Tuesday, 21 April 2009

The Naked Gnome Caper

What is it about garden gnomes that so gets on the nerves of a certain, small-minded kind of person? I'm starting to think that, in not particularly liking or disliking the things beyond considering them to be a non-functional waste of space, I'm in a minority of one.

Last November, with a delicious irony that I couldn't resist mocking, the Diocese of Bath and Wells banned gnomes and similar "unnatural creatures" from its churchyards, while retaining the usual plethora of equally unnatural angels etc.

Today it's the turn of Bromsgrove District Council, in the West Midlands. According to the Telegraph, this bustling, go-getting local authority has so effectively solved all its local service difficulties as to have enough time on its hands to address the horrifying social impact of ... naked garden gnomes.

It seems that Sandra Smith, of Hunnington, has, for the past 15 years, kept three unclothed garden gnomes in her front garden. In all that time, they haven't bothered anyone, and have, allegedly been nothing more than a bit of fun that have raised a chuckle amongst children and adults alike. That may well be so, although I am saddened that anyone should be so devoid of entertainment as to find garden gnomes amusing, with, or without clothing.

Now, however, a neighbour has complained that the starkers statuary is upsetting her brats. The neighbour - who remains anonymous in the Telegraph article, I suspect out of realisation that she's going to sound like a complete and utter clown - says of the offending gnomes, "They are childish and I think it's pathetic that they are in a front garden in full view of everyone."

Childish and pathetic? Yes, quite possibly, they are. But so, in my opinion, is anyone who would complain about them, and then talk to the media about it. Consider - the basis of the complaint appears to be that the gnomes are upsetting this woman's CILDren. Yet she complains that they are CHILDish. Surely, they can't be both childish and unsuitable for children?

With that sort of reasoning power at her disposal, it's no great surprise that the youngsters in her care are haven't learned not to be "upset" by the gnomes - if that's all it takes to rattle their cage, they're going to be in for one hell of a shock when they get into the real world.

Besides, how can a garden gnome be "naked"? It's a made thing, not a person. You might as well complain about naked lawnmowers or pianos. Oh, that's right, the Victorians did, didn't they - covered up furniture legs, lest they encourage impure thoughts, while being a bunch of randy buggers on the quiet.

The world is getting more crazy by the day, and it's not just these two strange neighbours who have a thing about gnomes. Surfers show up on this blog looking for all kinds of garden gnome related oddness. Full sized garden gnomes are a favourite. Garden gnome statistics and gnome facts and figures are popular, too. I don't understand the attraction, and I probably never will.

Billy Seggars.

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