Three Things… #2

Reading, Looking, Thinking

Three Things Pic

This is a place for me to prattle on about things varied and unspecified. You are invited to participate.

This week it’s all about Moomins, a metal peacock and infuriating politicians.


INVISIBLE CHILDAs a life-long devotee of Tove Jansson’s Finnish trolls, I was delighted to discover a podcast made by The Guardian with the accomplished British actor and voice artist, Bill Nighy reading a short story taken from Tales from Moominvalley.

The Invisible Child is about a shy and isolated young girl called Ninny who is brought to live in the Moominhouse by the always wise Too-ticky. The “kid” is invisible and mute when she arrives having spent too long in the care of an “ironic woman”. The Moomin family help her gradually reappear and take her rightful place in society by treating her with kindness and respect.

Published by Sort of Books, a new hardback edition of The Invisible Child and the Fir Tree is now available for £4.99 from Oxfam, Waterstones and the Moomin Shops in London’s Covent Garden and Camden Market. All proceeds will go to Oxfam’s women’s projects worldwide in the hope that one day all women and girls will have “a powerful voice”.

The podcast was produced by Rowan Slaney and Simon Barnard.


PEACOCK 1When taking an elderly friend to the hospital in Gobowen for a long-awaited knee replacement, I spotted an unusual statue glinting in the sun at the entrance to its posh new Theatre and Oncology building. Upon further investigation I discovered it was an intricate metal sculpture entitled ‘The Peacock’, which had been erected in memory of Percy the peacock who, “roamed the hospital grounds” and was “loved by patients and staff.”

According to the sign, Percy lived at the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital for over 20 years. He became something of a local celebrity after repeatedly flying over from nearby Park Hall until he was permitted to remain in the grounds, where he was held in deep affection by all who came to know him. He died of old age early in 2017.

The sculpture, which evoked in me fond memories of the Iron Chicken from an episode of The Clangers, was commissioned by The British Ironwork Centre who created the likeness out of old surgical instruments. It was officially unveiled last summer by HRH Princess Alexandra, the youngest granddaughter of King George V.

A fitting memorial to a prestigious peafowl!


My head is a jumble of books to review (which is a good thing), exasperation over anything remotely related to Brexit, and utter fury at the innumerable imbecilic, self-serving politicians running our world. Forgive me if I seem a tad shrill, but these sentiments are quite the norm for me at present. However, the sun is shining and there are comma butterflies basking on the garden wall, not to mention several fat bumble bees in the honeysuckle outside my window. Consequently I will take a deep breath and refrain from pontificating!



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46 replies

  1. Almost three weeks of minimal exposure to Brexit was such a relief but today I found myself in full-throttle fury talking about it to someone who is as fervent a Remainer as I am. Tempted to put my head back in the metaphorical sand and enjoy the summer.

    • Hey, Susan! Great to have you back. Hope you had a fab time.

      Oh dear, Brexit. What can I say? It’s all so dispiriting. I keep hoping someone will stand up and announce it was all a silly joke that got out of hand. If only… All we can say for sure is that this lovely sunny weather won’t last long, so we may as well enjoy every last beam. 🌞

  2. What a lovely story about Percy—thank you for brightening my day 🙂

  3. Tove Jansson’s books are just wonderful and I am glad they are available here. The invincible child is a deep book but yet written so a child will find it exciting.
    I also love the way the statue to the Peacock was made. Ingenious.


  4. Thank goodness we have books, Paula, because I would not have any sanity left at this point. I also loved your story of the peacock and of the statue in his honor. Years ago when I made my graduation visit to England that I’ve mentioned to you, one of our favorite places we visited was Leeds’ Castle. There we saw several peacocks strutting around, as well as black swans. I was twenty-two years old, and I had never seen a black swan. Since, I have seen them here, but I always think of Leeds, and even though we have peacocks here as well, they also remind me. The gardens and wildlife there were exceptional. What a tangent, but I enjoyed your story. Also how interesting that they used surgical tools to make the sculpture. Lovely post today!

    • Absolutely, Jennifer. If it weren’t for books…

      Anyhow, thank you. I’m glad you enjoyed my peacock story. I haven’t visited Leeds Castle – probably because I’ve never been to Kent (daft as it sounds in such a small country), but peafowl can be seen in many stately homes. A pair of peas (? I’m sure that’s incorrect) escaped into our garden many years ago. I was awoken one morning by the most peculiar sound. I looked through the window and there they were strutting across the lawn. A wonderful sight but they had to be returned home. They stayed eating corn with our chickens until the owner collected them.

