Macguffin isn’t mine. He came home from Canada with my housemate K, after some weeks being smuggled about amongst her various cousins and evading the efforts of more serious grown-ups to get rid of ‘that green thing’. Macguffin went to New Zealand with us in February, and he leapt upon the opportunity to go to Europe with me:
Here he is in the church at Thorn
And he is rather annoyed that I wouldn’t let him have a pint in the Eagle and Child:
2. Yvain, the Thesis Lion
Yvain does belong to me, and he came to New Zealand too. This is Yvain and MacGuffin and I, about to speak ex ex-cathedra1:
He also went to Europe, and was present at all my papers, if not visible. He was very comforting to have with me in Paris (fact: fuzzy lions understand both French and English! This is not much use since he doesn’t speak, but it’s comforting to think that he, at least, knew what was being said around us).
Fact: we went out to the Tour Eiffel to take a cliché photo of MacGuffin for K’s relatives. Yvain, however, shares my opinion of the Tour Eiffel: it’s ugly and boring and the crowds made me anxious, so we went away quickly.
Also fact: one of the many ways that you can tell Jon Jarrett is a truly excellent individual is that he made not one snide remark when faced with Highly curled up on a couch cuddling a fuzzy orange lion. I was very tired by the time I got to Oxford, O internets.2
Yvain’s main purpose in life, though, is to be small enough to fit in a pocket and durable enough to be beat up on when I don’t like my thesis. Which is a lot of the time.
Yvain also comes to class with me. Initially, I’d thought I might need to employ him to break up some of the vociferous arguments about fairies which characterised my first few weeks in the King Arthur course (a sort of ‘no one not holding the lion gets to speak’ trick), but he ended up just living in the bottom of my bag and getting scruffy. This semester, though, he’s been introduced to the students. I have absolutely no idea what the students who don’t already know me think of this, but I think it totally counts as modelling good academic anxiety-management techniques if you share your stuffed lion with the students who are giving their papers that week. Right?
And honourable mentions go to…
Wulfstan Puppy, whose formerly-white belly is permanently stained with the coffee stains of my honours year.
Augustine Bear, who has somehow become the patron saint of marking.
Isidore of Seville, my BA graduation bear.
1. The chair is, or was, a retired bishop’s chair from Christchurch Cathedral, NZ; it was living in the small museum at the base of the tower.
2. Resolution for next time I travel: fewer books, more teddy bears! If nothing else, it’s cheaper to post teddy bears home when you’ve bought too many books.