Humphrey’s Corner – Snails and Choo Choo Trains

Sometime around 1998/1999 I wandered into an off the beaten track card shop. I think Victoria and I were visiting somewhere, Stratford rings a bell, but I can’t be sure. The one thing that I do know, is that while I was in there I happen chanced upon some cards by an artist named Sally Hunter. The cards were Humphrey’s Corner.

Humph_IllustraotorHumphrey is a soft gentle little elephant. He lives in the house at the top of the hill with Mummy, Daddy, Sister Lottie and Baby Jack. When Humphrey was first born Daddy bought him a rabbit. His name is Mop. Humphrey takes Mop everywhere. He only has one ear now because Humphrey always sucked it when he was a baby.

I fell in love with those illustrations. I bought every Humphrey card in the shop. From that point on I made it my mission to search out new cards. They were far from common, and it was always a moment of joy if I found a new one anywhere. For a while I carried a print out of all the cards I had, so that I could cross reference them. I think they were under the Woodmansterne company at the time. I’ve never really been a collector, before or since.

Victoria thought I was mad. I still have a box piled high with unopened cards.

One day I sent a letter to Sally Hunter. Not sure why, just felt like I need to tell her how much I loved the pictures. Never done that before, never done it since. But for some reason it felt like the right thing to do.

Then, one day, I received a phone call. Sally Hunter actually phoned me to say thanks for the letter! I must admit to being a little starstruck and taken a back, so as I recall, I don’t think that I gave the best conversation! But I remember being amazed that she would take the time to make an actual phone call.

When Rebekah was born, it seemed only natural that we linked her to Humphrey, used his pictures, gave her a Humphrey and a Lottie. My mother even sent Rebekah a Humphrey birthday card for the first five years. With fatherhood now pressing down, I found myself being inspired by the pictures, and started writing poems to go with pictures. I wrote quite a few, and produced a small book with them in.

The cards became more successful and you could even pick the cards up in John Lewis. Then they disappeared for a while. When they reappeared under another company, I think the cards started to get reprinted. Mothercare started selling a lot of branded merchandise, and it seemed Humphrey was everywhere. And, I slowly lost contact with them, as you so often do.

I miss Humphrey, and Lottie, and Baby Jack, and Mop!

humphrey

Snails and Choo Choo Trains
At the bottom of the garden,
Where only I go to play,
There is a little railway track,
That I visit every day,
It has a little choo choo train,
That travels very fast,
It carries lots and lots of passengers,
To the bottom of the path,
It is used by all the garden snails,

To help them get about,
And when it pass by the station,
The chimney gives a shout,

WOOOOO…!
WOOOOO…!
Chush ta Kur…
Chush ta Kur…

The smoke fluffs up like cotton wool,
Filling up all the air,
Then the conductor asks to see the tickets,
To make sure everyone has paid their fare,
And when the journey is nearly over,
The choo choo slowly stops,
And the snails all go on their way,
And so do me and Mop.

Click here for more info and to have a chance to get an remarkable whiteboard paint set.

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O God of earth and altar…

O God of earth and altar,
Bow down and hear our cry,
Our earthly rulers falter,
Our people drift and die;
The walls of gold entomb us,
The swords of scorn divide,
Take not thy thunder from us,
But take away our pride.

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Wikipedia G. K. Chesterton

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OZYMANDIAS

Space Bastards FeetWhile fixing the Space Bastards Models this poem came to mind…


I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: `Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear —
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Might, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

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Wikipedia Ozymandias, Percy Bysshe Shelley

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Without You

Without You

It’s nearly 1am
as I drink salted frozen margaritas
in the bar
on the 39th floor
of the Fourth Street Marriott
in San Francisco
I search the live cityscape
for the Bay Area stars
lost in the sparkle of lights
through thousands of windows
And although I know that
the morning plane
will bring me thousands of miles back home
I can’t help thinking that
this beautiful moment
Means nothing
without you.

Chris Wild
(March 2001)

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April Poem

Here is a poem that my daughter wrote the other day. She just sat down with her little pad and wrote her “April Poem”. She was so focused – I was really impressed as she’s only 5!

April Poem
Rebekah Wild – Aged 5

April is in spring time
Easter is in April
Easter Bunnies come and give us eggs
Spring is in April
and we love eggs
Baby lambs are born
and we see them
and we see deer
and foals.

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