Sunday, 14 February 2010


Apparently the Valentine's Day luurve connection was started by Chaucer, who reckoned that today is the day that birds choose their mates. If you don't have any plans to pair off in the immediate future, you may prefer to observe Lupercalia, which is apparently a celebration of the she-wolf who suckled Romulus and Remus.

The version of this story you see above was carved by an Italian prisoner-of-war up on the Mendips at Green Ore. He got on very well with the locals, apparently, and went around fixing bomb damage, and left this statue as a farewell present.

And here is a Chinese ivory carving I found in Bristol City Museum while hunting tigers. I didn't find any tigers, unfortunately. Apart from the rather tatty tiger that was stuffed after King George (I think) shot it in Nepal.


  1. I slept in a bedroom with a large statue of that wolf on top of the wardrobe once - or rather I couldn't sleep, partly because of it.

    I much prefer the ivory carving.

    There is a tiger skin on top of Clemenceau's bed at the house where Rob worked one Christmas. It looks so dull and unhappy (surprise, surprise.

    Have you read 'A Tiger's Chance'? It's a children's book, but there's magic in the whiskers.

  2. I've not read it, Anji, but I shall look out for it.

    It is a nice carving, isn't it?

    I showed the fox catching hailstones picture to someone the other day and she said that she'd have preferred it if it wewre a wolf. There's no pleasing some people.

  3. My plans to pair off are still on hold, so thanks for the pleasant alternatives. That may be the happiest POW story I've heard---beats a Trojan horse and Chaucer would have liked it, I think.

    The Chinese ivory woman would be a bed-warmer, but I'd want to unbind her feet.

  4. I thought they were bedsocks, Larry.

    Italian POWs seemed to have a happier time of it than their German allies. There's a nice book by Stella Gibbons about the relationships between some of them and some English women. But I can't seem to find any reference to it now I've looked. Must try harder.

  5. If bedsocks, I keep them on most nights during winter.

    Looking just now at Stella Gibson's nephew's interesting website on her works, I see one reference to Italian POWs in the 1944 novel The Bachelor: