The morning sky is an intensely bright blue and the air crisp and cold after yesterday’s grey, extremely windy, offering. I went out into my little balcony garden to check for any damage and noticed that one of the two Oriental style statues I have in amongst the plants had been on the receiving end of an unwelcome delivery from a pigeon. When I picked it up my head suddenly filled with memories – how in my late teens I first saw the pair in a shop window on Carnoustie High St on a visit up to my Gran with my parents. I didn’t have the money to buy them for myself – so you can imagine the absolute delight some time later when I unwrapped my birthday present to find it was the two statues. As a family we barely had two pennies to rub together so my Mum must have really saved up (or gone without) to buy them for me, which makes them all the more precious. And since then they have always been with me, a reminder of my Mum.

IMG_0051 3

Male statue

Holding the statue also reminded me of the book my parents bought me when I was about 10, the New Larousse Encyclopaedia of Mythology. I used to browse through the pages wondering at the diversity of deities worshipped around the planet. I was always drawn to the Eastern art, in particular Japanese silk paintings with their beautiful, ethereal figures. It’s one of my most treasured books, together with ‘Stories from Ancient Greence’ illustrated by Doreen Roberts.

Story of Io
Illustration by Doreen Roberts for the story of Io.

I never have been very good at remembering ‘facts’ but the pictures have stayed in my mind. I think that’s why the statues hold such memories, they are visual, physical objects, imbued with 40 years worth of memories and holding them is like pressing the play button on a recording.




Izanagi and his sister Izanami
Izanagi and Izanami were brother and sister. Their role in the creation story was to consolidate and fertilise the moving earth. Here Izanagi is stirring the sea with his with his celestial lance to create the island of Onokoro.



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