“Xenophilius Lovegood,” he said, extending a hand to Harry. “My daughter and I live over the hill, so kind of the Weasleys to invite us. I think you know my Luna?” he added to Ron.
“Yes” said Ron. “Isn’t she with you?”
“She lingered in that charming little garden to say hello to the gnomes, such a glorious infestation! How few wizards realise just how much we can learn from the wise little gnomes — or, to give then their correct names, the Gernumbli gardensi.”
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K.Rowling
BBC Radio 4. Women’s hour. Good Friday 2017:
“Well, you see, my wife never liked my gnomes. To me they were family. I’d given them names even. They had personality. But the wife said to me one day, ‘Darling, it’s me or the gnomes.’ Simple as that. I love me wife, so the answer was simple. That’s when I heard about the Gnome Sanctuary.”Imagine our surprise when almost exactly a year later, on our rainy drive to Hartland Quay, nieces in the back seat eating Easter eggs, we drove past one of those little brown tourist information road signs which read: Gnome Reserve 5 miles
4 sodden adults, 3 chocolate-filled over-excited girls and 1 baby resembling a gnome herself, piled out of the car and made a dash through the April showers towards a small cottage, conspicuously sign posted ‘Admission & Hats’.
There was something magical about the gnome sanctuary. I can’t quite put my finger on it. It didn’t change the fact that the rain was still pouring, we were soaked, cold, tired, full of scampi and chips and chocolate, and somewhat car-weary.
Like the proprietor told us when she took our £4 each, “People come because they’ve heard about us or they love gnomes, or they scoff at gnomes. But they all leave laughing.”
I think it has something to do with the little people phenomenon.
Hubby wouldn’t understand this from his 6 foot 2 inch vantage, but little people see the world from a different perspective:
- We can see up peoples noses, so keep those nostrils clean.
- You can’t hide your double chin or your belly from us.
- With our low centre of gravity we are quick and nimble. Good luck catching us.
- We’ve roped you in to performing all our hard to reach jobs, making our lives far easier.
- People think we are small and cute and vulnerable so when the Nyamazela-ness in us rises up, we are a constant surprise!
P.s. The drive back to Bratton Fleming cottage passed very quickly with Hubby and me and two of our nieces belting out the sing-along-soundtrack of The Gnome-Mobile (1967). I wonder how many of you remember that eccentric classic?
P.p.s. I’m a bit of a ‘gnome scoffer’ myself. Though I loved the visit, I had a sobering thought. When darkness settles on the reserve, those little jolly chaps might not be so jolly. They’ll know exactly who the gnome-scoffers and gnome-lovers are. Potential nightmare situation!
P.p.p.s. Another highlight of our rainy Easter weekend in Devon was a visit to The Big Sheep where you can bet on a sheep race, feed llamas and ride a giant swan.
P.p.p.p.s. A note on the small people: we are NOT tall people’s leaning posts! (Ahem! Hubby!)