A few years ago I painted some little wooden dolls as an anniversary present for my husband. I made one for each member of the family. Since then we have become a family of five, but I haven't got round to doing a doll for our little son yet.
This week Mum - still using her pizza box props - arranged the family dolls in a circle and the penguins around the dolls. Surrounding the pizza box podiums, the penguins look as though some kind of devotional act is taking place.
The little black blob in the middle is the doll of our cat, Curtis. Unsurprisingly, Mum has arranged him cowering underneath the podium.
It's not surprising to see Curtis shown like this as he is a gentle soul. I would not back him in a fight against a penguin, put it that way.
In 2006 I worked on a mosaic project during a residency at the Rock Garden of Chandigarh in northern India. One morning I called home to see how Jason, my then-boyfriend-now-husband was. Jason told me how, waking up after a youthfully large night, he turned over and felt Curtis on the bed so gave him a little cuddle. Immediately, he realised that this was not Curtis at all but a rat, who had somehow found it's way onto our bed.
Hungover, dazed, he ran to get Curtis to do his feline duty. But Curtis took one look at the rat and ran the other way, leaving Jason - last night's contact lenses still stuck to his eyes - to deal with the rat alone. Let's just say a cricket bat was involved, followed by a particularly harrowing clean up. A gruesome tale that carried it's way to my shocked co-workers in India.
He might have failed with the rat but each time I had a baby Curtis would tenderly lay a tiny mouse on the floor near the moses basket sometime during the first few weeks. An offering to the new life. A lover (or a sleeper) not a fighter.