tusks and little white toenails and two beady little glass eyes. He stands on the polished black granite hearth, frozen in mid-stride. He is a souvenir of Goa. We bought him from a Kashmiri trader after numerous visits and discussions. On the last day of our Indian holiday we released him from captivity, wrapped him in Hindi newspapers and squeezed him into my hand luggage. Every carved elephant is a little different. Karl is named after a Brummie* we met at the Lui Beach Hotel in Candolim. He cost just under twenty quid.
*Brummie - resident of Birmingham, England
Karl is watching me as I type this blogpost. He is not trumpeting or surging across the room in a frenzied attack. He is just there, quiet as can be and still as a rock. He is as lovely now as he was that day we carried him back to the Lui Beach Hotel on the last day of our lovely holiday in Goa - almost thirteen years ago.
I have a collection of hard wood animals. Usual car bootsale bargains. They are very cheap to feed. I like the fox painting.ReplyDelete
Have you got a wooden cock?Delete
No. I have got some pot ducks.Delete
Please don't call me Ducks!Delete
Oh he is so very handsome.ReplyDelete
Are you talking about Northsider or our elephant?Delete
Now you come to mention it......Delete
I think I would have called him Tusker.ReplyDelete
You mean like the other Yorkshire blogger - Tusker Dunham?Delete
The Goa Elephant and the Sheffield Fox!ReplyDelete
This could be a tale by Kipling, the best short story writer England ever bred, (followed closely by D.H. Lawrence and Elizabeth Bowen, who was Irish).
The Kashmiri trader sold you an iconic souvenir: What kind of wood is that?
Years ago I read Mark Shand's *Travels on my Elephant*: I never did read *The Elephant Whisperer* by Laurence Anthony and Graham Spence.
I believe that Karl was carved from mahogany but it could be rosewood. I must admit that I am not too clever when it comes to identifying polished wood.Delete
Mahogany: perfectly polished, agreeable to handle.Delete
Like Henry Moore you have a sense of things well made.
The trunk of the moorland tree was perfectly crafted by nature's hand.
The artist can't compete with nature: even Cezanne never copied.
Karl is talismanic.
Talismanic? I thought he was an Asian elephant!Delete
Souvenirs are a sort of funny idea, aren't they? And yet- sometimes one is overtaken by the desire to buy a certain piece and bring it home. I have one of those too and the sight of her (she's a carved Virgin of Guadalupe) always brings me pleasure as I am sure your elephant brings you pleasure. Whoever carved her had a fine sense of the soul of an elephant.ReplyDelete
And nice fox, too! Yes. Get those paints out!
I am glad I did not bring a souvenir home from every place I ever visited.Delete
Lovely to see your Fred in his place, now with Karl for company. I bet they get along just fine, each having different stories to tell from their part of the world. My Fred is looking away from memas I am typing this, but not in a disrespectful manner; if I were sitting at the desk in my bedroom and not on my yellow armchair, his gaze would be more in my direction. His portrait is a work of art, and I agree - you should paint again.ReplyDelete
It still pleases me greatly to know that one of my very first Freds is displayed on a wall in a very tidy apartment in Ludwigsburg.Delete
So (I know how much you dislike sentences that start with that word) by ‘squeezed him into my hand luggage’ are we to understand that you succeeded in smuggling Karl out of Goa and into darkest Yorkshire without benefit of the penetrating eyes of customs officials? Are his tusks made of forbidden ivory? Does he have a cavity you filled with black market emeralds and sapphires and rubies? The mind reels at the possibilities.ReplyDelete
P.S. - He is quite the handsome beast.
You have now put yourself in the American Detectives Hall of Fame... Perry Mason, Columbo, Rockford, Magnum P.I. and now Bob Brague! How on earth did you know about the secret cavity?Delete
Everyone has a secret cavity.Delete
I was going to say something about that but have decided to self-censor.Delete
Karl is a splendid beast and the ideal companion for Fred Fox.ReplyDelete
Yes, YP, do get those paints out again. You must record your grandchild's progress on canvas and paper, as well as digital image.
