Kindred Shizzards

It is satisfying to learn that out there in the wide world, separated by time, space and the M40, others have also theoretically crossbred lizards with farmyard animals.

Porl by Katherine

What are the odds of that? Presenting: The Shizzard! Half sheep, half lizard, it’s got an impressive fleece that would keep it warm as far north as say, Newcastle, extending the range of this unusual beast by a good few miles. It’s got Wuzzle written all over it, and I love an excuse to mention Wuzzles, but it could likely eat those guys for breakfast.  Luckily Porl’s great fire-breathing skills should keep him in check for now, that fleece would probably go up a treat.

Artist: Katherine



A question from an interested observer on Friday:

“…he has a horse’s body and a lizard’s head.”

“How do you know?”

Well asked. There isn’t a sound answer, it’s all relative you see. At least no one’s ever asked how we know he has a strawberry bootlace for a tongue.

The Blog of Porl Coalition Special: Lessons in getting along

As we gear ourselves up for a coalition government in the UK, many questions are being asked on how this is going to work, and how two parties with such differences will be able to work together in the months and even years ahead. As of today, we have a hybrid government.

You might say Porl is something of an expert on hybridism, and by extension, coalition. For the sake of the article, I will say he is. Perhaps we can learn from Porl’s simple existence ways that the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats might put aside differences and lead us into a glorious new decade. Let’s look at some of the day-to-day differences in interest that Porl’s opposite ends encounter before he’s even got up in the morning:

  1. With his head equiped to hunt and eat only small insects, how does he sustain his relatively huge body?
  2. If his head is cold-blooded and his body warm-blooded, does it change somewhere suddenly in his neck, or is it all lukewarm all the time? Does his body move faster than his head? Is he ‘tepid-blooded’?
  3. How can Porl successfully pilot his whole self from such a wee head with such beady little eyes?

Such dilemmas! And yet Porl is almost 10 years old and thriving. Gather round, I will share with you his secrets that we might learn from them:

  1. His tail is an excellent fly swatter, the head can therefore access enough tasty insect prey to keep him cavorting in his paddock by snatching up all the bugs that the tail deftly swats at his face. Lesson for the Government: David Cameron or Nick Clegg may be forced to swallow whatever is wafted their way from the other’s backside from time to time, but they must seek the nutritious in whatever comes their way to keep things moving along, and uh, regular.
  2. Porl’s blood is made of liquid compromise – it runs at a middling temperature at once suited to his body’s active muscles and also warm enough to power his little head even when at rest. However, he does need to slow down from time to time to recuperate, or to bask in his own glory. Lesson for the Government: It doesn’t pay to be too hot-headed, even in Parliament. Filtering manifestos through cold and hot ends of the temperature spectrum may yet provide quite a stable happy medium, even if it only excites the nation as much as tepid bath water.
  3. Porl uses his movement-oriented lizard vision to drive his horsely body in a direction beneficial for him as a whole, resulting in a locomotion that takes on the steady, determined movement of a lizard, at a speed and scale more akin to that of a horse.  Porl loves to dance, you see. Lesson for the Government: While David Cameron will doubtless bring force and drive to the party, Nick Clegg may have to employ his progressive, movement-aware vision to purposefully steer the Conservative horse should it begin to lurch or skitter away from anything it perceives to be dangerous, or foreign.

There you have it! Some hope for a marriage of disparate components. Now we watch and wait, kids, watch and wait, and enjoy this lovely harmonious Porl, slightly reminiscent of the current way of things… blue and yellow with hints of red and green, and a serious but neutral expression giving nothing away.

Porl by Petra

Interesting times.

Artist: Petra.

The author would like to thank Stan for his (mostly) beautiful input into the analogies.

How to care for a pet Porl

It occurred to me that if there were such a thing as a pet Porl, there are very few resources available to help one care for it. This brief guide has been adapted from Caring for Porls, available from all good bookshops.

Initial considerations for any would-be Porl owner

  • Owning a Porl is a long term commitment.
  • Whilst a Porl itself may be inexpensive, the equipment needed to properly care for him may cost many times more than the Porl itself.
  • Although Porls can adapt to a variety of foods, they function best with a steady diet of strawberry laces. You may want to check local availability before acquiring your Porl.
  • Be aware that all reptiles can carry Salmonellabacteria. Thankfully the risk is somewhat reduced since Porl is only partially reptile.
  • Find out how large your Porl will get as an adult. Of course there are some known to get no bigger than a regular dog, but these are not the norm. Most Porls need quite a lot of space to roll around in.

Choosing your Porl

Get a captive bred Porl from a reputable breeder, if possible. Wild caught Porls tend to be more stressed and prone to parasites and disease, and more difficult to tame.

