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

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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

All Creatures Great and Porl

Jamie's Magic Porl

On a sunny day here, we find Porl out for a spot of exercise. While his blonde locks swirl pleasantly in the zephyr, his expression rather belies a slight disgruntlment as he wonders how many more laps of this ruddy paddock he’ll have to do before attracting the attention of the good young ladies of the farm and procuring a sugar cube and a pat on the rump. But then his mind wanders to the severe underuse of the term “flimflammery” today and a dream he once had in which he is a camel and a woman tells him repeatedly “don’t jump, Porl”. Thus he continues his pacing until dusk when that curmudgeon of a stable boy finally brings him his worsted jacket and a hay bale to nibble.

Artist: James

Set a course for Porl!

I am most delighted to reveal the first Porl of 2010…

A Porl for Adventure

Here is a marvellous creature, about to leap onward and away as the very embodiment of poetry in motion. This is a Porl with somewhere to be. Possibly there’s a buffet. He stares with one cold-blooded eye as though daring you to get there before him and take all the crackers. Do you not see his powerful legs made for running? His head streamlined like an oiled piranha in a vacuum? Safe in the knowledge that no one would be fool enough to try, he sets his course and arrives in a leisurely manner in plenty of time for cheese and a toast of brandy to the hostess.

Artist: Kev