Trish Takes Five by Trish Burgess

Could Tulipan be our own good luck talisman?
Could Tulipan be our own good luck talisman?
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Just 12 months after receiving a £400 nose job, Edinburgh’s statue of loyal pooch Greyfriars Bobby is now in need of further restoration.

Why? Tourists have been constantly rubbing his nose for good luck. Bobby, the faithful Skye terrier, who sat on his master’s grave for 14 years after Auld Jock died, has a very shiny nose.

They say a wet nose is a sign of good health in a dog, but it seems a glowing one is not so good if you’re made of bronze.

It doesn’t just happen in Edinburgh. In the city of Verona, Italy, the authorities are constructing a new Juliet, as the original is becoming weathered by romantic old souls who touch her right breast to bring them good fortune in the love department.

All over the world certain statues have become the focus for excessive rubbing: the Angry Boy statue in Oslo has a shiny hand and St Peter’s statue in Rome has a right foot devoid of toes as they have been worn away by too much rubbing and kissing,

Even a dog at the top of a ski slope in Norway has a sparkling paw.

It seems we are all at it, making contact with body parts of statues just for luck. And it’s not just tourists.

MPs have been criticised for touching the toes of Churchill and Thatcher’s statues in the Members’ Lobby before entering the Commons chamber.

Does this happen locally? Do we have any statues in the towns and villages of South Holland with body parts in reach of superstitious fingers?

I recently came across an interesting sculpture in Birchgrove Garden Centre, Pinchbeck. Just outside the Bulb Museum is the very green figure of Tulipan the Tulip Man. Originally located in Springfields, Tulipan was unveiled in 1972 by the Turkish Ambassador, His Excellency Zeki Kuneratip, to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the introduction of the tulip bulb from Turkey to Europe.

The first bulbs came here from the gardens of the fabulously named Sultan Sulliman the Magnificent.

Tulipan is made of fibreglass and was created by the boys of the woodwork department at the Gleed Boys School and their teacher, with the equally splendid name of George Mainprize Whittington. I gather the sculpture was in need of some repair when it was moved to Birchgrove in 2006.

The Tulip Man now looks very happy, glossy green once again and thankfully showing no signs of being man­handled by the general public. Let’s keep him this way and, if you need a bit of luck, why not carry a sprig of heather – Greyfriars Bobby would approve of that.

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