A tale of two Sams

Sam's Song at the Doorstep of Cirit Ungol

In western lands beneath the Sun
the flowers may rise in Spring,
the trees may bud, the waters run,
the merry finches sing.
Or there maybe 'tis cloudless night
and swaying beeches bear
the Elven-stars as jewels white
amid their branching hair.

Though here at journey's end I lie
in darkness buried deep,
beyond all towers strong and high,
beyond all mountains steep,
above all shadows rides the Sun
and Stars for ever dwell:
I will not say the Day is done,
nor bid the Stars farewell.

(JRR Tolkien http://www.tolkien.cro.net/talesong/darkness.html)
This is my Sam.  When I lived with my parents we had a caravan at Hunstanton which we visited often.  We used to drive past the place the sold all manner of concrete garden ornaments.  My younger brother had a concrete windmill bought for him I seem to recall, I have no idea what happened to it.   I wanted a gnome, I had wanted a gnome since watching 'The Gnomes of Dulwich' that starred Terry Scott and Hugh Lloyd.  I had to look up the details of this series as I was very young when it was on and my memory of it is hazy.  I was sad to find out that there are no surviving tapes of the programme, I would love to see it again.  Anyway, it taught me that stone gnomes were good and plastic gnomes were bad.  It probably would not stand up to too much scrutiny on that as I think there was some fairly standard 1970s stereotyping involved (don't ask).

So, after much nagging I was finally bought a gnome, probably about 1973/4 ish, not certain exactly when, but a long time ago anyway.  Sam came home with me and I cherished him.  I also knew from The Gnomes of Dulwich that if gnomes are left out over winter their heads pop off.  This is because water gets into the stone and as it expands it cracks at the narrow point - the neck.  For many many years Sam was brought inside at the first hint of frost and not put outside again until it was definitely Spring.

I left home and Sam came too.  Still I bought him in every winter, looking after him with care and love.  Then one day the unthinkable happened, his head got knocked off, not by me I hasten to add, but I was distraught.  You know when someone knows that what they have just done is really bad - that.  So he was duly fixed with concrete glue (well it was a glue that fixed concrete) and he was whole again sporting a rather scary scar.

So here he is, so many years later, still sporting his scar but no longer moving inside during the winter.  His bionic neck seems to cope. 

 Hang on a minute I hear you say, what is the connection between the poem above and the gnome?  Well not much to be honest, but about the time Sam arrived would have been deeply in my Lord of Rings obsession.  I can't remember if Sam was named after Sam, but it is highly likely.


  1. So there is a connection there :) I can imagine Sam will always be with you, especially as he holds so much sentimental value. Glad to know that even if his head was knocked off he was still fixed.

  2. I think Sam looks a bit cross at being left outside in the snow, maybe. But I'm glad he has survived this long for you. I have a concrete gnome, too, though they are not as common in the US as they are in England. Now I have to give mine a name ...

  3. That is a dramatic scar, but as with the best of such slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, the experience clearly made him stronger!! How lovely that you still have him, I had a woeful tendency to chuck stuff from my past, and only now regret it.


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