Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Pobble.....

A couple of months ago I was asked to contribute a piece of work for a show at Imagine Gallery in Suffolk in the UK. The exhibition was to coincide with the release of Jackie Morris' new book "The Cat and the Fiddle" and in fact was also the book launch. As I love Imagine Gallery and the beautiful and unusual work they show there and I adore Jackie Morris' superb illustrations, I felt honoured to have been asked.
The theme of the exhibition was, of course, nursery rhymes. I have to confess that traditional nursery rhymes as such were not a huge part of my childhood. In fact, I have no memory of ever reading any or of having them read to me. For me it was always stories, some read from books, others made up on the spot by my mother or grandmother. But there were some funny and weird little things thrown in occasionally, little poems like;

"The night was dark and stormy,
the Billy goat was blind.
He ran into a barbed-wire fence
and tore his...never mind!"


"Adam and Eve and Pinch-me
went down to the river to bathe,
Adam and Eve fell in
but who do you think was saved?"

(Of course, as soon as I answered 'pinch-me' that's precisely what happened!)

or a very odd one about a bear being bulgy and the bulge being algae(!)

However, I did love the nonsense poems of Edward Lear. Most people are familiar with "The Owl and the Pussycat" but my absolute favourite was "The Pobble Who Has No Toes".

The Pobble who has no toes
Had once as many as we;
When they said "Some day you may lose them all;"
He replied "Fish, fiddle-de-dee!"
And his Aunt Jobiska made him drink
Lavender water tinged with pink,
For she said "The World in general knows
There's nothing so good for a Pobble's toes!"

The Pobble who has no toes
Swam across the Bristol Channel;
But before he set out he wrapped his nose
In a piece of scarlet flannel.
For his Aunt Jobiska said "No harm
Can come to his toes if his nose is warm;
And it's perfectly known that a Pobble's toes
Are safe, -- provided he minds his nose!"

The Pobble swam fast and well,
And when boats or ships came near him,
He tinkledy-blinkledy-winkled a bell,
So that all the world could hear him.
And all the Sailors and Admirals cried,
When they saw him nearing the further side -
"He has gone to fish for his Aunt Jobiska's
Runcible Cat with crimson whiskers!"

But before he touched the shore,
The shore of the Bristol Channel,
A sea-green porpoise carried away
His wrapper of scarlet flannel.
And when he came to observe his feet,
Formerly garnished with toes so neat,
His face at once became forlorn,
On perceiving that all his toes were gone!

And nobody ever knew,
From that dark day to the present,
Whoso had taken the Pobble's toes,
In a manner so far from pleasant.
Whether the shrimps, or crawfish grey,
Or crafty Mermaids stole them away -
Nobody knew: and nobody knows
How the Pobble was robbed of his twice five toes!

The Pobble who has no toes
Was placed in a friendly Bark,
And they rowed him back, and carried him up
To his Aunt Jobiska's Park.
And she made him a feast at his earnest wish
Of eggs and buttercups fried with fish, -
And she said "It's a fact the whole world knows,
That Pobbles are happier without their toes!"

So that is the piece that I decided to make.

I was thrilled to receive an e-mail from John Foley the day after the exhibition opening, telling me that "The Pobble" was the first piece sold. Having just returned home from a pretty exhausting weekend away in Broken Hill (next blog post) it was wonderfully welcome news.

Till next time.