Porls for Beginners

If you are new to Porls, start with one of the easier species to care for and handle. All of the following are suitable for beginners:

Stick Porl. The stick Porl is cheap and cheerful and ideal for new Porl enthusiasts. It does not usually have eyes but what it lacks in substance it makes up for in personality.

No-legged Porl. These Porls are the least mobile and are therefore unlikely to run away.

Porl in a box. By far the least demanding of the Porls, this beast requires very little in the way of interaction or training. Ideal for young children or to brighten up the ambience in a school or small office.

Extrovert Porl. With minimal training, this beautiful little breed will be singing and dancing in no time. A must-have for Christmas!

Porls for Experienced Owners

In this category, Profound Porl is the most poorly misunderstood. They can be wonderfully thoughtful pets but require a good deal more space and care than a lot of owners expect. Some Porls that more experienced owners might want to consider:

Angry Porl. As the name suggests, this breed of Porl is the most vicious and dangerous, on a par with Rottweilers and Bengal cats. You may require a license to own such a Porl.

Profound Porl. The most unique of all the Porls, the Profound Porls come in a variety of shapes and sizes and due to their unique disposition are often prone to episodes of depression and self doubt. They require a lot of patience and understanding and are not suitable for those with a busy lifestyle.

Many-legged Porls. Converse to the No-legged Porls, these ones are lively and always attempting an escape. As such, they are only recommended to those with a good history of Porl keeping.

Antiporl. Not recommended.

His Porl Materials

Decanter of Tokay

Lyra and her porlmon moved through the darkening hall, taking care to keep to one side, out of sight of the kitchen.

But enough about that. On Saturday I had the pleasure of attending an excellent talk by William Horwood and Philip Pullman at Christchurch College as part of the Oxford Literary Festival. The talk was on the theme of “The Fantasy Tradition in Oxford”, teaching us that weird and wonderful characters don’t need to be created here; they’re hanging out in punts singing madrigals or walking under archways in billowing gowns or full tweed just waiting to be reimagined as mad hatters, talking beavers and Endeavor Morse by the authors who take their inspiration amongst the dreaming spires.

Indeed it tran-spired that a book signing would follow. As we casually sauntered back into the bookshop area of the marquee (because that’s the sort of thing you do in Oxford) I picked up one of the author’s books I didn’t yet have and went to stand by the cash desk behind one or two other people. The lady behind the desk assured us that Philip Pullman would be here shortly, avast! This be the book signing table. He then promptly appeared and I had but seconds to ask myself “am I really going to ask him to draw a horse-lizard?” You have probably already guessed how I answered that question. So I asked Stan, “am I really going to ask him to draw a horse-lizard?”. Let’s see if I did, shall we?

Porl by Philip

Greetings to you, Mr. Pullman! You quite made my Literary Festival. With next to no deliberation and a very affable degree of amusement, the author sketched this delightful character in a book that to all intents and purposes I had stolen at that point. Many thanks and £4.99 later I’m very much enjoying book, and am positively chuffed to have Porl there on its title page.

Artist: Philip Pullman

The End of the Line and the Light at the End

Save Porl! The tap has run dry. With fairies you clap, with Porl you draw. Don’t make me keep digging through archives, from there it’s a slippery slope into Best Of albums, rolling farewell tours and rumours of a reunion with Robbie Williams.

It’s a pretty bleak outlook from here.

But if it’s a lack of pen and paper keeping you, I can help there: Draw Porl Online!!

And then we can reach the light at the end of the tunnel, and be as happy as this:

Lost Porls Part III: …and then there were none

On the day we crowned our 1000th drawer of Porl and bestowed upon him great honour and gifts (a paper flower and a badge fixed to his head with spit), there was but one among our party who had not yet leapt aboard the thigh-slapping hayride that is Porl artistry. Naturally, he was encouraged to join in post-haste, and here is the gift he bestowed upon us:

Porl by Stan

Yay, it’s one of the rarer happy Porls, blowing his tongue like a streamer and defying gravity with his body glued sideways onto stiletto-clad trestle table legs. He’s tottering off somewhere right now, full of optimism (and possibly opium), eager to share his vision for the pas de deux with the Premier Maître de ballet en Chef , hoping to save the reputation of the Paris Opera Ballet and keep his orphaned ingénue sweetheart from the streets before finally succumbing to consumption in a drafty garret. Quelle tragédie…

And so the end of the line has been reached. Perhaps a little dark for a 9 1/2 year old’s efforts, but I assure you the artist was fully 24 when he drew this. Of the three facts offered about himself only the beard one is true, though “Nowhere” and “Suffolk” are synonymous to some.

Thus concludes our foray into Lost Porls, hitherto they are now all accounted for… except for the one in your mind’s eye that is yet to make it onto paper.  Let us have it, I prithee. Let it not end this way.

Artist: Stan