Thursday, September 06, 2012

Alpacas on my Mind

A very smiley white woman holding a pink baby who
probably looks a month or so older than she is.
I dreamt about my new niece a few weeks before she was born and in that dream, she was called Victory. When she finally got here, she was named Sophie Elizabeth Taylor and just for you mass fans, she weighed eight and a half pounds! She shares a birthday with Jeff Capes, so our hope is that, one day, she will be the strongest woman in the world!  I can't stop thinking of her as Victory, so that'll probably be her stage name.

This week, Stephen, Mike and I travelled like the three magi to meet the baby. She is very thoughtful and spends her time sleeping, thinking, looking around and sucking very hard on whatever passes close enough.

We were also able to deliver nephew Alex's birthday present (here he is six, years ago, looking a lot like his sister).  Inspired by the stage production of Warhorse, which Stephen got to see, we set about making a puppet that would be so life-like and subtle in movement that it would both embody the physical essence of an animal, as well as almost human depths of emotional range.  The animal we chose was an alpaca. Alex has called his new friend Woolly. Here it is in action.

242. Love Spoon (30.08.2012)
A fairly simple hand-carve love spoon in
pale wood (lime, in fact).
Being in Wales towards the end of Rosie's pregnancy, Stephen carved Sophie a beautiful love spoon. She was mightily impressed and commented, "Aaiiiee!" which may in fact be Welsh. Sophie may have been the first baby Stephen got to hold and he was both anxious and smitten.

Alex was climbing about in the background, helped me to get up onto climbing frame (well, a high platform built around a tree) and pushed me off again. He has promoted me from being Auntie Bum Bum to Agent Bum Bum.  He even provided me with a theme tune, the lyric to which goes

"Agent Bum Bum, Agent Bum Bum
Agent Bum Bum, Agent Bum Bum
Agent Bum Bum, Agent Bum Bum
Agent Bum Bum Bum."

I am so proud.  I was put in mind of a song my sister wrote for me when we were children.  The piano accompaniment was something of a Chaz & Dave homage, and the lyric went:
Alex The Monkey #3
A blond monkey boy hangs upside down
from a rope net. 
"Deborah is a zebra, Deborah is a zebra, Deborah is a zebra and she's my sister too-oo-oo!" 
I have decided to make a cartoon strip about Agent Bum Bum and her trusty sidekick, Tinker Taylor (Alex). His favourite toy at the moment is a Super Soaker (they're not nearly as powerful as they were when we were kids and they require batteries) so whatever happens, the villain has to get wet at the end.

But first we have to make a second Alpaca - as if anything could match the first - and I have a wedding dress to make. And we've got a wedding to plan. And I have a book to finish writing and another to keep pushing on agents and publishers (the latest rejection described it as a "near miss" which was far more encouraging than perhaps it sounds).  Plus it's that time of year when I work out what I'm going to make everyone for Christmas.

Life is busy, but very good and all the better for having little Victory in it. I mean Sophie.


Louna said...

That alpaca is amazing!

The Goldfish said...

Thank you! I think the second one will have a smaller muzzle, as this one does look like it's alpaca mother may have had a fling with a wolf...

Anonymous said...

That song is


Matthew Smith said...

Hi there Deb,

Love spoons aren't purely a Welsh tradition. In Shakespeare's time, the middle-class courting process was known as spooning, because the man would sit down with a piece of wood and a knife that the bride-to-be's father gave him and carve out a spoon for the bride to give as a present. The idea was to keep the young man's hands busy and off the girl! I learned that when visiting one of the museums around Stratford in the 1990s.

The Goldfish said...

Elodie - I certainly thought so!

Matthew - Thanks for that! I've heard of spooning in the context of courtship before (I remember it being used a lot in The Go Between, causing bafflement and hilarity among us kids when we read it in school). I didn't know it had anything to do with love spoons. :-)