Tag Archives: flamingo

2005. Ornamental argument

Christine disliked garden ornaments immensely; ugly gnomes and pink flamingos, plastic things that spun in the wind, little tinkling bamboo and metal wind chimes… The unfortunate thing was that Joanne, Christine’s next door neighbour, loved garden ornaments.

“Her place,” said Christine of Joanne’s garden next door, “looks like a junk yard.”

“Her place,” said Joanne of Christine’s garden next door, “looks so bare and sterile.”

The time came at last when their differences could be decided officially. The city was organizing a street by street competition: which house in each street has the best garden? And then all those selected would go into the final part of the competition: who has the best garden in the whole city?

Joanne went all out. She purchased ceramic lizards and butterflies, outside wall mirrors that made the garden look more spacious than it was, little battery driven water fountains… On the other hand, Christine maintained her garden to perfection – the perfect lawn, not a weed in sight, the recycling bin in a hidden corner…

The garden judges came. The garden judges left. A winner was announced. Congratulations Cassandra.

917. Gnomes and flamingos


The tradition surrounding garden gnomes was that they needed to be stolen. Not exactly stolen, more moved… A garden gnome should mysteriously shift position or place overnight. There should be no inkling as to the person responsible for such a deed.

Sometimes a kidnapped letter would be sent to the owner: We have your gnome. Sometimes the note was accompanied by a hint of how to get the gnome back.

Merle had three garden gnomes. She had placed them over the years in her front garden. From there they could be seen from the road side. She awaited the appearance of a thief. Being taken and moved would be the fulfilment of a gnome’s dream!

But after seven years not a single gnome had been touched. Her participation in the heavenly gnome undertaking was a comprehensive flop.

Merle tossed her gnomes in the waste bin and went to the garden centre. She bought a couple of flamingos; those pink plastic things with the long legs. At least the flamingos wouldn’t create any needless expectation.

On the first night in the front garden, they went missing.

To listen to the story being read click HERE!