As carvings go it was pretty crude, the most basic stone head you will ever see. Nothing more than a broadish pebble, about the size of a saucer, with rudimentary depressions for eyes, a misshapen nose, and a lopsided gash for a mouth.
I hated the damn thing. I had always hated it, as far back as I could go in my memory into childhood. It totally gave me the creeps, and I did NOT want it. Why the hell give it to ME of all people? I know I’m interested in art but I would rather lop off an ear.
This head always sat smack in the centre of my Uncle Gwilliam’s dressing table for years, for all the world like some Pagan Idol, and we were all scared stiff of it. Two generations of my family refused my grandmothers requests to go upstairs on errands because of this thing, sitting solemnly on a Nottingham Lace doily, and staring at the chimneypots and pigeons opposite through the window. There was something inherently evil about the bloody thing, which none of the adults seemed to notice, and all of us earned a scolding from my Grandmother for not taking fresh towels up to the airing cupboard, or bringing down the ironing, because of being “So damn silly about a lump of old stone.” (more…)