      As ever, your kind comments are much appreciated.

  5. I love the Moomin world created by Tove Jansson, glad I’m not alone 😉 The invisible child story was always close to my heart, and coupled with the character of Little My creates a lasting impression of Jansson’s view on a person’s autonomy and independence.

    I really enjoyed the story of Percy the peacock – thank you, Paula! 🙂

    And as for Brexit, I too hope against hope it’ll turn out to be just a bad dream. What I don’t understand, though, is why British political elite can’t just admit they’d made a mistake – amidst all the recent protests against Brexit it seems that there are no more ardent supporters of the Leave option…

    • Thanks Ola. It’s always good to know there are fellow Moominites in the world! 😊

      As for Brexit, it’s one massive muddle. I was always in favour of remaining and feel there couldn’t be a worse time than the present to even consider breaking away from our European family. There are numerous opinions but I believe certain British politicians lied to the people on important issues in the lead-up to the vote (and continue to do so). I’m convinced the result would be reversed if it happened again, but the Government won’t consider a second referendum. There are MPs on every side of the political divide trying to talk sense but the hard Brexiteers have the Prime Minister’s ear. Nobody knows what’s going on. What will happen to the UK following a break with the EU? There are no definite answers. It’s all so worrying, and the very last thing we need in the current climate.

      Moominmamma for Prime Minister is what I say!

  6. I love the Moomin but I haven’t yet tracked this one down – and I really should! They’re a wonderful antidote to the horrors of the world!

  7. Another great Three Things, Paula. I’ve my #2 in the pipeline (after a false start was accidentally released) but nothing as splendid as Percy statue.

  8. I love the Moomins and the thought of Bill Nighy reading them is just perfect!

    That statue is wonderful – how brilliant that it was made from surgical instruments.

    Brexit….I can’t even….what an unrelenting nightmare.

  9. Ah, the Moomins… I feel I am very underead when it comes to the Moomins and one day I shall out that right and have a moominfest.

    Meanwhile, what a lovely, eclectic and cheering mix! The peacock story is delightful – and somehow feels very British. I’m sure other places erect statues to animals which have carved a place in the affections of the local populace but I just don’t come across them. (We have a lovely bronze life-sized seal in the estuary here to commemorate Nelson who frequented Looe estuary for many years. There is also an eider duck who has made his year-round home on the beach. I forget his name, but I hope, in due course, he gets a memorial too!)

    Brexit….. moving on….. 😣 😣 😣

    Books, sunshine and the prospect of Wimbledon – much nicer! 😁

    • Thank you so much, Sandra. You have a real treat in store with the Moomin books. 😊

      I’ve never seen a statue memorialising a duck – wouldn’t that be wonderful! 🦆

      Yes indeedy, it will soon be time to pour the Pimm’s and douse our strawberries in cream. I wonder if Andy Murray will make it to Wimbledon this year? I do hope so. Although, I know his fitness is in some doubt. I do like having someone British to cheer! 🍓

  10. I agree with you about politics! I never imagined that i would be living through such difficult times. The tendency to believe only what one wants (despite facts) and the lack of civility and attention to rights are disturbing to say the least.

  11. I like the three things idea, may well join in. I love that peacock statue!

  12. Agree with you on all three items here! The Moomins are such a gentle, idiosyncratic creation. My brother discovered some graphic Moomin books and bought them for me. They are true works of art.

  13. Bill Nighy! Always great. 🙂 I cannot even speak of politics at this juncture. Denise from TX.

  14. “and utter fury at the innumerable imbecilic, self-serving politicians running our world.”

    Amen, Sister. I have gotten to a point where I just avoid all news. I’m so overwhelmed by all the terrible things happening everywhere I’m just done with it.

    In happier things: I love the story about the peacock! I love it when humans erect artwork in honor of the animals who have impacted them. Like the statue of the dog Hachikō at Shibuya Station. We need more news like this in the world!

    • Thank you, Jackie. I know what you mean about avoiding the news: it makes me so angry but I feel impotent when it comes to changing anything!

      Yes, I found the story of Percy quite uplifting. Animals bring so much joy into our world. I quite agree, we should celebrate the lives of our furry, scaly and feathery friends! 🐬

  15. I used to work in a Hospice in Plymouth and I kept seeing a Peacock flying around all the time, no one would believe me until one day the accounts department started feeding him biscuits! He was always a beautiful thing to see when you walked around work. I took a photo of him and he ended up in the employee newsletter. I forgot what we called him now though. How strange that it was also a peacock! The statue is beautiful.


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