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Humphrey is a soft and gentle little elephant.
He has an older, sometimes bossy sister Lottie and a younger brother, Baby Jack.
They are based on my own 3 children, when aged 5, 3 and 1. Their personalities, toys, bedrooms and the different antics they got up to, mixed with recollections of my own childhood of where I grew up, are the inspiration I work from.
Humphrey lives in a Victorian house at the top of a hill in a small town, a short bus ride away from his Grandparents.
Humphrey’s world is focused mainly within the house and garden near to his Mum. Amongst the smells and sounds of cakes baking, soup simmering on the hob, the constant cycle of the washing machine, radio, Baby Jack babbling and Mum humming, singing or shouting.
Humphrey draws pictures to go on the fridge, sits in his den under the kitchen table and makes houses with building bricks for his toys and helps Mum sometimes, with the drying up.
Although most days there is an upset or two, or three ... because Lottie took his crayon or Baby Jack bit Mop, or Mum has just about had enough, and it is a noisy, somewhat disorganised, usually running late and a bit chaotic ... Humphrey’s household is a fun, cosy and very loving place to grow up.
Weekly outings to the nursery, swimming lessons on Wednesdays, trips to see Reg the Veg at the green grocers, choosing a different colour car from the toy shop when he reaches 5 stars on his ‘Being Good chart,’ walks to the park, changing his book at the library and feeding the ducks, are the kind of activities that make up Humphrey’s week.
In my mind, Humphrey’s Corner is happily caught in a time similar to the mid 70’s, before mobile phones, dishwashers and home computers. Neighbours chat in the street and there is a familiarity to the faces of the local shop keepers.
Through the stories, we witness the different occasions of birthday teas under the apple tree, a surprise for Mum when Dad takes her to the ballet, Humphrey helping Grandad in the allotment and Lottie making a patchwork quilt with Granny... all set against the backdrops of the seasons and elements of rainy, windy, snowy days ... but mostly, the sun is bright in Humphrey’s world!
Humphrey's house isn't perfect. Mum gets stir crazy with the mess, the endless washing pile, cooking, cleaning, shopping, trips to swimming club, toddler group, school and on and on and Dad is usually tired getting late back from work to find Lottie dozing on the sofa waiting for him to carry her to bed.
But amongst it all Humphrey has a nurturing, happy and secure home.
I hope the nostalgia, warmth and love in the stories and images shine through.
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