It is a well recognised fact that as life progresses one turns into one’s father. There is a moment when every man sees the face of his father in the shaving mirror, where he realises the comfort of slippers outweighs their lack of fashionability and the sudden articulation around the dinner table that reimposition of National Service might not be such a bad idea after all.
Conveniently, the latter usually occurs around the age of 35, when you come to the conclusion that even in the direst national emergency, your military career will be restricted to Dad’s Army style patrolling of the local bakery armed only with a pitchfork.
For the Gnome however, it is not the physical metamorphoses that are concerning, but the mental ones. For many years the young Gnome was annoyed by his father’s propensity to take an instant dislike to random members of the media for no apparent reason. The Gnome family would be happily settled around the TV when the appearance of some poor innocent presenter would ignite the wrath of Father Gnome. “I can’t stand that Jimmy Tarbuck/Angela Rippon/Ulrika Johnson/Matthew Kelly” he would say, provoking the Gnome to take issue and suggest it was a little harsh to dismiss them so readily without meeting them.
But now, the Gnome fears he has fallen into the same habit. Some ‘personality’ (ostensibly one to whom we should feel warm and friendly) will come to the forefront of the national consciousness and the Gnome finds himself hating them for no apparent reason.