Some context: When Susi, Niki’s niece, together with her family, visited the week before we left Switzerland, we had some stuff that was looking for a home – we weren’t taking a flat screen TV with us! Items not on Susi’s preferred list included 2 garden gnomes, which looked to be consigned to the rubbish dump. Until their story was told …
“Oh, no!” said Offa. “Whatever shall we do? Niki and Richard are leaving Switzerland and we are going to lose our home.”
“Not to worry,” said Loofa, “They are going to Norway, so we will be able to see all our gnome family again.”
“But Norway is such a long way to go! You remember that we left there as little gnomelings, and it took us so long to walk to Switzerland, we got old, and grew beards and look, even my tummy has got bigger.”
Offa looked into the distance, where he could see the Alps. His heart hurt a little bit, as he had been very happy in Switzerland. He could remember all the seasons he had spent there, with the aromas of Spring, the Autumn fog, the bright blue skies of summer, and the glistening white peaks in winter.
“I wonder,” said Offa, with a hopeful note in his voice, “I wonder if, perhaps, just maybe, there is even a small chance that, when we leave Switzerland, there may be a place we can stop, even if just for a few years?”
Loofa looked at his friend, who now had a tear in his eye, and wondered what he could do to help his friend. “I’ve got an idea!” he exclaimed. He went inside, got his favourite Christmas present, a walkie talkie, that he had used to stay in touch with all his friends back home in the fjords, but also with gnomes who had travelled to the mountains in New Zealand, or the Great Plains of Canada, and so many places in between. He called Niki to share his plan.
“Niki,” he said, “You’ve got a niece in Germany. She reminds me so much of the big people back home in Norway, and she looks very kind. Do you think, maybe, we could go and live with her family for a while? We would love to go home to Norway with you and Richard, but it’s so far to go, and the van is so small, and so crowded with all the clothes you are taking in case it gets cold.”
Niki smiled, and thought, “Of course Susi would have a place for our gnomes. They have got such a lovely, neat garden, filled with bright flowers. And as our gnomes are also vegetarian, they won’t harm any of their garden friends, the squirrels and the rabbits that came down to enjoy the smells of a garden in bloom.”
“Oh, Loofa, of course we can visit Susi and her family. What we’ll do is take her family their favourite salad dressing, made right here in Switzerland, so that both they and you can remember the good times you had there.”
And that’s what they did.