Many writers have pets. And some are prepared to share their beloved companions with us here at the Libertà hive. We’ve met Anne Gracie’s lovely dog, Millie.
And Sophie’s gorgeous — but not exactly intellectually brilliant — cat, TK.
I (Joanna) love him to bits but I am only rarely allowed near enough to touch him. Moments to cherish, though, when they do happen.
Some authors have slightly less common pets. Elizabeth Rolls, for example — a previous guest blogger of this parish — has alpacas.
This alpaca — definitely having a “bad hair day”, I’d say — is not one of hers.
So, what pet do I have?
Well … Um.
Time to come clean here. I don’t have a cat or a dog. Not even a goldfish.
Joanna’s Pet is … ?
I have a troll.
A what? You mean one of those horrible abusive things from social media?
Er … no. I mean a real troll. From Norway.
With four toes on each foot, four fingers on each hand, and a tail like a cow’s.
Also a very long nose, a fat belly and a bad-hair-day hairstyle that … Well, see for yourself.
My pet troll’s name is Olaf. And he doesn’t have many teeth, either.
But he’s a great companion. Takes me for walks. Nuzzles up to me. All the affectionate pet-type stuff.
Most of the time.
About Being a Troll
Every troll does.
Here’s one petrified troll we spotted on our recent trip to Norway.
You see them everywhere.
This lot on the left must have been having a picnic by the fjord when the sun came out. Tends to suggest that trolls are not very bright, doesn’t it?.
Seems they’re for ever getting caught outside their caves when the cloud cover finally lifts.
They eat too much — hence the huge belly. Then they lie down to sleep it off and … oops! Another troll turned to stone!
Olaf’s Home in the Welsh Marches
Unfortunately, I have three windows in my south-facing office. Very dangerous, if you’re a troll. So Olaf lives, most of the time, in the darkest corner where I keep the printer. That’s what he’s standing on in those first pictures of him. His printer corner isn’t quite like a Norwegian troll-cave, though it’s usually nicely warm and shadowy. Mostly he’s happy.
But if the sun is shining too strongly into my office, he makes himself a shelter out of my books, and hides deep in that.
With or without improvised hat.
(He also seems to think that if he can’t see anyone, they can’t see him. Yup. As I said, trolls really are not that bright.)
You’ll have noticed that he’s chosen Large Print books.
Understandable, I suppose, as trolls don’t have great eyesight.
Can he actually read? I can’t tell you that, I’m afraid. He acts as if he can. He’s even objected to the fact that I don’t speak Trollish.
Safe — as Long as the Sun Shines
Trolls can, of course, be dangerous to puny humans.
Not Olaf. He’s a sweetie.
(Wouldn’t hurt a fly. He even likes cats!)
The lady troll doesn’t look too unfriendly. Maybe Olaf would fancy her?
But there are others, more dangerous, like this huge old guy we encountered.
We humans are safe enough as long as the sun is shining. Poor Olaf was hiding under the bedclothes when I took this shot, even though the sun had almost gone.
But when there’s no sun – even in daylight – beware!
You never know what’s hiding under a huge waterfall. Or behind that next mist-shrouded rock.
On a sunless day, like the one below, there may be a live troll, just around that corner.
And they’re not all as cute or as friendly as my Olaf.