porch monkey

Robin Hamilton robin.hamilton3 at VIRGINMEDIA.COM
Sat Jan 22 16:39:02 UTC 2011

If I'm understanding this thread correctly, the British equivalent of such
garden ornaments would be plastic gnomes.

Curiously enough, such plastic gnomes are the not-so-indirect result of a
strike by eighteenth century professional hermits.

In the eighteenth century, no largish country house was complete without a
shaded grot complete with hermit.  Unfortunately, the contractual
obligations [frequently detailed in writing] for this occupation were quite
strict, and included the proviso that the Said Hermit should not be
discovered carousing in the local pub.  This demand, among others, caused
the hermits to engage in a national strike and withdraw their services.
Rather than capitulating to these quite unwarranted demands of organised
labour, the houseowners promptly and reasonably replaced the hermits by
cheaper and, as it turned out, quite adequate for the purpose full-sized
statues of hermits.  Thus a long established and much-loved traditional
occupation came to an abrupt and tragic end.

As over the years the size of a typical Gentleman's Mansion shrunk, so
correspondingly dwindled the proportions of the Sculpted Hermits, until in
the course of time they were reduced to the stature of the much loved and
widely distributed plastic garden gnomes with which all residents of Her
Majesty's Sceptered Isle are achingly familiar.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Jonathan Lighter" <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
Sent: Saturday, January 22, 2011 10:58 AM
Subject: Re: porch monkey

> ---------------------- Information from the mail
> header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: porch monkey
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Who calls a "lawn jockey" a "porch monkey"?
> I've never even heard "*lawn monkey," which would at least make more
> sense.
> JL

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