The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Picasso moments

Photo: Bull and unicorn

Photo: Bull and unicorn

I started to make wooden toys in my late twenties. I had never previously worked with wood but, with the arrogance of the inexperienced, I reckoned that it couldn’t be rocket science.

After a bit of a hiccupy start the business was reasonably successful. Ten years later I sold it to a giftware company for a very good price. That was just before the 1990 recession but that‘s another story.

As a toymaker I belonged to The British Toymakers Guild. Each year I exhibited at their fair. One year I bought two wooden toys made by a fellow artist turned toymaker. A beautiful cubist style bull and unicorn. These were adult toys but not destined for the bedroom.

They lived in my kitchen, on a shelf above the cooker. Beautiful objects that gave me great pleasure.

The first weekend that Danny came to stay at the cottage he was keen to make a good impression. He examined my eclectic collection of trifles. Eventually he picked up the bull and pronounced.
“This bull has a big arsehole.”

I was stunned. I had never looked under its tail. So I picked up the small wooden beast and examined him carefully. Beneath the tail were just a couple of purple blue abstract legs and shanks.

Photo: Bull and unicorn rear view

Photo: Bull and unicorn rear view

“It has no arsehole. What exactly do you mean?”

“No”, exclaimed Danny.
“I said ‘this bull is a Picasso’.”

Living with a southern Irishman, I often mishear what he is saying and vice versa. Generally we replay the tape in our heads and double check if the comments seem too outrageous.

With relief we have christened these events “Picasso moments”.

But the unchecked comments can often add unforseen interest and spice to the relationship.

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  1. Picasso moments – oh, that is too funny!

  2. Oh what fun! We have “Picasso moments” too as you can probably imagine (English/Italian). My sisters and I also had many of them when growing up in a Ukranian/Welsh household. We girls had twigged both accents and changes in syntax/word order, but our parents’ misunderstandings between themselves were a constant source of amusement to us – they still are actually.

    I’ve put my foot in it many a time here. The most recent one being to suggest to a retired chief of police that he opened a brothel in his cellar. I was so surpised to see his jaw drop and later learnt that I’d got the word right, but with one change in stress it took on this new meaning.

  3. kate (uk)

    I once misread a sign on the back of a coach as “Sausage Tours”. I was convinced I was correct in my misreading so commented on it to my husband, the driver, saying “isn’t that an odd name for a tour company?”. He still laughs about this one over twenty years later.

  4. What a lovely accent to have about the house! My husband is a ‘souff’ Londoner, so I know exactly what you mean.

  5. moonroot

    T is dyslexic and has mis-read some things which made us laugh. His best one was misreading the name of ‘The Pandanus Hotel’ (pandanus being a type of tropical palm) as ‘The Panda’s Anus Hotel’. 🙂

  6. Veronica

    oh Fiona, thanks again for a morning giggle!

  7. Oh how I laughed this morning on reading about your “Picasso moments”!.
    Thanks Fiona, I really needed a laugh this morning as I have not had the best week.

  8. heeheeheeheeheeee!!! that made me giggle lots, which is a nice start to my day as i set out for work! thank you!

  9. So often those mis-heard comments are the funniest and can be relied upon to raise a private giggle whenever you think back to them! My favourite mis-heard comment came from my now 15 year old nephew G who was about 8 at the time. He was delighted to present me with an electric blanket for Christmas following a conversation with my sister about having cold feet in bed and needing socks. He announced to me, so I thought, “… you won’t need to have sex in bed now” My head spun in that cartoon double-take way in the split second it took to realise he had actually said socks not sex and I tried desperately to stiffle the giggles so I wouldn’t have to explain what was so funny. Living, as I do, in a multi-lingual world leads to many Picasso moments, although generally my family specialise in Malapropisms.

  10. I’ve just returned from a girlie night on the town and saw you’d posted – now I can’t stop laughing!

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