Saturday, 20 February 2021

Who Is Humphrey?

As any giggling six year old will tell you, he is the camel with Three Humps! I have been thinking a lot about camels recently [as you do] This is mainly because I am continuing to sift and sort my possessions and downsize for retirement. 

I no longer have the palm tree - and I have never possessed a camel. But for years I had a camel coat. I bought it when I first started teaching, and wore it for years till it became thin and stained and fell apart. In the box of photos [now packed] there are various photos of me in my coat. The Duchess is taller, so looks elegant - but I definitely felt elegant in mine. It was my go-to 'smart coat'. The posh ones were originally camelhair/wool blend, and known as polo coats. 

I've thrown out dozens of pictures trimmed from Christmas cards. Far too many to keep for making future cards and gift tags. And as I tipped them into the recycling bin, I pondered on the Magi. Almost always shown riding camels. Why? Surely at that time in history, wise men would have ridden arab steeds? Maybe the camels were used as pack-animals, for the luggage, but wealthy men would have been more comfortable on the back of a horse? I looked it up - and one writer said the three wise men arrived in a horse, a camel and an elephant! That seems wrong on all counts. I suppose in the Trad School Nativity Play, the poor man has a donkey and the rich man has a camel...

Have you come across the word camelCase? It's the term used for words made up of two words strung together, without spaces, but separated by a single capital letter.

Once you know the word, you see camelCase stuff everywhere

eBay, iPhone, FedEx, WhatsApp, YouTube, EastEnders.... It is very common in this computer age - but has been around for donkey's years. For instance CinemaScope and VistaVision first  appeared on our [cinema] screens in 1953.

But enough of this wittering on, I must keep busy, and continue with my packing. If you have read Kipling, you'll know the whole problem with the camel was that he had too little to do

THE Camel's hump is an ugly lump
Which well you may see at the Zoo;
But uglier yet is the hump we get
From having too little to do.
Kiddies and grown-ups too-oo-oo,
If we haven't enough to do-oo-oo,
We get the hump—
Cameelious hump—
The hump that is black and blue!

We climb out of bed with a frouzly head,
And a snarly-yarly voice.
We shiver and scowl and we grunt and we growl
At our bath and our boots and our toys;
And there ought to be a corner for me
(And I know' there is one for you)
When we get the hump—
Cameelious hump—
The hump that is black and blue!

The cure for this ill is not to sit still,
Or frowst with a book by the fire;
But to take a large hoe and a shovel also,
And dig till you gently perspire;
And then you will find that the sun and the wind,
And the Djinn of the Garden too,
Have lifted the hump—
The horrible hump—
The hump that is black and blue!

I get it as well as you-oo-oo
If I haven't enough to do-oo-oo!
We all get hump—
Cameelious hump—
Kiddies and grown-ups too!

[do you like Kipling? I don't know, I've never Kippled!]


  1. One church I know has an elephant in its nativity scene. It always makes name smile.....😊

    1. Perhaps the Magi travelled on trunk roads...

  2.'re going to give some poor vicar out there a lot of work to do if word gets put about an elephant in the nativity. Can you imagine it?
    "Yes, Father. The nativity council have met and we've decided to include an elephant in this years celebrations. Muriel's phoning her neighbours friend who works at thd zoo to see if we can book one," 🤣

    1. But you're an expert on Messy Church, surely you'll have a bucket, mop and shovel in the vestry cupboard

  3. I've learnt a lot from this. Thank you.

    1. Thanks Nicky. Hope all your family are well

  4. I wonder if the Magi would have arrived sooner than 12 days if they rode horses instead of camels?

    1. We don't really know how they travelled or how long they took. But it is fun to wonder


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