There will be photos for sure CG but if I tried to draw or paint him/her the treasured grandchild would look like a cartoon character. Have you got any grandchildren CG?Delete
Mrs YP to Mr YP, "Darling, can we talk about the elephant in the room?"ReplyDelete
Ha-ha! Proof that not all ICT teachers are unfunny nerds!Delete
You've created a beautiful corner with Karl and the fox. Just lovely.ReplyDelete
You have excellent taste if I might say so Allison.Delete
(As you have not replied to any of the above friends yet today, can I assume that the babe is getting born or are you just lazy today?)ReplyDelete
Start painting!! I am working on my first commission! 122cm by 50cm. Every time I look at that canvas, my heart falls into my stomach, but I will get it done!
No babe today Auntie Donna!Delete
Yes. I do need to get painting...in the week ahead. Surely!
I have always wanted to go to Goa. I'm surprised Karl is named after a Brummie -- it sounds very Germanic! I remember your excellent Fred portrait.ReplyDelete
Perhaps I should have lied and said he was named after Karl Marx.Delete
Karl is quite handsome and stands as a silent and proud example of his species.ReplyDelete
How is Frances? Last night I had a very strong dream about babies being born. When I woke up I thought of Frances. It made me wonder if she has had signs of the special day being soon? The birth of a baby is such a miracle and serves as a reminder of the beauty and love in life.
The babe is "fully cooked" now but still no signs of emergence Bonnie.Delete
I do love the picture of Fred Fox. We have Bob the bison who carries on animated conversations with Buck the deer in our library. At least that's the story I used to tell the grandson.ReplyDelete
I hope the grandson was not traumatised!Delete
No. He kept trying to catch them in discussion. They obviously heard him coming, no matter how quiet he was.Delete
BOB Grandma is a bit wacky isn't she?Delete
BUCK You can say that again.
Fred Fox looks pretty good and Karl is wonderful and perfectly placed.ReplyDelete
You should have been an interior designer Andrew!Delete
He's got a very big trunk.ReplyDelete
Graham thought that Karl should be called Tusker Dunham.Delete
That's a very nicely carved piece. You had a good eye on that one. Oh, I also see the fox. I remember Fred.ReplyDelete
I love your fox and your magnificent elephant is arresting - quite the perfect corner for them to share. Goa sounds very exotic.ReplyDelete
It is rather delicious choosing something you absolutely must have to capture & rekindle the memories of time and place.
I have to resist being practical so hard but learnt my lesson ordering a sculpture from an artist in New Zealand after I had got home - I despaired leaving the one I loved behind!
These special pieces make a house a home in the tapestry of our lives.Elle xx
I would hate to live in a house that was as minimalist as a laboratory Elle. We need reminders of the lives we have lived... "...the one I loved"- intriguing.Delete
Do you know what I love about that photo, its peaceful contentment with the shadow of holly leaves from outside?ReplyDelete
Actually Thelma, the sprig of holly is in a glass vase to the left of our mantelpiece which is just off camera. Well observed ma'am!Delete
What a delightful corner that your beautiful elephant stands in. I like the shadow image of the holly on the wall.ReplyDelete
I never intended to include the holly shadow. I picked that holly before Christmas at Hodsock in Nottinghamshire.Delete
That corner is a lovely mix of craftmanship and memories, but what of the lamp? Does it have it's own story too?ReplyDelete
I love that fox painting. You are a man of many talents. Perhaps your next painting should be of that beautiful tree you photograph.
A well chosen souvenir is like a gift that keeps on giving. Every time you look at at it or use it you are transported back in time to those happy holiday moments.
I bought two lovely delicate porcelain angels from a little shop on the Amalfi Coast, not really thinking of how I would get them home, I just knew that I loved them. In Naples I bought a carry on flight bag and I shredded all the paper from my itinerary for packaging to cushion them. They survived that long journey home to NZ via Rome, Barcelona, London and Singapore and each Christmas as I carefully unwrap them and hang them on the tree I get a little leap of joy as the memories of that wonderful trip come rushing back.
Lovely story about the little angels Adele - a few months before a new little angel arrives in your life. Our angel is still waiting to make his/her first appearance four days after the "due date".Delete