Oh Sam Toft. I do love your work.
When stories and artwork collide good things happen. Sam Toft writes stories to go with her artwork, though the artwork is story-filled in itself.
Macintosh raincoats, full-bellied teapots, dogs, geese, sheep, a goldfish, flowing scarves, and simple sea and landscapes accompany the characters in Sam Toft’s repertoire. You could move right in and try to catch up with the conversations. Is there a cat? There must be a cat.
Years ago when my friend Brenda lived far away she sent me a Sam Toft card. The card means a lot to me because of the friend who sent it, and for the wonderful Sam Toft depiction of a man and woman on a bicycle with their dog in the front basket, a duck sitting upon the head of the man, and the woman—dotted headscarf blowing in the wind—holding a goldfish in its bowl.
The story on the back of the card is quirky (with a capital Q)—really imaginative and clever writing to go with the imaginative and clever artistry. The painting is called “Grand Day Out.” The story on the back of the card is called “Meet the Mustards” and reads as follows:
Ernest Hemmingway Mustard lives with his dear wife Violet, and Doris (Her Majesty) their rather grumpy, portly Jack Russell. They have a goldfish named Rover and can often be seen out with Horace Duck who lives down the way. Doris loves to stay in by the fire eating custard with slices of Spam, but ventures out when the Mustards’ pockets are filled with humbugs. Mr Mustard is a kind, simple soul who specialises in tuneless humming and predicting hurricanes. Mrs Mustard puts up with her daft husband and dreams of Mr D’Arcy.
So please, Sam Toft, write some books.
I’d love a novel of yours by my bedside.
But while I’ll wait, I’ll imagine Violet at the sink washing the teapot, while Doris snoozes by the fire. We could have used Ernest and his hurricane predictions here in Vermont when Irene struck us. I imagine he’d have come down to the bridge with all of us to watch the raging river and mumble, “just as I thought.” There would—of course—be a duck on his head.